I have emphasized certain parts of Mr. Brodsky's column in bold.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his fellow greenies are getting a lesson about the dangers of believing their own propaganda.
These know-it-alls claim there’s a “consensus” on climate change and what to do about it. And they believe that consensus is so broad that even prosecuting dissent would be a slam dunk. Claude Walker’s monumental crash-and-burn this week blew up that theory. Schneiderman and his ideological pals, from Al Gore to Hillary Clinton, would be wise to take note.
Walker is the attorney general for the US Virgin Islands who launched a ludicrous racketeering probe of ExxonMobil and sent sweeping subpoenas to the company and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Ostensibly, his suspicion, like that of a similar probe by Schneiderman, was that Exxon fraudulently downplayed climate change’s dangers to the public and its investors.
But Walker sought Exxon’s correspondence with some 90 groups suspected of the “crime” of questioning climate-change orthodoxy. The obvious point was to make these groups think twice about the findings their research produces and their positions on the issue. It was also meant to scare off donors, like Exxon.
Yet Wednesday, Walker withdrew his Exxon subpoena. He’d already taken back his order to CEI.
So his probe, it seems, is kaput.
Walker & Co. miscalculated. Schneiderman launched his investigation in November. In March, he held a presser with attorneys general from nearly 20 other states, promising a cooperative effort against Exxon. Al Gore even appeared.
Yet only a few AGs actually launched probes and issued subpoenas. Massachusetts AG Maura Healey this week delayed her own subpoena of Exxon. Schneiderman is quickly becoming odd man out.
No surprise: The climate-change “consensus” isn’t as widespread as greenies claim.
Indeed, the claim itself is just another attempt to silence debate. The science is settled, they say. Anyone who disagrees must be a kook, a “denier.”
Schneiderman’s move and the March presser may have won plaudits from the radicals, who hope to end use of all fossil fuel. But it also drew outrage from First Amendment champions and those who saw the probes as an abuse of office.
Lawmakers like House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) questioned the actions of the AGs. Exxon counter-sued.
And this month, attorneys general from 13 other states bashed their counterparts’ gambit as a “grave mistake.” They made clear the hypocrisy and political motives of attacking Exxon: Schneiderman & Co. claim the firm may have fraudulently minimized climate-change risks. But what about, say, renewable-energy companies that might be exaggerating them?
If temperatures rise more slowly than expected (or not at all), they write, “many ‘clean energy’ companies may become less valuable and some may be altogether worthless.” Why aren’t Schneiderman & Co., who claim to be looking out for the public and investors, subpoenaing them?
If Exxon was wrong to fund researchers who “understate” climate risks, the attorneys asked, what about all the money going to those overstating it? “Does anyone doubt that ‘clean energy’ companies have funded nonprofits who exaggerated the risk?”
The Schneiderman gang targeted Exxon and fossil-fuel companies for a reason, and it’s not to protect investors. They see political hay here. They truly (or cynically) believe slamming these companies — and anyone who fails to toe the radicals’ line — will draw overwhelming support. (And campaign cash.)
Sure, states like New York (one of just a few places in America where fracking is banned) may applaud Schneiderman. But Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, a law professor, also notes some ironic potential costs to the attack: Under federal law, he writes, it’s a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person . . . in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States.”
The right to free speech is secured by the Constitution, even when it comes to climate change. Conspiring to deprive non-believers of that right certainly sounds like it meets the law’s definition.
Inspired by the 1990s victory against tobacco companies, the Schneiderman cabal thought it could score big-time by threatening a RICO case against fossil-fuel companies. How fitting if the same threat brings them to heel.