City of Boulder, Boulder County and San Miguel County v. Suncor Energy, ExxonMobil

Here we go again. This could be the point in time, though, when these lawsuits are one or two steps less directly connected* with the core clique of people who’ve long been pushing the ‘industry-paid skeptic climate scientists’ accusation, compared to the other recent lawsuits. [*9/10/23 author’s revision: Not quite – I’ve relabeled this one as a Sher Edling assistance filing, as explained here].

In one way, this trio of Colorado lawsuits reminds me of the old Comer v. Murphy Oil lawsuit, which I covered in my February 10, 2015 update of my 2010 Breitbart article. The Comer case displayed no personnel connection to the ‘usual suspects’ pushing the ‘crooked skeptics’ accusation, it simply made the monumental mistake of bringing up the worthless “reposition global warming” leaked industry memo strategy phrase, long said to have originated in the 1991 Western Fuels “Information Council for the Environment” (ICE) public relations campaign. The Comer case attempted to connect it to the American Petroleum Institute (of which it has zero connection), while also showing its citation source for the phrase as Ross Gelbspan. Inquisitive investigators need only do more detective work to find the phrase and its related targets of “older, less-educated males” and “younger, lower-income women,” at the old Ozone Action environmentalist group in 1996 under John Passacantando and Kert Davies.

Those two are among the mob along with attorney Matt Pawa who were seen in the January 2016 “Let’s Nail Exxon” leaked email. Pawa had used the strategy phrase prominently enough in his 2008 Kivalina v. Exxon lawsuit, that a major news magazine featured it. As I illustrated in my June 7, 2016 blog post, the strategy/targeting memo phrases are not what they are portrayed to be.

In another way, this trio of Colorado lawsuits reminds me of Matt Pawa’s own trio of current court cases, the twin ones in California, and the one in New York City. In those, Pawa never mentioned the ICE campaign strategy/targeting memo phrases. But he is the connection in these, replete with his ties to the people surrounding those memos. His Kivalina case even directly cited Gelbspan, but in a way so obtuse that it deserves its own separate future blog post here.

The difference with the Colorado trio is that neither Pawa nor any other of the ‘usual suspects’ is seen anywhere in them. However, problems are readily seen, when compared to the other global warming cases.

In the Colorado trio’s joint filing, its passage against skeptic climate scientists Dr S Fred Singer and Dr Fred Seitz mirrors what’s in Pawa’s NYC case (and by default, Pawa’s twin California cases):

Colorado trio:

Neither Seitz nor Singer was trained in climate science, but both had previously been hired by industry, including tobacco companies, to create doubt in the public mind …

… Seitz, Singer, and SEPP were used to attack climate science, and specifically the IPCC conclusions and process.

Pawa’s CA / NYC trio (the San Francisco / Oakland transcripts put the “not climate scientists” line at the end of their passages):

… Dr. Fred Singer, and/or Seitz and Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project (“SEPP”) [received Exxon funding] in order to launch repeated attacks on mainstream climate science and IPCC conclusions

Dr Seitz and Dr Singer were not climate scientists. Dr Seitz, Dr Singer and SEPP had previously been paid by the tobacco industry to create doubt in the public mind about the hazards of smoking.

My March 15, 2018 blog post detailed Dr Singer’s anti-smoking position, and how the “attack climate science” line stems from Ross Gelbspan. His position against smoking is easy to find, and diligent law firm researchers wouldn’t have tremendous difficulty tracing Singer’s alleged role in ‘attacking climate science’ not only to Gelbspan, but also in discovering there is no validity to Gelbspan’s claims about “the attacking” or Dr Singer’s “role.”

A similar comparison is seen between the Colorado trio’s subsequent passages about skeptic climate scientist Dr Willie Soon and Pawa’s NYC lawsuit transcript.

The Colorado trio mentions the Oregon Petition Project’s 17,000 petition signatures and how they are a sham, containing “fictitious names, deceased persons, and celebrities” …. in a manner not especially different from the way Matt Pawa’s 2008 Kivalina case did. This inadvertently spotlights a problem shared between both.

At the current Oregon Petition website, the signature count stands irrefutably at over 31,000. The Internet Archive’s May 2008 page version – just three months after Pawa filed his Kivalina case – shows the count at barely over 31,000. Where did Pawa get his 17,000 figure? Possibly from an October 2007 Desmogblog article, with wording not especially different from what’s seen in the Kivalina case. Never lose sight of the fact that Desmogblog’s creation was said to be inspired by and built on the works of Ross Gelbspan (he said he helped “found” the site himself, eight seconds into this audio interview). Desmogblog’s other co-founder is the person wearing sunglasses in the participants photo for Naomi Oreskes’ 2012 workshop on suing energy companies … and he isn’t standing next to Matt Pawa.

Bad enough to cite an already out-of-date signature count in a 2008 lawsuit which likely stems from a highly questionable source, where the other bit about TV celebrity fake names apparently traces to Ozone Action’s John Passacantando (much more detail on that here), the citation takes on an exponentially worse appearance in a 2018 lawsuit as just another unquestioned rehash of two decade-old material from an even more questionable source.

Same wording comparison happens between the Colorado cases and the Pawa’s San Francisco / Oakland cases when it comes to descriptions about the Global Climate Coalition and the Global Climate Science Communications Team (GCSCT) ….. and when it comes to descriptions seen in the Colorado trio and Pawa’s Kivalina case.

As I showed in my March 30, 2018 post, one part of the ‘GCC evidence’ is not what it was portrayed to be, and another part is something which can fall apart under the simplest of rewording.

For the Colorado lawsuits, this is as tough as they get on indicting skeptic climate scientists for nefarious conspiracy work with oil companies. Regarding their stab at Dr Soon ….

In 2015, it came to light that Soon was being funded by fossil fuel companies – a fact he had not disclosed – and that those funders were given the right to review his work before it was published. Soon described his supposedly “academic” work for the Smithsonian as a “deliverable” to his funders, i.e. produced in exchange for their funding.

….. there’s two faults with it: First, loyal Desmog commenters don’t even put any value in the “deliverables” evidence line, and second, there is no citation source for this claim. Where does it come from, given the hint about the 2015 date? Kert Davies, as I reported in early 2015 here.

Such are the problems within the Colorado lawsuits. There’s potentially a people problem surrounding them, too.

Read Rebecca Simons’ April 17, 2018 report at Energy in Depth, and you learn four items:

  1. The communities are represented by EarthRights International
  2. ERI’s co-Founder / US Office Director, Katie Redford, serves on the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)’s Board of Trustees
  3. ERI also representing CIEL’s President / CEO Carroll Muffett in a lawsuit filed against him by Exxon
  4. Matt Pawa also serves on CIEL’s Board of Trustees

If that Muffett name looks familiar, it should. Have another look at that January 2016 “Let’s Nail Exxon” leaked email. Click the image to enlarge it.

By the way, Ross Gelbspan – at the time when that leaked email came to light – was Facebook Friends with Muffett, along with other names in that leaked email: Wasserman, Kretzman, Davies. And, as I illustrated more recently, with Pawa as well. Plus, longer ago, Gelbspan was FB Friends with John Passacantando …. before Passacantando’s entire Facebook account vanished.

Meanwhile, there’s more one-step-farther-removed people connections to the Colorado court case trio. The former executive director / senior advisor of the Center for International Environmental Law was David Hunter – the person who I previously showed in a prior blog post as a Board Member of both John Passacantando’s Ozone Action and Greenpeace USA Boards (both merged under his leadership), the same Hunter quoted in an article which Matt Pawa had saved in his online collection about the Western Fuels Association, regarding Hunter’s desire to nail fossil fuel companies for “running counter-propaganda campaigns.” [5/10/18 Author’s addition: Piling on – guess who Hunter currently has as a trio of Facebook Friends?]

Stay tuned. Other people besides myself are exploring the connections.

A simple question arises: were the people who prepared this latest trio of Colorado lawsuits simply rank amateurs who copied accusatory material from other lawsuits without verifying any of it, or was it fed to them by someone in the clique of people who’ve been attempting over the last 20+ years to smear the credibility of skeptic climate scientists?