Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. BP P.L.C., et al.

In my May 17, 2018 post on the King County v. BP lawsuit, I noted how I could have taken a shortcut to simply refer readers back to my earlier blog posts regarding identically worded lawsuits in different communities led by the same lawyer, Matt Pawa … but I instead offered additional troubling details about how he might be connected to dubious ‘evidence’ within that set of cases. Basically the same situation applies here with this latest City of Baltimore filing, regarding the eight global warming lawsuits under the Sher Edling law firm banner. My July 13, 2018 post on the Rhode Island variant noted the identical wording of them, and went into details of what I call “the fingerprints of Naomi Oreskes.” This Baltimore case suffers from the same affliction — it repeats the worthless set of supposedly Western Fuels “reposition global warming” memos on its PDF page 80 (printout’s pg 75), and Oreskes’ more than decade-old disingenuous portrayal of President Johnson’s speech is on its PDF page 56 (printout’s pg 51). But among my prior dissections of the Sher Edling cases, I haven’t mentioned anything about Vic Sher or Matt Edling.

Sheer force of habit on my part. Unlike the Al Gore side of the issue which seemingly uses character assassination as the first line of defense for their message, I’ve long believed the message must first stand on its own merits, and then only afterward can the credibility of the messengers can be brought into play if it appears they are distorting the message for their own gain. In the situation involving the Pawa-led lawsuits, his message in the old Kivalina v Exxon case about skeptic climate scientists being orchestrated by the fossil fuel industry to lie to the public falls apart, due to the ‘memo evidence’ he relies on never actually being the ‘orders from headquarters’ he portrays it to be. Not helping at all was his contortions for not citing Ross Gelbspan directly as the source for those memos, and the collapse of another of Pawa’s bits of ‘evidence’ in his latest lawsuits are also hugely troubling. I should additionally add that while there are other attorney names in the ‘Pawa-led’ lawsuits, I focus on him because he has been labeled more than once as the main driver of these kinds of lawsuits, and is routinely interviewed with regard to his actions, unlike the others who rarely ever come up as ‘leaders’ of this kind of legal action.

In the situation involving these eight Sher Edling lawsuits, the same message surrounding ‘crooked skeptic climate scientists’ is worthless, and the repetition of a paragraph of President Johnson’s speech ‘Oreskes-style’ (meaning, stripped of three inconvenient words undercutting Oreskes’ portrayal) is a message breaker. The question to be asked now is whether Matt Edling and Victor Sher are hopelessly uninformed cogs in the wheel of these repeated talking points, or if they know there were fatal problems with these talking points.

Let’s start with the Oreskes tie-in and Matt Edling. Unlike Matt Pawa, who is quite reckless with his Facebook Friends list (which includes Ross Gelbspan and a person with suspect ties to the effort to take down Exxon), I haven’t yet recognized any of Matt Edling’s FB Friends as being connected with the longterm effort to smear skeptic climate scientists. One of Edling’s biographies doesn’t indicate anything more than a leaning toward far-left politics, which of course he has the freedom to choose. Many of the accounts he follows on Twitter are left-leaning news/blog outlets, and the enviro-activist accounts / scientist accounts he follows are decidedly pro-Al Gore/IPCC. He even follows Gore’s work directly. And follows political people and actors. But then there is this particular account he follows (click image to enlarge):

Does this prove Edling chose to include a disingenuous quote of President Johnson’s speech in these Sher Edling lawsuits because of influence from Oreskes? Did Edling choose to include other dubious ‘evidence’ straight from Oreskes, which I detailed in my first analysis of these lawsuits? Paraphrasing a line from an old teleplay of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, “there is not enough information available to make a conclusion.” But this situation at least has the appearance of leaning toward that conclusion.

Then there’s Victor Sher. To the best of my ability to find so far, he has neither a Twitter account nor a Facebook page.

If I had thought to look into his personal background at the time when I wrote about his first lawsuit trio last year, I would have mentioned the problem below at that time, because what he does have is a legal action history.

He is said to have “pioneered the idea of going after oil companies for groundwater contamination” in what might be viewed as an activist way.

But Victor Sher is also the “spotted owl” attorney.

Victor Sher, a lawyer for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund Inc. in Seattle, who represented the environmentals, said the ruling would be appealed.

He worked on Sierra Club legal matters from 1986 to 1997. Why is that time period important in relation to his current set of global warming lawsuits and their enslavement to the supposedly leaked “reposition global warming” memos? Quite simply because of the contradiction of who his current lawsuits attribute those to, compared to what was said about them in 1991. His lawsuits point to the Union of Concerned Scientists ‘exposing’ them, which I described in my July 9, 2015 post as a politically suicidal maneuver on the part of the UCS which had every appearance of misdirecting people away from the original source. Back in July 1991, the New York Times pointed to an entirely different organization as the ‘exposers’ of those memos:

Coal-burning utility companies and coal producers, disturbed by public acceptance of the idea that burning fossil fuels will change the climate, are deciding whether to go national this fall with an ad campaign they tried in three markets earlier this year. …..

The goal of the campaign, according to one planning document, is to “reposition global warming as theory” and not fact. …..

A packet of internal correspondence and other information relating to the campaign was provided to The New York Times by the Sierra Club, the San Francisco-based environmental group that favors taking steps to reduce the risk of global warming. The organization had apparently been given the materials by someone who disagreed with the campaign’s goals or approach. …

You’d think the revelation of that kind of leaked memo – repeatedly compared to one of industry-toppling importance from ‘Big Tobacco’ – would be one of the Sierra Club’s greatest victories. But I have yet to find any acknowledgement within that organization that this turnover of critical documents ever happened. I call this “The Sierra Club Roaring Silence Problem.”

Despite the way Al Gore said Ross Gelbspan was the discoverer of those memos, Matt Pawa seemed to indicate in his 2008 Kivalina v. Exxon lawsuit that he knows the old New York Times source tells a larger tale.

Does this prove Victor Sher chose to disingenuously attribute the memos in his lawsuits to some other place as a way to steer attention away from that Sierra Club problem? Again, “there is not enough information available to make a conclusion.”

But this situation at least has the appearance that it might be worthy of serious investigation by influential people having far more resources and access to documents and other material than I have.

What we ultimately seem to have here is a coordinated misinformation effort designed to bolster an unsupportable multi-billion dollar political agenda that actually contributes next to nothing to stop global warming, while it enriches enviro-activists and apparently has the goal to lavishly reward any lawyers who succeed at slaying the fossil fuel industry.

The ultimate question is, how deep must the monstrous inconsistencies pile up within the ‘crooked skeptics’ accusation before prominent reporters and investigators expose it for what it appears to be?