Inside Track: Sowing Seeds of Doubt in the Greenhouse”, Part 3: ‘Leaked by Industry Executives?’

In Parts 1 and 2 here and here, I detailed how the re-emergence of the old Greenwire news brief really doesn’t help the long-term talking point about ‘industry-paid skeptic climate scientists,’ despite being apparently the initial seed for that ongoing accusation which centers around a particular set of memos supposedly leaked out of the Western Fuels Association’s “Information Council for the Environment” (ICE) campaign. Now, let’s briefly examine how its re-emergence undermines the credibility of one of the current figures who pushes that accusation.

Namely, Naomi Oreskes. As I’ve already demonstrated in two blog posts, the storyline of exactly when and how she began ‘examining the industry ties’ of skeptic climate scientists has a fatal breakdown in it, and she has credibility problem of claiming the ICE memos were archived in a place where they actually were not, along with other credibility problems besides that. However, her fame of exposing ‘merchants of doubt’ was impressive enough to catch the eye of lawyers persecuting big oil companies in the latest global warming lawsuits — they cite her 2010 guest author book chapter for a particular allegedly damaging bit of evidence. She, in turn, cites the Greenwire “Inside Track” news brief. It’s her same book chapter which also cites the Greenwire “Inside Track” news brief for the following claim about the way internal ICE campaign documents gained sudden media attention:

Greenwire, an environmentally oriented news service, suggested that information had been leaked by industry executives who did take the threat of global warming seriously, such as the president of Arizona Public Utilities, who felt that the issue was too complex to be dealt with in a “slick ad campaign”

Again, here is the PDF file of the complete (albeit 974 word vs its stated 1074 word length) news brief in its full context for all to read. What Oreskes seems to most probably be referring to is this paragraph:

But the industry is already split on the propriety of such a campaign, with some organizations fearing it will backfire. Mark De Michele, president of Arizona Public Services, a big electric utility, has stated that the issue of global warming is too serious and complex “to be dealt with in a slick ad campaign,” according to a report by Becca Rothschild in the ARIZONA DAILY SUN. A spokeswoman for the Edison Electric Institute emphasized to GREENWIRE that the electric utility trade group is taking no part in the campaign except to provide survey results. A number of electric utilities, including Southern California Edison, are already taking the global warming threat seriously enough to start emphasizing conservation measures to cut down on their combustion of coal and other fossil fuels.

Ironically, back in 2010 it would appear that Oreskes perhaps wanted that middle sentence about the Edison Electric Institute ‘taking no part in the campaign’ to look like evidence of where the leak might have been, despite the way current accusations say EEI spearheaded the ICE campaign.

However, I leave it to all readers of the full context “Inside Track” news brief to decide for themselves: Is there any concrete evidence offered within it which definitively corroborates the notion that the topic of its report, the infamous set of documents supposedly (but erroneously) attributed to the ICE campaign, was actually leaked by any of the “industry executives who did take the threat of global warming seriously”, instead of some other individual, such as ordinary office staff or mail room workers who would handle the collective pile of documents, including ones that were rejected from the ICE campaign?