I’d be lost without her. Australian professor/lecturer Sharon Beder’s site’s “Information Council on [sic – incorrect word] the Environment” (ICE) section, which I showcased in my prior blog post, reveals the key clue of where the Gore-Gelbspan “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” phrase is found in its original context.
However, it wasn’t Beder’s current web site ICE section (mouse over the top icon there) that told me where to look back in the early spring of 2010, it was the nearly identical wording in her 1998 page (full context here) which had the clue:
The Information Council on the Environment, which is a coal industry front group, was formed to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” It has a large advertising budget and in a media strategy obtained by Ozone Action, detailed its plan to target “older, less-educated males …
When I began my intensive search for anything showing the “reposition global warming” memo in its full context, what I found in just the first day was essentially wall-to-wall quotes about Ross Gelbspan’s big revelation of it to the world – except for one lone exception, which was a March 13, 2008 US News & World Report article noting phrase was part of Kivalina v Exxon court case documents (more on that separate problem here) which themselves led me to the New York Times revelation of the phrase and the ICE campaign, over six years earlier than any accolades about Gelbspan’s exposé. That disparity in dates is impossible to overlook.
However, nothing I found over the next several months had any full context of the memos. Endless environmentalist bloggers repeated the “reposition global warming” phrase unquestioningly, gloating about it as irrefutable proof of sinister industry efforts to callously cover up the certainty of man-caused climate change. Numerous media writers did the same, hailing the investigative prowess of Pulitzer-winning work by Gelbspan. But none even remotely tried to provide links or photo scans of the very item they worshiped as smoking gun evidence of industry conspiracy.
I don’t remember the specific time of it, but sometime toward the end of my seven months of searching for the ICE memos, I learned both how to do more effective internet phrase searches and that there was a variation of the ICE memo phrase spelled out as “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).”
It was already an awkward sounding phrase, and that variation made it sound even worse, but it also ultimately led me to Sharon Beder’s 1998 page. Her footnote for it was,
1. Ozone Action, Ties that Blind: Industry Influence on Public Policy and Our Environment, Ozone Action, Washington D.C., 1997, p. 5.
Ozone who? And why not a solitary word about Gelbspan when virtually everyone else praised him as the great discoverer of it.
Specific searches for “ozone action” mostly turned up fruitless results about then-current state/city agency air quality alerts, but a smattering of them linked specifically to an Ozone.org site, such as this long outdated but still functioning page. Clicking on the Ozone.org link back in 2010 only caused a solitary and otherwise worthlessly vague page to open up (Yahoo Cache screencapture of it here), despite people such as Dr S. Fred Singer referring to Ozone Action at his Science and Environmental Policy Project site as a collection of very active environmentalists. Shortly afterward, I figured out how to see the then- and still-offline but archived pages of Ozone.org, among them being the statement in the “Ties that Blind” report saying “According to documents obtained by Ozone Action and by Ross Gelbspan, several ICE strategies were laid out including: the repositioning of global warming as theory, not fact.”
What happened next was critical: At another of Dr Singer’s pages, he mentioned how the Greenpeace organization was taking over the Ozone Action organization. No offense to Dr Singer, but when searching the names associated with Ozone Action, I soon found a New York Times article about the merger which gives the impression that it was Ozone Action taking over the US wing of Greenpeace. Hence my term for them, “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action.”
Not long after that, it dawned on me that I should dump the phrase “reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” – within quote marks – into Greenpeace’s archive collection home page. The first four results were about as worthless as countless others quoting the phrase or variations of it. The fifth one* was the killer. *[Author’s 3/22/18 addition: Greenpeace’s online collection became ‘error ridden’ in late 2017, preventing people from reading the non-thumbnail scans. They can be read at the PDF file I downloaded and saved from Greenpeace.]
There was the legendary ICE memo collection, with the “reposition global warming” phrase at the top of page 10, but nothing within the entire 50 page collection gave any kind of indication that the phrase was a sinister top-down directive instructing skeptic climate scientists and skeptic speakers on how, when and where to fabricate lies and misinformation about the global warming issue. Everything within those 50 pages indicated that Western Fuels ICE campaign was very short lived, and nothing more that a pilot project PR campaign intended to push back against misinformation being peddled by Al Gore and pro-global warming environmentalists.
As I pointed out in my June 10, 2013 blog, nobody successfully linked to or even mentioned Greenpeace’s ICE memo scans collection prior to that date – I use the word “successful” there because I did find one person who had a bizarrely non-functioning link to that collection. It was only a few months ago that anybody made a huge public effort to show Greenpeace’s collection, namely the Union of Concerned Scientists, in what I suggested was a politically suicidal effort.
But wait, there’s more: another item in Sharon Beder’s web page section on the ICE campaign also serves to illustrate just how enslaved so many people are to Ross Gelbspan’s narratives. I’ll explain that in the next blog post. And there is more still: some of those pages in the ‘legendary ICE memo collection’ aren’t actually ICE memos, and I will have to explain that in a separate future blog post.