How Iowa Hired the Center for Climate Strategies

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on April 8, 2008

Paul Chesser, Climate Strategies Watch

Iowa is among the recent states to create a climate change commission, but unlike most other states, the legislature did so by enacting a law. As I’ve reported in the past, most of these state climate commissions are put together by governors via executive order, who then often hire the Center for Climate Strategies (or in the cases of Illinois and Wisconsin, the World Resources Institute) to manage them. CCS, a global warming alarmist advocacy organization, then runs the state climate commissions with firm controls to implement their CO2-reducing agenda.

In Iowa the Climate Change Advisory Council was created when last April Gov. Chet Culver signed into law a bill passed by the Iowa General Assembly, but no money was appropriated to run the commission. Therefore it was incumbent upon the state’s Department of Natural Resources to provide staff support for the panel process, and also to find money to run the commission itself. Both the governor’s people and DNR were aware of CCS, but were not ready to move the process forward for a few months.

The “due diligence” began in earnest in July last year, based on documents obtained from the state, with not-surprising suspects involved in putting key parties together. Michael McGuire, head of strategic development for The Climate Group, introduced CCS’s Tom Peterson to Gov. Culver’s policy liaison, Erin Andrew, via email. The Climate Group, as you might suspect, is an international “nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing business and government leadership on climate change.” Here’s how they explain their approach:

The next five years will prove decisive for the world’s climate. It’s a short window of opportunity in which we need nothing less than a revolution: the world must begin to halt the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and move towards new ways of generating and using energy.

Next Bob Mulqueen, Gov. Culver’s policy director, corresponded with Michael Northrop, program director for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund ("Earth is running a fever"), the bazillion-dollar alarmists who are CCS’s chief sugar daddy. In a July 31 email Northrop passed along Peterson’s contact information to Mulqueen and helpfully attached a November 2006 Environmental Finance article penned by himself that sung the praises of CCS’s work.

Apparently that wasn’t convincing enough for Mulqueen, who sought out further advice. On September 24 he emailed Howard Learner, executive director of the Midwest-oriented Environmental Law and Policy Center, which “focuses on environmental solutions that can dramatically reduce carbon pollution.” Their Web site alleges that “Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin account for 20 percent of the nation’s carbon pollution, with only 5 percent of the world’s population.” So who better to recommend a global warming policy manager, right? So Mulqueen asked:

“I know that your group retained the World Resources Institute. Others retained the Center for Climate Strategies. I would like your view on WRI’s usefulness, effectiveness. We are trying to figure out 1) how, if we choose a nationally recognized organization, we would possibly pay them since we have no money to do so, 2) whether we would do the data and facilitation in-house. Comments?”

Learner’s response: Let’s talk about this on the phone. Meanwhile Richard Leopold, director of Iowa DNR, and Sharon Tahtinen, a legislative liaison for Iowa DNR, conducted their own searches for funds for the Climate Change Advisory Council. Leopold inquired with the Energy Foundation (and was told “the well is dry”), and recommended looking into the Garfield Foundation (Leopold: “lots of $$$$”) and the Joyce Foundation.

Where did they end up? With that good ol’ standby, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as Northrop guaranteed the funding for CCS in Iowa would be provided.

Post script: In every state where they work, CCS trumpets how transparent their work is, apparently because they post lots of meaningless documents on their state commission Web sites. But that transparency does not extend to disclosure about their budgets or funding sources, and Iowa is the perfect illustration. Early versions of the process memo that establishes ground rules for the ICCAC include a budget chart that shows the cost for Iowa’s commission will be $506,000. But Iowa DNR and CCS would rather keep that to themselves, as one email explained:

“For the public version we place on the Web site for ICCAC the project budget chart on pages 14-15 will be removed.”

I guess it’s good enough for the public to know that there is a budget to address their state’s global warming policy development, and it’s none of their business to know how much it is or who is paying for it.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: