Professor Matthew Nisbet of American University published a report last week that concludes, among much else, that environmental pressure groups spent a lot more money trying to pass cap-and-trade legislation than opponents spent trying to defeat it. The report, “Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate,” is part of the Climate Shift Project of American University’s School of Communications.
As someone who has been engaged in the global warming debate for over a decade, the conclusion that the cap-and-traders had more money than their opponents is not at all surprising. In fact, it is obvious and recognized by everyone who has been paying attention.
But rabid attack dog Joe Romm of the hilariously-misnamed Center for American Progress, who got hold of a copy of the report before it was published, naturally attacked it viciously. That’s because Nisbet’s analysis destroys the environmental movement’s carefully-cultivated mythology that they are a bunch of little citizen groups up against mammoth industry special interests led by Big Oil and King Coal.
Nisbet’s reply to Romm is detailed and refreshingly blunt: “Greens bring in vastly more in revenue, spend more on all programs, and spend more on all activities specific to climate change and energy policy than these longstanding opponents.” Here is another quote from the report: “In sum, propelled by an ultra wealthy donor base and key alliances with corporations and other organizations, the environmental movement appears to have closed the financial gap with its opponents among conservative groups and industry associations. Indeed, the effort to pass cap and trade legislation may have been the best-financed political cause in American history.”
The report also concludes that major media coverage favored proponents of cap-and-trade. Thus the forces of darkness had more money and got more favorable treatment in the media. And yet they lost.