The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate lobbying group funded by big oil companies and the Koch brothers, recently threatened legal action against Common Cause for calling them “climate change deniers.” So, it begs the question: Does ALEC’s complaint have merit? Well, here are the facts:
1. ALEC Model Bills Promote Uncertainty About Climate Science
ALEC’s model “Interstate Research Commission on Climatic Change Act” undermines climate science as it promotes the ideas that human activity “may” be changing the climate, that climate change may be “beneficial,” and that there is a “great deal of scientific uncertainty” around climate change. ALEC’s model “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” encourages educators to teach a “balanced” view on climate change, despite the fact that over 97% of scientists agree on the science of climate change.
2. ALEC Hosts Climate Deniers at their Conferences
ALEC regularly hosts climate change deniers at their conferences, including the Heartland Institute, which recently gave a presentation at ALEC’s 2014 annual conference where talking points were given to politicians that said “there is no scientific consensus on the human role in climate change” and the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “is not a credible source of science or economics.”
3. Key ALEC Leaders Deny Climate Science
When asked recently about whether humans were the primary driver of climate change, ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson said “I don’t know the science on that.” Additionally, in a 2007 press release, ALEC’s national chair, Rep. Phil King of Texas, called global warming “bad science.”
4. ALEC Has Historically Promoted Climate Denial
In addition to its climate denier speakers and model bills, in 2005, ALEC’s website featured a document called “Top 10 Myths About Global Warming,” authored by its then-director of ALEC’s Natural Resources Task Force.
5. Major Press Outlets Have Called ALEC Climate Deniers
It’s not just us! The New York Times has said that ALEC “claims credit for advancing legislation that it says has undermined climate science.” Bloomberg once published a story that said “ALEC has extolled views on climate change that are far from the scientific consensus.” Both the National Journal and The Washington Post have written stories on how language in ALEC’s model legislation runs counter to the scientific consensus, and last year Salon published an article called “ALEC tries to prove it’s not lying about climate change, fails miserably.”
Its clear ALEC is trying to silence its opponents and the public who have urged corporations to cut ties with the controversial organization, but we're not giving up. Join us in asking Pfizer to leave ALEC!
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: More Democracy Reforms