Jordan Candler / July 14, 2016

Climate Prosecution Is a Double-Edged Sword

Democrats should have thought twice before instigating a frivolous witch hunt.

Some Republicans are making good on their threat to give climate alarmists who advocate prosecuting man-made global warming skeptics a spoonful of their own medicine. Recall that in June, the attorneys general of 13 red states penned a letter in which they pointed out, “Once the government begins policing viewpoints, two solutions exist. The first solution is to police all viewpoints equally. Another group of Attorneys General could use the precedent established by the ‘AGs United for Clean Power’ to investigate fraudulent statements associated with competing interests.” That seems to be the approach a group of Republican congressmen are taking.

“House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said Wednesday his committee was issuing subpoenas to the New York and Massachusetts state attorneys general, who have issued their own subpoenas as part of probes into whether ExxonMobil misled the public and investors about what it knew about the dangers of climate change decades ago,” reports The Washington Post. Additionally, “Smith said the committee was also issuing subpoenas to eight environmental organizations to obtain documents related to their efforts to encourage the state attorneys general to pursue their Exxon investigations.”

However, it’s also worth quoting what the aforementioned letter from red state AGs went on to argue:

“[A] senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (‘Kleiner Perkins’) identified ‘man-made global warming pollution’ as ‘the reason’ for 2015 temperatures, the spread of Zika, flooding in Louisiana and Arkansas, Super Storm Sandy, and Super Typhoon Haiyan. Some evidence may support these statements. Other evidence may refute them. Do these statements increase the value of clean energy investments offered for sale by Kleiner Perkins? Should these statements justify an investigation into all contributions to environmental non-profits by Kleiner Perkins’s partners? Should these questions be settled by our state courts under penalty of RICO charges? May it never be. As Justice Jackson noted, our ‘forefathers did not trust any government to separate the true from the false for us [emphasis added].’"

They’re absolutely right, and that’s why we can’t necessarily endorse what the House committee is doing. The Rule of Law, not revenge, is priority number one. But this development does illustrate that what goes around comes around. Democrats should have thought twice before instigating a frivolous witch hunt.

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