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More Deceit from Climate Progress, Center for American Progress (Is Joe Romm shooting himself in the foot?)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 25, 2009

“Sorry to bother you with this. See the attached pieces. Rob [Bradley] is obviously not a fan of renewables or the global warming issue.  Unfortunately, he works for a company that is.”

– Tom White (CEO, Enron Renewables Energy Corp.) to Ken Lay (CEO, Enron Corp.), June 8, 1998

Joe Romm, for the fifth time (the previous four are here, herehere, and here) has purposely obscured the record of my association with Enron in an attempt to discredit the Institute for Energy Research. I founded IER in 1989, in fact, to give myself an independent voice in the energy policy debate. And I used IER to challenge my employer Enron on the issues of climate alarmism and government-dependent renewable-energy investments.

Here is Romm’s headline from yesterday’s Climate Progress:

The latest polluter front group trying to kill the clean energy bill is overseen by a proud former shill for a man convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges

Romm’s angst is centered on the American Energy Express bus tour sponsored by the American Energy Alliance, which is affiliated with IER. The tour is bringing the message of free-market energy abundance and affordability to the heartland of America–and thousands are listening, learning, and supporting.

The tour’s powerful message of fewer and lower energy taxes will be more widely heard thanks in part to Joe Romm himself, whose radicalism and raw animosity–and even hate (he has repeatedly called me a “sociopath” in private emails)–is turning off the great middle. Romm reversed course to support the “grotesque” Waxman–Markey, no doubt under orders from his bosses at CAP. Romm’s bully-like attacks against James Hansen, Sierra Club/Environmental Integrity Project/EarthjusticeRealClimate, Energy Action Coalition, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and more, certainly put me in broad company!

I have conscientiously rebutted Romm’s previous ad hominem attacks against me. As documented, Joe Romm was Enron’s cheerleader for the company’s climate alarmism, wind and solar investments, and (contrived as it turned out) energy outsourcing deals. I risked my job by fighting against such shenanigans and only wish Romm had the courage to challenge his boss, John Podesta, on the 1,428-page climate bill that is predictably sinking from its own weight. Romm was once a radical for his cause, but he has been reduced to a climate-policy incrementalist, like it or not.

I have made three direct rebuttals to Romm:

Enron and Waxman–Markey: Response to Joe Romm (July 2, 2009)

Joseph Romm and Enron: More for the Record (May 8, 2009)

Joseph Romm and Enron: for the Record (May 5, 2009)

The posts substantiate my trenchant opposition to Enron’s “green” business model and Romm’s embrace of Enron as a “great company.” Joe Romm, not me, has an Enron problem. As I wrote to James Hansen in response to Romm’s attack on him, Enron is Exhibit A against Waxman–Markey. In Cap-and-Trade: The Temple of Enron (MasterResource, May 14, 2009):

Enron Lives! in Waxman-Markey. The sooner the public, media, and intelligentsia realize this, the faster cap-and-trade can be put in the dustbin of bad ideas.”

A Daring Deceit (and for the 2nd time!)

Romm doubled down on a big deceit when he claims “Bradley may be the only ex-Enron staffer still bragging about the deceits of his former employer (see here).”

Romm’s trick is to leave out a sentence in a private email that I sent to him and James Hansen. Here is what I wrote when Romm first pulled this deceit:

Still less excusable is where Romm’s post cuts off a quotation to mislead the reader (his readers). Romm quotes from my email to him and James Hansen, a trenchant cap-and-trade critic:

I wish you (and him) could have been in the Enron government affairs meetings on CO2 trading–we were going to game it to death and make money coming and going. And no one was quaking about the future of global climate.

Here is the whole paragraph (note the last sentence in bold):

Hansen should call you out on cap-and-trade. I wish you (and him) could have been in the Enron government affairs meetings on CO2 trading–we were going to game it to death and make money coming and going. And no one was quaking about the future of global climate. I think they (not me–I was not amused) were thinking about ENE (the stock price).

Most people would not leave out the last sentence because of simple right and wrong, or at least because they would not want to be caught and exposed. Neither reason seems to have been enough in this case.

Previous Advice to Romm

This obviously did not do much good, but I will repeat my previous plea made on August 7th at here at MasterResource:

Improving the Debate

Here are three recommendations to Dr. Romm to improve the debate going forward:

  • Be more respectful toward your intellectual opponents. Beware of the “smartest guys in the room” problem, or what F. A. Hayek called the pretence of knowledge.  The “skeptics” of climate alarmism have very serious arguments that could avoid what nobody wants: an energy road to serfdom. (Remember Jimmy Carter’s thermostat regulations? Beware of the carbon police!) I personally fear the effect of government intervention in the name of climate-change for the energy poor.
  • Welcome and publicize the good news about CO2 and global climate change. There are plenty of studies and recent evidence of climate calm (temperatures, hurricanes, etc.) that should be recognized as such. There are ecological and economic positives from the green greenhouse gas that should be factored into the equation–a happy fact given that politics cannot solve the alleged problem (have you noticed?).
  • The climate debate is very much two-sided. Don’t bully those on your side who share the nonalarmist view with their readers or listeners. They will smell a rat, not be intimidated. Journalists must be fair–that is part of their code of ethics.
  • May the climate debate become more civil and the best arguments win!

    I continue to hope that we can drop the reckless ad hominem arguments and get to the real issues about the climate debate.


    Appendix: Note to Joe Romm (sent August 24, 2009)

    Dear Joe:

    You are a Ph.D. and working for a 501(c)3 educational organization, leaving no excuse for willfully false ad hominem attacks. As I have stated in a previous post, it is time for you to shape up. If you continue in such a reckless way, you will watch yourself lose more and more credibility with those opinion makers who really count in the debate. And the integrity of Center for American Progress will suffer too.

    – Rob Bradley


    1. Andrew  

      Good luck trying to reason with Romm. I think it’s obvious to anyone reading what he rights that when he calls you a “sociopath” he is projecting in the extreme.


    2. anon  

      You should also mention that Enron funded the early global warming movement so it could cash in on carbon credits. That alone should make the global warming proponents corporate holocaust deniers.


    3. rbradley  

      Yes, on both cap-and-trade and renewables mandates, Obama’s energy plan is quite Enronish.

      This is what the Left does not want to confront–or the wider issue of getting into bed with business, including very big businesses such as GE and Duke Energy.


    4. My Time at Enron: For the Record (again) - Master Resource  

      […] IER was my night and weekend work; Enron was my day job. I never asked Enron or Ken Lay to contribute to IER, and IER never received any contributions from anyone associated with the company. That would have created a double conflict of interest, and as the outside world knows, I had major differences with the company over its climate change advocacy and renewable energy subsidies (also see here). […]


    5. The Climate Torquemada - Joe Romm at the Climate Inquisition - Master Resource  

      […] “green” energy strategy (see his Enron discussion here). Despite repeated rebuttals, Romm has continued to state his falsehoods about […]


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