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A memo released as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act request examining the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule-making has revealed the EPA using misleading claims to stoke fears of global warming. Big surprise, huh?
The March 2009 memo shows the EPA feared it was losing citizen support for its climate efforts because opinion polls consistently showed the public ranked fighting global warming very low on its list of priorities. According to polls, the public felt harms from global warming were exaggerated and had little bearing on people’s lives.
In response, the memo describes the EPA’s decision shift the debate from concerns about melting ice caps and declining caribou and polar bear populations, to promoting the idea global warming poses a direct threat to public health, especially children’s health, and air and water quality.
“Most American’s will never see a polar ice cap, nor will ever have a chance to see a polar bear in its natural habitat. Therefor it is easy to detach from the seriousness of the issue. Unfortunately, climate change in the abstract is an increasingly – and consistently – unpersuasive argument to make. However, if we shift from making this issue about polar caps and about our neighbor with respiratory illness we can potentially bring this issue home to many Americans.”
The problem for the EPA is, there has been no serious research linking global warming or greenhouse gas emissions to human health problems, or air or water pollution.
According to the memo an additional step the EPA took was to raise concerns about climate change among minority groups and women, using headline catching “hooks,” concerning social justice and children’s health.
The memo details ways to create a positive association in the public’s mind between concerns about the safety of the water they drink and the air they breathe, and the need to act on global warming. Per the memo, “We must begin to create a causal link between the worries of Americans and the proactive mission we’re pushing.”
Attorney and Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow, Chris Horner obtained the memo through a FOIA request. Concerning what he uncovered, Horner said, “This memo shows EPA’s recognition that the global warming case is “consistently — an unpersuasive argument to make”, and thus required a facelift, from a pro-scarcity movement of wealthy white elites to a racial and “social justice” issue.”
“This memo candidly affirms EPA’s conscious approach of yelling “clean air” and “children” at every turn in the push for an agenda that not long ago was about the end of the world in a climatic calamity, openly and rightly confident in getting a media assist,” said Horner.
John Dale Dunn, a physician and lawyer who has written on government and scientific corruption for more than 25 years saw problems recognized the shift in the EPA’s climate focus in 2009. Dunn stated, “The Children/baby risks panic strategy fit the EPA goals, according to secret strategy documents, when the cute Coca Cola polar bear cubs and mothers imagery failed to motivate public outrage.”
“The internal documents obtained under FOIA revealed the EPA and enviros were looking for a hook and decided the hook they were looking for was the health of children,” continued Dunn, “Why not? Nothing better to get politicians moving than marching and chanting women in matching t-shirts on a tear, worried about and advocating for their babies.”
EPA Strategic Communication’s Memo, March 2009.