Tricks in the Climate Debate?

As delegates gather in Bali, Indonesia to try to hammer out an agreement on climate change, some intriguing shenanigans are happening here at home.

One of the key developments in the whole climate change debate has been the formation of an organization of companies and envirommental groups calling for action on climate change. The group is called the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) and it includes comapnies like Dupont, Caterpillar, GM, Shell, and number of others. It has called for large mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

But on Monday morning, the group seemed to go further—much further. A press release appeared in reporters’ inboxes, ostensibly from USCAP, saying that the group was calling for even more drastic cuts — 90% reductions by 2050, and a moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants. The press release had a link to what appeared to be the official USCAP webpage, complete with its logo and list of companies. It all looked real, so real that at least one newspaper ran the story as gospel truth.

But the press release, which went out at 9:21 Monday morning, and the website are both bogus. The real USCAP got wind of the phony information by late morning. They’ve managed to shut down the fake web site.

Who was behind the hoax? It’s an international group of climate activists called Rising Tide.

Why the scam? Hypocrisy, charges Matt Leonard of Rising Tide: “We wanted to draw attention to the undue influence the biggest pollutors, many of which are members of USCAP, have on climate policy. They are focused on their own bottom lines rather than the climate science.”

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