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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We Are a Hotbed of Raving Trotskyist Revolutionaries (er, No, Cato Is)

Salon magazine says The National Center "makes the Cato Institute look like a hotbed of raving Trotskyist revolutionaries."

Gee, and we didn't do anything nice for Salon...

Such a comment will be fun to use in our promotional literature, which is why we are happy to see it, but Salon actually meant it as an insult, or so I assume, since they followed up by decrying our "intellectual dishonesty." Here's an excerpt from the Salon piece:
...yesterday a reader had sent me a link to an article attacking the Kyoto Protocol "as economic suicide," citing a study that had found adhering to Kyoto's mandates would cut one or two points off GDP growth in various European nations. So I decided to look a little closer at that study.

Written under the auspices of the National Center for Public Policy Research, an ultra-conservative think tank that makes the Cato Institute look like a hotbed of raving Trotskyist revolutionaries, the piece is a classic example of the bought-and-paid-for intellectual dishonesty of so-called "climate skeptics." The study that it quotes for its GDP predictions was produced by a group affiliated with the American Council For Capital Foundation [sic]...

...The ACCF gets hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from ExxonMobil...
Let's deconstruct this a little.

A paper we published on the fact that Europe is failing to meet its Kyoto targets cited the International Council for Capital Formation as its source for two sentences of GDP and projected job loss data about the economic pain Kyoto is causing the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain. The sentences add detail to the piece but are not its central theme: even if the International Council for Capital Formation had never existed, Europe would still be failing to meet its Kyoto targets.

Salon's beef is not with the International Council for Capital Formation, however, but with its American affiliate, the American Council for Capital Formation, which, it claims, receives funding from ExxonMobil.

The mere citation of a study by a think-tank affiliated with another one that receives ExxonMobil funding makes our piece "a classic example of... bought-and-paid-for intellectual dishonesty" in Salon's way of thinking -- even though the piece's thesis is correct: Europe is failing to meet its Kyoto targets and the reason is economic pain.

Europe tried to get us to ratify the Kyoto treaty and yet is failing to live up to Kyoto itself. If Salon has a different theory than a reluctance to sustain economic harm to explain Europe's hypocrisy on this matter, I look forward to reading Salon's theory.

By the way, here's a list of the board of trustees (directors) of the International Council for Capital Formation. Remember as you read the list - which includes a former Democratic National Committee Chairman and former Secretary of State for Ronald Reagan, among many other luminaries - that the mere citation of GDP data determined in a study by this group is enough to get our work labeled "a classic example of... bought-and-paid-for intellectual dishonesty."

Kyoto's defenders are desperate - and unwilling to debate the real issue. Kyoto was and remains bad policy, and even its biggest boosters - the Europeans - know it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:32 PM

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