Dec 6, 2017

The right's civil war over science goes to Tennessee

America's right flank is at war with itself over climate-change science, and the latest battle is this week in Nashville.

Driving the news: The American Legislative Exchange Council, a policy group of conservative state lawmakers and companies, holds a meeting Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. Members of one of its task forces are expected to vote on whether to draft a proposal calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a scientific finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.

Quoted: Steve Milloy, who runs a website that tries to dispute the scientific consensus that human activity is a major contributor to climate change, said on Twitter Tuesday he hopes to defeat ExxonMobil and other members of the group that have publicly said they oppose any effort to undo the EPA's scientific finding.

"For the record, ExxonMobil is on the side of climate bedwetters. The once sensible company wants EPA to regulate CO2 so it can put small, independent oil & gas firms out of business. Exxon is anti-science, anti-competitive and siding with anti-American greens."

The big picture: Most currently elected Republicans in Congress and corporations are not publicly questioning the scientific consensus on climate change today, though some have pushed such a false narrative in recent years past. Their positions today put them at odds with a loud group of conservative leaders, such as Milloy, who have influence with some Trump administration officials who share their skepticism. Most leaders on the right don't support any major policy to address climate change however, no matter what they think about the science.

Go deeper:

  • Exxon's official opposition of the policy, per The Hill Tuesday.
  • Environment & Energy Daily had this in-depth article a couple weeks ago, and reporter Zack Colman will be on the ground in Nashville for the next two days.
  • Two Democratic senators criticized some of the corporate members of the group in a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday.

(This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Zack Colman's last name.)

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