This past March, Al Gore proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with more than a dozen state attorneys general to declare war on climate skeptics. Led by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the group (“AG’s United for Clean Power”) vowed to prosecute companies like ExxonMobil that have “misled…the public on the impact of climate change.”
Shortly after the press conference, Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker served a subpoena on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), demanding a decade’s worth of internal communications on climate policy.
The moves against ExxonMobil and CEI are not a complete surprise, given the increasingly shrill attacks against individuals and organizations that question the validity of man-made global warming.
Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed that the Department of Justice has discussed the possibility of bringing civil actions against climate skeptics.
Tellingly, the witch hunt is now widening. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey recently demanded that Exxon disclose any and all communications with 12 organizations that advocate for fossil fuels, including the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) led by Alex Epstein, the author of ‘The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.’
Epstein, who recently made headlines during a testy Senate committee hearing with Barbara Boxer (D-CA), has chosen to fight back in a rather public manner. He’s formally challenging Al Gore to a public debate on energy policy. And since the former vice president currently receives $100,000 per speaking engagement, Epstein has pledged to deliver the full fee—if Gore will accept.
Unfortunately, Gore has steadfastly refused to debate any critics since the 2006 release of ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ But Epstein’s challenge carries real currency. Not only does he represent the fossil fuel viewpoint that Gore abhors but he’s also one of the very figures now being publicly flayed by Gore’s cohorts.
With the Democratic Party platform committee pondering a formal call for prosecution of climate skeptics, the time is right for Epstein to debate Gore. Indeed, if Gore is challenged often enough on the issue, he may be forced to accept—and to justify his assault on the First Amendment rights of climate dissenters.