Two weeks ago my colleague, Iain Murray, posted on The Corner an e-mail from Michael Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), in which Eckhart threatened to “destroy” my “career” as a “liar” if I “produce one more editorial against climate change.” He vowed to launch a “campaign against” my “professional integrity,” and “call” me a “liar and charlatan” unless I repent. That was July 13.
Two days later, Eckhart claimed to “apologize” on his blog to those who were “offended” by his e-mail (which began: “You are full of crap”). However, Eckhart’s so-called apology was nothing of the sort. In fact, it was the very attempt to destroy my career that he threatened to undertake in his nasty-gram.
Eckhart’s so-called apology claims that I “knowingly mount a false prosecution” against global warming. Upon what evidence does he base this accusation? Eckhart claims that on first meeting him, minutes prior to a debate in which we were opponents, I confided to him that I don’t really believe what I say; I just say it as a “tactic” to advance my agenda. How plausible is that?
In his “apology,” Eckhart quotes from an e-mail he sent to my boss, Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred Smith, on September 25, 2006. But he leaves out the most pertinent part of the e-mail–the part where he threatens to shut CEI down. By his own account, Eckhart made the same threat in person three months earlier at a meeting he and Smith attended. I attach Eckhart’s 9/26/06 email below.
What might prompt such over-the-top behavior by a seasoned Washington professional and head of an association that includes dozens of major companies, DOE’s Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and EPA? After all, if a right-winger carried on this way, the liberal media would say he was trying to stifle debate and suppress speech.
Maybe it’s personal pique triggered by this column, in which I poked fun at the more-subsidies-please rhetoric of an ACORE conference on Capitol Hill.
Or maybe it’s another case (see here and here and here ) of civil discourse becoming a casualty of the global warming crusade.
From: Michael Eckhart
To: Fred Smith
Cc: Marlo Lewis
Sent: Mon Sep 25 22:30:21 2006
Subject: FW: Latest version of my running commentary on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth
F <> red Smith
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Following up on our meeting at the Rocky Mountain retreat last spring with Al Gore, I am writing to say that I am very unhappy to see this continuing false analysis coming out of CEI, seeking to refute the issue of global warming.
At the retreat, I could not understand how you, as a Phi Beta Kappa mathematician from Tulane, could refute what is a valid statistical analysis. You are clearly a highly trained scientist, and yet you are making a living refuting what is irrefutably the truth.
What concerns me is that you are credible and persuasive, hence your voice and that of CEI are having the effect of delaying a US response to the crisis.
This will have the ultimate effect of putting my two daughters’ lives at greater risk, and even more so for their children.
The only explanation that I can see is that you are doing this because you are paid by Exxon Mobil and other clients to do so. I find this outrageous, that my children will have a lesser life because you are being paid by oil companies to spread a false story.
As I said to you at the time, I would give you 90 days to show that CEI is reversing its position on this, or I will take every action I can think of to shut you down.
The 90 days has just passed, and your colleague Marlo Lewis, whom I debated last year and know to be a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard (not a dumb man either), has come out with the email below.
I am writing to demand that you and CEI reverse course on this, and do so loudly and publicly, within 30 days, or I will personally file on October 25, 2006, two complaints:
1. A complaint with the IRS to have CEI’s tax exemption revoked, on the basis that CEI is really a lobbyist for the energy industry;
2. A complaint with Phi Beta Kappa that your key should be withdrawn for using your mathematical skills to do the world harm.
The fact that you are a lobbyist for the oil industry is suggested by Marlo Lewis’ opening complaint written below about Al Gore’s movie, that it “[n]ever acknowledges the indispensable role of fossil fuels in ending serfdom and slavery, alleviating hunger and poverty, extending human life spans, and democratizing consumer goods, literacy, leisure, and personal mobility.” We are going to see if there is any email traffic between ExxonMobil and CEI about the crafting of those words.
You have 30 days to speak the truth, or face the IRS and PBK. I hope you choose to do the right thing.
Very truly yours,
Michael T. Eckhart
American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)