Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: Please Name the Infamous 29

West Virginia journalist Don Surber comments on Monday’s Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Global Warming Gag Order: Senators to Exxon: Shut up, and pay up,” with a memory:

As a West Virginian, I am not surprised by the intemperate tone of the letter. Rockefeller is who he is, an American prince who is intolerant of anyone who dares to have a differing opinion.At a hearing on health insurance a few years ago, Rockefeller told an executive that there is a special place in hell for insurance executives. I am not an expert on the layout of the underworld, so I will have to take the Democrat’s word on how the devil operates.

Senators are often referred to as cardinals. Jay and Snowe obviously recall how the real cardinals won the debate over Copernicus 4 centuries ago – by threatening Galileo.

They intend to win the global warming debate the same way…

We covered the Rockefeller-Snowe letter (pdf) (here, here, here and here).This is as good a time as any to renew my request to Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: Please name the groups you are referring to in this sentence of your letter: “A study to be released in November by an American scientific group will expose ExxonMobil as the primary funder of no fewer than 29 climate change denial front groups in 2004 alone.”

As I said November 12, I don’t think there are 29 “climate change denial front groups” (however that is defined) for which ExxonMobil was “the primary funder in 2004.”

I ask the Senators to prove me wrong by releasing the names of the groups. Surely, in light of the Senators’ letter, the publicity surrounding it, and the likelihood that the Senators made the letter public themselves, this is a reasonable request.

I’d also like to know the name of the curiously-anonymous “American scientific group” that the Senators claimed was going to release the report in November “expos[ing]” the names of the 29 “climate change denial front groups” for which the primary funder in 2004 was ExxonMobil.

After all, it’s December now. The report’s been out for a while now, right?

Note: An October 27 ABC News article neutrally titled “Senators to Exxon: Stop the Denial: Democrats and Republicans Say Stop Funding Global Warming Doubters,” claims the report the Senators were referring to will be/was (ABC confusingly refers to it as “upcoming” and in the past tense in the same paragraph) produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists. However, I can find no such report on the UCS website, nor do Internet news searches reveal press releases or any other mentions of a report fitting the Senators’ description. Also, UCS is an advocacy group, not a “scientific group” (here’s how their mission is defined in their own words), so Senators Rockefeller and Snowe might have been referring to some other group entirely.

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