By Carten Cordell │ Watchdog.org
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A free-market environmental group is looking to stir the global-warming debate with a new ad campaign targeting New York and Washington, D.C.
Its secret weapon: Barack Obama.
The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocating free-market solutions for environmental issues, is launching the billboard ad campaign this week using a quote from the president to dispute the allegation that climate change was responsible for Hurricane Sandy.
The Sandy-global warming connection was first implied by former vice president and environmentalist Al Gore on Oct. 30, a day after the superstorm made landfall in Atlantic City, NJ.
Gore said in a statement on his website that Sandy “is a disturbing sign of things to come. We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather.”
But CFACT senior policy adviser Paul Driessen said Gore’s rationality on the hurricane’s formation doesn’t hold water.
“People who are so quick to suggest that Sandy is what we are going to see in the future because of global warming, they have no evidence to back that up,” he said. “There have been a huge number of climate scientists that have said it’s crazy to link Sandy to anything. It was just one of these weird confluence of events.”
To prove that point, CFACT cites a quote from Obama’s Nov. 14 news conference at the White House. When asked by The New York Times’ Mark Landler what his environmental policy would be in a second term, Obama began his response by saying, “We can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change.”
Obama goes onto say he believes that climate change is real and is impacted by humans and carbon emissions, but it’s the initial remark that CFACT hopes will generate debate on climate change and its causes.
Both Gore’s and Obama’s assertions will appear in CFACT’s billboard campaign under the statement: “Who Do You Believe?”
The billboards will appear in both the D.C.- and New York-metro areas, and Driessen said their purpose is to encourage residents to research the issue of climate change.
“We should not be listening to these politicians when it comes to something like global warming,” he said. “(CFACT) certainly believes in climate change, but that’s a totally different kettle of fish (from global warming).
“Climate change is real, and it has been going on forever and ever, but this notion humans are causing some kind of man-made disaster because of CO2 emissions, I think that is a real stretch.”
The D.C. billboard can be seen starting Friday on Indian Head Highway in Maryland, north of Palmer Road and southeast of National Harbor. The New York location can be seen off of the New Jersey Turnpike, near Harrison, N.J.
Driessen said he doesn’t expect Obama to change his views on the causes of climate change, but said he agrees with president that it is wrong to tie global-warming changes to Sandy.
“It doesn’t mean he is a skeptic, he clearly is not,” he said. “This time, he was correct.”
Gore’s nonprofit, The Climate Reality Project, declined to comment on the billboards until they were in place. The D.C. billboard is set to debut by Friday, barring a winter storm expected to hit the area Thursday night.
Contact Carten Cordell at firstname.lastname@example.org