Eckhart Update

by Marlo Lewis on July 24, 2007 · 6 comments

in Environment, Global Warming, Sanctimony

Two weeks ago my colleague, Iain Murray, posted on The Corner an email 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 email (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 email 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 email—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 <meckhart@acore.org>

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 <<Marlo Lewis – An Inconvenient Truth critique.pdf>> red Smith

President

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Dear Fred:

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,

Mike

Michael T. Eckhart

President

American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE)

Alan Parker July 25, 2007 at 5:55 pm

This Eckhart is a blatant fascist who evidently objects to any free speech that he doesn't agree with. Judging by his missives he has gone off his meds.

Jon Reremy July 27, 2007 at 3:24 am

These types of people infuriate me. Who do they think they are? Though I am glad this type of behavior is out in public… no good deed goes unpunished, and if this guy acts like this in a professional capacity, I can imagine what his personal life includes. I bet somewhere there is someone who is as angry about this as I am that has tools to dig through someones past and exposes this disgusting person for what he is.

This is a guy you love to hate.

James Pierobon July 27, 2007 at 6:35 am

To All Readers of this Blog:

The correspondence between Marlo Lewis and Mike Eckhart should be taken in context. Below for your background information is the original response posted by Mr. Eckhart on July 15th on the ACORE blog.

Thank you for reading this background material.

Jim Pierobon & The ACORE Communications Staff

———————————————————————————–

To All:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has made public a July 13, 2007 email that I sent to Dr. Marlo Lewis, CEI’s chief analyst on climate change. This private communication to Dr. Lewis is part of a two-year series of communications between us about CEI’s campaign to stop public policy on global warming. The campaign is led by Fred Smith, CEI’s President, and Dr. Lewis.

I apologize to all in the public who were offended by the email, because it was not intended for public display. You could not be aware of the two-year context of it, nor the choice of words in it – words that were only significant to Dr. Lewis and myself. Now that it is in the public, however, everyone deserves to understand the context.

Summary

I believe that global warming is occurring. The evidence is overwhelming and persuasive both from a statistical as well as anecdotal basis. Last year, the President of the National Wildlife Federation told the story about how a multi-billion duck hunting industry in Arkansas has disappeared – the ducks only fly south to Illinois any more.

Recently, we have learned about the acidification of the oceans and the attendant accelerated loss of coral and other marine life.

This week, credible scientific organizations will predict that the North Pole will no longer have ice in the summer, beginning just ten years from now. Glaciers are melting. If the ice bank on Greenland melts, the seas could rise as much as 20 feet. This is serious business, affecting all.

In my opinion, CEI, and especially Dr. Lewis, has been presenting a false prosecution — a knowingly false prosecution — of the global warming issue, to the detriment of society and the billions of people who will be affected by climate change. This should offend all who believe in integrity and honesty in public affairs.

Dr. Lewis admitted to me two years ago that he does not necessarily believe that global warming is not happening – he is pursuing it for another reason: his philosophical opposition to big government. He has hijacked our issue to further his philosophical ideas about government. I respectfully object.

My email to Dr. Lewis was in the context of personal combat and jousting that has been going on in the background — using his own words, as described below, to prod him out this false prosecution of global warming.

Background

The interchange and jousting began two years ago when Dr. Lewis and I were invited to debate the issue on E&E TV, and we had 20 minutes to talk beforehand in the green room. It was a 20-minute monologue by Dr. Lewis.

He informed us that he is a trained professional debater from Harvard University with a PhD in Philosophy, but that he came out of the experience with the opposite philosophy of most Harvard graduates who believe that government is the solution to society’s problems. He said that he believes that it is excessive government that is the root of most problems in modern society, and that big government must be stopped. He said that one of his life’s goals is to show the Harvard crowd that they are wrong.

He went on the say that environmentalists are, in his view, “just full of cr*p” and that they are falsely using the threat of climate change to gain control of the power of government. He said that he has a permanent dedication to destroy their careers, hence my use of the same phrases. His method, based on his training in philosophical argument, is not to attack them, but to attack their underlying assumptions, in this case the technical arguments that global warming is happening.

I asked him, then: “so your argument against global warming is just a tactic in a larger battle you are waging against big government?” He said: “Yes, correct.”

Dr. Lewis went on to say that he might just as easily make the argument that global warming IS happening, and that, actually, he is a bit concerned about it, but he could not let that sidetrack him from his life’s work to stop big government.

I then asked if there was any possibility that we could talk him into joining the climate change movement and take the lead on developing non-government solutions, since he is against government solutions. He said that this was an intriguing idea, but, no, he couldn’t do it. He said that his job is not to be a consultant on solutions; his mission is to stop big government.

We were called into the studio and I concluded by saying that I had never met such a brilliant mind that was, in my opinion, so off track on intellectual honesty, and asked if he thought it would consider it fair play if I tried to stop him as much as he is trying to stop us. He said: “fair is fair” and we went into the televised debate.

A member of my staff was with us in the Green Room. You will see Dr. Lewis’ own words in my July 13 email.

Subsequent Communications

Since that first event, Dr. Lewis and Fred Smith and I have discussed on several occasions the honesty or dishonesty of hijacking the global warming issue to further their philosophy about making government smaller. I confronted Fred Smith on this in May 2006. There have been several exchanges.

For example:

On September 22, 2006, Dr. Lewis sent a campaign email saying: “I attach for your reading pleasure the latest version of my Skeptic’s Guide to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.”

In reply, on September 25, I wrote to Fred Smith and Marlo Lewis: “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. 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. The only explanation that I can see is that you are doing this because you are paid by ExxonMobil 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.”

On September 26, Dr. Lewis wrote back to me: “Talk about an inconvenient truth! How inconvenient for some people that fossil fuels played an indispensable role in ending slavery and serfdom, extending human lifespan, etc.”

This was clearly going no where, and it rested for a while.

Turning the Corner on the Acceptance of Global Warming

Coincidently, however, I was informed that ExxonMobil ended its many years of funding CEI’s anti-climate campaign the following month, at the time of a speech by ExxonMobil’s CEO Rex W. Tillerson to the Boston CEO Club on November 30, 2006, in which he said:

“While the scientific community continues this study, we should pursue public policies that start gradually and learn along the way with full recognition of the economic consequences of certain actions and we should bring all countries into the effort…We should start on a path to reduce the likelihood of the worst outcomes… and understand the context of managing carbon emissions among other developing world priorities, such as economic development, poverty eradication and public health. Consistent with this approach, we should take steps now to reduce emissions in effective and meaningful ways.”

The most conservative companies in the oil industry are turning the corner on the global warming issue in a thoughtful and honest way. We also are seeing the electric utility industry study the matter carefully, recognizing that the future is a carbon-constrained world and they must find practical ways of working in it. And many serious people from industry, finance, the professions, academia, commerce, the nonprofit sector and government have looked at this and concluded that we as a society must take action now, for the sake of society as we know it, and for the sake of the generations who come after us.

The Issue Today

In the face of this came another analysis by Dr. Lewis this past week on July 12, undermining the inconvenient and now compelling truth about global warming, and I said: ‘enough is enough.” I challenged Dr. Lewis using his own words from that Green Room conversation two years ago, and challenged him to take me on, to resolve this issue. I have challenged him to debate this out, but he refuses, instead leaking my jousting email to him.

As to the email, there can be no excuse for it in the public’s eye, or out of the context of years of communications in the background. I apologize to all who have read it.

To CEI, however, there can be no apology. Quite the opposite. It is time to end CEI’s disingenuous undermining of worldwide concern about global warming. To resolve this, I again challenge Dr. Lewis to a series of personal debates on global warming that would go on for a month, with daily exchanges. There would be a running public vote. We would agree to accept the vote of the American people on the debate.

We must begin a nonpartisan, bi-partisan, and universal move forward to manage carbon in society and implement solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, other non/low-carbon energy, and the management of oceans, biodiversity and forestation.

I believe that a cleaner world will be a more productive world with more security, longer lives, broader equity, more peace, more prosperity, and greater freedom than the status quo can possibly offer. It will not be big government delivering a solution, but the entire complex of government, the private sector and civil society adapting to a better path.

I believe that an open debate on these issues will reveal the truth of the matter. I call Dr. Lewis out of his analytic hideaway at CEI.

I will be happy to debate this out with Dr. Lewis and seek an answer, and again apologize to everyone for having the private email communication leaked to the press, distracting everyone from the serious matters at hand.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael T. Eckhart

July 15, 2007

Posted by Michael Eckhart on July 15, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Filed under General Renewable Energy

Tommy July 27, 2007 at 12:36 pm

I looked at Mr. Eckhart's credentials (above website), and frankly it reads like he stands to make major moulah if the USA were to make a substantial shift from oil to alternative fuels (No. 1 rule, always follow the $$$).

Frankly, other than serving on government appointed positions, I don't see where he has any qualifying education. Electrical engineering??? Come on.

I am an Environmental Scientist by education and career, and we have a saying that, "Engineers don't have to wear side shields on their safety glasses because they walk around with blinders on anyway." It also mentions he served aboard a submarine in the U.S. Navy. While I applaud his service to this country, everyone I ever knew who served aboard a sub, spending months trapped underwater in a metal tube with no windows, was a little shall we say… mentally unstable.

Tommy July 27, 2007 at 12:38 pm

…Click my name for the website of his credentials

Eduardo Ferreyra July 29, 2007 at 8:56 am

Mike Eckhart reminds me of those small puppies barking and biting ankles. No real harm done. He looks as a deranged person, and extremely naïve. One has to be too gullible (or too dishonest) for pushing the global warming agenda. We already know about James Hansen’s and Al Gore’s credentials and we know they are in the business for keeping a job, gaining and increasing notoriety, making more money, and so forth.

I wonder how Eckhart is going to prove to IRSA that CEI is a lobbyist paid by Exxon. As far as I know, there are not (yet) “lobbyist certificate” given by companies. As with global warming and its apocalyptic consequences, Eckhart’s accusation must be proved beyond doubt. The Precautionary Principle does not apply here. Just let him bark and chew some ankles.

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