It was a year ago when a long list of scientists wrote to the Obama administration urging the federal government to use RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, against global-warming skeptics.
They said in a letter addressed to President Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren they "appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress."
"One additional tool – recently proposed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse – is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America's response to climate change," they wrote, according to Politico.
Now the tables are turned.
A mathematician and software engineer has filed a lawsuit in Texas naming dozens of environmental groups and others seeking to influence public action and expenditures regarding global warming programs in an action alleging violations of RICO.
Plaintiff Leonid Goldstein explains at the outset of his complaint, "This is a civil suit against Climate Action Network and other corporations, who engaged in a long-term criminal scheme, involving a false claim that anthropogenic release (or emissions) of carbon dioxide caused a dangerous 'global warming' or a dangerous 'climate change,' and persecution of the dissidents or demanding government actions, based on this false claim, including money transfer.
"In fact, the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide significantly increases agricultural production worldwide. The surface warming, theoretically caused by increased concentration of carbon dioxide, is insignificant and almost undetectable, and is expected to be globally beneficial."
Heartland Institute expert H. Sterling Burnett reported David Schnare, of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, said the claim is not realistic, because the First Amendment protects free speech, including the speech of those "who believe the end of the world is near."
"We all wish intellectual elites can discourse in freedom on issues of importance to us all in a manner that allows open, robust argument. [Even when] such discourse is marred by logical fallacies and hyperbole, I will not engage in any effort to shut down the public forum," he said.
However, Myron Ebell of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute said in the report that the action may have merit.
"As a letter sent to Democratic attorneys general threatening to prosecute climate skeptics from a number of Republican attorneys general points out, if global warming skeptics can be prosecuted under statutes targeting organized crime for underestimating the risks of climate change, then global warming alarmists could be prosecuted for exaggerating the risks of climate change," said Ebell. "Alarmists could also be prosecuted for denying or grossly underestimating the deleterious effects of their energy-rationing policies on human flourishing.
"Millions of poor people … will be further impoverished by the higher energy prices resulting from the alarmists' policy agenda," Ebell said in the Heartland report "Poverty is a lot worse for people's health and well-being than warmer temperatures."
The action was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas by Goldstein against what he's calling the Climate Action Network et al.
That includes organizations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the Global Call for Climate Action Group, Friends of Earth, Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, Pew Memorial Trust, the Packard Foundation and Tides Foundation.
The case charges that the defendants have participated in "Climate Alarmism Enterprise."
"The idea to use imaginary threat of the carbon dioxide emissions as a lever to obtain power and money was first expressed in the report from the 1972 United Nations Environmental Programme. Nevertheless, top U.S. scientists discussed the potential influence of the carbon dioxide emissions on the global climates, and Congress even convened the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee. CDAC worked on the question from 1979 to 1983, firmly rejecting alarm, and recommended further research. Further research and observation practically eliminated the earlier concerns about the carbon dioxide emissions," he explains.
In pursuit of money and power, the Clinton-Gore administration purged "from positions of influence" distinguished scientists who failed to fall into line.
A key is that "all named defendants invested at least part of their income in the operation of the Climate Alarmism Enterprise," the lawsuit explains.
"Having lost their case in the Congress and in the court of public opinion, they directed their most extreme attacks not against opposing politicians, but against distinguished physicists, biologists, and other experts, who had testified before Congress or in other official proceedings," he explains.
The "smear campaigns' prompted more than 30,000 scientists ultimately to sign the "Oregon Petition," which states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plan and animal environments of the Earth."
What is outlined in the case is a coordinated conspiracy to retaliate, tamper with, embezzle from, undermine, attack, bribe, defund, slander and marginalize those who simply reported that the evidence did not support the "alarmism" being pursued by activists.
It claims that Michael Mann, whose famous hockey-stick graph suggested global temperatures were surging, testified before Congress to multiple incorrect statements, including that "Numerous independent studies using different data and different statistical methods have re-affirmed the most important conclusions of the work."
When a subsequent report for Congress found that the statistical methods were used incorrectly and Mann's research was invalid, "global warming" activists "launched a concerted campaign of character assassination, libel and threats."
Whitehouse had lobbied earlier for the extremist response to global warming doubters.
He wrote that the "parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking."
He noted the tobacco industry "joined together in a common enterprise and coordinated strategy."
"The fossil fuel industry, its trade associations and the conservative policy institutes that often do the industry's dirty work met at the Washington office of the American Petroleum Institute," the senator said at the time.
"A memo from that meeting that was leaked to the New York Times documented their plans for a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to undermine climate science and to raise 'questions among those (e.g. Congress) who chart the future U.S. course on global climate change.'"
At that point, Whitehouse admitted to a lack of evidence.
"To be clear: I don't know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don't have enough information to make that conclusions. ... But there's an awful lot of smoke," he wrote.
Climate expert Marc Morano at Climate Depot said such threats weren't new.
Morano cited Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s threat to "jail" his opponents, accusing the Koch brothers of "treason" over the issue.
And he explained worse has appeared.
"On June 5, 2009, Joe Romm of Climate Progress defended a posting on his website warning that climate skeptics would be strangled in bed for rejecting the view that we face a man-made climate crisis," Climate Depot reported. "'An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,' warned the message posted on Climate Progress," he wrote.
Romm later insisted it was "not a threat but a prediction," Climate Depot said.
WND long has reported the predictions of an ice-free Arctic by scientists who believe mankind is causing global warming.
But in just last few winters, Cairo saw its first snow in 100 years. And Oregon, like several other states, reached its coldest temperature in 40 years. Chicago saw the coldest days ever recorded, and – as if to add finality to the trend – Antarctica reached the coldest temperature ever recorded anywhere on earth.
The holes in the theories that form the basis of ice-free Arctic forecasts are evident.
For example, London's Independent newspaper declared at the turn of the millennium "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past." The report quoted David Viner, senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, long considered an authoritative resource for global warming research, saying snow would soon be "a very rare and exciting event" in Britain.
"Children just aren't going to know what snow is," he claimed at the time.
Former vice president and current carbon-credit entrepreneur Al Gore told an audience in a 2009 speech that "the entire north polar ice cap during some of the summer months could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years." And his 2006 documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" famously predicted increasing temperatures would cause earth's oceans to rise by 20 feet, a claim many scientists say is utterly without rational basis.
A 2013 column by Mark Hertsgaard was headlined: "The End of the Arctic? Ocean Could be Ice Free by 2015."
He wrote: "Say goodbye to polar bears and a whole lot of ice. New research suggests the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2015, with devastating consequences for the world. Can it be stopped?"
Gore also predicted that the "polar ice cap may disappear by 2014."
Taking one more step back in time, the BBC said the Arctic summers would be ice-free by 2013.
Sierra Club Canada also said in 2013 that the Arctic sea ice would vanish that year.
Tim Ball, a former University of Winnipeg climatology professor, said global temperatures have been dropping since the turn of the century, prompting the change in terminology from "global warming" to "climate change."
Activists are also spending less time discussing temperatures and more time pointing to more extreme events such as tornadoes, droughts, cold snaps and heat waves. Ball said there's a shred of truth there, but it's being badly distorted.
"Yes, there's been slightly more extremes," he said in an interview with WND and Radio America. "That's because the jet stream patterns are changing, because the earth is cooling down. All the arguments about sea-level rise, about Arctic ice disappearing, if you recall it's not that long ago that our friend Al Gore was saying that there would be no summer ice in the Arctic. I think the year he set for it was 2014. That proved to be completely wrong."
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Tim Ball:
It is well-known scientist Art Robinson who has spearheaded The Petition Project, which to date has gathered the signatures of 31,487 scientists who agree that there is "no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."
They say, "Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plan and animal environments of the Earth."
Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cal Tech, where he served on the faculty, co-founded the Linus Pauling Institute with Nobel-recipient Linus Pauling, where he was president and research professor. He later founded the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.