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Backfire: New ‘Center For Climate Integrity’ Poll Undercuts Own Arguments

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The Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) – the activist group which fancies itself as leading the climate litigation campaign – recently released a new poll that was so unremarkable that it generated zero media attention.

Seriously, no one paid attention to it. And CCI  didn’t even tweet about it!

So, EID Climate, which is apparently is the only organization that pays attention to this kind of stuff, decided to dive into the numbers, and a closer examination reveals the hilarious conclusion that people just aren’t buying the narrative behind climate lawsuits.

What did we find? There is a good reason CCI didn’t tout their own poll. But EID is more than happy to help provide the findings, including:

Most Respondents Don’t Place the Burden of Climate Change Costs on the Energy Industry

While CCI touts its poll as evidence that voters “want to make Big Oil pay,” a closer look at the results shows that most respondents don’t place the burden of paying for the costs of climate change on the oil and natural gas industry.

In one question, CCI asks who “should be MOST responsible for paying to modernize and upgrade Washington’s infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change?”

Only 18 percent of respondents said oil and gas companies, while 51 percent said federal, state, and local governments.

In another question, CCI asks if “oil and gas companies should pay for all, most, some, or none of the costs” related to climate change.

Less than half of respondents said “all” or “most,” yet again demonstrating a lack of true support behind climate litigation.

CCI’s Messaging Didn’t Work 

After those two questions, CCI then asked another series of questions that was really just an attempt to push their own messaging to persuade respondents.

The questions had phrases including “research shows that oil and gas companies’ pollution caused climate change,” and tested a variety of messages on “accountability,” “rising sea levels,” increased “insurance premiums,” and “heat-related hospitalizations.”

But in the responses to the questions that followed this heavy pro-litigation messaging, support for CCI’s campaign barely moved.

When asked again who should be “most responsible for paying to modernize and upgrade” infrastructure, the number of respondents who said oil and gas companies still couldn’t crack 40 percent, while an equal percentage continued to say federal, state, and local governments.

And again, less than half of respondents said oil and natural gas companies should pay for “all” or “most” for the impacts of climate change – a smaller percentage than those who said “some” or “none.”

Even for the big question – “do you support or oppose suing oil and gas companies?” – the percentage of respondents who supported that strategy stayed exactly the same AFTER the pro-litigation messaging, and the number who strongly supported the idea actually DECREASED.

Honestly, it takes skill to be this bad, and we’re beginning to see why CCI didn’t want to draw attention to it.

If Not in Washington State, Then Where? 

Washington State should be a happy hunting ground for litigation proponents like CCI.

Residents in the state prioritize environmental issues; the legislature recently passed a series of bills designed to address climate change, which were signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, who campaigned for president on a platform that focused almost solely on climate issues.

This poll even specifically asks about support for the Washington attorney general to file a climate lawsuit. That would be Bob Ferguson, who recently spoke at a forum focused on climate enforcement actions that was sponsored by CCI and who has considered litigation against oil and gas companies in the past.

So, when CCI says that a majority of residents “want to make Big Oil pay,” shouldn’t that be an easy hurdle to clear in Washington State?

And CCI didn’t build on existing support. After hearing the group’s pro-litigation messaging, the percentage of respondents who support a climate lawsuit either didn’t increase or still couldn’t form a majority.

This is bad news for CCI and other groups pushing litigation in other states around the country. If CCI can’t even boost support in Washington, they’ll most likely face even stiffer resistance in other places that don’t have the Evergreen State’s environmental pedigree.

Maybe that’s the reason that CCI sat on the poll results for three months after the interviews were conducted back in March.

They’re struggling how to spin the results of a survey – that even in Washington State – shows that residents just aren’t that excited about climate litigation.

It’s Funded by the Rockefellers (Because Of Course)

Unsurprisingly, all the organizations that built this poll receive funding from the network of wealthy Rockefeller foundations that have manufactured the entire climate litigation campaign.

CCI is a group formerly run by the Institute of Governance and Sustainable Development – which has received more than $2 million from the Rockefeller Family Fund.

CCI has played a leading role in recruiting government officials to bring climate lawsuits against energy companies, including the cases filed by the Minnesota Attorney General and Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

The poll itself was conducted by Climate Nexus – a PR firm that works to amplify climate litigation that’s a project of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.

Climate Nexus also played a key role in promoting the “Exxon Knew” stories published by InsideClimate News back in 2015.

But while the poll shows that the more voters hear about litigation plans, the less they like it, with the Rockefeller network continuing to fund climate litigation, CCI will keep promoting these previously defeated lawsuits, instead of focusing on actual solutions to climate change.

A Tangled Web of Coordination

Weirdly, the day after CCI published this poll of Washington State residents, the group launched digital ads targeting, no not Washington State, but Arizona, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

Why would CCI publish a poll in one state but then launch digital ads in three different states?

The ads were launched by CCI’s new United Against Polluters campaign, which as the Privacy Policy link at the bottom of the website shows, is funded by the Windward Fund – part of a network of funds run by Arabella Advisors that’s funneled millions of dollars to various causes.

To recap, the Rockefellers’ PR firm (Climate Nexus) is conducting polling for CCI, a group that’s funded by Arabella Advisors’ passthrough known as the Windward Fund. In turn, CCI used that money to launch another front group called United Against Polluters.

That’s quite a lot of fine print from an activist group that likes to accuse others of “deception.”

Read more at EID Climate

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