You may have heard about David Gilmour (Pink Floyd guitarist) auctioning off his most famous guitars the other day so he could donate the money to a group called ClientEarth. He raised over $21 million.
Gilmour revealed that the money from the auction would benefit ClientEarth, which funds environmental lawyers and experts in the fight against climate change. “The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible,” he said in a statement. “We need a civilized world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”
But, I’ve just learned that a so-called Democratic think tank is working against that ‘fight’.
Phil Goldberg, PPI’s director of its Center for Civil Justice, is leading the charge.
For over a year, PPI’s website has been showcasing Goldberg’s work attacking climate litigation, which he calls “copycat climate suits.” Goldberg is a former lobbyist for coal giant Peabody Energy, which his law firm still represents.
And while Goldberg’s bio on PPI’s website lists him as a partner in the corporate law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon, there’s no mention of his hiring earlier this year by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to serve as special counsel in its fight against climate litigation. NAM’s Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, which it launched in 2017, targets climate lawsuits against the manufacturing industry’s energy sector.
PPI stands for Progressive Policy Institute.
PPI’s website also does not disclose Goldberg’s recent work for Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN), a front group funded by several oil and gas trade associations. In a report for GAIN titled “Vigilante Regulation,” Goldberg, along with two other Shook, Hardy & Bacon attorneys, detail how tort law can be employed to stem what the authors call “anti-pipeline activism.”
It’s just plain freaky that a hired gun for the fossil fuel industry would pretend to be neutral or, shockingly, even perhaps ‘progressive’ under the guise of PPI, which has a good reputation as a think tank,” said Denise Antolini, an associate dean at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa’s School of Law.
So many sharks in the water..I mean front groups, to store in the brain!
Goldberg previously served as an adviser to the Civil Justice Task Force of the “corporate bill mill,” the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), where he published reports against state-led climate lawsuits in the group’s publication Inside ALEC.
How in the world can PPI get away with calling itself ‘progressive’ when the director of its Center for Civil Justice has done work for ALEC??
Aha, here’s how:
PPI’s website, which greets its visitors with the banner “radically pragmatic,” does not publicize its funding sources. But the group’s funding seems to come at least in part through its parent organization, the Third Way Foundation, whose tax forms states it is “doing business as the Progressive Policy Institute.”
I hope Gilmour’s beautiful guitars help with much needed funds to counter groups like PPI!
PPI and others’ pushback against climate litigation will only intensify, predicts Robert Brulle, a sociology professor at Drexel University, who studies environmental movements and climate science disinformation campaigns.
“As these cases move toward discovery and eventual trial, the architects of the campaign to obstruct climate action, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, are gearing up for a long battle in the courts,” he said.
I’m cool with Bernie calling Third Way out. They say they welcome the attention, but I suspect they’d prefer to be operating in the dark.
I, for one, only believe the last eight words of the above tweet. That’s what con artists do, they mix a lot of lies in with a little truth. They need to be called out at every turn.