- Students for Liberty says Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez launched a “smear campaign” against them.
- Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree wrote letters to the student group’s big tech sponsors over concerns of “climate denial.”
- Students for Liberty denied this and said such claims were “built on half-truths and misinformation.”
A libertarian student group fired back at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Democratic colleague for trying “attempts to shame our sponsors” by claiming the group’s annual conference promoted “climate denial.”
Students for Liberty (SFL) CEO Dr. Wolf von Laer said in an emailed statement that Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree were “using their positions of power to execute a smear campaign” based on a misleading report.
Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree sent letters to the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft on Monday over their sponsorship of LibertyCon, SFL’s annual conference that was held in Washington, D.C., in January.
Lawmakers sent their letters after Mother Jones, a progressive news group, reported that LibertyCon “promoted climate change denial to young libertarians,” largely because it had a session on the potential benefits of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
“The Mother Jones report is built on half-truths and misinformation,” SFL spokesman David Clement told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “By no means is the conference supporting climate denialism, nor are our other sponsors.”
Mother Jones’ report primarily took issue with a LibertyCon session put on by the CO2 Coalition, a group of scientists and experts who highlight the potential benefits of more CO2 in the atmosphere to crop yields and plant growth. (RELATED: Al Gore, UN Officials Team Up To Push A ‘New Deal For Nature’)
The session, titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?,” was led by retired statistics professor Caleb Rossiter.
Mother Jones reported Rossiter’s CO2 fertilization claims put him on the “far fringes of the climate denial world” even though NASA, hardly a bastion of “denial,” released a study in 2016 that attributed much of the “global greening” observed in recent decades to human CO2 emissions.
Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree, however, told tech companies that “the spreading of misinformation can be dangerous to our society” and condemned the companies’ “implicit” support of Rossiter’s LibertyCon talk.
We cannot allow the financing of misinformation campaigns to shape our democracy.
We can disagree on policy, but climate change is real. Period.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 28, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree wrote that “given the magnitude and urgency of the climate crisis … we find it imperative to ensure that the climate-related views espoused at LibertyCon do not reflect the values of your companies going forward.”
Ocasio-Cortez has made global warming her central issue. The freshman Democrat champions a “Green New Deal” that aims to eliminate fossil fuels and, as she’s said, ameliorate social and racial injustices.
Pingree accused Facebook, Google and Microsoft of “secretly working against” fighting global warming, despite their public pledges to stick to the Paris climate accord. All three companies signed the “We Are Still In” pledge to support the global warming agreement.
However, Clement said the tech companies did not fund Rossiter’s session. Clement also said Rossiter did not make the argument that global warming wasn’t happening, but that there could be upsides.
“All the session in question did was make the argument that there may be positive externalities from climate change,” Clement said.
“The session could be factually incorrect, but by no means does that equate to denying that climate change exists,” Clement added. “This type of reporting is everything wrong with today’s political landscape.”
LibertyCon also featured a panel debate on a carbon tax that featured both sides of the argument. A few groups on the right argue in favor of a carbon tax, though most conservative and libertarian groups oppose the idea.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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