(CNSNews.com) - Neither side in the "global warming" debate is happy over the witness list compiled by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as the panel plans to convene a one-day climate conference Tuesday.
Liberal environmental groups are concerned about what they see as a "roster of speakers heavily weighted toward economic interests over the environment."
Meanwhile, a free market environmental think tank skeptical of predictions that human-caused climate change will produce a catastrophe, also accuses the Senate committee of stacking the deck.
"This doesn't look like a public spirited discussion. It looks like the pirates all gathered around the table figuring out how to split up the booty," said Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming at the free market based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman - New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici - and the committee's ranking Democrat - Jeff Bingaman, also from New Mexico -- are hosting the climate conference in order to "address the challenge of how Congress might go about creating a mandatory [emission] trading program to control U.S. greenhouse gas emissions."
But Ebell sees the proposed emissions trading program "as an undeclared tax on energy" that will benefit a few select corporations. Ebell also said environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense, energy companies and other non-governmental organizations will attend the climate conference to leverage the best deal for their agendas.
"Every special interest that hopes to make money from higher energy prices is there to present how they can benefit the most at the expense of American consumers. I would call it a conspiracy except that it is right out there in the open," Ebell told Cybercast News Service.
"Enforcing arbitrary limits on energy use throughout the economy would have a disproportionate effect on small and medium sized businesses and likely force a significant portion of U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, where such restrictions are not in effect," he added.
Ebell also warned that there would be an absence of groups that do not view "global warming" as a crisis. "Without a significant voice for critics of a greenhouse gas emissions scheme, the [Senate] hearing amounts to little more than cheerleading for the senators' pet policies rather than an attempt to educate or enlighten," Ebell said.
Environmental groups have also expressed frustration over the Senate climate conference. On Monday, a coalition of more than a dozen environmental groups released a letter urging Sens. Bingaman and Domenici "to focus upcoming discussions on designing a mandatory [emission] program that guarantees today's levels of global warming pollution will be stopped soon enough to prevent irreversible harm to the environment."
The environmental groups, pointing to the presence of such corporations as General Electric Co. and Wal-Mart, lamented that the Senate's "roster of speakers heavily weighted toward economic interests over the environment."
David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council warned that the Senate must act immediately to "protect the planet" from human greenhouse gas emissions.
"The earlier you start, the less expensive this can be," Doniger told reporters during a teleconference on Monday with representatives from several environmental groups including Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Environmental Trust.
Doniger and the other green group spokesmen urged the Senate to heed what they considered to be the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing to catastrophic human influence on the climate.
But Ebell rejected the notion that there is scientific consensus on human caused climate change and instead offered another reason for the recent media reports about impending "global warming."
"We should be much more worried about what [the Senate is] proposing than a little bit of global warming. I think that all the things that are going on right now look to me to be coordinated and one of the climaxes is going to be [former Vice President] Al Gore's book and movie," Ebell said.
Gore's new documentary entitled "An Inconvenient Truth," is set for national release on May 26 by Paramount Pictures. Gore's book of the same name is set to be released on May 16. Both the movie and the book take an alarmist view of what he sees as human caused "global warming." Both endeavors are based on a slide show lecture that Gore has been presenting around the country.
Ebell shrugged off the impact of climate change alarmists, claiming that those groups and individuals have "been trying to move the political ball for several years now but haven't gotten anywhere." Ebell noted that many of the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol such as Canada, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Austria, have all seen their emissions go up more than the U.S. which did not sign Kyoto.
See Related Stories:
Scientist Alleging Bush Censorship Helped Gore, Kerry (March 23, 2006)
Kyoto Protocol Declared 'Dead' at UN Climate Conference (Dec. 6, 2005)
Greens Concede Kyoto Will Not Impact 'Global Warming' (Dec. 17, 2004)
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