Industry-Funded CPAC Panelists: Climate Change A 'Silly' 'Scam,' 'Modern Witchcraft'

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this morning hosted a panel titled, “What’s The Deal With Global Warming?,” the answer to which was apparently that it’s a “silly debate,” a “scam” and “modern witchcraft.”

The panel was moderated by Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute, a leading climate-change denial group funded in large part by major corporations, and included Steve Milloy, a longtime climate change denier who is now working for the coal company Murray Energy; Marc Morano of the oil-industry funded Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Heartland Institute “expert” and former a staffer for climate skeptic Sen. Jim Inhofe; Marlo Lewis of the anti-regulation Competitive Enterprise Institute; George Landrith of Fronteirs of Freedom, another oil-industry funded climate change denial group; and for “balance,” Shannon Smith, who runs an energy efficiency financing group.

Throughout the hour-long discussion, the panelists were cracking each other up with jabs at climate science.

One of the biggest laugh lines came from Morano, who mocked Rep. Barbara Lee’s warning that the effects of climate change in the developing world could force women into poverty and prostitution. “So now, everyone in the audience worried that your mom’s sister or daughter is going to become a hooker, had better start to get behind a carbon tax or cap and trade,” he joked.

He then made fun of a UN report that many African countries will be especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “They’re now saying because of weird weather in Africa and other places, families are desperate and so their daughters are turning to prostitution,” he said. “They’re trying everything and anything.”

Later in the talk, Morano called the idea that climate change makes storms more severe “modern witchcraft.”

Milloy for his part insisted that this “is really sort of a silly discussion,” adding, “I reject the notion that we need to cut back on fossil fuels because we’re worried about the weather possibly being inclement in 30 years or 40 years.”

The panelists also presented various conspiracy theories about U.S. policies meant to combat climate change.

Lewis said that state renewable portfolio standards reminded him of Stalinist production quotas, while Milloy claimed that the climate change “scam” is the “perfect vehicle” for progressives to gain “control of our lives.”

Landrith then chimed in with a bizarre comparison of environmental regulations to allied bombings of German cities in World War II: “If you want to bring the other side to its knees, you bomb their ball bearing factories, you bomb their refineries, okay? If you want to get control of the economy, then you regulate such things.”