Who Needs Big Coastal Cities Like New York Anyway, Says Koch Brothers Climate Shill

This post made possible by the Patty Dumpling Endowed Chair For Can You Even Believe This Bullshit?

Tom Ashbrook's NPR show On Point is a national treasure, and if you're not listening to it, then you can't party with us. Yesterday's episode focused on a disturbing new study suggesting that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may be inevitable, and in the (ed. note: ridiculous) pursuit of balance, Ashbrook gave time to Koch brothers shill Marlo Lewis, who said that sure, sea levels might rise by 10 feet, but we probably weren't going to need those big coastal cities anyway.

Ashbrook: So you're saying move New York, move Miami, move Southern Florida, move Boston?

Lewis: Yeah. I would say that the built environment, from the studies I've seen, most building stock turns over in about 50 years. And so the markets adapt to this sort of phenomenon anyway.

Well of course most building stock turns over in about 50 years. That is why Rome is referred to as The Eternal City With Only 50-Year-Old Buildings In It.

This could be a simple exercise in Climate Deniers Say the Darnedest Things, but, of course, it's not quite that simple. Marlo Lewis works for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funded by Charles and David Koch, ExxonMobil, Amoco, Texaco and a bunch of other entities, the very mention of which will send you horrible ones a-screeching into the night. And this is not new territory for Marlo Lewis — he's been doing this kind of stuff for years.

Upton Sinclair once said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it," but hydrocarbon humper Marlo Lewis thinks Upton Sinclair probably hated free enterprise or something, and besides, he doesn't have to sit here and listen to these ad hominem attacks.

Ashbrook: What are your motivations here? We've got a lot of fossil fuel money in your organization. Does that mean you're speaking up to defend their interests? And how do we have confidence that you're not?

Lewis: Well, Tom, I kind of make it a policy not to respond to ad hominem arguments.

Ashbrook: Ad hominem? I mean, I'm just looking at your funders. Isn't that fair?

Lewis: I think, you know, if you can ever find an instance in which I've changed any position I've ever taken at any time in my professional life because of a contribution to an organization that I've worked for, I'll pay you a thousand dollars. So let's drop that subject.

Ashbrook: I don't think it's ad hominem, Mr. Lewis, it's just an honest question. A tax on carbon would be tough for ExxonMobil and Texaco.

WRONG, Tom Ashbrook, dead wrong! Your argument is all wet, just like a polar bear desperately swimming to find the planet's last chunk of sea ice! As Chief Justice John Roberts reminded us, the only possible form of political corruption in U.S. America is quid pro quo bribery, and paying someone's salary is technically not bribery. Knowing who pays the bills for Marlo Lewis to broadcast his anti-carbon tax views is irrelevant, because shut up, that's why. After all, why would it be important to note that the Koch brothers -- who make a big chunk of their bazillion dollars a year in the petrochemical industry -- are one of the leading sources of funding for the constellation of groups that insists climate change is no big deal? The Koch brothers are just humble American businessmen who have bootstrapped their way into spending $125 million to influence this year's elections, and if the free market valued current sea levels the same way it values the Koch brothers' sweet, sweet money, then everything would be fine, we guess.

Besides, a 10-foot rise in sea level is meaningless to David Koch — he lives much, much higher off the ground at 740 Park Avenue in Manhattan, and we're pretty sure he's got plenty of boats to get him from Point A to Point Used to Be Dry Land.

[Media Matters]


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