Building a green utopia would be so much easier if people would just shut up, stop asking questions and behave like good subjects. Don’t they know the science of climate change is settled?
The debate is over. There never was one. Oh, goodness. Big Oil. The fracking people.Conservatives. Why should anyone listen to them?
Senate Bill 1161, the ill-named “California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016,” would have lifted a four-year statute of limitations, empowering the attorney general or adventurous district attorneys to delve into claims of any vintage that dare challenge the orthodoxy.
Particularly chilling is the declaration that the state will seek “redress for unfair competition practices committed by entities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on the risks of climate change or financially supported activities that have deceived, confused, or misled the public on those risks.”
That last clause gives the game away: It’s about shutting down advocacy and using state power to discourage an unpopular point of view, not protecting the public from false claims.
SB 1161, authored by Sen. Ben Allen, a Santa Monica Democrat, had already cleared two committees and was scheduled for a Senate floor vote last week before it was withdrawn. Perhaps somebody realized the law would have been demolished on First Amendment grounds.
Contrary to internet rumors, SB 1161 said nothing about criminal sanctions against climate apostates. But skeptics may be forgiven for imputing ill motives and bad faith to the bill’s authors. California Attorney General Kamala Harris belongs to a coalition of 17 attorneys general who got together in March to pursue climate change skeptics, starting with big, bad ExxonMobil.