Wall Street Journal editorial, June 14, 2022
Progressives first demanded that social-media platforms silence critics of climate alarmism. Now White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy wants them to censor content on the costs of a force-fed green-energy transition.
A few years ago, Facebook enlisted third-party “fact checkers” to review news stories about climate. That didn’t satisfy Democratic Senators who howled about a “loophole” for opinion pieces. Facebook then began appending fact-checks to op-eds, including by Wall Street Journal contributors Bjorn Lomborg and Steven Koonin, that criticized apocalyptic climate models and studies. The goal was to restrict readership.
Now progressives are moving to censorship phase two, which is shutting down debate over climate “solutions.” “Now it’s not so much denying the problem,” Ms. McCarthy said in an Axios interview. “What the [climate denial] industry is now doing is seeding doubt about the costs associated with [green energy] and whether they work or not.”
Ms. McCarthy cited the week-long power outage in Texas in February 2021. “The first thing we read in the paper was” that the blackouts occurred “because of those wind turbines,” she said. “That became the mantra.”
In fact, most of the media immediately blamed climate change and fossil fuels. The Wall Street Journal was among the few to point out that wind energy plunged as temperatures dropped and turbines froze. Gas-fired plants couldn’t make up for the wind shortfall despite running all-out, and then some went down too.
Ms. McCarthy doesn’t want to admit the inconvenient truth that renewable energy sources are making the grid increasingly unreliable. Comparing fossil-fuel companies to Big Tobacco, she complained that “dark money” is being used to “fool” the public about “the benefits of clean energy.”
“We need the tech companies to really jump in,” she said, because highlighting the costs of green energy is “equally dangerous to denial because we have to move fast.” Got that, Mark Zuckerberg? Merely pointing out technical limitations of lithium-ion batteries could be “disinformation.”
Asked whether climate disinformation posed a threat to public health, Ms. McCarthy replied “absolutely,” while adding hilariously that “President Biden doesn’t focus on, and neither do I on, bashing the fossil-fuel companies.” The Axios interviewer smiled and nodded along.
Some conservative scholars argue that Big Tech companies could be sued as “state actors” for violating users’ First Amendment speech rights when they censor content at the behest of government officials. Ms. McCarthy is helping make their case. Now Gina McCarthy tells Big Tech to stifle debate on solutions.