Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Repeats Misinformation On Global Warming

January 04, 2010 4:03 pm ET

On January 4, 2010, The New Yorker published a story about Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.  During an interview, Mackey claimed "no scientific consensus exists" about the causes of global climate change and claimed actions to curb emissions would lead to a "lower standard of living and lead to an increase in poverty." In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey Is A Climate Denier

The New Yorker:

One of the books on the list was "Heaven and Earth: Global Warming-the Missing Science," a skeptical take on climate change. Mackey told me that he agrees with the book's assertion that, as he put it, "no scientific consensus exists" regarding the causes of climate change; he added, with a candor you could call bold or reckless, that it would be a pity to allow "hysteria about global warming" to cause us "to raise taxes and increase regulation, and in turn lower our standard of living and lead to an increase in poverty." One would imagine that, on this score, many of his customers, to say nothing of most climate scientists, might disagree. He also said, "Historically, prosperity tends to correlate to warmer temperatures." [New Yorker, 1/4/09]

There Is A Scientific Consensus: The Earth Is Getting Warmer

NOAA: "The 2000 - 2009 Decade Will Be The Warmest On Record." According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce:

  • Global land and ocean annual surface temperatures through October are the fifth warmest on record, at 1.01 degrees F above the long-term average.
  • NOAA scientists project 2009 will be one of the 10 warmest years of the global surface temperature record, and likely finish as the fourth, fifth or sixth warmest year on record.
  • The 2000 - 2009 decade will be the warmest on record, with its average global surface temperature about 0.96 degree F above the 20th century average. This will easily surpass the 1990s value of 0.65 degree F.
  • Ocean surface temperatures (through October) were the sixth warmest on record, at 0.85 degree F above the 20th century average.
  • Land surface temperatures through October were the fifth warmest on record, at 1.44 degree F above the 20th century average.
  • Arctic sea ice extent reached its third smallest annual minimum on record behind 2007 and 2008. The past five years have produced the lowest sea ice extents on record. [NOAA, accessed 12/9/09]

World Meteorological Organization: The 2000s Are The Warmest Decade On Record. According to the World Meteorological Organization, "The year 2009 is likely to rank in the top 10 warmest on record since the beginning of instrumental climate records in 1850, according to data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2009 (January-October) is currently estimated at 0.44°C ± 0.11°C (0.79°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. The current nominal ranking of 2009, which does not account for uncertainties in the annual averages, places it as the fifth-warmest year. The decade of the 2000s (2000-2009) was warmer than the decade spanning the 1990s (1990-1999), which in turn was warmer than the 1980s (1980-1989). More complete data for the remainder of the year 2009 will be analysed at the beginning of 2010 to update the current assessment." [WMO, accessed 12/9/09]

Clean Energy Legislation Would Have A Negligible Effect On Prices...

Reuters: "Climate Legislation Moving Through Congress Would Have Only A Modest Impact On Consumers." According to Reuters: "A new U.S. government study on Tuesday adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding around $100 to household costs in 2020. Under the climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June, electricity, heating oil and other bills for average families will rise $134 in 2020 and $339 in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country's top energy forecaster." [Reuters, 8/5/09]

EIA: Clean Energy Legislation Would Cost Only $0.23 Per Day. According to a House Energy and Commerce Committee factsheet of the Energy Information Administration's analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act: "The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has completed an analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives... The overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 23 cents per day ($83 per year). This is consistent with analyses by the Congressional Budget Office which projects a cost of 48 cents per day ($175 per year) and the Environmental Protection Agency which projects a cost of 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year)." [House Energy and Commerce Committee, EIA's Economic Analysis Of "The American Clean Energy And Security Act Of 2009," 8/4/09; emphasis original]

CBO: In 2020, Cap-And-Trade Will Only Cost An Average Of $175 Annually, "About A Postage Stamp A Day." In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: "On that basis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economy wide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion-or about $175 per household." Rep. Edward Markey noted it was "the cost of about a postage stamp a day." [CBO, 6/19/09; House Committee on Energy & Commerce Release, 6/20/09]

Cap-And-Trade Would DECREASE Energy Prices For Low-Income Americans. In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote, "households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020." [CBO, 6/19/09; emphasis original]

... And Create Millions Of American Green Jobs

As Media Matters Action Network has noted, a recent study from UC Berkeley found that pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create up to 1.9 million jobs, boost GDP by up to $111 billion and increase families' incomes by nearly $1,200 per year!

Investment In Clean Energy Technology Will Create Over 1.7 Million American Jobs.  According to the Center for American Progress: "Investments in a clean-energy economy will generate major employment benefits for the entire U.S. economy. Our research finds that spending $150 billion on clean-energy investments would create roughly 1.7 million jobs. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments." [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

  • Every Single State Will Gain Jobs From An Investment In Clean Energy Technologies. According to the Center for American Progress, investments in clean energy projects would create 1.7 million American jobs in every state in the country. [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

Investment In Clean Energy Technology Creates FOUR TIMES As Many Jobs As An Investment In Oil & Gas.  According to the Center for American Progress, "spending $1 million on energy efficiency and renewable energy produces a much larger expansion of employment than spending the same amount on fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Among fossil fuels, job creation in coal is about 32 percent greater than that for oil and natural gas. The employment creation for energy efficiency-retrofitting and mass transit-is 2.5 times to four times larger than that for oil and natural gas. With renewable energy, the job creation ranges between 2.5 times to three times more than that for oil and gas." [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

Investment In Renewable Energy Has Already Salvaged Many Manufacturing Facilities Closed During Economic Downturn.  Across America, factories and plants abandoned by the old economy have been re-tooled and re-opened to satisfy the growing demand for new energy technologies. For instance, once hopeless manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan have re-energized their communities by creating jobs and leading the charge toward a new energy future. [Bloomberg, 4/2/09; Star Tribune, 4/22/09; Grand Rapids Press, 3/6/08]

Print