Recently, a group of Democratic state attorneys general caused a stir by threatening to prosecute oil companies and certain conservative think tanks for what they called “climate change denial.” The theory is that since the “science is settled” concerning whether not human-caused climate change is happening, these organizations could be sued for fraud, just as cigarette companies were sued for denying that smoking caused cancer and other diseases. Now, according to the Washington Times, a group of Republican state attorneys general have released a letter suggesting that climate change “alarmists” could be prosecuted under the same legal precedence.

The theory behind the Republican threat stems from the fact that many of the predictions by climate scientists and government officials about the future effects of climate change or, as it is more accurately called, global warming have failed to come to pass. Furthermore, accusations have been raised in certain quarters that data that suggests that human-caused global warming is happening have been massaged to make it appear that the problem is greater than it seems to be. The hacked emails surrounding the “Climategate” scandal suggests that some scientists are manipulating data as well as intimidating fellow scientists who view human-caused global warming with skepticism.

The signatories of the letter are not going to launch a campaign against Al Gore, or that section of the scientific community that believes in human-caused global warming – yet. The Republican state attorneys general are suggesting that when it comes to criminalizing scientific debate, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Their goal is to persuade the Democratic state attorneys general to think about what they are doing and back off.

The threats coming from both the left and the right against both sides of the climate change debate illustrate how political it has become. The Democrats have demanded to see records going back decades to find some evidence upon which they can base a legal action on. Their targets, including Exxon Mobil, are striking back, suing in federal court to force the state attorneys general to stop what they consider a fishing expedition.

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