Recently I learned about a man who has trained 1,000+ people to block wind and solar projects.

I read through all his training materials, presentations, and seminars.

Here's what I learned about him and how his students plan to "win the war on clean energy."

The odds are pretty good you haven't heard of this man, John Droz, Jr.

He's only been interviewed by a few journalists. And when asked about his influence he always responds the same way:

"This story isn't about me." Image
But the story of climate action and delay in America is very much about Droz.

For most of his life, Droz was a semi-retired real estate developer. In 2011, he reinvented himself and became a "physicist."

That year, his home state of N.C. debated a bill about climate change.
Droz put together a series of presentations, some as long as 168 slides, and headed to the capital.

He had crunched the numbers and looked at the science.

According to Droz, climate change was a sham pushed by clean energy lobbyists. Image
Remarkably, many legislators listened to him.

Even the Washington Post listened to him. In an article about sea-level rise, they quoted the real estate developer as a "local physicist." Image
Droz's efforts worked. In 2012, N.C. passed a bill that prevented the state from taking action on sea-level rise.

This work got the attention of the biggest climate deniers in the country.

That year, ATI, a dark money think tank brought him on as a fellow.
At ATI, Droz developed a playbook that would eventually be used by thousands of people to stop clean energy projects.

In 2012, he organized a secret meeting and training session to share his strategy with some of the country's most influential climate deniers and activists. Image
For Droz, winning the war on clean energy is all about communication.

The man is obsessed with what he calls “Press relations (PR) strategy.”

Those two letters—PR—are in hundreds of documents he's produced over the last decade.
What’s the goal of this PR?

As he wrote, “Public opinion [on clean energy] must begin to change among citizens at large.”

But changing minds wasn’t all Droz was interested in.

The next line in his memo reads: “Ultimate Goal: Change policy direction based on the message.” Image
Droz, like many climate deniers, understood the power of offering the public and lawmakers a set of “alternative facts.”

All credible experts agree wind energy is better for the environment than fossil fuels.

Droz knew it was possible to convince people otherwise. Image
Clean energy projects create jobs and tax revenue. They're great for local economies.

Droz offered an alternative assessment. Image
At the secret meeting in 2012, he proposed an idea:

Established think tanks like Heartland, CFACT, and Cato could publish these "alternative facts."

And volunteers in communities across the U.S. could present them to local lawmakers. Image
Of course, these volunteers couldn't just be against clean energy.

Droz wrote about this in a later training document titled "What Not To Say."

He writes that if you're against something, "You will be painted as a denier and as a person against progress (going green)."
One of Droz' most effective students, Susan Ralston, mastered this principle.

She named her organization "Citizens for Responsible Solar."

The group has blocked huge projects across Virginia. Their main argument: Solar should be on rooftops, not rural land. Image
By far the most unique tactic, I saw in Droz' training materials was his suggestion that clean energy opponents never compromise.

According to Droz, the way to win "the war on clean energy" is to come out with aggressive demands and stick to them. Image
This approach has led his students to pass laws that literally or effectively ban clean energy in communities across the United States.

When they don't succeed at that, they file lawsuits that can drag out for years.
All around the country, clean energy opponents are using this playbook to block solar and wind farms.

Projects that could have offered substantial carbon emissions reductions in almost every state have been blocked as a result.
As for John Droz? He's reinvented himself once more.

In searching public records for his name, I came across dozens of emails to officials everywhere from Arizona to Pennsylvania about his "independent analysis of the 2020 election."

Droz is now an election security expert.
Later this week I plan to publish a story about who is funding and spreading clean energy misinformation.

Stay tuned.

And if you missed it, you can check out last week's story below:

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More from @curious_founder

Feb 3
Last night, Jesse Watters lied to his audience again when he said that offshore wind farms are killing whales.

Ocean scientists say there is zero evidence for this claim.

Here are some of the advertisers who are funding this misinformation:
Both @Intuit and @MazdaUSA have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

But they sponsored Jesse Watters' latest segment promoting lies about offshore wind. Image
A few months ago, Watters ran another segment falsely claiming that offshore wind farms kill whales.

That segment was sponsored by @ATT, another company that has pledged to go carbon neutral. Image
Read 7 tweets
Jan 31
Earlier this month, Tucker Carlson claimed that offshore wind farms are killing whales.

The only problem? Ocean scientists say there's zero evidence for this claim.

For his segment, Carlson also chose to interview someone being bankrolled by the fossil fuel industry.

In the last two months, nine whales have been found dead on the East Coast.

Carlson devoted a recent segment to this problem.

His guest, Meghan Lapp, said offshore wind developers are “essentially carpet bombing the ocean floor with intense sound” while conducting surveys.
In response, Carlson said, “Whales use sound to navigate. So why wouldn’t that be affecting or killing them? You're applying the principles of science.”

He added that offshore wind is the “DDT of our times."
Read 13 tweets
Jan 26
If you were to weigh all the greenhouse gasses that humans have pumped into the atmosphere since 1750, methane molecules would only make up 3% of the total.

Yet, this super pollutant has been responsible for about 30% of warming since then.…
This is one of the most important things to understand about methane:

A relatively small amount of the potent greenhouse gas can change Earth’s climate dramatically.

Per ton, methane is 30-80x more potent than carbon dioxide.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human-activities, like fossil fuel production, have added billions of tons of methane into the atmosphere.

As a result, today, there’s more than twice as much methane in the atmosphere as there was in pre-industrial times. Image
Read 5 tweets
Jan 25
The Arctic is warming 4x faster than the rest of the planet. Image
This is especially concerning because a lot of carbon and methane are trapped in the frozen Arctic ground.

When temperatures rise, that permafrost melts, and greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere.
This dynamic, in which warmer temperatures cause the planet to release more greenhouse gasses, is often referred to as a positive feedback loop.

Triggering a feedback loop in the Arctic could be catastrophic given that there are 1,600 billion tons of CO2 trapped in permafrost.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 23
Methane emissions are growing faster than anytime in recorded history.
Annual methane emissions broke records in both 2020 and 2021, according to NOAA.
As @jefftollef writes, "The growth of methane emissions slowed around the turn of the millennium, but began a rapid and mysterious uptick around 2007."…
Read 5 tweets
Jan 23
Methane levels have been growing quickly in the last 15 years.

What are the leading theories to explain this?
According to this article from @insideclimate, "Researchers initially assumed the increase was linked to fossil fuel production."

But now they think it is natural causes, which were probably triggered by human-caused warming.…
But it sounds like there's still some debate on exactly what's going on.

I'd love to hear other competing theories.
Read 5 tweets

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