Myron Ebell, the director of the Global Warming for the (ExxonMobil-funded) Competitive Enterprise Institute, gave an interview to the BBC’s flagship Today programme on Thursday (RealAudio at 3:49), in which he questioned the credibility of non-American scientists and accused European environmental policy-makers of having an ulterior agenda against American business. The interview provoked listener outgage and a motion censuring him in the House of Commons (RealAudio).

In the interview, Ebell said there were “people who know nothing about climate science like Sir David King, your Chief Scientific Advisor, who are alarmist and continually promote this just rediculous claim, but Sir David has no expertise in climate science.”

Ebell also suggested that climate change denial is more widespread in the United States than elseqhere because “we still have independent scientists in this country“ whereas “virtually all scientific funding in Europe and Japan and Australia is directly from government.”

But Ebell’s most brazen suggestion that the EU had dubious motivations for its environmental policies:

In the European Union’s case, it’s not a conspiracy — it’s right out in the open. Margot Wallstrom, the EU Commissioner for the Evironment, outgoing, said at one point and was quoted in I belive one of the London papers, that this is much more of a scientific issue or an environmental issue. This was about levelling the global playing field for business. And that’s because European businesses are not competitive in most areas with American businesses, and by putting a governor on our energy use the EU actually hopes to slow down and hamper American competitiveness. … I think that is pretty obviously and explicitly the programme of the EU Commission.”

The quote in question probably comes from Wallstrom’s reactions to President George W. Bush’s renuciation of the Kyoto protocol. Here’s what the Independent reported on 30 March 2001:

Margot Wallstrom, the European Commissioner for the Environment, said Washington had to be made aware that “this is not … some kind of marginal environmental issue that can be ignored or played down; it is to do with international relations, trade and economics.”

As Ms Wallstrom said yesterday, the US position goes to the heart of the principle of nations trading freely on a level playing field. The Commissioner argued: “Why should we put European business and European companies under such pressure and let American companies off the hook? Why should they play by other rules than European companies.”

In other words, Wallstrom wasn’t suggesting that Kyoto Protocols could be used to bolster uncompetitive European businesses. Quite the opposite, in fact: she was concerned that Amreican withdrawal from the treaty would distort transatlantic competition in American companies&rsquo favour.