Note to Carol Browner: Even if the idea is right, you gotta make sure it's backed by the truth

Carol Browner was quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday.  The quote was from an energy conference held in Washington a week earlier.  Here's the quote in its entirety:
People like to pooh-pooh regulations and suggest that, somehow or another, regulations are not good for business. But, in fact, regulations can create business certainty and business opportunity. When the government puts in place a requirement and standard, that means there’s the certainty of a return on capital investments.
And we have a long history in this country of doing just that. If you go back to 1990 when the Congress decided to ban chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, a market opportunity was created. And we found a solution or a replacement for CFCs, which were dangerous to the upper ozone, and we did it more cheaply and more quickly than anyone anticipated.
Some in this industry and the natural gas exploration extraction industry have not been as forthcoming as others. . . . I would just encourage the industry to be as transparent as possible in an effort to ensure that this is a thoughtful discussion about how we move forward.

I agree wholeheartedly with Ms. Browner's sentiments (hey, she used to be my boss!).  However, focusing on the second paragraph, I found it shocking that she presented the CFC phase-out that way.   I know that she knows what she said there is not true; she was around back then and working on these issues.  Congress did not decide in 1990 to phase out CFCs.  The US signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 and Congress ratified it in 1988.  That's when they made the decision to phase them out, but the US had already decided to be part of the international effort much earlier.  She makes it sound like Congress was somehow instrumental in the decision itself, which is completely untrue.  What happened in 1990 was the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendments that created the mechanisms to actually carry out the Montreal Protocol.

This may seem like a minor detail, but for people like me who know this, it's very transparently wrong.  It serves no purpose to mischaracterize or misrepresent the truth when it would be just as easy to tell it correctly.  Getting it wrong just reduces one's credibility, especially when the rest of the message is exactly on target.

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