But while CEI may not have given up on the climate debate, it has taken up the debate on a lot of other topics. CEI scholars still produce papers, are still available for TV interviews, and still churn out op-ed columns on subjects like broadband regulation, ethanol subsidies, smoking bans, and genetically modified crops (in order: bad, bad, bad, good). And CEI's fundraising is healthier than ever. In 2007, after Exxon cut off its funding, the group reported a near-record $3.54 million in revenue. Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Google, and Microsoft topped the list at Thursday's gala.
In the keynote speech, BB&T Bank Chairman John Allison delivered a half-hour account of how the financial collapse was caused by excessive government regulation. Like CEI's position on climate change, the argument is one that runs counter to mainstream analysis. Unlike CEI's position on climate change, it's an argument that CEI's audience supports. Allison's speech brought the crowd to its feet.