- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 7, 2019

For an official document, it looked a little suspicious — the word “aging” was misspelled — and as it turns out, the city of Denver’s declaration of a climate emergency was phony, an elaborate hoax perpetrated by activists.

The Sunrise Movement, a Rockefeller-funded youth climate-change group, admitted that it fabricated the letter from the Denver Office of Sustainability on what it appeared to be city letterhead, and released it to coincide with Thursday’s Sustainable Denver Summit.

The ruse was discovered by Colorado Public Radio’s Michael Elizabeth Sakas, who contacted Sunrise’s Colorado chapter about the document’s claim that Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis “are officially announcing a Climate Emergency.”

“The letter wasn’t real. But Sunrise told me their plan was to make the media believe the letter was real for ‘as long as possible,’” Ms. Sakas tweeted Friday. “We never would have run this story without confirmation from the mayor’s office, but their attempt to have us publish it as truth WAS real.”



The fake letter also “apologized” for allowing the energy company Suncor to cosponsor the summit, accusing the firm of “relentless contaminating practices” and denouncing the summit as “greenwashing.”

Energy in Depth’s William Allison blasted Sunrise for the “deception” and “shady tactics,” noting that Sunrise was also accused of blocking a Washington Examiner reporter from covering a rally in May.

“The situation is all the more ironic considering the Sunrise Movement likes to allege falsehoods from energy companies without any proof,” he said in an article for the industry-funded website.

The Sunrise Movement has emerged as a major player on climate change, teaming up with Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for a 2018 sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

In a tweet, Sunrise Colorado confessed to writing the letter but didn’t apologize, saying, “Update: It’s true, we admit we wrote the letter…But we hope it models the leadership that Coloradans deserve.”

The phony document received a thumbs-up from Diane Bray, a psychologist and candidate for the Colorado Democratic Senate nomination, who tweeted, “I absolutely love this fictitious letter” and chided those criticizing the hoax.

“It’s interesting the way that some people are offended by the misrepresentation as if some great harm has been done,” said Ms. Bray. “It highlights the real dangerous dishonesty that has been going on for decades by the fossil fuel industry. Well done.”



Sunrise has endorsed former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff for the Democratic Senate nomination in a rebuke to former Gov. John Hickenlooper, the frontrunner in the race to challenge Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sunrise activists followed up by holding a sit-in Friday at the Colorado governor’s office.

“For politicians like Andrew Romanoff and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who have received support from the Sunrise Movement, it might be time to reconsider if it’s worth staking their reputation on a group that deliberately lies to the media and the public,” said Mr. Allison.

Founded in 2017, Sunrise received much of its initial financial support from the Rockefeller Family Fund and Wallace Global Fund, according to Inside Philanthropy.

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