Wanted — outrageous, outdated, out-of-context sound bites for use by major environmental advocacy group leader. No in-depth research, scientific literacy, or other validation needed. Just “short and punchy” quotes that can be used in a debate against best-selling science author. Contact Carl Pope at the Sierra Club.

Fantasy? Not really. In a stunning display of mercenary tactics, Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope sent an e-mail last Friday to thousands of activists, looking for ammunition to use in a debate (scheduled for Thursday night) against best-selling Danish author Bjorn Lomborg.

What made Pope’s public plea so unusual is that he openly asked for out-of-context material with which to tar-and-feather corporations sponsoring the so-called “Cooler Heads Coalition,” which argues for moderation in environmental policy. “What I am seeking for my presentation,” Pope wrote, “is outrageous quotations by spokespersons of these corporations, even if very old — but they need to be short and punchy for use in a debate.”

Lomborg has come under fire from activist leaders like Carl Pope for questioning their exaggerated and often unfounded positions on genetically improved foods, global warming, endangered species, and the ecology of modern farms. His landmark book The Skeptical Environmentalist has made him a lightning rod for green scaremongers who fear the loss of political influence that would result from a better understanding of how far their claims stray from reality.