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Koch-funded 'Expert' Attacks Electric Cars in PragerU’s 'War on Cars' Video

Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:08
War on Cars video screen shot of stick figure holding a stop sign for people in cars

According to a recent video hosted by automotive expert and media personality Lauren Fix, there’s a “war on cars” raging in this country that is threatening the chief of all American values — our very freedom. No, this isn’t the war on electric vehicles that the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers have been waging (and which we’ve been tracking on Koch vs. Clean). Rather, says Fix, “there’s been a concerted push by government bureaucrats and environmentalists to transform car ownership from a source of pride to a source of guilt.”

What Fix doesn't mention in this video is her ties to funding from the Koch brothers. In addition, the organization behind the video she hosted, Prager University (PragerU), is a not a university but rather a non-profit founded by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, with a stated mission to spread “Americanism” through five minute internet videos. Videos, which include such titles as “Fossil Fuels: The Greenest Energy” and “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuel.”

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Home for Texas Environmental Hero Hilton Kelley

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 05:47
Hilton Kelley in front of his flooded home in Nederland, Texas

Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters were still receding from Port Arthur, Texas, on September 4, when Hilton Kelley and his wife Marie returned to their home and business for the first time since evacuating. 

Port Arthur is located about 100 miles east of Houston on the Gulf Coast. The heavily industrialized area rivals Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, with an even greater concentration of hazardous waste and petrochemical facilities.

Kelley is intimately familiar with the town’s refineries. He spent the last 17 years fighting for clean air and water in the Port Arthur community adjacent to those refineries. His work earned him the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, which is awarded to “grassroots environmental heroes” ― something of a Nobel Prize for environmentalists. 

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Hurricane Harvey, Climate Denial, Fake News and ExxonMobil

Tue, 09/05/2017 - 19:09

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

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Invisible Horseman: An Interview with Photographer Troy Moth

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 15:49
Invisible Horseman. Troy Moth

Troy Moth is an artist and photographer living on Vancouver Island. Moth’s iconic images are featured on art gallery walls and trendy t-shirts alike, famed for their stark, smoky portrayals of landscapes and creatures, of both the human and non-human variety.

Moth recently published a provocative photo of a wild bear slouched in the smouldering landfill of a remote Canadian community. We asked him if he’d speak to us about the image, why it elicits such strong reaction in its viewers and what the apocalypse has got to do with it.

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What Hurricane Harvey Says About Risk, Climate, and Resilience

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 15:24
Hurricane Harvey from space

By Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M UniversityDaniel Cohan, Rice University, and Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

Hurricane Harvey has taught us many lessons, but the most valuable may be the oldest lesson of all, one we humans have been learning — and forgetting — since the dawn of time: how much we all have to lose when climate and weather disasters strike.

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Study Finds Exxon Misled the Public by Withholding Climate Knowledge

Sat, 09/02/2017 - 12:08
Exxon sign

Coal, oil and gas are tremendous resources: solar energy absorbed by plants and super-concentrated over millions of years. They’re potent fuels and provide ingredients for valuable products. But the oil boom, spurred by improved drilling technology, came at the wrong time. Profits were (and still are) the priority — rather than finding the best, most efficient uses for finite resources.

In North America, governments and corporations facilitated infrastructure to get people to use oil and gas as if they were limitless. Companies like Ford built cars bigger than necessary, and although early models ran on ethanol, the oil boom made petroleum the fuel of choice. Public transit systems were removed and governments used tax revenues to accommodate private automobiles rather than buses and trains.

The oil industry fulfilled many of its promises and became the main driver of western economies. It increased mobility and led to job and profit growth in vehicle manufacturing, oil and gas, tourism and fast food, among others. Petroleum-derived plastics made life more convenient.

The industry boom and the car culture it fuelled had negative consequences, though — including injuries and death, rapid resource exploitation, pollution and climate change. Plastics are choking oceans and land.

Are these unintended consequences? When did people learn burning large quantities of fossil fuels might be doing more harm than good? Evidence suggests scientists, governments and industry knew all along there would be a steep price to pay for our excesses.

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Australia’s Tony Abbott to Address London Climate Science Denial Group

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 18:19
Tony Abbot and the GWPF

Abbott becomes second former Australian prime minister to address Global Warming Policy Foundation. His speech will be called ‘Daring to Doubt’, writes Karl Mathiesen, editor of Climate Home.

Former Australia prime minister and government backbencher Tony Abbott is set to give the annual lecture to a London-based climate sceptic group.

Abbott will give his speech, entitled ‘Daring to Doubt’, to the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) on 9 October.

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Multiple Industry-Funded Nominations to EPA's Clean Air Advisory Committee

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 18:07
Clean air signs at a rally outside EPA's DC offices

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Back in March, and then again in May, we flagged efforts by Pruitt and the GOP to bend the knee to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries and grant pro-pollution voices even more of a say on science advisory panels. One such panel is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which according to its website, “provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on the technical bases for EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”

The nominations for new members of the CASAC are in, and while most of the names look like solid scientists (.pdf list here), there are a few with affiliations and funding that might raise some eyebrows. (Fortunately, the public comment period is open, so interested persons have until September 18th to email their concerns to Mr. Aaron Yeow, designated federal officer, at

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Meeting Paris Goals Means Dealing with Climate Impacts of Eating Meat

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 01:41
beef cattle in feedlot

Environmental groups place a lot of attention on trying to stop new oil, gas, and coal development since current fossil fuel projects would likely already blow us past the less-than 2°C upper limit for warming laid out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In fact, there’s a whole movement, known as “Keep It in the Ground,” predicated on this idea.

But when faced with a resurgence of support for fossil fuels from the White House, perhaps just as important is talking about how to “Keep It in the Cow,” according to some reports. Right now, experts predict agriculture is set to eat up half the greenhouse gas emissions the world can release by 2050 and still stay below 2°C (3.6°F) of warming.

That is, unless the world takes a big bite out of its meat consumption, especially from cattle and other livestock that chew their cud, say researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Raising these ruminants produces a lot of methane, a much more potent but shorter-lived greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

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Despite Huge Losses and Its own Bungling, Southern Company Wants to Complete Vogtle Plant

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 21:19

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

With Southern Company’s board voting today to green light the completion of the Vogtle nuclear power plant, the prospect that Georgia utility customers may be on the hook for many billions for a plant that may never be economically feasible becomes very real.

Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning has blamed the bankruptcy of nuclear reactor builder Westinghouse for the plant being billions over budget and years behind schedule, calling the Westinghouse collapse an unforeseeable event that caught Southern by surprise.

Tomorrow, Southern Company will recommend to the Georgia Public Service Commission that it nevertheless continue to build the project – which is only 32 percent complete after four years of construction – despite the huge and ever-increasing cost of a plant that the PSC’s own analyses indicate may never be viable commercially.

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Tillerson Scraps US Climate Envoy Position Ahead of UN Talks

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 20:48

With the next round of United Nations climate talks scheduled for November, eyes will be trained on how the United States chooses to engage — or not — now that President Donald Trump is withdrawing the country from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. Yesterday, Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson indicated that this process will not happen through the State Department’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, because, well, he’s scrapping the position.

In a letter to Senate Foreign Relations chair Bob Corker (R-TN), Tillerson wrote, “I believe that the Department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose.”

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How Exxon Used the New York Times to Make You Question Climate Science

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 16:55

A breakthrough study from Harvard unearths the extent Exxon has gone to in order to destroy the public's trust in climate change science.

Last week, Harvard University researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes (of Merchants of Doubt fame) published the first peer-reviewed study comparing ExxonMobil’s internal and external communications on climate change.

The abstract of the Supran and Oreskes study shows that ExxonMobil’s own scientists and executives had a much sharper understanding of climate science than the company told the public (emphasis added):

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12 Years After Katrina, Hurricane Harvey Pummels Gulf Coast, Its Climate Science-Denying Politicians

Tue, 08/29/2017 - 01:37
Debris from people's homes in the street sit across from Press Park, a housing project abandoned after Hurricane Katrina

As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey (now a tropical storm) continue to flood Houston — just days before the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — I visited Shannon Rainey, whose house was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Rainey is worried about family members in Houston. She knows all too well how long it can take to get back what is lost in a storm. “I still live with Katrina every day,” she told me.

New Orleans remains threatened by bands of rain extending from Harvey, causing many residents with fierce memories of Katrina to remain on edge.

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Marohasy’s Machine Learning Paper Gets Schooled

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 15:58

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup 

The big news in denierworld this week is obviously the latest (and peer-reviewed) #ExxonKnew study.

But before Exxon stole the spotlight on Tuesday, the newest paper of note in the Denivory Tower was one published earlier this month in an obscure and soon-to-be discontinued journal. The paper claims current warming is driven by natural forces, and is not uniquely human-caused.

Despite being based entirely on usually denier-derided computer modeling, the study was immediately–and lazily–championed by the climate denial fake news apparatus. Co-author Jennifer Marohasy wrote about the study in an op-ed for the Spectator and at her own blog; her description of her findings was uncritically copy-and-pasted into a Michael Bastasch story at the Daily Caller, reposted at WUWT and TallBloke, praised by James Delingpole at Breitbart and briefly linked to at Drudge (complete with an irrelevant photo of Al Gore).  

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I Was An Exxon-Funded Climate Scientist

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 18:00

By Katharine Hayhoe

ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

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