Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 03:58 • Justin Mikulka

We’re certainly not advocating any strategy for reducing hydrocarbon emissions by keeping oil in the ground…that’s not a position.” 

This was the response of Christopher A. Smith when he was asked what he thought of the “growing movement of keeping oil in the ground” at the 2016 Columbia Global Energy Summit in April.

Since Chris Smith worked for more than a decade for Chevron and Texaco, this answer should not surprise anyone. 

However, Chris Smith now works for President Obama as assistant secretary of fossil energy, so when he says “we’re certainly not advocating” he is referring to the fact that the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy does not support any strategy to keep oil in the ground. 

And if you think Mr. Smith isn’t in a position of authority in the Obama administration when it comes to oil policy, you might want to consider how he was introduced at the event by moderator Antoine Halff:

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Friday, May 27, 2016 - 04:58 • Connor Gibson

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson, originally published at Huffington Post.

FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA. As the Spring, 2016 semester concluded, George Mason University sophomore Mark Hammond made a daring announcement: he ditched GMU’s economics department out of concern that Kansas billionaire Charles Koch’s preferences took precedence over his education.

GMU’s student paper, the Fourth Estate, apparently forgot to publish Mark’s op-ed online. I am republishing Mark’s writing here, with his permission. I added references to the text myself.

Last fall, when I first arrived at George Mason, I decided to major in economics. Halfway through the semester, I learned about the large amount of money GMU has accepted from Charles Koch and the power such money has given the Charles Koch Foundation at other universities.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 13:38 • Farron Cousins

News flash: Donald Trump has proven again that he would be a disastrous President who would let our planet fry. Today, he added further insult to existing injury, launching a jaw-dropping energy speech that defies reality.

April 2016 set a record as the hottest April on record since temperatures were first recorded. Unfortunately, this was not a fluke; This has become the “new normal.” April was the 12th consecutive month that broke monthly high-temperature records. In other words, the last twelve months have been the hottest months ever recorded for each respective month.

The Democratic candidates that have run for Party’s nomination have all been on the same page in terms of accepting the scientific consensus that the atmosphere is warming up and that human activity is the biggest cause. But the Republican candidates, a pool that has been whittled down to include only Donald Trump, have consistently declared that climate change is a hoax.

The New York Times explains Donald Trump’s previous comments about climate and energy as follows:

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Thursday, May 26, 2016 - 13:25 • Itai Vardi

A contractor hired last year by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review a proposed gas pipeline by Spectra Energy, had already been working for the company on a related project, a DeSmog investigation has found.

Such an alleged conflict of interest suggests that the contractor had a financial stake in approving the project it was hired to review.

As part of a formal Pre-Filing Review Process for Spectra Energy’s Atlantic Bridge project, FERC hired in early 2015 a third-party contractor to review the pipeline. A proposed expansion of the company’s existing Algonquin Pipeline carrying fracked gas from Pennsylvania to the Northeast US and Canada, the project involves the construction of several new pipeline segments in New York and New England and a new compressor station in the town of Weymouth, Massachusetts. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 04:58 • Steve Horn

Anna Kalinsky, the granddaughter of former Exxon climate scientist James Black, has berated the company for bankrolling climate change denial despite her grandfather's attempts to inform the company of the risks of burning fossil fuels for the global climate.

In 1977 my grandfather was a senior scientist at Exxon. He warned Exxon executives that the world was just a few years away from needing to rethink our energy strategy to prevent destructive climate change,” Kalinsky says.

“Instead, Exxon chose to mislead people about the risks of climate change – and continues to mislead people today. The company says they value their scientists and all the work they do, but that’s pretty hard to believe when they continue to fund organizations – both publicly and anonymously – that spread misinformation about the science.”

Kalinsky's comments came during a call with media prior to ExxonMobil's May 25 Annual General Meeting in Dallas, Texas, where shareholders will vote on a number of resolutions pertaining to climate change. 

Kalinsky is slated to address ExxonMobil's executives and speak about her grandfather's scientific findings which were featured in a September investigative article by InsideClimate News.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 02:58 • Sharon Kelly

If you've felt an earthquake in Texas at any point over the last four decades, odds are that quake wasn't naturally occurring, but was caused by oil and gas industry activities, according to a newly published scientific report.

Just 13 percent of Texas earthquakes larger than magnitude 3 since 1975 were the result of natural causes alone, according to scientists from the University of Texas who published their peer-reviewed paper in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

In recent years, fracking wastewater injection wells have become the primary cause of tremblors in the state, the report adds.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 02:03 • Will Yeates

I do believe in 2 degrees, but I do not believe I can do it on my own”. The words that Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden used at Tuesday’s annual shareholder meeting mirror the company’s ‘could do, won’t do’ attitude to limiting global warming.

Shell’s chairman Charles Holliday described their management of the energy transition after the Paris climate change conference as “so far so good” despite a page one disclaimer in their latest report saying they have no plans to use their pathway to net zero in their next 10-20 year investment horizon.

As van Beurden said in response to a shareholder question: “My expectation that oil will be phased out in 2070 is actually quite arbitrary” going on to say oil and gas could still be relevant until 2100.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 13:46 • Guest

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup, cross-posted from EcoWatch

Donald Trump has said numerous times in various places that he does not consider climate change to be a significant problem warranting corrective action. From calling it pseudoscience to a Chinese conspiracy to an elaborate hoax, he’s made it a point to take theKoch-approved stance, even as he disavows such big-money influence in politics. But as Politico’s Ben Schreckinger has uncovered, when it comes to his business and not campaign rhetoric, Trump apparently takes climate change seriously.

At a minimum, those in charge of running one of Trump’s golf courses in Ireland seem to be climate conscious. In a planning application, Trump asked for permission to construct a two-mile sea wall to keep the rising sea levels from eroding the golf course. The impact statement refers not only to the coastal erosion from rising seas, but also the even larger risk from storm systems amplified by global warming.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 03:58 • Steve Horn

On May 4, several environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for an end to the regulatory exemption it carved out in the late 1980s for the oil and gas industry with regards to how it handles industrial waste.

That exemption to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, a recent DeSmog investigation showed, was pushed in the forefront almost from day one of RCRA's passage by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC). IOGCC is a U.S. Congress-chartered interstate compact consisting of U.S. oil and gas producing states, with a membership roll that includes state-level regulators, industry lobbyists and executives.

The EPA, which granted the oil and gas industry the RCRA exemption in 1988, serves as an IOGCC affiliate member.

An ongoing DeSmog investigation into IOGCC has exhibited that it often behaves like an unregistered lobbying node for the oil and gas industry. DeSmog has also obtained more documents, published here for the first time, revealing IOGCC's role in pushing for and creating the RCRA loophole. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 00:01 • Kyla Mandel

It is time that Shell be held accountable for the damages it has done on our communities and environment,” says Monique Verdin, an indigenous resident of the Louisiana coast and member-elect of the United Houma Nation Council.

Verdin has travelled to the Netherlands to speak out on behalf of the coastal community against Shell’s offshore drilling at the oil giant’s annual general meeting (AGM) today.

The AGM comes less than two weeks after Shell spilled more than 88,000 gallons of oil from a group of four underwater oil wells located some 97 miles south of Port Fourchon in Louisiana and creating a 13 mile-wide slick on the water’s surface.

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