Brendan DeMelle's blog

Smoke and Fumes: Six Decades of Oil-Tobacco Nexus of Deception and Attacks on Science

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) today expanded its website SmokeandFumes.org, featuring a new video and more internal industry documents dating back to the 1950s that reveal the nexus between the oil and tobacco industries’ shared campaigns to undermine science to delay accountability and political action to curtail their deadly products.

CIEL has uncovered new evidence showing that it was the work performed for the oil industry by PR firms (particularly Hill & Knowlton) that attracted the tobacco industry to follow suit — in contrast to the prevailing narrative that Big Oil deployed the Tobacco Playbook to ward off responsibility for climate change resulting from its fossil fuel pollution.

Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco,” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett in a statement. “It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized and sought out.”

‘Climate Inaction Figures’ Campaign Launches To Combat Anti-Science Absurdity, Promote a Price On Carbon

The cloak of denial, an anti-science shield, the Koch Brothers’ chest full of money, and James Inhofe’s weapon of choice, a spiked snowball.

These are some of the accessories that come with the newly announced Climate Inaction Figures: Toy-sized likenesses of prominent political figures who claim, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that there is no reason to act on climate change. 

The figures and the campaign are the work of the team behind the Emmy-Award winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously.

Besides offering a much-needed laugh during these days of convention craziness, the project hopes to inspire people to learn more about — and take action — on carbon pricing policy work.

The campaign directs people to theclimatesolution.com, a website that explores the benefits and practicality of putting a price on carbon.

Because if you’re not part of the solution, well… then the Climate Inaction Figures win. 

Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action

On Monday and Tuesday this week, at least 19 U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy action will speak out on the Senate floor in support of the Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial.

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

Joined in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Lieu (D- CA), these champions for climate action and accountability in the Senate are calling out the use of think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups to create doubt about climate science. Read the resolution [PDF].

Exxon Sues MA Attorney General In Retaliatory Attempt To Intimidate ‘Exxon Knew’ Climate Accountability Movement

Acting like a wounded and cornered beast, ExxonMobil has launched what appears to be a blatantly retaliatory and frivolous lawsuit against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Beneath a very thin veil, this legal maneuver by Exxon is seemingly an effort to intimidate any and all who seek to hold the oil giant accountable for its multi-million dollar campaign to attack climate science and sow doubt through decades of deception.

Just to remind everyone – 17 Attorneys General are investigating what Exxon knew about climate science and when, as well as what the company has done to potentially mislead policymakers and the public in order to delay action to address climate change.

Exxon has claimed that there has always been uncertainty within the company about the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change.

Yet, as InsideClimate News and the LA Times and Columbia School of Journalism and the Center for International Environmental Law and other investigations have pointed out, Exxon and others in the oil industry had advanced knowledge of the link between fossil fuel combustion and global warming decades ago.

And DeSmog uncovered an Exxon document that unequivocally stated the company’s knowledge in the late 1970s. Read DeSmog's investigation: “There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

Houston Chronicle Business Columnist Calls for Exxon Climate Denial Investigation, Slams Paxton, Cites DeSmog Research

In case you missed this excellent article over the weekend, “Exxon Mobil documents call for a thorough investigation,” Houston Chronicle business columnist Chris Tomlinson cites DeSmog’s research in a hard-hitting call for state attorneys general to continue investigating Exxon’s potentially fraudulent efforts to mislead the public and investors about climate change risks.

The Chronicle's business columnist also takes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to task for his industry-friendly efforts to pour cold water on the important investigations underway by 17 state Attorneys General looking at Exxon’s history of climate denial. Tomlinson minces no words in slamming Paxton as “a man bold enough to remain in office while facing state and federal fraud charges. The former corporate lawyer has proved he's a political pawn who could care not less about law enforcement, because there is certainly enough evidence to warrant an investigation into Exxon Mobil.”

Tomlinson cites internal corporate documents recently uncovered by DeSmog’s investigative journalism team in which corporate officials claimed in the late 1970s that “there is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

Announcing DeSmog UK's New Editor Kyla Mandel

DeSmog UK is pleased to introduce you to its new editor, Kyla Mandel. Starting this month, Kyla will take the reins from DeSmog UK’s founding editor Brendan Montague as he leaves to pursue writing a book on climate denial.

Kyla began working with DeSmog UK as deputy editor in November 2014 shortly after the project launched. During this time, she has broken numerous stories on energy policy, including one on the Koch Brothers' European lobbying efforts.

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