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Tue, 2010-11-16 14:17Brendan DeMelle
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Pittsburgh Bans Natural Gas Drilling Over Fracking Threat

The Pittsburgh City Council today unanimously adoped a first-in-the-nation ordinance banning corporations from drilling for natural gas within city limits, a direct response to the threats to drinking water and public health posed by hydraulic fracturing methods used widely by drilling companies to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.

Pittsburgh City Council President Darlene Harris said her biggest concern about natural gas fracking involves the threat to people’s health posed by water contaminated by Marcellus drilling. She noted that the gas industry’s claims about creating the thousands of jobs isn’t worth the risk.

“They’re bringing jobs all right,” Harris told CBS News. “There’s going to be a lot of jobs for funeral homes and hospitals. That’s where the jobs are. Is it worth it?”

Beyond its innovative approach to fighting the fracking threat, the ordinance - drafted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) - seeks to limit the claim of “personhood” by corporations and to elevate the rights of property owners and other living, breathing citizens above the interests of corporations.

According to Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields, who introduced the measure, “This ordinance recognizes and secures expanded civil rights for the people of Pittsburgh, and it prohibits activities which would violate those rights.  It protects the authority of the people of Pittsburgh to pass this ordinance by undoing corporate privileges that place the rights of the people of Pittsburgh at the mercy of gas corporations.”

Fri, 2010-11-12 10:42Brendan DeMelle
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Koch Industries: 2010's Dirtiest Opponent of Clean Energy

This is a guest post by Josh Nelson, the New Media Director at the Alliance for Climate Protection and its Repower America campaign.

Three weeks ago, we asked our members to nominate the worst corporate polluters of 2010. Our goal was to identify organizations that have hijacked our democracy, devastated our environment and denied the science of climate change — all while reaping massive profits. The response was overwhelming. In just a few days, more than 4,000 people submitted their nominations, many of which were passionate and articulate. The next week, we introduced the top four nominees: Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, BP and Massey Energy. A few days and 13,000 votes later we had our winner: Koch Industries.

Now, you may have heard a thing or two about Koch Industries. Their role in funding climate change deniers is well documented. What you may not realize is that Koch intentionally flies beneath the radar. David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is the biggest company you’ve never heard of. They’re able to remain unknown because they hide behind shadowy front groups like Americans for Prosperity. Co-founded by David Koch, Americans for Prosperity funds advertising and public events designed to mislead Americans about climate change and energy policy.

Fri, 2010-11-12 10:05Brendan DeMelle
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George Marshall: The Ingenious Ways We Avoid Believing in Climate Change

George Marshall, founder of the UK-based Climate Outreach Information Network, has a new three-part video series exploring ‘The Ingenious Ways We Avoid Believing in Climate Change.’  Marshall explores the psychology of climate change denial and climate communications, both in this video series and on his blog ClimateDenial.org. Check out the videos below.
 
Part one
Risk – and why we don’t feel threatened by climate change
Belief – why we can’t just accept the information and need to believe in it
Attention – how avoiding  talking about climate change is like avoiding talking about human rights atrocities

Thu, 2010-11-04 14:02Brendan DeMelle
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Special Interests Enabled By 'Citizens United' Spent $186 Million To Influence U.S. Midterm Races

The success of GOP and Tea Party-backed candidates in the 2010 U.S. midterm elections was enabled by a massive influx of secretive spending thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.

A new analysis by the Sunlight Foundation identified $126 million in unrestricted funds spent during this midterm without any disclosure of whose money it was. That figure represents more than a quarter of the total $450 million spent by outside groups on the midterms.

Sunlight Foundation notes that:

“Add the $60 million spent by groups that were allowed to raise unlimited money, but still had to disclose, to the undisclosed money and the total amount of outside money made possible by the Citizens United ruling reaches $186 million or 40 percent of the total spent by outside groups.”


The two leading GOP shadow groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS - both founded and guided by GOP veterans Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie - are reportedly “gloating” over their influence on the elections. The two groups spent more than $38 million on attack ads and misinformation campaigns to defeat Democratic candidates.

NBC News reports that “a substantial portion of Crossroads GPS’ money came from a small circle of extremely wealthy Wall Street hedge fund and private equity moguls.”

Wed, 2010-11-03 18:04Brendan DeMelle
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Welcome the GOP Anti-Science Caucus - Only Four GOP House Members Acknowledge Science of Climate Change

Just how bad is the new crop of Tea Party-infused GOPers when it comes to scientific understanding of climate change?  Pretty mind-bogglingly abyssmal. 

A new analysis by the Wonk Room with research by Daily Kos contributor RL Miller details the denial among the new crop of Climate Zombies that will be walking the halls of Congress.

Among the findings: “45 of 97 Republican freshmen and 85 of 166 reelected Republicans are confirmed climate zombies. There are no Republican freshmen, in the House or Senate, who admit the science is real.”

Yikes.

Head over to the Wonk Room for the full report.

Wed, 2010-11-03 17:49Brendan DeMelle
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William Reese: "Warning To the People of Earth"

Here is a new documentary worth watching compiling the lectures and planetary warning issued by William Rees, the co-creator of the Eco-Footprint concept and Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Rees has measured humanity’s use of the planet’s resources, and has concluded - not surprisingly - that humans are using more resources than the planet can supply us with sustainably.

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