Brendan DeMelle's blog

Fri, 2010-02-05 12:19Brendan DeMelle
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ACCCE Hires New PR Firm With Bush Ties To Push Coal

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has hired two new public relations firms to hock its message in the wake of the disastrous job done by Bonner & Associates. 

ACCCE has retained HDMK, a PR firm with very strong ties to former President George W. Bush and the Republican Party, to manage its national media efforts, while Dan Ronayne, a managing director of the Howard Consulting Group, was retained to work with regional reporters.

HDMK is run by Terry Holt, the national campaign spokesperson for George W. Bush in the 2004 election and the former spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner.  Other HDMK partners include Trent Duffy, a former deputy press secretary to President George W. Bush, Jim Morrell, former deputy chief of staff to the House Republican Conference and a speechwriter for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), and Chad Kolton, another long-time Republican communications operative who served in the Bush administration as press secretary at the OMB and FEMA.

Wed, 2010-02-03 17:51Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Skeptics Try To Spin Penn State Exoneration of Dr. Michael Mann Into “Whitewash”

Penn State University’s inquiry into climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann’s conduct surrounding the emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University concluded there is no evidence to substantiate the claims made by the right-wing media against Mann.

The Penn State panel cleared Dr. Mann of any wrongdoing in three of the four areas it probed, recommending only that a separate panel of faculty members pursue a follow-up investigation into the allegation that Dr. Mann “engaged in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.”

Dr. Mann’s response to the outcome:
“This is very much the vindication I expected since I am confident I have done nothing wrong.

I fully support the additional inquiry which may be the best way to remove any lingering doubts. I intend to cooperate fully in this matter – as I have since the beginning of the process.”


Pete Altman over at NRDC’s Switchboard blog notes: “That’s about as close to a silver bullet as you are going to find in terms of shooting down the conspiracy theorists who are touting their ‘climategate’ nonsense.”

Altman notes that Professor Mann has “has been the victim of an extended vicious and unfounded smear campaign.”

But none of that seems to sink into the brain of the self-titled “Junkman,” Steven Milloy, who instead screams “whitewash” and accuses Penn State of ignoring allegations that were never under question.  Milloy would rather Penn State investigate whether global warming is real to suit his own fantasies that there is a debate on that question.  He just can’t stand the fact that a formal inquiry launched by a prestigious university didn’t end up the way he wanted it to.

Mon, 2010-02-01 17:27Brendan DeMelle
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CRU Hack Was A Highly Sophisticated Spy Job, Prominent British Scientist Says

Sir David King, the UK’s former chief scientist, strongly believes that the theft of hundreds of emails from the Climatic Research Unit in East Anglia was carried out by highly-paid professionals, perhaps a foreign intelligence agency, and was deliberately designed to destabilize the Copenhagen climate talks last December.

The highly sophisticated hacking operation involved stealing more than 1,000 emails and some 2,000 documents from a backup server at the University which would have been difficult to access remotely. 

According to The Independent newspaper, King believes the hack “was carried out by a team of skilled professionals, either on behalf of a foreign government or at the behest of anti-climate change lobbyists in the United States.” 

“It was a sophisticated and expensive operation. In terms of the expense, there is the American lobby system which is a very likely source of finance. Right now, the American lobbyists are a very likely source of finance for this, so the finger must point to them,” he said.

Fri, 2010-01-22 13:19Brendan DeMelle
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When Corporations Rule The World (thanks to the Supreme Court)

With its ruling in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Supreme Court has granted corporations even further unfettered access to destroy the fundamental Constitutional protections against corporate control of government.  The Chamber of Commerce and ExxonMobil must be thrilled.

The title of David Korten’s excellent 2001 book about the rise of corporate control in  America popped into my head as I read the depressing news about the Supreme Court’s gift to corporate America (as if they need another handout from U.S. taxpayers). 

Corporations, Wall Street and other special interests can now spend as much as they want on commercials and literature to call for the victory or defeat of federal political candidates.  Unlike previously acceptable “issue ads,” candidates can now be mentioned by name, as long as there’s no coordination with the candidates or campaigns.

The decision, a 5-4 vote, overturned a 20-year-old ruling barring such ads.

Fossil fuel interests, rejoice.  Working American families, not so much.  Efforts to create good-paying green jobs, transition to a clean energy future and ambitiously address global warming just got a lot harder.

Thu, 2010-01-21 13:35Brendan DeMelle
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George Monbiot Unveils Winner of Annual Award For Most Distorted Climate Coverage

George Monbiot, the Guardian’s straight-shooting environmental columnist, today unveiled the winner of the second annual (and final, if Monbiot can resist the urge to dole it out next year) Christopher Booker prize, given to the “journalist” who most flagrantly ignores facts in favor of cramming the greatest number of thoroughly debunked climate denier claims into a single entry.  

This year’s winner, John Tomlinson, a columnist for the Flint Journal in Michigan, managed to cram an impressive 38 misleading statements into a piece only 805 words long, a rate of one misleading statement per 21 words.  All in direct response to Monbiot’s earlier criticism of Tomlinson’s distorted columns.

Tomlinson managed to beat “his own provisional world record for density: the ratio of falsehoods to words,” by cramming more climate denial into one piece than his previous effort earlier in the year which contained 18 errors in just 486 words, a rate of one error per 26 words. 

Wed, 2010-01-20 12:51Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Denial Industry Blowing Hot Air On Himalayan Glaciers

The climate denial industry is once again trying to make a huge to-do about a tiny error by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

With the Climategate Swifthack episode fading from the limelight, after a thorough debunking of far-fetched accusations that scientists made up global warming, the climate science attack machine now wants the world to focus on one paragraph out of a 938-page, three-year-old report.

The contrarians are questioning a single reference to Himalayan glaciers included in a 2007 IPCC report that does not meet the IPCC’s well-established evidentiary standards.

Here is their alleged smoking gun: The second of three 2007 reports from the IPCC included a statement that the likelihood of Himalayan glaciers disappearing “by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”

But the reference to Himalayan glaciers melting at that early date didn’t originate from a peer-reviewed study, meaning it should not have appeared in the IPCC report. 

Sure, that’s slightly embarrassing.  But it isn’t grounds to declare the entire library of climate science a fraud. The IPCC’s findings have been validated and substantiated by assessments conducted by leading scientific institutions the world over. 

The real news here is that a single ‘error’ was discovered in just one of the IPCC’s reports, collectively reams of paper thick, and the ‘error’ isn’t an error at all.  The Himalayan glaciers are melting.  There is no debate about that in the scientific community.

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