Kevin Grandia's blog

Denial-a-Palooza: Does German Media Really Believe There is No Link Between Cigarettes and Lung Cancer?

A US group called the Heartland Institute will be in Munich, Germany this week holding a conference that has become known as “Denial-a-palooza” where a small group of unqualified “experts” gets together to talk about their conspiracy theory that climate change is a “hoax.” This year, Heartland Institute is partnering with the Germany-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) to host the “Eighth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC8)” November 30 - December 1.

Usually Heartland holds Denial-a-palooza in the United States, but I suspect the group is taking their event overseas where the media is less likely to know the long and sordid details of Heartland's other efforts to attack conventionally accepted scientific conclusions. Not to mention Heartland's offensive Unabomber billboard campaign and a long list of other outrageous stunts. 

Perhaps the Heartland Institute is banking on the German media's failure to Google search for evidence of the group's long history of attacks on science and efforts to confuse the public about climate change and an array or other threats to public health and the planet.

Is Obama Already Waffling on his Climate Change Commitment?

In his first press conference after being re-elected, President Obama told reporters that climate change could take a backseat to efforts to boost the economy in the near term.

It sure didn't take the President long to water down the passionate commitment he made to the electorate just a week ago when he stated in his acceptance speech that:

“We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

Last time around, when there was a climate bill making its way through the House of Representatives we were told that the bill would be put on hold until Obama's health care reform was taken care of.

We all know what happened. No climate bill.

Proposed Aviation Law Will Test President Obama's Climate Change Commitment

In his acceptance speech last Tuesday, President Obama stated that: “We want our children to live in an America that isn't burdened by debt, that isn't weakened by inequality, that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

The President's words will be put to the test very shortly.

As Glenn Hurowitz points out on Grist, a bill is about to land on the President's desk that will allow US airlines to ignore a European Union climate law.

Hurowitz writes:

“If he signs the bill, Obama will not only be failing to take sufficient action to address climate change, but actively going out of his way to stop another country from doing so – a pretty extreme act at the worst possible time.”

This is a line in the sand and a really big deal. We will soon know if President Obama plans to stay true to his word on his commitment to curb the emissions of climate change pollution by industry in the United States.

Hurowitz's piece is well worth the read, as it goes into a lot of detail on the issue of transnational aviation and climate change policy.

All the Single Ladies! China's Fetish For Canada's Tar Sands

In 2007, when President Obama proposed a carbon tax on imported Canadian tar sands oil, the Canadian oil lobby and the Conservative government threatened to start sending their crude overseas to countries like Russia and China with weaker environmental standards.

A big problem with this plan is that currently there is no way to actually move tar sands oil onto a tanker and ship it overseas. So the threat posed against the United States by Canada's pro-tar sands lobby was, and continues to be, an empty one.

This is why it is so important that we stop any and all ability for tar sands oil to be pumped off our coasts and sent to overseas export markets.

Whether that be via the Northern Gateway pipeline, Kinder Morgan or whatever other creative ways the oil lobby comes up with to diversify the tar sands oil market.

Climate Refugees in America

This is a chilling video of a voicemail from a Hurricane Sandy victim in the Long Island neighbourhood of Rockaway Peninsula. With scientists telling us that climate change is raising sea levels, storm surges and the intensity of hurricanes there is only one way to describe these folks: they are among the first North American climate refugees.

Key Findings From the Mashey Report on Donors Trust

Dr. John Mashey's report is posted exclusively on DeSmogBlog today. The report, exposing the right wing's money scrubbing scheme, is extensive in detail to say the least.

In a nutshell, the 200+ page report finds that wealthy donors like the Koch brothers and Chicago industrialist Barre Seid move money through two organizations called Donor Trust and Donors Capital Fund, which in turn passes that money on to major right wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute and Americans for Prosperity.

This money is then used for coordinated efforts to attack science, undermine environmental protections and cast doubt about the scientific realities of climate change.

Here's a summary of findings:

- The report presents evidence that confirms the speculation that Chicago industrialist Barre Seid has pumped millions into the Heartland Institute's “global warming projects” to boost their efforts to fight climate change science [page 57].

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