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Tue, 2013-09-17 22:41Kevin Grandia
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David Rose's Misinformation Legacy from WMD to Climate Change

If you're interested in how misinformation makes its way into the public dialogue on important issues like war in the Middle East or climate change, then you should get to know David Rose, a “special investigations writer” for the UK's ultra-conservative Mail on Sunday tabloid. 

Rose is making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. But his path to this latest controvery started many years ago. 

A 2010 article by Guardian columnist George Monbiot sums up the history of Rose's many errors, where the “special investigations writer” first gets it wrong on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and goes on to get it wrong on the consensus of the science on climate change. As Monbiot tells us, in Rose's previous stint at the Observer, Rose wrote:

“… uncritically the claims made by Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the second invasion of Iraq.”

We all know the outcome of that fiasco. Over $1 trillion spent, thousands of lives lost, all based on an attempt to create a reality that just simply wasn't so. Rose wasn't the only journalist to get it wrong on the false claims of WMD, but you would think that after such a thing, with such devastating consequences, he might gain better skills in critical thinking.  

Tue, 2013-09-17 11:22Kevin Grandia
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Zoologist Matt Ridley Should Stick to Animals Instead of Butchering Climate Science

Since when is zoologist Matt Ridley an expert on climate change science?

Yes, I get it. The state of science versus opinion is at an all-time low in human history, with perhaps the Dark Ages the only exception.

There is currently a “debate” being led by Matt Ridley (you can read all about Ridley's complete lack of credentials in the field of climate science here) brewing in the right wing press about a possible “subtle drop” in the low end prediction of how fast global warming is occurring. Ridley's quibbling comes, not coincidentally, less than two weeks before the release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a favorite whipping post of the climate denier echo chamber. 

Ridley and his pals at the Global Warming Policy Foundation have taken to the airwaves and the right-wing tabloids ahead of the official IPCC release date to try and pre-emptively discredit the IPCC's conclusions. It is a classic political move to get out first and fast before your opponents have a chance to tell their side of the story.

What they want to do (again) is create the appearance of controversy and debate to generate headlines and the perception that climate change science is not as solid as scientists say it is. Doubt is their product.

Hopefully the mainstream media will look past the thin veneer of credibility of Matt Ridley and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and instead speak to actual climate scientists instead of an expert on animals. The issue of climate change and the state of the science is too important to leave to rookies.   

Tue, 2013-08-27 11:50Kevin Grandia
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New Report Finds Climate Can't Wait for More Delays on Aviation Industry Emissions Action

New scientific analysis released today on the impacts of the aviation industry on our climate should give pause to government and industry leaders.

The report, produced by the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Air Transport and Environment, titled “Mitigating future aviation CO2 emissions – timing is everything” finds that a new market-based carbon trading system for the airline industry cannot be delayed any longer. 

This new analysis comes at a very crucial moment, as the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meets this September to decide on whether to delay a market-based trading system (again) or begin implementation as soon as possible. If a decision to implement is not reached at the ICAO meetings in September, the next opportunity for a decision will not be until 2016 at the next general ICAO assembly. 

Tue, 2013-08-06 16:01Kevin Grandia
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Are Kellogg's Snacks a Threat to Global Climate?

John Bryant, CEO of snack food giant Kellogg's, found himself in hot water last week on a quarterly earnings call when one investor took the company to task for its part in destroying vital Indonesian peatlands that store vast amounts of climate-polluting carbon, and rainforests home to the last 400 remaining wild Sumatran tigers in the world.

Tony the Tiger is probably pretty embarrassed at the moment.

At issue is a recent partnership struck between Kellogg's and an Indonesian company called Wilmar, who is the largest supplier of palm oil in the world. Wilmar is rated the least sustainable publicly traded company in the world by Newsweek, lagging behind companies like Monsanto, Coal India, Dow Chemical and ExxonMobil.

In order to plant the palm trees that produce the palm oil, Wilmar destroys thousands of hectares of virgin Indonesian rainforest and peatlands every year. The last remaining 400 Sumatran tigers call these rainforests home and the peatlands are very important when it comes to climate change, as they store more carbon than the world emits in 9 years.

Kellogg's recently struck a partnership with Wilmar to buy their palm oil to use in the cheap snack foods it sells.

It's mass rainforest destruction in the name of Pringles.

Fri, 2013-08-02 13:26Kevin Grandia
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United Airlines Wins "Gold" for Environment Work While Fighting Climate Action

Sigh. Airline giant United was named “Eco-Aviation Airline of the Year” today by the industry trade publication Air Transport World. This comes at the same time that United is being called out by industry watchdogs for its major role in lobbying against new regulations to begin curbing the massive amounts of climate pollution the airline industry is responsible for. 

Last year, United Airlines, along with the airline industry lobby group, Airlines for America, led the way on a massive lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to try to kill a plan that would see US airline companies participate in the European Union's climate law for all their flights to and from Europe. Basically, the law would have reduced pollution on all flights to and from the EU, at an estimated cost of only $3 per passenger on trans-Atlantic flights.

Mon, 2013-07-22 14:54Kevin Grandia
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Harper's Audit-the-Enemy Strategy Fulfills Nixon's Dream

Harper's Enemy List part of Nixon style strategy

Last week it was revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office created an “enemy list” to include in briefing books for newly appointed Cabinet members. 

Pundits were quick to point out that US President Richard Nixon also had such a list of enemies that his office maintained.

However, the enemy list was only a small part of a much larger strategy that Nixon dreamed up and, as history shows, he was never able to fully execute his plan. Unfortunately for the many Canadians on Harper's list, the Prime Minister and his office are now fulfilling Nixon's dream. 

Nixon's list was dubbed the “opponents list” by his political staffers and was part of a larger strategy they called the “Political Enemies Project.” This disturbing strategy came to light during the Senate Committee hearings looking into the Watergate scandal that eventually forced President Nixon to resign in disgrace in August, 1974.

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