Kevin Grandia's blog

Influence in America: A Report on TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Lobbying Activities

According to a new white paper by DeSmog Canada, TransCanada Corporation, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, has spent more than $4 million lobbying U.S. federal lawmakers and government department staff since 2010.  

The results can be found in a new white paper released today by DeSmog Canada that you can view here: Influence in America: A report on TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Lobbying Activities [PDF].

(or click on the image below to download the white paper)

Global Warming Hasn't Stopped - It's the Hottest Decade on Record

With the release of a major climate science report by the United Nations coming this week, the self-proclaimed climate “skeptics,” better referred to as the climate deniers or flat-earthers, are kicking it into high gear for their fossil fuel clients and right wing ringleaders. 

The likes of Tom Harris, better known for his lobbying work on behalf of the Canadian energy industry, and Fred Singer, formally a tobacco company expert-for-hire, are trying to make headlines again claiming that the warming of our planet has significantly slowed down. As Harris, a man with absolutely no scientific background in climate change, reassures us like a bunch of schoolchildren, “don't be scared.” 

I wish it were the case that the rate of global warming has significantly slowed and that we don't have to “be scared” of more extreme weather events, droughts and flooding. 

But according to the scientific community, the experts who have decades of training in the field of atmospheric and climactic study, our planet continues to warm. In fact, we just came through the hottest decade ever recorded. Not only was it the hottest decade recorded, it has occurred despite the presence of major cooling factors, like La Nina's and reduced solar activity. Such events should result in a significant dip in the earth's temperature, but they are only having a relatively slight cooling effect. 

Not good. And not at all what the flat earth society is trying to tell you.

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.  

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.   

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. 

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.

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