James Inhofe

The Growing Republican Rift Over Climate Change

As the world gears up for the climate negotiations kicking off in Paris next week, Republicans in the United States are doing everything in their power to make sure that no climate deal takes place without their approval (which will never happen.)

But there are a few Republicans in leadership positions in Washington that have had enough of being labeled the “anti-science” party, and they are hoping to turn the GOP onto the idea that climate change is very real.

Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham, and Mark Kirk have created a new committee that will meet periodically to talk about environment and energy issues. The group, called the Senate Energy and Environment Working Group, is the first national effort by Senate Republicans to address the threats of climate change and to address our continued dependence on fossil fuels.

Obama Administration Approves Pipeline Expansion Set to Feed First Ever Fracked Gas LNG Export Terminal

The Obama Administration has quietly approved expansion of a major pipeline carrying fracked gas destined for the global export market.

The Gulf Trace pipeline, owned by The Williams Companies, is set to feed into Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG export terminal in Louisiana. As first reported by Reuters, LNG tankers loaded with super-chilled liquefied natural gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) will set sail for the first time from Sabine Pass in January 2016.

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith Declares War on NASA and EPA Climate Science Research

Lamar Smith, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, has declared war on the Obama administration, NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undermine attempts to prevent dangerous climate change, report Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague from Washington DC, USA.

Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s climate denier conference in Washington DC today, the Texas congressman described how three subpoenas for EPA staff emails and texts have now been issued following claims about “secret emails” and personal use of email accounts by the agency. 

This follows a similar-spirited freedom of information request submitted to the EPA by Chris Horner, a senior legal fellow for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute supported by the ExxonMobil funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.

2015 Might Be a Big Peak Year for Climate Change

While every year is crucial when it comes to reducing the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere, 2015 is looking to be a super year and a possible turning point in which a few big decisions could make all the difference.

Here are five big things to watch in 2015:

1. Paris UN Climate Conference

Let's start at the end of 2015, when global leaders are expected to show up in Paris, France, in early December to negotiate a new global agreement on global warming pollution reductions. A preview of what is to come was on display in Lima, Peru, in early December when environment ministers and their delegations cobbled together the draft of what will be negotiated in Paris. The major sticking points in the negotiations were the same as they have been for a while now.

Republican Senator Inhofe Dismisses Top US Military Strategists on Climate Change Concerns

Republican Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), is dismissing a report out yesterday on the human security threats of climate change, authored by 11 three and four-star US Admirals and Generals, saying the group is desperate for “publicity.” 

The report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, issued by the non-profit group CNA Corporation, concludes that:

~ Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America's national security. 

~ Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world.

~ Projected climate change will add to tensions even in stable regions of the world.

~ Climate change, national security and energy dependence are a related set of global challenges.

One of the reports authors, Gen. Charles F. Wald told the New York Times that:

In the past, the thinking was that climate change multiplied the significance of a situation. Now we’re saying it’s going to be a direct cause of instability.”

The report authors are all retired high-ranking US military — eleven retired three-star and four-star Admirals and Generals.

Senator Inhofe is dismissing the collective wisdom of this group, telling the New York Times that:

There is no one in more pursuit of publicity than a retired military officer. I look back wistfully at the days of the Cold War. Now you have people who are mentally imbalanced, with the ability to deploy a nuclear weapon. For anyone to say that any type of global warming is anywhere close to the threat that we have with crazy people running around with nuclear weapons, it shows how desperate they are to get the public to buy this.”

Over the years Senator Inhofe has made his delusion around the realities of climate change famous by making public proclamations like “global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” 

Countertrend: Google, Economist Flee from Climate Reality

The once-authoritative Economist news magazine has set fire to its credibility, again, by reporting that global warming has slowed to the point where one columnist argues that we should wait “a decade or two” before instituting any policy measures to ameliorate the threat. At the same time, Google, a company that advertises its corporate philosophy as “Do No Evil,” has decided to snuggle up to the climate change denial community, splashing money at the likes of Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and the “think” tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

This kind of blithe disregard for fact or prudence was more in style a couple of years ago, when Denier-in-Chief George W. Bush was in the White House and Inhofe was Chair of the Republican-dominated Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. But how can you account for so irresponsible and reactionary a performance - from theoretically credible sources - in 2013?

One potential explanation is the loveable naivety of the scientific and environmental community - the kind of people who are always willing, in good faith, to join a conversation about a “climate-change slowdown.” The very phrase is like red meat to the Anthony Watts types who deny climate science as part of their business plan. Looking, for example, at the current state of Arctic sea ice and the predictions for the $60-trillion time bomb that will detonate as that ice disappears, any talk of such an actual slowdown is absurd.

ANGA Lobbyist Spins Through Revolving Door To Work For Fred Upton

The revolving door spins with rapidity in Washington following election season, and Tom Hassenboehler serves as an Exhibit A.

Hassenboehler served for the past two years as a lobbyist for America's Natural Gas Alliance, the most powerful lobbying force for the unconventional oil and gas industry. Hassenboehler recently accepted a new position working for the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee's Energy and Power Subcommittee, and will serve as Senior Counsel under the tutelage of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), the head of the Subcommittee.

Upton is the cousin of Katie Upton, the wife of controversial Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. McClendon, in turn, was one of the founders of ANGA. Given these ties that bind, one can safely hypothesize that Hassenboehler will continue his promotion of fracking as a “public servant.”

Prior to working for ANGA, Hassenboehler served as a Congressional staffer for climate change denier, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

CNN Lends Credence To Serial Climate Misinformer Marc Morano

CNN’s Piers Morgan has fallen into the same “balance trap” that ensnared PBS several months ago, when he decided to “balance” an interview on climate change with Bill Nye by giving a microphone to Marc Morano.  Morano is a longtime skeptic of climate change, and a former communications director for noted climate change denier Republican Senator James Inhofe.

Morano, who is the chief correspondent and executive director of the industry-funded blog Climate Depot, was allowed to tell Morgan’s audience that the last two decades have actually provided no evidence that climate change is taking place – a point which Nye was able to disprove with the facts.

From Media Matters:

Offering two “viewpoints” about temperature data and suggesting that scientific facts are up for “debate” is misleading in and of itself. During the segment, Morano claimed that we “have gone 16 years without global warming according to UN data.” Nye pushed back, saying “This will be the hottest two decades in history, in recorded history. So when you throw around a statement like the UN says it's not the hottest 20 years, I got to disagree with you.”

Morano, who at one time was referred to as “Rush Limbaugh’s man in Washington,” was completely unable to back up any of his claims with facts, statistics, or any form of evidence.  Nye, on the other hand, used concrete figures that are accepted widely within the scientific community.

Piers Morgan failed to inform his viewers that Morano has absolutely no scientific training, or about the fact that his organization has been funded by dirty energy industry heavy hitters like Exxon Mobil.

Update via MediaMatters: In a blog highlighting the segment, CNN claims it invited “a pair of experts” to discuss climate change, without noting that Morano has no scientific expertise. The blog says Morano “presented an alternate theory regarding the impact, and concern, associated with carbon dioxide,”ignoring that the vast majority of scientists agree that carbon dioxide emissions are driving global warming and that the public should be worried about the impacts of it.

Revealed: NERA Economic Consulting is Third Party Contractor for DOE LNG Export Study

Reuters has revealed the identity of the mysterious third party contractor tasked to publish the economic impact study on LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE). Its name: NERA Economic Consulting.

NERA” is shorthand for National Economic Research Associates, an economic consulting firm SourceWatch identifies as the entity that published a June 2011 report on behalf of coal industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). ACCCE's report concluded, “clean-air rules proposed by the Obama administration would cost utilities $17.8 billion annually and raise electricity rates 11.5 percent on average in 2016.”

That report went so far to say that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations of the coal-generated electrcity sector would amount to some 1.5 million lost jobs over the next four years.

NERA was founded by Irwin Stelzer, senior fellow and director of the right-wing Hudson Institute’s Center for Economic Policy. In Oct. 2004, The Guardian described Stelzer as the “right-hand man of Rupert Murdoch,” the CEO of News Corp., which owns Fox News. 

According to NERA's website, the late Alfred E. Kahn, the “father of deregulation,” advised NERA's 1961 foundation

USGS Fracking Study Confirms Methane Contamination of Drinking Water in Pavillion, Wyoming

For those concerned about the future of shale gas development in the U.S., water contamination present in a monitoring well in Wyoming is about to become the lynchpin in the debate over unconventional gas production and the threat fracking poses to drinking water.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) just released a report confirming the EPA's December 2011 findings that water in Pavillion, Wyoming contains contaminants related to fracking
After residents in the region complained of poor water odor and taste, the EPA established two deep water monitoring wells to determine if water quality concerns were related to fracking in the area. 
EPA’s analysis of samples taken from the Agency’s deep monitoring wells in the aquifer indicates detection of synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids, benzene concentrations well above Safe Drinking Water Act standards and high methane levels. Given the area’s complex geology and the proximity of drinking water wells to ground water contamination, EPA is concerned about the movement of contaminants within the aquifer and the safety of drinking water wells over time.


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