New Report Identifies The Fossil Fuels We Must Keep In The Ground To Avert Catastrophic Climate Change

As the US Senate haggles over a comprehensive energy bill, climate activist groups have identified the global fossil fuel reserves that must be kept in the ground if we’re to limit global warming to the critical 2-degree-Celsius threshold.

This week saw the Senate debating the hotly contested energy bill, which has been criticized by environmentalists for including a number of fossil fuel industry giveaways, including expedited permitting for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and subsidies for coal technology, among other troublesome provisions.

Democratic Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Ed Markey (MA) and Brian Schatz (HI) responded by introducing an amendment into the energy bill designed to express Congress’s disapproval of the use of industry-funded think tanks and misinformation tactics aimed at sowing doubt about climate change science.

Senate Democrats ultimately stopped the energy bill from moving forward on Thursday over the fact that a $600-million amendment to address the water crisis in Flint, MI was not included.

The US is not the only country that needs to do some soul-searching when it comes to energy policies, however.

Charles Koch Thinks University Professors Make Great Lobbyists

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson that originally appeared at Huffington Post. 

This article is the second of two posts examining Charles Koch's campus investments, as reported in Jane Mayer's Dark Money. The first post examined the history, long-term strategy, and true intent of the university “philanthropy” coordinated by Charles Koch. This post examines how Koch's academic network is openly dishonest about their work, lobbying for Koch's interests and recruiting students into his network.

From 2005-2014, Koch spent $109.7 million on 361 distinct campuses, according to Greenpeace's updated analysis of IRS filings from Koch's nonprofit foundations.

Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill

As the U.S. presidential race dominates the media, it is easy to forget that both chambers of the U.S. Congress are currently in session. The U.S. Senate has put a major energy bill on the table, the first of its sort since 2007.

The 237-page bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 — includes provisions that would expedite the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permitting process, heap subsidies on coal technology, and fund research geared toward discovering a way to tap into methane hydrate reserves.

As we saw with the lifting of the U.S. crude oil export ban, which was part of a broader congressional budget bill, a DeSmog investigation reveals that these provisions once existed as stand-alone bills pushed for by an army of fossil fuel industry lobbyists.

Exclusive: Darwin's Descendant Attacks Climate Science Deniers For Appointing Great Naturalist As 'Honorary President'

You might have seen how climate science deniers like to compare themselves to scientific greats of the past to try to lend their arguments a degree of credibility.

One of their favourites is Galileo, the great Italian astronomer and physicist who was persecuted by the Catholic church for promoting the theory that the Sun and planets did not revolve around the Earth, but the other way around. 

Now in an example of previously uncharted overreach, one group of climate science deniers is trying to co-opt the great British naturalist Charles Darwin.

Despite Darwin having died more than 130 years ago, the newly formed and very fancy-sounding Independent Committee on Geoethics (ICG) has appointed the father of the theory of evolution by natural selection as its Honorary President.

Senators Introduce “Merchants of Doubt” Amendment Into Energy Bill, Call On Fossil Fuel Industry To End Climate Denial and Deception

Democratic U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Ed Markey (MA) and Brian Schatz (HI) introduced an amendment into the energy bill yesterday intended to express Congress’s disapproval of the use of industry-funded think tanks and misinformation tactics aimed at sowing doubt about climate change science.

The amendment evokes the history of notorious anti-science efforts by the tobacco and lead industries to avoid accountability for the damage caused by their products, focusing similar ire on the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long climate cover-up.

Although it doesn’t name specific companies, the amendment is surely inspired by recent revelations about ExxonMobil’s early and advanced knowledge of the role of fossil fuels in driving climate change — which was followed by the company’s subsequent, unconscionable climate science denial efforts.

California Offshore Oil Fracking Permits Halted While Federal Government Performs Environmental Review

The U.S. federal government will stop approving offshore oil fracking operations off California’s coast while it studies how damaging the practice is to the health of wildlife and the environment.

In separate deals with Santa Barbara, CA-based Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Department of the Interior agreed to assess the risks posed by well-stimulation techniques such as fracking and acidization when used on oil platforms off California’s coast.

Documents obtained by EDC following a 2013 Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the controversial well stimulation techniques were used on offshore platforms, while federal regulators had no idea where or how frequently the practices were employed.

Revealed: Ex-U.S. Senator Landrieu’s Revolving Doors in Israel’s Oil and Gas Bonanza

Former US Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), who while in congress was highly active in promoting the interests of two American oil and gas companies operating in Israel, has recently been hired by these companies as lobbyist and advisor.
 
These same firms, Noble Energy and Genie Energy, donated campaign money to Landrieu, who lost her Senate seat in December 2014.
 
Noble is involved in offshore natural gas drilling in the Mediterranean, while Genie is exploring oil shale formations southwest of Jerusalem and liquid crude in the Golan Heights. Both projects are highly contentious and have sparked massive protests by members of the Israeli public.
 
As a representative of an oil and gas producing state, Landrieu’s enormous industry backing was well known throughout her political career. Her frantic – and failed – attempts to pass the Keystone XL pipeline through legislation in 2014 have forever earned her the scorn of North American activists. 
 
But much less recognized are Landrieu’s substantial efforts while in Congress to strengthen the energy ties between Israel and the United States, and, in particular, advance the interests of American fossil fuel companies operating in the Holy Land.

G20 Countries Must Improve Credibility of Their Paris Climate Pledges, Report Warns

The credibility of countries’ climate pledges agreed in Paris in December particularly those of the G20 nations must be strengthened, warns a new report out today.

While much attention has been given to scrutinising the level of ambition of each country’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, less focus has been paid to exactly how credible these pledges are.

In December 2015 more than 180 countries agreed an historic deal to limit global warming to “well below 2C” and to make every effort to keep temperature increase to 1.5C.

Koch Brothers View Universities As Propaganda Machines

This is a guest post by Connor Gibson that originally appeared at Huffington Post.

This article is the first of two posts examining Charles Koch's campus investments, as reported in Jane Mayer's Dark Money. The first post examines the history, long-term strategy, and true intent of the university “philanthropy” coordinated by Charles Koch. The second post will examine how Koch's academic network is openly dishonest about their work, lobbying for Koch's interests and recruiting students into his network.
 
New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s new book, “Dark Money,” includes details that bolster concerns publicized by UnKoch My Campus, and students and professors across the USA who have blown the whistle on Charles Koch’s co-optation of higher education programs.
 
Universities are the spine of Charles Koch’s lobbying model, which after four decades of finance has grown into an integrated network of professors, public relations agents, lobbyists, pundits, and politicians. Koch foundations started investing in campuses at an exponential pace, starting with just seven campuses in 2005.

As Iowa Caucuses Loom, Hawkeye State Is Last Hope To Block Fracked Bakken Oil Pipeline

As the February 1 Iowa Caucuses loom, the Hawkeye State sits as the proverbial last man standing in the decision whether to grant pipeline giant Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) a permit for its Dakota Access pipeline.

Slated to carry upwards of 570,000 barrels per day of oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin, the pipeline would cut diagonally across Iowa. In recent weeks, ETP has obtained necessary permits from North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois

Will the Hawkeye State say yes to the fossil fuel project, or play its part to #KeepItInTheGround and protect its prized agricultural lands from a spill?

Pages