Tue, 2015-02-03 00:08Brendan Montague
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Owen Paterson and the Spectre of Enoch Powell

He who pays the piper picks the tune, as the saying goes. Those with particularly sensitive political antennae may have picked up an echo of the rhetoric of Enoch Powell, author of the infamous rivers of blood speech, in the speeches of sacked environment secretary Owen Paterson.

Powell was a classical scholar and Health Minister in the 1960s under the Tory prime minister Edward Heath. He was forced to resign after claiming immigration in Britain would lead to social unrest and rivers of blood.

He was also among the first MPs to darken the door of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a hardline free market think tank, which calls for low taxation for corporations, deregulation and attacks on the unions.

Enoch said in April 1968: “We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.”

Mon, 2015-02-02 14:29Guest
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Bjørn Lomborg Sings WSJ’s Same Old Climate Change Song: Don’t Worry, Be Happy

This is a guest post by Climate Nexus.

Bjorn Lomborg’s latest op-ed in the Wall Street Journal resurrects repeatedly demolished distortions of fact to downplay the real and increasingly documented threats of climate change. His trademark tactic is to acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, only to then dismiss the solutions—reducing emissions and promoting clean energy now—as unnecessary or infeasible.

Fortunately, his longstanding fight against climate action is failing to persuade the public, as an overwhelming majority of Americans understand that climate change is a serious threat and that we’re already feeling the impacts. More to the point they support action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially through continued expansion of clean energy and new rules for coal-fired power plants.

Mr. Lomborg has relied on similar distortions for his arguments many times before, even drawing censure from the Danish government for his “perversion of the scientific method.”

After the release of Lomborg’s “deeply flawed” book The Skeptical Environmentalist, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science remarked that Lomborg’s work was a testament to the “vulnerability of the scientific process…to outright misrepresentation and distortion.” One researcher decided to fact check Lomborg’s claims, and had so much material that Yale published it as a book: The Lomborg Deception. In the book, Lomborg’s many sloppy citations and misleading myths are thoroughly debunked, but that hasn’t stopped him from repeating the same general arguments in years since.

When it comes to climate, he insists over and over: Don’t worry, be deceived.

The Facts:

Mon, 2015-02-02 07:45Kyla Mandel
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You Don't Want to Miss DeSmog UK's Most Important Stories From January

It has only been one month into the New Year and already so much has happened. We’ve scored some amazing achievements in the fight to clear the PR pollution clouding climate science.

So as we head into February – and incidentally the sixth month anniversary of DeSmog UK – we share here with you our January highlights and say thank you for your keen interest and loyal readership.

By far the most incredible moment has been climate denier Matt Ridley’s response in The Times to our #mattkingcoal investigation.

Sun, 2015-02-01 23:01Brendan Montague
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Osborne Dines Former Chancellors, See the Menu They Fought to Keep Secret for Half a Decade

Just before Christmas, back in December 2010, the chancellor George Osborne (pictured) sat down to a sumptuous lunch with his predecessors, including Lord Lawson of the climate denial charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

At the time, Lawson was telling anyone who would listen that he advised Osborne to make savage cuts to public services as part of the Tory austerity drive designed to drag Britain out of recession following the 2008 banking crisis.

It seems very likely that Lawson would have regaled his luncheon companions with this latest obsession: climate change. The world, he would have inevitably argued, simply cannot afford to make the sacrifices needed to reduce our profligate use of fossil fuels.

Sat, 2015-01-31 06:00Mike Gaworecki
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Fracking Failure: Frackers In Pennsylvania Violate Health And Environmental Regulations On A Daily Basis

From the American Petroleum Institute’s claim that fracking is “safely unlocking vast U.S. reserves of oil and natural gas” to Chris “Frack Master” Faulkner himself insisting “fracking isn’t contaminating anything,” the oil and gas industry constantly tells us that fracking can be done safely, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary.

But just to be sure the public understands how seriously they considered public health, a group of oil and gas companies fracking in Pennsylvania formed the Center for Sustainable Shale Development in 2013. According to its website, CSSD is dedicated to “the development of rigorous performance standards for sustainable shale development and a commitment to continuous improvement to ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of our abundant shale resources.”

“Rigorous performance standards for sustainable shale development” certainly sounds great. The only problem is, none of the four companies that founded CSSD — Chevron Appalachia, Consol Energy, EQT Production and Shell — seems to have actually adhered to those standards.

According to a new report by Environment America titled “Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the U.S.,” ever since those four companies “told the public they would adhere to higher standards” in 2013, they have collectively committed as many as 100 violations of Pennsylvania’s existing oil and gas regulations.

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