New Report Urges U.S. To Avoid Reliance on International Carbon Offsets

Friends of the Earth U.S. released a new report today calling the use of international carbon offsets a “dangerous distraction” that could lead to climate disaster if relied upon too heavily as the U.S. Senate returns to debate energy and climate policy later this month. 

Offsets are a centerpiece of the Waxman-Markey energy bill that passed the House of Representatives in June, and are likely to appear in the Senate version as well.

The Friends of the Earth report warns that the U.S. must avoid the use of international carbon offsets, in which U.S. industries can skip making costly investments to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions by sending money overseas for clean energy projects in developing countries.  The theory is that these international investments will translate into equivalent reductions at the fraction of the price it would cost to change our ways here at home. 

The Right Wing Attack Machine Behind the Van Jones Affair

You probably won’t be surprised when I tell you that Glenn Beck wasn’t the mastermind behind the campaign to remove Van Jones from his position as a special advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality… that would be giving Beck way too much credit.

Turns out that the attack was orchestrated by a fringe group of free-marketeers called the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) who describe themselves as “grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels.” You can read a complete backgrounder on AFP here. It suffices to say they get a lot of money from some of the biggest players in the right-wing attack machine.

It will also come as no surprise that AFP is also behind much of the healthcare reform townhall shenanigans

On Fox News forum AFP’s director of policy, Phil Kerpen brags about how his organization brought down Van Jones:

“I spent the next two weeks researching everything I could find about Jones and the Apollo Alliance (much of which is still to be published, including a forthcoming paper from the Capital Research Center next month), the national umbrella organization for coordinating between the environmentalists, the labor unions, and the social justice street organizers that Jones has served as a board member and a primary national spokesman for.”

This was all then fed to Glenn Beck who gleefully took it to town and hammered away on Van Jones. No kidding, Beck is bent on bringing this administration to its knees and rallying the right-wing fringe players to follow suit. And it won’t stop here, the likes of Kerpen and AFP have found their rallying cry: “Don’t argue clean energy, but instead paint Obama’s policies as a socialist/communist plot to control America.”

Climate Denial Crock of the Week/1998 Revisited

One of the enduring myths of climate denialism is that global warming stopped sometime in the last decade. I see it in the blaring headlines of pseudoscience websites, in comments on my videos, even some of our most “distinguished” journalists have been taken in.

American Petroleum Institute Astroturf campaign: When Does "Spin" Become a Lie?

The New York Times added its voice today to those condemning the American Petroleum Institute’s Astroturf campaign to set up phony “citizen” protests that are actually populated by paid energy industry employees.

Beyond the fundamental duplicity of API’s actions, the NYT complains in its editorial that it finds some elements of the industry campaign “particularly annoying.” For example, API says the Waxman-Markey climate legislation will result in $4-a-gallon gasoline, while two very reputable analyses have said the bill will add, at most, 20 cents a gallon.

In a world polluted by some of the worst kind of public relations spin, people have grown too ready to accept this kind of dramatic overstatement as “part of the game.” Even the NYT finds this exaggeration merely “annoying,” even if particularly so.

We should be outraged. API is offering no rationale or justification for its overheated rhetoric. It has been challenged on this point and failed to come up with an explanation or analysis that support the $4 claim. And yet its campaigners keep saying that which is insupportable by evidence.

What do you call that - usually?

Verizon Wireless Joins Massey Energy To Celebrate Mountaintop Removal and Climate Change Denial

Verizon Wireless is facing intense criticism for its co-sponsorship of dirty coal company Massey Energy’s “Friends of America” rally this Labor Day weekend in Logan, West Virginia.

To give you an idea of how outrageous this rally is, note that the featured speaker is infamous global-warming denier Lord Christopher Monckton, and the emcee is none other than right wing machine-gun rocker Ted Nugent (who threatened to kill President Obama and Hillary Clinton).  Oh, and Fox News’ Sean Hannity will be there too for good measure.  The venue? A former surface mine, of course.

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