Hilarious Coen Brothers New "Clean Coal" ad

The Reality Campaign launched a hilarious new ad directed by the Coen brothers pointing out how empty and ridiculous the coal indsutry’s “clean coal” propaganda campaign is.

Enjoy! And pass it on to your friends for a good laugh.

The Big Money behind Americans for Prosperity

An organization called “Americans for Prosperity” has been working overtime to fight government action on climate change and greenhouse gas reduction strategies. You might remember their State-by-State grassroots “Hot Air Tour”.

The Hot Air tour’s tagline was “Exposing the Ballooning Costs of Global Warming Hysteria.” More recently the AFP ran a $140,000 TV ad campaign in Viriginia promising to “expose the hypocrisy and outrageous economic costs of so-called global warming regulations, taxes, and green energy plans.”

So who’s behind the AFP? And why are they so bent on seeing further delay in government action on an issue that the top scientists at the nation’s best institutes are saying needs to be dealt with now?

Our research team at DeSmog has put together a briefing note on the AFP, their history and most importantly who funds them.

AFP, and its former incarnation the Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, are the third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family of Foundations, which is run by the ultra-conservative oil baron Charles G. Koch. The Koch Family of Foundations has been a major funding source for many of the think tanks that are in the business of delaying action on climate change issues.

What follows is the information we’ve pulled together on the AFP and the Koch Family of Foundations.

You can find our permanent page on the AFP here: Americans for Prosperity - research and background information.

DSCOVR Finally to Fly?

Desmog Blog readers know how much cyber-ink we have spilled trying to save the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Our work may finally be over.

The Omnibus Appropriations Bill 1105, just passed yesterday by the US Congress contains the following fateful statement on page 141:

“The bill provides $9,000,000 for NASA to refurbish and ensure flight and operational readiness of DSCOVR earth science instruments.”

WOW!

Details remain sketchy but it seems that the loony idea to strip the spacecraft of all Earth observing instruments has gone by the wayside.

More importantly, the passage of this bill means that DSCOVR may finally be on its way into space where it will return vital data about our warming world.

To recap, this fully completed $100 million climate observing spacecraft has so far sat in a box in Maryland for the last eight years. Dr Robert Park summed up the feeling of many in the scientific community when he described DSCOVR as “the most important thing we could be doing in space right now”.

Why? DSCOVR would gaze back towards Earth from the unique vantage of one million miles towards the sun – an entirely new way of doing space-based research. 

While much remarkable science continues to be done from low Earth orbit, it is like trying to map an elephant using a microscope. Being so close to our planet means most satellites only see the Earth in thin strips, and vital numbers relating to climate change still do not add up.

After spending billions of dollars, researchers remain unable to close Earth’s outgoing radiation budget closer than 6 watts per square meter – that “noise” in the data is almost six times larger than the effect of climate change we are trying to see.

DSCOVR would instead see Earth from almost 1,000 times farther away with a continuous view of the entire sunlit side of our planet. This would provide DSCOVR much more accurate data on our planet’s changing albedo - a vital measurement to resolve the energy budget of our planet. DSCOVR would also better calibrate billions of dollars of space hardware now in low Earth orbit.

More importantly, DSCOVR would for the first time allow us to directly measure global warming - something that is routinely questioned by so-called “skeptics”. One would think resovling such weighty issues would be a scientific priority but this mission has been mired in politics from day one.

Research on the "sponsors" behind the Heartland's New York Climate Change Conference

Like last year, the Heartland Institute is making it clear that no Big Oil companies are behind this year’s “International Conference on Climate Change” being held in New York in a couple of weeks.

The Heartland states on their website that:”The Heartland Institute, a 25-year-old national nonpartisan think-tank based in Chicago, said all of the event’s expenses will be covered by admission fees and individual and foundation donors to Heartland. No corporate dollars or sponsorships earmarked for the event were solicited or accepted.”

Yah.

Of course, the whole thing becomes a little more gray when you look into the listed “co-sponsors” of the Heartland’s event, or should I say a little slick.

We’ve researched the funding history of all the organizations that the Heartland Institute has listed as co-sponsors for their 2009 International Conference on Climate Change and have found that over the years these groups have received in excess of $47 million from oil companies and right-wing foundations.

Interesting enough, the vast majority of the funding (76%) is not from who most would expect, but from a much quieter organization called the Scaife Family of Foundations. According the Media Transparency project, the Scaife Family of Foundations is, “financed by the Mellon industrial, oil and banking fortune. At one time its largest single holding was stock in the Gulf Oil Corporation. [Scaife] Became active in funding conservative causes in 1973, when Richard Mellon Scaife became chairman of the foundation.”

Here’s the permanent page we built with all the research on DeSmogBlog: Heartland Institute’s 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors

And here’s a PDF version you can download: Heartland Institute’s 2009 Climate Conference in New York: funding history of the sponsors


Here’s the breakdown:

ExxonMobil (1998-2006):                $6,199,000
Koch Foundations (1986-2006):      $4,438,920
Scaife Foundations (1985-2006):   $36,868,640

Grand Total:                               $47,506,560 

[By the way, DeSmogBlog will be at the Heartland event again this year]


New MIT research finds inaction on global warming will cost us 5 degrees Celsius

New research out of MIT today finds that “… in the absence of stringent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, 21st century climate change may be far more significant than some previous climate assessments had indicated.”

The Washington Post’s Climate Weather Gang, is reporting on the study, they write that:

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