The dramatic melting of glaciers on Mount Everest

Courtesy of SolveClimate.com comes a dramatic video showing the rapid melting of glaciers on Mount Everest.

Watch it:

Reading The Climate Change Czars

Few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent than combating climate change…Many of you are working to confront this challenge….but too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office.”

So began Barack Obama in a video message addressed to the Bi-Partisan Governors Global Climate Summit just weeks after the election. However, while he supports an 80 percent reduction of emissions by 2050 through a cap and trade bill, Obama’s nominations leave us uncertain of how the new administration intends to take on global warming.  

The President-elect’s energy team marks a stark contrast from George W. Bush’s inertia on climate change. Consider Steven Chu, our next Secretary of Energy: As a leading voice in the science community on the dangers of excess CO2, he will be an advocate for the development of alternatives to limit fossil fuel consumption.

Likewise, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency Carol Browner will serve as Assistant to the president for energy and climate change. Her appointment makes additional strides toward an aggressive approach because she will coordinate agency climate change policies while balancing economic and national security considerations. Another strong pick is Lisa Jackson to head the EPA who is expected to play a critical role toward establishing cap-and-trade legislation. These nominations demonstrate that science will once again be taken seriously in government.

The science team looks equally promising. John Holdren as science advisor provides Obama with an international expert on climate and energy who has long advocated for firm government regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Adding momentum, marine scientist Jane Lubchenco should guide the Commerce department’s focus on climate policy through her role as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Leaked Clean Coal Strategy Memo to Peabody Energy

A 2004 memo from Steve Miller, CEO of a coal industry lobby group to the CEO of Peabody Energy, details the public relations and lobbying strategies being used to deal with issues ranging from climate change to Mercury.

When it rains it pours.

Earlier today we told you about a newsletter written by a Virginia-based public relations firm called the Hawthorn Group that sent out a newsletter to their “friends and family” outlining the work they did on behalf of a coal industry lobby group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Now we’ve came across a 2004 memo to coal giant Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) from Steve Miller, then President of the Center for Energy and Economic Development (now called American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity) to Irl F. Engelhardt, the CEO of one of the largest coal companies in the world, Peabody Energy.

The memo provides a lot of insight into the strategies and tactics that the coal lobby was using at the time to spin everything from Mercury to climate change to the McCain-Lieberman bill.

Below are some of the choice quotes, if you want to download the entire document in PDF go here: Coal Industry Strategy Letter to CEO of Peabody Energy.

The American Meteorological Society Awards Chris Mooney For Storm World

Our own Chris Mooney was honored this week at the 89th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. He won the 2009 Louis J. Battan Author’s Award for Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, dubbed “an accurate and comprehensive overview of the evolving debate on the impacts of global warming on hurricanes that illustrates the complexities of this significant scientific problem.” It’s a compelling book that successfully provides an interesting and honest account of the history of storms and climate science, while taking a serious looks at the players and politics involved.

Mooney is a regular commentator at DeSmogBlog, contributing editor to Science Progress, and senior correspondent for The American Prospect magazine. He has authored three books, New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science, Storm World, and forthcoming Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. A founding member of ScienceDebate, he also writes for a variety of news and scientific magazines and blogs at The Intersection.

Congratulations Chris!

Coal lobby PR firm memo boasts about manipulating Democrats and Republicans

UPDATE: we also just found a 2004 strategy memo from the head of a coal lobby group to the CEO of Peabody Energy.

A Virginia-based public relations firm called the Hawthorn Group sent out a newsletter to their “friends and family” outlining the work they did on behalf of a coal industry lobby group called the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.The newletter outlines in quite a bit of detail about how Hawthorn spindoctored coal during the Presidential election.

The newsletter starts:

“We thought the most fixated of the political and communications “junkies” might find interesting some highlights of a recent grassroots campaign Hawthorn created and managed for the American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).”

Hawthorn celebrates the fact that their coal-is-clean campaign was a success:

“In September 2007, on the key measurement question—Do you support/oppose the use of coal to generate electricity?—we found 46 percent support and 50 percent oppose. In a 2008 year-end survey that result had shifted to 72 percent support and 22 percent oppose. Not only did we see significantly increased support, opposition was cut by more than half. Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain addresses a crowd wearing “Clean Coal hats” in Pennsylvania.”

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