UK

Fri, 2011-07-22 11:13Emma Pullman
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Could News Corp. Double Agent Neil Wallis Be Behind Climategate Hacking?

As if this week’s Rupert Murdoch Phone-Hacking Scandal wasn’t enough, it now appears that the University of East Anglia CRU email hacking scandal (a.k.a. Climategate) might actually be the work of the same News Corp henchman who helped to feed insider information from a Scotland Yard police investigation directly to Murdoch’s News Corp.

Neil Wallis, one of the key figures in the hacking of the phones, voicemails and electronic communications of anywhere from 4,000 to over 12,000 people, was essentially a double agent working by day as Executive Director of News of the World, and simultaneously as a public relations consultant during the police investigation into the scandal. Wallis conveniently reported back to News Corp on Scotland Yard’s investigation. 

While Murdoch’s henchmen were getting the skinny on the police investigation, the police were convincing other news organizations not to cover the story.

After the November 2009 hacking of the computer server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, the victimized climate science unit sought public relations guidance to help fight back against allegations of scientific misconduct.  

Guess who they hired - Neil Wallis and his PR firm Outside Organisation.

Mon, 2011-02-14 11:38TJ Scolnick
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The Facts Are In, The Tar Sands Are Dirty, But Industry Spin Campaign Continues

Last year, as part of its review of the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline planned to deliver dirty tar sands oil from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the carbon emissions from Canadian oil sands crude would be approximately 82% greater than average US crude.
 
Tar sands oil producers, fossil fuel advocates and Canadian and Alberta politicians were understandably worried about the reputation of their dirty oil. To battle these new facts, these groups have actively engaged in a campaign to greenwash the tar sands by promoting it as “ethical oil”.  They’ve even commissioned their own report by the Cambridge Energy Research Associates suggesting that emissions from tar sands oil were only 5-15% higher than traditional oil products. 

Mon, 2011-01-24 15:53TJ Scolnick
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British Government Continues Greenwashing Effort, Ignores Ecological Decline In UK

A recent Guardian article by John Vidal examines the misleading spin attempting to paint Britain’s leadership as the “greenest government ever.” 

With 2010 drawing to a close, UK Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman announced triumphantly:
“Over 95 per cent of England’s finest wildlife and geological sites, covering more than one million hectares of countryside, are now in favourable or recovering condition.”

Spelman’s overly rosy interpretation of the current state of Britain’s environment is at odds with an independent report from Professor Sir John Lawton and a team of leading conservationists who are much less enthusiastic about Britain’s environmental record. Measured according to the scale SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest), Sir Lawton’s team found that just 30% of these sites were in favourable condition, with the rest in a mode of “unfavourable recovering.”

Indeed, most at-risk wildlife species have shown no improvement between 1999 and 2008, and 125 of 289 species are in decline. Birds, in particular, are struggling.

Fri, 2011-01-21 15:27TJ Scolnick
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Britain Ignores Tyndall Centre Report Urging Shale Gas Moratorium At Its Own Peril

Despite the evidence of significant potential risks presented in a recent report by the Tyndall Centre, the British government says it will forge ahead with plans for shale gas development in the UK. The Tyndall Centre’s study, “Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts” [PDF], urged the UK to place a moratorium on shale gas in light of serious risks associated with shale gas development, including the contamination of ground and surface waters, the expected net increase of CO2 emissions, and substantial monetary costs which could delay major investments in clean energy technologies.

Shale gas extraction involves drilling into shale formations followed by a rock fracturing process which uses heavily polluting chemicals. Especially in the US with the introduction of drilling “refinements” known as hydrofracturing or “fracking,” shale gas extraction has become highly divisive, and ever more popular among natural gas producers (making up nearly 10% of production by some estimates). The significant water contamination and public health risks associated with shale gas are well documented in last year’s “Gasland” film.

Paul Monaghan, the Co-operative’s head of sustainability describes shale gas as “like tar sands in your backyard, both in terms of local pollution and in terms of carbon emissions.”

Tue, 2010-05-25 16:42Richard Littlemore
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Christopher Monckton: Lies, damn lies or staggering incompetence

John Abraham’s Critique Devastates the Florid Lord’s Denier Diatribe

Christopher Monckton, the self-celebrating Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, toured Canada and the U.S. last year calling the world’s best climate scientists and activists “liars” for setting out their concerns about the dangers of climate change. In his presentations and his PowerPoints, Monckton was graceless and taunting in tone, making fun of Al Gore’s accent along with his science. The record now shows that Monckton was also wrong - and frankly, wrong is such a way that he himself must be found to be either a flagrant and shameless liar or the most incompetent compiler of information since church scholars gathered to argue for the flatness of the earth.

The new critique was assembled by John P. Abraham, an engineering professor at St. Thomas University in St. Paul Minnesota. A diligent - even painstaking - researcher, Abraham is also unreservedly respectful in his own presentation, giving Monckton the benefit of every doubt.

The facts, however, are less accommodating. As Prof. Abraham demonstrates time and again, Monckton has consistently misinterpreted, misrepresented or flat-out lied about his “evidence” arguing against the theory of human-induced global warming. He has mangled references, misrepresented findings, cobbled together unattributed graphs and staked his case to critically compromised scholars.

Thu, 2010-03-25 16:51Leslie Berliant
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Shell Oil Behind London Science Museum Decision to Take Anti-Science Stance on Global Warming?

The Times of London reports that the London Science Museum has decided to change its position from promoting understanding of the science of global warming to one that they deem “neutral” in their climate science gallery. And by neutral they mean a stance at odds with the widely accepted science on climate change.

Thu, 2010-02-11 17:12Richard Littlemore
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Guardian Series Dissects CRU Email Theft Story

Fred Pearce at The Guardian has produced a brilliant, 12-part series on the circumstances and implications of the email theft from the University of East Anglia.

The series tracks the whole story and is bluntly critical in its analysis and treatment of some of the now-embarrassed climate scientists who featured the emails. Pearce also looks gingerly at the likely suspects among those who may have been involved in the thefts and who, at the very least, were aggressive in disseminating the emails.

Most importantly, Pearce puts the whole sideshow into context, saying “Nothing uncovered in the emails destroys the argument that humans are warming the planet.” And later, “Humanity is still to blame. And we still, urgently, need to do something about it.”

Fri, 2010-02-05 14:57Ross Gelbspan
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Did Those Winter Storms Snow the Whole Population of Britain?

There has been an increase in the number of British people who are sceptical about climate change, a poll commissioned by BBC News has suggested.

It showed that 25% of those questioned did not think global warming was happening, an increase of 10% since a similar poll was conducted in November.  The percentage of respondents who said climate change was a reality had fallen from 83% in November to 75%.

The findings show that only 26% of people think “climate change is happening and is now established as largely man-made”, only 1% more than those who think there is no global warming.

Mon, 2010-01-11 16:59Kevin Grandia
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Scientist hits back at Daily Mail's "global cooling" claim

An article over the weekend in the UK’s Daily Mail titled The mini ice age starts here, is being refuted by the scientist whose research was used in the story to back the claim that global warming is nothing to worry about because we are entering a phase of “global cooling.”

Mojib Latif, a Meteorologist at the Leibniz Institute at Kiel University in Germany, told the Guardian newspaper that:

“”It comes as a surprise to me that people would try to use my statements to try to dispute the nature of global warming. I believe in manmade global warming. I have said that if my name was not Mojib Latif it would be global warming.”

The Daily Mail is prone to publishing attention-grabbing stories on climate change. Most recently the newspaper claimed that Chinese hackers in league with Russians may be behind the leaked emails from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University.

No correction has appeared on the Daily Mail article yet, so I have emailed the correction and a link to the Gaurdian article to the Sunday editor here: [email protected]

Sat, 2009-12-05 23:08Richard Littlemore
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Another look at the stolen emails

And a critique of the “febrile nitwits” who have been trumpeting their discovery:

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