With Andrea Leadsom, the UK’s Energy and Climate Minister and prominent Vote Leave campaigner, poised for promotion, how could leaving the EU...
competitive enterprise institute
This is a guest post by Connor Gibson, crossposted from Greenpeace USA
The Kochs have spent over $88 million in *traceable* funding to groups attacking climate change science, policy and regulation.
Of that total, $21 million went to groups that recently bought a full page New York Times advertisement defending ExxonMobil from government investigations into its systematic misrepresentation of climate science. If you're an executive at a big oil company watching as ExxonMobil is finally exposed for studying climate change, covering up the science and spreading misinformation, you're probably worried now that state attorneys general are knocking on Exxon's door.
Charles and David Koch must be worried, anyway. Their foundations gave more than $21 million to the people and groups that signed a recent, full page New York Times advertisement that defends ExxonMobil's longstanding efforts to ruin the public's understanding of climate change science.
Conservative think tanks in the United States are a sort of “ground zero” for the production of doubt about the links between fossil fuel burning and dangerous climate change.
These think tanks produce reports, hold conferences, write books, go on television, produce columns and blogs and generally and liberally splatter the public discourse with talking points.
You’ll have heard their manufactured doubt everywhere. “CO2 is great for the planet… fossil fuels are good… climate scientists are wrong… the world has been hotter in the past… cutting emissions will kill the economy.” That sort of thing.
But there has been speculation that as the world continues to break heat records, and as oceans rise and the science sends ever more clear and urgent signals, that the focus of these think tanks will shift away from attacking the science to discussing policy.
Now a new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change has declared unambiguously “the era of climate science denial is not over”.
Dr Travis Coan, of the University of Exeter, and Dr Constantine Boussalis, of Trinity College Dublin, analysed 16,000 articles, reports, transcripts, letters, reviews and press releases from the websites of 19 conservative think tanks, mainly based in the U.S, who work on climate change.
In the study, Boussalis and Coan discuss how commentators had been speculating about an end of climate science denial for more than a decade.
Analysing documents from 1998 until mid-2013, Boussalis and Coan found that think tanks had in recent years been focusing less on policy and more on attacking the science.
An organisation that has funneled millions of dollars into groups promoting climate science denial has appointed a new CEO who signed a declaration dismissing the overwhelming evidence that human activities are causing climate change.
In this DeSmog UK epic history post, the battle continues between Bob Ward – working at the Royal Society at the time – and ExxonMobil’s army of climate deniers.
Bob Ward, the then head of media at the Royal Society, was shocked when members of Koch-funded public policy organisation the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) heckled professor David King, the government’s chief scientific, during a visit to the United States in 2006.
Ward began to wonder if there had been an upsurge in attacks by deniers on science during the previous months, and soon found himself going head-to-head with the world’s most powerful company on the issue of climate change.
DeSmog UK’s epic history series looks back at the conference that marked the first major event where climate sceptic views were promoted in England.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Britain's first major climate denial conference. You'll never guess who attended – and who paid for it.
In October 1995, John Blundell – the newly appointed director of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – opened his second major conference Environmental Risk: Perception and Reality at the four-star Stakis St Ermin's Hotel on Caxon Street in London.
The advertised speakers included Blundell’s old friend Fred Smith, the founder of the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who had flown over from the United States along with the coal-funded sceptic scientist Dr Patrick Michaels.
A humble pamphlet is the subject of DeSmog UK’s latest instalment in its history series. This pamphlet would prove critical in the relentless critique of climate science.
Julian Morris, research fellow at the Atlas Foundation – a libertarian think tank founded by Antony Fisher – started work on the infamous pamphlet Global Warming: Apocalypse or Hot Air? in 1994.
Along with Roger Bate of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in London, the two co-authored the humble red pamphlet that would prove instrumental in attacking the science of climate change.
Put up your hand if you’ve been a follower of news about climate change in recent years and haven’t heard of the “hockey stick” graph.
Nobody? No, didn’t think so.
These graphs get their name because of their shape.
They are reconstructions of the temperatures on Earth over several centuries to several millennia and they all have a repetitive tendency to turn sharply skyward showing the recent rapid warming of the Earth.
The most famous and first “hockey stick” came from research in the journal Nature in 1998 led by Professor Michael Mann, then of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Mann used historical data from tree rings and ice cores – known as “proxy records” - to determine what temperatures were like over the Northern Hemisphere over the 600 years or so before we had a reasonably well-dispersed network of thermometers.
When plotted on a chart… well, you know the rest. It looked like a hockey stick.
Mann followed up that work in 1999, refining the research for a study in Geophysical Research Letters to give a full 1000-year history of the planet’s temperatures.
His work appeared in the 2001 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. This is what it looked liked in that report (notice the red and blue colors - we'll come to that in a bit.)
DeSmogBlog has obtained a copy of an Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fracking groundwater contamination PowerPoint presentation describing a then-forthcoming study's findings in Dimock, Pennsylvania.
The PowerPoint presentation reveals a clear link between hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for shale gas in Dimock and groundwater contamination, but was censored by the Obama Administration. Instead, the EPA issued an official desk statement in July 2012 - in the thick of election year - saying the water in Dimock was safe for consumption.
Titled “Isotech-Stable Isotype Analysis: Determinining the Origin of Methane and Its Effets on the Aquifer,” the PowerPoint presentation concludes that in Cabot Oil and Gas' Dimock Gesford 2 well, “Drilling creates pathways, either temporary or permanent, that allows gas to migrate to the shallow aquifer near [the] surface…In some cases, these gases disrupt groundwater quality.”
Other charts depict Cabot's Gesford 3 and 9 wells as doing much of the same, allowing methane to migrate up to aquifers to unprecedented levels - not coincidentally - coinciding with the wells being fracked. The PowerPoint's conclusions are damning.