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How Lord Lawson Used Climate Denial to Stage His Political Comeback

The global economy was in a death spiral and Britain was at the centre of the financial tornado. The legacy of Chancellor Nigel Lawson – reliance on the deregulated and seemingly craven denizens of the City of London – meant Britain, in particular, was in serious peril.

At the same time, environmental groups and campaigners had finally persuaded the Labour Government to address the serious risk that profit-seeking oil companies posed to the global ecology. The Climate Change Bill passing through Parliament in 2008 would introduce statutory reductions in carbon emissions.

It was at this moment that Lord Lawson, retired to a picturesque and sleepy French village, and conspicuous through his long absences from the House of Lords, decided to stage a remarkable political come back.

Exclusive: Pennsylvania Family Dealing with Water Contamination Linked to Fracking Industry

Julie Dermansky

The Chichura family has flammable well water, most likely due to a fracking job gone wrong in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna County. Their water well, along with those of four of their neighbors, was allegedly contaminated with methane in the fall of 2011, shortly after Cabot Oil started drilling operations near their home.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) confirmed the Chichuras had methane in their water on September 21, 2011, and advised them to equip their well with a working vent to avoid a possible ignition.

The contamination of wells is not an anomaly. The DEP identified 245 sites potentially contaminated by the fracking industry between 2008 and 2014.

As leaseholders with Cabot, the Chichuras believed the company would take care of them if anything went wrong. “Accidents will happen,” was the family’s thinking when their water first went bad, Elaine Chichura told DeSmog.

Will Obama's 2008 Climate Promises Hold Up?

In this DeSmog UK epic history series we meet an American presidential hopeful apparently willing to take on Koch and Big Oil.

Barack Obama’s decision to give Shell permission to drill for potential oil reserves in the Arctic threatens to undermine his legacy as the American president who took climate change seriously.

The public outcry as he comes to the end of his second and final term in the White House is hoarse with disappointment because of the audacious promises he made when first running for office: that he would challenge coal, oil and gas monopolies and deliver international climate deals.

Obama did warn during his first presidential address that it would be an uphill struggle and, over the coming weeks, the American electorate will have to assess how far they have really come. Have ExxonMobil and the Koch oil billionaires successfully tamed the man who was supposed to be the most powerful in the world?

Man Who Broke Economy Says 'Trust Me Our Ecology Is Just Fine’

This DeSmog UK epic history post explains how neoliberalism almost broke capitalism (and what this might tell us about free markets and the environment).

Matt Ridley, as chairman of Northern Rock, was the canary in the coal mine when it came to the calamitous financial crisis of 2008 as he presided over the first run on the bank in Britain since the Victorian era.

He was made to answer for the 'reckless' policies of his bank and the roulette-wheel gambling of his less senior colleagues in Parliament. One man very clearly cannot be held responsible for an international economic collapse.

But, Ridley’s philosophy of ‘lukewarm’ neoliberalism was tested to absolute destruction in 2008 and the cost to millions of people around the entire world was both enormous and avoidable.

And yet, he retains his faith in neoliberal economics – and this remains the foundation of his climate ‘lukewarmism’. Where does this faith come from? And who was to blame for the 2008 crisis?

Judges Nixing Keystone XL South Cases Had Tar Sands-Related Oil Investments

On August 4, the U.S. Appeals Court for the 10th Circuit shot down the Sierra Club's petition for rehearing motion for the southern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline. The decision effectively writes the final chapter of a years-long legal battle in federal courts. 

But one of the three judges who made the ruling, Bobby Ray Baldock — a Ronald Reagan nominee — has tens of thousands of dollars invested in royalties for oil companies with a major stake in tar sands production in Alberta.  And his fellow Reagan nominee in the Western District of Oklahoma predecessor case, David Russell, also has skin in the oil investments game.  

The disclosures raise questions concerning legal objectivity, or potential lack thereof, for the Judges. They also raise questions about whether these Judges — privy to sensitive and often confidential legal details about oil companies involved in lawsuits in a Court located in the heart and soul of oil country — overstepped ethical bounds. 

These findings from a DeSmog investigation precede President Barack Obama's expected imminent decision on the northern, border-crossing leg of Keystone XL.

Will Matt Ridley Turn This Flourishing Planet Into A Massive Northern Rock?

This DeSmog UK epic history post remembers how Northern Rock, the first bank run in the UK since Victorian times, crashed with Matt Ridley at the helm.

Revealed: The Inside Story of The Great Global Warming Swindle

This DeSmog UK epic history post details how a Channel 4 programme on climate change was edited to promote climate denial.

Lord Lawson began his public relations attack on climate science in earnest on 8 March 2007 when he appeared alongside the distinguished cast of oil-funded deniers on the Channel 4 programme, The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Exclusive: Hillary Clinton State Department Emails, Mexico Energy Reform and the Revolving Door

Emails released on July 31 by the U.S. State Department reveal more about the origins of energy reform efforts in Mexico. The State Department released them as part of the once-a-month rolling release schedule for emails generated by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now a Democratic presidential candidate.

Originally stored on a private server, with Clinton and her closest advisors using the server and private accounts, the emails confirm Clinton's State Department helped to break state-owned company Pemex's (Petroleos Mexicanos) oil and gas industry monopoly in Mexico, opening up the country to international oil and gas companies. And two of the Coordinators helping to make it happen, both of whom worked for Clinton, now work in the private sector and stand to gain financially from the energy reforms they helped create.

The appearance of the emails also offers a chance to tell the deeper story of the role the Clinton-led State Department and other powerful actors played in opening up Mexico for international business in the oil and gas sphere. That story begins with a trio.

The Mystery Man Behind Monckton’s Conversion to Climate Denial

This DeSmog UK epic history post reveals the identity of the man behind Lord Monckton’s eccentric climate denial.

Lord Monckton hoisted himself into centre stage of the denier circus in November 2006 with a double-page feature in the then respectable Sunday Telegraph, in which he claimed climate science was “a Sci-Fi panic”.

Can You Guess How Climate Deniers Reacted to the Stern Review on Climate Change Economics?

In this DeSmog UK epic history post, we recall the climate denial backlash to the influential Stern Review, which called climate change the greatest market failure ever seen.

Tony Blair heeded an appeal made by Lord Lawson and the climate sceptic economist David Henderson that the Treasury in Britain and finance ministries around the world should take an active interest in the economic implications of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings.

And so Gordon Brown, as chancellor, commissioned Nicholas Stern, then a permanent secretary at the Treasury and head of the Government Economic Service, to conduct an exhaustive study into the economics of climate change.

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