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10 Things We Learnt From Reddit About Understanding Climate Change

Two professors of cognitive psychology – Stephan Lewandowsky, from the University of Bristol, and Klaus Oberauer, from the University of Zurich – did a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) this week.

The topic up for discussion was: “The conflict between our brains and our globe: How will we meet the challenges of the 21st century despite our cognitive limitations?”

How Intense did the Battle Between Bob Ward and ExxonMobil's Army of Climate Deniers Get?

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.

Senators Call For End To Arctic Drilling As Shell Gets Permits To Begin Work In Chukchi Sea

Shell received the final permits it needed to begin drilling exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea last Wednesday, but a group of Senators led by Oregon's Jeff Merkley is calling for a ban on Arctic drilling altogether.

According to the Associated Press, the permits are somewhat conditional: In granting the company the green light, the Department of the Interior said Shell can only drill the top sections of wells, or to about a depth of 1,300 feet, because critical emergency response gear, including a well-capping device in the event of a blowout or leak, will not be present for the foreseeable future.

Australia's IPA Think Tank Adds Coal Lobbying To Its Climate Science Denial

The Institute of Pubic Affairs holds the unofficial and dubious title of being Australia’s leading climate science denial organisation.

The so-called “think tank”, based in Melbourne, promotes fringe views on climate science from non-experts while attacking renewable energy.

Now if you were a coal company, you’d be concerned how for many decades scientists have linked the burning of your product to climate change. 

You might be worried too that investment in renewable energy is going through the roof while the cost of power from aforementioned renewables is going in the opposite direction.

A short-sighted coal company might decide to start launching critiques of the science of climate change and start having a crack at renewables while at the same time selling its product as some sort of silver bullet that can solve global poverty with a single well-aimed shot.

This brings us back to the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and its latest report, titled: “The life saving potential of coal: How Australian coal could help 82 million Indians access electricity”. It could have been written by the coal industry.

How American Tea Partiers, Big Oil, and the Kochs Used Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth as Target Practice

DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues with a look at how Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth became target practice for Koch think tanks and the Tea Party caucus in the Republican Party.

There appeared to be a new international bipartisanship on the issue of climate change when, during his 2006 campaign, Conservative leader David Cameron emphatically called on the public to watch American Democrat Al Gore's climate change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

But the highly-influential tribune for climate policy would soon receive heavy criticism from Big Oil, Koch think tanks and American Tea Partiers.

Steve Hilton Masterminded Cameron's Climate Crusade - But Was it Just Greenwash?

The International Policy Network was one of the UK’s most prominent climate-denying think tanks but in 2011 it closed its doors as science triumphed over ideology. The DeSmog UK history series continues.

The International Policy Network (IPN) was an offspring of Antony Fisher’s free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), and its board was composed of Fisher’s two children, Linda Whetstone and Michael Fisher.

But Whetstone’s son-in-law, Steve Hilton, would by happenstance turn out to be the architect of the IEA's greatest woes. In 2011, the think tank closed its doors, apparently due to an internal battle where science finally overwhelmed both ideology and the lure of dirty oil funding. 

Nexen’s Brand New, Double-Layered Pipeline Just Ruptured, Causing One of the Biggest Oil Spills Ever in Alberta

A pipeline at Nexen Energy’s Long Lake oilsands facility southeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, spilled about five million liters (32,000 barrels or some 1.32 million gallons) of emulsion, a mixture of bitumen, sand and water, Wednesday afternoon — marking one of the largest spills in Alberta history.

According to reports, the spill covered as much as 16,000 square meters (almost 4 acres). The emulsion leaked from a “feeder” pipe that connects a wellhead to a processing plant.

At a press conference Thursday, Ron Bailey, Nexen vice president of Canadian operations, said the company “sincerely apologize[d] for the impact this has caused.” He confirmed the double-layered pipeline is a part of Nexen's new system and that the line's emergency detection system failed to alert officials to the breach, which was discovered during a visual inspection. 

How One UK Climate Denial Think Tank's Links to ExxonMobil Led to its Downfall

This DeSmog UK epic history post examines the demise of one UK free market climate-denying think tank after its funding was linked to ExxonMobil.

Chief executive Rex Tillerson’s decision, made in the ExxonMobil boardroom in Texas, to turn off the flood of funding to free market think tanks resulted in an immediate crisis for Julian Morris and his colleagues at the climate sceptic International Policy Network (IPN) near the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

The oil company had donated $95,000 to the libertarian IPN in 2006, but further funding was in serious jeopardy. According to accounts filed by the charity, “the trustees of IPN UK concluded that the institute’s objective would presently be best achieved primarily through the provision of support to IPN UK’s sister organisation and others, rather than acting directly.”

Peabody Energy to White House: Greenhouse Gas a 'Non-Existent Harm'

In an official submission to the White House earlier this year, U.S. coal giant Peabody Energy claims that greenhouse gas is a “non-existent harm” and a “benign gas that is essential to all life.”

The March 2015 submission from Peabody further claims that “while the benefits of carbon dioxide are proven, the alleged risks of climate change are contrary to observed data, are based on admitted speculation, and lack adequate scientific basis.”

That Time When George W Bush Delivered a Nasty Shock to the Oil Industry

In this DeSmog UK epic history series post, we remember the moment when George W. Bush declared: “America is addicted to oil.”

President George W. Bush delivered a nasty shock to his oil industry sponsors when, on 31 January 2006, he delivered his State of the Union Address – watched by millions – and declared: “America is addicted to oil.”

This was a precipitous alarm raised at the beginning of what would be a truly miserable year for ExxonMobil in terms of its climate change public relations campaign.

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