Primary tabs

President Obama Pegs Fate of Keystone XL On Climate Change Impact; Slams Climate Denial Flat Earth Society

“I refuse to condemn your generation, and future generations, to a planet that is beyond fixing. And that’s why today I’m announcing a new national climate action plan, and I’m here to enlist your generation’s help in keeping the United States of America a global leader in the fight against climate change.” 

President Obama stepped up his game today on the issue of climate change, committing to several strong actions to curb dangerous climate pollution from coal power plants, build resilient communities to deal with extreme weather events, and foster clean energy investments around the world.

The speech was peppered with notable nods to the movement-building work undertaken by the environmental community, especially the clear shout-out to Bill McKibben and with the “invest and divest” line towards the end.

And it was a rough day for climate deniers, who again took multiple shots to the chin from the commander in chief, who said he doesn't have the “patience for anyone who denies that this problem is real. We don't have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth society. Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it's not going to protect you from the coming storm.”  [ notes the president of the actual Flat Earth Society accepts climate science, adding insult to injury for climate deniers.]

But perhaps the most important thing the president did today was to confirm that the fate of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be determined chiefly based on its climate impact - whether the pipeline will produce a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions - firmly cementing the issue of climate change as the central determining factor in the president's mind.

Here is what the president said:

Frackalypse Now: Mark Fiore Spoofs Oil Industry's PSYOPS Campaign To Derail Fracking "Insurgency"

DeSmogBlog partnered with Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore to produce this spoof video in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola's “Apocalypse Now.” Making its debut today in honor of Gasland 2, which features the details of the gas industry's psychological warfare scandal, here is “Frackalypse Now”:

Read below the fold for further context…

Climate Denial's Death Knell: 97 Percent of Peer-Reviewed Science Confirms Manmade Global Warming, Consensus Overwhelming

A new survey conducted by a team of volunteers at Skeptical Science has definitively confirmed the scientific consensus in climate science literature - 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers agree that global warming is happening and human activities are responsible.  

It does not get any clearer than this. It should finally put to rest the claims of climate deniers that there is a scientific debate about global warming. Of course, this bunch isn't known for being reasonable or susceptible to facts. But maybe the mainstream media outlets that have given deniers a megaphone will finally stop. 

The peer-reviewed survey, Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, was published today in the peer-reviewed Environmental Research Letters, a publication of the Institute of Physics (IOP).

The citizen science team looked at some 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers and found a 97% consensus that humans are causing global warming. The work expanded upon an earlier survey of the literature by Naomi Oreskes, published in 2004, as well as an informal review conducted by James Powell, published on DeSmogBlog in November 2012

Lead author John Cook created a short video summarizing the findings of the new survey:

Head over to and follow their Twitter for further updates.

DeSmog’s Graham Readfearn Joins Guardian Environment Blog, First Post Jumps to Guardian UK Front Page

On his first day joining the Guardian Environment blog, DeSmogger Graham Readfearn’s first post - How climate scientists are being framed - quickly gained traction and ended up featured on the Guardian’s UK front page.

Bookmark the Environment Guardian blog, and keep your eyes peeled for Graham's column, called Planet Oz. 

Send him some praise on Twitter @readfearn (and follow him if you don’t already). 

Congratulations Graham

Animation of Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volume 1979-2012

If your roof is leaking, do you ignore it and hope it will fix itself? 

This new animation created by Andy Lee Robinson depicts Arctic Sea Ice minimum volumes reached every September since 1979. It's a depressing sight, for sure. Andy makes it a little less difficult to view with his own piano sountrack, a composition called “Ice Dreams”:

For the backstory on what got Andy started, head to this ClimateCrocks article.

Fox Snooze: Global Warming Name Game Debunked By Media Matters (Again)

Media Matters put out a video this past week with clips of all the recent FOX News mentions of a global warming name conspiracy. The Fox 'conspiracy' is that 'liberals' stopped calling it global warming and started calling it climate change. Little did they realize, apparently, that the man responsible for the partisan polarization over the terminology of climate change vs. global warming is none other than FOX News contributor Frank Luntz. Watch: 

As Media Matters points out: 
Scientists use “global warming” when speaking about the increase in average global surface temperatures. They use “climate change” to refer to all the other disruptions that greenhouse gas emissions are causing – from rising sea levels, to abruptly changing precipitation patterns that increase the likelihood of droughtsand wildfires in certain areas and extreme flooding in others, to acidifying oceans that disturb the marine food web.

If you're still confused, head over to Joe Romm's post, Debunking The Dumbest Denier Myth (Again): ‘Climate Change’ Vs. ‘Global Warming’

President Obama Slams Climate Deniers on Twitter

You don't see this every day. President Barack Obama used Twitter today to call out climate deniers in Congress who are blocking political action to address climate change. 

The tweet links to this video released by Organizing for Action, the 501(c)(4) campaign group that promotes the President's national agenda. 

Breaking: Enbridge Pipeline Spills in Minnesota (Updates original)

Enbridge's Line 2 **Line 67 tar sands** pipeline has leaked an estimated 600 gallons of crude oil at its pump station near Viking, Minnesota. Line 2 was built in 1956 and has a history of spills. Regulators ordered Enbridge to reduce its Line 2 operating pressure in October 2010 following the company's Kalamazoo River tar sands spill. 

The Enbridge Viking pump station also receives oil from the Alberta Clipper (aka Line 67 pipeline) that carries heavy crude oil and tar sands bitumen from the Alberta tar sands region south from Hardisty to Superior, Wisconsin and refineries in the midwestern United States. It is unclear whether the product that spilled was tar sands-derived diluted bitumen. According to a link provided by Enbridge subsequent to this story's original posting, Line 2 begins in Edmonton and carries petroleum products, including crude oil, from Edmonton to Superior. Both lines pass through the Viking pump station.  

The U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center website reports the details of the incident, which happened last night:  

DeSmog was alerted by the Indigenous Environmental Network, which is en route to the spill site to gather more information. Stay tuned for updates to this post below.
**This story originally reported that Enbridge Line 67 tar sands pipeline suffered the leak, but Enbridge subsequently confirmed the spill was on Line 2. DeSmog regrets the error.**

Enbridge was warned earlier this month by the National Energy Board that the company “is not abiding by federal safety standards at 117 pumping stations along its extensive crude oil network in Canada, putting the safety of the public at risk.”

DeSmog's Kevin Grandia Featured in Rolling Stone's Fossil Fuel Resistance Edition

Kevin Grandia, DeSmog's former Managing Editor and current senior consultant, is featured in this month's Rolling Stone magazine.

Kevin Grandia: The Muckraker, as Rolling Stone aptly calls him, is recognized for his excellent work in the aftermath of Climategate especially. As long-time DeSmog readers will remember well, Kevin read every page of the stolen emails and worked overtime to educate reporters about the way that climate deniers had ginned up a fake controversy out of thin air. 

Rolling Stone's Jesse Hyde writes:

Grandia hopes something like that never happens again – which is why he now helps run DeSmogBlog, a Canadian website that does daily battle with climate change skeptics, aggregating the best research on global warming and dissecting misinformation campaigns backed by right-wing think tanks. He's traced much of the money that funds anti-global-warming research back to the fossil fuel industry and found that some of the most outspoken skeptics once worked for Big Tobacco. “They're using the exact same tactics they used to convince people smoking doesn't cause cancer,” Grandia says. “It's a tactic that's been around forever. You can muddle up a debate for a long time just by creating doubt.”

Grandia is featured alongside Tim DeChristopher, James Hansen, Maria Gunnoe, Sandra Steingraber and a dozen other incredible fossil fuel resisters in Rolling Stone. And of course, don't miss Bill McKibben's article about the climate movement rising to challenge the fossil fuel status quo.

Congrats to Kevin from the DeSmog team! 

Alberta Govt Hires Bipartisan Team of Lobbyists to Woo Washington on Risky KXL Tar Sands Pipeline

The Alberta government has hired a team of “foreign special interest groups“ to lobby the U.S. Congress and the White House in a desperate attempt to garner support for the risky Keystone XL pipeline that would carry (and certainly spilltar sands crude through the heartland of America to the Gulf Coast and on to export markets overseas. Given the Exxon tar sands spill in Arkansas, dilbit train derailment in Minnesota and other tar sands disasters in recent weeks, I suppose Alberta figured it needs all the help it can muster.

Politico reports that Alberta is spending $200,000 over the next few months to retain the lobbying and PR services of Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications and Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti. 

Politico quotes a filing from the Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti firm that says it will provide “strategic consulting in educating U.S. government officials about the Keystone XL pipeline and Alberta's energy resources,” while the Rasky firm will “assist in communicating priority issues and promoting the principal's energy and environmental positions to the executive and legislative branches of government as well as other U.S. institutions.”

While the ultimate fate of the Keystone XL pipeline rests squarely in the hands of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, Alberta is ramping up its all-out Washington blitz to win support for the controversial proposal in Congress and anywhere on the Hill their lobbyists can get in the door. 

Here is a brief look at the specific lobbyists retained to curry favor on behalf of the Alberta government. Note that at least two have experience working on the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry.