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Hard for Crook to Climb Down on ClimateGate

A blog post penned by The Atlantic’s Clive Crook today highlights just how hard it is for some people to admit when they are wrong.

Maybe it’s a pride thing - the Chinese call it “saving face.” Maybe it’s something entirely different. After all, who knows what is running through anyone’s head?

Regardless of what it is called, Crook has it in spades on the issue of the infamous stolen emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at London’s East Anglia University. At the time of the controversy last November, Crook wrote column after column indicting climate scientists in the court of public opinion before any inquiry into the matter could take place.

Only 13 days after the stolen emails were made public Crook had already made up his mind writing that, “the stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering.”

But after three inquires into the so-called “climate gate” matter, one of them conducted by a bi-partisan UK government committee and two by academic boards, the overwhelming conclusion is that there was no wrong-doing.

Powerful US Congressman Sends Serious Opposition to Canada Oil Sands Pipeline

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a senior member of Congress and chair of the powerful Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce has penned a public letter to the Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, in which he states strong opposition to a planned oil pipeline that would transport Canada’s controversial tar sands oil to the US Gulf Coast.

In the letter Waxman writes:

The State Department’s decision on whether to permit this pipeline represents a critical choice about America’s energy future.

This pipeline is a multi-billion dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available. While I strongly support the President’s efforts to move America to a clean energy economy, I am concerned that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step in the wrong direction. (hftsuuuttt)

You can download a full PDF copy of the letter from Waxman to Clinton here.

Fracked tap water in Texas is 99% PR spin

When you have lived in the same place for 20 years and all of sudden your hair turns orange after you wash it, you might be more than a little concerned.

But, of course, don’t blame the natural gas company that is pumping thousands of gallons of toxic sludge into the ground just up the street. That can’t possibly have anything to do with your hair turning orange or the chemically smelling sediment floating around in your water glass.

After all, the natural gas industry, in a process called hydraulic fracturing (also called “fracking”), says that 99-percent of the sludge they use is just water and sand.

The 1 percent that isn’t water and sand is chemicals like formamide, a “reproductive toxicant” that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says targets organs like the “eyes, skin, respiratory system, central nervous system, [and] reproductive system.”

Also in the 1 percent is something called Glutaraldehyde, a “developmental toxicant, immunotoxicant, reproductive toxicant, respiratory toxicant, skin or sense organ toxicant.”

Now when you consider that the average fracking operation uses more than a million gallons of fluid, that means this teeny tiny 1 percent of toxins is a whopping 10,000 gallons.

Top Man in Washington Slams Canada's Tar Sands

This a piece I wrote last week on Huffington Post, don’t know why I didn’t cross-post here on DeSmog.

When former US President Bill Clinton went for an “unofficial” visit to North Korea to negotiate the release of two imprisoned American journalists he asked John Podesta to accompany him.

When current US President Barack Obama needed someone to head his transition into the role of president, it was John Podesta who he asked.

In other words, John Podesta is a very powerful man when it comes to US politics and while he does not speak on behalf of the Obama administration in an official capacity - he runs a major think tank called the Center for American Progress - his public statements on policy are something to pay attention to.

Canadian oil lobby trying to kill US clean energy policy

Who knew the tentacles of the Canadian oil lobby could reach all the way down to Washington, DC?

And who knew they were so powerful?

I am sure many Americans will find it rather disturbing that a foreign entity (no matter how friendly they may be - full disclosure: I am Canadian) is holding so much sway over the clean energy future of their country.

In a lengthy and well-researched new expose on the Canada oil sands industry’s lobbying activities in Washington, DC, reporter Geoff Dembicki untangles a complicated web that includes former Republican insiders, dirty energy front groups and powerful politicians on both sides of the border that are doing their best to kill US clean energy legislation.

Take former Republican Congressman Tom Corcoran for instance. Ironically, Corcoran was born in Ottawa, Illinois which shares its name with Ottawa, Ontario the capitol of Canada. It seems a little Canadian patriotism has rubbed off on Corcoran because he is now working on behalf of that country’s oil sands lobby and against clean energy for his own country.

Help save oily US Senators from themselves [funny video]

This is a copy of a funny, and what I suspect will be very successful, TV ad campaign targeting US Senators opposed to the new proposed clean energy and climate change legislation. No surprise that those politicians most opposed to the legislation are paid the most by the oil and coal companies.

Check it out and pass it around:

Who are the spindoctors behind the attack on Gasland?

Last night the award-winning documentary Gasland got a big bump in profile when it was aired on HBO.

And by the looks of the PR attack campaign launched today, it looks like Gasland is starting to get under the skin of the oil and gas industry.

I guess the dinosaurs in the dirty fuel lobby don’t like videos of people who can light their tap water on fire after their wells are contaminated with methane gas, like this:

The Inside Scoop on the "Climate War"

The first question I had for author Eric Pooley after I finished reading his new book, The Climate War, was whether he had set up hidden cameras all over Washington, DC.

He didn’t of course, but the insider information he weaves into his story about the ongoing battle for effective climate policy both in the United States and internationally will make even the insiders feel inadequate.

The Climate War puts you at the power-broker’s table, with much of the book following two main characters who have been at the center of the debate and the controversy around climate policy for more than a decade - Fred Krupp, Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund and Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy.

Both Krupp and Rogers are polarizing figures within the climate advocacy community, with Krupp being accused of “selling out” to the big corporate machine and willing to accept inadequate policy fixes and Rogers being accused of greenwashing the company he heads which is one of the largest electrical generation companies in the United States.

Krupp and Rogers act as the central characters and around them Pooley wraps the history of how we have gotten to where we are today on the issue of climate change, ending with the failure to come to an international climate treaty in Copenhagen, Denmark in late December, 2009.

We learn more about the “deniers” and the corporate flaks that back them, like Myron Ebell at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who toasted a crowd with Fiji Water because,

“It comes to you direct from Fiji, so it’s very energy inefficient: the only thing that could improve it would be to carbonate it.

Fossil Fuel Industry's 65-Page Strategy to Sell Carbon and Capture Technology

A report shows how the coal, oil and tar sands industry, along with government plans to sell carbon and capture and storage technology to a skeptical public.

The 65-page report titled, Communication of carbon capture and storage: outcomes from an international workshop to summarize the current global position [pdf], was produced by the Global Carbon Capture and Storage (GCCS) Institute, an organization formally launched by US president Barack Obama and Australian president Kevin Rudd at the 2009 G8 summit.

Communications recommendations for selling carbon capture and storage in the report include:

“…when multiple stakeholders join forces to communicate a message the message is more likely to be well received and trusted, particularly if those communicating the messages are generally known to have opposing views. For example, when NGOs team up with industry partners…”

“Within each community there are various audiences that need to be considered, particularly for targeting engagement processes and key messages.”

Members of the GCCS Institute include major coal producers and Canada tar sands operators who have the most to gain by selling the idea that carbon capture and storage can work on a commercial scale, including Enbridge, ConocoPhilips, Duke Energy, Arch Coal and the Integrated CO2 Network.

While billions of dollars continue to be invested in carbon capture and storage technology, it remains little more than a pipe-dream that industry will find a way to capture and store greenhouse gases at the level needed to significantly reduce worldwide emissions and avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.

H/T to Geoff Dembicki at The Tyee for this story.

The video most likely to make you want to take a shower

I am not sure if we ever posted this on DeSmog, but here is the interview Rachel Maddow did with Tim Philips on MSNBC.

Here’s our backgrounders on Tim Philips, Americans for Prosperity and their major donor Koch Industries that just so happens to be the largest private oil company in the United States:

Americans for Prosperity: history, background and research

Koch Industries and George Mason University

Koch Industries holdings and investments

Koch Industries lobbying activities

Once you’ve read all of that you can watch this video Smile

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