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Front Groups Attacking #WebofDenial Senate Action Took Over $92M in Dark, Dirty Money

This is a guest post by Cindy Baxter, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center.

As Democrat Senators spent their second day this week outlining the cash funneled to front groups in the fossil fuel-funded climate Web of Denial, predictably, some of the spiders started crawling out of that web.

Lamar “McCarthy 2.0” Smith Subpoenas #ExxonKnew Investigators

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

For those still hungry for more #WebofDenial, here’s a quick roundup of the content before getting to the more recent news: the groups accused of working together on climate denial unsurprisingly worked together to deny these accusations in a joint letter, then repeated their false first amendment defense at Heartland and the National Review, and threw up gish gallops at Heritage and CEI. On the other side, Monday’s text-searchable Hill speeches start on page 89 of the Congressional Record, Tuesday’s start on 213.

Videos are up on YouTube for Senators MarkeyBoxerUdallShaheenPeters, and Tim Kaine, while Media Matters has a compilation of speeches by Shatz, Franken, Heinrich and Whitehouse about the #WebofDenial’s media manipulations. Senator Whitehouse was also interviewed at The Nation, and quoted in coverage by Kate Sheppard, while the Senator’s own op-ed about the 100+ opinion pieces attacking the #ExxonKnew campaign was published in CJR.

In the aftermath of this massive two day effort to detail the #WebofDenial, the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Lamar Smith, announced on Wednesday that he was issuing subpoenas for communications between climate denial groups and their fossil fuel funders.

#TimetoCallOut the Impressive McCarthy-Hypocrisy of the #WebofDenial Response

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

In response to the 19 Congressional climate hawks deciding that it is #TimetoCallOut the fossil fuel industry for its use of tobacco and lead-industry PR tactics, the #WebofDenial proves its efficacy even while trying to dispute their very existence. For example, the Koch-operative-created Washington Free Beacon’s initial coverage of an email outlining which speakers called out what groups was quickly echoed at the Koch-partnered website, The Daily Caller. That story also features quotes from an ALEC spokeswoman making the free speech defense- a common thread in the #WebofDenial. (One that Sen. Whitehouse called out last week.)

Meaningless, Mean-Spirited McCarthyism: Lamar Smith’s Ironic Investigations

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who’s received more funding from fossil fuels than any other industry, has repeated his request for private communications between the attorneys general investigating what #ExxonKnew and a handful of NGOs who have exercised their constitutional right to petition those AGs.

As chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Smith has taken it upon himself to return Congress to the glory days of Joseph McCarthy, only instead of smoking out communists, Smith is hunting for those who threaten his fossil fuel donor base.

Morgan Stanley: Battery Storage To Grow Four Times Quicker Than Market Thinks

This is a guest post by Giles Parkinson, crossposted from RenewEconomy.

Leading investment bank Morgan Stanley believes the Australian energy market is seriously underestimating the grow of solar and battery storage, and says the technology will be installed at rates four times quicker than the incumbent energy industry expects.

In a new detailed report, Asia Insight: Solar and batteries, Morgan Stanley expects the market for battery storage to grow from about 2,000 Australian homes now to one million by 2020. But its “high case” suggests the take-up could be double that – up to two million homes by 2020.

We think most incumbent utilities downplay the earnings risks from solar and battery take-up, and the market has not yet priced in the retail and wholesale market effects,” the company analysts write in their report.

Emulate to Undermine: Utility Industry Propaganda in Action

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

Back in April, we talked about a DeSmog review of new book that examined How Propaganda Works. It’s a great book, but one steeped in jargon that in some ways disguises a relatively simple definition of propaganda: language that emulates some ideal, but in a context that undermines that very concept.

Since then, we’ve read the book, and started noticing when propaganda pops up. For example, back in March, the Edison Electric Institute hired a crisis communications expert to try to help utilities rebrand. By the sounds of a story in E&E, they’ve begun rolling out these new terms in order to, supposedly, help customers understand the services provided by utilities as part of what they’re calling the Lexicon Project.

Southern Company's 'Big Bets' on Kemper 'Clean Coal' Plant: A Rigged Game?

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

From the very beginning, the story of utility giant Southern Company's Kemper clean coal plant is a long trail of broken promises, according to a New York Times investigation - and the project's numerous critics.

These include many of the 186,000 utility customers in 23 largely rural, mostly low-income counties in southeastern Mississippi that are now on the hook for a good part of the plant's estimated $6.6 billion cost - this after Southern promised them and state and federal officials in 2010 that the first-of-its-kind power station wouldn't cost more than $2.4 billion. 

That figure lasted only a few months, followed by a promise of $2.8 billion. 

Why Hasn't ExxonMobil Published 2015 Philanthropy Reports Yet? Might They Reveal Ongoing Climate Denial Funding?

This is a guest post by Cindy Baxter, originally published by Climate Investigations Center

For some reason, ExxonMobil has delayed publishing its corporate giving report this year, well beyond the normal timing.  Is the report undergoing new internal scrutiny due to the investigations launched by several states?

Description: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/climateinvestigations/pages/127/attachments/original/1467024723/Screen_Shot_2016-06-26_at_6.30.58_PM.png?1467024723Normally, by this time of year, Exxon has published what it calls its Worldwide Giving Report, as part of its Corporate Citizenship Report.  This report details to whom the ExxonMobil Foundation has given grants - everything from universities to health organizations to think tanks and corporate trade associations. 

This data has been the source of the running tally ExxonSecrets has kept since the late 1990’s on the company’s funding of climate denial.   The report (called “dimensions” in the early days) is a summary of the filings the ExxonMobil Foundation has to give to the IRS each year.  

ExxonSecrets looked carefully at the groups receiving Exxon funding under its “Public Policy and Information” section, selected those running climate denial campaigns, and tallied the funding, adding figures from “corporate” funding. 

The running total of ExxonMobil funding from 1997-2014 is $31,853,735.

Brexiters, Climate Deniers and Trump: A Small World

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup originally published at DailyKos

On Friday, we made a joking reference to how right-wing politics and climate denial operate within a single, metaphorical room. In light of the Brexit vote, it seems appropriate to remind everyone how climate denial in the UK is similarly closely tied to other politics, by operating out of literally the same building. 

Last January, Kyla Mandel at DeSmog UK made the initial connection, showing how many climate deniers are campaigning for England to leave the EU, including many names common to this column, like Matt Ridley and James Delingpole. Then the building where these two policy circles intersect was mentioned last February, when the Independent revealed that the Global Warming Policy Foundation/Forum is one of many groups that call a single townhouse at 55 Tufton Street home. 

Survey Shows Strength of Climate Science

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup crossposted from DailyKos

One of the first peer-reviewed surveys of scientists used to determine the level of consensus on human-made climate change was undertaken by Dennis Bran and Hans von Storch in 1996. They used a standard survey response format known as the “Likert Scale,” where respondents answer questions based on a scale of 1 to 7 to determine, for example, how confident they are that warming is happening or that it’s human-caused. 

They’ve repeated the survey a few times since 1996, and have recently released the 5th International Survey of Climate Scientists, for 2015/2016. Bart Verheggen helpfully goes over the key consensus findings as well as a couple of issues with the survey. 

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