Brendan DeMelle

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Brendan DeMelle is Executive Director and Managing Editor of DeSmogBlog.com.  He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in new media, politics, climate change and clean energy. He has served as research associate for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., researcher for Ring of Fire Radio, researcher for Laurie David and StopGlobalWarming.org, law and policy analyst for Environmental Working Group, campus organizer for Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, environmental justice associate for EPA Region 10, among other positions in his career. DeMelle has provided writing and communications services on a wide range of topics, with a demonstrated ability to simplify complex and technical issues into concise, accessible language for general public consumption. 

His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, GristEnergyBoom, The Washington Times and other outlets, including a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Rural History about the social and ecological impacts of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies in 1998, and lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife Anne.

House Select Committee Hearing Thursday On Political Attacks Against Climate Scientists

The U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the recent string of politically-motivated attacks against climate scientists.

Several prominent climate scientists will testify and field questions at the hearing, entitled “Climate Science in the Political Arena,” including some who have been targets of such political attacks themselves.

Look for plenty of questions from the GOP minority about the Climategate non-scandal that deniers remain obsessed with, despite the exoneration by the British House of Commons of the CRU scientists at the University of East Anglia targeted by the hackers.

New Scientist's “Living In Denial” Special Issue Discusses Climate Deniers

The magazine New Scientist has devoted a special issue to the “Age of Denial,” including a lot of examples of climate deniers’ efforts to distort and attack climate science.

DeSmogBlog’s own Richard Littlemore has an essay in the issue entitled “Living in denial: How corporations manufacture doubt,” which discusses how polluting industries have followed the tobacco playbook in order to confuse the public about climate change.

Littlemore writes:
“The doubt industry has ballooned in the past two decades. There are now scores of think tanks pushing dubious and confusing policy positions, and dozens of phoney grass-roots organisations created to make those positions appear to have legitimate following.”

Nature Pens Scathing Editorial On Virginia A.G. Cuccinelli Witch Hunt of Michael Mann

In a scathing rebuke of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt relating to the work of climatologist Michael Mann, the highly-regarded journal Nature this week published an editorial called “Science subpoenaed” that condemns the latest political attack on a climate scientist and calls into serious question Cuccinelli’s motives.

AG Cuccinelli, a former Republican state Senator, earlier this month launched a ridiculously over-the-top inquiry demanding that the University of Virginia turn over a massive number of documents and personal communications related to Professor Mann’s work and government contracts.  Cuccinelli demands to see eleven years’ worth of Mann’s emails and other correspondence with climate scientists, and all available documents, computer code and data relating to Mann’s research on five different state and federal grants.

Echoing The Washington Post, which published a similar editorial lambasting Cuccinelli’s “witch hunt” of Professor Mann, the Nature editorial similarly slammed the AG.

Denial-a-palooza Round 4: 'International Conference on Climate Change' Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries

In what has become an annual non-event, the Heartland Institute will gather the who’s-who of the global warming denial network together in Chicago this weekend for the fourth International Conference on Climate Change

As in years past, the event is expected to receive very little mainstream media coverage.  The deniers like to think the reason is some liberal media conspiracy.  In reality, the lack of interest stems chiefly from the fact that this denial-a-palooza fest is dripping with oil money and represents a blatant industry effort to greenwash oil and coal while simultaneously attacking the credibility of climate scientists.

Despite the lack of press interest, the show must go on.  After all, the Chicago meet-up will provide deniers and industry front groups a chance to coordinate their ongoing efforts to smear the reputation of the IPCC, and they can reminisce about the Climategate non-scandal like boys in the schoolyard kicking around a rusty old can.

For insight into the underlying aim of the Chicago denier conference, let us take a look at the funding sources for the sponsoring organizations.

Esteemed Scientists Hit Back at Climate Denier Campaign In Science Letter

255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel laureates, have penned a letter in Science slamming the disinformation campaign orchestrated by a small network of climate deniers that has confused the public about the real danger of climate disruption.

The scientists’ letter, published in the May 7th issue of the journal Science (subscription req’d), says:

“We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular.”

The scientists note that the fundamental science of climate change is sound, despite the extensive campaign by deniers and skeptics to confuse politicians and the general public:
 
“There is compelling, comprehensive, and consistent objective evidence that humans are changing the climate in ways that threaten our societies and the ecosystems on which we depend.”

GOP Chooses Lord "Hitler Youth" Monckton as Expert Witness on Climate Change Science

House Republicans have chosen Lord Christopher Monckton, a non-scientist with a penchant for outrageous remarks, as its sole witness at tomorrow’s hearing in front of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) called the hearing in an effort to further restore public confidence in climate science, and to set the record straight that ‘Climategate’ was not the scandal climate deniers and the right-wing media tried to portray in the wake of the theft of private emails from scientists at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.

A press release announcing the hearing states that the scientists “will address the claims of deniers head-on.”

Washington Post Teams with Dirty Coal Front Group ACCCE on PostPolitics.com Launch

The Washington Post this week launched a new politics homepage, PostPolitics.com, with a helping hand from the dirty coal industry.

According to the press release announcing the launch,
“The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is the Washington Post’s exclusive launch sponsor of PostPolitics.com.”

While PostPolitics.com itself is an exciting new tool for fans of political news, it is unfortunate that the Post had to partner with coal polluters to fund the launch.

World Continues To Wait On Climate Action from the U.S. Senate

The U.S. Senate’s latest attempt to introduce climate legislation has been dogged with uncertainty and delay, continuing the worrisome trend of U.S. inaction to address the most critical issue facing humanity.

As word spread through Washington over the past few days that yet another attempt at a climate and energy bill appeared doomed to the legislative dustbin, the rest of the world continues to wonder if the U.S. is ever going to overcome its deadlock on climate legislation.

Squadron of Oil Industry Executives on Fraser Institute Board

Canada’s libertarian think-tank, the Fraser Institute, has a knack for providing excellent PR and advocacy services for the oil industry in Canada.  That might be because they practically are the oil industry. 

Out of 47 directors, 9 can be clearly linked to the oil, gas and coal industries.  Since Canadian oil companies extract dirty tar sands, which have a much larger environmental impact and carbon footprint than run-of-the-mill dirty oil, the industry relies on top-notch spin to massage its image in the public eye. 

Tax Day Tea Party Features Lord “Hitler Youth” Monckton and Cast of Koch Industries’ Favorites

Lord Christopher Monckton, infamous for his “Hitler Youth” comments at the Copenhagen climate summit, is among the guest speakers at this week’s Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, DC.  Organized by FreedomWorks, the sister organization of Americans for Prosperity, the Tax Day Tea Party at the Washington Monument will also feature appearances from FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey and President Matt Kibbe, right wing publisher Andrew Breitbart, Texas Congressman Ron Paul and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson.

With a cast of characters this deep, sparks are sure to fly.

Lord Monckton has continued the crazed rampage he started at the Americans For Prosperity event at the Copenhagen climate summit, where he repeatedly called American college students advocating for clean energy the “Hitler Youth” and “Nazis.” Monckton took it way too far when he told Jewish student Ben Wessel, whose grandparents escaped the Holocaust, “I am not going to shake the hand of Hitler youth.” 
Despite extensive video evidence, Monckton went on to lie to the Associated Press, claiming that he never uttered those words.  More recently, Monckton called President Obama a “monster” during his speech at a GOP fundraiser in Wisconsin, which followed another of his paid appearances for Americans for Prosperity.

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