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Matt 'King Coal' Ridley's COP21 Claims Create More Heat than Light


It's not just deniers who have sunk to a new low. Scientific American has too. The magazine made something of a mockery of a collection of in-depth articles about climate change by including an article from science disinformer Matt Ridley.

I'm told Matt's article is only in the online edition, not the print edition, but it shouldn't have been in either. Matt claimed (despite all evidence that already we are seeing extreme weather disasters from global warming) that 'Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for a Long Time'. The publication is timed to coincide with the COP21 conference currently taking place in Paris. 

The misleading headline is really bad and something I'd never expected to see at the once admired magazine. Matt Ridley's article is full of the sort of nonsense you'd expect to read on climate conspiracy blogs. It starts with:

Making the Moral Case on Climate Change Ahead of COP21 Paris Summit

This is a guest post by Lawrence Torcello, cross-posted from The Conversation.

Much of the general public is well aware of scientists' recommendations on climate change. In particular, climate scientists and other academics say society needs to keep global temperatures to no more than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change.

But now more academics are weighing in on climate change: philosophers, ethicists, and social scientists among others.

More than 2,100 academics, and counting, from over 80 nations and a diversity of disciplines have endorsed a moral and political statementaddressed to global leaders ahead of December’s UN climate conference in Paris.

Meet Jeffery Hildebrand, the Texas Oil Billionaire Who Wants to Drill in the Arctic

This is a guest post by Tim Donaghy of Greenpeace USA.

Royal Dutch Shell may have recently scrapped its plans to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea, but the oil industry has not given up its designs on the Arctic Ocean’s fossil fuels. In September, Houston-based company Hilcorp submitted a plan to develop and produce oil from the Liberty prospect in the Beaufort Sea off the north coast of Alaska. If the Obama administration approves Hilcorp’s plan it will mark a dubious milestone: the first oil produced entirely from federal waters in the Arctic Ocean. The President has made several important decisions in recent months to slow or halt Arctic oil exploration, but he can still do more. President Obama has the power to keep Arctic oil in the ground for good, and approving Hilcorp’s plan would be a step in the wrong direction.

Climate Denial in the Classroom: Textbooks of Doubt

This is an excerpt cross-posted with permission from the National Center for Science Education.

A recent survey by the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment found that only 16% Americans believe there is no solid evidence for global warming. Though good news for the public at large, there are still questions about how global warming is being addressed with students, the next generation of science-savvy citizens, particularly in the classroom and with the texts used there.

Though there have been studies on what students know about climate change, my colleague Diego Román and I wondered how science textbooks were presenting the topic. Are the textbooks presenting climate change as real and certain, matching the scientific consensus? Or are the textbooks presenting climate change as controversial, matching historic (if not current) public opinion? To answer this question, we closely examined four California middle school textbooks.

It’s Not Just What #ExxonKnew, It’s What #ExxonDid Next to Fund Attacks on Climate Science

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

In the wake of Inside Climate News and the Columbia University/LA Times investigations into ExxonMobil’s history on climate science, the company has been terribly busy telling the world that it stands by its scientific work.

In a classic example of Public Relations 101, ExxonMobil’s lead spokes, Ken Cohen, has been huffing and puffing and standing up for climate science, pushing everybody’s focus onto the peer reviewed studies Exxon scientists published. 

But this isn’t the point. 

A Call For A Fair Shares Agreement: Will Justice Prevail in Paris?

This is a guest op-ed by Nathan Thanki, Lidy Nacpil, and Asad Rehma, Coordinating Team, Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice

For most people the word justice conjures up images of superheroes and supreme courts. It seems a grand notion with little bearing on the practicalities of daily life. And when applied to the climate crisis it seems even less comprehensible. But the shocking thing about climate justice is that not only can it be calculated—it can be achieved.

In December world leaders will come together in Paris, not to commit to building a climate just world, but to finalise a new climate agreement and commit to national 'pledges' which are supposed to cover a range of activities related to climate change. These include how we are going to adapt to and deal with the impacts of more storms and droughts—including the human displacement that follows.

Peabody Energy Investigation in Late Stages: New York Attorney General Probe

Powder River Basin coal

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

Update: Peabody Energy announced today that it has reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General's office regarding its climate change disclosures to investors on the financial risks of its business.

A probe by the New York state attorney general of Peabody Energy for allegedly not warning investors about climate change-related financial risks is close to being settled, according to sources close to the investigation.

The news accompanied the announcement on November 6th by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of his investigation of ExxonMobil, which apparently will zero in on the contradiction between the company's own scientific research confirming the hazards of global warming and its subsequent funding of climate denial to protect its profits.

Schneiderman, who had been under increasing pressure to investigate energy companies for allegedly covering up the hazards of fossil fuel use, issued an 18-page subpoena for a wide assortment of records from ExxonMobil dating back to January 1, 1977. The company must respond by December 4th.

The attorney general's office also confirmed that the probe of Peabody Energy, the country's largest coal producer, originally launched in 2007 under then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, was renewed in  2013 with fresh demands for information from the company.

A source familiar with the investigation said a settlement may be forthcoming “very soon.”

Ford Motor Company Revealed As Funder of Climate Denial Group ALEC

This is a guest post by Nick Surgey of the Center for Media and Democracy.

Ford Motor Company, despite its much-hyped commitment to the environment, has been quietly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group widely criticized for its promotion of climate change denial and for its opposition to the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.

A Ford spokesperson, Christin Baker, confirmed the ALEC grant to the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch, but said that the funding was not intended to be used by ALEC to block action on climate change.

Coal Export Industry's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

This is a guest post by Clark Williams-Derry, crossposted from Sightline.

What a week! The bad financial news for coal export prospects in Washington, Oregon, and BC has come almost too quickly to track. So for those of you who don’t follow the coal press as religiously as I do, here’s a brief summary of all of the goings-on in Northwest coal export finance over the last week or so…

Utah's Hopes For Oil Shale Bonanza Has A Public Relations Problem, Industry Symposium Hears

By Kaitlin Butler

The new U.S. oil and gas rush brings certain places to mind: the Midwest, California, the East Coast — Josh Fox’s Gasland, Governor Cuomo’s ban on fracking, the contentious battle over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Amidst mounting public controversy over fracking practices, pipeline spills and exploding oil trains, one corner of an often-overlooked state weighs heavily on our future. Utah: home to some of the most remote landscapes left in the lower 48 and a forgotten lynchpin to an all-out domestic energy bonanza.