Nova Scotia is potentially on the hook for millions of dollars in decommissioning costs as ExxonMobil prematurely winds down production at a ...
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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog and DeSmog Canada.Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.
Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.
Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.
Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Mulitculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.
In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groudbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.
Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.
This article was co-written by Dan Zegart, author of Civil Warriors, the legal siege on the tobacco industry.
A leaked email chain reported earlier this week on DeSmog shines a harsh light on the behind-the-scenes coordination between well-known climate deniers and fossil fuel funded spindoctors.
But it turns out that there is much more to this story than just climate change, and we find ourselves once again reaching back into the rich history of scientists paid by tobacco companies to conduct research bringing into question the links between cigarette smoke and cancer.
The October 2014 email discussion, led by infamous climate denier Fred Singer, asks whether it would make sense to file a lawsuit to try and stop the release of the new feature length documentary, Merchants of Doubt – a film tracing the tactics used by Big Tobacco to spread misinformation and how those same tactics are now being used by those attacking climate change science and the 97% consensus.
But where the really interesting story lies, is in two of the recipients of the Singer email who share an uncannily similar history.
Merchants of Doubt, a new film from Food Inc. director Robert Kenner, hits the big screen nationwide this week and it is already making controversial headlines as the climate deniers go on the attack as predictably as possible.
Merchants of Doubt zooms in on the anti-science campaign outlined in Naomi Oreskes' book of the same name, and has some pretty shocking and frank interviews with some of the more colorful and influential operatives in the climate denier movement.
Apparently the film sent such a wave of indigestion through the climate denial cabal that, back in October, S. Fred Singer and a small group of his chosen deniers and PR spindoctors discussed via email the opportunity to sue the film into oblivion.
E & E revealed yesterday an email chain written by the grandfather of climate denial, Fred Singer, in which he seeks legal advice from the likes of Marc Morano, Anthony Watts, James Delingpole, Christopher Monckton, Tim Ball, Patrick Michaels, Judith Curry, Willie Soon and Joseph Bast, asking:
Both Harvard and the Smithsonian Institute are trying to shake off the controversy surrounding Willie Soon, but these esteemed organizations should not be let off the hook easily.
Earlier this week, documents revealed by the Guardian and New York Times provide irefutable evidence that climate denier Willie Soon and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophyics received more than $1 million in funding from fossil fuel companies to deliver scientific reports that called into question the scientific conclusion that climate change is the result of burning too much oil, coal and other carbon-emitting fuel sources.
Harvard quickly tried to distance themselves from the Soon scandal telling the Guardian that “Soon operated outside of the university.” This, despite the fact that Soon “carries a Harvard ID and uses a Harvard email address.”
The Smithsonian Institute also reacted quickly announcing that they have tasked their Inspector General to look into the ethical conduct of Dr. Soon.
“The Smithsonian is greatly concerned about the allegations surrounding Dr. Willie Soon's failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research,” they said in a statement shortly after the scandal broke over the weekend.
But who is going to probe the ethical conduct of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics?
After all, many of the documents include the organization's letterhead. Take for example this funding request to oil giant ExxonMobil to produce a paper on the understanding of solar variability and climate change:
While every year is crucial when it comes to reducing the amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere, 2015 is looking to be a super year and a possible turning point in which a few big decisions could make all the difference.
Here are five big things to watch in 2015:
1. Paris UN Climate Conference
Let's start at the end of 2015, when global leaders are expected to show up in Paris, France, in early December to negotiate a new global agreement on global warming pollution reductions. A preview of what is to come was on display in Lima, Peru, in early December when environment ministers and their delegations cobbled together the draft of what will be negotiated in Paris. The major sticking points in the negotiations were the same as they have been for a while now.
Two big blows to the natural gas industry have come in less than 24 hours, with both the province of Quebec and New York state effectively banning shale gas extraction over concerns with the process of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking”).
Fracking allows for the cheap extraction of natural gas from shale deposits that were previously inaccessible, and it is responsible for both the boom in natural gas production as well as the correlate controversy.
Citing public health and environmental concerns, Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard announced yesterday that there would be no shale gas development in his province. The day prior Quebec's environmental review board released a report finding that there are “too many potential negative consequences to the environment and to society from extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits along the St. Lawrence River.”
Today New York State made a similar move imposing an outright ban on fracking.
In a newsletter to clients titled “Defending Your Company Against an Activist Attack,” Randal Simonetti from the consulting firm EFP Rotenberg, opines that in order to successfully combat an attack by an environmental group you must, “first consider the driving motive that supports the attacker's existence.”
According to Simonetti that driving motivation is money. “Funding is a primary driver of any activist organization's behaviour,” writes Simonetti.
To be sure, any non-profit organization must pay some attention to money to keep the lights on and pay decent(ish) wages. But as a former director at the environmental group Greenpeace, I can tell you that activists don't occupy a logging company's offices, or lie down in front of a coal train, or march in the streets of New York for money. They do it because they genuinely believe in standing up for their principles and what they believe is right for the human race and the planet.
To counter these supposed money grubbing activists and their campaigns-for-dollars, Randal Simonetti suggests that companies under attack look to find other companies who “operate in a similar fashion” and point them out. I know my mom would probably scold Simonetti on this point and ask him, “If everyone else wants to jump off a bridge, does that mean you have to as well?”
Pointing out that others are just as bad as you, does not excuse your behaviour. Even my 8 year-old knows that.
I am a little reluctant to remind everyone about the so-called “Climategate” incident that was sparked this day five years ago.
Many people, in the end, were embarrassed by this major attack on climate change scientists when it turned out to be nothing more than manufactured media hype. Nine independent inquiries by multiple agencies all arrived at the same conclusion that the Climategate conspiracy was nonsense.
Interestingly enough, the only inquiry that was never concluded was the failed criminal investigation by the UK police into who hacked and stole the private documents.
The fact is that a small number of words (three to be exact) found in over 20,000 pages of stolen documents were taken out of context and spun for the media. All to fit the conspiracy theories of a small band of climate deniers who will never be convinced that climate change is happening and that burning fossil fuels like coal and oil is predominantly to blame.
While on a visit to Bejing, U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday announced with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping a new bilateral agreement on hard reduction targets for climate change pollution in those two countries.
The United States agrees to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels by the year 2025 and China commits to levelling off its carbon emissions by 2030.
When China or the United States act on any major global political issue, other countries take notice. And when China and the U.S. work in partnership on a major global issue, other countries definitely take notice. Looking at early analysis of what these announced targets represent in terms of the impact on our climate, it is clear they don't go far enough. However, it is a grand gesture by two powerhouse countries and that will have big ripple effects.
This all leaves Canada and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a very awkward position.
At town halls and candidate debates across the country, Republican and Democratic election hopefuls are being asked where they stand on the important issue of climate change. Many of their answers have been recorded for posterity.
A new video short produced by Republic Report's Lee Fang shows just how off-side Republican candidates are in this midterm election cycle when it comes to the overwhelming scientific evidence that human behaviour is to blame for the current climate and atmospheric disruption we are experiencing.
Lee told me earlier today that he would have liked to have balanced the story a bit by finding Democratic candidates who also deny the basic science behind climate change, but he was unable to unearth any such footage.
H/T to Huffington Post Politics.