Kevin Grandia

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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.

Canadian Government at Warsaw Climate Talks a Waste of Taxpayers Dollars

All week people have been coming by the press center here at the COP-19 UN climate negotiations asking, “Hey Kevin, why are you just sitting there playing with that pencil?” I sigh and reply, “Just waiting for Canada to do something… anything.” 

Finally, Canada's Environment Minister showed up Wednesday to make a statement. But, not surprisingly, the Minister's words were a far cry from reality. 

It used to be easy to write about Canada from UN climate negotiations. There was always some outrageous story to cover about how Canada was blocking progress or making life miserable for countries trying to actually make headway. But it has become a lot harder here at the negotiations underway right now in Warsaw, Poland.

At this round of climate negotiations Canadian negotiators are doing nothing. Literally.

International Coal Summit's Glorious Pipe Dream of Carbon Capture and Storage

A new study released today at the UN climate conference underway in Warsaw, Poland finds that new coal plants cannot be built if we are to keep global warming below the 2° Celsius threshold.

That is, unless the coal industry can deploy commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS). 

The report, titled: New unabated coal is not compatible with keeping global warming below 2°C, finds that of all the fossil fuels, coal is the easiest to substitute with renewable technologies and that:

“The current global trend of coal use is consistent with an emissions pathway above the IEA's [International Energy Agency] 6°C scenario. That risks an outcome that can only be described as catastrophic, beyond anything that mankind has experienced during its entire existence on earth.”

In other words, CCS better work and work fast.

Down the road from the UN conference, the Polish government (of all people) is hosting the “International Coal and Climate Summit” which heavily features CCS experts and discussion panels. 

There will likely be little talk at the coal summit of just how ridiculous the idea of commercially deployed CCS is becoming.

CCS technology has been a “future” solution for many years now, with governments abandoning experimental projects due to cost overruns and lack of progress. Governments like the United States, at the behest of the coal lobby, have pumped billions into CCS technology experiments, yet it continues to fail as a commercially viable option. 

A recent study by the Global CCS Institute found that the number of large scale CCS projects has dropped to 65 from 75 over the last year. If this was the grand solution to the urgent issue of climate change, you would think we would be seeing more projects coming on line, not fewer.

Rallies Coast to Coast in Canada Today to Defend Our Climate

Today across Canada, thousands of everyday people are showing up at events to tell our government leaders that they must listen to the people who elected them and lead on the issue of climate change.

Defend Our Climate, Defend our Community rallies kicked off in Atlantic Canada and now a wave of rallies – more than 180 in all – are underway. 

A recent poll found that 59% of Canadians think climate change should be a top priority and a whopping 76% say that Canada should sign on to a new international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

People clearly want action and leadership on climate change, but there is a major gap between what the people want and what our government is doing, or not doing. 

Just yesterday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government applauded the new right-wing Australian Prime Minister's move to scrap its carbon tax. 

Canadians are not happy and they are taking to the streets to demand action. Here's some of the early photos of some of the events already underway:

Will Canada Continue to Fail on Climate at International Talks in Poland?

oilsands pollution in Canada

With another round of international climate negotiations opening this week in Warsaw, Poland, and a new poll finding Canadians wanting leadership on the issue, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government have an opportunity to turn the tides on what has been so far a policy trend in the wrong direction.

Since taking the helm, the majority Harper government has floundered at United Nations climate events, relegating Canada to perpetual fossil of the day and year awards.

As someone who has been working in and around these international climate talks and other such global negotiations for many years now, I have witnessed first hand Canada's fall from grace. Our small country (population-wise) has historically hit well above its weight in many international forums, with a reputation for neutrality and expert diplomacy. Now, we are called a “petrostate” and a “climate obstructionist” at such talks. 

Why the Media Is Right to Toss Climate Deniers' Opinions

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times officially confirmed the paper is no longer running letters to the editor that deny the scientific conclusion that climate change is a reality and is caused mainly by human activities. 

Prior to this, the magazine Popular Science went even further and completely turned off the comments section for its entire website, stating quite eloquently that, “Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to 'debate' on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.”

The L.A. Times editor stated the paper's reasoning as, “Letters that have an untrue basis (for example, ones that say there's no sign humans have caused climate change) do not get printed.”

The Sydney Morning Herald has subsequently announced it also won't allow climate deniers to “misrepresent facts” on climate science in letters - an especially powerful case given the terrifying fires ravaging Australia against a backdrop of continuing broken heat records.
 
As the former Editor of DeSmogBlog, most of the climate deniers and self-proclaimed skeptics I have encountered over the years have been paid by Exxon, the Koch brothers or other such industry interests, making a good living as fake experts for hire. They are manipulators of the truth.

Of course, not all are paid mouthpieces, and some of them just simply believe that climate change isn't happening or it isn't caused by burning fossil fuels. 

To those people not being paid by industry to sell doubt, to those who in their heart-of-hearts actually question the realities of climate change, I would say they have every right to submit their opinions as letters to a newspaper.

But just like the guy who sends in a letter each week to the paper insisting he was abducted by aliens, or that 9-11 was a hoax, it is up to the paper to decide what to print and what to throw in the waste basket.

Study: Koch Brothers Could Make $100 Billion if Keystone XL Pipeline Approved

A new study released today concludes that Koch Industries and its subsidiaries stand to make as much as $100 billion in profits if the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is granted a presidential permit from U.S. President Barack Obama. 
 
The report, titled Billionaires' Carbon Bomb, produced by the think tank International Forum on Globalization (IFG), finds that David and Charles Koch and their privately owned company, Koch Industries, own more than 2 million acres of land in Northern Alberta, the source of the tar sands bitumen that would be pumped to the United States via the Keystone XL pipeline. 
 
(Click to expand or see original source)
 
IFG also finds that more than 1,000 reports and statements in support of the Keystone XL pipeline project have been made by policy groups and think tanks that receive funding from the Koch brothers and their philanthropic foundations. 

Influence in America: A Report on TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Lobbying Activities

According to a new white paper by DeSmog Canada, TransCanada Corporation, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, has spent more than $4 million lobbying U.S. federal lawmakers and government department staff since 2010.  

The results can be found in a new white paper released today by DeSmog Canada that you can view here: Influence in America: A report on TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Lobbying Activities [PDF].

(or click on the image below to download the white paper)

Global Warming Hasn't Stopped - It's the Hottest Decade on Record

With the release of a major climate science report by the United Nations coming this week, the self-proclaimed climate “skeptics,” better referred to as the climate deniers or flat-earthers, are kicking it into high gear for their fossil fuel clients and right wing ringleaders. 

The likes of Tom Harris, better known for his lobbying work on behalf of the Canadian energy industry, and Fred Singer, formally a tobacco company expert-for-hire, are trying to make headlines again claiming that the warming of our planet has significantly slowed down. As Harris, a man with absolutely no scientific background in climate change, reassures us like a bunch of schoolchildren, “don't be scared.” 

I wish it were the case that the rate of global warming has significantly slowed and that we don't have to “be scared” of more extreme weather events, droughts and flooding. 

But according to the scientific community, the experts who have decades of training in the field of atmospheric and climactic study, our planet continues to warm. In fact, we just came through the hottest decade ever recorded. Not only was it the hottest decade recorded, it has occurred despite the presence of major cooling factors, like La Nina's and reduced solar activity. Such events should result in a significant dip in the earth's temperature, but they are only having a relatively slight cooling effect. 

Not good. And not at all what the flat earth society is trying to tell you.

David Rose's Misinformation Legacy from WMD to Climate Change

If you're interested in how misinformation makes its way into the public dialogue on important issues like war in the Middle East or climate change, then you should get to know David Rose, a “special investigations writer” for the UK's ultra-conservative Mail on Sunday tabloid. 

Rose is making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. But his path to this latest controvery started many years ago. 

A 2010 article by Guardian columnist George Monbiot sums up the history of Rose's many errors, where the “special investigations writer” first gets it wrong on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and goes on to get it wrong on the consensus of the science on climate change. As Monbiot tells us, in Rose's previous stint at the Observer, Rose wrote:

“… uncritically the claims made by Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the second invasion of Iraq.”

We all know the outcome of that fiasco. Over $1 trillion spent, thousands of lives lost, all based on an attempt to create a reality that just simply wasn't so. Rose wasn't the only journalist to get it wrong on the false claims of WMD, but you would think that after such a thing, with such devastating consequences, he might gain better skills in critical thinking.  

Zoologist Matt Ridley Should Stick to Animals Instead of Butchering Climate Science

Since when is zoologist Matt Ridley an expert on climate change science?

Yes, I get it. The state of science versus opinion is at an all-time low in human history, with perhaps the Dark Ages the only exception.

There is currently a “debate” being led by Matt Ridley (you can read all about Ridley's complete lack of credentials in the field of climate science here) brewing in the right wing press about a possible “subtle drop” in the low end prediction of how fast global warming is occurring. Ridley's quibbling comes, not coincidentally, less than two weeks before the release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a favorite whipping post of the climate denier echo chamber. 

Ridley and his pals at the Global Warming Policy Foundation have taken to the airwaves and the right-wing tabloids ahead of the official IPCC release date to try and pre-emptively discredit the IPCC's conclusions. It is a classic political move to get out first and fast before your opponents have a chance to tell their side of the story.

What they want to do (again) is create the appearance of controversy and debate to generate headlines and the perception that climate change science is not as solid as scientists say it is. Doubt is their product.

Hopefully the mainstream media will look past the thin veneer of credibility of Matt Ridley and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and instead speak to actual climate scientists instead of an expert on animals. The issue of climate change and the state of the science is too important to leave to rookies.   

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