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.

[Infographic] Debunking the Economic and National Security Myths Around Keystone XL Pipeline

Today, billionaire clean energy philanthropist Tom Steyer held a press conference to debunk the myths that the Keystone XL pipeline will lead to major economic growth and national security. 

Keystone is an “export pipeline” that would transport toxic tar sands from Alberta down to a tax-free zone in Texas and out to foreign markets.

In other words, the EU, China and Latin America get the oil, the foreign-owned oil companies get the profits and North Americans are left cleaning up oil spills and shouldering the pollution burden from extracting and refining the dirty tar sands. It's a complicated issue for sure, so I've tried to break out the main points in an infographic. Please feel free to download and share it. All the information has been fact-checked and verified by energy policy experts.

Here is the high-resolution version for download.

Google Promotes Involvement in Coal Industry Campaign to Block EPA Mercury Emission Regulations

Google, the search giant with the famous motto: “Don’t be evil,” is boasting about its involvement in a 2012 coal industry lobbying effort to block the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to protect the public from dangerous and potentially lethal coal plant emissions, according to a recently discovered Google case study.

In February 2012, long time coal industry supporter, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution proposing the elimination of the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for power plants. The emissions from coal-fired power plants are the largest human-caused sources of the neurotoxin mercury, arsenic, cyanide, and a range of other dangerous pollutants, according to the EPAInhofe's proposal was ultimately voted down in the Senate by a vote of 53 to 46.

Legislative and policy experts close to the issue said that if Inhofe's proposal had been passed, it would have removed vitally important public health protections more than two decades in the making that every year prevent up to: 

  • 11,000 premature deaths;
  • nearly 5,000 heart attacks;
  • 130,000 asthma attacks;
  • 5,700 hospital and emergency room visits; and
  • 540,000 days when people miss work and school

The EPA regulations, approved under President Obama, are designed to reduce emissions of mercury and other pollution up to 90 percent by requiring plant owners to install pollution control mechanisms. Energy companies oppose the regulations for being too costly. The lobbying campaign was initiated by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), whose membership includes electric utilities such as Southern Company and American Electric Power, two of largest air-borne mercury polluters in the country.

A Google promotional document, Four Screens to Victory [PDF], describes Google's involvement in the 2012 election cycle, and specifically highlights its role in garnering support for Inhofe's proposal to abolish the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards:

10 Reasons Canada Needs to Rethink the Tar Sands

alberta tar sands oil sands

As a Canadian it blows my mind that we can have the second largest deposits of oil in the world, but our government remains billions in debt and one in seven Canadian children live in poverty.

America's First Climate Refugees

The Guardian news outlet is running a series this week on the small Alaskan town of Newtok that is slowly being wiped off the map as the waters rise around it.

The Army Corp of Engineers predicts that the highest point in Newtok could be under water by as early as 2017. This is irrefutable evidence that climate change is here now, and the sea level rises are no longer a prediction by scientists, but happening as we speak.

Guardian journalist Suzanne Goldenberg writes,

These villages, whose residents are nearly all native Alaskans, are already experiencing the flooding and erosion that are the signature effects of climate change in Alaska. The residents of a number of villages – including Newtok – are now actively working to leave their homes and the lands they have occupied for centuries and move to safer locations.

Once upon a time, it was considered politically savvy in some quarters to downplay or outright deny the realities of climate change. But now, with communities in exile from the impacts, denying climate change seems to me to be borderline negligent.

The Carbon Bubble: Are We Exploring for Fossil Fuels We Won't Need?

Despite an international agreement to reduce emissions from carbon-intensive sources, oil and coal companies continue to pour hundreds of billions of dollars a year into finding new fossil fuel deposits containing enough carbon to more than double global climate pollution emissions.  

This is the conclusion of a new report finding that $674 billion was spent globally last year alone on the discovery of new fossil fuel deposits that will likely never be used. 

The report, Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets, authored by researchers at the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Grantham Foundation and the London School of Economics and Politics, describes the idea of a “carbon bubble” that is the result of global fossil fuel reserves that already far exceed the maximum amount we can afford to burn and still avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change.

Despite this growing carbon bubble, and the inevitable movement towards a greatly reduced reliance on carbon intensive fuels in the future, energy companies continue to pour billions of dollars into discovering new fossil fuel reserves. 

Leaked: National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy's Final Farewell Report

It is being reported today that Canada's Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, would not allow the public posting of a final report by the now-defunct National Roundtable on Energy and Environment (NRTEE), a 25-year old government funded project that brought together Canada's brightest minds to work on the convergence of environmental sustainability and economic prosperity. 

Minister Kent's order also prevents NRTEE materials from being transferred to a University of Ottawa think-tank, Sustainable Prosperity, where they will be made publicly available.

According to press reports, in response to a letter of request to post the final report from the acting NRTEE chair, Minister Kent wrote:

“…the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) will upload no further content to its external website, as of the date on which this direction is signed.”

DeSmog Canada has been sent a copy of the final report which is available in its entirety here: Reflections of Past Leaders of the NRTEE.

Minister Kent will also not allow 25-years worth of materials and research compiled by the NRTEE to remain publicly available on its website, raising fears amongst public stakeholders that the government may attempt to bury the documents. 

Keystone Pipeline Consultants ERM Criticized in Past for BP Pipeline Approval in Turkey

DeSmogBlog has found that Environmental Resources Management, the consulting firm behind the Keystone XL Pipeline environmental impact assessment, has been at the center of controversial pipeline projects in the past. 

Activists working against the 2002 planned construction of British Petroleum's Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Turkey, singled out Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for what they saw as ERM “grooming” the BP pipeline for construction. Like the Keystone XL pipeline assessment, ERM's assessment of the Turkish pipeline was seen as flawed and drafted in a way that gave all but the green light for the pipeline to be constructed.

Environmental and human rights group London Rising Tide went as far as occupying ERM's offices in London, handing out pamphlets to employees stating that:

Greedy Lying Bastards, New Film Pulls No Punches To Expose Climate Denial Machine

Greedy Lying Bastards is a new film hitting mainstream theaters nationwide in the U.S. this weekend.

If you like DeSmogBlog, you're going to love this film.

Here's the Rotten Tomatoes review including theater times, etc. (Feel free to add your own star rating!) 

The film, produced by actress Daryl Hannah and directed by Craig Rosebraugh, essentially tells the DeSmogBlog story. Greedy Lying Bastards chronicles the dirty money trail from tobacco companies paying for fake experts to attack the science linking cigarettes and cancer, through to the modern day equivalent of oil companies paying fake experts and think tanks to attack climate science and fight against any government attempts to regulate pollution to protect public health. 

Michael O'Sullivan's review in the Washington Post today describes Greedy Lying Bastards best:

“There actually is plenty of sober — and sobering — evidence presented to support the film’s thesis that (a) climate change is real, (b) it’s our fault and (c) a bunch of bad guys have prevented us from getting a handle on it. It’s that last part, alluded to in the film’s title, that is the film’s bread and butter.”

The film showcases the strange and wonderful “carnival barkers” like Lord Christopher Monckton, the spindoctors like Marc Morano and, of course, the heroes - like the embattled climate scientists James Hansen and Michael Mann, our longtime friend Kert Davies at Greenpeace, EPA whistleblower Rick Piltz and DeSmogBlog's founder Jim Hoggan.

Here's the trailer (while you're watching, there's a call for a Congressional investigation into the climate deniers and their funders you can sign over at ExposeTheBastards.com):

Please spread to word to everyone you know in cities where the film is showing this weekend. 

Live Blogging the Keystone XL Environmental Assessment Release

STATE DEPARTMENT REPORT on Keystone XL Pipeline draft environmental impact assessment (SEIShas just been released. 

We are live blogging the release, the analysis, the news and the reactions here:

Does Gary Doer Know Canada Buys $780 Million in Crude Oil from Hugo Chavez Every Year?

Yesterday, Gary Doer, Canada's Ambassador to the United States, made headlines when he stated that:

“If you ask the question: Do you want your oil from (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez or (Alberta Premier) Alison Redford, I think I know the answer.”

Doer is making the argument that US President Barack Obama should approve the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, so America can get its oil from the friendly North, instead of the much maligned Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.

What Doer fails to mention, or maybe he just doesn't know, is that the largest import commodity Canada receives from Venezuela is crude oil.

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