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.

The Natural Gas Lobbyist Rush is on in British Columbia

According to lobbyist registry data, there are currently 57 lobbyists representing the natural gas industry to elected officials and government agencies in the province of British Columbia. This is a pretty astounding number when you consider that the provincial government only consists of 85 elected representatives.

British Columbia, Canada is where I grew up and it is a place of natural beauty, in fact the main city of Vancouver is commonly cited as one of the most liveable cities in the world. But with all that nature comes a lot of natural resources and there has been a huge rush to extract these resources under the current business-friendly government (disclosure: I worked for this government for 3 years as a political advisor). 

So friendly in fact that just yesterday the BC government announced it would forgo more than $120 million in natural gas royalties in order to spur new investment in natural gas extraction.

I Love You Huffpo but What's Going On?

I have been writing on environmental issues on the popular news blog Huffington Post going on five years now but I am not sure if I will continue.

In an article today about yet another oil pipeline burst in the Northern Alberta tar sands, the editors of the Huffpo Canada section included a shiny happy “slideshow” at the end touting all the upsides of this massively destructive industry. 

It is blatant spin with factoids like: “Alberta will reap $1.2 trillion from oil sands” (leaving out the next part about the fact that emissions will triple in the same number of years):

Mordor found in Northern Alberta

Following up on an article I wrote last week for Huffington Post Canada, a commenter suggested that the Alberta tar sands looked like a real-life version of Mordor, the home of the evil Sauron in J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. 

I agree. So does that make Stephen Harper Gollum

(click to enlarge)

'Peer of the Realm' Monckton now a Birther

This is a guest post by Greenpeace USA's Kevin Grandia, former DeSmog Managing Editor.

Christopher Monckton, well known for his wacky behavior attempting to deny the scientific realities of climate change, has now moved on to look into the conspiracy theory around whether US president Barack Obama was actually born in the United States!

Monckton, decked out in an American flag shirt, fire arm on his hip and a cowboy hat, tells the interviewer that:

My purpose in being here [in Arizona] is to have a further look into whether the president of the United States is the president of the United States. Now you might say, what has this got to do with someone from Britain… I am here because I am curious. As a peer of the realm I am allowed to stick my long aristocratic nose into anything I want to stick it in.

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. Here is the video:

Russia's Hidden Arctic Nightmare Revealed [shocking never-before-seen video]

"I have to see it to believe it," was the reaction to my Russian colleague, Jon Burgwald, when he told me that every spring the rivers in Northern Russia turn black with oil saturated ice.

He sent me the pictures last night (But I am now debuting the video for the first time) from his visit to Usinsk which borders the Arctic and has the unenviable title of Russia's oil capital. Before oil was discovered here in the 1970's Usinsk was a pristine area, with rivers villagers could drink from, teeming with life.

Now the winter thaw marks the annual running of the black ice. You have to see it to believe it and here is the video. It is b-roll with no narrative, but this kind of messed up content needs no explanation [note: send me some Effexor to help me deal with this kind of thing]:

Please don't be impatient with this, wait until you see the oil literally gooping its way down the river. [oh, and if you are on Chrome the video code is a mess so click here]

Biomass - bad for trees, bad for the planet

A new report out today finds that using forest timber (biomass) for heating, electricity generation or liquid ‘biofuel’ could severely harm forests and accelerate global warming.

The report titled, Fuelling a Biomess, and authored by Greenpeace Canada, points to scientific evidence showing how using forests for energy can be worse for the climate than burning coal. 

The US is set to overtake Canada as the world’s biggest exporter of wood pellets, which are used in power plants and burnt instead of fossil fuels.

The report recommends:

  • Using woody biomass for energy production should be restricted to a local, small-scale use of mill residues.
  • Approval of new wood-based bioenergy projects should cease, pending public hearings, a full accounting of the life-cycle climate and biodiversity footprints, and a re-thinking of government policies. 

You can read a complete version of the report here: Fueling a Biomess, burning trees for energy puts Canadian forests and climate at risk.

[Note: a big warm hello to all the DeSmog readers! Been a while since I have written here, but I think I have the time to do so now.]

Summary of the 61 Scientist Letter

Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa

[Astro] Turf Wars Uncovered in New Undercover Documentary

In his recently released documentary, [astro] Turf Wars, Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham goes undercover to try and answer the question: “Just how real are the roots of the tea party’s supposed grassroots uprising.”

Oldham, examines the role corporate-funded grassroots groups (known as ‘astroturf’) have played in the recent health-care and climate debates and their central role in the tea party movement.

Here’s the very amusing trailer:

Republicans running climate change denier for Governor in Maine

Paul LePage, the Republican (and Tea Party) candidate for Governor in the State of Maine is on the record as early as two weeks ago stating that there is still no scientific agreement on the realities of global warming.

This is of course despite decades of research by some of the top scientific academies in the world like the US National Academy of Science, NASA and the UK Royal Society.

Here’s what LePage had to say in a recent interview:

“Next one is very difficult, is true science. I’ve been listening about global warming for years. You have the pros and the cons. Quite frankly, we need to get our scientific community to come up to a baseline of a common agenda, a common understanding of where we are. Science has to be proven to be fact and if the science is not true, it’s not proven, then it’s rhetoric.”

By LePages’ defintition, the only rhetoric is from those who continue to say climate change isn’t happening despite a complete lack of scientific evidence to back up their claim.

Ryan Air CEO: global warming is bulls**t

There is something poetic about comparing the head of a low-budget airline company to an ostrich.

The CEO of Ryan Air, Michael O’Leary, the cheap-flight kings of Europe, is grabbing  headlines today and it is not for his company’s cramped no-frills flights, but for his comments regarding the reality of climate change.

Despite the fact that 2010 is on track to being the hottest year in recorded human history and decades of scientific evidence to the contrary from the most prestigious scientific academies in the world, O’Leary states in an interview with the Irish Independent that,

“Do I believe there is global warming? No, I believe it’s all a load of bullshit. But it’s amazing the way the whole fucking eco-warriors and the media have changed. It used to be global warming, but now, when global temperatures haven’t risen in the past 12 years, they say ‘climate change’.”

O’Leary goes on,

“… the United Nations as “one of the world’s most useless organisations”, its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as “utter tosh”, and US politician Al Gore as someone who “couldn’t even get fucking re-elected” after a boom.”

And on,

“The scientific community has nearly always been wrong in history anyway. In the Middle Ages, they were going to excommunicate Galileo because the entire scientific community said the Earth was flat… I mean, it is absolutely bizarre that the people who can’t tell us what the fucking weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the fucking global temperatures will be in 100 years’ time. It’s horseshit.”

Given the fact that the airline industry is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gas in the world, O’Leary’s thinking shows that some people will always find it easier to bury their head in the sand than deal with a challenge. But it is also in tune with a lot of people these days.

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