Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 16:26 • Graham Readfearn
Kathleen Hartnett White

The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the world’s biggest funders of environmental conservation groups, has given almost $5 million since 2011 to an organization that rejects the overwhelming evidence that human-caused climate change is dangerous, DeSmog has found.

Between 2011 and 2015, financial returns show the Pew Charitable Trusts gave $4.7 million to the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), while giving millions more to dozens of worthy conservation causes.

Kathleen Hartnett White, who is President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, heads TPPF’s Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment.

Hartnett White, who hopes to chair the influential federal council, also rejects the science linking fossil fuel burning to dangerous climate change.

Some of the groups that have received major grants from Pew have been outspoken in their criticisms of Hartnett White, describing her as a “climate change denier” who was unfit for the role. The Pew Charitable Trusts confirmed the grants, but said they were unrelated to work on climate change.

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 19:54 • Graham Readfearn
Joe Pounder, president of Definers Corp.

A Republican-aligned research group with links to a campaign to stalk and intimidate environmental groups, journalists and campaigners has been handed a $120,000 contract to help the EPA shape its media coverage.

Virginia-based Definers Public Affairs was given the 12-month “no bid” contract to provide “news analysis and brief service” to the EPA, as reported by Mother Jones.

Definers is the corporate arm of America Rising LLC, America Rising PAC and its opposition research and tracking service, America Rising Squared – known as AR2.

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 03:55 • Justin Mikulka
Crude oil sign in marsh next to Maine's Sebago Lake

In a case that has national ramifications, a federal judge has ruled against the city of South Portland, Maine, in its latest effort to stop the coastal town from becoming a destination for Canadian tar sands oil.  The case centers around an existing pipeline owned by oil companies ExxonMobil, Shell, and Suncor.

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 00:00 • Mat Hope
Ridley speaks at IFT Global Trade Summit

Brexit cheerleader Daniel Hannan has been busy since last June’s referendum set the clock ticking on his current job as a Member of the European Parliament.

His latest venture is the Institute for Free Trade, a “private, not-for-profit, non-partisan research foundation”, launched at the Foreign Office no less. The group “sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system” – a somewhat optimistic outlook that goes against the grain of what most experts expect.

The IFT’s inaugural Global Trade Summit, held in the heart of London in October, brought together prominent government ministers, lobbyists, free market idealogues, and climate science deniers from both sides of the pond.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 16:36 • Brendan DeMelle

This week, Gatehouse Media published a long-form investigative report called “In the Shadow of Wind Farms” claiming that wind energy has caused negative health effects for residents living near wind turbines — a claim that flies in the face of actual science.

GateHouse Media’s anti-wind article leans almost entirely on anecdotal evidence compiled during its six-month long project that included interviews with dozens of people who claim negative outcomes from living near wind farms.

Meanwhile, in the realm of scientific facts, the American Wind Energy Association, the main trade group representing the wind power industry, points to 25 scientific reviews that document the safety of wind farms for human health and the environment. One health researcher has told DeSmog the GateHouse article was “simply irresponsible journalism” and actually had “potential to exacerbate the experience of anxiety and related health effects.” 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 14:45 • Steve Horn

A new study published in the journal Science Advances has concluded that babies born within two miles of sites of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for natural gas in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale basin are more likely to have low birth weights.

Researchers from Princeton, the University of Chicago, and UCLA analyzed a decade of Pennsylvania birth data from 2004 to 2013 — reviewing 1.1 million birth certificates — and concluded that those babies born to mothers living in close proximity to fracking sites are more likely to weigh under 5.5 pounds at birth. Specifically, the study concluded that babies born within a kilometer (just over half a mile) of fracking sites are 25 percent more at risk of low birth weights, which comes with other health effects.

While we know pollution from hydraulic fracturing impacts our health, we do not yet know where that pollution is coming from — from the air or water, from chemicals onsite, or an increase in traffic,” said UCLA researcher Katherine Meckel in a press release

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 10:35 • Guest

By Dave Anderson, crossposted from Energy and Policy Institute

A new letter asking Congress to end the wind production tax credit has ties to the Institute for Energy Research, a group that has received funding from the fossil fuel and utility industry and is a close ally of the Trump administration.

The Energy and Policy Institute downloaded a PDF of the letter from WindAction.org, an anti-wind website run by the New Hampshire-based Lisa Linowes. A look at the “Document Properties” seemed to identify “Chris Warren” as the “Author” of the file:

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
UK government advisors meet with the Cato Institute

Two of Prime Minister Theresa May’s special advisers met with a libertarian US think tank founded by climate science denial funder Charles Koch last winter, but Number 10 Downing Street will not say why.

The failure to disclose the details of the meetings with the Cato Institute raises questions about whether there is a loophole regarding disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act.

DeSmog UK can reveal that on February 16 special advisors Chris Brannigan and Jimmy McLoughlin attended a lunch hosted at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. According to the think tank, trade issues were discussed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 10:36 • Guest
Divest from fossil fuel light sign in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2014

By Olaf WeberTruzaar Dordi, and Vasundhara Saravade of the University of Waterloo.

Recently, a number of institutional investors, including Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec in Canada and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, announced their intent to reduce their exposure in investments linked to fossil fuels.

The announcements show that investors withdraw their funds to either mitigate financial risks or for ethical reasons. But the question remains whether divestment and divestment announcements have a financial impact on the share price of fossil fuel companies.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 00:00 • Mat Hope
John Constable of GWPF

A leading lobbyist for a climate science denial campaign group has unfettered access to UK lawmakers by being registered as a “staff” member of an associated Lord, but does not declare his role in the official register of interest.

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