Sarah Pullman's blog

New Look Launched

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And here it is: the new and improved DeSmogBlog.

We've been busily working behind the scenes to bring this new format to our readers. We're really excited about it – both for the sharp, clean look, and for the increased functionality that we've included. If you're reading this post in an RSS reader, or via Feedbliitz, be sure to click through so you can check it out.

In case you're interested, what follows is a quick explanation of what you can do with this new site (beyond reading our daily coverage about climate change spin, of course).

Climate change warrior wields political clout

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 Two hot-off-the-press polls suggest fighting climate change has attained coast-to-coast approval. A survey by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows Americans rank climate change as the nation’s most pressing environmental problem – a dramatic increase from its sixth-place ranking just three years ago.

The timing of the MIT poll dovetailed with a Field Poll survey in California giving Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger a 16-point lead over his Democratic opponent – the widest margin in two decades for a gubernatorial front runner just days before an election. The previous poll in late September showed Schwarzenegger with a 10-point lead in late September over former real-estate developer and now State Treasurer Phil Angelides.

Sweetheart Chevron deal raises heat under Bush administration

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The recent US Interior Department decision to drop claims against Chevron Corp. for unpaid natural gas revenues is a good illustration of how the rich get richer while exacerbating climate change. The department had ordered the company to pay $6 million in additional royalties for gas produced from federal property in the Gulf of Mexico, but could have sought tens-of-millions more had it prevailed.

The case involved Chevron’s accounting of natural gas sales to a company it partly owned. The decision likely sets a precedent for oil and gas companies to slash their royalty payments instead of having a portion of those revenues go to public health, environmental and citizen organizations for use in the battle against climate change. It also has renewed criticism the US government is reluctant to confront oil and gas companies and collect royalties – instead leaving more money in the hands of its cohorts in industry.

Podcasts from the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference

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Cornering Ford at SEJ2006

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First night at the SEJ Conference, and things started off with a small bang as representatives from several major auto manufacturers – all men – took the stage for a panel discussion about alternative fuel vehicles, moderated by Jim Motavalli, Editor of E/The Environmental Magazine. Also speaking was one lone woman – representing the ethanol promotion board.

After they had all spoken, the audience was asked for questions. DeSmogBlog's Kevin stood up and asked his question of the Ford rep (paraphrased here). “If you say that you're so concerned about climate change, and acknowledge that it's happening, and are involved in things like Terrapass and alternative fuels, then why are you still funding think tank groups like the CEI, who have a position that climate change is not happening and is nothing to worry about?” The audience was as appreciative of his question as they had been of a couple of other pointed questions calling the auto companies on their apparent greenwashing.

Remarkably, Ford's senior representative up on stage didn't even attempt to answer the question, and instead turned it right over to one of his PR people, seated in the audience. “We completely divorced ourselves from that particular campaign,” she claimed, while members of the audience muttered in obvious disapproval and disbelief. She went on to say that while Ford does fund the Competitive Enterprise Institute – though not that campaign – they do acknowledge that climate change is a reality.

Kevin commented that that was the same answer he had received back when Ford had been revealed as a CEI donor during the time of the ridiculous ads.

Morano vs Revkin Ready to Face Off!

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While the SEJ Conference is packed with people and sessions that sound interesting, we're most looking forward to Friday night's session just pre-dinner – “And Now a Word from Our Critics.” This session, hosted by Christy George, will feature four speakers: Bill Blakemore, Dan Fagin, Marc Morano, and Andrew Revkin.

Marc Morano, as many of you may know, is a staffer for Senator Inhofe in all his current notoriety. Andrew Revkin is a long-time environment writer for the New York Times. It'll be interesting to see what Morano says, and equally interesting to see how his spin is received by the audience of environmental journalists.

The DeSmogBlog will be liveblogging from the session, reporting out on all the action. We'll also be posting a raw audio recording of the debate – so stay tuned to the site for that.


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