Senate

#DayAgainstDenial Protests Across the U.S. Call Attention to Climate Change as Trump Cabinet Confirmation Hearings Begin

President-elect Donald Trump's nominees for the Cabinet began appearing before the U.S. Senate to start their confirmation hearing process on Tuesday — and some of the slots to be filled will have major implications for American climate change policies. Rex Tillerson, who announced his retirement as CEO of ExxonMobil, is scheduled to appear before the Senate on Wednesday, as is Elaine Chao, Trump's nominee for Secretary of Transporation.

On Monday, environmentalists nationwide organized protests at senators' home offices, with organizers calling on their representatives to refuse to confirm Cabinet nominees hostile to combating climate change.

Planet Earth Is The Real Loser Of The US Elections

During the U.S. presidential debates, there was not one single question devoted to the topic of climate change. And it appears that the results from the election have only amplified the silence that Americans seem to have on the subject of the environment.

In a stunning turn of events, US voters elected conservative businessman Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. Trump will now become the only world leader to actively deny that climate change is real, which means that the environment is about to suffer an enormous blow.

Senator Repeats Industry Talking Points in Congressional Push to Mandate Biomass Energy as “Carbon Neutral”

Clear-cut forest.

The Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) released a video this week revealing the cozy relationship between the biomass industry and legislators like Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who are pushing Congress to adopt laws that would classify biomass power plants as carbon neutral.

In the video, Sen. Collins can be heard repeating biomass industry talking points nearly word-for-word during a February 3 speech. In the video, she is defending an amendment that would force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to treat power plants that burn wood and other biomass for electricity as emitting no carbon pollution.

How Much Are Fossil Fuel Interests Spending to Sway Your Vote for Congress?

Circle of dollar bills.

Are your Congressional representatives up for reelection this year? How much money have they taken from fossil fuel interests this election cycle? And what about their opponents — are they any better, or are they taking dirty energy money too?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to head on over to NoFossilFuelMoney.org, a new online tool created by ClimateTruth Action to track contributions from the fossil fuel sector — which includes oil and gas companies, electric utilities, coal mining companies, and related businesses — to both congressional incumbents and challengers.

Senate Poised to Pass Water Bill Reversing Coal Ash Pollution Rules

Coal ash spill surrounding a house in Tennessee.

Every two years the Senate passes a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which contains the funding necessary to protect America’s water infrastructure. This year’s legislation includes $9 billion worth of spending on water delivery infrastructure and runoff containment and abatement, among other projects.

As currently written, this bill also would allocate $280 million to address the lead water pollution crisis in Flint, Michigan, making this a must-pass piece of legislation that could easily become a hot-button campaign issue should any senator up for reelection choose to vote it down.

And that’s precisely why one of its amendments — championed by the coal industry — to dismantle coal ash pollution protections is likely to become a reality, and as a result, potentially endanger water supplies all over the United States.

Top Tweets from #WebofDenial Speech Blitz in U.S. Senate

On Monday and Tuesday this week, climate change denial is facing intense scrutiny as U.S. Senators take to the floor to speak out against the network of industry-funded climate denial organizations purposefully deceiving lawmakers and the general public about climate science and stalling action to tackle this critical issue.

On social media, the #WebOfDenial event captured the attention of the Twitterverse, quickly becoming a trending term on the social network. Throughout the event, DeSmog is capturing some of the top Twitter highlights for you.

Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action

On Monday and Tuesday this week, at least 19 U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy action will speak out on the Senate floor in support of the Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial.

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

Joined in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Lieu (D- CA), these champions for climate action and accountability in the Senate are calling out the use of think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups to create doubt about climate science. Read the resolution [PDF].

Republican Climate Activist Funding Environmentally Conscious Conservatives

For too long, climate change has been a partisan issue in American politics. In spite of the overwhelming scientific data about the role that human beings have played in the warming of the planet, the Republican Party of the United States has consistently refused to acknowledge the scientific consensus, and even their presumptive nominee for the presidency this year has outright denied the existence of climate change and repeatedly referred to it as a “hoax.”

But here’s where things get interesting: The Republican denial of climate change is far more prevalent in elected Republicans than average conservative voters. In fact, the latest round of polling shows that close to half of Republican voters accept the scientific consensus on climate change, which is an increase of nearly 20% over the last 2 years on this issue. So there is obviously a sharp divide between the views of the voters and the views of Republican politicians.

Congress Is Infected With Climate Change Deniers, But Their Constituents Understand The Dangers

Here’s an inconvenient truth for the fossil fuel industry: The majority of Americans accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real and that it is a threat that must be addressed. This includes a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of citizens who do not identify with a specific political party.
 
But here’s a sad truth for Americans who believe in science: The majority of members of the ruling GOP party in Washington, D.C. refuse to accept the science that climate change is happening and that human beings are to blame.
 
According to a new report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, 59% of the House Republican caucus and 70% of Senate Republicans refuse to accept the reality of climate change. This means there are a total of 182 climate change deniers in the House and Senate who collectively represent more than 200 million American citizens (based on their district/state size that they represent in Congress.)

"Miracle of American Oil": Continental Resources Courted Corporate Media to Sell Oil Exports

A document published by the Public Relations Society of America, discovered by DeSmog, reveals that from the onset of its public relations campaign, the oil industry courted mainstream media reporters to help it sell the idea of lifting the ban on crude oil exports to the American public and policymakers.

Calling its campaign the “Miracle of American Oil,” the successful PR effort to push for Congress and the White House to lift the oil exports ban was spearheaded by Continental Resources, a company known as the “King of the Bakken” shale oil basin and founded by Harold Hamm. Hamm served as energy advisor to 2012 Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

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