Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:57 • Itai Vardi
Protesters hold signs in the parking lot outside the Massachusetts DEP office

Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) acknowledged they regularly allow energy companies to exclusively preview and revise draft permits as a matter of common practice.

This admission follows DeSmog’s reporting on emails showing the state had quietly provided Spectra Energy (now Enbridge) several opportunities to edit a draft pollution approval permit for a compressor station in the town of Weymouth as part of its Atlantic Bridge gas project.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 13:44 • Farron Cousins
Butcher knife on cutting board with dollar bill cut in half

According to Axios.com, the Trump Administration is proposing a 70 percent reduction in funding for the Department of Energy’s renewable and energy efficiency programs, a move that could severely dampen the recent surge in renewable energy production and job growth.

As Axios points out, a cut this steep will have trouble making its way through Congress, but it sets the bar incredibly low from a negotiation standpoint, meaning that the overall funding for the department will still fall significantly from previous years. Funding for the renewable energy programs dropped from $478 million in 2015 to $451 million in 2016, while energy efficiency programs increased from $721 million to $762 million in the same period.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 11:19 • Sharon Kelly
Gas pipeline warning sign

At the Glenwood Elementary School in Media, Pennsylvania, roughly 450 students interrupted their regular schedules one day this month for an unusual emergency drill.

Just after 1:30 p.m. on May 3, the entire student body practiced sheltering in place in the school's gymnasium, then prepared to evacuate the campus by bus, under the watchful eye of the school's superintendent, state police, and local first responders.

Everyone took this seriously and it was reflected in how quickly they moved through the drill — two minutes to be sheltered in place and three minutes to be completely evacuated from the building,” Principal Eric Bucci told local reporters.

It wasn't fears of natural disaster or terror attack that prompted the emergency drill. Instead, worries about a fossil fuel pipeline construction project nearby left the school district drafting emergency response plans and practicing safety protocols.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 15:50 • Steve Horn
LNG port

The U.S. has signed a major deal with China to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia, adding further momentum to America's hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom.

The deal, which includes the export of other commodities from the U.S. to China, was signed about a month after President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Much of the LNG in this deal will move across a recently expanded Panama Canal, offering a fast-track route to Asia for larger vessels, an expansion for which the oil and gas industry lobbied.

A DeSmog investigation has revealed that expanding the Panama Canal was part of a two-part process, which included an oil and gas industry push to deepen ports in the Gulf of Mexico as well. Emails obtained under the Texas Public Records Act show that lobbyists for ExxonMobil were leading this effort.

Monday, May 15, 2017 - 17:37 • Graham Readfearn
Malcolm Roberts

Sometimes watching YouTube videos is a lot like eating your favorite flavor of chip, fudge, or whatever else it is that has you yearning for more.

You watch one video and then, on that panel on the right hand side, up pops a whole load of others that YouTube thinks you’ll like.

No doubt because of my years of writing about climate science denial, YouTube taunts me with all manner of climate science denier crap — some quite sophisticated, some not.

And so it was that I failed to resist a video entitled Senator Malcolm Roberts — How Climate Actually Works (presumably there’s another video somewhere called President Trump — How Uranium Actually Works.)

Monday, May 15, 2017 - 09:01 • Graham Readfearn
Neil deGrasse Tyson

There’s no real way to scientifically establish just how cool, adored, or respected a person is among certain groups.

But a good start might include the number of t-shirts with the person's face on them, the frequency of memes created with their quotes, or the amount of coffee drunk from mugs bearing their likeness.

On all these important and absolutely non-trivial measures, the astrophysicist, author, and educator Neil deGrasse Tyson looks to be winning.

Tyson is an American superstar of science communication. When primetime networks go looking for an articulate and respected scientist who can speak to the masses, Tyson is a go-to guy.

A few days ahead of the historic March for Science, Tyson released a four-minute video he said contained “what may be the most important words I have ever spoken.”

Sunday, May 14, 2017 - 08:55 • Guest
Rick Perry and the Texas power grid

By Joshua D. RhodesMichael E. WebberThomas Deetjen, and Todd Davidson, University of Texas at Austin

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants. The Conversation

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think.

Saturday, May 13, 2017 - 05:57 • Simon Davis-Cohen
No LNG signs, opposing Jordan Cove LNG project

Two weeks ahead of an Oregon county special election, backers of the multi-billion dollar Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project are spending an additional $236,500 to prevent that vote from halting the proposed fossil fuel project.

That’s on top of the $359,000 the LNG project’s proponents had previously spent in an attempt to defeat the ballot measure, 6-162, in Coos County, Oregon, which reportedly has roughly 41,000 registered voters. 

Friday, May 12, 2017 - 16:27 • Guest
lab coats

By John C. Besley, Aaron M. McCright, Kevin Elliott, and Nagwan Zahry of Michigan State University and Joseph D. Martin of University of Leeds

A soda company sponsoring nutrition research. An oil conglomerate helping fund a climate-related research meeting. Does the public care who’s paying for science? The Conversation

In a word, yes. When industry funds science, credibility suffers. And this does not bode well for the types of public-private research partnerships that appear to be becoming more prevalent as government funding for research and development lags.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 04:58 • Graham Readfearn

The “conservative groups” urging President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement have accepted tens of millions of dollars from groups linked to the billionaire petrochemical brothers Charles and David Koch, ExxonMobil, and the Mercer family.

More than 40 groups have co-signed an open letter urging Trump to keep his campaign promise and “withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty.”

The groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, claim failing to withdraw from the treaty could put Trump’s policy agenda of promoting fossil fuels at risk.

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