Friday, August 16, 2019 - 14:08 • Sharon Kelly

Christopher Leonard’s new book, Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America, begins, appropriately enough, with an FBI agent, who is investigating criminal activity by the company, standing in a field with a pair of binoculars, trying to catch a glimpse of the daily operations of a company that prizes secrecy.

Koch Industries was under investigation for theft of oil from the Osage and other Indigenous nations. Walking into the company's office building involved passing through security checkpoints, Leonard explains, so numerous that one investigator later told Leonard that it “reminded him of traveling to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.”

Through exhaustive reporting and extraordinary interviews with past and current company executives, including some turned whistleblower, Kochland offers readers a view far larger than can be seen through binocular lenses, walking readers past those layers of security checkpoints and into the inner workings of an institution that has for decades tirelessly built itself into practically all American lives, while largely evading accountability or transparency.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 - 08:21 • Richard Collett...
Read time: 2 mins

Veteran broadcaster David Attenborough has expressed his disappointment at the rise of climate science denial in the US and Australia and called on voters to respond.

Referencing the rise of climate science denial in some countries while giving evidence to a committee of MPs in the UK, Attenborough said he was “sorry that there are people in power and internationally, notably the United States, but also in Australia” where “those voices are clearly heard”. He said he hoped the “electorate will actually respond” to public figures that promote climate science denial.

Monday, July 8, 2019 - 18:17 • Julie Dermansky
Read time: 9 mins

Last month, four residents from Louisiana neighborhoods impacted by air pollution traveled far from their Mississippi River parishes to Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, Japan, seeking help in their struggle for clean air.

St. James Parish’s Sharon Lavigne and Barbara Washington, both fighting to prevent additional petrochemical plant construction near their homes, attended the Congressional Convening on Environmental Justice in Washington, D.C., on June 26.* 

Monday, July 8, 2019 - 12:43 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 8 mins

President Donald Trump spoke to “America’s environmental leadership” in an address today, where he lived up to predictions and described the country’s air and water as clean (“crystal clean” even).

The speech started late, and with a reference to the heavy rains that have flooded Washington, D.C., which today's Washington Post noted were unusual and consistent with the changes predicted by climate scientists.

The rest of the world may be forgiven some skepticism about America’s environmental leadership — particularly under Trump. Within six months of taking office, Donald Trump had announced that he planned to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, the world’s framework for coordinating the international response to climate change, which scientists and world leaders have described as the most consequential environmental issue of our time.

Saturday, July 6, 2019 - 11:02 • Kendra Chamberlain
Read time: 7 mins

A recently published report has called into question the efficacy of land-based solutions being pushed by NGOs and major oil companies alike to mitigate climate change.

Natural climate solutions (NCS) — including programs referred to as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) — represent a body of land-based approaches for capturing carbon from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. NCS proposals range from enhanced forest management to conservation agriculture and ecosystem restoration.

Friday, July 5, 2019 - 09:25 • Justin Mikulka
Read time: 7 mins

From a natural gas industry conference to a major metropolitan area, more signs are emerging that natural gas is in a losing economic battle with renewables and battery storage. And considering recent news that existing fossil fuel projects are already enough to push the world past international climate goals, this emerging economic reality couldn't come soon enough.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019 - 23:52 • Guest
Read time: 11 mins

By . Originally posted on Eyes on the Ties, the online news site of Public Accountability Initiative and LittleSis.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an environmental group with close ties to the corporate community, has taken a friendly approach to the explosion of the natural gas industry in the United States. In the early years of the fracking boom, EDF touted natural gas as a “bridge fuel” toward renewable energy. The organization helped to promote industry-funded misinformation by signing off on sham studies — for example from the University of Texas and the State University of New York at Buffalo — that claimed fracking was safe, but were fatally marred by basic errors in arithmetic and undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 13:12 • John Mashey
Read time: 5 mins

Today, UCSF Library launched a new Fossil Fuel Industry Documents Archive featuring over 1,000 internal documents from the fossil fuel industry illustrating strategies to cast doubt on climate science and delay policy action. The documents were collected over two decades by the Climate Investigations Center.

UC San Francisco's Industry Documents Library (IDL) is a unique resource.  It gathers and organizes internal documents from companies that privatize profits and socialize costs, risks or damage to health or environment.

Real science is often inconvenient for profits, so such companies spend money on politics, disinformation, doubt-creation and attacks on science and scientists, sometimes via “independent” think tanks or front groups often covered here on DeSmog.

UCSF has gotten tobacco documents for decades, but over the last few years has added Drug, Chemical and Food sections to the archive as well. Internal documents from lawsuits, whistleblowers and other sources can be quite valuable for exposing malfeasance, helping community action, backing legislation and supporting lawsuits. It is incredibly helpful to have one database of well-curated documents from multiple industries, as they use similar tactics often employed by some of the same people and organizations, as illustrated by personal experience below.

Monday, June 24, 2019 - 17:57 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 6 mins

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Back in 2014, Sheffield told Forbes that he expected Pioneer could produce a million barrels of oil a day from the Permian basin by 2024 — up from 45,000 barrels a day in 2011.

Now, Sheffield, who left the helm of Pioneer in 2016 and returned this February, says that those million-barrel-a-day plans are looking increasingly doubtful as the industry has struggled to prove to investors that it’s capable not only of producing enormous volumes of oil and gas, but that it can do so while booking profits rather than losses.

We lost the growth investors,” Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield told the Journal. “Now we’ve got to attract a whole other set of investors.”

Monday, June 24, 2019 - 04:29 • Guest
Read time: 3 mins

By Karen Savage, Climate Liability News. Originally posted on Climate Liability News.

The majority of Americans say fossil fuel companies should pay for damage caused by climate change, according to a recent poll released by Yale University on Wednesday.

Researchers asked 5,131 Americans how much they think global warming is harming their local communities, who they think should be responsible for paying for the damages, and whether they support lawsuits to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for those costs.

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