Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 10:22 • Justin Mikulka

In 1998, the U.S.'s largest oil and gas industry lobbying group, the American Petroleum Institute (API), was involved with a communications plan whose goal was promoting “uncertainties in climate science” among the American public. Over 20 years later, their communications plan looks a little different but still needs fact-checking. 

In September, API began running TV, billboard, and social media ads promoting natural gas as a climate solution. “Thanks to natural gas, the U.S. is leading the way in reducing emissions,” the ads claim, and “leading the world in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.” But is all of that true?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 14:57 • Guest
Read time: 4 mins

By Donald Shaw, Sludge. This story originally appeared in Sludge. It is republished here as part of DeSmog's partnership with Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), the grandson of former attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, has filed paperwork to challenge Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the Senate’s most progressive members and the chief sponsor of the Senate version of the Green New Deal resolution.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 00:01 • Justin Mikulka
Read time: 9 mins

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

In 2019, I think it's safe to say that humans are capable of wreaking great and terrible changes upon Earth's systems. To name a few: acid rain, deforestation, and climate change. Reversing such problems is, on its face, quite simple. Stop releasing smog-forming pollution. Stop cutting down forests. Stop burning fossil fuels.

In some cases, humanity has risen to these challenges, and for example, greatly reduced acid rain in North America since the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. But when it comes to climate change, there's a growing chorus, often bolstered by the fossil fuel industry, who support a controversial set of approaches to mitigating global warming, not by directly addressing the primary source of the problem — continuing to combust great volumes of oil, gas, and coal — but by further inducing massive changes to planetary systems.

I'm talking about geoengineering, and specifically solar geoengineering, which seeks to lessen global warming's greenhouse effect by reflecting sunlight, and heat, back out to space.

Monday, September 16, 2019 - 11:09 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 7 mins

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

Public relations experts keep a careful eye on the multitude of ways that PR can go wrong: tracking the year’s biggest “PR blunders,” assessing flopped ads for lessons learned, and noting when to remain silent and when to circulate a particular point of view.

PR blunders have been blamed for causing stock prices to dip, powerful executives to lose jobs, and occasionally even forced public apologies from PR representatives themselves.

But it takes a special kind of PR nightmare — a particularly unusual kind in the U.S., with its broad protections for free speech — to prompt investigations by state attorneys general into whether a company’s public messaging was so misleading and harmful that it should be considered illegal.

That is the situation facing one of the world’s most powerful industries, on one of the most consequential issues of our time, climate change. The subject of these investigations isn’t the direct harm from the fossil fuel industry’s actions, it’s the ways that companies communicated about their actions, and how that misled investors or the public.

And right on cue, the fossil fuel industry's PR professionals have been stepping in to help reshape the narratives propping up their bottom lines.

Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 12:54 • Ashley Braun
Read time: 4 mins

It may come as something of a surprise to regular readers of DeSmog that we are joining more than 250 other news outlets in a global collaboration called “Covering Climate Now,” led by The Nation and the Columbia Journalism Review. After all, DeSmog has a very long “now” that we’ve been covering climate change — all the way back to our launch in January 2006.

Sunday, September 15, 2019 - 00:01 • Mat Hope
Read time: 6 mins

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

Freak yachting accidents do happen…”

That was how British businessman, Trump ally, and Brexit bankroller Arron Banks responded to the news that Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who inspired the school climate strikes movement, was sailing to America to attend the UN Climate Action Summit. His scorn was not unique. 

Many people have already spilled thousands of words of commentary explaining how personal attacks on Greta — often lobbed by old white men, sometimes mocking her Aspergers — are unacceptable. But understanding where those attackers come from, ideologically and professionally, casts an important light on some of their dark statements.

Friday, September 13, 2019 - 15:57 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 12 mins

There’s one big reason that analysts say America’s electrical power should soon run on clean energy sources like wind and solar rather than fossil fuels like coal and natural gas: your power bill.

Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 15:36 • Julie Dermansky
Read time: 8 mins

A fracked natural gas well in northwest Louisiana has been burning for two weeks after suffering a blowout. A state official said the fire will likely burn for the next month before the flames can be brought under control by drilling a relief well.

Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 09:33 • Sharon Kelly
Read time: 4 mins

Today, as Democratic presidential contenders arrive for a major debate this evening in Houston, 22 activists from Greenpeace sought to shut down what they called the country’s “largest fossil fuel thoroughfare,” the Houston Ship Channel, by rappelling from the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown, Texas.

Greenpeace said the rappellers plan to stay in place for 24 hours, through tonight’s Democratic debates.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 14:53 • Ben Jervey
Read time: 6 mins

Drivers of electric cars are being unfairly punished by punitive fees in several states, according to a newly published analysis by Consumer Reports. Legislators in 26 states have enacted or proposed special registration fees for electric vehicles (EVs) that the consumer advocacy group found to be more expensive than the gas taxes paid by the driver of an average new gasoline vehicle.

These punitive EV fees have been pushed in many states by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate-funded group which produces model legislation and voted on a model resolution supporting “equal tax treatment for all vehicles” — a move that bears the fingerprints of the fossil fueled–Koch network.