Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 22:57 • Steve Horn
Todd Wynn

Todd Wynn, former Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s Energy Environmental and Agriculture Task Force, was recently hired by President Donald Trump to work as a senior-ranking official in the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

DeSmog discovered the hire via LinkedIn, and Wynn says on his profile page that he began at Interior in October.

Wynn worked at ALEC from 2011 to 2013 and then became Director of External Affairs for Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a trade association representing electric utility companies nationwide. Prior to his position at ALEC, Wynn served as Vice President of the Cascade Policy Institute, a part of the State Policy Network (SPN), a national chain of state-level conservative and corporate-funded think-tanks which was started as an ALEC offshoot.

ALEC's critics have described the organization, a national consortium of mostly Republican Party state legislators and corporate lobbyists, as a “corporate bill mill.” That's because its lobbyist members convene several times a year with legislators to produce what it calls “model bills” which have ended up as actual legislation thousands of times since the organization's founding in 1973.

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 11:07 • Guest
Clean air signs at a rally outside EPA's DC offices

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Back in March, and then again in May, we flagged efforts by Pruitt and the GOP to bend the knee to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries and grant pro-pollution voices even more of a say on science advisory panels. One such panel is the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which according to its website, “provides independent advice to the EPA Administrator on the technical bases for EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards.”

The nominations for new members of the CASAC are in, and while most of the names look like solid scientists (.pdf list here), there are a few with affiliations and funding that might raise some eyebrows. (Fortunately, the public comment period is open, so interested persons have until September 18th to email their concerns to Mr. Aaron Yeow, designated federal officer, at [email protected].)

Thursday, August 31, 2017 - 18:41 • Ashley Braun
beef cattle in feedlot

Environmental groups place a lot of attention on trying to stop new oil, gas, and coal development since current fossil fuel projects would likely already blow us past the less-than 2°C upper limit for warming laid out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. In fact, there’s a whole movement, known as “Keep It in the Ground,” predicated on this idea.

But when faced with a resurgence of support for fossil fuels from the White House, perhaps just as important is talking about how to “Keep It in the Cow,” according to some reports. Right now, experts predict agriculture is set to eat up half the greenhouse gas emissions the world can release by 2050 and still stay below 2°C (3.6°F) of warming.

That is, unless the world takes a big bite out of its meat consumption, especially from cattle and other livestock that chew their cud, say researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Raising these ruminants produces a lot of methane, a much more potent but shorter-lived greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 14:19 • Guest

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

With Southern Company’s board voting today to green light the completion of the Vogtle nuclear power plant, the prospect that Georgia utility customers may be on the hook for many billions for a plant that may never be economically feasible becomes very real.

Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning has blamed the bankruptcy of nuclear reactor builder Westinghouse for the plant being billions over budget and years behind schedule, calling the Westinghouse collapse an unforeseeable event that caught Southern by surprise.

Tomorrow, Southern Company will recommend to the Georgia Public Service Commission that it nevertheless continue to build the project – which is only 32 percent complete after four years of construction – despite the huge and ever-increasing cost of a plant that the PSC’s own analyses indicate may never be viable commercially.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 13:48 • Ashley Braun
Pershing

With the next round of United Nations climate talks scheduled for November, eyes will be trained on how the United States chooses to engage — or not — now that President Donald Trump is withdrawing the country from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement. Yesterday, Secretary of State and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson indicated that this process will not happen through the State Department’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, because, well, he’s scrapping the position.

In a letter to Senate Foreign Relations chair Bob Corker (R-TN), Tillerson wrote, “I believe that the Department will be able to better execute its mission by integrating certain envoys and special representative offices within the regional and functional bureaus, and eliminating those that have accomplished or outlived their original purpose.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 09:55 • Connor Gibson

A breakthrough study from Harvard unearths the extent Exxon has gone to in order to destroy the public's trust in climate change science.

Last week, Harvard University researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes (of Merchants of Doubt fame) published the first peer-reviewed study comparing ExxonMobil’s internal and external communications on climate change.

The abstract of the Supran and Oreskes study shows that ExxonMobil’s own scientists and executives had a much sharper understanding of climate science than the company told the public (emphasis added):

Monday, August 28, 2017 - 18:37 • Julie Dermansky
Debris from people's homes in the street sit across from Press Park, a housing project abandoned after Hurricane Katrina

As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey (now a tropical storm) continue to flood Houston — just days before the 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina — I visited Shannon Rainey, whose house was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Rainey is worried about family members in Houston. She knows all too well how long it can take to get back what is lost in a storm. “I still live with Katrina every day,” she told me.

New Orleans remains threatened by bands of rain extending from Harvey, causing many residents with fierce memories of Katrina to remain on edge.

Monday, August 28, 2017 - 09:36 • Guest
Exxon station signs

By Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

ExxonMobil’s deliberate attempts to sow doubt on the reality and urgency of climate change and their donations to front groups to disseminate false information about climate change have been public knowledge for a long time, now.

Investigative reports in 2015 revealed that Exxon had its own scientists doing its own climate modeling as far back as the 1970s: science and modeling that was not only accurate, but that was being used to plan for the company’s future.

Sunday, August 27, 2017 - 08:58 • Guest

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup 

The big news in denierworld this week is obviously the latest (and peer-reviewed) #ExxonKnew study.

But before Exxon stole the spotlight on Tuesday, the newest paper of note in the Denivory Tower was one published earlier this month in an obscure and soon-to-be discontinued journal. The paper claims current warming is driven by natural forces, and is not uniquely human-caused.

Despite being based entirely on usually denier-derided computer modeling, the study was immediately–and lazily–championed by the climate denial fake news apparatus. Co-author Jennifer Marohasy wrote about the study in an op-ed for the Spectator and at her own blog; her description of her findings was uncritically copy-and-pasted into a Michael Bastasch story at the Daily Caller, reposted at WUWT and TallBloke, praised by James Delingpole at Breitbart and briefly linked to at Drudge (complete with an irrelevant photo of Al Gore).  

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 23:39 • Justin Mikulka
Tangier Island's coast, with rising waters

This past July, in a Congressional hearing on “The Status and Outlook for U.S. and North American Energy and Resource Security,” retired Marine Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney offered a dire warning for many current military bases in coastal locations.  

From the tactical side our bases and stations on the coast are going underwater. Norfolk [in Virginia] is the prime example. It’s closed dozens of times a year now because of flooding both from rain and sea level rise,” Cheney explained. “We’re going to have to talk about relocation of our bases and stations that are on the coast.”

Cheney also made it clear that he believes in climate change.

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