Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 14:13 • Itai Vardi
Robert Powelson during FERC commissioner nomination hearing in Senate

Robert Powelson, President Donald Trump’s newly appointed commissioner to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), received both gifts and reimbursements for travel, lodging, and hospitality from the energy and utility sectors in his previous position as a state regulator. He will now regulate those sectors at the federal level.

Powelson, a Republican, began his tenure at FERC last week. Documents and emails recently uncovered by the Energy & Policy Institute, a watchdog monitoring attacks on renewable energy, indicate that he maintained a close relationship with industry groups as a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 16:02 • Sharon Kelly
Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning

Southern Co. is accused of fraudulently misrepresenting the prospects for its troubled “clean coal” project in Kemper County, Mississippi in several legal filings this summer.

Southern announced in late July that it was shuttering the troubled “clean coal” part of Kemper after construction ran years behind schedule and the company spent $7.5 billion on the 582 megawatt power plant — over $5 billion more than it first projected.

In a lawsuit filed today, Brett Wingo, a former Southern Company engineer, alleges he warned the company's top executives that it would not be possible to meet key construction deadlines. Management responded by retaliating against him, the complaint asserts, and Southern continued to assure investors and the public that Kemper's schedule and budget targets would be met, then blamed unpredictable factors like the weather when those goals were missed.

Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 07:56 • Guest
Arctic researchers taking an ice core

This post originally appeared on Climate Feedback.

A June 12 Winnipeg Free Press story titled “U of M climate change study postponed due to climate change” describes a climate study delayed by unusual sea ice conditions around Newfoundland that necessitated the reassignment of an icebreaker vessel. (Similar stories were run by CBC NewsThe Guardian, and others.)

It might seem to you that unusually thick local sea ice contradicts scientists’ predictions of declining Arctic sea ice cover, but that would be an overly simplistic and incorrect assumption. That misconception of both climate science and the behavior of sea ice has surfaced in the past when polar research vessels encountered difficulties with sea ice, and this time is (sadly) no exception.

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:06 • Guest
Climate March protest sign with polar bear stating 'Let us now pause for a moment of science'

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

It goes without saying that peer review is an important safeguard against shoddy pseudoscience. Peer reviewers are so vital to the scientific endeavour that they recently got their own monument!

But peer review is not a perfect process. It’s necessary to ensure quality science, of course. But sometimes peer review goes wrong. For example, a journal whose editor is a climate denier with ties to Heartland recently published a paper claiming to refute the greenhouse theory. The paper is so bad that one scientist told DeSmog it is “laughable,” in part because the paper takes issue with the fact that greenhouses have glass roofs, and the atmosphere does not.

Seriously.

So although deniers try to downplay the importance of the consensus to claim that a vast global conspiracy keeps their work out of peer-reviewed journals, it’s not impossible for their shoddy science to get published.

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 16:07 • Guest
Nissan Leaf electric vehicles in the city of Seattle fleet

By Daniel Cohan, Rice University

President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement reaffirmed what was already clear: The federal government is no longer leading American efforts to shrink our carbon footprint. But many state and local governments — along with businesses and consumers — aim to help fill this policy void.

At least a dozen governors have joined the United States Climate Alliance, committing their states to achieve emissions reductions consistent with President Barack Obama’s Paris pledge. More than 200 mayors are promising their cities will follow suit.

My research with my former student Shayak Sengupta about how cities can benefit from buying electric cars suggests that fuel-free municipal fleets can cut urban carbon footprints while improving public health and saving taxpayers money.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 21:29 • Steve Horn
rows of pipeline segments

Your Energy America” is a newly formed front group pushing Dominion Energy's Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline. By tracing hosting information for the group's website, DeSmog has found evidence pointing to the PR firm behind the group: DDC Advocacy, which has known ties to the Republican Party. 

Short for Democracy, Data & Communications, DDC's founding partner, chairman, and CEOB.R. McConnon in the past “has acted as a key contact and spokesperson for [National Federation for Independent Business],” according to his LinkedIn. NFIB takes funding from Koch Industries and other major corporate interests, and McConnon began his career as a policy analyst for the Koch-founded Citizens for a Sound Economy, the precursor to Americans for Prosperity

“Your Energy” was launched in the heat of the Virginia gubernatorial primary races and is run by the American Gas Association. The race for Virginia's highest office recently saw Democratic Party candidate Ralph Northam and GOP candidate Ed Gillespie come out ahead as their parties' nominees for the looming November election.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
EU flags

Washington DC-based think tank the Heritage Foundation briefly registered as lobbyists in Brussels, DeSmog UK has learned.

A little noticed entry to the EU Transparency Register on 18 April 2017 showed the climate science denying neoconservative think tank listed as an official EU registrant. However, one month later they were removed from the registry due to “data inconsistencies”.

According to EU rules, anyone who wishes to have a meeting with members of the EU Parliament or Commission must be listed on the EU Transparency Register including providing details about how much money the group spends on lobbying and number of lobbyists.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 10:37 • Graham Readfearn
Scott Pruitt

Like many of his Trump administration colleagues, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt has never really been down with the whole climate science thing.

Pruitt has denied that carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning is the key driver of climate change, instead hedging his bets with an assortment of ifs, buts, and maybes.

Now, Pruitt is suggesting that what the American public really needs is more debate, more false equivalence, and more delay on policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 09:55 • Emma Gilchrist
Justin Trudeau kayak

Last week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau managed to capture international headlines for a kayak outing on the Niagara River in Ontario.

How, you may ask? Well Trudeau paddled up to a family’s dock and had a brief conversation with them about water levels. According to Elle Magazine, he looked “picture perfect” while doing it. It all very quickly became a Twitter sensation.

Trudeau’s photogenic boat trip coincided with World Environment Day and in a speech afterward, the prime minister vowed to continue to fight climate change.

The American press, still bewildered by their president’s widely criticized decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, went wild.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 00:00 • John Gibbons
William Happer

The second meeting in a month of the newly formed climate sceptic group, the Irish Climate Science Forum, took place behind a veil of secrecy and a media blackout in Dublin on June 1, DeSmog UK can confirm.

Guest speaker was noted climate science denier William Happer, a retired Princeton professor who is currently understood to be on a shortlist for the role of Science Advisor to the climate-denying Trump administration in the US.

Happer is a director of the US-based CO2 Coalition, whose tagline is “Carbon dioxide, a nutrient vital for life”. In December of 2015, Happer was implicated in a Greenpeace investigation where activists posed as consultants for a Middle Eastern energy company and asked Happer and Frank Clemente, an emeritus sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, to author reports on the benefits of coal and carbon dioxide emissions and keep the source of the funding secret.  

Monday, June 12, 2017 - 18:08 • Steve Horn
Oil train tank cars

USD Partners, a rail terminal operator owned in part by Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, has signed a nearly three year deal to facilitate moving tar sands by train from where it is extracted in Alberta, Canada, to an offloading terminal in Stoud, Oklahoma, in a route mirroring that of the Keystone XL pipeline.

From Stroud, the heavy oil can be sent via pipeline to the nearby oil storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma. USD's announcement, which said the company could transport up to 70,000 barrels per day of tar sands in rail cars, came in a June 2 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The deal, centering around the purchase of the Stroud terminal, also included the acquisition of 300,000 barrels of storage space in Cushing, a town known by oil and gas industry observers as the “pipeline crossroads of the world.” 

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