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“Hell To Pay” If Trump Targets EPA Climate Science, Says U.S. Chamber Official

Sign at a rally showing "I heart science"

This is a guest post by Dave Anderson, cross-posted from Energy and Policy Institute 

A senior energy official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently warned that there will be “hell to pay” if the Trump administration tries to rescind the EPA’s science-based endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions.  

In typical U.S. Chamber fashion, Christopher Guith dismissed current concerns about climate change as based on “religion” — not “scientific facts” — while speaking at a January 26th event in the coal state of Kentucky. Guith is the senior vice president for policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

Trump, Putin, Exxon: What Is Russiagate Really About?

By Kert Davies and David Halperin

Any analysis of Russiagate, and the fateful phone calls between Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, must address the critical fact that U.S. sanctions on Russia are severely damaging Vladimir Putin’s economic power. In particular, these sanctions – imposed by Barack Obama, supported by Hillary Clinton, and repeatedly questioned by Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson – are blocking a lucrative long-term oil agreement between Russia and ExxonMobil, a deal whose value is underscored by a little-noticed 1988 declassified CIA document.

Are Fossil Fuel Companies Telling Investors Enough About the Risks of Climate Change?

Exxon gas station sign

Prior to President Donald Trump taking office, there was a push to require oil and gas companies to inform their investors about the risks of climate change. As governments step up efforts to regulate carbon emissions, the thinking goes, fossil fuel companies’ assets could depreciate in value over time.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, was probing how ExxonMobil discloses the impact of that risk on the value of its reserves. And disclosure advocates have been pressing the agency to take more decisive action.

Now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, will the SEC reverse course? And should it?

What This Outsider With Hidden Conflicts of Interest Can Learn From A Local About the Bayou Bridge Pipeline

This is a guest op-ed by Steve Wilkerson, a U.S. Army Veteran from Louisiana.

On February 8th, 2017, a retired Major General by the name of James “Spider” Marks spoke at a public hearing in Napoleonville, held by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources regarding the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline.

On the same day he also published an opinion article in The Advertiser that was highly misleading. It claimed that opponents to both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline are outsiders from other states. This is an interesting and hypocritical position to take, as “Spider” Marks himself lives in Virginia and is neither a native Louisianan, nor is he a resident of Louisiana; yet here he is involving himself and meddling in the affairs of our state.

What Do Gorilla Suits and Blowfish Fallacies Have to Do With Climate Change?

Lego guy in gorilla suit

By , George Mason University

A famous psychology experiment instructed participants to watch a short video, counting the number of times players in white shirts passed the ball. If you haven’t seen it before, I encourage you to give the following short video your full attention and follow the instructions:

Why We Must Stop the Trump Administration’s Climate Denial

Protesters hold a sign reading 'Deny Trump Not Climate'

This is a guest editorial by Richard Ottinger

Stopping the Trump climate-denying campaign and appointments is critical to the future of our children and grandchildren and of life on the planet. Furthermore, it makes no business sense nor does it comport with Republicans’ proclaimed conservatism. 

I congratulate DeSmog for revealing and taking on the prospective appointment of climate denier and oil lobbyist Mike Cantanzaro as chief energy adviser, to be joined by climate denier and oil lobbyist Scott Pruitt to head EPA.

As an experienced businessman, the President must know that, as a matter of sound business risk management, proclaimed uncertainty about a huge business risk such as that posed by climate change calls for action to protect against such a risk, not inaction ignoring the risk.

Sure, Pipelines Are Good for Oil Companies, but What About Jobs Related to Preserving Nature and Culture?

Enbridge pipeline spill in soil near Cohasset, Minnesota

By University of Colorado Denver

On his fourth day as U.S. president, Donald Trump penned executive orders to advance construction of the Dakota Access pipeline and the Keystone XL pipeline. A week later, there were reports the new administration has ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to grant an easement that will allow completion of the disputed Dakota Access Pipeline to proceed.

The White House press secretary said completion of the controversial pipelines would increase jobs and promote economic growth — an argument Trump’s supporters echo.

However, this viewpoint focuses on the profits that go to the oil and construction industries, while ignoring the price that will be paid by other sectors of America’s economy, including tourism and preservation of our cultural heritage — a point I’m quite aware of as an anthropologist focused on the American West. A more accurate reckoning of the economic benefits of pipelines needs to consider the negative impact of pipelines on other parts of our economy.

Exxon’s Rex Tillerson and the Rise of Big Oil in American Politics

Vladimir Putin and Rex Tillerson in 2012

By Pennsylvania State University

How Big Oil Bought the White House and Tried to Steal the Country” is the subtitle of a book that tells the story of a presidential election in which a candidate allowed money from big oil companies to help him win office and then rewarded them with plum appointments in his cabinet.

With President Donald Trump picking former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, one might think the book is an early exposé of the presidential election of 2016.

Instead, it’s from “The Teapot Dome Scandal,” a book that tells the story of a corruption scandal that rocked the term of President Warren G. Harding’s administration in the 1920s.

Inside the Coal Industry’s Rhetorical Playbook

Advertisement saying coal is clean and carbon neutral

By Steve Schwarze, University of Montana; Jennifer Peeples, Utah State University; Jen Schneider, Boise State University; and Pete Bsumek, James Madison University.

If citizens have heard anything about the upheaval in the U.S. coal industry, it is probably the insistence that President Obama and the EPA have waged a “war on coal.” This phrase is written into President Donald Trump’s energy platform, which promises to “end the war on coal.”

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Changed Its Mind About People Causing Climate Change

Welcome to Wisconsin sign

By Joel Stronberg

Wisconsin — the home of House Speaker Paul Ryan, Governor Scott Walker, and Senator Ron Johnson — is having second thoughts about the cause of  climate change.

Once convinced human activity had something to do with global warming, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has now decided … maybe not.

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