Ben Jervey

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Ben Jervey has been covering and working in the climate, energy, and environmental fields for a decade. He is regular contributor to DeSmogBlog. He was the original Environment Editor for GOOD Magazine, and wrote a longstanding weekly column titled “The New Ideal: Building the clean energy economy of the 21st Century and avoiding the worst fates of climate change.” He also contributes to National Geographic News, Grist, OnEarth Magazine, and many other online and print publications. His book–The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City–has been called the “bible of green living for NYC.” A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.

Koch-Funded Fueling US Forward Shuts Down, But Koch Attacks On Clean Energy Continue

Over this past weekend, with no announcement or notice, the website for Fueling U.S. Forward went dark. The Koch-funded campaign that had set out to promote the “positives” of fossil fuels has seemingly shut down, having wiped the website from the internet and deleting all traces on Facebook and all of its videos off of Youtube.

The abrupt end of the campaign, barely a year old, comes after a summer in which the group’s messaging clearly pivoted from celebrating fossil fuels to attacking clean energy and electric vehicles.

Upon its launch in August 2016, Fueling U.S. Forward CEO and President Charles Drevna told a crowd at the Red State Gathering that the campaign would set out to promote the “positives” of fossil fuels, which he described as “reliable, abundant, efficient and sustainable.”

We’ve got to take this to the emotional and personal level,” said Drevna.

China Is Showing the World What Renewable Energy Dominance Looks Like, Says New IEA Report

The growth of solar energy continues to outpace forecasts and this growth, according to a report published today by the International Energy Agency, “is a China story.”

While China today is far and away the global leader in solar generation, a decade ago, the country had just 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed. That’s nothing. For reference, it’s actually less than is currently installed in the city of San Antonio. By the end of 2016, China had increased its solar PV capacity by nearly 800 times, with more than 77 gigawatts currently installed.

China’s solar dominance is only going to keep growing, according to the IEA report. As Dr. Paolo Frankl, one of the lead authors on the report, said on a call to reporters, “In one year, China will install the equivalent of the total history of solar development in Germany.”

National Drive Electric Week Combats Koch-Funded Lies With Real World Drivers

There’s a war being waged against electric cars, the frontlines of which are dug in on Facebook feeds and embedded Youtube videos. The ammunition, supplied by the Koch brothers and their most loyal, PR savvy affiliates, are talking points meant to sow doubt in the minds of American drivers about the quality, costs, reliability, and even environmental-friendliness of electric cars.

Though many automotive experts—including some Big Oil majors—see the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) as inevitable, this war is being waged to keep the gas-guzzling internal combustion engine king for as long as possible. They are fighting to keep oil demand high enough to justify drilling, refining, and selling petroleum.

In the face of this war, Plug-In America, the country’s leading EV advocacy organization, and its partners are organizing the seventh annual National Drive Electric Week. And in the context of these PR attacks, this year’s week long event—running from September 9-17th—might be more important than ever.

Koch-funded 'Expert' Attacks Electric Cars in PragerU’s 'War on Cars' Video

War on Cars video screen shot of stick figure holding a stop sign for people in cars

According to a recent video hosted by automotive expert and media personality Lauren Fix, there’s a “war on cars” raging in this country that is threatening the chief of all American values — our very freedom. No, this isn’t the war on electric vehicles that the fossil fuel billionaire Koch brothers have been waging (and which we’ve been tracking on Koch vs. Clean). Rather, says Fix, “there’s been a concerted push by government bureaucrats and environmentalists to transform car ownership from a source of pride to a source of guilt.”

What Fix doesn't mention in this video is her ties to funding from the Koch brothers. In addition, the organization behind the video she hosted, Prager University (PragerU), is a not a university but rather a non-profit founded by conservative talk show host Dennis Prager, with a stated mission to spread “Americanism” through five minute internet videos. Videos, which include such titles as “Fossil Fuels: The Greenest Energy” and “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuel.”

Koch Front Group, Fueling US Forward, Bashes Electric Car Tax Credits in Latest Misleading Video

screenshot of electric car in Fueling US Forward video

Hot on the heels of its deceptive “Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars” video (which we debunked thoroughly, and others did too), the Koch-funded front group Fueling U.S. Forward has released a new video criticizing electric vehicle (EV) tax credits as a “massive wealth transfer from poor to rich.” It's time for another debunking!

Pro-fossil Fuel Group's Video, 'The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,' Debunked Again and Again

Screenshot from video debunking anti-electric vehicle video

Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of “The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,” a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward (FUSF), a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.

Koch-funded Group, Fueling US Forward, Echoes America Rising Squared in Misleading Attack on Electric Cars

Electric car

Fueling U.S. Forward, the Koch-funded campaign to “rebrand” fossil fuels as “positive” and “sustainable,” has released a new video attacking the “Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,” signaling a possible strategic pivot from straightforward fossil fuel cheerleading to electric vehicle (EV) and clean energy bashing.

Yet Another Koch Cadet Hired to Push Fossil Fuels at Trump's Energy Department

Trump and his Cabinet

The Koch brothers have landed yet another of their trusted fossil fuel think tank veterans in the Trump administration’s Department of Energy (DOE). Alex Fitzsimmons was Manager of Policy and Public Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research (IER) and its advocacy arm, the American Energy Alliance (AEA), while also working as a “spokesman” and communications director for Fueling US Forward (FUSF), the Koch-funded campaign to bolster public opinion of fossil fuels.

Fitzsimmons will be joining former IER colleagues Daniel Simmons and Travis Fisher at the DOE.

Drive an Electric Car? One in Three States Now Charge You Extra

Tesla electric car

A few months ago, early in the state legislative sessions, we reported on how lawmakers in nine states had introduced bills that would penalize electric vehicle (EV) drivers by charging higher registration fees. Now that the state legislative sessions have mostly wrapped up, it’s time for a review of how these bills fared, and how many states have implemented this extra financial burden on anyone who buys or leases an electric car.

America Rising Squared Report Bashes EVs for Using Same Rare Earth Metals as Gas-Powered Cars

A GOP-tied group devoted to promoting alleged hypocrisy among climate action advocates just released a new report that “exposes the horrible human and environmental costs” of solar panels and electric vehicles. The group, America Rising Squared (AR2), as DeSmog has previously reported, launched last year and pays activists to follow and film climate advocates in their everyday lives. The newly published white paper, the group’s first such formal report, attempts to paint a dirty picture of “clean energy,” claiming that the “environmentalist left” ignores the downsides of rare earth minerals that are used in solar panels and electric vehicles.

Here’s what the white paper doesn’t mention: many of the very same rare earth minerals that the AR2 report bashes are critical components of cell phones, computers, cameras, military and defense equipment, and even traditional gas-powered vehicles. What’s more, the petroleum refining process is critically dependent on some of the same rare earths that AR2 lambasts in this white paper.

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