Brendan DeMelle

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Brendan DeMelle is Executive Director and Managing Editor of DeSmogBlog.com.  He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in new media, politics, climate change and clean energy. He has served as research associate for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., researcher for Ring of Fire, researcher for Laurie David, law and policy analyst for Environmental Working Group, campus organizer for Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, environmental justice associate for EPA Region 10, among other positions in his career. 

His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets, including a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Rural History about the social and ecological impacts of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies in 1998, and lives in Seattle.

In the Shadow of Honest Journalism: GateHouse Media Publishes Atrocious Anti-Wind Article Devoid of Scientific Evidence

This week, Gatehouse Media published a long-form investigative report called “In the Shadow of Wind Farms” claiming that wind energy has caused negative health effects for residents living near wind turbines — a claim that flies in the face of actual science.

GateHouse Media’s anti-wind article leans almost entirely on anecdotal evidence compiled during its six-month long project that included interviews with dozens of people who claim negative outcomes from living near wind farms.

Meanwhile, in the realm of scientific facts, the American Wind Energy Association, the main trade group representing the wind power industry, points to 25 scientific reviews that document the safety of wind farms for human health and the environment. One health researcher has told DeSmog the GateHouse article was “simply irresponsible journalism” and actually had “potential to exacerbate the experience of anxiety and related health effects.” 

Heartland Institute 'Red Team' Climate Lists Revealed, And Science Deniers Are Upset With Pruitt

The Heartland Institute has been pushing a “red team” agenda on climate for at least eight years, and claim the roots of the idea started at a meeting in Milan in 2003 organized by Fred Singer and his Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP). And the infamous den of denial has enjoyed the Trump administration's rhetoric attacking climate science. 

But now they are complaining that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt isn't committed enough to the “red team” concept. Heartland's CEO and former president Joe Bast is particularly peeved, leaked emails recently revealed.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's proposal for a Red Team-Blue Team exercise is vague, probably would not be effective, and is unlikely to come about,” Bast wrote in an internal Heartland email first reported on by Niina Heikkinen and Robin Bravender of E&E News earlier this week.

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio's Climate Film 'Before The Flood' FREE Right Now

Don't wait, watch Before the Flood right now.

It's free through Sunday November 6th [Update: You can watch it for $2.99 now on YouTube below, or FREE on Hulu]. And it's kinda the most important documentary you'll ever see. Spread the word!

Make some popcorn, grab a beverage, and click play below. It's this simple:

Before the Flood: A Must-See Film By Leonardo DiCaprio Explores Climate Change Risks and Solutions

Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new feature length climate documentary, premieres on the National Geographic Channel on October 30th at 9pm EST.

So first things first, go to your DVR or cable app and set a recording. Since it’s airing in 171 countries in 45 languages, and also streaming on Netflix and Hulu and elsewhere, you really can’t — and shouldn’t — miss it.

Smoke and Fumes: Six Decades of Oil-Tobacco Nexus of Deception and Attacks on Science

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) today expanded its website SmokeandFumes.org, featuring a new video and more internal industry documents dating back to the 1950s that reveal the nexus between the oil and tobacco industries’ shared campaigns to undermine science to delay accountability and political action to curtail their deadly products.

CIEL has uncovered new evidence showing that it was the work performed for the oil industry by PR firms (particularly Hill & Knowlton) that attracted the tobacco industry to follow suit — in contrast to the prevailing narrative that Big Oil deployed the Tobacco Playbook to ward off responsibility for climate change resulting from its fossil fuel pollution.

Again and again we found both the PR firms and the researchers worked first for oil, then for tobacco,” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett in a statement. “It was a pedigree the tobacco companies recognized and sought out.”

‘Climate Inaction Figures’ Campaign Launches To Combat Anti-Science Absurdity, Promote a Price On Carbon

The cloak of denial, an anti-science shield, the Koch Brothers’ chest full of money, and James Inhofe’s weapon of choice, a spiked snowball.

These are some of the accessories that come with the newly announced Climate Inaction Figures: Toy-sized likenesses of prominent political figures who claim, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that there is no reason to act on climate change. 

The figures and the campaign are the work of the team behind the Emmy-Award winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously.

Besides offering a much-needed laugh during these days of convention craziness, the project hopes to inspire people to learn more about — and take action — on carbon pricing policy work.

The campaign directs people to theclimatesolution.com, a website that explores the benefits and practicality of putting a price on carbon.

Because if you’re not part of the solution, well… then the Climate Inaction Figures win. 

Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action

On Monday and Tuesday this week, at least 19 U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy action will speak out on the Senate floor in support of the Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial.

Championed by Senators Whitehouse, Markey, Schatz, Boxer, Merkley, Warren, Sanders, and Franken, the resolution condemns what they are calling the #WebOfDenial — “interconnected groups – funded by the Koch brothers, major fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal, identity-scrubbing groups like Donors Trust and Donors Capital, and their allies – developed and executed a massive campaign to deceive the public about climate change to halt climate action and protect their bottom lines.”

Joined in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ted Lieu (D- CA), these champions for climate action and accountability in the Senate are calling out the use of think tanks and denier-for-hire front groups to create doubt about climate science. Read the resolution [PDF].

Exxon Sues MA Attorney General In Retaliatory Attempt To Intimidate ‘Exxon Knew’ Climate Accountability Movement

Acting like a wounded and cornered beast, ExxonMobil has launched what appears to be a blatantly retaliatory and frivolous lawsuit against Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Beneath a very thin veil, this legal maneuver by Exxon is seemingly an effort to intimidate any and all who seek to hold the oil giant accountable for its multi-million dollar campaign to attack climate science and sow doubt through decades of deception.

Just to remind everyone – 17 Attorneys General are investigating what Exxon knew about climate science and when, as well as what the company has done to potentially mislead policymakers and the public in order to delay action to address climate change.

Exxon has claimed that there has always been uncertainty within the company about the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change.

Yet, as InsideClimate News and the LA Times and Columbia School of Journalism and the Center for International Environmental Law and other investigations have pointed out, Exxon and others in the oil industry had advanced knowledge of the link between fossil fuel combustion and global warming decades ago.

And DeSmog uncovered an Exxon document that unequivocally stated the company’s knowledge in the late 1970s. Read DeSmog's investigation: “There is no doubt”: Exxon Knew CO2 Pollution Was A Global Threat By Late 1970s

Houston Chronicle Business Columnist Calls for Exxon Climate Denial Investigation, Slams Paxton, Cites DeSmog Research

In case you missed this excellent article over the weekend, “Exxon Mobil documents call for a thorough investigation,” Houston Chronicle business columnist Chris Tomlinson cites DeSmog’s research in a hard-hitting call for state attorneys general to continue investigating Exxon’s potentially fraudulent efforts to mislead the public and investors about climate change risks.

The Chronicle's business columnist also takes Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to task for his industry-friendly efforts to pour cold water on the important investigations underway by 17 state Attorneys General looking at Exxon’s history of climate denial. Tomlinson minces no words in slamming Paxton as “a man bold enough to remain in office while facing state and federal fraud charges. The former corporate lawyer has proved he's a political pawn who could care not less about law enforcement, because there is certainly enough evidence to warrant an investigation into Exxon Mobil.”

Tomlinson cites internal corporate documents recently uncovered by DeSmog’s investigative journalism team in which corporate officials claimed in the late 1970s that “there is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel usage and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

Announcing DeSmog UK's New Editor Kyla Mandel

DeSmog UK is pleased to introduce you to its new editor, Kyla Mandel. Starting this month, Kyla will take the reins from DeSmog UK’s founding editor Brendan Montague as he leaves to pursue writing a book on climate denial.

Kyla began working with DeSmog UK as deputy editor in November 2014 shortly after the project launched. During this time, she has broken numerous stories on energy policy, including one on the Koch Brothers' European lobbying efforts.

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