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Mon, 2013-11-18 03:42Brendan DeMelle
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International Coal and Climate Summit Hears Tough Love from UNFCCC Head As Protests Highlight Poland's Coal Addiction

The second week of the COP19 UN climate change conference in Warsaw kicked off today with a focus on the continuing obstruction of the bad actors in the process - Japan, Australia and Canada - as well as the head-scratching decision by the Polish government to co-host a ‘clean coal’ conference just down the street from the national stadium where the COP19 UN negotiations are taking place.

This morning, Greenpeace unfurled a banner on the front of Poland’s Ministry of Economy building in protest of the World Coal Association’s International Coal and Climate Summit taking place inside. Beneath the banner, activists held a People Before Coal rally (#Cough4Coal), inflating a giant set of pink lungs and calling for an immediate phase-out of coal plants worldwide in order to safeguard public health, ecosystems and the global climate.

Poland’s move to co-host the World Coal Association’s ‘clean coal’ summit in the midst of the UNFCCC conference is widely seen here as a slap in the face to the assembled delegates, NGOs and activists from around the world. **Update: Poland was awarded the Fossil of the Day award on Monday for its coal boosterism, and activists have re-named the country #Coaland on Twitter.**

The fact that the Coal and Climate Summit is being held under the auspices of the Polish government is further proof that it cares neither for the well-being of its citizens nor the environment,” Dr. Michal Wilczynski, the former Chief Geologist and ex-Deputy Minister of Environment in Poland said in a statement.

Inside the coal industry summit, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, had some tough love to share with the assembled coal executives. The coal industry “must change rapidly and dramatically,” she said, noting that coal has “an unacceptably high cost to human and environmental health.” She stressed that the world must “leave most existing [coal] reserves in the ground” in order to avert climate chaos. 

“The IPCC's findings have been endorsed by 195 governments, including all of those in which you operate. We are at unprecedented greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere; our carbon budget is half spent. If we continue to meet energy needs as we have in the past, we will overshoot the internationally agreed goal to limit warming to less than two degree Celsius.”

Figueres concluded with an appeal to the executives to “look past next quarter's bottom line and see the next generation's bottom line.”

Wed, 2013-10-16 17:31Brendan DeMelle
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DeSmog Responds to Misleading Allegations From Edelman and Alliance For Northwest Jobs & Exports

The Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports issued a misleading statement to the Seattle Times in response to last week's guest post by contributor Mike Stark: Why Are Coal Industry PR Pros Laughing About Climate Change in Private Talks on Export Terminals?

The Alliance statement accused Mr. Stark of “eavesdropping” on a conversation between an Edelman PR vice president and Arch Coal executives in a hotel lobby. The Edelman/Alliance accusation lacks merit, as we demonstrate below. 

In these audio files, Mr. Stark can be heard introducing himself and asking questions to Alliance spokesperson and Edelman vice president, Lauri Hennessey [mp3].


A short time later, Mr. Stark engages with Arch Coal senior vice president Matthew Ferguson [mp3], immediately prior to the subsequent conversation which he reported on last week at DeSmogBlog.



The audio reveals Mr. Ferguson agreeing to speak with Mr. Stark just prior to turning to speak with Ms. Hennessey.

In sum, both Ms. Hennessey and Mr. Ferguson were well aware that Mr. Stark was a reporter, and neither party did anything to suggest that the conversation Mr. Stark recorded was private, off the record or otherwise secret.

In response to the Alliance's allegations, DeSmogBlog issued the following statement to the Seattle Times and other media outlets that reported on this important story: 

Thu, 2013-10-10 12:46Brendan DeMelle
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Crossett: Why the Government Shutdown Is A Matter of Life and Death for Polluted Communities

With no end in sight to the GOP war on democracy, shutdown edition, all “nonessential workers” are off the job of protecting the American public. This includes ninety-four percent of the Environmental Protection Agency staff, who are on the couch watching football instead of watching the polluters who threaten public health and safety. 

For the residents of Crossett, Arkansas living in daily fear of the toxic air and water pollution originating from a paper mill and chemical plant operated by Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia Pacific, the EPA staffers they’re depending on are anything but “nonessential.” The government shutdown has life or death consequences for Crossett, and communities on the fencelines of polluting industry across America.

The folks who live on Penn Road in Crossett have suffered an unimaginable loss of life that they attribute to Georgia Pacific’s air and water pollution. Out of 15 homes on the street, 11 people have died of cancer.

Georgia Pacific's facility - a plywood, paper mill and formaldehyde resin plant that produces well-known products like Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper, Dixie cups, and Quilted Northern toilet paper - has dumped millions of gallons of wastewater into open ditches nearby, in violation of the Clean Water Act, as well as toxic vapors into the air.

After listening to powerful testimony from Crossett pastor and community leader, David Bouie, at a meeting this summer about the situation, EPA Region 6 administrator Ron Curry pledged to visit the community members in Crossett and assess the plant's impacts on their health.

Now that important visit is delayed, thanks to the government shutdown.

Crossett, an important documentary chronicling the community’s ongoing struggle, is entering the final stages of production, but the filmmakers, Natalie Kottke and Erica Sardarian, are effectively shut down, pending the EPA visit. The film will feature interviews with former White House adviser Van Jones and world-renowned chemist, Dr. Wilma Subra. Sundance Channel declared that “a film like this could literally save lives.”

Watch the trailer:

Tue, 2013-09-17 14:42Brendan DeMelle
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International Climate Science Coalition Lacks Credibility, Launches Heartland Institute Anti-Science Report

The self-proclaimed experts at the International Climate Science Coalition have today launched another fanciful flight into the realm of climate denialism and United Nations conspiracy theories.

The ICSC, headed by Tom Harris, a former Canadian energy company public relations consultant, is trying to grab media attention with a new report written by the who's who of the climate denier conspiracy bunch. The report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, is part of a series published by a Chicago-based front group for the oil and tobacco industries called the Heartland Institute

I really hope mainstream media does not fall for their trickery again. After all, it is pretty well known by now that Fred Singer, the lead author on the International Climate Science Coalition's report, was an apologist for the tobacco industry long before he got into the business of denying the basic science of climate change. The other authors of the report, Bob Carter and Craig Idsohave equally shaky backgrounds when it comes to the science of climate change

To give you an idea of just how shaky, look no further than Craig Idso. DeSmog discovered last year that Idso was getting paid a whopping $11,600 a month by the Heartland Institute - not exactly the most reputable source of information when it comes to a globally important issue like climate change.

Interestingly, the press release put out today by the ICSC makes no mention at all of the Heartland Institute's role in funding and publishing the report. Perhaps because of that nasty Unabomber billboard, even ICSC is afraid to be associated publicly with Heartland?  

This report goes so far as to actually make the absurd claim that, “CO2 is 'the gas of life'. The more CO2, the more life.” Yes, and water is also vital to life until you find yourself drowning in it. 

In an effort to dupe reporters into trusting these “climate experts,” this anti-science outfit even named itself the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), mirroring the official science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This is the same small group of people who claim a grand conspiracy by the United Nations to take over the world. This echo chamber of climate denial attempts to prop up non-experts in the hopes of grabbing a few headlines before journalists figure out they have been fooled by conmen. 

The only story to be found in this latest salvo by the International Climate Science Coalition and the Heartland Institute is whether anyone in the press will actually fall for this nonsense again. 

Tue, 2013-09-10 22:41Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Denial Playbook: Marc Morano's History of Bullying Scientists

If you've even heard of Marc Morano, you probably watched him angrily attacking a climate scientist, journalist or Al Gore on Fox News or on his blog Climate Depot, a project of the Donors Trust and oil industry-funded CFACT. Morano is so agitated in his climate denial that he once advocated that climate scientists be “publicly flogged.”

Originally a producer for the Rush Limbaugh Show, Morano ascended (descended?) to the position of Communications Director for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Denial), where he helped his boss to abuse the power of the Senate hearings process to attack climate science and promote conspiracy theories. Inhofe and Morano were corrected and debunked endlessly, but facts have proven no obstacle to Morano's crusade against science confirming the role of fossil fuel pollution in driving global warming.  

Morano has also worked for extreme right wing operatives Howard Phillips, Paul Weyrich and Brent Bozell. Morano once quipped to a group of Agenda 21 conspiracy theorists that, “Inhofe is as far left as I'll go for an employer.”

Morano's current organization, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), has received over $4.1 million in funds from the shadowy Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund between 2002-2011, plus an additional $582,000 from ExxonMobil between 1998-2012, according to Greenpeace's updated report, Dealing In Doubt

In partnership with Polluterwatch, DeSmog presents the first in a series of Climate Denial Playbook entries for some of the most notorious climate deniers. Fittingly, Marc Morano kicks off the series: 

Wed, 2013-08-28 10:20Brendan DeMelle
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Monckton Challenged To Put Up Or Shut Up By John Abraham

See update below: Monckton responded (sort of) and Abraham has a new letter back. See below the original post.

John Abraham, a Professor of Thermal Sciences at the University of St. Thomas and a Guardian Environment blogger, has challenged the loud-mouthed potty peerLord Christopher Monckton, to put his money where his mouth is. Abraham offers Monckton two bets to provide proof of his outlandish and wrong claims about global warming, with all proceeds headed for a “charity that deals with climate issues.”

Read Abraham's challenge letter below: 
  

Dear Mr. Monckton,

I understand that you’ve claimed Earth’s temperatures will likely decrease by 0.5 oC in two years, but most certainly by 2020.  Specifically, you stated this on a website:

Meanwhile, enjoy what warmth you can get. A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.”

Here is the link: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/27/the-200-months-of-the-pause/

I am calling your claim.  I challenge you to a $1000 bet on both.  Specifically,

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