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Wed, 2010-09-01 11:53Brendan DeMelle
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Washington Post Editorial Slams Ken Cuccinelli "Embarrassing" Witch Hunt Against Climate Scientist

The Washington Post penned an excellent editorial yesterday deriding Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s political attack against climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, a former UVA professor whom Cuccinelli has targeted in a witch hunt.  

The Post editorial notes that “the overblown critique of climate science that emerged early this year continues to underwhelm,” citing several examples of the recent rash of politically-motivated attacks on climate science, including the much-ado-about-nothing ‘Climategate’ episode last winter, the repeated attacks against the integrity of the U.N. IPCC, and of course Mr. Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against UVA and Mike Mann. 

This week’s ruling by Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross confirming that Cuccinelli lacked “an objective basis” for his witch hunt “put a damper on a pernicious fishing expedition,” the Post says.

But that hasn’t checked “Mr. Cuccinelli’s zeal,” since he immediately announced plans to re-rig his fishing pole and try again to smear Dr. Mann, “thereby extending his assault on academic freedom,” says the Post.

The editorial closes with sharp criticism for Cuccinelli’s attempt to “embarrass Virginia”:

“We hope he rethinks his course. At this point all he can do is waste more taxpayer money, force the university to waste more of its money and embarrass Virginia in a way that can only harm its higher education system.” 

Check out the full editorial, 
A judge puts a damper on Mr. Cuccinelli’s U-Va. witch hunt.” 

Mon, 2010-08-30 16:02Brendan DeMelle
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Bjorn Lomborg Now Says Climate Change “Chief Concern,” Calls for Carbon Tax

The Guardian reports today that long-time global warming contrarian Bjorn Lomborg has changed his tune a bit, and now acknowledges that climate change is “a challenge humanity must confront.”  In an interview with the paper, Lomborg calls for a carbon tax and a $100 billion annual investment in clean technologies and other solutions to climate disruption. 

Lomborg has never been among the outright climate deniers, acknowledging repeatedly over the years that he accepts the science confirming manmade global warming.  But until now he has downplayed the need for massive investment to solve the problem, and is often seen cavorting with the ExxonMobil-funded denier crowd.  In his 2007 book ‘Cool It,’ he argued that spending huge amounts of money to address climate change would do little to address the problem.  

Now it appears Lomborg has come to his senses, becoming an unlikely advocate for massive public investment in creating a low carbon energy future. 

It’s about technologies, about realizing there’s a vast array of solutions,” he tells the Guardian.

Mon, 2010-08-30 11:02Brendan DeMelle
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Judge Rules Against Cuccinelli’s Witch Hunt Of Michael Mann

Virginia Attorney General and global warming denier Ken Cuccinelli has been rebuffed by a state Circuit Court judge who ruled today that Cuccinelli’s politically-charged subpoena against the University of Virginia and climate scientist Michael Mann lacked an “objective basis.”

Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. ruled that Cuccinelli’s subpoena failed to include a “reason to believe” that Mann violated Virginia fraud statutes by receiving research grants from the state to study climate change.  Cuccinelli is seeking years’ worth of documents related to Mann’s work at UVA, but his political attacks on climate science and efforts to waste Virginia taxpayers’ money will have to return to the drawing board. 

In his six-page ruling Judge Peatross wrote:

“What the Attorney General suspects that Dr. Mann did that was false or fraudulent in obtaining funds from the Commonwealth is simply not stated.”

Dr. Mann, who now works at Penn State University, said in a statement: “It is a victory not just for me and the university, but for all scientists who live in fear that they may be subject to a politically-motivated witch hunt when their research findings prove inconvenient to powerful vested interests.”

Fri, 2010-08-27 16:04Brendan DeMelle
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Toxic Coal Ash Threatens At Least 137 Sites In 34 States

A new study by three top environmental groups reveals another 39 coal ash threats in 21 states, bringing the total number of known coal ash threats to 137 in 34 states.  

The report by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club details the newly identified slurry ponds and impoundments filled with toxic coal ash that threaten drinking water supplies and public health at sites around the country.  

Earlier this year the groups identified 31 coal ash disposal sites in 14 states, adding to the 67 sites already identified by the Environmental Protection Agency.  The latest report brings the total number to 137 sites where coal ash threatens public health and water supplies. 

The U.S. EPA is currently grappling with how to regulate the toxic coal ash threat, which is now checked only by individual state laws that have failed to adequately protect the public from this growing problem.

Mon, 2010-08-23 16:07Brendan DeMelle
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Oil & Gas Industries Spent Record $175 Million Lobbying Against Climate Action

The oil and gas industries unleashed a massive $175 million lobbying spree last year to derail U.S. efforts to address climate change, according to a new series of reports by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).  

OpenSecrets.org blogger Evan Mackinder reveals just how badly oil and gas interests pummeled the environmental community, which spent its own record $22.4 million trying to convince Washington to get its act together to fight global warming.  

As CRP notes, “Goliath whipped David.”

CRP’s new series, titled “Fueling Washington: How Oil Money Drives Politics,” details the oil and gas industries’ outsized influence in Washington. 

Mon, 2010-08-23 14:15Brendan DeMelle
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The New Yorker Exposes Koch Industries "Kochtopus" Behind Tea Party and Climate Denial Machine

The New Yorker has published a must-read article exposing the long reach of the “Kochtopus” network set up by Koch Industries to fuel the Tea Party and fund the climate denial machine.  

Written by investigative journalist Jane Mayer, the piece titled “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging war against Obama” explores the decades-long efforts of brothers David and Charles Koch to manipulate and deceive the public on issues ranging from climate change to cancer-causing chemicals. 

Koch Industries has done far more than even ExxonMobil to fund the climate denial machine in recent years, and media coverage about numerous Tea Party and GOP candidates who deny the science of climate change confirm that the Kochs’ reach has infected national politics in unprecedented ways.

The lengthy New Yorker article covers many interesting new angles about the Kochs’ influence-peddling empire, and adds to a growing body of research about Koch Industries’ anti-science, anti-democratic activities.

Building upon the research from Greenpeace’s excellent Koch report earlier this year, Jane Mayer expands on Koch’s role in funding climate deniers and anti-science think tanks, not to mention the Tea Party. 

Head over to The New Yorker to read the slimy details.  

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