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Mon, 2010-03-15 18:25Jim Hoggan
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Stanford Study Confirms That “Balanced” Media Stories Quoting Skeptics Mislead The Public

Skeptics Skew Public Understanding of Climate Change

Providing climate skeptics a voice in “balanced” mainstream media coverage skews public perception of the scientific consensus regarding climate change, leaving viewers less likely to understand the threat of climate disruption and less likely to support government actions to address global warming, according to the results of a Stanford University research effort

The Stanford researchers probed the impact on public understanding of climate change when media coverage features a climate skeptic alongside a climate scientist.  Media stories featuring only a mainstream climate scientist “increased the number of people who believed that global warming has been happening and that humans have caused global warming.”

However, when media stories also include a climate skeptic, ostensibly to add “balance” to the story, the result is a “significantly reduced” number of people who understand the issue and endorse government action to address the problem.

“Watching a skeptic decreased perceptions of consensus among scientific experts, and this decreased perception of consensus led respondents to be less supportive of government action in general and of cap and trade policy in particular,” the researchers found.

Wed, 2010-01-27 16:30Jim Hoggan
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New Poll Results Reveal The Impact of Decades-Long Climate Confusion Campaign

A new report published jointly by Yale University and George Mason University finds that Americans are much less concerned about climate change than they were just a year ago.  Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled believe climate change is happening, compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008, a 14 point drop. 

The reason ought to be clear.  The climate confusion campaign - waged by the like of Americans for Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) - is alive and well, and obviously still inflicting damage.

Thu, 2010-01-21 16:44Jim Hoggan
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Republican pollster confirms Americans' energy concerns

Frank Luntz, an expert cherished equally by Fox News and the Republican Party, has just released a new poll showing bipartisan support for climate legislation that would promote energy independence and protect the environment.

The poll is important in its own right: it confirms that Americans are thoughtful and concerned about energy security, climate and the environment, and that the Republican Party’s ideologically driven opposition to climate legislation is out of step.

But the subtext is even more fascinating: here you have a poll, sponsored by the Environmental Defence Fund and executed by an ideological darling of the American right - someone who has been incredibly effective at coaching Republican politicians to mislead, distract or dissemble on environmental issues. It is an unlikely professional relationship - and therefore a surprisingly credible one.

Wed, 2009-12-16 16:00Jim Hoggan
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ClimateSpin: Using the Stolen Emails to Cripple Policy

The stolen email narrative is beginning to take shape, in a way that is both disingenuous and damaging, and a prime example is attached and linked here.

This article, by Stephen Hayward in the Weekly Standard, is a mash of good information and bad analysis - a strident overstatement of the case “proven” by the emails that were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and released last month. It also seems to provide a case study for how the emails will be used to undermine action by people who are not well-informed about climate science and can be misled with a few sensible-sounding references.

It’s appropriate to acknowledge - on this and every occasion - that the emails in question, 13 years worth, contain some embarrassing excerpts. They show some of the quoted scientists to be frustrated, sometimes petty and, in a few unfortunate cases, prepared to hide data from critics.

An independent analysis of the emails, however, show that they did not, in any way, undermine the scientific foundation for our understanding of how and why the climate is changing. Even Hayward acknowledges that “Climate change is a genuine phenomenon, and there is a nontrivial risk of major consequences in the future.”

Wed, 2009-12-16 08:15Jim Hoggan
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The Copenhagen Tea Party

The American Tea Party phenomenon unfortunately has a long arm, reaching all the way to the international climate negotiations currently underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.

With their outrageous signs and over-the-top rhetoric, the Tea Party claims can be easily dismissed as fringe players, but they are nevertheless playing a role in blocking action in Washington on the issue of climate change.

This is something the fossil fuel industry and their think tank network are very aware of and are using to their full advantage. One need not look any further than the notorious Americans for Prosperity, one of the leading groups organizing Tea Party attacks on healthcare reform, and now climate solutions.

The AFP is an organization that has recieved millions of dollars in funding over the years from the Koch Family Foundations - Koch Industries Inc., is the largest private energy company in the United States and a major Big Oil force. When it comes to funding the right-wing think tanks and the climate denial industry, Koch makes ExxonMobil look like a minor player.

AFP is a non-profit organization that will not disclose its donors when asked. However, Media Transparency shows that Americans for Prosperity, and their previous incarnation “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” have received over $13 million from the Koch foundations. 

Tue, 2009-12-15 01:49Jim Hoggan
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Canadian Climate Plan: All Public Relations; No Policy

The Canadian government’s climate plan is pure politics - pure public relations. It’s all hot air, with no regulation or legislation to back it up. The government is not passing laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is not setting science-based targets and it’s not financing renewable energy.

And now we learn that the governing Conservative Party has been contemplating a rollback in the inadequate emission regulations that they have advertised but never enforced. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Environment Minister Jim Prentice appear to be fiddling while their friends and political supporters in the tar sands capitals of Alberta set fire to Rome.

Canada has already earned international humiliation in Copenhagen as a country that is lobbying AGAINST a reasonable agreement. It is fighting to trash the Kyoto accord, regardless that no legally binding alternative is in place. It is one of only only two parties to the Protocol that is fighting against using a common base year (1990) that would make its stated emission limits transparent.

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