Jim Hoggan's blog

Tue, 2009-11-24 11:05Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Solomon has questions he doesn't like: the DeSmogBlog has answers he won't like either

Lawrence Solomon, the National Post’s champion of imagined climate change Deniers complained in a weekend column that Anna Maria Tremonti, host of the CBC radio show, The Current, was too hard on him and too soft on me in a series of interviews last week.

In this, Solomon reminds me of some PR clients I have had over the years, people who, in the midst of a problem of their own making complain about the questions reporters ask rather than accepting that they looked bad because they didn’t have good answers.

Solomon’s in a tough spot because nobody could gracefully answer the questions he was asked.

He wants to say that climate change isn’t happening, even when an overwhelming majority of the world’s best scientists say otherwise. He wants to call people like the UK astrophysicist Nigel Weiss “deniers,” when they respond that his work is a “slanderous fabrication.” And when Tremonti challenges him on these assertions, he blames her for treating him roughly.

Solomon should understand: all questions are hardball when you don’t know – or can’t stomach – the answers.

As for answers, Solomon demanded some from me in that same weekend column. He posed a series of questions that he wished Tremonti had asked, actually going so far as to attribute them to her in his presentation.

I have repeated the questions here verbatim, though I have replaced her name with his. Tremonti is too good and impartial reporter to have made the minor blunders or major ideological assumptions characterized in these questions. My answers follow.

Mon, 2009-11-16 12:54Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Climate Denial Industry Costs Us $500 Billion a Year

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has announced in its latest World Energy Outlook that every year of delayed action to address climate change will add $500 Billion to the price tag of saving the planet.

The climate denial industry should foot the bill, since they are responsible for causing the delay.

In the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit, a growing number of government leaders from around the world - and even high level United Nations representatives - have suggested that an ambitious, legally binding agreement is all but impossible to achieve in Denmark this December.  Some have indicated that it may take six months to a year beyond Copenhagen to cement a global agreement.  Nearly all point the finger at the United States for causing this delay.

But it is not President Obama’s fault, a fact that is difficult for many outside the U.S. to comprehend. Shouldn’t the U.S. president, often considered the “most powerful man in the world,” be able to commit the nation to specific emissions reduction targets and financial contributions to help developing countries deal with climate change?

It is not that simple, though. 

The real blame lies at the feet of the climate denial industry, which has spent the past 20 years working to confuse the U.S. public and lawmakers about climate change. More than any other single factor, the climate denial industry can claim responsibility for the present stalemate in both domestic U.S. and international climate policy debates.

Groups like the Heartland Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, American Enterprise Institute and a host of oil and coal industry front groups, including the now-infamous American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), have collectively thrown a wrench in the cogs of U.S. climate policy, grinding the nation’s response to climate change to a halt.


Fri, 2009-10-30 16:40Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Halloween Murder Mystery: Who is killing Copenhagen?

With premature obituary notices popping up all over, it’s probably time to ask: who is killing Copenhagen? Who is responsible for the slasher attacks on the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December?

The wound have been oozing for a couple of weeks now, with the most recent and most worrying being revealed by the United Nations itself.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said last week that it is “unrealistic” to expect a binding treaty from Copenhagen. Janos Pasztor, director of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s Climate Change Support Team, followed up saying there was no time left to seal deals that will commit the world to actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This bit of pessimism caused such a stir that the secretary-general himself jumped out on Wednesday to resuscitate the Copenhagen corpse, saying - unconvincingly - that, “we are still keeping ambitious expectations and targets.” Then he redefined “success” to include a conference result that did NOT yield a legally binding agreement.

 

So, what zombie army is responsible for the world coming into a long-anticipated climate conference with no intention of making the long-delayed climate commitments?

 

Wed, 2009-10-28 17:28Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

Astroturf King Jack Bonner's Long History of Deceitful "Grassroots" Lobbying

As you’ll recall, Bonner & Associates – the D.C. Astroturf shop busted for mailing at least a dozen forged letters to Congress this summer prior to the House vote on climate and energy legislation – has found itself under the media spotlight lately, struggling to defend its sullied brand.

Tomorrow morning, Rep. Edward Markey’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming will hold a hearing on the Bonner and Associates forged letter scandal and it can’t come soon enough.

But the forgery scandal is just one example in a long career of anti-democratic Astroturf jobs for which Jack Bonner’s firm is responsible.

Public relations firms like to try to shape the news, not appear in the headlines themselves. Jack Bonner knows this as well as anyone in the business, and is rarely quoted in news stories, preferring to keep a low public profile. But when his firm was caught sending forged letters to Congress this summer while working on contract for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and its parent company the Hawthorn Group, Jack Bonner ended up in the uncomfortable position of defending his own firm rather than the interests of his corporate clients.

The gaffe appears to have cost Bonner a great deal of business, including the lucrative contract with Hawthorn.

Sources close to Bonner’s operation say that the firm furloughed several key staffers in the wake of the ACCCE scandal, informing them that there is currently not enough business to keep them on staff. And Jack Bonner’s much-anticipated appearance before the Congressional committee to answer questions about his firm’s role in the forgery scandal will not likely help the Bonner firm’s portfolio, either.

Thu, 2009-10-22 15:56Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

New Pew Center Poll Confirms The Effects of Climate Confusion Campaign

Despite taking their licks in the press lately, the Chamber of Commerce and the coal industry front group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) have something to celebrate today.

A new poll released by the Pew Research Center has found the number of Americans who believe that pollution is causing climate change declined 20 percent over the past two years. Only 57% of Americans believe there is solid scientific evidence that the global climate is warming.

Some pin this decline on the economy, arguing that Americans have other things to worry about and climate change has drifted off their radar screen.

But, as I explained to the Guardian newspaper today, “a big part of this problem is this campaign to mislead Americans about climate science. This is a very sophisticated group of people who know how to create doubt and confusion and they have done a very good job of it.”

Wed, 2009-10-21 10:47Jim Hoggan
Jim Hoggan's picture

US Chamber's Long History of Killing Clean Energy Policy

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking on water for advocating a climate change position that even its own members find irresponsible.

But this is only the latest episode in the Chamber’s 20-year campaign to block legislative solutions that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create new green jobs and, ultimately, lead to energy independence.

That campaign is a central – unavoidable – theme in Climate Cover-up, the book that I have recently written with Richard Littlemore. It details four years of research on climate change misinformation and especially on the work of a powerful alliance of lobbyists and industry front groups who have set back the fight against climate change – and the push for clean energy independence – by two decades.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a leading player from the outset, is finally suffering mainstream exposure, as major companies abandoned ship in protest against the Chamber’s climate policy. Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, PSEG, Levi Strauss & Co, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have all quit; and Nike stepped down from the Chamber board of directors. All cited embarrassment over Chamber climate policy as the cause.

The Chamber brought this rift upon itself.

Vice President Bill Kovacs triggered the humiliation during the summer when he suggested that the Environmental Protection Agency be subjected to a Scopes monkey trial to review the science behind man-made climate change. Kovacs back-pedaled as soon as mainstream media picked up the story, but not in time to stop the exodus of Chamber members who wanted to distance themselves from the Chamber’s anti-science position.

Last week, Mother Jones revealed that the Chamber has also been inflating its membership numbers by 1,000 per cent. While the Chamber has been claiming to represent “more than three million” U.S. businesses, in reality, it has just 300,000 business members. That still could be seen as an impressive number but, at less than 1% of all American companies, it hardly justifies the Chambers claim to be “the voice of business” in the United States.

Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein published an excellent piece on the Chamber’s inflated membership, noting “how disingenuous the Chamber has become in its Washington lobbying.” Even the White House joined in the Chamber pile-on.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Jim Hoggan's blog