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Mon, 2012-10-22 23:34Kevin Grandia
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Comedian Kamau Bell Joins Romney, says F**K Science!

This is a funny video brought to you by Actually.org - the same team that produced Samuel L. Jackson's election video “Wake the F**k Up!”

Enjoy:

Mon, 2012-10-22 05:00Kevin Grandia
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Obama and Romney Have One More Chance to End Climate Silence

It's almost like President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have already forgotten that this summer Americans experienced some of the most severe droughts in history and massive wildfires. 

Yet here we are with only one Presidential debate to go and not once has either candidate uttered the words “climate change” in the two previous national debates. It doesn't help that neither debate moderator Jim Lehrer or Candy Crowley chose to pose a question about climate change.

Even if one of the debate moderators did ask a question about climate change it would probably be the perennial favorite and completely idiotic question: “Do you believe in global warming?” - as if scientific conclusions, like the theory of gravity, are something we have to believe in for them to actually be real.

Friends of the Earth and Forecast the Facts are running a Climate Silence campaign urging Obama and Romney to speak up on climate change issues in this election, at the least, in the final debate happening tomorrow night.

Thu, 2012-10-11 15:16Kevin Grandia
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Oil Giant Citgo Criminally Convicted in Bird Deaths (remind you of something?)

Here's a rule of thumb: if something is so toxic that birds die when they land on it, it's probably a good idea to put a cover on it.

In Texas yesterday, a federal district court upheld a criminal conviction against the oil refinery giant Citgo Petroleum after migratory birds landed in two open-top refinery tanks and died. Under Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and Texas law such tanks are supposed to be covered. The court found that the company had known birds were landing and dying in their tanks but failed to do anything about it.

Citgo faces some $2 million in fines. A too small price to pay I think for their negligent behavior.

In Canada's tar sands, similar cases of migratory bird deaths have been ruled very differently. Many will remember the story in 2008 when 1600 ducks landed on the massive lakes of tar sands toxic by-products and died.

Tue, 2012-10-02 06:00Kevin Grandia
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Andrew Coyne's Connections to Free Market Think Tanks; Disclosure Lacking

Andrew Coyne, the a former editor of Maclean's magazine, founding opinionator for the National Post and frequent political pundit on CBC, has a rather long history tying him to free-market think tanks in Canada. 

According to the Canadian government's charity registry, Coyne has been a director for at least the last six years in a group called the Aurea Foundation. The Aurea Foundation was founded by Peter Munk, the head of Barrick Gold, and is a major funder of a small but influential network of free-market think tanks in Canada, including: The Fraser Institute, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, the Frontier Center for Public Policy, the Montreal Economic Institute and the MacDonald Laurier Institute. 

Most of these groups espouse a philosophy similar to US free market think tanks like the Competitive Enterprise Instiute, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. In fact, most of these think tanks and some of their Canadian counterparts have been a major focus of the DeSmog team's work dissecting and exposing the climate change denial machine.

Making this complicated for Coyne is that the fact that some of these Canadian think tanks have been used as sources of information for Coyne's articles and op-ed pieces without the disclosure by Coyne that he sits on the board of Aurea.

Fri, 2012-09-28 11:30Kevin Grandia
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The Natural Gas Lobbyist Rush is on in British Columbia

According to lobbyist registry data, there are currently 57 lobbyists representing the natural gas industry to elected officials and government agencies in the province of British Columbia. This is a pretty astounding number when you consider that the provincial government only consists of 85 elected representatives.

British Columbia, Canada is where I grew up and it is a place of natural beauty, in fact the main city of Vancouver is commonly cited as one of the most liveable cities in the world. But with all that nature comes a lot of natural resources and there has been a huge rush to extract these resources under the current business-friendly government (disclosure: I worked for this government for 3 years as a political advisor). 

So friendly in fact that just yesterday the BC government announced it would forgo more than $120 million in natural gas royalties in order to spur new investment in natural gas extraction.

Tue, 2012-06-19 19:31Kevin Grandia
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I Love You Huffpo but What's Going On?

I have been writing on environmental issues on the popular news blog Huffington Post going on five years now but I am not sure if I will continue.

In an article today about yet another oil pipeline burst in the Northern Alberta tar sands, the editors of the Huffpo Canada section included a shiny happy “slideshow” at the end touting all the upsides of this massively destructive industry. 

It is blatant spin with factoids like: “Alberta will reap $1.2 trillion from oil sands” (leaving out the next part about the fact that emissions will triple in the same number of years):

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