Jeff Bezos' Washington Post Hires Volokh Conspiracy Theorists

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 22 Jan 2014 06:42:00 GMT

Jeff Bezos visits the Washington PostThe Volokh Conspiracy, a blog of climate conspiracy theorists, is now part of the Washington Post.

When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took over the Washington Post, some climate activists hoped he would close down the Post’s editorial support for climate-science deniers such as George Will and strengthen the influential paper’s focus on the climate threat.

But it was not to be.

In the first major move since the acquisition, Bezos has replaced liberal “wunderkind” blogger Ezra Klein with the corporate-right lawyer blog Volokh Conspiracy, founded by Eugene Volokh in 2002.

The Volokh Conspiracy bloggers are aptly named, as they have promoted conspiracy theories about anthropogenic climate change and the scientists who study it.

“As these stories make clear, several of the scientists whose e-mail and other documents were disclosed engaged in both unethical and illegal conduct.”
Jonathan H. Adler, former Competitive Enterprise Institute environmental director and Heartland Institute contributor, 1/30/10
“JunkScience.com, run by the Cato Institute’s prolific Steven Milloy, is a year-round antidote to the unscientific panics incited by big government and the scientists who love it.”
Dave Kopel, Independence Institute, 12/6/04
“The recent Climategate scandal underlines the dangers of like-minded small groups falsifying evidence and excluding opposing views.”
Ilya Somin, Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar, 12/21/09
“Whatever the exact state of climate science, the marriage of the authority of science and the authority of the United Nations plainly corrupted a non-negligible number of the climate scientists. Not, let us be clear, that it took very much to sway scientists who were offered what appeared to them to direct global economic policy and win Nobel prizes.”
Kenneth Anderson, Hoover Institution Visiting Fellow, 2012
“All of their examples of people supposedly ‘reinventing’ the climate change debate were people who were convinced that we needed to do something now to stop or reverse global warming, which is pretty much what that side of the debate has wanted all along. . . . We may well be causing climate change, but it’s not clear there’s anything we as individuals or we as a country are really equipped to do about it.”
Will Baude, 6/22/13
“Hoffer is correct that we now have enough data to know that most prior climate models are wrong.”
Jim Lindgren, 1/3/14
“Remember, people are usually at least somewhat circumspect in writing emails to professional colleagues around the world. Thus, is it likely that the corruption in this subfield of climatology is LESS serious or MORE serious than the scientists would disclose to their colleagues in their own emails?”
Jim Lindgren, 12/8/09
“While the wider world is just beginning to realize that the subfield of paleoclimatology is in shambles (and has been for the last decade), scientists in related disciplines are increasingly fighting back against the shoddy work and orthodoxy that was foisted on them.”
Jim Lindgren, 12/7/09
“The other moment in the debate that struck me as quite strange was Biden’s comment that he is certain that all global warming is manmade and that manmade global warming is what is melting the polar icecap . . .

Palin’s answer was much more nuanced and consistent with science (not to mention being absolutely correct about what to do it about it as a policy matter, focus on the impacts and the mix of policies to respond to climate change) . . .

It is obvious that there are cyclical temperature changes on the planet (in addition to other natural variances, such as sun spots, cloud cover, etc.). We have had ice ages and tropicl [sic] periods. I have tried to find some nuance or qualification in Biden’s statement that he understands the difference between ‘all’ and ‘most’ or the possible role of natural causes, but I don’t see it. He seems to just be wrong about his understanding of what the science actually says on this point.”

Todd Zywicki, Competitive Enterprise Institute Director, Institute for Humane Studies Director and Charles G Koch Alumni Award Recipient, Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow, Mercatus Center Senior Scholar, Property and Environment Research Center Fellow, 9/28/08

Commentary: Obama Does Not Believe Global Warming a Civil-War or World-War-II Scale Crisis

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 21 Jan 2014 05:34:00 GMT

Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama evidently does not believe that fossil-fueled global warming is a nation-threatening crisis, despite repeated scientific warnings that a full-scale mobilization must be enacted now to avert global catastrophe. At the top of his list for accomplishments before the end of his term, instead of a redirection of the national and global economy towards rapid decarbonization, is the goal of beginning “the process of rebuilding the middle class and the ladders into the middle class.”

In response to The New Yorker’s David Remnick’s question of “what he felt he must get done before leaving office,” Obama said:
I think we are fortunate at the moment that we do not face a crisis of the scale and scope that Lincoln or F.D.R. faced.

Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were president at the start of the Civil War and World War II, respectively.

Obama’s presidency has been marked by a backing away from a sense of urgency about the climate crisis. “Obviously there’s great urgency in dealing with a threat to the entire planet,” Obama said as a candidate in 2007. In an October 2007 speech, he called global warming “the planet’s greatest threat,” “the issue that will determine the very future of life on this Earth,” “a fact that threatens our very existence,” and “the most urgent challenge of this era.”

“Global warming is not a someday problem, it is now,” he said. He pledged “to phase out a carbon-based economy that’s causing our changing climate.” “As President, I will lead this commitment,” he promised.

Six and half years later, global carbon pollution has continued to rise rapidly, fueled in no small part by Obama’s “all of the above” support for increased oil drilling, fracking, and coal mining.

After years of near-to-total silence on the ravages of a polluted climate to the nation, Obama started his second term with a new promise for action.

“As a President, as a father, and as an American, I’m here to say we need to act,” he said in June 2013.

It looks he doesn’t actually feel the urgency of his own words.

Enviro Coalition Letter Calls on Obama to Drop 'All of the Above' Strategy for 'Carbon-Reducing Clean Energy' Strategy

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 17 Jan 2014 04:49:00 GMT

In a letter sent to President Barack Obama on Thursday, the leaders of the nation’s top environmental organizations aggressively criticized his “all of the above” energy strategy. The 16 groups, ranging from environmental justice organizations such as the Native American Rights Fund to the corporate-friendly Environmental Defense Fund and the progressive advocacy group Voices for Progress, praised the president’s “goal of cutting carbon pollution” but sharply rebuked the White House’s support for expanded fossil-fuel extraction:
An “all of the above” strategy is a compromise that future generations can’t afford. It fails to prioritize clean energy and solutions that have already begun to replace fossil fuels, revitalize American industry, and save Americans money. It increases environmental injustice while it locks in the extraction of fossil fuels that will inevitably lead to a catastrophic climate future. It threatens our health, our homes, our most sensitive public lands, our oceans and our most precious wild places. Such a policy accelerates development of fuel sources that can negate the important progress you’ve already made on lowering U.S. carbon pollution, and it undermines U.S. credibility in the international community.

The groups made special note of Obama’s announcement in June that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be judged for the “net effects” of its “impact on climate.” The Keystone XL pipeline is incompatible with the 2°ree;C warming limit to which Obama has committed the United States, but the administration may attempt to use a different, high-emissions scenario as the baseline against which to judge the pipeline’s “net effects.”

The environmentalists concluded with the recommendation that the White House’s “all of the above” strategy be replaced with a “carbon-reducing clean energy” strategy:
We believe that a climate impact lens should be applied to all decisions regarding new fossil fuel development, and urge that a “carbon-reducing clean energy” strategy rather than an “all of the above” strategy become the operative paradigm for your administration’s energy decisions.

The full text of the letter is below.

American Rivers * Clean Water Action * Defenders of Wildlife * Earthjustice *
Energy Action Coalition * Environment America * Environmental Defense Fund *
Friends of the Earth * League of Conservation Voters * National Audubon Society *
National Wildlife Federation * Native American Rights Fund *
Natural Resources Defense Council * Oceana * Physicians for Social Responsibility *
Population Connection * Sierra Club * Voices for Progress

January 16, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D. C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We applaud the actions you have taken to reduce economy-wide carbon pollution and your commitment last June “to take bold action to reduce carbon pollution” and “lead the world in a coordinated assault on climate change.” We look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve these goals.

In that speech, you referenced that in the past you had put forward an “all of the above” energy strategy, yet noted that we cannot just drill our way out of our energy and climate challenge. We believe that continued reliance on an “all of the above” energy strategy would be fundamentally at odds with your goal of cutting carbon pollution and would undermine our nation’s capacity to respond to the threat of climate disruption. With record-high atmospheric carbon concentrations and the rising threat of extreme heat, drought, wildfires and super storms, America’s energy policies must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, not simply reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

We understand that the U.S. cannot immediately end its use of fossil fuels and we also appreciate the advantages of being more energy independent. But an “all of the above” approach that places virtually no limits on whether, when, where or how fossil fuels are extracted ignores the impacts of carbon-intense fuels and is wrong for America’s future. America requires an ambitious energy vision that reduces consumption of these fuels in order to meet the scale of the climate crisis.

An “all of the above” strategy is a compromise that future generations can’t afford. It fails to prioritize clean energy and solutions that have already begun to replace fossil fuels, revitalize American industry, and save Americans money. It increases environmental injustice while it locks in the extraction of fossil fuels that will inevitably lead to a catastrophic climate future. It threatens our health, our homes, our most sensitive public lands, our oceans and our most precious wild places. Such a policy accelerates development of fuel sources that can negate the important progress you’ve already made on lowering U.S. carbon pollution, and it undermines U.S. credibility in the international community.

Mr. President, we were very heartened by your commitment that the climate impacts of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be “absolutely critical” to the decision and that it would be contrary to the “national interest” to approve a project that would “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” We believe that a climate impact lens should be applied to all decisions regarding new fossil fuel development, and urge that a “carbon-reducing clean energy” strategy rather than an “all of the above” strategy become the operative paradigm for your administration’s energy decisions.

In the coming months your administration will be making key decisions regarding fossil fuel development — including the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking on public lands, and drilling in the Arctic ocean — that will either set us on a path to achieve the clean energy future we all envision or will significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. We urge you to make climate impacts and emission increases critical considerations in each of these decisions.

Mr. President, we applaud you for your commitment to tackle the climate crisis and to build an economy powered by energy that is clean, safe, secure, and sustainable.

Sincerely,

Wm. Robert Irvin
President and CEO
American Rivers

Robert Wendelgass
President
Clean Water Action

Jamie Rappaport Clark
President and CEO
Defenders of Wildlife

Trip Van Noppen
President
Earthjustice

Maura Cowley
Executive Director
Energy Action Coalition

Margie Alt
Executive Director
Environment America

Fred Krupp
President
Environmental Defense Fund

Eric Pica
President
Friends of the Earth

John Seager
President
Population Connection
Gene Karpinski
President
League of Conservation Voters

David Yarnold
President and CEO
National Audubon Society

Larry J. Schweiger
President & CEO
National Wildlife Federation

John Echohawk
Executive Director
Native American Rights Fund

Frances Beinecke
President
Natural Resources Defense Council

Andrew Sharpless
Chief Executive Officer
Oceana

Catherine Thomasson, MD
Executive Director
Physicians for Social Responsibility

Michael Brune
Executive Director
Sierra Club

Sandy Newman
President
Voices for Progress

Koch Brothers Support Disaster Relief Effort for W. Va. Chemical Spill from Koch Industries Distributor

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 13 Jan 2014 02:13:00 GMT

AFP staff deliver water to victims of coal industryIn the wake of a coal-industry chemical spill that contaminated the water supply of over 300,000 West Virginians, a Koch Industries political operation stepped in. The spill into Elk River of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM), a coal washing agent manufactured by Eastman Chemical, came from the facilities of Freedom Industries. Freedom Industries, a closely held private company, distributes coal-mining chemicals including those made by Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia-Pacific Chemicals.

Americans for Prosperity, the group that serves as the organizing wing for the Koch brothers’ extensive political efforts, alerted its national list soon after the coal-industry disaster crippled West Virginia. In an email with the electronic signature of AFP President Tim Phillips, describes the “disaster” caused by the Koch Industries chemical distributor as one that had “no warnings”:
A few days ago, there was a terrible incident in West Virginia, which has left more than 300,000 of our fellow citizens without safe, useable water. The water in the nine affected counties isn’t even safe after boiling! Currently there isn’t a timeline for when the water will be safe again. . . .

There were no warnings for this disaster. There was no time to prepare once the emergency struck.

The efforts of AFP staff to distribute “clean water and supplies into West Virginia to help with relief efforts” has been promoted on conservative media.

“It is so exciting to serve our fellow West Virginians at this crucial time of need,” explained Wendy McCuskey, the newly minted West Virginia state director of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, in a press release. “We are so happy to be able to meet their need for clean water and ease this very difficult time for West Virginia families.”

The message from AFP President Phillips raise a central question: Why where there “no warnings for this disaster” and “no time to prepare”?

“Few chemicals are actually regulated by safe-drinking-water or other water-quality rules,” the Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. wrote, “and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tested only about 200 of the 84,000 chemicals in the agency’s inventory.” In addition, the Freedom Industries facility has benefited from West Virginia’s notoriously lax oversight of the coal industry.

Koch Industries and its subsidiaries have a long record of opposing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency efforts to tighten water quality standards for stream-dumping and to update the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory.

At Slate, reporter Dave Weigel sardonically noted the Koch group’s charitable role, writing “No one who gives away free water can be evil.”

From: Tim Phillips – Americans for Prosperity
Date: Sat, Jan 11, 2014 at 4:57 PM
Subject: West Virginians need your help

I need your help.

A few days ago, there was a terrible incident in West Virginia, which has left more than 300,000 of our fellow citizens without safe, useable water. The water in the nine affected counties isn’t even safe after boiling! Currently there isn’t a timeline for when the water will be safe again.

There are thousands of suffering families, young mothers, and elderly folks who need your help. Fortunately, Americans have a great history of coming together during times of emergency to help those in need. This is one of those times. AFP Foundation, our sister organization, has already sent additional staff loaded with clean water and supplies into West Virginia to help with relief efforts, and hope you’ll help us bring aid to those in need.

Here are some ways you can help:
  • Donate to our friends at the American Red Cross.
  • Send supplies, such as water, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer to:
    113 Lakeview Drive, Charleston, WV 25313

Many of our state chapters have begun putting together relief kits to send to West Virginia. Please contact your state director, or email us at info@afphq.org and we’ll get you in touch with the best person. There were no warnings for this disaster. There was no time to prepare once the emergency struck. Experts suggest that the best way to prepare is with a 72-hour kit that includes water, food, and toiletries. As much as we hope it doesn’t, an unexpected emergency could happen anywhere, so please take the time today to set aside enough supplies for you and your family for at least 72 hours. For more information on how you can prepare you and your family for emergencies, go here.

Thank you for all you do to help your fellow Americans. I know the citizens of West Virginia will appreciate your assistance.

Sincerely,

TimPhillipssig

AFP President Tim Phillips

P.S. Send an email to info@afphq.org, and we’ll let you know what supplies are needed in West Virginia.

Top Climate Science Conference Sponsored By Top Climate Polluters

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 28 Dec 2013 19:55:00 GMT

AGU, Sponsored By ExxonThe annual conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the top meeting of the world’s climate science community, enjoys the “generous support” of the world’s largest greenhouse polluters, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and BP. The AGU’s annual meeting in San Francisco each December is the world’s largest gathering of earth scientists, at more than 20,000 attendees, ranging from physical climatologists to petroleum geologists. This December 9-13, AGU’s sponsors were prominently displayed on its website and on posters in the conference halls with the headline, “Thank You To Our Sponsors”:

AGU would like to take the time to recognize the generous support from all of the sponsors of the 2013 Fall Meeting and the events at the meeting.

The top sponsor credited was ExxonMobil; second-tier sponsors included BP, Chevron, and drilling services giant Schlumberger.

The prominent “thank you” given to the companies that profit from the disruption of our climate system received condemnation from some public commenters.

“Nausea-inducing greenwashing: Pukewashing,” tweeted climate and energy blogger Lou Grinzo.

“The cognitive dissonance is mind-boggling,” wrote geology student Ryan Brown.

The union recognizes that the sponsorship is designed to influence its attendees; in promotional materials AGU says sponsorship will “build your brand and create [a] positive link in the attendees’ minds” and “recruit new scientists, enhance your corporate image, show support, and raise your visibility among the scientific community.”

In August 2013, AGU declared that “human-induced climate change requires urgent action.” The AGU Climate Change Position Statement clearly implicates “fossil fuel burning” as the dominant factor in “threats to public health, water availability, agricultural productivity (particularly in low‐latitude developing countries), and coastal infrastructure,” and “no uncertainties are known that could make the impacts of climate change inconsequential.”

The statement was developed by a 14-person panel chaired by Texas A&M climatologist Gerald North. Thirteen of the 14 members voted to approve the strong statement; famous climate skeptic Roger Pielke Sr. dissented. (Pielke’s son, Roger Pielke Jr., is a political scientist who argues as a pundit that climate change does not require societal action.)

Hill Heat sent email messages to the members of the AGU panel asking if they had concerns about AGU accepting funding from the fossil-fuel industry, including companies that have an extensive history of funding attacks on climate science and political opposition to the regulation of carbon emissions.

“Frankly, I have never thought about this,” Dr. North, the panel chair, replied. He noted that many AGU scientists are employed by the extractive industries, and said he would be concerned only if he had seen the AGU’s work being corrupted by fossil-fuel money:

Many AGU members work in the oil and gas industries as well as the coal industry. I suppose the AGU could be corrupted by these elements, although I have no evidence (that I know of) of this having happened in the past. AGU Committees I have served on have shown no evidence of nefarious inputs or pressures. Usually, the first meeting of an AGU Committee there is a conflict of interest session in which all tell of any matters that might be construed as a conflict of interest. This was the case with the Committee I chaired.

“So far I have no reason to object to these contributions so long as AGU Committees can operate without interference,” Dr. North continued. “It’s a little like universities taking such donations. For example, my university Texas A&M accepts many contributions from them and I have never felt any pressure from any university official or Texas government official. There has to be a ‘wall’ of separation between donors and what is done with their money. For example, at the University donors of endowed chairs have no say in who the chair goes to.”

Fellow panelist Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., related a similar sentiment to Hill Heat.

“Fossil fuels exist and will continue to do so,” Trenberth wrote. “Many of the companies have diversified into other areas of energy. So that alone is not a reason for inappropriateness. In addition a big part of AGU is geophysics and geology. Several companies have also declared that they have good intentions and no longer fund mis-information. I am not sure how well that bears up to scrutiny. But in general, yes, AGU should accept funding from the fossil fuel industry, as long as it has no strings attached. And they can use the funds to push back if warranted.”

Sylvia Tognetti, an environmental science and policy consultant who is not an AGU member, told Hill Heat she does not believe it is appropriate to AGU to accept fossil-fuel industry sponsorship. “I expect that a campaign on this issue would be a difficult one, given the schizophrenic relationship that exists between science and policy,” she wrote in an e-mail. “But bringing attention to these contradictions might just provoke an important dialogue on the role of science for the public good.”

According the AGU Fall Meeting Sponsorship Prospectus, “Sponsorship at the AGU Fall Meeting is a cost-effective way of branding your company, your products, and your services to more than 20,000 geophysical and space scientists.” The prospectus notes that “Sponsorship can increase your corporate/product awareness, build your brand, and create positive link in the attendees’ minds between you and an activity in support of their science.” The top “gold” sponsorship level costs a minimum of $15,000.

In the 2012 Fall Meeting Sponsorship Prospectus, AGU says that Chevron and Exxon Mobil are companies which “realize the benefit of sponsorship with the AGU,” as a “cost effective, high profile tool your company can use to recruit new scientists, enhance your corporate image, show support, and raise your visibility among the scientific community.”

The AGU conference also advised climate scientists on effective communication, with presentations such as “400ppm CO2 : Communicating Climate Science Effectively with Naomi Oreskes and multiple presentations by John Cook, Stephan Lewandowsky, Susan Hassol, and Dana Nuccitelli.

New White House Adviser John Podesta: 'Unconventional Sources of Fossil Fuels Cannot Be Our Energy Future'

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 10 Dec 2013 22:03:00 GMT

John Podesta, an advocate for strong climate action and opponent of the exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels, is joining the White House as a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, the New York Times reports.

In a 2010 keynote address at Canada 2020’s “‘Greening’ The Oil Sands: Debunking the Myths and Confronting the Realities,” a Canadian conference promoting tar sands extraction, Podesta apologized for being the “skunk” at the “garden party” as he laid out his profound skepticism about “green” tar sands, comparing it to “clean coal” and “error-free deepwater drilling.”

Below are some key excerpts:

Today, there is almost unanimous agreement that we can add another cost to dependence on high-carbon fuels. And this one is beyond our ability to calculate.

Failing to curb our dependence on fossil fuels will create a world dramatically different than the one we’re currently accustomed to; one in which sea level rise, extreme weather, and reduced resource supplies will not only cause irreparable harm to ecosystems around the globe, but also tremendous human suffering and conflict.

Oil extraction from tar sands is polluting, destructive, expensive, and energy intensive. These things are facts. I think suggesting this process can come close to approximating being “greened” is largely misleading, or far too optimistic, or perhaps both. It stands alongside clean coal and error-free deepwater drilling as more PR than reality.

Oil sands can’t simply be as good as conventional oil. We need to reduce fossil fuel use and accelerate the transition to cleaner technologies, in the transportation sector and elsewhere.

We either rapidly green the world’s engine of economic growth, or we suffer consequences that are very difficult to even fully comprehend, in addition to those we already tolerate. Unconventional sources of fossil fuels cannot be our energy future.

In January 2013, Podesta announced his opposition to Arctic drilling, saying in a Bloomberg op-ed that “there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean”:
Now, following a series of mishaps and errors, as well as overwhelming weather conditions, it has become clear that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean. . . The Obama administration shouldn’t issue any new permits to Shell this year and should suspend all action on other companies’ applications to drill in this remote and unpredictable region.

“Moving beyond fossil fuel pollution will involve exciting work, new opportunities, new products and innovation, and stronger communities,” Podesta said in 2009 Congressional testimony.

In contrast, Podesta has laid out an optimistic vision for smart grids, utility-scale renewable energy development, and global clean-energy investment.

Rising GOP Star Mark Green Featured at ALEC Summit 'Concerned About Global Cooling'

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 06 Dec 2013 04:11:00 GMT

State Sen. Mark Green (R-Tenn.-22), speaking today at the American Legislative Exchange Council States & Nation Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., rejects the science of global warming. In a September 15, 2013 tweet, Sen. Green said, “I think we need to be concerned about global cooling.”

Mark Green's global warming denial tweet

Green’s tweet cites a Climate Depot link to a blogpost with the headline “Earth Gains A Record Amount Of Sea Ice In 2013.”

This factoid is an indicator of global warming, not global cooling. As the climate has become destabilized, the annual variation in global sea ice has increased, with greater swings in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Arctic sea ice is in a “death spiral”, as is global land ice. As Antarctica warms, its land ice mass is in decline, while its sea ice extent is on the increase as oceanic and atmospheric circulation patterns change in the Southern hemisphere.

Climate Depot is the website of former Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) spokesman Marc Morano.

Green’s tweet continues with a link to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by climate-change denier Matt Ridley, which argues “the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet.”

A 2011 ALEC conference presented a panel entitled “Warming Up to Climate Change: The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2.”

Green is also a military veteran, former field surgeon, and radical gun-rights advocate.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Claims Global Warming 'Assumptions' Are 'Totally Undermined By The Latest Science'

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 03 Dec 2013 21:37:00 GMT

Ted CruzFreshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) rejects the science of man-made climate change. In a 2012 interview with Dallas News, Cruz claimed that global warming ceased in 1997, misquoted climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, and claimed that the threat of greenhouse gas pollution is “scientific assumptions that have been totally undermined by the latest science.” Cruz also claimed that any form of market-based or regulatory limits on carbon pollution would “devastate” the United States.

The Dallas News voter guide asked the question: “What is your view on the science of man-made climate change? Do you support legislation that would reduce the output of greenhouse gases, and, if so, what approach would you take?”

Sen. Ted Cruz on global warming:
My view of climate science is the same as that of many climate scientists: We need a much better understanding of the climate before making policy choices that would impose substantial economic costs on our Nation. There remains considerable uncertainty about the effect of the many factors that influence climate: the sun, the oceans, clouds, the behavior of water vapor (the main greenhouse gas), volcanic activity, and human activity. Nonetheless, climate-change proponents based their models on assumptions about those factors, and now we know that many of those assumptions were wrong. For example, the models predicted accelerated warming over the last 15 years, but there has been no warming during that time.

Even Dr. Kenneth Trenberth, the lead author of the U.N. IPCC 4th Assessment Report, recently said, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” So, we need to be good stewards of the environment, but we also have to be rational. We came very close to adopting a cap & tax scheme that would have devastated our economy without a single demonstrable benefit. Now EPA has adopted greenhouse gas regulations on the basis of scientific assumptions that have been totally undermined by the latest science—and those regulations are going to have a devastating impact on many American families and businesses if we don’t roll them back.

Cruz’s claims repeat the #5, #7, #24, #54, #58, #102, #140, #143, and #169 myths categorized by Skeptical Science.

In March 2013, Cruz blocked mention of “changes in climate” in an International Women’s Day proclamation. “A provision expressing the Senate’s views on such a controversial topic as ‘climate change’ has no place in a supposedly noncontroversial resolution requiring consent of all 100 U.S. senators,” a spokesman said.

In June, Cruz blasted President Obama’s global warming agenda as “killing jobs” with a “national energy tax.”

Cruz, whose election was strongly backed by Google, will be the keynote speaker on Thursday at the American Legislative Exchange Council Summit, also funded by Google.

ALEC Plans Attack on Solar Net Metering

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 25 Nov 2013 20:54:00 GMT

At the American Legislative Exchange Council’s upcoming States & Nation Policy Summit, the corporate lobbying group will be considering a resolution aimed to stall rooftop solar deployment.

Green Tech Media’s Stephen Lacey reports:

In early December, ALEC will be holding a task force meeting on energy and environmental issues in Washington, D.C. It has now included net metering on its list of priorities for “model legislation” in 2014.

ALEC recently put together a draft resolution on net metering that will set up discussions at next month’s task force meeting on writing laws changing net metering policies.

As currently written, the resolution lacks detail. But the broad framework mirrors the current debate within utilities about how to restructure crediting mechanisms for solar owners:

  1. Update net metering policies to require that everyone who uses the grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times;
  2. Create a fixed grid charge or other rate mechanisms that recover grid costs from DG systems to ensure that costs are transparent to the customer; and
  3. Ensure electric rates are fair and affordable for all customers and that all customers have safe and reliable electricity.

“The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a trade group for investor-owned utilities, helped write the resolution with ALEC,” writes Lacey. “And Arizona Public Service, a utility at the center of the battle around net metering policy, is also a member of the organization’s energy and environment task force.”

“We supported them. [...] We worked with them on that resolution,” said Rick Tempchin, executive director of retail energy services at EEI, in a video recorded surreptitiously by the Checks and Balances Project. Lacey continues:

Over the summer, EEI released a report warning that distributed generation technologies like solar “directly threaten the centralized utility model” and called for increased attention on how to manage disruption in the power sector.

Months later, EEI began spending money on a campaign to support changes to net metering policy in Arizona — adding to the $9 million already spent by Arizona Public Service.

The electric utility on ALEC’s corporate board, Energy Future Holdings, tells the public it is committed to supporting renewable energy.

Also on the agenda for the energy task force at the 2013 summit is “Discussion of strategies legislative and private sector members can employ to address EPA’s rulemaking to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.” The task force plans to keep ALEC “on record opposing any EPA efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.”

ALEC’s anti-climate agenda is raising questions about why publicly green companies have recently joined the organization. For example, in 2011, Google invested over $350 million in rooftop-solar deployment. In 2013, Google joined ALEC.

Under Susan Molinari, Google Has Veered Away From Green Policy

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 20 Nov 2013 10:55:00 GMT

Susan Molinari
Susan Molinari at a Google/Elle/Center for American Progress event January 19, 2013
A review of the “don’t be evil” Internet giant Google’s stance toward climate change and green policy finds a significant shift to the right in recent years, following the Tea Party surge election and the collapse of mandatory climate legislation in 2010.

Since 2012, Google’s policy division has been run by former Republican representative Susan Molinari, a long-time corporate lobbyist. Molinari, whose personal contributions are exclusively to Republicans, has led the Google Washington DC office to host fundraisers exclusively for Republican senators, including Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), according to the Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time database. Under Molinari’s direction, Google also supports climate-denial shops such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, and the American Conservative Union.

Google’s fundraiser for Sen. Inhofe in July sparked controversy and protest, and the membership in ALEC raised a new round of criticism from industry press and Google users.

Google’s political support for opponents of its green agenda appears to be part of a retreat from its serious climate-policy agenda of a few years ago.

In 2007, renewable energy politico Dan Reicher joined Google as Director, Climate Change and Energy Initiatives for Google.org, the company’s charitable arm.

Starting that year, Google publicly committed to carbon neutrality because “Solving climate change won’t be simple, and there won’t be a single solution that addresses the entire problem at once. We all need to act together to meet the challenge – from the largest corporations and governments to individual households.”

Google pledged then:
Finally, we will campaign for public policies designed to cut emissions to the levels required to keep our climate system stable. We support energy efficiency standards that accelerate the deployment of energy-efficient technologies throughout the world, specific targets to increase renewable energy supplies on the grid, public support for research and development aimed at developing and commercializing low-carbon technologies, and mandatory emissions limits that put a price on carbon.

Google’s climate policy platform initially included efficiency standards, a federal renewable portfolio standard, public funding for clean-energy research and development, and a price on greenhouse pollution.

“Meeting our goal will also require improved regulatory frameworks at the regional and national level,” Google continued. “We will advocate for specific changes including a national renewable portfolio standard, increased research and development support, and regional and federal incentives for the deployment of renewable electricity.”

The call for a carbon price was eliminated from Google’s site at the end of 2007. The individual policy provisions were replaced with the Jeffery Greenblatt, who left Google in 2009 to join the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Reicher, who testified repeatedly before Congress in favor of climate and clean-energy legislation on Google’s behalf in 2009, left Google at the end of 2010, to join the Stanford Center for Energy Policy and Finance.

In 2011, Google.org published “The Impact of Clean Energy Innovation,” which compared policy scenarios including a suite of renewable-energy policies and a $30/ton carbon tax. This research was led by Google Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl, who was hired by Facebook at the end of that year.

Also in 2011, Google’s Green site was revamped, eliminating policy mentions but including a 100% renewable energy goal for the company’s operations.

Then Molinari joined Google in 2012.

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