Hundreds of Youth Activists Arrested at White House for Keystone XL Protest

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:37:00 GMT

Arrests at White House398 youth activists were arrested Sunday in front of the White House, after staging a “die-in” protest against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The protesters marched from the Georgetown University site of President Barack Obama’s 2013 climate speech to the street in front of Secretary of State John Kerry’s house before arriving at the White House. Kerry is slated to make a decision on on whether the pipeline — which will unlock access to Canadian tar sands and have a carbon footprint equivalent to fifty new coal-fired power plants — is in the national interest. President Obama is responsible for the final determination.

“We are trying to escalate as much as we can,” Michael Greenberg, a Columbia University sophomore who helped organize Sunday’s protest, told the National Journal’s Ben Geman. “We are not playing softball with the president any more.”

“Young people are tired of watching a president who ran on the promise of ‘ending the tyranny of oil’ keep caving to the fossil fuel industry,” wrote Jamie Henn, Communications Director for 350 Action, at MSNBC.com

There is a Flickr set of XLDissent photographs, and Annie-Rose Strasser at Climate Progress has compiled photos from Twitter of the march and protest.

“An entire movement has thrown itself into in this Keystone fight, from local frontline groups to big national green organizations,” said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. “But this weekend shows the power and bravery of some of the most crucial elements: young people, and activists who understand the centrality of environmental justice.”

CNBC's Joe Kernen: Climate Science is "Witchcraft"

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 27 Feb 2014 21:06:00 GMT

On Thursday’s Squawk Box, CNBC pundit Joe Kernen claimed that climate science is “witchcraft” for the conclusion that rising atmospheric CO2 from industrial emissions is increasing the planetary greenhouse effect. Arguing with Andrew Ross Sorkin about the news that January 2014 was the fourth warmest in recorded history for the planet, Kernen made several factually incorrect claims.

Kernen said: “The other warmer months were like in the ‘90s. Why would there be a warmer month when CO2 was 30% less in the ‘90s?”

In fact, the other warmer Januaries were in the 2000s: ‘07, ‘02, ‘03, ‘14. Five of the 6 next warmest months were in the ‘00s: ‘10, ‘05, ‘98, ‘04, ‘09, ‘13. 1998 was a warm year because of a very strong El Nino, such that some of the vast amount of heat stored in the oceans was added to the atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide was 10 percent less in the 1990s, not 30 percent less. The global CO2 average for 1990-1999 was 360 ppm, which is 9 percent less than the 2013 annual average of 396.5 ppm. CO2 levels were 26 perecent less than the present day in the 1880s, and the earth was 0.8 C (1.44 F) cooler then.

Kernen has regularly questioned the science of man-made global warming and pilloried scientists and activists as the “eco-taliban.”

Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) Thinks Global Warming is a Hoax

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 24 Feb 2014 20:28:00 GMT

During the floor debate on the American Climate and Energy Security Act (HR 2454) on June 26, 2009, Rep. Paul C. Broun Jr. (R-Ga.) declared that global warming is a hoax.
Now we hear all the time about global warming. Actually, we have had flat-line temperatures globally for the last 8 years. Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution.

Broun is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He has received 146,050 from the energy sector including $87,550 in lifetime political contributions from the oil and gas industry, of which $33,500 is from Koch Industries and $31,750 from Georgia Power.

"Whoring" "Nazis": Climate Deniers Lash Out

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 21 Feb 2014 03:06:00 GMT

Heartland Institute Unabomber billboardIn response to mild action taken recently by the Obama administration to respond to the ongoing climate crisis, prominent climate deniers have lashed out. Their language is reminiscent of last year’s billboard campaign by the Heartland Institute comparing climate scientists to the Unabomber and terrorists and Chris Monckton calling young climate activists “Hitler Youth.”

In the Washington Post op-ed pages edited by Fred Hiatt, long-time climate science denier Charles Krauthammer repeated the refrain that climate science is a “religion” and then accuses President Obama and other climate realists of “whoring.”
Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there’s more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads. If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, “the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit” (Deuteronomy 11).

Sounds like California. Except that today there’s a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.

But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in carbon-belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a “climate resilience fund.”

On his personal blog, Dr. Roy W. Spencer claimed that the use of the term “climate denier” is a Holocaust reference and calls climate scientists “global warming Nazis.”

I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

The pseudo-scientific ramblings by their leaders have falsely warned of mass starvation, ecological collapse, agricultural collapse, overpopulation…all so that the masses would support their radical policies. Policies that would not voluntarily be supported by a majority of freedom-loving people.

“Like the Nazis, they advocate the supreme authority of the state (fascism),” Spencer continued, “which in turn supports their scientific research to support their cause (in the 1930s, it was superiority of the white race).”

When challenged, Spencer doubled down. “A couple people in comments have questioned my use of ‘Nazi’, which might be considered over the top. Considering the fact that these people are supporting policies that will kill far more people than the Nazis ever did — all in the name of what they consider to be a righteous cause — I think it is very appropriate. Again, I didn’t start the name-calling.”

Spencer is a Heartland Institute “expert”.

Update: Although the San Francisco Chronicle’s Debra Saunders’ tweet-based column misrepresents Hill Heat’s relationship to the Forecast the Facts #DontPublishLies campaign, her column does offer a reasonable interpretation of Krauthammer’s “whoring” commentary, in which the users of fossil fuels are whores after false gods who are being punished by drought, and President Obama is the defender of climate science and planet Earth.

Former Climate Hawk John McCain Ridicules Kerry for Being a Climate Hawk

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:39:00 GMT

Former climate hawk Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday ridiculed Secretary of State John Kerry for treating climate change as a serious foreign policy issue and national security threat, as he once did himself.

Appearing on Phoenix radio station KFYI’s The Mike Broomhead Show, McCain said:
Why should he talk about climate change when we’ve got 130,000 people in Syria killed, and, as I predicted on this show many times, when the Geneva thing is a fiasco, and the US-Iran talks are obviously a joke, and the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations haven’t even begun? John Kerry and the president, they could be hitting the trifecta here, gross failure in all three. So he has to go over to Asia and talk about climate change and say it’s the most important issue? Hello? On what planet does he reside?

“Kerry is obviously butterflying around the world,” McCain added, “saying all kinds of things.”

As Nicholas Stern, the U.S. Department of Defense, and many others have pointed out, rapidly accelerating global climate change is a “threat multiplier,” a destabilizing force that increases the risk of armed conflict over degraded resources and forced mass migrations. We are already seeing this in action, experts point out. For example, the polluted climate helped precipitate the ongoing Syrian conflict. Climate change poses “real security concerns” to the Middle East, the International Institute of Sustainable Development cautioned in 2009.

Ten years ago, McCain was criticizing John Kerry for not talking enough about the threat of global warming.

In 2004, McCain described the threat of global warming as “very, very serious” and challenged John Kerry to talk about the issue on the campaign trail.

McCain continued for years, until his failed run for the presidency in 2008 led him towards climate denial, to speak with passion about the importance of taking action on the climate crisis. In 2006, McCain called climate inaction “a crime to our children and grandchildren.” In 2007, McCain claimed he would make climate change a “top agenda” because “it’s such a threat to our planet and our future and our children.” In a 2007 GOP presidential debate, McCain said that he would establish “a national security requirement that we reduce and eliminate our dependence on foreign oil — and we stop the contamination of our atmosphere, which is climate change, which is real and is taking place.”

In 2008, McCain said the “facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington” and that “global warming presents a test of foresight, of political courage, and of the unselfish concern that one generation owes to the next. “

In Series of Misspelled Tweets, CNN's Newt Gingrich Attacks John Kerry as 'Delusional'

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:29:00 GMT

CNN personality Newt Gingrich lambasted John “Kerrey” in a series of tweets on Monday for the Secretary of State’s recent remarks on climate change. Secretary Kerry said that global warming is “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

Gingrich’s position on global warming has repeatedly flipped. In a 2007 appearance with then-Senator Kerry, Gingrich said action on carbon pollution should be taken “urgently.” This week, he called for Kerry’s resignation for making similar comments in a series of misspelled tweets.

The most direct reaction to kerrey’s global warming speech is to ask if he is completely out of touch with reality.”

If kerrey believes his global warming speech it is a terrifying prospect for American policy. He is making policy in a fantasy world”

Does kerrey really believe global warming more dangerous than north Korean and iranian nukes? More than Russian and Chinese nukes? Really? ?”

Every American who cares about national security must.demand Kerrey’s resignation.A delusional secretary of state is dangerous to our safety”

Gingrich tweets

Gingrich’s criticism of Kerry could be caught in the crossfire of previous Gingrich remarks, as he has argued that climate change is a serious threat in previous years. In 1989, Gingrich co-sponsored legislation saying “global warming imperils human health and well-being” and represents “a major threat to political stability, international security, and economic prosperity.” In 2007, Gingrich said “mandatory carbon caps” is “something I would strongly support.”

Most notably, Gingrich stood on stage with Kerry in 2007, saying that the country should “urgently” take “most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere,” calling himself a “green conservative.”

Secretary of State John Kerry: Climate Change Is A 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 17 Feb 2014 15:47:00 GMT

Speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia on February 16th, Secretary of State John Kerry described manmade global warming as a “weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

Kerry’s vision of the threat of climate change should mean a death knell for federal approval of fossil-fuel projects such as the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline and coal export terminals. He said that “governments and international financial institutions need to stop providing incentives for the use of energy sources like coal and oil.” Although fossil fuels are “currently cheap ways to power a society, at least in the near term,” Kerry went on, governments “have to factor in the cost of survival.”

Some other key quotes:

The fact is that climate change, if left unchecked, will wipe out many more communities from the face of the earth. And that is unacceptable under any circumstances – but is even more unacceptable because we know what we can do and need to do in order to deal with this challenge.
There’s a big set of opportunities in front of us. And that’s because the most important news of all: that climate change isn’t only a challenge. It’s not only a burden. It also presents one of the greatest economic opportunities of all time.
Coal and oil are currently cheap ways to power a society, at least in the near term. But I urge governments to measure the full cost to that coal and that oil, measure the impacts of what will happen as we go down the road. You cannot simply factor in the immediate costs of energy needs. You have to factor in the long-term cost of carbon pollution. And they have to factor in the cost of survival.
Today I call on all of you in Indonesia and concerned citizens around the world to demand the resolve that is necessary from your leaders. Speak out. Make climate change an issue that no public official can ignore for another day. Make a transition towards clean energy the only plan that you are willing to accept.
And if we come together now, we can not only meet the challenge, we can create jobs and economic growth in every corner of the globe. We can clean up the air, we can improve the health of people, we can have greater security; we can make our neighborhoods healthier places to live; we can help ensure that farmers and fishers can still make a sustainable living and feed our communities; and we can avoid disputes and even entire wars over oil, water, and other limited resources. We can make good on the moral responsibility we all have to leave future generations with a planet that is clean and healthy and sustainable for the future.

Kerry’s speech reflects remarks made by President Obama as a campaigner in 2007 and to students in Turkey in 2009. Kerry has a long history of urgency on the climate crisis, including repeated efforts to pass non-partisan climate legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Full transcript:

Top Oil Industry Lobbyist: State Department Will Issue Keystone XL Environmental Approval This Week

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 28 Jan 2014 19:11:00 GMT

A key hurdle for the controversial Keystone XL transnational tar-sands pipeline will be removed by the Obama administration this week, the nation’s top oil lobbyist predicts.

American Petroleum Institute (API) president and CEO Jack Gerard, citing “sources within the administration,” told reporters that the State Department will issue its final environmental impact statement in favor of TransCanada’s pipeline “as early as Thursday,” two days after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason writes:

The American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s top lobbying group and a big Keystone backer, said it expects the State Department’s report to come out as early as Thursday.

“It’s our expectation it will be released next week,” the group’s chief executive, Jack Gerard, said last week during an interview, citing sources within the administration.

“We’re expecting to hear the same conclusion that we’ve heard four times before: no significant impact on the environment,” Gerard said.

The draft State Department supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) was written by ERM Group, an oil-industry consultant with membership in API and business ties to TransCanada. That draft statement found that “impacts could potentially be substantial,” including impacts to wetlands, streams, and endangered species; and that spills could threaten groundwater and surface water. However, the report also concluded that “there would be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed Project route assuming” TransCanada follows all laws and recommended procedures.

The “no significant impacts to most resources” language has been mistakenly reported as “no significant impact on the environment.”

The draft SEIS assessed the greenhouse pollution impact of the tar-sands pipeline by measuring it against a business-as-usual scenario, a common practice that is however incompatible with President Obama and the State Department’s commitments to international climate targets. The pipeline’s carbon footprint alone — not taking into account the economic and political realities of how Keystone XL approval would unlock further tar-sands development — is in fact quite significant. The lifetime footprint is at least six gigatons of carbon-dioxide equivalent, the same as 40 coal-fired power plants.

“We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren,” Kerry said in his first speech as Secretary of State. “So let’s commit ourselves to doing the smart thing and the right thing and truly commit to tackling this challenge.”

“Today scientists tell us—the best we have, the best minds we have, the John Holdrens, the Jim Hansens, and everybody else tell us-we have a 10-year window here to try get this right and even that before catastrophic climate change takes hold,” Kerry said in 2009. “Now ladies and gentlemen, this is our memo. And the question is whether or not we’re going to act on this in time.”

A finding of “no significant impact on the environment” by Kerry would call into question his seriousness on climate policy when he had the power to act.

Google's Republican Lobbyists and Representatives

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 24 Jan 2014 08:22:00 GMT

Niki Fenwick
Google ex-McCain PR representative Niki Christoff
An article in the Wall Street Journal about Google’s rapid rightward shift goes beyond the hire of former Republican Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.) as their chief lobbyist:
Starting in 2010, when the antitrust case first started appearing on the horizon, Google started hiring Republican lobbyists and communications staff.

To head up its Washington office, Google in 2012 hired former Republican congresswoman Susan Molinari. Niki Christoff, a veteran of Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, was moved to Washington last year to head up Google’s communications in the capital.

Before that, Google hired Pablo Chavez, a former general counsel for Mr. McCain, who recently left for LinkedIn; Seth Webb, a former staffer for the Republican Speaker of the House; and Jill Hazelbaker, who also worked for a string of Republican candidates.

Today, Google’s in-house lobbyists are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, says a person familiar with the situation.

Its spending on lobbying rose from around $1.5 million in 2007 to $14 million in 2013.

Jill Hazelbaker, Google’s head of corporate communications from 2010 to 2013, was the subject of a 2011 profile in Business Insider which explained her meteoric rise as a top member of the 2008 John McCain campaign. Hazelbaker’s early Internet politics credentials came from trolling Democrats under assumed names as a member of the Tom Kean Jr. senatorial campaign in New Jersey in 2006. In 2013, she moved to the United Kingdom to head Google’s European lobbying efforts. Her Twitter account, @jillhazelbaker, is protected.

Seth Webb was hired by Google from his Republican House staff position in 2009, when their DC operation was still primarily Democratic leaning technocrats.

Nicole “Niki” Christoff (Fenwick) was a policy liaison for the 2008 John McCain campaign, starting at McCain’s Straight Talk America in March 2006. She was previously an associate policy director at the Republican polling shop Luntz Research Companies, and worked at Baker Botts LLP in Washington, DC as a trial attorney specializing in criminal defense. Christoff graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003 and Harvard College in 2000. Her Twitter account, @nikichristoff, is protected.

The WSJ article did not mention Rachel Whetstone, Google’s senior vice president of communications and public policy since 2005, a Tory scion and one of the “100 most powerful women in Britain” in 2013. Her husband Steve Hilton was the “Rasputin-like” chief strategy advisor to prime minister David Cameron.

The WSJ reporters Thomas Catan, Brody Mullins, and Gautam Nagesh also note that Google’s contributions have shifted from majority Democratic to majority Republican:
In the 2008 election cycle, Google’s political-action committee, funded by employee donations, supported Democrats, 58% to 42%, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In the 2012 cycle, Republicans took a slight lead, and in the current election cycle, donations to the parties are running about even.

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

Older posts: 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 66