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Senator James Inhofe gloats over Google funding, fundraises off protests

10:41 am in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to Polluterwatch

James Inhofe, the Senator from Oklahoma, is one of the most outspoken and bombastic deniers of climate change and attackers of science, bar none. He tried to criminally investigate 17 climate scientists whose emails were hacked and leaked. He “wrote” a “book” called The Greatest Hoax, about climate change. He compares the EPA to the Gestapo. He also receives a huge percentage of his campaign money from the fossil fuel sector. Most of the rest comes from arms manufacturers. James Inhofe is exactly the kind of politician that has stopped any meaningful action of climate change in the United States.

And Google just threw him a fundraiser at their Washington DC Lobbying Headquarters.

Google has made lots of promises along their rise to global dominance of the internet. One of them is their motto “don’t be evil.” Another is to do their part to head off climate change. To that end, Google has invested in data centers powered by renewable energy and publicly promoted solutions to global warming.  Google’s Executive Chairman has made strong statements against climate change science deniers, saying “You can hold back knowledge. You cannot prevent it from spreading. You can lie about the effects of climate change, but eventually you’ll be seen as a liar.”

That’s why more than 12,000 people signed a petition asking Google not to fund Senator Inhofe. And when Google decided to hold the fundraiser anyway, people gathered outside of Google’s DC office. Activists even made it in to Google’s office, to ask Google employees their thoughts on funding such an outspoken enemy of the environment.

Inhofe’s response?

To fund raise off “upsetting the environmentalists” and Google’s support. See Senator Inhofe’s gloating email.

This is why we can’t let corporations like Google and the enormous wealth that they bring with them to continue to support politicians like Inhofe. Sign this petition and tell Google to stop funding Inhofe’s climate change lies.

The only thing the coal industry recycles: PR talking points

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to Grist by Joe Smyth, Greenpeace media Officer

Can coal be cleaned before its burned?

Among the highlights of President Obama’s climate change speech was an explicit recognition that polluting industries and the members of Congress who do their bidding will oppose climate action with the same talking points they have used for decades to try and block clean air standards.

Now, what you will hear from the special interests and their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush the economy and basically end free enterprise as we know it. And the reason I know you’ll hear those things is because that’s what they’ve said every time America sets clear rules and better standards for our air and our water and our children’s health. And every time, they’ve been wrong.

For example, in 1970, when we decided, through the Clean Air Act, to do something about the smog that was choking our cities — and by the way, most young people here aren’t old enough to remember what it was like, but you know, when I was going to school in 1979, 1980 in Los Angeles, there were days where folks couldn’t go outside. And the sunsets were spectacular — (laughter) — because — because of all the pollution in the air. But at the time when we passed the Clean Air Act to try to get rid of some of this smog, some of the same doomsayers were saying, new pollution standards will decimate the auto industry. Guess what? Didn’t happen. Our air got cleaner.

In 1990, when we decided to do something about acid rain, they said our electricity bills would go up; the lights would go off; businesses around the country would suffer, I quote, “a quiet death.”

None of it happened, except we cut acid rain dramatically. The problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is that it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity.

These dishonest industry attacks on clean air rules over the decades have taken many forms, from lobbying to public relations efforts. But a primary tactic for these efforts has been, and remains, well funded advertising campaigns. A collection of some of these ads highlights the pattern of scare tactics used by the coal industry to try and limit regulation since the 1970s.

In reality, these industry attack ads are more about spooking politicians in Washington DC than actually convincing voters – that’s why they show up so frequently in newspapers read on Capitol Hill, and at Metro stations and billboards in DC. In fact, the coal industry itself recognizes that its advertising efforts during the 2012 election failed to sway voters, as the National Mining Association’s Luke Popovich admitted:

Anyway, ‘war on coal’ never resonated with much conviction among ordinary Americans. For them, the EPA keeps the air and water clean, their kids safe.

It’s not surprising that Americans aren’t buying the coal industry’s PR – after all, polls show that most Americans don’t want more coal power, while huge majorities favor increased development of clean energy like wind and solar. To try and get around this, the coal industry runs much of its PR efforts through front groups with misleading names. For example, the claim that Obama mentioned, that businesses would suffer “a quiet death,” came from an industry group formed to fight the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments called the “Clean Air Working Group.” Today, the “American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity” (ACCCE) leads the coal industry’s advertising efforts, while the “Electric Reliability Coordinating Council” lobbies against clean air rules on behalf of Arch Coal and a few coal heavy utilities. In the Pacific Northwest, where the coal industry hopes to build export terminals to ship taxpayer owned coal to Asia, the coal industry uses Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, to push its agenda under a front group called the “Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports.” And again, despite the millions they’ve spent on ads, opposition to coal export proposals is growing.

The coal industry remains entrenched in the halls of Congress and K street lobby firms, and we can expect more of the same old tactics from this desperate industry as carbon pollution limits move forward, and communities continue to organize against coal plants and export proposals. And while their ads might be a little more sophisticated than in the past, it’s increasingly clear that its PR efforts still aren’t swaying many people outside Washington DC.

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Chris Stewart, climate science denier, now chair of congressional climate change science committee

3:33 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to PolluterWatch

Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart is a climate change denier, newly elected to the house committee on science.

Chris Stewart, a republican from Utah, was recently appointed Chair of the House subcommittee on Science.

This means that Congressman Stewart now has dominion over the EPA, climate change research, and “all activities related to climate.” According to the House Science Committees website, the chair of the energy subcommittee oversees:

“all matters relating to environmental research; Environmental Protection Agency research and development; environmental standards; climate change research and development; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including all activities related to weather, weather services, climate, the atmosphere, marine fisheries, and oceanic research;…”

Unfortunately for the EPA, NOAA, and anyone worried about climate change, Chris Stewart is a climate science denier. Mr. Stewart believes there is “insufficient science” to determine if climate change is caused by humans. He believes this in spite of the fact that the EPA, NOAA, and all experts in the field (which he now oversees), disagrees with him.

For the record, Chris Stewart has no advanced degrees in science. However, before running for congress he was owner and CEO of Shipley Group, a company that trains government workers on environmental issues. Shipley Group actually runs a training on climate change science, and according to the Shipley Group website “Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to understand basic climate change science.” Clearly Mr. Stewart has never taken his company’s training.

Ties to Fossil Fuels

Though Stewart seems to ignore climate change science (while his company profits by teaching it), he does not ignore the fossil fuel industry. In fact he is quite sympathetic to the plight of oil and gas companies. His campaign website claims:

“I am the CEO of a company that works extensively with independent energy producers. I understand how difficult it is to get a drilling permit on federal lands. It is painfully slow, incoherently arbitrary, and always expensive.”

Stewart’s “extensive” knowledge of the fossil fuel industry is not a surprise.  His brother, Tim Stewart is a lobbyist for American Capitol Group, a washington DC lobbying firm. American capitol Group lobbies for fossil Fuel interests, like the Western Energy Alliance, a group mainly comprised of fracking and oil companies. Tim Stewart also lobbied for EnergyNorthAmerica, a company he cofounded to lobby for the Fossil Fuel Industry. One EnergyNorthAmerica slide presentation reads:

“The fact that fossil energy and mining are viewed by political “elites” with disfavor, a view driven by acolytes of radical environmentalism, has resulted in damaging laws and regulation and general neglect”

Unsurprisingly, the fossil fuel industry does not ignore Chris Stewart either. One of Stewart’s books (which were published and praised by Glenn Beck), is recommended reading at Koch Industries.  Stewart received the maximum possible campaign contribution from ExxonMobil and Koch Industries during his last campaign. He also received considerable support from several Koch and Exxon funded SuperPACs. All told, he received more funding from dirty energy companies and their superPACs than any other single source.

See Chris Stewart’s PolluterWatch profile for more information.

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