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Author Topic: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi  (Read 6847 times)

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #195 on: February 28, 2018, 01:29:03 pm »
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Replacing Coal, Renewables Reduced Emissions As Much As Nat Gas

A new study published last week in Energy Policy finds that from 2007 to 2013, CO2 emissions from energy production in the US fell by 10%, thanks in nearly equal measure to renewables and natural gas. As the study authors point out in an EDF blog post, conventional wisdom credits the switch from coal to gas as the primary driver of emissions reductions. But their analysis shows that renewables and energy demand reduction both played just as big a role as natural gas.

Key to this downward trend in production, of course, is the falling price of renewables, which when combined with batteries are increasingly cost-competitive with both coal and natural gas. In fact, when financial firm Lazard released its annual study on the full costs of energy last November, it found that building new renewable capacity is already cheaper than running existing coal and nuclear plants in many places across the country.

Though the Energy Policy study period ends at 2013, according to the latest Bloomberg New Energy Finance Sustainable Energy factbook, 2017 was the first year that renewables actually outshined natural gas in reducing emissions. Clearly this trend doesn’t look like it’s reversing any time soon.

Also not likely to change course any time soon? Fossil fuel fanatic Scott Pruitt . We all know how Pruitt likes to point to these CO2 reductions when asked about his slashing of emission reduction policies. He has a tendency to either vaguely or inaccurately cite innovation and technology in a nod to fracking and natural gas. And of course, Pruitt’s determined advocacy for the natural gas industry has taken him all the way to Morocco and back. Given the disturbingly close relationship Pruitt 🦀 cultivated with natural gas company Devon Energy 🦖 while he was still in Oklahoma, we don’t expect Pruitt to end his love affair with natural gas any time soon.

But as this study shows, gas has provided no greater benefit than renewables. What’s more,  renewable energy doesn’t emit methane, itself a powerful greenhouse gas, and one Pruitt supposedly cares about.

Renewables are still far from deniers’ minds when talking about natural gas--for them, it’s a fight between gas and coal. Last week, Heartland announced that it has started a campaign to defend coal plants in danger. Heartland has its eye on combating the success of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, which has convinced local leaders to take over 250 coal plants offline since 2010.

Yet James Taylor, president of the relatively newly-created energy and environment-focused freemarket group, Spark of Freedom Foundation and long-time Heartland senior fellow, throws coal under the bus in his new report promoting natural gas. Naturally, Taylor’s not concerned about climate. Instead, he makes the case that since natural gas plants are cheaper to build, conservatives should forget about coal.

Now, we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes for Taylor to catch up to the fact that renewables are increasingly cost-competitive. And once he does, we’re sure he will maintain intellectual integrity and argue that fiscal conservatives should embrace renewables and let both natural gas and coal plants be cast aside by the invisible hand of the free market.

But wait--if Heartland senior fellow James Taylor recognizes that the free market is choosing cheaper gas over coal, then how does free-market think tank Heartland justify its apparent preference for more expensive coal plants?  

Weird. The discrepancy sort of makes it look like Heartland’s whole free-market advocacy thing is just a pretense for advancing industry 🐉🦕 🦖 interests
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #196 on: March 09, 2018, 07:01:11 pm »

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March 9, 2018

Viv Forbes 🦀 Fears a Grim Global Green Dictatorship. We're Not So Sure About It.

These days, we’re always keeping an eye on important denier-y things happening at the highest level of the federal government. For example we could spend some time diving into this recent op-ed in which Cass Sunstein describes a recent government report showing the billions of dollars in benefits from regulations.

But sometimes we miss being able to dumpster dive for the whacky gems of the lowest denier blogs. So when we came across this post on Heartland’s blog by long-time coal guy Viv Forbes, we had to share with you. Take a moment, if you would, to bask in this glory and reminisce about the days when deniers worked out of their home offices, not the Oval Office.

It’s hard to convey just how paranoid and delusional Forbes is here. The post is a rant about “greens,” his catchall name for environmentalists, the UN, politicians, NGOs, concerned citizens, and really anyone who doesn’t just love fossil fuels. Forbes appears to feel under siege by his own strawmen of environmentalists that, per his opening line, “hate individual freedom and private property.” This nuanced and subtle motif runs through the piece: Forbes claims that “greens hate miners,” along with farmers and fishermen and foresters and suburbs and reliable power and free markets. Per Forbes, they think that even “fun, frills or luxuries” have no place in our sustainable world.

Apparently, greens “plan to expel farmers and graziers from most land areas” and instead produce food in factory farms and feedlots. To be fair, we can’t count the number of times we’ve seen greens campaigning for more factory farms and concentrated animal agriculture. But that’s only because you can’t count to zero.

Forbes fears that greens are coming for his beloved suburbs, using the common conspiracy catchphrase that people will be “stacked-and-packed” in what he calls “high-rise cubic apartments.” Now, we’re not sure what sort of non-cubic apartments he might prefer (spherical apartments? Conical? Dodecahexagonal?) people in urban areas live in, but this is a dog whistle for Agenda 21 paranoia about people being forcibly removed from single family homes and relocated into sustainable urban communities.

Forbes goes further than most though, and is so hamfisted in his attempts to make environmentalists into monsters that in the list of things about suburbs that greens despise, he includes ponies. Yes, we apparently hate ponies. Sure, the other things he lists about suburbs (SUVs, lawns, pools, parks and golf courses) have their eco-enemies, but ponies? Come on, man! Even Lisa Simpson loves ponies!

Ponies aside, we’ll give Forbes the fact that we “think it is ‘sustainable’ to uglify scenic hills with whining wind towers... and to clutter pleasant estuaries and shallow seas with more bird-slicing turbines… [and] keep smothering sunny flatlands under solar panels.” That’s only because, you know, it is. If folks want those hills to stay scenic and not burnt in a wildfire or parched by drought or underwater, and wants those estuaries and seas to stay shallow and not made acidic by carbon dioxide, we’ll need renewable energy. Perhaps a lifetime in the coal industry has made Forbes more comfortable with blowing up mountains to get at the coal rather than installing some turbines.

But which green group is he referring to when he writes that “they also favour compulsory recycling of everything, no matter what that process costs in energy or resources.” Who says we should recycle even if it’s costly and polluting? Show us, Forbes! Show us those greens!

And it gets worse: Forbes predicts that this green-mandated counterproductive recycling will be enforced by “surveillance cameras [that] will keep watch on our ‘wasteful’ habits.” Makes sense--we all know how many pro-surveillance, anti-privacy green groups there are.

Finally, in a panicked sweat with constant paranoid glances over his shoulder, Forbes delivers the final blow: “The Despotic Green New World is coming. Climate alarm is the stalking horse, ‘sustainable development’ is the war cry, and global government is the goal.”

And they call us alarmists!
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if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #197 on: March 13, 2018, 10:37:41 pm »
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March 13, 2018

Lamar Smith 🐉 in Fox and Oren Cass 🦖 in WSJ: Not RickRolling, but Still Trolling

It’s already a weird month for climate op-eds. While powerful pieces like Alison Spodek Keimowitz’s reckoning with leukemia and climate change or 16-year-old climate activist Jamie Margolin’s story can find good homes in online outlets like Slate and Refinery29, some newspapers appear to be more concerned with driving hate clicks than thoughtful, original, and, most importantly, honest commentary.  :(

Some might say the trolls of the modern op-ed page are doing an amazing job, and getting recognized more and more. But as Virginia Heffernan describes in a recent piece in Wired, modern trolls’ approach is hardly new or unique: present a transparently ridiculous argument as though it’s being made in good faith, wait for people to get mad about it, then enjoy how little effort it took to trigger a much larger reaction.

Though Heffernan doesn’t mention climate, climate deniers are typical trolls. But instead of engaging just for laughs (“for the lulz”), like other bad-faith online actors, professional deniers 😈 go on the offensive to not only rile people up, but to push a viewpoint that benefits their fossil benefactors. Two recent op-eds make this clear.

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal 🐍published an op-ed by Oren Cass that describes a new report he’s written for the Manhattan Institute. Given that the Manhattan Institute has been funded by the Kochs 🦕 (in addition to big tobacco) and has Rebekah Mercer 🦀 on its board, you can expect nothing but the best from Cass’s 🐲 report.

And of course, he delivers. The report is an “analysis” of a bunch of peer-reviewed and government reports on the relationship between the economic impacts of rising temperatures and the increase in deaths from rising temperatures. At fewer than 20 pages of actual material, the report is hardly a match for the peer-reviewed studies it seeks to rebut. The central thesis can be summed up as: warming won’t kill people or cost much money in the future because warming in the 20th century was mitigated by air conditioning. So we can just adapt to future warming the same way.

At least Cass provides a relatively new troll. At Fox News Rep. Lamar Smith 🐊 chose to dredge up some ancient trolls on Monday, including one particularly risibile and decades-since debunked distortion of a quote about the need for scientists to be both honest and effective. In his op-ed, Smith, who as Chair of the House Science, Space and Technology committee no doubt has the staff available to fact check and make sure he’s not lying, takes a quote from climatologist Dr. Stephen Schneider out of context, clips the conclusion, and reverses its meaning.

The full quote, of course, provides far more nuance and insight than Smith or other deniers care to convey. In a 1988 interview, Schneider originally spoke about the “double ethical blind” scientists face when communicating about climate change. Scientists, Schneider elaborated, need to stay honest to the science, with "all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.” But, he cautioned, the media doesn’t tend to appreciate those types of quotes instead preferring “simplified, dramatic statements.” A climate scientist, Schneider concludes, “has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."

Smith’s gross misrepresentation that Schneider advocated that scientists only “make little mention of any doubts we might have” is in no way new or unique. The Detroit News took the same approach in a 1989 editorial, which Schneider debunked. Julian Simon followed up in a similar fashion in 1996, which Schneider debunked, again. Various internet trolls in comment boards kept up the attack, which Schneider addressed again in 2009. We can’t say we’re surprised Smith chose to ignore nearly thirty years of Schneider correcting the misuse of his quote.

The rest of his op-ed is no better. Smith claims climate models overestimate warming we’ll see (this is false, and has been debunked). He downplays hurricane frequency and damages, which is a brave stance for a politician from Texas, which is looking at $180 billion in damages from Harvey in 2017. Smith downplays wildfires, despite 2017 breaking multiple records. And he cites MIT researchers to claim the impact of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will be minimal. (Those researchers have debunked the misuse of their research and called that portrayal of their work “misleading.”)

None of these facts are hidden, complex, or hard to look up online. If Smith were even remotely interested in having a factual, honest, and good-faith debate, he wouldn’t be making any of these points.

But Smith is not interested in honesty: he’s interested in trolling. As long as the public is engaging with trolls, we’re not discussing the solutions that would hurt his fossil fuel benefactor’s bottom line.
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.


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