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Author Topic: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi  (Read 9242 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #225 on: July 22, 2018, 04:58:22 pm »
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3 Natural Gas & Climate Myths

July 21st, 2018 by Guest Contributor

Originally published on The Climate Reality Project.

Flaring natural gas (imf.org)

Fossil fuels (all of them!) are the energy of the past. With new technologies like wind, solar, and advanced batteries in our hands, we can power today and tomorrow with clean, reliable energy that doesn’t harm our health and destroy our planet.

Natural gas is a growing energy source – one many are putting a lot of faith in.

Proponents like to portray the fuel as a cuddlier cousin to coal and oil when it comes to climate because it generates less carbon dioxide when burned. But its CO2 emissions are only one piece of a far more nuanced puzzle.

Many of the arguments in support of natural gas are based on outdated or incorrect information – sometimes going so far as to border on wishful thinking. That’s why we’re setting the record straight on some of the most common myths about natural gas and our climate.

Natural Gas Will Not Solve The Climate Crisis

When people make this argument, they’re (mostly) referring to one thing, in particular, that is indeed true of natural gas: a new, efficient natural gas power plant emits around 50 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) during combustion when compared with a typical coal-based power plant, according to the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

To be sure, we should take seriously any source of energy that reduces our dependence on coal and oil, the primary sources of the carbon emissions that drive climate change. But let’s also engage in some real talk: 50 percent less CO2 also isn’t zero CO2, and CO2 isn’t the only harmful emission generated by natural gas development.

We’re still talking about a fossil fuel here, one that still contributes to climate change when burned. And achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of this century is essential to the long-term health of our planet.

That number also doesn’t take into account all of the carbon emissions that happen across the full life cycle of natural gas, particularly during extraction, infrastructure construction, transport, and storage. But rather than dwell, let’s just get straight to the real climate Big Bad when it comes to natural gas – methane.

Methane is a very, very powerful greenhouse gas. In the atmosphere, compared to carbon, it’s fairly short-lived: only about 20 percent of the methane emitted today will still be in the atmosphere after 20 years. However, when it first enters the atmosphere, it’s around 120 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat and 86 times stronger over a 20 year period.

(Carbon dioxide hangs around for much longer: As much as 15 percent of today’s carbon dioxide will still be in the atmosphere in 10,000 years.)

And a lot of the methane that ends up in the atmosphere comes from natural gas production.

“The drilling and extraction of natural gas from wells and its transportation in pipelines result in the leakage of methane,” Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) notes. “Preliminary studies and field measurements show that these so-called ‘fugitive’ methane emissions range from 1 to 9 percent of total life cycle emissions.”

(When we talk about “total life-cycle emissions,” we’re talking all emissions from the source, including those leaked during its extraction, transportation, and more, and not just what is emitted when a fuel source is burned to create energy.)

If you’re thinking, “The difference between 1 and 9 percent is a pretty big deal,” you’re absolutely right. It’s also an exceptionally important metric when talking about the relative value of natural gas in the climate fight. For a natural gas power plant to have lower extraction of natural gas than a coal plant (as proponents keep claiming is the benefit), the entire system’s methane leakage must be kept below 3.2 percent.

Natural Gas Is Not Environmentally Friendly

We need to be very clear here: Natural gas is not a clean form of energy. Cleaner than coal? Sure – but that’s not saying a heck of a lot. Clean like solar or wind? Get out of here!

To start, the extraction process is rife with potential problems. Much of our natural gas comes through the process of hydraulic fracturing – aka “fracking.” In this process, companies drill boreholes deep into the earth and inject liquid into the subterranean rock at very high pressure. This forces open rock fissures and release gas from within the rock or reservoirs below.

In particular, fracking can contaminate groundwater supplies if it’s not done properly.

Fracked gas is typically found pretty deep in the earth – much further down than the water table. But the boreholes carrying the gas back up to the surface travel straight through the water-bearing rocks, called aquifers, from which many of us get our water. The injected fracking fluid often contains dangerous chemicals that no one would want to drink – and if the borehole is not properly cased, those chemicals can escape into groundwater.

And it’s important to remember that natural gas development is itself far from pollution-free.

“Some areas where drilling occurs have experienced increases in concentrations of hazardous air pollutants and two of the six criteria pollutants — particulate matter and ozone plus its precursors — regulated by the EPA because of their harmful effects on health and the environment,” the Union of Concerned Scientists reports. “Exposure to elevated levels of these air pollutants can lead to adverse health outcomes, including respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.”

Exposure to these pollutants can be particularly damaging to very young children.

“Given the profound sensitivity of the developing brain and the central nervous system, it is very reasonable to conclude that young children who experience frequent exposure to these pollutants are at particularly high risk for chronic neurological problems and disease,” the Center for Environmental Health’s Ellen Webb, a researcher on the neurological and neurodevelopmental effects of chemicals linked to unconventional oil and gas operations, told the Guardian last year.


Natural Gas Is A Bridge To Nowhere

The conversation over natural gas’ value as a “bridge fuel” is a fraught one. Supporters claim that it’s a better alternative to coal that will carry us until renewables like wind and solar can fully power the grid. But let us ask you this: Would you take a bridge at all if there was no river, ravine, or other obstacle you had to cross?

That’s to say, we already have zero or near-zero carbon-emitting energy sources that are preferable to coal, oil, and natural gas. Residential and utility-scale wind, solar, and geothermal energy are up and running and getting better every day – and they’re increasingly cost-competitive with energy produced by fossil fuels. Right now.

Yale Climate Connections makes the stakes plain: “Although it might not be practical to replace all coal plants with renewables immediately, it’s definitely possible to do so in the next decade if renewables continue to fall in price.”

The article goes on to highlight the real danger of the bridge fuel fallacy: “If we replace coal with gas today, we’ve sunk costs into new gas infrastructure that we might be loath to replace a few years later with renewables. In this way, a gas bridge could delay the widespread adoption of renewables.”

If natural gas expansion comes at the expense of renewables, the greenhouse gas emissions threat to our climate continues. And there’s already plenty of evidence that overemphasizing gas really does siphon investment away from renewable energy sources that produce truly clean power.

The bottom line is that natural gas is still a fossil fuel, and simply shifting from coal to it won’t keep the US on track to meet its emissions reduction goals, even if methane leakages are reined in.

So rather than make an unnecessary, temporary wholesale switch to natural gas, the smarter tactic would be to phase out coal while moving straight to utility-scale renewable energy – something that is totally doable.

Listen, we get it: Fossil fuels helped power the Industrial Revolution and helped shape the past two centuries. But they’re just that – the energy of the past. With new technologies like wind, solar, and advanced batteries in our hands, we can power today and tomorrow with clean, reliable energy that doesn’t harm our health and destroy our planet.

It’s just that simple.


Are you ready to learn more about fossil fuels and their impact on our planet? Download Climate 101 Fact Sheet: Fossil Fuels now.

In this free fact sheet, we outline the basics of fossil fuels like natural gas in plain language. In just two pages, we answer these questions:

֍ What exactly are fossil fuels?

֍ How are these sources of energy impacting our climate?

֍ How are coal, natural gas, and oil different from each other?

֍ Why should we make the switch to clean, renewable energy?

The climate is changing, but these facts don’t. Download our free fossil fuel fact sheet today.

https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/21/3-natural-gas-climate-myths/#comment-4001227647
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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #226 on: July 26, 2018, 06:01:38 pm »
 
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July 26, 2018




😈 Gen Z are Lazy, Entitled and Pollution Hating Jerkz 

Not sure if you've heard, but there’s a new cult in town. It’s run by teenagers who want climate justice and a livable future. Sounds scary!

Zero Hour 🌎 is a climate group led by youth of color from different parts of America. Understanding that combating climate change requires urgent action, they recently released an ambitious platform of demands that outlines what different levels of the government must do in order to safeguard their future. Last Saturday, they held marches across the country, which received overwhelming support from parents, scientists, celebrities, politicians and other climate groups.

But not, surprisingly from the shrinking tribe of climate deniers 🙉 🙊 🦕🦖 . The planet's actually really cold, schooled a few anonymous experts. It’s a hoax, yelled others. What snowflakes, said some others who clearly like being original.

In response to the youth's brave stand last weekend, the denier blogger community mainly screamed back that teenagers are being brainwashed, exploited and indoctrinated to believe lies about climate change. (We’ve heard those talking points before. Remember the shameful piece in the Federalist about children victimized by gun violence?)

Watts Up With That featured a guest post (or rather two lines followed by copy-pasted content) complaining that “climate indoctrination begins at a very young age.

Ed Straker 🦕 from American Thinker wrote a blog post to share his belief that Zero Hour is a doomsday cult with a “militantly brainwashed doomsday leftist” leader. Apparently, Straker is very scared of 16-year-old founder Jamie Margolin. Margolin, Straker writes,"may seem young, but never forget that many of the Red Guards in Mao's China who committed unspeakable atrocities were young, too.” Straker never gets around to really explaining how Zero Hour is a cult, but does complain that Margolin doesn’t smile enough. (Again, very original stuff.)

Fire up your tiny violins for Straker's next complaint: he notes that the group doesn’t appear to be led by men, especially white men. “Are boys not as easily brainwashed as girls?” he wonders. (We're...not going to touch that one.)

But easily the most prolific hater of the youth climate march was blogger Tom Nelson 😈, who repeatedly barraged the Zero Hour teen team with denier tweets, calling them brainwashed, a scam and BS, anti-science, and so much more. He 🦖 even gloated that there was low turnout as videos showed the youth resiliently rallying and marching in the pouring rain. We've got a sneaking hunch Nelson might have been a big old bully in high school the way he keeps attacking these teens.

Unfortunately, 2018 seems to be the year of militant attacks from the right 😈🦖 against young people doing their best to preserve their future. At least there are school kids like those in Zero Hour giving us hope.

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #227 on: August 04, 2018, 09:16:28 pm »
 

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August 1, 2018

Trump Admin 🦕😈🦖👹: Driving Efficient Cars is Bad For You: As part of its effort to roll back fuel economy standards, the Trump administration plans to argue that improved gas mileage for cars and trucks would be more dangerous for drivers, the AP reported Wednesday. A draft of the administration's long-anticipated proposal to freeze fuel efficiency standards, seen by the AP, posits that freezing the standards could prevent up to 1,000 deaths per year, since less efficient and heavier cars would prevent people from driving more. "To say that safety is a direct result of somehow freezing the fuel economy mandate for a few years, I think that’s a stretch," Giorgio Rizzoni, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University, told the AP. Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the country, and research last year found that even small increases in pollution correlated to more than 100,000 additional deaths among elderly populations. The proposal, which could be released as soon as this week, also contains plans to challenge California's ability to set its own standards, the AP reports.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/trump-administration-links-gas-mileage-to-risk-for-drivers/2018/08/01/546edabe-9542-11e8-818b-e9b7348cd87d_story.html

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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #228 on: September 09, 2018, 10:54:40 am »
Union of Concerned Scientists

Aug. 31, 2018 03:39PM EST


Why Is ExxonMobil Still Funding Climate Science Denier Groups?

By Elliott Negin

A decade after pledging to end its support for climate science deniers, ExxonMobil gave $1.5 million last year to 11 think tanks and lobby groups that reject established climate science and openly oppose the oil and gas giant's professed climate policy preferences, according to the company's annual charitable giving report released this week.

Nearly 90 percent of ExxonMobil's 2017 donations to climate science denier groups went to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and three organizations that have been receiving funds from the company since it started bankrolling climate disinformation 20 years ago: the American Enterprise Institute, Manhattan Institute and American Legislative Exchange Council, which—in a surprise move—ExxonMobil recently quit. (More on that later.)

The other ExxonMobil denier grantees last year were the Center for American and International Law ($23,000), Federalist Society ($10,000), Hoover Institution ($15,000), Mountain States Legal Foundation ($5,000), National Black Chamber of Commerce ($30,000), National Taxpayers Union Foundation ($40,000), and Washington Legal Foundation ($40,000).

ExxonMobil's funding priorities belie the company's purported support for a carbon tax, the Paris climate agreement and other related policies, which it reaffirmed in a January blog post by its public affairs director, Suzanne McCarron. If, as McCarron claims, ExxonMobil is "committed to being part of the solution," why is the company still spending millions of dollars a year on groups that are a major part of the problem?

ExxonMobil's History of Deceit

There is ample evidence that Exxon was fully aware of the danger its products pose to the planet since the 1980s and likely even earlier. Nonetheless, the company helped initiate a fossil fuel industry-backed climate disinformation campaign in 1998, a year before it merged with Mobil.

The company's behind-the-scenes role went largely unnoticed for nearly a decade, but in early 2007, a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) revealed that it had spent at least $16 million between 1998 and 2005 to fund a network of more than 40 think tanks and advocacy groups to manufacture doubt about climate science under the guise of being neutral, independent analysts.

In response to the negative press generated by the UCS report, ExxonMobil vowed in its 2007 Corporate Citizenship Report to "discontinue contributions [in 2008] to several public policy research groups whose positions on climate change could divert attention from the important discussion on how the world will secure the energy required for economic growth in an environmentally responsible manner."

Note that the company only promised to stop funding several policy groups, not all, and it did in fact drop some high-profile grantees, including the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute and Institute for Energy Research. But it never completely ended its support for the disinformation network. From 1998 to 2007—the year of the pledge—it spent nearly $23 million on it. From 2008 through last year, it spent another $13.17 million, for a total of $36.13 million over the last 20 years. As far as anyone has been able to determine from publicly available data, only Charles and David Koch, the multibillionaire owners of Koch Industries, have spent more to deceive the public about climate science and block government action on climate change.

Last year, $1.35 million of the $1.5 million ExxonMobil spent went to the following four organizations:

U.S. Chamber of Commerce 😈: Sponsoring Slanted Studies

In 2014, ExxonMobil committed to give $5 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Capital Campaign in $1 million-a-year increments on top of its annual dues, despite the lobby group's history of misrepresenting climate science and the economics of transitioning to clean energy. Last year, the company kicked in another $15,000 for the Chamber's Corporate Citizenship Center, bringing its total donation to $1,015,000.

If one takes ExxonMobil's climate policy claims at face value, the Chamber's positions are polar opposite.

ExxonMobil has been very vocal about its support for the Paris climate agreement, for example, and during its former CEO Rex Tillerson's brief stint as U.S. secretary of state, he reportedly implored President Trump to keep the U.S. in it. What did Trump cite last year when he announced he was pulling out of the accord? A widely debunked report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Cosponsored by a former ExxonMobil grantee—the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF)—the report maintained that the Paris accord would cost the U.S. economy nearly $3 trillion over the next several decades and eliminate 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.

According to analyses by the Associated Press (AP), Politifact and The Washington Post, however, the Chamber and ACCF cooked the books. As the AP put it: "The study makes worst-case assumptions that may inflate the cost of meeting U.S. targets under the Paris accord while largely ignoring the economic benefits to U.S. businesses from building and operating renewable energy projects."

American Enterprise Institute 😈: Undue Faith in the Market

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an 80-year-old free-market think tank in Washington, DC, has received more from ExxonMobil than any other climate science denier organization. In 2017, ExxonMobil gave AEI $160,000, bringing its total to $4.49 million since 1998.

Economist Benjamin Zycher, the only AEI staff member who writes regularly about climate issues, rejects mainstream climate science, insists a carbon tax would be "ineffective," and has called the Paris agreement an "absurdity." He not only disagrees with ExxonMobil's professed climate policy positions, he has attacked the company for taking them.

Zycher's colleague Mark Thiessen, a regular contributor to The Washington Post, also dismisses the Paris accord, maintaining that "free enterprise, technology, and innovation—not pieces of parchment signed in Paris and Kyoto—will revolutionize how we produce and consume energy." Never mind that it often takes regulations to drive innovation and force corporations to adopt cleaner technology. Without federally mandated air pollution controls, for example, power plants and other industrial facilities would be emitting considerably more toxic pollution than they do today.

Manhattan Institute 😈: Propaganda Masquerading as News

Another free-market think tank, the Manhattan Institute, received $115,200 from ExxonMobil last year for its Center for Energy Policy. Since 1998, it has received $1.25 million. Like Zycher and Thiessen at AEI, Manhattan Institute fellows oppose a carbon tax and the Paris accord.

Earlier this year, the New York City-based organization hired longtime TV newsman John Stossel, former host of Fox Business Network's Stossel and ABC's 20/20, to interview Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Oren Cass for a slickly produced, 4-minute YouTube segment titled The Overheated Costs of Climate Change.

Cass, who regularly testified before Congress against Obama administration climate efforts, told Stossel that the Paris climate agreement "was somewhere between a farce and a fraud." Stossel wholeheartedly agreed. "The Earth is warming," Stossel intoned in his wrap-up. "Man may well be increasing that. But the solution isn't to waste billions by forcing emissions cuts here while other countries do nothing. Well, pretend to make cuts. Trump was right to repudiate this phony treaty."

Waste billions while other countries do nothing? Besides the fact that it is now cheaper to produce electricity from utility-scale solar and wind energy in the U.S. than nuclear, coal and even natural gas, as of last November—a year after the Paris agreement officially went into effect—China, India and other major carbon emitters were already making significant progress in meeting their Paris accord commitments.

The other glaring problem with the segment is it's a prime example of fake news. With a former network news show host playing anchor, viewers could easily mistake the piece as a clip from of a legitimate newscast. At least one member of the conservative echo chamber treated it that way. The Washington Free Beacon, an online news organization funded by GOP megadonor Paul Singer, ran a news story about the Stossel-Cass interview on March 19.

American Legislative Exchange Council 😈: Fossil fuel Industry 'Bill Mill'

On July 12, ExxonMobil announced it had ended its longtime membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council after a disagreement over the corporate lobby group's climate policy. From 1998 through last year—when Exxon Mobil reported it gave the group $60,000—ALEC 😈 received $1.93 million from the oil company.

Over the last two decades, ALEC has routinely featured climate science deniers at its conferences and supplied state lawmakers with a range of fossil fuel industry-drafted sample legislation, including bills that would restrict investment in renewables, eliminate incentives for electric vehicles, and hamper the solar industry from selling electricity directly to residential and business customers.

Since 2012, more than 100 corporations, including BP, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell and electric utilities Entergy, Pacific Gas & Electric and Xcel Energy, have severed ties with ALEC, in many cases because of its regressive policy positions.

ExxonMobil's exit from ALEC came just months after the company fought to defeat a draft resolution sponsored by the Heartland Institute—an ExxonMobil grantee from 1998 through 2006—calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to "reopen and review" its "flawed" conclusion that climate change poses a threat to human health. The EPA's "endangerment finding" requires the agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions as hazardous pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

After ExxonMobiland the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a utility trade group, objected to the resolution, the Heartland Institute 😈 withdrew it and accused the two of being in league with the likes of Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.

"Big corporations like ExxonMobil and trade groups like EEI have long been members of the discredited and anti-energy global warming movement," Heartland's president, Tim Huelskamp 👹, said in a Dec. 7 press release. "They've put their profits and 'green' virtue signaling above sound science and the interests of their customers."

Huelskamp's ludicrous assertion notwithstanding, some might construe ExxonMobil's exit from the American Legislative Exchange Council as a welcome change in direction. The company's money trail, however, clearly shows that it is still financing climate science denier groups that denigrate any and all climate policy options and provide cover for Congress and the current administration to do nothing. Until ExxonMobil stops funding these groups, its avowed support for a carbon tax, the Paris agreement and other climate initiatives can't be seen as anything more than a cynical PR ploy.

https://www.ecowatch.com/exxonmobil-still-funding-climate-science-denier-groups-2600817476.html

 
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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #229 on: September 16, 2018, 07:14:28 pm »
Media Coverage of Hurricane Florence Leaves Out Crucial Information

September 15, 2018

Analyses of the media coverage of hurricane Florence show that most outlets leave out the link to climate change and the real dangers the hurricane presents for creating toxic spills. 😠

We speak to Lisa Hyams 👍 of Media Matters for America 👍


Story Transcript

DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News Network from Montreal, Canada.

Today we look at Hurricane Florence and two important issues that relate to this major event. One is the media’s coverage of the ties between climate change and hurricanes. Another is a story that demands media attention, how hurricane-caused spills from coal ash pits and hog manure ponds in North Carolina, which is in the path of the hurricane, could harm low income People of Color. Our guest is longtime climate journalist, Lisa Hymas, director of the climate and energy program at Media Matters and senior editor at Grist. She joins us from Washington, D.C. Thank you for joining us today, Lisa.

LISA HYMAS: Thank you for having me. Happy to be with you.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: So, Lisa, let’s start with something Media Matters and Public Citizen reported on last year. They found that major outlets dropped the ball while covering hurricanes. They often did not connect them to climate change, and after Hurricane Harvey, a devastating hurricane, two groups of scientists published studies that link the record breaking rainfall to climate change. Now scientists are warning of a similar pattern of rainfall and effects from climate change, and last year, your reporting revealed that the media’s lack of coverage on this connection was quite significant. Thus far in your view, have the media done a better job of covering Florence and its to global warming?

LISA HYMAS: Well, it’s been a mixed bag so far. I mean, you are definitely right that coverage last year was very poor, coverage that connected the devastating hurricanes that we saw to climate change. So, we here at Media Matters did an analysis of broadcast news coverage of Hurricane Harvey and found that both the ABC and NBC never once mentioned climate change in all of their coverage of Hurricane Harvey. And we found that they didn’t do much better on Irma or Maria either. And as you said, Public Citizen is another organization that has done some analysis on this, and they looked at TV coverage and radio and newspapers last year, major newspapers, and found that just four percent of the stories about last year’s hurricanes mentioned climate change.

So, that is much less coverage than this issue deserves. I mean, not every story about a hurricane needs to mention climate change, but we should be seeing a lot more explanation to Americans of the ways that climate change exacerbates hurricanes and makes them more dangerous. So, this year so far, we have seen some good coverage explaining how climate change is making hurricanes worse, and even making Hurricane Florence in particular worse. So, I’ve been encouraged by some of the coverage that I’ve seen in outlets like The Washington Post, but also some regional newspapers like The Baltimore Sun and The Miami Herald have been explaining this connection.

On the other hand, we’ve seen some bad work in this area. Particularly, I’ve been looking at what USA Today has been doing. So, the paper USA Today ran a decent editorial this week talking about the connections between climate change and hurricanes, but then they ran a couple of pieces on their editorial page that disputed the link. And one of one of them outright denied that climate science is a settled thing. And another piece that they published was by a known climate denier who argued, contrary to the science, that we can’t see any influence of climate change on hurricanes. So, I’m optimistic by the good coverage that I’m seeing, but we still have a ways to go.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And you mentioned The Washington Post was one of the more responsible media outlets. Do you know how the readership of The Washington Post compares to USA Today? I would imagine that USA Today has a substantially larger readership. Is that fair?

LISA HYMAS: You know, I believe you’re right but I’m not actually sure.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: Okay. Now let’s move on to the recently loosened rule on coal ash disposal. This was the first Obama-era EPA rule changed by new incoming acting head of the EPA Andrew Wheeler. This move saves power companies like Duke Energy in North Carolina millions of dollars. But as Duke University’s Avner Vengosh observed in terms of the environmental impacts of coal ash, scaling back requirements in particular could leave communities vulnerable to potential pollution. And he said, “We have clear evidence that coal ash ponds are leaking into groundwater sources.

The question is, has it reached areas where people use it for drinking water? We just don’t know. That’s the problem.” How do you assess this problem, and is there anywhere in the country where sufficient groundwater testing is taking place?

LISA HYMAS: That’s a good question. I mean, we’re really concerned and a lot of people are concerned right now about these coal ash pits in North Carolina in the path of the storm. Coal burning power plants create massive amounts of toxic waste and they’re stored oftentimes alongside rivers and waterways in these pits, or sometimes they’re called ponds, that oftentimes aren’t properly lined, they’re not properly covered. Even when there isn’t bad whether, they can leak into waterways. So, there’s a lot of worry right now that if there is substantial flooding, major winds, that could really contaminate water supplies.

I mean, one of the real problems here is that that is likely to hurt low-income folks the most. They’re the ones who tend to live near power plants. They don’t put power plants in rich neighborhoods, they tend to be located near low-income people and minority communities. And so, the media and public health officials definitely need to be watching whether there are spills that will affect drinking water supplies.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And I understand another important aspect of this that you have been imploring the media to cover is hog farms and their impact on low-income communities of color in North Carolina. While some of the print press seem to be on top of one aspect of the story namely, the dangers of hog waste getting into local waterways, you bring up a part that they are missing, which could potentially have profound impacts on the type of pollution on People of Color, and also, the role of the Trump administration loosening of regulations that could make these spills more likely.

North Carolina is home to thirty-one coal ash pits that house around, as I understand it, one hundred and eleven million tons, a stunning amount, of toxic waste produced by hogs. These ponds store about ten billion pounds of waste. Now, with the heavy rain from Hurricane Florence, this creates, as you call, it a “noxious witch’s brew that might be headed into people’s homes and drinking water. Please elaborate a little bit about the nature of this threat and whether you think enough is being done both to deal with the threat and to cover the threats, to make the public aware of the threat.

LISA HYMAS: Yeah, so you’re are exactly right. I’ve been glad to see that some outlets in the past few days have written about the danger of spills from hog manure waste pits as well as coal ash pits, but none of them have been picking up on the environmental justice angle and the people who will be hurt the most by this. Just as power plants tend to be located by low-income and minority communities, so do hog facilities.

So, North Carolina is home to many, many industrial hog facilities. You might call them factory farms, or the industry calls them concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs, but factory farms pretty much captures it. So, you have huge numbers of hogs in small confined spaces, and they produce massive amounts of waste. And that waste is, again, like the coal ash, oftentimes stored in pits that aren’t properly protected, that can overflow near waterways. And that waste is really noxious stuff that could have serious impacts on water quality.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: As most of the nation’s scientific community has expressed, extreme weather patterns appear to be on the rise. And as California’s governor Jerry Brown discusses, his state’s devastating wildfires are the new normal. North Carolina appears to have seen it a little differently in 2012, when the GOP-controlled state legislative body passed a law banning state officials from considering the latest science regarding sea level rise when doing coastal planning. The law was drafted in response to an estimate by the state’s Coastal Resources Commission that sea level will rise by thirty-nine inches in the next century, prompting fears of costly were home insurance and alarm from many quarters.

But residents and developers in the state’s coastal Outer Banks region pushed the bill, signed by a Republican Governor, saying, “if science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law saying the result is illegal.” I’m sorry, that actually was a comment by Stephen Colbert, not by the Republican governor. However, as you write, the problem is not solved. Will Hurricane Florence and the pro-environmental Democrat Roy Cooper, who was elected governor in 2016, in your view, be able to mute the influence of developers and Republican majority legislature in that state? How does this become something that we solve in North Carolina given the political realities?

LISA HYMAS: I think it’s going to be a challenge. I mean, you’re right to contrast California, which is really pushing ahead and trying to prepare for climate change and trying to fight climate change, with a state like North Carolina, where they really have been trying to move backward and pretend that climate science doesn’t even exist. I’ll be curious to see whether Hurricane Florence has some influence on that. When people’s homes are damaged or destroyed and their lives are affected and their communities are hurt, sometimes they can get a new view on things and maybe come to realize that climate change isn’t just an idle threat, but it’s something that’s already happening right now to communities.

So, I am hopeful that North Carolina can start moving in a more realistic direction, both preparing for climate change and fighting it, but we we will have to see. They don’t have a great record so far.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: Well, we’ve been speaking to Lisa Hymas about Hurricane Florence, the media’s coverage of this major weather event and its connection to climate change, and the political rallies in North Carolina. Thank you very much for joining us today, Lisa.

LISA HYMAS: Thank you for having me on, it’s been great to talk to you.

DIMITRI LASCARIS: And this is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News.

https://therealnews.com/stories/media-coverage-of-hurricane-florence-leaves-out-crucial-information

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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #230 on: September 17, 2018, 01:43:32 pm »
 
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September 17, 2018

Everyone Loves Renewables, No One Trusts Trump’s EPA, Deniers 🐉🦕🦖🦀😈 👹  Responding 🙉 🙊 Accordingly

California’s recent passage of a 100% clean energy bill, coupled with Jerry Brown’s 100% carbon-free executive order, certainly make California a climate leader. But in terms of public opinion, it’s hardly a radical position. Even polling commissioned by the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group, shows overwhelming public support for clean energy. EEI is a group that’s been working on its renewables-related messaging for years now--it hired a crisis communications manager back in 2016, and shortly after issued messaging guidance we used as the perfect example of how propaganda emulates ideals to undermine them.

Two years later, and EEI is still at it. Polling and message testing presented at the group’s recent board meeting was shared with Dave Roberts at Vox, and provides some surprising insight into renewable energy’s incredible popularity. According to the testing, 74% of Americans support using solar “as much as possible,” while 70% support a 100% renewable grid “in the near future.” And when presented with the utility industry’s weak excuses that  renewables aren’t up to the job or require too much land, respondents were unswayed. One participant said simply that they “don’t want to hear him complain about how much work it will take” but rather “how the work would get done.”

Part of getting it done means paying for it, and cost is definitely the issue deniers used to attack California’s recent renewable policies. But according to the polling, that’s probably not going to be effective: 51% of participants said they think 100% renewables is a good idea even if it means a 30% increase in energy bills!

The energy issue isn’t the only place deniers are running into public opposition. Over at the EPA, the unpopularity of Trump’s deregulatory agenda is starting to make folks rethink some things.

No, they’re not rethinking the desirability of policies that kill Americans, but instead how to convince Americans that those policies are fine.

According to InsideEPA’s Dave Reynolds, Andrew Wheeler 😈 and Trump’s 🦀 EPA 🐉 will attempt to distract Americans from deadly regulatory rollbacks by focusing on “risk communication”  ::) and highlighting the EPA’s success in the past few decades (you know, before the Trump crew came into power).

Per Reynolds, this desperate bid to reframe a polluters-first agenda comes at least in part as a result of Gallup polling from March that shows 62% of people think the government isn’t doing enough to protect the environment, and that for the first time since the year 2000, over half of us are upset about the state of the environment.

Similar to EEI’s message testing, Gallup found three-quarters of Americans support stronger pollution controls and more government spending on solar and wind, while a majority say environmental protection should be a priority, even if it means risking economic growth. The jobs vs environment dichotomy may be false, but most people don’t care anyway--more money is useless if you can’t breathe. This certainly complicates the right wing message of justifying regulatory rollbacks with economic concerns.

In light of these stats, top agency officials at last month’s Environmental Council of the States suggested shifting their messaging to improvements made over the last 25 years. Instead of bragging about what great new steps the federal agency, and its state-based incarnations, will be taking, they’re instead going to turn to the past to remind people how far we’ve come in cleaning up pollution.

Apparently, since the Cuyahoga River is no longer regularly catching fire, people should be fine with the EPA backtracking on regulations, demonizing the exact sort of regulatory agenda that helped stop the river from catching fire.

Urging people to remember how bad things used to be before there were EPA regulations is only going to be a winning message if it’s not followed by “well, now we’re rolling back regulations like that!”
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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #231 on: September 18, 2018, 05:03:12 pm »
 
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September 18, 2018



Two Wrongs End Up Right: WSJ Opinion Page 🦖 Accidentally Prints Facts  ;) :D

That the Wall Street Journal’s opinion page published dumb pieces over the weekend is hardly worth talking about. However, two of them, each in their own extra-special way, managed to accidentally tell some truth.

On Sunday, Paul Tice 🦕, investment manager, adjunct professor at NYU, anti-divestment advocate and Endangerment finding denier, wrote about how Trump's 🦀 rollback of the Clean Power Plan “will not change the trajectory of the coal industry.”

This, apparently, is a bad thing. Tice laments how various pro-renewable policies at the state level have been successful in lowering prices to the point where “excess renewable capacity has served to depress wholesale power prices and crowd out sources such as coal.” As a result, Tice explains, there hasn’t been a new coal plant built in the US in five years, and it would be risky for an executive to even propose one now.

Yes, renewables are replacing coal because they're cheaper. In Tice’s world, cleaner, cheaper energy that doesn't kill people at every stage of production is bad.

Blinded by ideology, Tice and the WSJ effectively admit that denier claims that renewables are too expensive are false. But it's likely ignorance, not ideology, that led to the WSJ's other accidental own-goal.

On Friday, WSJ columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. 🦖 penned a column that started out with some healthy both-siderism: Trump’s Maria denial is wrong, but apparently he’s not wrong about “many in the media” being biased for reporting those numbers. He then makes the Pielke-esque 🐉 argument that increased development on coasts is responsible for increased damages, not storms.

Jenkins defending Trump and parroting Pielke Jr. is hardly a surprise What is a surprise is where Jenkins went next.

When considering the cost of rebuilding after Florence, Jenkins asks how money should be spent so the government funding doesn’t “become an artificial incentive to live and build in high-risk places,” like hurricane-prone coasts. Similarly, he dings the National Flood Insurance Program for being “a perverse subsidy for coastal development.”

Yes, conservative Jenkins , in the pages of the Wall Street Journal 💵 🎩 🍌  🏴‍ ☠️, is promoting an adaptation policy the climate community calls “managed retreat.” It's one of the most extreme possible policy options, ideally left for once all other mitigation options run out.

Planned retreat describes how as sea levels rise (and hurricanes intensify) there will come a point at which we should move communities away from the coasts instead of repeatedly evacuating and rebuilding after every disaster. Instead of sea walls and other adaptation measures, we instead abandon the billions of dollars of coastal real estate as it is gradually submerged by the rising seas.

Does Jenkins 🦖 know that this is an established, already happening, yet extreme and fatalistic, climate adaptation policy? Unlikely.

After describing this last-ditch climate adaptation policy, he rhetorically asks where Al Gore is, and baselessly accuses “the climate crowd” of being “enamored of coastal development.” Why would the climate crowd embrace putting more people in harm’s way? Because, claims Jenkins, that means more “victims of climate change” that are used “for the benefit of generating media coverage of climate politics.”

Is the climate crowd ignoring this issue? Hardly! On the same exact day Jenkins posted about the climate crowd ignoring managed retreat, WUWT criticized a climate scientist for talking about managed retreat.

Sounds like Jenkins is either terribly ignorant of climate policy options, or is just a liar feigning ignorance to make a partisan point.

Either way, the fact is that he presented a surprisingly solid argument for a relatively extreme climate adaptation measure, from a conservative perspective, in a conservative outlet.

If we ever get any support for climate action from deniers, it might only be by virtue of their ignorance.

Fortunately, that appears to be a renewable resource.
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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #232 on: October 09, 2018, 05:03:19 pm »
 
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October 9, 1018



Breaking Wind News: Turbines Don’t Cause Climate Change

A pair of studies on wind power published last week are proving irresistible to mainstream reporters and deniers alike because of a seemingly counterintuitive conclusions: widespread use of wind power will cause warming.

But--and this will surely come as a shock--this isn’t really all that true.

Despite the headlines reflecting one of the press releases which claimed that “US wind power would cause warming,” the obvious fact is wind power doesn’t cause climate change.


What it might do, according to the study, is mix up the air around the turbine and cause some localized warming as the turbines pull warmer air down.

Now, the study in question makes a ton of unrealistic assumptions, namely by modeling the impacts of what it would be like if %100 of US electricity is generated by wind. Considering that no one, anywhere, is calling for %100 wind, this is clearly not a “real-world” sort of modeling exercise.

But deniers, who loathe models when they say fossil fuels cause warming and that’s bad, were all too eager to promote this model-based study and decry the “major drawbacks” of the 100% wind system that literally no one is arguing in favor of.

Even still, 📢 greenhouse gasses trap heat, so the more we burn the warmer it gets. The warming from wind discussed here, though, isn’t adding any additional heat to the system.

Instead, it’s just moving it around from one place in the sky to another. Sort of like how a fan doesn’t exactly provide as much cooling power as an air conditioner, but it moves the air around in a way that makes it feel cooler. It’s like that, only in reverse. Turbines pull the warm air from higher up down, and push it around, displacing the cooler surface-level air and causing temperatures at ground level to rise.

This really isn’t all that complicated, but apparently is complex enough to lead to a bunch of unhelpful sounding headlines.

Now, sometimes, researchers are caught off guard when deniers distort their papers. In this case though, one of the authors told Business Insider that he had “no doubt that these results will be misconstrued and misinterpreted.”

So what’s the point? Well, as we look to moving off of fossil fuels, we do absolutely need to be aware of what potential pitfalls await in a renewably powered world. Knowing that there might be some additional warming around wind farms, then, is helpful for that long term planning.

And the study also points out that wind’s impact in this respect is 10 times larger than solar, suggesting that if we don’t take the ridiculous 100% wind path which no one thinks we will anyway, then the warming winds probably won’t make much of a difference. 🕵️

The wind breaking up layers of warmth in the air may not be pleasant, but they’re no reason to keep passing gas off as the best energy source.



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AGelbert

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Re: Fossil Fuel Propaganda Modus Operandi
« Reply #233 on: October 12, 2018, 07:21:47 pm »

The ‘Greatest Hoax’ Strikes Florida


Denying climate change doesn’t stop its devastating effects.

By Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

Oct. 10, 2018

SNIPPET:

“One of the most preposterous hoaxes in the history of the planet,” scoffed Rush Limbaugh of Palm Beach. Gov. Rick Scott’s administration went so far as to bar some agencies from even using the term “climate change,” according to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (Scott denied this).

Myopic Floridians have plenty of company. President Trump dismissed climate change as a hoax “created by and for the Chinese.” Senator James Inhofe , a Republican of Oklahoma, “disproved” climate change by taking a snowball onto the Senate floor and noting that it was chilly outside; using similarly rigorous scientific methods , he wrote a book about climate change called “The Greatest Hoax".

Alas, denying climate change doesn’t actually prevent it. North Carolina passed a law in 2012 prohibiting the use of climate science in certain state planning, yet that didn’t intimidate Hurricane Florence last month. And banning the words “climate change” isn’t helping Florida now.

Some folks will say this isn’t the moment for politics. But don’t we have a responsibility to mitigate the next disaster?

Prof. Michael E. Mann of Penn State told me that Hurricane Michael should be a wake-up call. “As should have Katrina, Irene, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Florence,” he added wryly. “In each of these storms we can see the impact of climate change: Warmer seas means more energy to intensify these storms, more wind damage, bigger storm surge and more coastal flooding.”


Full article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/opinion/climate-change-hurricane-michael.html



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