Should Exxon Be Prosecuted for Suppressing Climate Science?

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Buttons-ExxonMobil-2The latest newsflash is that Exxon scientists researched man-made global warming as early as the 1970s, found it to be a likely threat, and told management. But Exxon’s management responded by keeping the science under wraps and spending tens of millions on a science-denial PR campaign that spanned decades. All the while, Exxon was using its scientists’ predictions of global warming to guide its own business decisions in places like the Arctic, and denying that it was funding climate-change denial.

Now a long battle over scientific truth — and the corporate right to lie — may eventually be moving from the politicized halls of the Capitol to criminal court. Some experienced prosecutors, members of Congress, and presidential candidates are calling for probes into whether Exxon should be prosecuted.
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Posted in Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Attacks on Climate Science and Scientists, Climate Change Education and Communication, Climate Change Preparedness, Climate Science Censorship, Climate Science Watch, General, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts, Global Warming Denial Machine, Science Communication, Scientific Integrity, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Should Exxon Be Prosecuted for Suppressing Climate Science?

Hell and High Water: the Perils of Climate Denial Politics — South Carolina as a Case Example

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Jaoquin pics4South Carolina was the hardest hit of all the Atlantic coastal states affected by the massive storm system that was exacerbated by Hurricane Joaquin. Massive flooding took the lives of 19 South Carolinians and 6 others, demolished homes and buildings, turned roads into rivers, left over 30,000 without power, felled trees, and inflicted at least $1 billion in property damage. For Dixieland, the so-called October 2015 North American Storm Complex — there is not even a memorable name for it — is another Hugo (1989) or a milder (but still devastating) version of Hurricane Katrina (2005) or Sandy (2012).

Fewer than one out of ten homeowners in the state have flood insurance: the road ahead will be difficult if not impossible for many. Elected officials representing South Carolina have a poor track record of readying the state for a litany of climate change impacts predicted for the Southeastern US. Even Senator Lindsey Graham [R-SC], who has charmed environmental groups of late with sweet talk about the need for sensible policies to deal with climate change, and set himself apart from fellow Republicans who play the climate denial game, backtracked on passage of national climate change legislation at a critical moment in 2010, and again in 2012, when he voted to deny federal disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy. South Carolina is poorly prepared for a climate disrupted future, its leaders at every level of government have thus far shirked their responsibility to help protect their constituents from climate risks, and now, the state is feeling the sting of an extreme weather event. Will lessons be learned, and new, improved leadership emerge from the floodwaters?
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Posted in Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Climate Change Education and Communication, Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Preparedness, Climate Science Watch, Climate Science Watch Update, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts, Global Warming Denial Machine, National Security, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Hell and High Water: the Perils of Climate Denial Politics — South Carolina as a Case Example

Rick Piltz’s Legacy: One Year Later

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RP 1It has been a year since Rick Piltz passed away. At GAP we miss him profoundly. We were not prepared for his sudden departure, of course. The antidote to our feeling of loss has been to work as hard and effectively as humanly possible on Rick’s legacy program: Climate Science and Policy Watch. As we continue to execute the challenging vision he set before us in the face of the critical need and evolving opportunities to have a solid impact, we are blessed to have join us as CSPW contributors a host of former science colleagues, associates whom Rick mentored, and other professionals whose lives Rick touched in deeply meaningful ways.
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Posted in Activism, Attacks on Climate Science and Scientists, Climate Change Education and Communication, Climate Science Censorship, Climate Science Watch, Global Warming Denial Machine, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Rick Piltz’s Legacy: One Year Later

Associated Press Bans Term “Deniers,” Prefers “Doubters”: An Inaccurate and Misleading Replacement

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Image source: Associated Press

Climate change denial has always been about controversy. As the science of man-made climate change has become increasingly certain over the last three decades of work by thousands of researchers, a cadre of deniers, often funded by fossil fuel industries, has become more vocal. During that same time, the use of the term “denier” to describe them has become increasingly common. Now that is controversial, too.

In many newsrooms, the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook is the default rulebook on everything from what to capitalize and which words to avoid. So when the AP banned the term climate change “denier” on September 22, it started an argument that matters.
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Posted in Attacks on Climate Science and Scientists, Climate Science Censorship, Climate Science Watch, General, Global Warming Denial Machine, Science Communication, Science-Policy Interaction, Scientific Integrity | Comments Off on Associated Press Bans Term “Deniers,” Prefers “Doubters”: An Inaccurate and Misleading Replacement

Notes From Underground: Fracking — The Bridge to Nowhere, Part I

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NFUG, CSPW Fracking 2According to its proponents, natural gas is supposed to be the bridge between old, dirty energy and new, clean, sustainable energy. But if the benefits it provides are temporary, illusory, and carry great risk to public health and the environment, fracked natural gas is not so much a bridge as it is a short pier – on which we’ve started a long walk.
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CSPW’s New Climate Action Plan Oversight Series: Continuing Rick Piltz’s Work on the CAP

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logo-cop21-paris-climat-2015largeWhen President Obama announced the Climate Action Plan (CAP) in June of 2013, it was a landmark moment. The first-of-its-kind plan aims at achieving comprehensive action on climate change by way of a three-fold goal: cutting domestic carbon pollution, adapting the US to irreversible climate change impacts, and leading the international community in addressing climate change at the global level.
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Posted in Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Climate Change Education and Communication, Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Preparedness, Climate Litigation, Climate Science Watch, Climate Science Watch Update, Congress: Legislation and Oversight, Energy, General, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts, Obama Climate Plan, Science-Policy Interaction | Comments Off on CSPW’s New Climate Action Plan Oversight Series: Continuing Rick Piltz’s Work on the CAP

Dr. David Goodrich’s Tribute to Rick Piltz: A Reflection of the Current Crisis in California

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Cali Wild FireDuring his career in climate, Dr. David Goodrich was Director of both the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) Office in Washington and the Global Climate Observing System Secretariat in Geneva. He retired in February 2011 as Director of NOAA’s Climate Observation Division. Three months later he rode his bicycle from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Waldport, Oregon. His first long bicycle ride was in 2000, across Washington state, Idaho, and Montana. This is excerpted from his forthcoming book, A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the US. He worked with Rick Piltz, founder of Climate Science Watch, at USGCRP, and remained friends over the years. This article is dedicated to his memory.
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Posted in Activism, Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Climate Change Education and Communication, Climate Change Mitigation, Climate Change Preparedness, Climate Science Censorship, Climate Science Watch, Climate Science Watch Update, General, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts, Global Warming Denial Machine, Obama Administration, Obama Climate Plan, Scientific Integrity, U.S. Global Change Research Program | Comments Off on Dr. David Goodrich’s Tribute to Rick Piltz: A Reflection of the Current Crisis in California

Notes from Underground: Out of Our Sight, Out of Their Minds

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Notes from UndergroundAppropriate – is it not? – that the word “underground” carries connotations of secrecy, subversion, and conspiracy. In the context of fossil fuel production and transportation, underground is home to a number of activities about which the public has a dire need to be well informed. Instead, we remain largely misinformed, or not informed at all.

The focus of Notes from Underground will be issues surrounding the use of pipelines and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). This first post will provide a foundational overview of the problems associated with fracking and pipeline use, referencing some relevant events of the recent past. Continue reading

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Baked Alaska, Anyone? The Race to Save (or Cook) the Planet

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Holdren GLACIER

Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, addresses attendees at the GLACIER conference in Anchorage, AK on 8/31/15.

Climate Science & Policy Watch has all eyes on Alaska this week, as President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit the region. As a rare treat, he will venture outside of his hotel and conference room to witness climate impacts first hand and converse with “real people, in real places” who are being impacted negatively by a disrupted climate system. We tuned in to yesterday’s live stream of the State Department’s GLACIER conference in Anchorage and commented in real-time in social media. We’re concerned about the blatant contradiction between the President’s statements regarding the present consequences of human-induced climate change and threats to the people of Alaska, and his recent approval of drilling by Shell Oil off of the Alaskan coast. White House Science Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, made a rare public appearance – presenting the room full of high-level delegates representing over a dozen powerful nations with a basic tutorial on climate change, complete with a slide presentation. Today we are analyzing the remarks President Obama made last night, and will be watching closely for continued inconsistencies as he tours Seward, hikes to Exit Glacier and boats to Kenai Fjords National Park while continuing to promote this glaring, and dangerous, contradiction. It’s show time for global warming, the curtain is up and the actors are all delivering their lines. How it all plays out is anybody’s guess… stay tuned.

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Posted in Activism, Assessments of Climate Impacts and Adaptation, Attacks on Climate Science and Scientists, Climate Change Education and Communication, Climate Change Preparedness, Climate Science Watch, Climate Science Watch Update, Congress: Legislation and Oversight, General, Global Climate Disruption and Impacts, Global Warming Denial Machine, Science Communication, Science-Policy Interaction, Scientific Integrity | Comments Off on Baked Alaska, Anyone? The Race to Save (or Cook) the Planet

Introducing the Next Phase of Rick Piltz’s Climate Science Watch Program: Climate Science & Policy Watch

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Rick Piltz accepting The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2006. Source: The Ridenhour Prizes.

Rick Piltz accepting The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2006. Source: The Ridenhour Prizes.

Today we are launching the next phase of Rick Piltz’s legacy program, which he outlined for GAP President Louis Clark and me before he passed away last fall. As you are likely well aware, in 2005 Rick courageously blew the whistle on the George W. Bush White House for political interference with the integrity of climate change communication. Rick and GAP then created Climate Science Watch (CSW), and under Rick’s leadership, the program became an important opposition voice in a hostile political environment of climate change denial.

Rick was clear about his expanded vision and where the effort needed to go, given the high ground he and his team had so heroically achieved over the years with Climate Science Watch. The next phase of Rick’s program – now aptly renamed: Climate Science & Policy Watch (CSPW) – is to assess the actual implementation of the current administration’s stated support for a comprehensive climate policy and critique its contradictory, behind-the-scenes actions which support accelerated fossil fuel development. Today’s launch, after months of preparation by a team of CSPW contributors composed of experts and colleagues he had mentored and worked with, is the first step in realizing that vision. Continue reading

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