Tag Archives: Climate change denial

Obama vetoes GOP push to kill climate rules

Repost from The Hill

Obama vetoes GOP push to kill climate rules

By Timothy Cama – 12/19/15 08:35 AM EST 
Getty Images

President Obama has vetoed a pair of measures by congressional Republicans that would have overturned the main pillars of his landmark climate change rules for power plants.

The decision was widely expected, and Obama and his staff had repeatedly threatened the action as a way to protect a top priority and major part of his legacy.

The White House announced early Saturday morning, as Obama was flying to Hawaii for Christmas vacation, that he is formally not taking action on the congressional measures, which counts as a “pocket veto” under the law. “Climate change poses a profound threat to our future and future generations,” the president said in a statement about Republicans’ attempt to kill the carbon dioxide limits for existing power plants.

“The Clean Power Plan is a tremendously important step in the fight against global climate change,” Obama wrote, adding that “because the resolution would overturn the Clean Power Plan, which is critical to protecting against climate change and ensuring the health and well-being of our nation, I cannot support it.”

That rule from the Environmental Protection Agency mandates a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon output by 2030.

He had a similar argument in support of his regulation setting carbon limits for newly-built fossil fuel power plants, saying the legislation against it “would delay our transition to cleaner electricity generating technologies by enabling continued build-out of outdated, high-polluting infrastructure.”

Congress passed the resolutions in November and December under the Congressional Review Act, a little-used law that gives lawmakers a streamlined way to quickly challenge regulations from the executive branch.

Obama had made clear his intent to veto the measures early on, so the passage by both GOP-led chambers of Congress was only symbolic.

The votes came before and during the United Nations’ major climate change conference in Paris, as an attempt to undermine Obama’s negotiating position toward an international climate pact.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee and a vocal climate change doubter, said it’s important to send a message about congressional disapproval, even with Obama’s veto.

“While I fully expect these CRA resolutions to be vetoed, without the backing of the American people and the Congress, there will be no possibility of legislative resurrection once the courts render the final judgments on the president’s carbon mandates,” he said on the Senate floor shortly before the Senate’s action on the resolutions.

Twenty-seven states and various energy and business interests are suing the Obama administration to stop the existing plant rule, saying it violates the Clean Air Act and states’ constitutional rights.

They are seeking an immediate halt to the rule while it is litigated, something the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit could decide on later this month.

All Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential election want to overturn the rules.

In addition to the veto, Obama is formally sending the resolutions back to the Senate to make clear his intent to disapprove of them.

Obama has now vetoed seven pieces of legislation, including five this year, the first year of his presidency with the GOP controlling both chambers of Congress.

    Top 3 Myths on Oil Export Ban; Meet the Lobbyists; Paris Agreement Should Spook; Climate Denial Scandal; 5 Stocks to Watch

    From an E-ALERT by DeSmogBlog
    Five excellent reports distributed by email on Dec 17, 2015

    Top Three Myths Used to Sell the Lifting of the Crude Oil Export Ban, A Climate and Security Disaster In The Making

    It can be difficult to win an argument when you have no viable position. However, when you are the oil industry, you can just buy the win. Which is what the oil industry is poised to do regarding the lifting of the crude oil export ban.

    The GOP is currently holding up Congressional action needed to avoid a government shutdown by demanding inclusion of the lifting of the crude oil export ban in the government spending package.

    Here are some of the disingenuous arguments the oil industry has paid to have members of Congress make over the past two years. Read more.

    Meet the Lobbyists and Big Money Interests Pushing to End the Oil Exports Ban

    The ongoing push to lift the ban on exports of U.S.-produced crude oil appears to be coming to a close, with Congress agreeing to a budget deal with a provision to end the decades-old embargo.

    Just as the turn from 2014 to 2015 saw the Obama Administration allow oil condensate exports, it appears that history may repeat itself this year for crude oil. Industry lobbyists, a review of lobbying disclosure records by DeSmog reveals, have worked overtime to pressure Washington to end the 40-year export ban — which will create a global warming pollution spree. Read more.

    Historic Paris Climate Agreement Should Spook Fossil Fuel Markets and Escalate Clean Tech Investment

    World leaders reached an historic agreement in Paris moments ago, capping off the COP21 climate talks with a unanimous deal among 195 countries to curb global warming pollution and hasten the clean energy transition. The gavel just fell on the Paris Agreement, and it’s time to celebrate.

    Is it enough to please everyone? No. Will people continue to suffer from climate-charged extreme weather events? Yes. But it is a welcome change from previous summit failures. Read more.

    In Midst of ExxonMobil Climate Denial Scandal, Company Hiring Climate Change Researcher

    Caught in the crosshairs of an ongoing New York Attorney General investigation exploring its role in studying the damage climate change could cause since the 1970’s and then proceeding to fund climate science denial campaigns, ExxonMobil has announced an interesting job opening.

    No, not the new lawyer who will soon send the “private empire” billable hours for his defense work in the New York AG probe, though that’s a story for another day. Exxon is hiring for a climate change researcher to work in its Annandale, New Jersey research park facility. Read more.

    Five Energy Stocks to Watch After Paris Climate Agreement

    With a new global agreement on climate change gaveled into the history books in Paris tonight, many people including me believe we have just witnessed the end of the fossil fuel era.

    So-called “pure play” fossil fuel companies that have not significantly diversified into other areas of energy production will be huddled in boardrooms this week trying to figure out what the Paris Agreement means to their bottom line. Read more.

     

     

     

      New Study Exposes True Extent, Influence Of Climate Denial Echo Chamber For First Time

      Repost from DeSmogBlog

      New Study Exposes True Extent, Influence Of Climate Denial Echo Chamber For First Time

      By Mike Gaworecki • Tuesday, December 1, 2015 – 13:18

      Thanks to a recent poll from ABC News and the Washington Post, we know that nearly two-thirds of American adults think global warming is “a serious problem facing the country.”

      And now, thanks to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change (full study available at this link), we know exactly how many people are out there taking money from dirty energy interests to try and confuse Americans about climate change  to derail overdue action and protect the fossil fuel industries’ profits.

      Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the author of the report, studied both the institutional and social network structure of the climate denier movement and found that there are some 4,556 individuals with ties to 164 organizations that are involved in pushing anti-climate science views on the public.

      The individuals in this bipartite network include interlocking board members, as well as many more informal and overlapping social, political, economic and scientific ties,” Farrell wrote in the report. “The organizations include a complex network of think tanks, foundations, public relations firms, trade associations, and ad hoc groups.”

      Farrell notes that while funding from ExxonMobil and the Koch family foundations have notoriously played a part in building the climate denial movement, there was very little empirical evidence demonstrating exactly how much influence these corporate benefactors had on the actual output of climate deniers and, in turn, how much they affected what politicians and other decision makers were saying about climate change.

      So Farrell studied all of the written and verbal texts relating to climate change produced between 1993 and 2013 by climate denial organizations (40,785 documents comprising nearly 40 million words), as well as any mention of global warming and climate science by three major news channels (14,943 documents), every US president (1,930 documents) and the US Congress (7,786 documents).

      He focused on Exxon and the Koch Brothers’ family foundations because, he writes, they are “reliable indicators of a much larger effort of corporate lobbying in the climate change counter-movement.”

      What Farrell found was that organizations taking funds from “elite” corporate funders of climate denial like Exxon and the Koch Brothers — groups like the CATO Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Heartland Institute — “have greater influence over flows of resources, communication, and the production of contrarian information” than other denial groups.

      After performing a sophisticated semantic analysis, Farrell was able to show that climate denial organizations with ties to those two major funders were more successful at getting their viewpoint echoed in national news media. Presidential speeches and debate on the floor of Congress showed less of an impact.

      According to Bloomberg, Robert Brulle, a sociology professor at Drexel University who has conducted similar research but was not involved in the Nature Climate Change study, said that Farrell’s findings beg a very obvious question:

      “Why is the media picking up and promulgating the central themes of climate misinformation?”

      That is very similar to the questions posed by DeSmog’s executive director Brendan DeMelle in his coverage of Justin Farrell’s other recent study on this issue: Research Confirms ExxonMobil, Koch-funded Climate Denial Echo Chamber Polluted Mainstream Media. DeMelle listed three questions for media outlets to ponder:

      Will this study, published in a highly authoritative journal, finally compel the newsrooms and boardrooms of the traditional media to take responsibility to undo some of the damage done by their complicity in spreading fossil fuel industry-funded misinformation?

      Will false balance — quoting a distinguished climate scientist and then speed-dialing Pat Michaels at the Cato Institute for an opposing quote — finally stop?

      Will editors commit to serving as referees to ensure the same industry PR pollution isn’t published any longer?