Toxic Interests: In Lead-up to Paris Summit, Conservative Politicians Around the World are Fighting to Kill Renewable Energy

We have seen the enemy and he is us.

‘He,’ in this case, is those among us now fighting an all-out war against government programs aimed at reducing the damage caused by human-forced climate change. And in this present time of ramping climate catastrophe, there is no excuse at all for this morally reprehensible activity. Yet, excuse or no, the foul actions of these shameless ignoramuses continue. For all around the world conservatives (called [neo] liberals in Australia) with ties to fossil fuel based industry continue to scuttle programs that would result in the more rapid adoption of renewable energy systems even as they undermine related initiatives to increase energy efficiency.

At a time when the world faces down a growing climate crisis — one that will have dramatically worsening impacts as the decades progress — these failed and corruption-born policies represent the most abhorrent of political activities. And as the world convenes to consider how best to lessen the danger posed by an unfolding global tragedy, there are many in power who are now actively working to increase that danger.

More than anything else, this corrupt group is fighting to enforce ramping dangers, an ever-broadening harm, and untold future tragedy.

Shutting Down Coal to Build Natural Gas in The UK

This week, the conservative government of the United Kingdom made what seemed to be an optimistic announcement. It now plans to phase out all coal generation by 2025. Because coal power generation is the worst of the worst among carbon polluters, this news was rather good. Good, that is, when one doesn’t take a look at the broader context of current UK energy policy. And taking that look, we find what could best be described as an utterly abysmal state of affairs.

wind_power

(Wind power, produced by these and many other majestic towers turning over the UK countryside, is a critical solution to human-based fossil fuel emissions and a target of conservative energy policies. Image source: British Wind Energy Association.)

Ever since coming to power this summer, the conservative government has consistently cut subsidies for renewable energy while providing subsidies for some of the worst polluting facilities imaginable. Recently, UK Energy Secretary Rudd received stark criticism for this move along with pointed words over related backward policies like the provision of subsidies for expensive and polluting diesel-electric generators. Pointed words that came from both politicians and scientists alike. One such scientist was chief of the UN’s environmental programme Jacqueline McGlade who recently stated in the Financial Times:

“What’s disappointing is when we see countries such as the United Kingdom that have really been in the lead in terms of getting their renewable energy up and going — we see subsidies being withdrawn and the fossil fuel industry being enhanced.”

So even as conservatives in the UK are phasing out coal, they are replacing it with oil and natural gas. Fossil fuel replacements for fossil fuels at the expense of both zero-carbon renewables and a climate capable of supporting human civilization. For both oil and gas are still major carbon emitters. Especially when one considers the UK conservatives’ intention of fracking the countryside in search of these dangerous fuels. A method of extraction that has proven to increase emissions of volatile methane gas. And each new gas or oil plant built will continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere for decades even as it risks having its production lifespan cut short as the damages caused by carbon pollution become ever more obvious.

From the Financial Times:

Ms Rudd told the Today programme she wanted to rewrite the rules of the scheme to encourage gas instead. She said: “We have a capacity market auction coming up. We are going to review it carefully afterwards and ensure we do get the new gas we need.”

Conservatives, in this case, who have ideologically (and ludicrously) campaigned against all subsidies have instead decided to subsidize the bad climate outcomes all while cutting funding for solutions.

Fighting Renewable Energy Subsidies, Clean Power Plan in the US

In the US, the situation is only slightly better. Slightly better in that conservatives do not currently hold the Presidency. That said, conservatives are still doing their damnedest to kill off practically every renewable energy program the United States has to offer.

In May, House Republicans presented a bill (HR 1901) that would completely kill off the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy in the US. This in contrast to a permanent wind Production Tax Credit proposed by Obama. Meanwhile, the same Republican clowns who bring snowballs into the halls of Congress as supposed proof that global warming isn’t happening repeatedly try to de-fund the PTC for both wind and solar at each and every new budget session.

And it’s primarily due these efforts on behalf of fossil fuel backers by Republicans that the PTC is set to expire again by 2017. A move that will inject volatility into the renewable energy markets and bite into what has been an amazing period of growth by both Wind and Solar energy across the US. Growth that has happened despite Republicans’ apparent best efforts to halt it (see Paul Krugman’s Enemies of the Sun).

US Solar Energy Adoption rate

(US Solar energy adoption rates continued to soar in 2015, jumping to 40 percent of all new installed energy capacity for the first half of the year. These great gains have occurred despite broad based assaults on public policies supporting the rapid adoption of this critical renewable energy source. Image source: US Solar Market Summary.)

Though the PTC represents the Federal Government’s big support program for wind and solar energy development, any program that would reduce carbon emissions falls under attack. Republicans, who have hypocritically spoken in favor of US energy independence, mount repeated attacks on increases in Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards. Republicans incessantly assault the EPA and its underlying Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. But more recently, Republican attacks against EPA have focused on the underpinnings of Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The plan, which sets modest goals to reduce US carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels through 2030, would also greatly increase the rate of US renewable energy adoption, force the early retirement of the worst polluting power plants, and push for further increases in energy efficiency. Exactly the kind of progress against human forced climate change and toward US energy independence that Republicans apparently abhor.

By contrast, there hasn’t been a bit of legislation supporting fossil fuels that Republicans haven’t loved. Republicans constantly call for ending the oil export ban — a move that would greatly benefit US-based oil corporations. They wholeheartedly support the polluting and groundwater destroying process that is fracking. They’ve repeatedly called for increased drilling of all kinds everywhere including offshore drilling, Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Drilling, and Arctic Ocean Drilling. And they continuously support the dirtiest, highest carbon emitting fuel sources imaginable such as Canada’s Tar Sands and Coal. In fact, Republicans support for coal extends to the point that they frequently pass bills like this one which would allow toxic fly ash the enter groundwater supplies.

At the State level conservative republicans have repeatedly attempted to ram through ALEC and Koch funded bills to roll back net metering laws and renewable energy targets (see Koch Brothers, Big Utilities Attack Solar Energy). All while attempting to open public lands and waters to every variety of drilling and coal mining.

But despite these broad based attacks, renewable energy in the United States continues to make major gains even as energy efficiency measures advance. Sadly, the pace of carbon emission reduction and related renewable energy adoption has been greatly slowed by these continuous attacks by conservative Republicans.

Australia — From Terrible to Not Much Better

In the Southern Hemisphere, recent years have seen a wholesale gutting of renewable energy based policies by the Tony Abbott government in Australia. Time and time again, Abbott (which like northern conservatives foists laizzez faire markets and supports destructive industries like fossil fuels) pushed for a roll back in Australia’s previously aggressive renewable energy adoption rate all while trying to breathe new life into a zombie coal mining, export and power industry.

By Summer of 2015 the situation had gotten so dire that solar energy industry leaders were calling Abbott’s actions a ‘vindictive crusade’ against the renewable energy industry. John Grimes, head of the Australian Solar Council, this July launched an attack on the Abbott government after Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation decided to stop funding new wind projects.

In a statement to the Saturday Paper, Grimes asserted:

“If Abbott continues this way, we’re [the solar industry] finished. We know that solar and other renewables are competing with coal, and Abbott is intent upon protecting that industry. So, this is our WorkChoices moment. We will be mobilising, and we’ll be campaigning in marginal seats. We’re starting to plan this now.”

RET cut

(During June of 2015, the Tony Abbott government cut Australia’s Renewable Energy Target [RET] from 41 gigawatts by 2020 to 33 gigawatts. Unfortunately, the new Prime Minister — Malcolm Turnbull — hasn’t moved to support previous, more aggressive targets. As such, Tony Abbott’s legacy of cutting renewable energy in favor of coal lives on. Image source: Renew Economy.)

By Fall, the Abbott government had fractured. This development likely in no small part due to campaigning by renewable energy supporters and those concerned about human caused climate change. The new head of the Australian Liberal Party (don’t let the name fool you, they’re just like conservatives everywhere else) Malcolm Turnbull, when considering past performance, might want to support cutting edge solar technology for Australia. However, in his first months as Prime Minister he appears to have done little but cowtow to his numerous coal industry supporting party colleagues.

As an example, Turnbull’s appointed Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel recently stated:

“My vision is for a country, a society, or world, where we don’t use any coal, oil, or natural gas, because we have zero-emissions electricity in huge abundance”.

But Turnbull, who is now being pushed by his political colleagues to make it illegal for environmentalists to sue coal companies if they open up new land to mining, felt the need to defend coal on the same stage by making the following and highly fallacious statement:

“If Australia were to stop all of its coal exports … it would not reduce global emissions one iota.”

Due to renewable energy’s popularity in Australia, due to Turnbull’s own likely affinity for the development of cutting edge wind and solar ventures, but also due to the terrible and intransigent institutional legacy of coal support in his party, the Turnbull government has come across as schizophrenic on the issues of renewable energy and climate change. On the one hand, some within Turnbull’s administration make statements like that of Dr. Finkel above. But when it comes to actual policy, Turnbull has continued to support many of the disastrous initiatives set forward by Tony Abbott. Which makes the Turnbull government look like it’s attempting to greenwash a facade over a rather ugly coal-ash face.

If Leaders Can’t Support Renewable Energy and Work to Halt Fossil Fuel Burning, Then They Need To Go

Though the UK, the US and Australia do not make up the entirety of the western world, the conservative anti-renewable energy and pro-fossil fuel sentiment represented in these three countries is wide-ranging. Such sentiment is common to conservative governing groups around the world — from Canada to Europe to New Zealand and beyond. In the western democracies of the world this crippling ideology is preventing a necessarily rapid push to adopt non-carbon energy and prevent the worst impacts of global climate change.

As we approach the Paris Climate Summit, we should be very clear on this one political issue of key importance. If these people continue to hold political power, we will not act rapidly or decisively enough. We will find ourselves overwhelmed by consequences as their delaying actions stymie any effective response. It is therefore crucial that the supporters of the fossil fuel industries of the world are removed from office. They have shown themselves for their true colors — they’ll continue to support these harmful and wretched fuels regardless of consequences, regardless of any, even the most extreme, risks to their own nations and to the nations of the world.

Links:

Top UN Scientist Criticizes UK Cuts To Renewable Subsidy

UK Coal Fired Plants to be Phased Out

Ministers Accused of Trying to Sneak Through New Fracking Rules

Methane Leaks Wipe Out any Benefit of Fracking

Republicans Fight to Repeal PTC for Wind

House Panel Passes Extenders Package Without PTC

Enemies of the Sun

The GOP Assault on Environmental Laws

The Clean Power Plan

GOP Attacks on Clean Power Plan Going Nowhere

163 Republicans Push for More Offshore Drilling

Republicans Push for Renewed Drilling in Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge

Republican House Passes Bill Forcing Keystone XL Approval for the 9th Time

Republican House Passes Bill That Would Allow Toxic Coal Ash to Enter Groundwater

Koch Brothers, Big Utilities Attack Solar Energy

US Solar Market Summary

Abbott’s Campaign to Kill the Renewable Energy Sector

Renew Economy

Australia Slashes its Renewable Energy Target by 20 Percent

 

 

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101 Comments

  1. Ryan in New England

     /  November 24, 2015

    Great article, Robert! It infuriates me every time I read or think about the politics and powerful interests holding us back, fighting to destroy our progeny and that of all current lifeforms. As you point out with spot-on insight, if those those in power with fossil fuel interests have their way, we will not change fast enough. What worries me to a greater degree each year is the intimate relationship between oil interests and those who have run the U.S.A in the 20th century and today. The interests of the oil companies and our “national interests” align more often than not. With Bush and the Neo-Cons taking control at the turn of the century, we saw those interests flex their muscle. What were Cheney and top CEOs discussing in the Energy Task Force meeting in May 2001? Well, we don’t know, but FOIA requests led to a few pages being released, and one was a map of Iraq’s oil fields. Two years later, we invade that country. The older I become, and more I read and learn, about history, politics, geopolitics, etc. the more I realize just how many levers of power large corporate interests have access to. Indeed, they are the ones that forged those levers in the first place.

    Reply
    • I was working and writing for Janes at the time. In the defense and oil industry community, the general assessment was that Iraq was the one country in the Middle East with the capacity to rapidly expand production at well to market costs similar to those of Saudi Arabia. If you’re looking at this fact from the geopolitical mindset of the 20th Century, which considered oil a strategic asset of critical importance, then Iraq was likely to become the future center of gravity of the world oil trade. From the point of view of the west, and western corporate interests in particular, ensuring the flow of low cost Iraqi oil would aid in the speed of trade growth and economic growth.

      Of course, the west had its own ace in the oil hole in the form of the ugly hydro fracking we see today. One we saw played during the 2007-2008 oil shocks.

      The current global conservative and neo-liberal mindset still considers oil to be a critical strategic asset. It still appears bent on playing dominance games with this limited and increasingly dangerous fuel source. They are living in another world. A hell of their own making. And the cognitive dissonance as a result has become extraordinarily obvious during recent years.

      In my view, it’s classic resource curse and institutional inertia. We basically have a global conservative culture that’s built up around fossil fuels. And even if that culture is amazingly destructive it is also self romanticized. Perhaps the best comparison to it is the southern U.S. slave trade. Like fossil fuels, the slave trade resulted in a similar concentration of wealth into only a few hands. And like fossil fuels, that trade generated an excess and opulence which tends to generate envy and admiration among the greedy and decadent. But both were rotten at their core — undermining (slavery) and threatening (fossil fuels) the very existence of the civilizations they suffused.

      Reply
      • Per your question below — yes. Projects are rushed to completion at end of year in order to receive tax incentives. Yet one more bit of evidence how crucial public support is to the rate of development. This is true for any large energy project and the reason which they are the subject of so much political debate. Globally we subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of 450 billion dollars each year. And they are a legacy industry. One, in essence that has already been built. The notion that renewables could or should just happen on their own without public support is frankly ludicrous when taking the reality of costs for large projects into account.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  November 25, 2015

        Fantastic comment, Robert. Spot on! And thanks for the reply regarding fourth quarter installation boosts

        Reply
  2. Ryan in New England

     /  November 24, 2015

    I have a quick question; what’s up with 4th quarter installation? Why the large increase in the 4th quarter every year? Is it a tax write off thing?

    Reply
  3. Jeremy Grantham speaking at the Secretary’s Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum –

    From Wiki –
    “Jeremy Grantham is a British investor and co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham Mayo van Otterloo (GMO), a Boston-based asset management firm. GMO is one of the largest managers of such funds in the world, having more than US $118 billion in assets under management as of March 2015.”

    “Grantham has repeatedly stated that the rising cost of energy – the most fundamental commodity – between 2002 and 2008 has falsely inflated economic growth and GDP figures worldwide and that we have been in a “carbon bubble” for approximately the last 250 years in which energy was very cheap. He believes that this bubble is coming to an end. He has stated his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline on the basis of the ruinous environmental consequences that its construction will bring to Alberta and to the entire planet due to the contribution that burning the extracted oil would make to climate change.”

    Reply
    • Nancy

       /  November 25, 2015

      That’s a wonderful little speech. If Mr. Grantham could only convince another billionaire, Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, to speak as forcefully in favor of a stable climate. Until then, the fossil fuel funded bigmouths are winning the battle.

      And if a Republican wins the White House next year, I’m afraid we are doomed.

      Reply
    • So well said. And he’s right. We need a few thousand more like him.

      Per Nancy — I’m thinking 2016 is the election we absolutely cannot lose. Of course, we can’t lose any going forward if the state of conservative support for fossil fuels remains as it is.

      Reply
  4. Ryan in New England

     /  November 24, 2015

    Wow! I just mentioned the Energy Task Force in my previous comment, then followed Robert’s link to Paul Krugman’s article, and it starts off with…the Task Force!! That was weird!

    Reply
  5. Ryan in New England

     /  November 25, 2015
    Reply
    • The pause was nothing more than an advertising campaign on the part of climate change deniers. One of many now disproven as utter and complete bunk.

      Reply
  6. Ryan in New England

     /  November 25, 2015

    A recent study confirms what everyone suspected, that fossil fuel interests had an effect on climate change misinformation being spread.

    By analyzing both the networks of individuals and organizations that have participated in climate misinformation campaigns and the climate-related texts that those organizations produced between 1993 and 2013, Farrell found what he described to the Washington Post as an “ecosystem of influence” within groups that received corporate funding. Groups that received funding from Koch or Exxon were not only more likely to have written texts aimed at polarizing climate change, but were more likely to change the emphasis of their content over time. Beginning in 2008, groups that received funding were more likely than unfunded groups to produce texts stressing things like the idea that climate change is a long term cycle or that carbon dioxide is in fact good for the planet, key tenets of the climate misinformation campaign aimed at casting doubt on the scientific consensus. Groups that received funding consistently touted these themes, while groups with no funding didn’t show the same level of coordination.

    “This funding has an impact on the nature and amount of what is going out in the climate misinformation effort,” Robert Brulle, a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University who was not involved in the study, told ThinkProgress. “It’s stronger, and there’s more of it, and these organizations are at the core of the effort.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/11/24/3725320/exxon-koch-climate-misinformation-polarizing/

    Reply
  7. Abel Adamski

     /  November 25, 2015

    For some background on Malcolm Turnbull, otherwise known by some sectors as Turdbull, as a brilliant Barrister, he is the master of B.S and deception as a Merchant Banker he serves the financial and Market Interests, and he does that with masterful charisma, emulating Hitlers Oratorial and propaganda genius.
    He previously was Minister for Communications and has set out to bolster shareholdings and financial interests of vested interests, especially Rupert Murdochs News Ltd and Foxtel
    https://delimiter.com.au/?s=Malcolm+Turnbull

    Only a fool would trust him or his party

    Reply
    • Have to agree with this assessment. The bent now appears to be at giving lipservice to climate solutions while actually gutting them. Pure greenwash in its absolute worst incarnation.

      Reply
  8. I’d like to recommend a superbly enlightening documentary released last year titled “Merchants of Doubt” which reveals the depth and effectiveness of the climate change denialist movement. The film exposed a very small coalition of industry representatives and free-market advocates that had far-reaching negative impacts not only on climate change mitigation, but also on tobacco regulations that resulted in an intricate scam to shift public attention away from deadly cigarette-caused home fires by saturating furniture fabrics with supposedly fire-resistant toxic chemicals. One of the revelations in the film showed a direct linkage between the tobacco industry, the chemical industry, and the fossil fuels industry.

    Another revelation detailed their sophisticated manufacturing/distribution of the Climategate fake scandal that came out immediately before the 2009 Copenhagen Summit which effectively ruined any chance for substantive climate mitigation agreements by that body.

    The amount of money and power this small coalition of morally-bereft capitalists have is poorly appreciated by the general public. Their sway over society is far beyond normal perceptions. James Hansen and Michael Mann are interviewed in the film expressing their complete surprise by this denialist group’s sheer audacity and ruthlessness.

    Reply
  9. redskylite

     /  November 25, 2015

    Robert, thanks for the research and time spent in this sadly true posting.

    In my country, New Zealand’s government has just received a 93 page report on preparing for sea level rise, from Dr. Jan Wright (the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment), which I’ve read and consider it very carefully and well written. It was immediately dismissed as speculative by our Minister of Finance, the P.M was slightly more moderate, but stated it was a matter for local authorities to address. No N.Z central government finance or support for addressing local climate change effects.

    As an article in today’s “Conversation U.K” points out the U.K coal generated power facilities were coming to end of life anyway, so the replacement with gas is no big deal. The U.K have been very disappointing on low carbon energy plans since the Liberal Democrat (Ed Davey) lost his post as Minister of Energy.

    “Carbon capture is essential if coal power is replaced by gas instead of renewables ”

    “Few will disagree with the announcement of a fixed end to coal-fired power generation in 2025. Coal produces the largest proportion (32%) of our electricity supply in 2014, and the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions. All plants are over 35 years old, and most were slated for retirement by 2025, with policies such as the carbon price and the need to meet the EU Industrial Emissions Directive designed to persuade power generators to switch away from coal. But progress has been slow, and research by Imperial College has even suggested the economics favour keeping at least some coal power running into the 2030s.

    So it seems that fixing the judgement day for coal power in the UK is not the bold policy move many are claiming – where other policies are failing, it’s simply another means to achieve the same end.”

    http://theconversation.com/carbon-capture-is-essential-if-coal-power-is-replaced-by-gas-instead-of-renewables-50937

    Reply
    • Thanks, Redsky. The SLR we’re looking at for this Century and beyond is going to hurt. I lean more toward Hansen and less toward these incomplete model studies of glacial inertia. We don’t really have a situation when temperatures rise by 4 C or 5 C or 6 C and these glaciers still exist in paleoclimate. So why would we ever think they’d exist if humans warmed the climate by such a ridiculous amount?

      I’m very glad to see others picking up on the UK coal announcement. Replacing coal with gas at this time is not what we need to be doing. We need to be replacing all legacy fossil fuels that are retired today with renewables. We need a 100 percent replacement strategy. And the fact is we can implement that now with both efficiency gains and the new energy that’s available.

      Reply
  10. Not giving renewables an fair opportunity is playing foul.

    Sent from my iPad 🙏🏻

    >

    Reply
  11. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    The crackpots have a new hero –

    They’re after the NASA data sets now –

    A German professor recently completed an analysis of the original NASA datasets that shows the climate has been cooling since 1940.

    Look up professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert’s analysis for yourself.

    This is the original article in German.

    Link

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  November 25, 2015

      Hi Colorado Bob-

      Dr Friedrich Karl Ewert is a member of the Advisory Board of EIKE (European Institute for Climate and Energy), the climate change denier organization. EIKE is closely associated with the american denier think tank CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow).

      CFACT employs Marc Morano, a leading climate denier, who used to be Inhofe’s communications director, and who appeared to be running a network of climate deniers out of Inhofe’s office. After a public investigation of this, he left Inhofe’s office for a position at CFACT, a think tank that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from ExxonMobil and millions, I think, from Richard Mellon Scaife.

      EIKE denies being associated with CFACT, but they in fact share a post office box in Jena, and share some personnel, I think.

      So, very likely Ewert was paid for his work. Following the trail of funding would likely lead to EIKE, and from there to CFACT. From CFACT the funding trail leads directly to Koch, ExxonMobil (Rockefeller) and Scaife -all providing millions of dollars of funding for climate change denier organizations.

      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_a_Constructive_Tomorrow

      (In German – translate using Google translate function on Google Chrome)

      Reply
      • Great sleuthing here, Leland. And absolutely correct. What we should be looking at when a new crackpot crops up is where their support comes from. Almost inevitably it’s from one of these de-think tanks.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  November 27, 2015

        Hi Robert –

        All the members of the advisory boards of these think tanks are paid, I think. I thought it might be educational to Google some of them, and see what popped up.

        The EIKE advisory board lists twenty four members. Four are dead – they are former members of the advisory board. Lord Monkton is listed, as is Lubos Motl, both of them well known climate change deniers.

        Honorary Dr Helmut Alt is listed. He is an engineer and lobbyist for the German nuclear industry. He has argued that harnessing nuclear power is God’s will.

        Honorary Dr. Dieter Ameling is listed. He is a retired metallurgist and former Executive Director of the German Iron Association, President of the German Steel Federation in Dusseldorf, and so on. He is also active in Catholic Church organizations, and may have religious views on the climate change issue, as seems common among climate change deniers.

        Doctor Robert M. Carter, paleontologist, former research professor at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia is listed. According to leaked documents, Carter receives $1,667 dollars per month from the Heartland Institute. But he is also a member of the advisory boards of numerous climate change denier organizations around the world, and is almost certainly receiving money from each one of these memberships.

        http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-institute-exposed-internal-documents-unmask-heart-climate-denial-machine

        Dr. Richard S. Courtney is listed. There is some confusion about his academic credentials, according to Sourcewatch. He is a former Senior Material Scientist at the National Coal Board in the U.K. and is a past Technical Editor for CoalTrans International, a journal of the international coal trading industry. He is also an accredited Methodist Preacher and is a founding member of Christ and the Cosmos Initiative, that explores the interactions of religious and scientific ideas. He may also have religious views on the climate change issue. He is very active in climate change denier organizations, and has connections to the Cato Institute (Koch) and Fred Singer’s denial work for the tobacco industry, He is an advisory board member for CFACT and is listed by the Heartland Institute as an “expert”.

        This post is getting to be too long. I was expecting to find some legitimate climate scientists, or at least practicing scientists without strong religious views or financial conflicts of interest on the EIKE advisory board, but so far have not found a single one.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  November 28, 2015

        Dr Freidrich Karl Ewert may actually have one or two peer reviewed scientific papers on climate change, as I go down the list alphabetically. He is a physicist and member of the advisory board of EIKE, which shares a P.O. Box in Jena with CFACT Europe. CFACT is funded by Koch, Scaife, ExxonMobil (Rockefeller) and the Investor’s Trust funds – organizations with links to Kochs that conceal their donors identities, and so act as effective ways of legally laundering money going to denier think tanks. He has spoken at conferences sponsored by the Berlin Manhattan Institute (Rockefeller). He has also spoken at numerous denier conferences, some of them co-sponsored by the Shiller Institute, a project of Helga Zepp-Larouche – Lyndon Larouche’s wife. The Schiller Institute publishes materials that claim that climate change is an international conspiracy to establish a world dictatorship.

        http://www.desmogblog.com/friedrich-karl-ewert

        Dr. Karl Otto Greulich is interesting, I think. He is apparently a retired legitimate physicist with accomplishments in biophysics, gerontology, and lasers. He has his own physics theories conflicting with quantum mechanics. Other than his membership on the EIKE board of advisors, I was not able to find any climate change denier links or influences. Are his attempts to overturn quantum physics religiously motivated, similar to Einstein’s rejection of quantum physics?

        Dr Gerhard Hosemann is a legitimate retired professor of Electrical Engineering with great professional accomplishments and honors – currently 93 years old. The fact that four other members of the EIKE advisory board are dead seems to indicate that some of the members of this board are very old.

        Dr Hans Jelbring is a climate science PhD who has written a scientific paper claiming that planetary greenhouse effects are proportional to atmospheric mass, not atmospheric composition. This contradicts over a century of climate science, and may be a unique opinion among climate scientists. His 2003 paper (The “Greenhouse Effect” as a Function of Atmospheric Mass) is qualitative (based on thought experiments), contains no mathematics and Jelbring says it has been ignored by other climate scientists. This paper was peer reviewed by “two brave anonymous peer reviewers” and was financially supported by his own company Inventex Aqua AB. To Jelbring this cool response to his ideas is apparently proof that the climate science establishment is corrupt and closed to new ideas. He is often a source of quotes condemning the climate science establishment. His PhD thesis was “Wind Controlled Climate”. This also sounds like a minority view. He does not work as a climate scientist but is self employed as a data analyst, independent climate researcher, electrical engineer, and meteorologist.

        We’re up to one non-practicing climate science PhD, on the EIKE board, I think – Hans Jelbring. And he has his own unique theories about climate science, so far ignored by the vast majority of climate scientists.

        Reply
        • Amazing how many of these institutions link back to crack-pot conspiracy theories as a kind of half-hearted justification for the abuses of their backers. The global totalitarian government fear mongering is also somewhat ironic considering the authoritarian nature of the corporate backers themselves. My impression of Koch Bros is that these guys were, at their heart of hearts, jealous of Stalin. The nature of their action is of course destructive — deleterious of benevolent government structures around the world even as it produces all the worst kinds of corporate based authoritarianism.

          The attack on scientific knowledge runs hand in hand with all the nonsense as it opens wide the gate for more abuse and destruction of resources we all depend upon. I wouldn’t call this conspiracy so much as a push for abject belligerence and protection of ancient, polluting infrastructure. It’s more a monopoly of the old, the destructive, and the backwards all for continued capitalization of investments made long, long ago. A kind of old power base protectionism turned to rabid ideology.

  12. redskylite

     /  November 25, 2015

    In the U.S for the world’s sake I pray that a climate friendly government is elected in 2016 – a lot of work to build up the low/non carbon resource as the U.S Energy Information administration as reported in today’s
    ars-technica . . . . .

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/11/2014-saw-a-slight-rise-in-us-carbon-emissions/

    Reply
    • We’ll keep rising as long as we’re adding in new gas, as long as we keep fracking gas and oil and mining coal, and as long as vehicle miles from fossil fuel based transport keeps increasing. We need to cut carbon emissions off at the source. And that source is, in great majority, fossil energy.

      Reply
  13. Dan in Oz

     /  November 25, 2015

    The oil and fossil fuel industries have been shaping the face of the planet for a century or more. Los Angeles had one of the best public transport systems in the world in the 1920’s, but a group of oil and oil-related industries (tyre manufacturers, bitumen companies, car companies) got together to undermine public transport, and got governments to run down the transport systems. They then they came in, dismantled the rail lines and made massive roads for cars to use. They started the insane idea of sprawling suburbia. Sprawling suburbia is responsible for many ills – including playing a role in the depression epidemic as it inherently causes separation of communities.

    These companies were eventually prosecuted in an anti-trust case, but the damange had been done. And also the companies got off lightly (odd that) and just carried on.

    I live in Perth, Australia, and this place seems to still believe in ‘road is best’. Even though evidence is right in front of their eyes that more roads mean more congestion and pollution.

    It’s this inability to make judgements on facts rather than ideology that is the root cause of these right wing politicians who seemingly have no conscience at all. And it’s as old as human history. Sadly, their greed and stupidity may well be the death knell of human history.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  November 25, 2015

      Dan in Oz –
      General Motors made buses, Arco sold diesel. and Firestone sold tires, this is the group that bought the LA Trolley system , and ripped up the tracks, after WW II.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  November 25, 2015

        The movie “Roger Rabbit” is loosely based on this .

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  November 25, 2015

        Colorado Bob,that’s right! I saw that movie when I was much younger, and totally forgot about that part of the plot!

        Reply
    • All so that a few people can concentrate profits. Boiled down to its most basic, this is rank loot and pillage. Looting and pillaging of public resources and infrastructure for private gain. And you’re right, it’s a story as old as time. But a successful and prosperous human civilization cannot exist so long as these kinds of abuses are widespread. In the case of fossil fuel based exploitation and gaming corporate and political systems the crisis is both a moral one and an existential one. We’re at that level now. We can’t keep letting these folks exploit everyone else in this manner. It’s no longer just about the transfer of money and resources. It’s about the wholesale destruction of life-supporting habitats for humankind.

      I also think it’s profoundly appropriate that you link depression to this process of community-shattering. The quest for individual profits, all other things be damned, is a soul-destroying one. Soul destroying for both the perpetrators and the victims.

      Reply
  14. T-rev

     /  November 25, 2015

    A recent talk by Professor Kevin Anderson gives some insight into the size of the stark difference between what’s being said and reality

    I like his quip about being ‘99.9% certain we will go above 2C but hey, let’s concentrate on the positive, we have 0.1% chance of success”

    Professor Anderson is ever the optimist, I don’t agree with his very high 0.1% , kt seems more likely to be 0.000001% chance.

    with some further insight on his blog here
    http://kevinanderson.info/blog/duality-in-climate-science/

    He also has a post about shale gas in the UK here
    http://kevinanderson.info/blog/why-a-uk-shale-gas-industry-is-incompatible-with-the-2c-framing-of-dangerous-climate-change/

    Reply
  15. redskylite

     /  November 25, 2015

    Despite recent reports that the ice loss wasn’t as bad as thought in the Antarctic, today’s report by NASA’s IceBridge project does not bring much reassurance . . . .

    During one flight in the Peninsula that mapped the drainage area of several glaciers, LVIS measured a drop of more than 490 feet (150 meters) in the height of two glaciers since IceBridge last plotted them, in 2009. Both glaciers, called Green and Hektoria, were tributaries to the Larsen B ice shelf, which disintegrated in 2002. After the ice shelf collapsed, it stopped buttressing the glaciers that fed it, and glacier elevations have fallen dramatically since then.

    A study published in 2012 showed average elevation losses of up to 82 feet (25 meters) per year for the lower Green and Hektoria glaciers from 2006 to 2011. So IceBridge’s discovery that both are still losing ice fast many years after the loss of the adjacent ice shelf is “not all that surprising given what we have observed with other sensors,” said Christopher Shuman, a University of Maryland, Baltimore County glaciologist working at Goddard and co-author of the 2012 report.

    “Field data suggests that there’s been a modest cooling in the area over the 2009–2015 time period, and images collected during that time by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on the Terra and Aqua satellites show more persistent fast ice [sea ice that is attached to the shore] in the Larsen A and Larsen B embayments” Shuman said. “These IceBridge measurements show that once the ice shelves collapse, even some cooling and a good deal of persistent sea ice is not able to hold back these larger glaciers and they continue to lose mass overall.”

    http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-s-operation-icebridge-completes-twin-polar-campaigns

    Reply
    • I think it’s important to realize that heat in the Earth System doesn’t always show up as atmospheric temperature increases. Certainly we see that globally. And we certainly see that in the longer term. But the heat ends up in the form of ocean warming, and in the form of glacial disintegration as well. And the transition process is highly chaotic. But the net effect is overall geophysical change on the path to warming.

      Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    I cried tonight as I watched American Experience , because my mother wasn’t here to see it.
    It was on The Pilgrims .

    Not because we are from blue bloods up North, but because these old themes of American history, she found on her own as genealogist searching our family roots.
    As we watch the modern refugees , in our snug modern homes this Thanksgiving. we have a very little idea what horrors, the people that made us when through.

    Even after a decade of hanging on The Pilgrims . , were strong enough to cut the head off an Indian leader, and place it on pike in the middle of Plymouth.

    It’s really great 2 hour history , complex, and filled with the human experience, one of the best PBS have ever done. Watch it if can.

    Reply
  17. redskylite

     /  November 25, 2015

    What’s going down in Alaska ? Something we must avoid at all costs. Trouble came in 1778 with James Cook, then the Russians enslaved the locals . . now what are the b#stards doing ?

    “Those industries left our shores with their pockets full of money and left behind shattered lives and broken promises. Now we see coal as the Godzilla of development here on the west Cook Inlet.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34855910

    Reply
  18. There Is No Carbon Budget !

    “There is no carbon budget anymore and 5C is baked in according to both Shell petroleum and the International Energy Authority. ” Kevin Hester

    There is No Carbon Budget

    There are Methane Deposits that Are Now Being Emitted off the Arctic Siberian Coast, Greenland, and The Antarctic, As The Permafrosts Melt and the Oceans Warm, Methane deposits blowing out of the Crust and Ocean Floors !

    Methane is a Bridge to Hell, Ban Fracking Gov. Brown ! and President Obama !

    There Are Over 400 Nuclear Power Plants and All their Fuel Rods At Sea Level !

    Globally we emit over 40 Billion Tons of Carbon Dioxide Annually !

    California Emitted 459 Million Toxic Tons of Carbon Dioxide in 2014.

    Gov Browns call to reduce this to 1990 levels so we can continue to emit over 400 million Toxic Tons a year, will not help us stop or slow down Global Warming and Sea Levels Rising.

    “Updates to the 2020 Limit.
    Thus the 2020 GHG emissions limit established in response to AB 32 is now slightly higher than the 427 MMTCO2e in the initial Scoping Plan.” Ca. Gov. Data

    Atmospheric Parts Per Million of Carbon is Now 404

    In the 1850 Carbon PPM was 260 – 280

    What will the Temp. be at 415 ppm ?

    “Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).” National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    When will Sea Level Rise to 220 – 300 Feet ? 2020 ? 2025 ? ?

    What will the ppm of Carbon be when this happens ?

    As of Now, they are talking about capping GHGs at 450ppm – 475ppm.

    What will the Temp. be at 450 ppm ?

    We must transition to 100% Renewable Energy

    Implement a California Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff.

    California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from, Global Warming, Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking.

    A California Commercial FiT in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, an Sacramento Ca. are operating NOW, paying the Business Person 17 cents cents per kilowatt hour.

    Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.
    http://signon.org/sign/let-california-home-owners

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    I have this theory about deniers.

    Every day all over the Earth , they are being converted as nature rips them from their homes.

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  November 25, 2015

      You’d be surprised how many idiots, who after dealing with devastation from extreme climate events, still deny what is so obvious. As extreme weather rips their lives apart, they dismiss it as natural, and thank God that they’re still alive. American cognitive dissonance is so powerful that those in denial can dismiss any amount of evidence. Combined with the right wing echo chamber, they effectively inhabit their very own, alternate reality, where climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Kenyan Muslim in the White House, who wants to take our guns and enslave us so scientists can get grant money. They’re delusional in the extreme.

      Reply
    • I think there’s truth to it. Some people will wake up. But how many? Hopefully enough.

      Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Hell in an Bucket –

    Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    It’s a one to one thing. When your up your to nipples in flood waters then climate change becomes an idea you may want to entertain.

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Special Care

    Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Life is so dark these days , let us all clear our plates with Paul Butterfield –
    The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – “East-West” [HD]
    This album changed my life. And this song is still perfect.

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    One cut from this Album –

    Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Walkin’ Blues

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Music can change men’s hearts.

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    I’m at the end of my world, my friends , These songs I post are to give one heart.
    Courage, and spine.

    Lord knows , we are low ebb on all this.

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    History is full of when the world flips. Take heart dear friends . Japan crushed us at Pearl, 7 months later we destroyed the heart of their fleet.

    Take heart dear friends .

    Reply
    • They’ve put us on death ground. Bad idea.

      Reply
    • – Oil— I believe that Japan wanted the fleet at Pearl out of the way because they wanted an unfettered supply of oil in SE Asia and that region.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  November 26, 2015

        I understand the Rockefella’s cut off their Oil supply, so took matters into their own hands.
        That name again associated with bad consequences such as EXXON

        Reply
  28. – It even looks cold.
    NWS OPC ‏@NWSOPC 2h2 hours ago

    NPP/VIIRS TrueColor captures strong low, cold front across Pac NW. In response to strong winds, buoy 46002 seas>30FT

    Reply
  29. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Right Here Right Now

    Reply
  30. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Right here right now ……………. fat boy slim

    Reply
  31. Colorado Bob

     /  November 25, 2015

    Right here right now there is on other place I want to be.

    Reply
  32. JG Miller

     /  November 25, 2015

    I believe there has never been a better era or argument for focused violence in order to effect fast change, in all of human history.

    Reply
    • Show us your plan JG. I’d like to have an opportunity to reject it.

      Reply
      • No plan. Just commenting on the unique, extreme severity of the gathering crisis, which few people really grasp yet. Much more violence is coming, whether we like it or not. Limited and structured violence to remove from power the entities who are currently threatening human survival might be a better alternative, though humans really aren’t wise enough to carry out such plans with limited scope.

        Reply
  33. redskylite

     /  November 25, 2015

    I very much sympathize with Thom Yorke’s sentiments in journalistic meeting with George Monbiot. Certainly much more expressive than I could ever put it.

    “This society is still run by a bunch of misguided priests who are willing to sacrifice the people on a high altar in order to maintain the economic status quo. The sacrifice is going on up there, everyone is being dragged up one by one, and you have your head chopped off and your entrails pulled out, and everyone at the bottom is going: ‘‘hmm something’s not right here’’. And the priest on the top is going: ‘‘everything’s fine, we just carry on like we are’’, and they’re arguing among themselves, and we’re going: ‘‘this ain’t right. Why are they killing us all?’’

    http://www.telerama.fr/monde/thom-yorke-and-george-monbiot-we-have-to-prepare-for-the-inevitable-failure-of-cop21,134497.php?utm_content=bufferde23f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Reply
  34. Toby Clark BSc CFIOSH AIEMA

     /  November 25, 2015

    Keep this blog going. The time for climate-change denial is passing but we are yet to have one or more environmental catastrophes before our leaders will be forced to acknowledge the reality of what is now almost upon us

    Reply
  35. Spike

     /  November 25, 2015

    Certainly this article is bang on the money re the UK situation, where we have reached the cancer stage of conservatism.

    Our inglorious finance minister is making renewables pay the climate change charges initially applied to CO2 generators, and there is talk of making wind and solar pay penalties for being intermittent. Sheer bloody vandalism.

    Reply
    • So fossil fuels now require subsidies from wind and solar to exist. Fuels that should never have existed in the first place looting solutions to the problems they created in order to inflict yet more harm. Has ever such monstrous parasitism ever existed? Even in the long history of human atrocity one would be hard pressed to find an apt comparison to the ludicrous injustice we now witness.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  November 26, 2015

        The historically brutal Assyrians were pikers compared to our current crop of murderous sociopaths. T. Rex was a mindless machine of wanton consumption; we have achieved this and more; we are the dark lords of planetary destruction.

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  November 26, 2015

        Cumulative greenhouse heating from burning fossil fuels is on the order of 100,000 times the heat generated as useful heat of combustion. So the long term heat side effects are thousands of times greater than the useful heat benefit, as most readers of this blog know. This fact guarantees that fossil fuel use is parasitic.

        Fossil fuels are like a virulent virus destroying the climate system. We’ve outdone ourselves in stupidity and greed.

        Reply
  36. danabanana

     /  November 25, 2015

    “the foul actions of these shameless ignoramuses continue.”

    Biologically speaking they are only preserving their DP flow going. Nothing else matters, not even the consequences. Denying the facts plays well to them because accepting the truth would mean losing what they have acquired (ie immense wealth) along with a serious drop of dopamine, something a Neurotypical brain is not prepared to do.

    Reply
    • “Maybe we had too much fun?” God as Entertainer…

      In the above clip a serial killer and a demon use God to justify the joy they feel when committing atrocities…

      Reply
  37. Climate change not a concern for most Chinese:
    http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/11/24/456777290/chinas-greenhouse-gases-dont-seem-to-trouble-most-of-its-citizens

    China is the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter and drives climate change more than any other country. As the world warms and seas rise, researchers say it stands to lose more heavily populated coastline as well.

    Most Chinese, though, don’t seem to see climate change as a current threat.

    Reply
  38. Abel Adamski

     /  November 25, 2015

    Back in OZ the CSIRO who have been a centre of research excellence, especially in Ocean and Atmospheric sciences, Global Warming and Climate Change are being gutted.
    Since the Abbot Government commenced their anti science unless it is for business belief set 1400 have been sacked and now more programs and researchers to go. Struggling to even pay their satellite bill and their $120 Mill Antarctic research vessel is only funded for 180 days in a year Like in the UK Turdbull and his insane Government speak with forked tongue as they stab the world in the back

    Reply
  39. Front page article at Huffington Post today:

    GOP Threatens to Disrupt Obama’s Climate Agenda at Paris Summit:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republicans-obama-climate-summit_5654d95ae4b0d4093a599b89

    No words….just no words…grrrrr!

    Reply
    • I think someone here once suggested that politicians should wear the badges of their sponsors in much the same way that race cars are now emblazoned. Although, given the endless actions supporting fossil fuel special interests by republicans, it should now be blatantly obvious to any thinking person who they’re really working for.

      I wonder if a fossil fuel counts as a corporate person?

      Reply
  40. Greg

     /  November 25, 2015

    Sonnenbatterie today launches Solar-Plus-Storage Storage System for $10,645 (Germany)
    Rumored for months as they’ve been poaching Tesla staff in Germany for some time now. This undercuts Tesla solar/battery storage on price before any incentives. Part of the revolution that has begun despite all the recent tactical moves to stop it detailed in this blog. Also, their customers sharing these systems “makes conventional utilities in Germany obsolete”
    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/sonnenbatterie-launches-solar-plus-storage-storage-system-for-10645

    Reply
    • The action now on the right has moved to full-on and direct suppression of systems like these. It’s a war between old and new energy and the old guard right now is playing the dominance and monopoly card it has always held close to vest. The conflict that is going on now could best be described as a renaissance. But as with most renaissance periods, the passionate conflict surrounding it is highly volatile and disruptive. There are a lot of icons that are about to fall into splinters. And those icons are fighting with everything they have to not shatter into a million little pieces. The conservative actions will grow more bold and brutal before they let up. But it is plainly obvious who they’re fighting for.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  November 25, 2015

        Your renaissance description is apt. I think this fight is similar to how the Catholic Church behaved during the Renaissance and Enlightenment era. Scientific knowledge was being spread and curiosity was thriving. The new way of thinking about the world was threatening to those who had their interests invested in the status quo, and would not be tolerated. And today, knowledge is again spreading and vested interests are fighting to prevent the common folk from seeing the light, so to speak.

        Reply
  41. Caroline

     /  November 25, 2015

    Some levity amidst the dark:

    Reply
    • Robert In New Orleans

       /  November 26, 2015

      This is what global warming does to your turkey😉

      Reply
      • Or, in this case, tofurkey.😉 my wife works for HSUS and we’re both vegans. We’re more likely to share Thanksgiving with a turkey than to eat one. I went non carnivore about five years ago and never turned back. Huge benefit to reducing my personal carbon emissions.

        Reply
  42. Bill H

     /  November 25, 2015

    The UK conservatives actually continue to support offshore wind (expensive): it’s onshore wind (cheap) that they loathe: prior to the last election Cameron went so far as to say that “no-one wants it”. Yet onshore wind is now the cheapest way to generate electricity in the UK at $55 per megawatt-hour INCLUDING THE COST OF BACK-UP DUE TO INTERMITTENCY.

    Reply
  1. Toxic Interests: In Lead-up to Paris Summit, Conservative Politicians Around the World are Fighting to Kill Renewable Energy | GarryRogers Nature Conservation and Science Fiction (#EcoSciFi)
  2. More Signs of Gulf Stream Slowdown as Floods Devastate Cumbria, England | robertscribbler

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