Fossil-Fuel Spear-Headed Fake News Attacks on Electrical Vehicles Intensify as Sales Ramp

In China, the world’s largest automobile market, something amazing is starting to happen. A swarm of electrical vehicles is hitting the streets. The smoggy, smoke-choked air is starting to clear. And oil demand is slowly starting to slacken.

Ramping electrical vehicle production in China takes a bit out of oil demand. Image source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Fossil fuel profit-addicted investors are starting to panic as oil’s very real carbon-spewing death-grip ’round the neck of what is now the world’s largest economy is slowly being pried off.

But big oil is nothing if not a tricky and resourceful beast. So as electrical transportation leaders are marching the world away from dirty energy sources, the fossil-fueled monstrosity is fighting back tooth and nail with its primary weapon of choice…

Fake News 

It’s one of those blanket terms that has been dramatically mis-used by those like Trump to generate a million false impressions of late. To attack credible, public-serving media sources and to generate an assault on freedom of the press in total. But the term has its origins in a very real problem that each of us have to deal with every day. That problem being that some news sources can and often do, intentionally or unintentionally, get the story wrong.

Why?

Well, it can happen for a hundred different reasons not the least of which is social and individual bias. But a key issue for the present day is news generated by special-interest related media aimed at creating an impression that serves that particular interest’s goals. In other words — media that sells to or pushes from a particular political, ideological, or business-related frame of reference.

Public relations campaigns aimed at misinforming the public about harmful products or to tamp down competition by more benevolent industries have long been funded by fossil fuel interests. Image source: Smoke and Fumes.

If, for example, you’re a Fox News viewer, then your information comes with such a heavy conservative and pro-established industry bias that you tend to believe fallacies like ‘climate change isn’t real or dangerous,’ ‘Hillary Clinton sold Uranium to the Russians,’ ‘giving more money to rich people by cutting taxes pays off the national debt,’ ‘Russian interference didn’t alter the outcome of the 2016 election,’ ‘social security is an entitlement and not a government run savings program that you pay into so you have a cushion for retirement,’ and ‘all real energy comes from fossil fuels.’

These media objects and impressions could well be considered fake news.

Fossil Fuel Special Interest Fake News

In the climate and clean energy sphere, we are confronted with these kinds of targeted messages every day. More specifically, what we see is a proliferation of messages aimed at delaying a transition to clean energy and enabling the continued dominance of fossil fuel based energy sources on and on into the future.

The primary messaging issues that we deal with here are smears, doubt promotion, distractions, and myth propagation.

Lately, for anyone that’s been paying attention, we’ve seen an amazing amount of smear-based hyperbole aimed at clean energy leaders like Tesla. Not a single day goes by when we don’t have some ‘journalist’ who holds a short position in Tesla as a company beating the old hackneyed drum over which terrible demise Tesla is ‘destined’ to suffer this day or that. And this short interest is not focused on predicting so much as it is on manufacturing reality.

‘Short EV Interest’

If we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that short interest in clean industry leaders like Tesla is primarily propagated by pro-fossil fuel sources. Most of the short ‘journalists’ have some association with the fossil fuel industry. And practically all take a negative view of the prominent and most widely available clean energy sources of the day.

Some will even promote a prospective clean energy source, like hydrogen, as a distraction from the larger mega-trend represented by wind, solar and batteries. But this is more as a shiny object in the form of systems that are 5-15 years or longer from actual realization. A kind of vapor-ware competition in impression vs the real trends.

Taking this week’s penchant to proffer the hydrogen economy distraction as an example, we find that during 2017 more than 1.2 million electrical vehicles sold worldwide. Hydrogen based vehicles sold far less well — at approximately 3,500 units in 2017 or about 1 hydrogen fueled vehicle to every 350 EVs hitting the roads. Moreover, global EV sales could hit as high as 2 million in 2018 and 4-5 million by 2020. Though hydrogen might get off its laurels and start to show real gains by the early 2020s or later, electrified transport is taking flight now.

Moreover, hydrogen presents its own emissions problems as it is presently 90 percent produced from reformed natural gas in a high-carbon emitting process. The promise of mass-electrolysis based hydrogen from renewables and other low carbon processes are, you guessed it, 5-15 years off. And, even more concerning, major oil companies like Shell are heavily invested in hydrogen — which increases the likelihood that it will serve as a spoiler and not as an enabler of the clean energy transition.

Just as electrical vehicles reach their moment of realization, major media attacks against the clean energy trend emerge. Image source: EV Volumes.

This week the flavor is hydrogen. Next week it will be nuclear. Next it will be something else that can be slow-walked. Anything to distract from the actual electrical, solar, wind revolution that is now in progress and achieving rapid advancements.

It’s at these critical times when the pro fossil fuel and anti renewable energy messaging tends to proliferate on a mass scale. And today is just such a time. For right now, global EV sales are surging. Spear-headed by industry leaders like Tesla and countries like China, the electrification revolution is on. And the oil companies know it. In rather short order, as occurred recently with coal, global oil demand could drop. And those magical, marginal profits that fossil fuel investors have been addicted to for so many years and decades could go up in one final puff of CO2 laden smoke.

Will Tesla Survive The Assault?

So it is at this crucial time that all of the major media guns associated with the fossil fuel industry are now unleashing a furious, focus-fire barrage on Tesla. We’ve hinted at some of the reasons above. But looking deeper we find that Tesla’s all-clean-industry business model is the exact antithesis to that produced by traditional industry.

From its lock to its stock to its barrel, Tesla is clean tech through and through. It builds battery plants, it builds solar panels, it builds battery storage for homes, it builds all clean energy vehicles, it builds EV charging networks. And it works to integrate them all. Not one dollar of Tesla capital is wasted on fossil fuel extraction or machinery that burns fossil fuels. Not one iota. Not one cent.

The Tesla model is the model of a pure path away from carbon emissions and if it gets duplicated in one subset or another by companies the world over, then big fossil fuel is finished. If Tesla generates competition by example, as it is doing, then the clean energy revolution takes flight and there’s nothing that the oil, coal, or gas industry can do to stop it.

So from the fossil fuel point of view, Tesla must die. And that is the primary reason why we are seeing so many negative news stories lately about Tesla. Not because of Tesla’s intrinsic weaknesses. Not due to some puffed up accident investigation. These are the facts — the negative bias against Tesla comes from fossil fuel industry based sources. Fin.

Facing such a massive wall of media, political, and industry opposition isn’t easy. In all honesty, it’s amazing that Tesla has made it as far as it has. And under the present barrage, Tesla’s survival is again somewhat in doubt. I think it will pull through this relatively difficult period to emerge as both a major automaker and a global clean industry leader. But if the shorts win and Tesla goes down it will be due to direct sabotage by fossil fuel special interests — not due to some other failure. And that’s not fake news.

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Human Caused Global Warming: 97 Percent Study Under Attack by Oil Company PR Firms

Earlier this month, John Cook of Skeptical Science published a ground-breaking study in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters showing that 97% of scientists agreed that global warming is being caused by humans. This study received far-ranging acclaim both in the media and in a number of scientific journals for both its thoroughness and its accuracy. The study is now considered to be the definitive work on scientific consensus on the issue of human-caused climate change.

Over the years, an increasing consensus among scientists that humans are causing an ever more visible and damaging global warming has served as a warning to the world’s public. Sadly, this message has been confused — primarily by monied interests who spend massive amounts to spread doubt on the issue of human caused climate change. The result is that only about half the public believes there is a scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming. In one example, The Heartland Institute, which receives large sums to operate PR campaigns on behalf of oil companies, recently engaged in a campaign to misinform the American public by directly targeting teachers and school children.

The most recent example, however, takes aim at the 97% study itself. According to reports from DeSmogBlog, a non-profit PR firm, which receives most of its money from oil companies like Talisman Energy and operates under the dubious name Friends of Science, has been issuing attack statements directly aimed at creating doubt in the validity of the 97% report. These statements appear to be crafted to generate exactly the kind of misunderstanding the 97% report reveals.

‘Friends of Science’ asserts:

Detailed analysis shows that only 0.5% (65 of the 12,000 abstracts rated) suggest that humans are responsible for more than 50% of the global warming up to 2001, contrary to the alleged 97% consensus amongst scientists in the Cook et al study. Citing fear mongering and faulty methodology Friends of Science reject the study and President Obama’s tweet as careless incitement of a misinformed and frightened public, when in fact the sun is the main driver of climate change; not human activity or carbon dioxide (CO2).

It is important to note that ‘Friends of Science’ did not reveal their methodology to support this statement. Frequent requests for this methodology among the media have been met only with silence. Equally telling is the fact that the statement attempts to politicize the issue by harping on President Obama’s tweet rather than seeking to logically refute the 97% paper. Finally, the organization leans on the typical climate change denier claim that the sun is the primary driver of present warming. A claim that has been dis-proven over and over again in the scientific literature, should ‘Friends of Science’ care to read it. Or they could simply go argue with NASA whose instruments show that though solar irradiance is declining, the Earth is still accumulating more heat than it radiates out into space. Clearly, based on these statements alone, it’s obvious ‘Friends of Science’ doesn’t even know the science they’re purportedly talking about.

On the other hand, the 97% percent study is entirely transparent in its own methodology. In short, John Cook’s survey asked the scientists who authored the papers what the consensus position of those papers were.

From the 97% study methodology:

Nobody is more qualified to judge a paper’s intent than the actual scientists who authored the paper. To provide an independent measure of the level of consensus, we asked the scientists who authored the climate papers to rate the level of endorsement of their own papers. Among all papers that were self-rated as expressing a position on human-caused warming, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. This result is consistent with our abstract ratings, which found a 97.1% consensus.

In addition, the entire database of the 97% study’s methodology is available as part of the study’s publication. So from ‘Friends of Science’ we have a statement issued that is unsupported, that directly goes against the scientific findings of major organizations like NASA, and that directly refutes the claims made by scientists about the papers they authored.

Not very scientific. And not at all friendly to science. But you can bet that the denier blogosphere will go nuts over this ‘Friends of Science’ canard.

Links:

Must Read 97% Study By John Cook

Enemies of Science Shown to Pose as ‘Friends’

Heartland Institute, Which has Worked Directly with ‘Friends of Science’ in the Past, Funds Campaign to Misinform School Children

NASA Report: Greenhouse Gasses, Not Sun, Driving Warming

Total Failure of Integrity: Romney vs Romney

The following is an illustration of the Romney campaign’s endlessly changing stance on the issues in an attempt to manipulate voters. It also shows how it is basically impossible to determine what Mitt Romney stands for except his own personal advancement.

Mitt Romney on Women’s Rights:

“I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.”

“Roe v. Wade has gone too far.”

“I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”

“I never really called myself pro-choice.”

Mitt Romney on the Auto Bailout

“Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

“Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.”

“I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.”

Mitt Romney on Privatizing Social Security:

“I’m not in favor of privatizing Social Security or making cuts.”

“Social Security’s the easiest and that’s because you can give people a personal account.”

Mitt Romney on Health Care Reform and the Affordable Care Act:

“If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation.”

“What works in one state may not be the answer for another.”

Mitt Romney on Capital Gains Tax Cut:

“It’s a tax cut for fat cats.”

“I believe the tax on capital gains should be zero.”

Mitt Romney on Osama Bin Laden:

“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

“He’s going to pay, and he will die.”

Mitt Romney on How Conservative He is:

“I was a severely conservative governor…”

“Relative to the leading candidates, some people see me as being more conservative.”

“I’m not the most conservative candidate.” “I’m not the most conservative candidate.”

Mitt Romney on Bank Bailouts:

“The TARP program… was nevertheless necessary to keep banks from collapsing in a cascade of failures.”

“When government is… bailing out banks… we have every good reason to be alarmed.”

Mitt Romney on Desire to Serve in Vietnam:

“It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.”

“I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.”

Mitt Romney on the Minimum Wage

“I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation.”

“There’s no question raising the minimum wage… causes a loss of jobs.”

Mitt Romney on the NRA, the Second Amendment and Firearms

“I don’t line up with the NRA.”

“I’m a member of the [NRA].”

“I supported the assault weapon ban.”

“I don’t support any gun control legislation.”

“I’ve been a hunter pretty much all my life.”

“Any description of my being a hunter is an overstatement of capability.”

Mitt Romney on Carbon Emissions:

“These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress.”

“Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore.”

Mitt Romney on ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’:

“When I first heard of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, I thought it sounded awfully silly.”

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has worked well.”

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