The corporate-backed front group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is again leading the charge for industry against environmental protections. Earlier this month, AFP kicked off its “Regulation Reality Tour” — a roadshow through the states of pivotal senators pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency not to regulate carbon emissions, as outlined by the Clean Air Act .
The campaign is part carnival, part sophisticated K Street lobbying. Attendees are welcomed by an inflatable moonbounce for children, free food and drinks, and AFP staff dressed as “carbon cops” distributing freebies to the crowd. The rallies serve as a platform for AFP to scare voters with stories of bureaucrats regulating churches and “radio controlled thermostats.” Moreover, operatives from AFP collect names and train attendees on how to lobby Congress to defeat clean energy reform.
The founder and chairman of Americans for Prosperity is oil baron David Koch, who is one of the richest men in the world because of his oil, chemicals, and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries. Koch Industries is a major polluter with an atrocious record of sloppy operations. According to the EPA, Koch Industries is responsible for over 300 oil spills in the US and has leaked three million gallons of crude oil into fisheries and drinking waters. They were fined a record $35 million dollars and an additional $8 million in Minnesota for discharging into streams. But AFP’s recent crusade against the EPA is just the latest in Koch’s twenty-year campaign to have unrestricted power to pollute. Below is a timeline with snapshots of Koch’s long running campaign to distort science, orchestrate fake grassroots campaigns, and defeat environmental protections. Click MORE for the timeline: Read more
Washington, DC, April 1 “” CBS News has obtained exclusive footage providing irrefutable evidence that so-called “progressive” blogger Joe Romm is in fact an active participant in the Tea Party movement.
In this shocking video, Romm, a physicist and taxidermist who blogs at ClimateProgress.org, is asked by a fellow Tea Partier to “talk tea party talk.” And he does — suggesting Romm is no stranger to Tea Party events:
Must-see video: Polluter-funded Smithsonian exhibit whitewashes danger of human-caused climate change
Koch money and dubious displays put credibility of entire museum and science staff on the line
Two things are clear if you visit America’s leading “science museum” — the National Museum of Natural History. First, the Smithsonian downplays or ignores the risks posed by human-caused climate change in a number of exhibits. Second, the worst of the exhibits is the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins.
Yes, the Smithsonian took $15 million from a billionaire polluter — who is an even bigger funder of disinformation on climate science than Exxon Mobil — to fund a misleading exhibit on evolution and climate change. See also the new Think Progress post “A ‘Grateful’ Smithsonian Denies Greenwashing ‘Philanthropist’ David H. Koch’s Dirty Money.”
The exhibit’s main theme is that extreme climate change in the past made humans very adaptable, an interesting theory based on limited data and lots of speculation. But its huge flaw is that it it leaves visitors with the distinct impression that human-caused global warming is no big deal — even though our understanding of the grave threat posed by that warming is based on far, far more research and data.
It’s going to take me a few posts to go through this embarrassing episode in the Smithsonian’s history, which raises serious questions about how big polluters may be pursuing yet another strategy to influence how climate science is communicated to the public (see “Can Big Oil buy a watered-down climate exhibit at the London Science Museum?“)
Let’s start with a video that Lee Fang of Think Progress shot of some key exhibit displays, narrated by me:
According to the Smithsonian Institution, it doesn’t matter how toxic your politics are or how dirty your money is, as long as you give the cash to them. Paleoanthropologist Rick Potts, director of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program and curator of anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, defended pollution scion David H. Koch as a “philanthropist who is deeply interested in science.” David Koch’s oil and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries is one of the greatest contributors to global warming in the country. Koch also funds the largest network of climate-change-denying organizations and political operatives in the world. At an event promoting his new book, “What Does It Mean to Be Human?” Potts told ThinkProgress why the Smithsonian accepted $15 million from this climate-denial kingpin:
David Koch is a philanthropist, who is deeply interested in science. He’s funded the dinosaur halls, for example, in the American Museum of Natural History. He gave a lot of money to the Lincoln Center and its refurbishing. He has a lot of interest in human evolution that goes back to about thirty or forty years. And so, uh, as is true with all Smithsonian policy, our donors have no control over the content of our science or scholarship of our exhibits. And the same is true in this case. We feel very grateful for David Koch’s contributions to helping, I hope, the American public and us being able to bring science to them.
Koch, the ninth richest man in the United States, has distributed a tiny fraction of his wealth to greenwash his image, putting his name on cancer research centers (Koch had prostate cancer) and ballet halls (Koch enjoys watching the “beautiful girls“). However, as Lee Fang writes, “none of Koch’s right-wing fronts bear his name.” His propaganda operation Americans for Prosperity, for example, scares Americans about President Obama’s “radical global warming agenda” and claims health care reform is like Adolf Hitler’s “final solution.”
After Potts praised Koch’s money, ThinkProgress asked if the Smithsonian is greenwashing his record by accepting his money. “No,” Potts replied, “we find no contradiction in what we’ve done.”
Transcript: Read more
Energy and Global Warming News for April 1: US fuel rules spur hybrids, auto engine efficiency — “biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken” to cut CO2
Industry will build cleaner-burning diesel cars, plug-in hybrids and more efficient gasoline engines to achieve the 42 percent increase in fuel efficiency madated by the U.S. government for 2016.
The initiative mandated by Congress and toughened by the Obama administration over the past year represents the first meaningful increase in fuel mileage targets since their introduction in the 1970s. It also will be the first federal effort to regulate tailpipe emissions.
These standards are The biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken to cut CO2. Here are more details
State’s largest utility switches off coal
Colorado’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, has come to an agreement with the state government where it would retire coal plants powering about 900 megawatts by 2017 and replace them with natural gas-fired power. This move will mean a 30 percent reduction in Xcel’s Colorado coal fleet and a cut of as much as 5 million tons a year in carbon pollution. And this is all without federal legislation requiring cuts in emissions. CAP’s Tom Kenworthy has the story in this repost.
110 countries support new global effort to achieve climate safety
CAP’s Andrew Light and Sean Pool have put together a simple update on the status of the Copenhagen Accord, and how close it brings us to stabilizing global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius. Click the map above to go to their interactive tool. I repost their comments here.