Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hey, Rand Paul, You Know What's REALLY "Un-American"?

Back in May, Rand Paul made a big stink over President Obama's criticism of BP for ruining thousands of American jobs and the Gulf Coast environment, calling it "really un-American." It was an absurd comment even at the time, considering that (1) any reckless corporation that does that much damage deserves its fair share of criticism, and (2) BP (formerly "British Petroleum") is not an American company.

Now, however, that comment is looking downright disastrous. Multiple outlets are reporting today that BP confirmed it had lobbied the British government in 2007 for a prisoner transfer with Libya in order to grease the wheels for a lucrative drilling contract off the Libyan coast. Per Mother Jones:
Robert Menendez (D-NJ) decried the release last August of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as a "moral outrage" at a press conference on Wednesday. Megrahi is the only person who has been convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing that killed 270 people in 1988. BP has admitted that it lobbied for a prisoner exchange—they have just not said which prisoners. Now Menendez and three other senators have called on the State Department and the British government to investigate precisely what role BP may have played in negotiating his release, as the company has since admitted that they pushed for a prisoner transfer to help ensure the $900 million oil deal went through.
Can the story get even more damning? Yes. Yes it can:
A top UK official has acknowledged that oil interests played "a very big part" in his release—and in securing BP's big deal.
This very clearly presents a national security threat:
The senators argue that the Megrahi example, and the overarching issue of a private company using a business deal to sway the justice system, presents a national security concern. The case "undermines our ability to hold international terrorists accountable," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Someone should ask Rand Paul: does this latest round of criticism of BP by Sens. Menendez and Gillibrand make them un-American, too?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CO2 Is Green Infiltrates Print Media

Last week, we wrote about CO2IsGreen's new ad campaign promoting the idea that carbon dioxide is not an environmental pollutant. Today, the group with close ties to Big Oil launched the print arm of their campaign with this half-page ad from today's The Washington Post.

The ad makes a slew of charges in its quest to quell the Senate's efforts at passing climate and energy legislation. (My favorite: "The bill is based on the false premise that man-made CO2 is a major cause of climate change. Real, empirical evidence indicates it is not.") Others include that the American Power Act, proposed by Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will drive up costs of food, transportation and electricity, and that its backers are buying Wall Street support for the legislation with corporate giveaways.

David Di Martino, spokesman for Clean Energy Works, a coalition of about 60 groups that want climate legislation, sums up the asininity of these ads quite nicely in an interview with the New York Times:

"The ad reads like the 'climate deniers' manifesto. This Big Oil front group wants people to think Congress is going to raise taxes, kill jobs, spill more oil, take our children and charge us for the pleasure. ...

"[The ad is] funded by the world's largest polluters and those who stand to profit from our continued dependence on fossil fuels for our energy. [see here]

"Considering the source, the message of the ad, and the intent to keep America addicted to oil, this cynical front group should change its name to 'Greed is Good.'" He added that the Kerry-Liberman "is projected by independent studies to create new American jobs and it will reduce our deficit by $20 billion," according to figures from CBO.
Couldn't have said it better ourselves, David.

In Which Clive Crook Reveals His Relationship With Reality To Be More Of A Passing Acquaintance

The Atlantic's Clive Crook is out with a truly sad piece of journalism this morning. While we normally shy away from critiquing mainstream reporters who cover energy and climate issues, Crook's piece on the bogus "climategate" scandal so thoroughly boggles our mind that we can only ask... Really? Seriously?

For those who need a quick refresher on "Climategate," it's the manufactured scandal in which right-wing groups and Congressional goofballs like Sen. James Inhofe siezed upon thousands of emails hacked from the personal accounts of climate scientists, artfully plucking small portions of single sentences out of context and saying they "proved" that climate scientists are part of a vast cabal that's creating the global warming myth.

These charges were grounded in so little fact that independent political watchdog PolitiFact.com called them flat-out "FALSE," and media watchdog FactCheck.org attributed any sense of legitimacy the scandal may have attained to "confusing" reporting (that's a nice way of saying "malpractice") by journalists.

Journalists like Clive Crook, who breathlessly wrote when the "scandal" first broke: "The stink of intellectual corruption is overpowering."

Now that those sorts of ludicrous claims have been proven false, we were eagerly awaiting a humble retraction. Instead we got Climategate and the Big Green Lie.

Even though he's about to write a lengthy rant that lends further, undeserved legitimacy to a make-believe scandal that's been thoroughly debunked, Clive Crook would like you to know that he's one of the "good guys."
By way of preamble, let me remind you where I stand on climate change. I think climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously. I think energy policy should be intelligently directed towards mitigating this risk. I am for a carbon tax.
That's super, Clive! Can you give us an example of how you as a journalist take climate science seriously?
I also believe that the Climategate emails revealed, to an extent that surprised even me (and I am difficult to surprise), an ethos of suffocating groupthink and intellectual corruption. The scandal attracted enormous attention in the US, and support for a new energy policy has fallen. In sum, the scientists concerned brought their own discipline into disrepute, and set back the prospects for a better energy policy.
Wait... really? But as someone who we imagine follows the news pretty closely, didn't you see the three separate investigations into the actions of the climate scientists in question, each of which concluded that there was no manipulation of data, and nothing anywhere in the hacked emails to suggest that climate science isn't sound?
I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.
So let's get this straight: even though Clive Crook believes "climate science points to a risk that the world needs to take seriously," he also believes that three separate investigations -- not to mention the PolitiFact and FactCheck debunks -- are not nearly enough to prove that climate science isn't a vast conspiracy? That's like ending a wild-eyed rant about the legitimate questions raised by moon landing conspiracy theories by saying, "But of course, there's no doubt that we did actually land on the moon."

Also, Clive Crook apparently believes that it's on climate scientists to repair the damage that's been done to public belief in global warming. This from a journalist who, in the very same article he's writing for a highly-circulated news magazine, lends further credibility to make-believe attacks on climate science.

We think FactCheck said it best:
News coverage of the e-mails and the various claims about what they supposedly show may have contributed to public confusion on the subject.
No kidding! You see, climate scientists don't reach millions of readers a day. That's the job of reporters. Reporters occupy a special place in society, acting as a sort of firewall that's supposed to separate truth from BS for purposes of public consumption. When journalists fail to put adequate time and judgement into sifting objective truth from the loads of spin, misinformation and lies that are out there, damaging phenomena like the "climategate" scandal occur, in which total BS gets through the filter and manages to warp public opinion.

Which leaves us wondering: Why pay to read any of Clive Crook's stuff? We can get the exact same "journalism" on ClimateDepot for free.