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NEW YORK, NEW YORK — “It’s going to be a good day,” said Van Jones, co-host of CNN’s Crossfire and former White House environmental adviser, in the moments leading up to the People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday. His words and attitude echoed throughout the area at the front of the march, as celebrity activists like Mark Ruffalo and prominent community leaders like Mari Rose Taruc, a Filipina organizer from the Bay Area, prepared to lead nearly 30 blocks of jam-packed marchers through midtown Manhattan.
“As this march begins, I’m hearing so many solutions, I’m even getting hopeful,” Taruc told ThinkProgress. Taruc was one of seven people chosen to speak before the march, ranging from a retired Kentucky coal miner with black lung disease to a mother from the sea level rise-endangered Marshall Islands.
Speaking passionately about why they chose to march and how climate change was impacting them and their communities, they were just a few voices amongst thousands speaking out for climate action. An official count conducted at the march showed over 310,000 participants — more than triple pre-march estimates of 100,000. Around the world, hundreds of thousands more joined 2,646 events in 156 countries.
In an interview before the march, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, for which leaders will gather later this week to address climate change, said today is “all about showing that we must address climate change,” and Tuesday, at the U.N. Summit, is when the world will show that they will address the issue.
“The beautiful thing about the process right now is that it’s both bottom up and top down,” she said.
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Between 9:30 a.m. and noon, before the march started moving, Central Park West filled to capacity with supporters of action on both ends. Signs waved, drums beat, and cheers erupted. There were stickers and t-shirts and pamphlets. On one side of the marchers tall buildings lined the street, on the other the open space of Central Park cast a long, green reflection.
Around 72nd Street, about midway up the queue, people spilled over into the park when space became limited. Participants in oil-soaked and green fairy costumes, waving wind turbine props and anti-fracking signage, had come from near and far to build momentum going into an important week of climate discussions. The event marked the beginning of the lead-up to the international climate summit in Paris at the end of 2015, where leaders hope to reach a new global agreement to mitigate greenhouse gases.
“My expectation is that we will set the scene for Paris next year,” George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol in the United Kingdom, told ThinkProgress. Ferguson came to the U.S. to attend the march and facilitate climate action at the local level. “If we can show a level of determination and unity at this time it will promise well for real movement next year.”
Ferguson said that mayors and city leaders are much closer to the solutions for climate change as well as the results of climate change. He said Bristol is a coastal city that has experienced heavy flooding recently “and that can only get more severe — but it’s nowhere near what we’ve seen on other continents.”
He said the major changes needed to fight climate change will come from “thousands of small changes, and that those changes will largely be in our cities. So it’s really important we have solidarity of mayors in cities across the world.”
“We’re here to think together, learn together, and steal ideas from each other,” Ferguson said.
CREDIT: THINKPROGRESS/ARI PHILLIPS
Norway’s Environmental and Climate Minister, Tine Sundtoft, who was taking part in the march, told ThinkProgress that she was there to “be part of the global mobilization” and that she wants “people to tell leaders that now we have to take climate change seriously.”
Heikki Holmås, a Norwegian member of parliament who was accompanying Sundtoft, said the march represented two major things. First, a great achievement by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for mobilizing such a massive event and second, a great moment for people all over the world. “This kind of mass demonstration shows that for those political leaders who want to step up, we are behind you,” he told ThinkProgress.
Ban took part in the march, as did former Vice President Al Gore and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Earlier this week DiCaprio was named by Ban as the U.N.’s Messenger of Peace and a “new voice for climate advocacy.”
Holmås said he’s been working on fighting climate change since 1990, even before the first UNFCCC summit in Rio de Janeiro. He said he sees this as a possible turning point.
“We all hoped Copenhagen in 2009 would be the game changer, but at that time the different parties weren’t able and willing to reach out hands to each other and realize how much needs to be done,” Holmås said. “What’s happened now, first and foremost, we have the political leadership saying this is actually important. In addition all businesses apart from the oil and coal industry understand that this is such a big risk to long-term earning that more and more companies want to be part of the solution, not the problem.”
While for some the march stood out as a momentum-building step in the long process of confronting climate change, to others it was just another day in a life spent focused on energy and environmental issues.
Scott Beibin, an artist, inventor, and booking agent based in Philadelphia, told ThinkProgress that while he attended the march to learn about solutions, he spends every day of his life working on these issues.
“This is just another thing for me,” he said. “I live my life by this. This is a fantastic meeting point. There are so many people here, doing amazing work and coming from different perspectives.”
Beibin said the key in the grassroots community is to create the circumstances that force a response from those in power. “No matter how many trendy environmental things are out there, the most important part is the actual real impact people are having in the world — the actual practical solutions,” he said.
Australia last week became “the world’s first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions.” The country’s carbon tax, which has been a passionate political topic there for more almost a decade, was finally instituted in 2012. But after a new conservative prime minister, Tony Abbott, was elected in September 2013, the carbon tax was aggressively targeted and then successfully repealed by Australia’s Senate on July 17.
The retreat represents a win for climate deniers in Australia who dismiss the looming dangers of climate change and the science behind it. (It’s “absolute crap,” claimed Abbott, echoing Tea Party-type rhetoric in the United States.) It’s a win for energy and mining interests who claimed the Australian tax was too burdensome
The retreat also signals a victory for Rupert Murdoch, the Australian native whose media empire, News Corp., did everything in its power to elect Abbott last fall and to attack the tax. Days before the repeal vote, Murdoch spoke out again against climate change science, telling an Australian interviewer it should be treated with great skepticism. Murdoch’s dismissal stands in stark contrast to his 2007 proclamation that “climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats.”
Murdoch’s anti-climate change crusade in Australia certainly mirrors his company’s commitment to misinformation in America, and highlights the dangers of having news media moguls who are dedicated to propaganda efforts regarding pressing public policy issues. (Murdoch is currently eyeing a bid to buy media giant Time Warner.) Indeed, Murdoch’s media properties in Australia have been shown repeatedly to be wildly unfair and unbalanced when it comes to the topic of climate change.
Australia’s carbon emissions repeal represents a dramatic U-turn for a country that just a few years ago was seen as a leader on the global issue under the guidance of previous Labor Party prime minsters, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. “The Brookings Institution has previously described Australia as an “important laboratory and learning opportunity” for U.S. thinking about climate change and energy policy, as it was one of the first major countries outside Europe to adopt a carbon price,” The Wall Street Journal recently noted.
Australia is also one of the largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters in the world, largely because of its reliance on coal-burning power stations that generate most of the country’s electricity. The nation currently ranks 19th among the top 20 countries responsible for global temperature change that has already occurred, according to a study in Environmental Research Letters published earlier this year. (The United States ranks first.)
In the United States, political reporters often portray a carbon tax as lacking the political support to become a reality. But a new poll released this week indicates that a majority of Americans (60 percent) support an emissions tax if the revenue generated is used to fund renewable energy. Nonetheless, the shift in Australia is likely to make climate change action more difficult. “The same ideological and climate-denying foes in Congress who are blocking a path forward for Obama have secured a foothold in Australia,” Salon recently noted. “Abbott’s actions no doubt give credibility to the climate skepticism and stalling tactics of denialist Republicans.”
Indeed, Republicans have already cited the repeal as evidence that the U.S. should abandon the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon pollution standards.
Murdoch set his plan in motion to target the carbon tax four years ago. “After the 2010 election - which resulted in a minority Labor government - Murdoch summoned his Australian editors and senior journalists to his home in Carmel, California,” Australia’s The Conversation reported. “He made clear that he despised the Gillard government and wanted regime change.”
In an article headlined, “Rupert Murdoch’s Newspapers Declare War on Australia’s Prime Minister,” the Hollywood Reporter last year detailed how there was nothing subtle about Murdoch’s propaganda efforts to oust Rudd, who had succeeded Gillard:
Murdoch-owned papers, which control about 70 percent of the local market, have run covers featuring Rudd as a Nazi, as Col. Klink from Hogan’s Heroes and as Mr. Rude from the Mr. Menkids books. News Corp’s Daily Telegraph in Sydney has dropped all pretense of impartiality, publishing a picture of Rudd under the headline, “Let’s Kick This Mob Out!”
That wasn’t the only way Murdoch weaponized his hometown media for an information war. His national daily,The Australian has “promoted ‘misleading’ stories giving credence to climate denialist views, outnumbering those accepting climate science by 10-to-1, according to a report in the Quarterly Essay,” Salon noted.
That study’s author Robert Manne wrote, “In the real world, scientists accepting the climate consensus view outnumber denialists by more than 99 to one. In the Alice in Wonderland world of [editor-in-chief Chris] Mitchell’sAustralian, their contributions were outnumbered 10 to one.” The Australian Press Council agreed, slamming the paper for erroneous claims.
Additionally, media analysis conducted by the University of Technology in Sydney found that “negative articles about the proposed carbon emissions tax in Murdoch’s newspapers outweighed positive ones 82 percent to 18 percent,” NPR reported. Andrew Bolt, Australia’s top-read columnist, employed by Murdoch’s Herald Sun, has branded as “propagandists” newspapers that treat climate change as settled science.
And according to the Associated Press, this campaign may have been partially responsible for opinion polls that “indicated Australians were overestimating the impact of the carbon tax” on energy prices.
All of which led to Murdoch’s dismissive comments last week:
"Climate change has been going on as long as the planet is here. And there will always be a little bit of it. At the moment the north pole is melting but the south pole is getting bigger. Things are happening. How much of it are we doing, with emissions and so on? As far as Australia goes? Nothing in the overall picture."
The same day that Murdoch’s comments aired, Bloomberg News highlighted the fact ”scientists affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a study that attributes southwestern Australia’s 40-year rainfall decline to human influence. Specifically, greenhouse gas pollution and ozone loss high in the atmosphere.”
It seems clear Australia follows Murdoch’s climate change retreat at its own peril.
Rolling Coal: Conservatives modify trucks to spew toxic black smoke as a way to vent anti-EPA/anti-Obama animus
Conservatives who detest President Barack Obama and EPA clean air regulations are modifying their vehicles to purposefully spew black smoke into the atmosphere.
So-called “coal rollers” install smoke stacks and special equipment in their diesel trucks that makes the engine think that it needs more fuel, resulting in plumes of black smoke.
According to Slate’s Dave Weigel, the phenomenon is not new, but it is becoming more popular among conservatives who want to protest the president and his efforts to clean up the environment.
“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” a smoke stack seller in Wisconsin told Weigel. “If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that.”
“To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger,” he added. “You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”
In June, Vocativ reported on the trend of “coal rollers” using their toxic exhaust as revenge against “nature nuffies” who drive environmentally friendly cars, like the Toyota Prius.
“The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” a South Carolina truck owner named Ryan explained. “I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.”
“It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” he admitted. “And some of the kids that have diesel trucks can look like tools. And you can cause a wreck, but everything else about it is pretty good.”
The Clean Air Task Force estimates that pollutants from diesel vehicles “lead to 21,000 premature deaths each year and create a cancer risk that is seven times greater than the combined risk of all 181 other air toxics tracked by the EPA.”
This is more proof that the right wing losers will do anything under the sun to pollute the air with rolling coal in the name of irritating the hell out of Obama/liberals/progressives/EPA and hybrid car drivers.
(Talking Points Memo) If early Republican enthusiasm is any indication, the upcoming Sept. 30 deadline to keep the federal government open could turn into an all-out war over President Barack Obama’s executive actions to combat climate change.
As TPM reported earlier this week, senior House Republicans are considering using appropriations legislation to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s new restrictions on coal-fired power plants, aimed at cutting climate-warming pollution by 30 percent by 2030.
On Tuesday, numerous Senate Republicans expressed strong support for the idea.
Republicans are basically giant toddlers. Their only way of dealing with things not going their way is to throw a wildly out of proportion tantrum.
It was fun to pretend climate change wasn’t a problem, wasn’t it? Now it’s time to face the elephant in the room.
President Barack Obama on Monday did just that. In a new, major policy decision, Obama will bypass Congress with a plan forcing power plants to cut their emissions by 30% (from 2005 levels) over 15 years. Coal produced an estimated 74% of total CO2 emissions in the U.S. in 2012, compared to other electricity generation like natural gas and petroleum. The plan represents one of the biggest actions taken by the U.S. government — and the biggest taken by any U.S. president — to slow climate change.
Inside a Hollywood Hit Job: How Sting Artist James O’Keefe Tried to Set His Latest Trap – And Got Stung Himself
Sting artist James O’Keefe says anti-fracking filmmaker Josh Fox is one of his latest victims. But Fox says his own secret tape reveals O’Keefe’s true methods.
On Wednesday, conservative activist and controversial video sting artist James O’Keefe made an appearance in Cannes during the Film Festival with a new, secretly recorded 20-minute video that he said exposes the hypocrisy of two environmentalist documentarians and two Hollywood actors. At the end of the clip, after Josh and Rebecca Tickell, Mariel Hemingway, and Ed Begley Jr. appear to have unwittingly agreed to accept financing for an anti-fracking film from Middle East oil interests, O’Keefe claims he’s caught other allegedly altruistic actors and filmmakers in his trap, teasing a clip of a phone conversation with filmmaker Josh Fox.
But this time, O’Keefe wasn’t the only one making secret recordings. Left more than a little suspicious by years of vicious—and often surreptitious—attacks from the natural gas industry and its supporters following the premiere of his 2010 Oscar-nominated anti-fracking documentary, Gasland, and its 2012 sequel, Gasland II, Fox taped his interaction with one of O’Keefe’s minions and documented the elaborate lengths they went to entrap him.
It all started last December, when Fox began receiving emails from an unfamiliar group called Beacon International, claiming to represent overseas donors interested in funding his next anti-fracking film. Naturally, he was dubious. After scouring the Internet for information on the company and finding only a bare-bones website that “basically looked like a joke site put up overnight,” Fox concluded that the emails were a scam and decided to ignore them. But they kept coming. In early March, Fox returned to his Brooklyn apartment from out of town to discover about a dozen Beacon International business cards plastered to his front door and shoved in his mailbox. After much deliberation with fellow filmmakers Steven Tabakin and Margaret Whitton over whether to respond to these mysterious financiers, Fox decided to make a call. He asked Tabakin to be in the room with him, and he turned on his recorder.
“I should not be able to detect this,” Fox told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “The only reason I was able to detect this is because I’m used to it. Like, why am I recording phone calls? It’s crazy.”
Less than three months later, Fox’s suspicious streak would pay off.
In the recording, which you can listen to below, Fox is heard repeatedly asking Brandon Turner from Beacon International to identify his clients. Turner says only that his clients are “people from Europe, and the Middle East, but mainly Europe at this point,” environmentalists who are interested in funding an anti-fracking film. Turner continuously declines to name the European benefactors and instead asks Fox several times whether he’d be willing to set up a meeting. Fox explains in a variety of ways that he “can’t participate in something where, um, we’re taking money from people who aren’t identified. That’s not kosher for us.”
After several minutes of back and forth, in which Turner attempts to convince Fox that his clients are earnest environmentalists, Fox says that “obviously there are projects that we are working on ahead of time, that we’re working on now, that do sound like they would be interesting to your clients.” He immediately follows that comment up with a stipulation. “However, I really feel like I would need a more formal approach than just ‘Come meet me for coffee, this is the company we work for,’” Fox is heard saying. “We don’t know much about your company…I would need to have more transparency than you’re giving me right now to feel comfortable with doing that.”
Fox ends the conversation by reiterating that Turner’s clients will have to reveal themselves if they want to fund one of his projects. Reassured in his belief that Beacon International was just a scam, Fox all but forgot the entire ordeal, he told The Daily Beast. That is, until this week, when O’Keefe unveiled his latest undercover sting operation during the Cannes Film Festival.Josh Fox in a scene from “Gasland Part II”. (HBO)
At the end of O’Keefe’s video, Fox is heard saying, “Obviously there are projects that we are working on ahead of time, that we’re working on now, that do sound like they would be interesting to your clients.” But his stipulations have been cut.
“We have them caught in total deception,” Fox says. “This phone call reveals exactly how they work. They willfully portray it in the wrong light. They edit it so it sounds like you said something that you didn’t. Luckily I had the full tape.”
O’Keefe has made a career of tricking people, mostly liberals, into embarrassing, compromising, and incriminating situations, and then secretly filming them. He calls the tactic “citizen journalism,” and it’s resulted in the toppling of major figures and organizations, such as the former nonprofit ACORN and ex-NPR CEO Vivian Schiller. His videos have forced the ouster of any number of elected officials — most recently, Wisconsin State Senate President Mike Ellis. But they’ve also generated legal troubles for O’Keefe. He was arrested and sentenced to three years’ probation for his involvement in a break-in at Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in 2010. In his latest operation, O’Keefe aimed to expose Hollywood hypocrisy by catching activist filmmakers willing to accept money from interests they purport to oppose and then plot to cover it up.
O’Keefe had been inspired by the discovery that the 2012 movie Promised Land, which starred Matt Damon and John Krasinski, and delivered an anti-fracking message, was partially financed by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, a production company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“What if you can get inside the meeting between the Middle Eastern funding source and the Hollywood producers?” O’Keefe thought, as he explained to The Daily Beast by phone from Cannes on Wednesday. “It took us nearly a year to obtain these videos because it was just so involved trying to penetrate and get access to these people.”
O’Keefe wouldn’t reveal any details about the tactics he used to get the access he did. But thanks to Josh Fox, who says Beacon International also reached out to Susan Sarandon and Who Killed the Electric Car? director Chris Paine, among others, The Daily Beast has learned that O’Keefe and his crew aggressively dangled their bait in front of some of the biggest environmentalists in Hollywood until they finally got a bite.
Josh and Rebecca Tickell—the husband-and-wife documentarian duo behind the Sundance Award-winning Fuel, about America’s depedence on foreign oil—had just begun the preliminary production phase of their latest documentary, a spotlight on the fracking industry in their new hometown of Ojai, California, when they received a call from a young man named Brandon Turner. It was February, and Rebecca was about eight months pregnant with the couple’s first child.
“As documentary filmmakers, the biggest challenge we have is raising money for films,” Rebecca Tickell told The Daily Beast on Wednesday night. “When that call came along, we were really grateful to have funding for this film that we thought was very important.”
The Tickells took a meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel that month with Brandon Turner, who, Josh Tickell says, slowly revealed to them a few details about his client: He wants to be a silent partner. He’s from the Middle East. He has some oil interests. The Tickells then had a series of follow-up phone conversations with Turner that would constitute a large portion of O’Keefe’s Cannes debut.
In the recorded conversations, the Tickells are heard dropping names of celebrities they could bring to the table, such as Mark Ruffalo and Woody Harrelson, and making assurances that they will keep the source of their funding a secret.
“We’re confident that we can keep this zip-locked, you know tight, tight, air-tight forever,” Josh Tickell is heard saying to Turner during one phone conversation. “Money to us…It’s money…we have no moral issue…But we know how a lot of people that would be necessary to pull this off, they would have issue.”
O’Keefe insists that none of the recordings were edited out of context. “All journalism is edited,” he says. The Tickells say they were prodded, that the video only shows them responding to Turner’s suggestions. Nonetheless, Josh Tickell admits, “we were gullible and naive, and we should have checked at every stage what was going on, and we did not.”
The Tickells were asked to have another meeting, this time with Turner’s associate, a man named Steven Sanchton, and the son of their alleged financier, introduced to them only as Muhammad.
“If Washington, D.C., continues fracking, America will be energy-efficient, and then they won’t need my oil anymore,” Muhammad is heard saying at the meeting. The Tickells also were asked to bring along some of their celebrity friends. Enter Hemingway and Begley, who both made statements Wednesday insisting that their presence at the Beverly Hills Hotel that day was nothing more than an attempt to help some friends get a film financed. Begley even told The Hollywood Reporter that he is hard of hearing and couldn’t make out much of what Muhammad was saying, so if it looks as if he’s agreeing with the phony oil heir in the video, he was simply trying to be polite.
While Begley and Hemingway may have just been smiling and playing nice, the Tickells don’t deny that they were far too eager to take money from a questionable source.
“There was a moment at the end of the meeting when we looked at each other and knew in our gut we should get up and leave, but we made the wrong choice. I didn’t look into my gut, and I regret that,” Josh Tickell says. “We said things we shouldn’t have said, we named people we shouldn’t have named. In that regard we are guilty, full stop. On the other hand, pitch meetings occur every day in Hollywood. People pitch the best possible scenario, the best actors they think they can get. If they meet someone in a coffee shop and they have their phone number, they’ll pitch that person. It’s not a good way to do things and we fell into that trap. We fell into the Hollywood trap.”
The Tickells say they’ve asked local law enforcement as well as the FBI to investigate whether O’Keefe and his crew broke the law by recording their private conversations, noting that they signed a nondisclosure agreement at Beacon International’s request and therefore assumed that all of their conversations were confidential.
Fox, who says he ignored a request from Beacon to sign a nondisclosure agreement after their first and only phone call, doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for the Tickells. But his disappointment in them is eclipsed by his disgust with O’Keefe.
“I’m amazed by the depths to which I’m disgusted by this behavior,” he says. (Full disclosure: Fox and Daily Beast Executive Editor Noah Shachtman have known each other since they played in a band together in high school; O’Keefe and Shachtman have been in contact since he profiled O’Keefe mentor Andrew Breitbart in 2010.)
Filmmaker Steven Tabakin, who was in the room with Fox during the phone call with Turner, says he is concerned about the lasting impact O’Keefe could have on the documentary filmmakers.
“If the result of this is that we all have to vet every single person that even expresses interest in supporting a film that’s important to us that we’re passionate about, it has had a chilling effect, and it’s going to be an enormous waste of time because it’s very, very difficult to get movies made, in particular movies that take on major issues and powerful forces,” he says.
This whole affair has earned O’Keefe more media attention than he’s had since a colleague filed a harassment complaint against him in 2011. (A judge later dismissed the complaint.) He even appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show Wednesday night, claiming that he has another video up his sleeve that will implicate an even bigger celebrity. But O’Keefe, who boasts of “a level of transparency” higher than any other news organization, won’t say who it is—at least not yet.
“I have to hold back my ammunition, hold my poker cards,” he says. “That’s the nature of my work.”
Apparently climate denial in the media now extends all the way to the Wheel of Fortune. Host Pat Sajak tweeted that he thinks “global warming alarmists” are “unpatriotic racists.” He might want to buy a few vowels to figure out this one.
Mr. Sajak’s climate change denialism (along with other RWNJ views) doesn’t surprise me one bit.
How cable news covered the landmark climate change report.
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has found a surprising home on FOX Broadcasting Network to hostCosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. In the 13-part documentary series, Tyson’s advocacy of scientific literacy — particularly related to climate change — is directly at odds with its sister network, Fox News.
In the latest episode of Cosmos, Tyson devoted the hour to the Earth’s history of changing climates and subsequent mass extinctions. He ended the show by forecasting the next mass extinction due to climate change, imploring his audience to break society’s “addiction” to fossil fuels:
TYSON: We can’t seem to stop burning up all those buried trees from way back in the carboniferous age, in the form of coal. And the remains of ancient plankton in the form of oil and gas. If we could, we’d be home free climate-wise. Instead, we are dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate the earth hasn’t seen since the great climate catastrophes of the past. The ones that led to mass extinctions. We just can’t seem to break our addiction to the kinds of fuel that will bring back a climate last seen by the dinosaurs, a climate that will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves. All the while, the glorious sun pours immaculate, free energy down upon us, more than we will ever need. Why can’t we summon the ingenuity and courage of the generations that came before us? The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What’s our excuse?
During the series, Tyson has also spelled out how corporate interests and funding can debilitate science, and has touted alternative energy research into artificial photosynthesis to reduce climate disruption from greenhouse gases.
FOX’s decision to broadcast the remake of Cosmos might seem unexpected. You would never hear these narratives on Fox News — at least without being mocked. A study from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that when Fox News does bring up climate change, it is overwhelmingly to mislead. In an interview with the New York Times, executive producer Seth MacFarlane stated, “I suppose it’s incumbent upon Fox to do something like this, to make up for all the damage it’s done with its news network.”
Tyson himself has admitted that the idea of broadcasting Cosmos on FOX initially gave him pause. In aninterview with tech blog io9, Tyson recalled a meeting with Family Guy's MacFarlane, who worked with Tyson to turn the idea of a Cosmos re-make into a reality:
[MacFarlane] told me he wanted to do something to serve science in America and he asked me what he should do. I thought maybe he could invest in a pilot that we could use to show sponsors. He said “I have a good idea, let’s take it to Fox.”
Now, there are a series of thoughts I’m about to share with you that I think lasted about 12 seconds. My first thought was “This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard, he doesn’t get it, this is a waste of a lunch.”
Yes, there’s Fox News, but also the Fox Network which has acerbic liberal commentary ofThe Simpsons and Family Guy. And there’s Fox Sports. I realized Fox has more demographics of American culture going through their portfolio than any other network. And so, I concluded that there’s no better place to be than on Fox.
Tyson has beseeched the necessity of “scientific literacy,” particularly for those that make decisions on energy, security, transportation, and health, warning that the “scientific illiterate adults” are “in charge of things.” He has also decried those that “cherry-pick” science, saying "[s]cience matters in our lives for us to be better shepherds of not only our civilization, but the world."
The State Department will “extend the government comment period on the Keystone XL pipeline, likely postponing a final decision on the controversial project until after the Nov. 4 midterm elections,” Reuters reported on Friday afternoon. The organization credited the information to a 1:30 call with Congressional staff.
The decision of whether or not to approve the northern leg of TransCanada’s pipeline, connecting the tar sands of Alberta to oil refineries and export facilities in Texas, will enter its sixth year in September.
State made the decision to give more time for 8 federal agencies to weigh in on the project. This would move the end of the review process, originally scheduled to end in May, to a date “likely” after the 2014 midterm elections, according to the Wall Street Journal. State Department officials cited a February district court decision that struck down a Nebraska law that aimed to put decisionmaking power over the pipeline in the hands of the governor.
Lancaster County District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy ruled that the law, which allowed pipeline companies to choose to submit their plans to either the governor’s Department of Environmental Quality or the more rigorous Public Service Commission, was unconstitutional.
Bold Nebraska director Jane Kleeb told ClimateProgress that the Nebraska Supreme Court will likely not issue a decision on the case until about January 2015. She also noted that South Dakota’s permit granted for the pipeline would expire on June 20, 2014 — meaning that TransCanada would have to reapply for a state permit after that date.
“The State Department is following Pres. Obama’s lead who has said all along he wants to follow the process,” Kleeb said in a statement. “The basic fact that Nebraska has no legal route is reason to delay any decision until our state can analyze a route using process that follows our state constitution.”
“Nebraska landowners will not give up their property rights with bad contract terms and unknown chemicals risking our water. This delay is yet more proof this project is not permit-able and not in our national interest.”
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter joined nine other Nobel Peace Laureates in sending a strongly worded letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, urging them not to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The letter opened as follows:
You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change. As you deliberate the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, you are poised to make a decision that will signal either
a dangerous commitment to the status quo, or bold leadership that will inspire millions counting on you to do the right thing for our shared climate. We stand with the 2,000,000 voices who submitted their comments in the national interest determination process rejecting the pipeline and ask you once again to stop Keystone XL.
While many political leaders and activists have voiced their opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, Jimmy Carter becomes the first U.S. President to take a stand against development of the controversial pipeline. Former Presidents Bill Clinton (D) and George W. Bush (R) have both expressed support for constructing the pipeline. By contrast, President Carter recognizes the urgency required to address the issue of climate change and he recognizes the need for bold leadership and action from Washington. The letter concludes by discussing that urgency:
As you near a decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, please do not underestimate its importance. While the climate crisis will require increasingly ambitious efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, this moment has the potential to empower a generation that needs affirmation that their leaders are listening and care about their future. A rejection would signal a new course for the world’s largest economy. You know as well as we do the powerful precedent that this would set. This leadership by example would usher in a new era where climate change and pollution is given the urgent attention and focus it deserves in a world where the
climate crisis is already a daily struggle for so many.
Hopefully, President Obama will heed President Carter’s advice and establish his legacy as a President who acted to address climate change at a critical moment.
AMEN, Jimmy Carter! KXL is a bad idea.
On the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster, a look at the U.S. oil spills that came after
On March 24, 1989, a tired third mate ran the tanker Exxon Valdez into a reef near Alaska’s Prince William Sound. About 10.5 million gallons of crude oil flooded the waterway in what was then the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Although the salmon have returned and most of the spill is gone, stubborn pockets of oil linger at the site even after 25 years and billions of dollars spent on cleanup. The incident spurred tighter international and U.S. regulations and the construction of sturdier, better-staffed ships. While the safety record of oil tankers has vastly improved, it’s difficult to prevent outlier events such as the 2010 BP (BP) spill. Where oil goes, spills follow.
Map shows spills over 1,000 gallons of petroleum products in U.S. waters, 1973 to 2012. Graphic by Bloomberg Businessweek. Data: Energy Information Administration, U.S. Coast Guard Marine Casualty and Pollution Database, International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation
Responding to President Obama’s decision last week to protect a stretch of California’s Coast near Point Arena as a new national monument, the House of Representatives is planning to vote next week to overturn a 108 year-old law that presidents of both parties have used to protect iconic American places, including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Arches National Park.
The bill, H.R. 1459, aims to block presidents from using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish new national monuments by putting caps on how many times it can be used, requiring congressional review of proposed monuments, and forcing local communities to engage in an ironic exercise of reviewing the environmental impacts of protecting lands for future generations.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), criticized President Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to expand the California Coastal Monument last week as an end-run around Congress. “In other words, the House was punked by the President,” said Bishop.
However, despite arguments from Bishop and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) that Congress should hold exclusive power to decide whether or not to protect public lands, the House has effectively shut down all legislative efforts to protect wilderness, parks and monuments since the Tea Party takeover in 2010.
Until the passage of a bill to protect wilderness lands in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore last week, Congress had not protected a single new acre of public lands since 2009, the longest such drought since World War II. Adding injury to insult, Congress also forced a 16-day government shutdown last fall that cost national parks and local communities 8 million lost visitors and $414 million in lost visitor spending.
Coupled with the ongoing freeze on new parks and public lands bills, a vote next week to block the President’s creation of new monuments and park units would represent the endorsement of a de facto “No More National Parks” policy in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although members of the House could be casting controversial votes next week against new monuments and parks, H.R. 1459 is not expected to be considered by or passed in the Senate. The President would also be likely to veto such a bill.
The vote — set to coincide with the one year anniversary of President Obama’s establishment of monuments honoring Harriet Tubman and Colonel Charles P. Young (with the support of Republicans and Democrats in Congress) — would also stymie a growing effort to protect sites that honor women, the LBGT community, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and other communities that are currently under-represented among national parks and monuments.
According to recent public opinion research, a “No More National Parks” policy would likely be deeply unpopular with voters who are still frustrated by the government shutdown and by long-standing budget cuts to parks and conservation programs.
A November, 2013, survey commissioned by the Center for American Progress found that:
By a margin of more than three-to-one, voters believe that leaders in Washington should be creating new parks and expanding opportunities for Americans to get outdoors, instead of closing national parks and cutting budgets for public lands.
A separate survey, commissioned jointly by Republican and Democratic polling firms, found that nearly seven in ten voters in the West say they are “more likely to vote for a candidate who supports enhancing protections for some public lands, like national forests,” suggesting that, in addition to its policy impacts, the political impacts of next week’s vote may stretch into November.
Limbaugh: "Government Uses Mass Transit To 'Totally Control The Movement Of The Population'" | Video | Media Matters for America
From the 03.18.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
Grow up, Sickobaugh!