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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minister, Tony Abbott, was elected in September 2013, the carbon tax was aggressively targeted and then successfully repealed by Australia’s Senate on July 17.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.

h/t: Eric Boehlert at MMFA 

greenthepress, mediamattersforamerica

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.

h/t: David Edwards at The Raw Story


(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.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)


As the EPA calls to cut 30% of power plants’ carbon emissions by 2030, it’s crucial we get the facts out on this.


Obama and the EPA take action against climate change

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.  

Read more | Follow policymic

h/t: Caitlin Dickson at The Daily Beast


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.

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."

Those on Fox News that make scientifically illiterate statements and cherry-pick the science could take a page from their sister network’s book. 

NGT Cosmos quote

h/t: Denise Robbins at MMFA


H/T: Ryan Koronowski at Climate Progress

AMEN, Jimmy Carter! KXL is a bad idea. 

h/t: Keith Brekhus at PoliticusUSA


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

h/t: Matt-Lee Ashley at Climate Progress

From the 03.18.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

Grow up, Sickobaugh!