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climate denialists

Petro-masculinity: Fossil Fuels and Authoritarian Desire

By Cara Daggett - SagePub, June 20, 2018

Global warming poses a problem for fossil fuel systems and those who profit from them; leaving fossil fuels in the ground likely means leaving trillions of dollars of profit in the ground. Vast networks of privilege that are sustained by fossil economies are likewise threatened. As Jairus Grove reflects, ‘environmental justice will require unequal roles: significantly constraining, even repressing, the powers of the Eurocene’. Similarly, the ‘Planet Politics Manifesto’ reminds us that ‘the planet is telling us that there are limits to human freedom; there are freedoms and political choices we can no longer have’.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the amount of money and privilege at stake, the tragic ethos demanded by global environmental justice is being resisted. Those regions that have emitted the most carbon dioxide are positioning themselves to profit from a warming earth by advancing a militarised and corporatised version of climate security. The result, as Christian Parenti foresees it, is the likelihood of a ‘politics of the armed lifeboat’, given that, already,

the North is responding with a new authoritarianism. The Pentagon and its European allies are actively planning a militarized adaptation, which emphasizes the long-term, open-ended containment of failed or failing states – counter-insurgency forever. This sort of ‘climate fascism’ – a politics based on exclusion, segregation and repression – is horrific and bound to fail.

‘Climate fascism’, with its camps, barbed wire and police omnipresence, is a likely outcome of climate (in)security.

A nascent fossil fascism is already evident in the wake of the 2016 election of Donald Trump as President of the United States and the conservative capture of the US Congress. In a short time, the Trump Administration and the Republican Party have shored up fossil
fuel systems by denying climate change and dismantling a host of environmental policies including: withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, installing a climate denier (Scott Pruitt) to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, taking steps to kill the Clean
Power Plan, weakening the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, lifting a moratorium on new coal leases on federal land, ending a study on the health effects of mountaintop coal removal, and moving to open nearly all US coastal waters to offshore drilling for oil.

Climate denial obviously serves fossil-fuelled capitalist interests. However, coal and oil do more than ensure profit and fuel consumption-heavy lifestyles. If people cling so tenaciously to fossil fuels, even to the point of embarking upon authoritarianism, it is
because fossil fuels also secure cultural meaning and political subjectivities. Since the new imperialism of the 19th century, fossil fuels have become the metaphorical, material, and sociotechnical basis of Western petrocultures that extend across the planet.

In other words, fossil fuels matter to new authoritarian movements in the West because of profits and consumer lifestyles, but also because privileged subjectivities are oil-soaked and coal-dusted. It is no coincidence that white, conservative American men – regardless of class – appear to be among the most vociferous climate deniers, as well as leading fossil fuel proponents in the West.

Read the text (Link).

Frackademia in Depth; An analysis of the oil and gas industryʼs case for fracking

By Robert Galbraith, Gin Armstrong, and Kevin Connor - Public Accountability Initiative, February 2015

In the wake of New York Stateʼs decision to ban fracking, drilling proponents have criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration for basing the decision on “pseudo science”and “junk science.” When asked about the New York fracking ban at his 2015 “State of American Energy” press conference, American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard called for “more thoughtful consideration as to economics, environment, and sound science –because the science is clearly on the side of development and on the side of industry.”

Over the years, some of this science has proven less than reliable. In a trend that became known as “frackademia,”several universities issued industry-friendly fracking studies that the institutions later retracted and walked back due to erroneous central findings, false claims of peer review, and undisclosed industry ties. The studies bore the hallmarks of an industry effort to manipulate and corrupt the scientific debate around fracking, much like the tobacco industry manipulated the scientific debate around the dangers associated with smoking.

This report suggests that those studies, rather than being isolated cases, were consistent with a larger pattern – pro-fracking scholarship is often industry-tied and lacking in scientific rigor. An in-depth look at frackademia reveals that many of these kinds of studies have been produced by industry and its allies in academia, in government, and in the consulting world.

The report approaches this topic by analyzing a broad set of fracking studies that the industry has put forward to help it make its case. Specifically, the report considers an extensive list of over 130 studies compiled by an oil and gas industry group, Energy in Depth. The list was specifically used to convince the government of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, home of the city of Pittsburgh, to lease mineral rights under its Deer Lakes Park to Range Resources for gas drilling. Though that decision was a relatively minor one in the context of the nationwide fracking debate, the list provides a telling window onto the fracking research that the industry believes is fit for public consumption, and which it uses to make the case that the science around the issue is settled.

The report assesses the relative independence and quality of the studies by identifying and classifying each studyʼs industry ties –through funders, authors, and issuers –and determining whether it was peer-reviewed.

Read the report (PDF).

Billionaires' Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline

By staff - International Forum on Globalization, November 2014

THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON GLOBALIZATION’S earlier report, Faces Behind a Global Crisis: U.S. Carbon Billionaires and the U.N. Climate Deadlock followed the flow of fossil fuels industry funds to find that Charles and David Koch are, in fact, the single largest financiers of efforts to stop the phase out of fossil fuels. This report reveals one reason for their spending: the Kochs’ enormous investments in tar sands could become “stranded assets” if Keystone XL, the Alberta Clipper, and other important infrastructure for tar sands expansion is not approved.

With more money (a combined net worth of $100B) than the world’s wealthiest man, Bill Gates ($86B) the Kochs outspent all other oil companies, even Exxon, in campaign contributions, lobbying expenses, denialist science, and myriad other activities since 1999 to stop solutions to today’s quickening global climate crisis.1 Unprecedented financial wealth combined with the Kochs’ fanatical belief in what they call “economic freedom” made them top spenders in the 2012 and 2014 U.S. elections. The Kochs have spent well over $22 million on traceable campaign donations since 1990, and almost four times that amount—about $76 million—on their lobbying expenditures since 1998 alone. This number does not include the vast sums of dark money moved through their web of influence, as mapped by IFG’s Kochtopus, and monitored by KochProblem.org, online tools to follow the Koch Cash moving through their influence network.

Since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, “Koch Cash” has bought a radical faction in Congress that has seized the power of the purse, shrunk government by 8% via the sequestration, and restricted U.S. action on climate to President Obama’s narrow administrative authorities, which the Kochs are currently countering in court. Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Koch-introduced legal cases have involved judges too friendly with the Kochs. These rulings undermine the legitimacy of the Court, the current composition of which is slated to continue to rule in the Kochs’ favor.

Read the report (Link).

The Fossil Fuel Bailout: G20 Subsidies for Oil, Gas and Coal Exploration

By Elizabeth Bast, Shakuntala Makhijani, Sam Pickard, and Shelagh Whitley - Oil Change International, November 2014

Governments across the G20 countries are estimated to be spending $88 billion every year subsidising exploration for fossil fuels. Their exploration subsidies marry bad economics with potentially disastrous consequences for climate change. In effect, governments are propping up the development of oil, gas and coal reserves that cannot be exploited if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

This report documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel exploration subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for carbon-intensive companies, and support for uneconomic investments that could drive the planet far beyond the internationally agreed target of limiting global temperature increases to no more than 2ºC.

It finds that, by providing subsidies for fossil fuel exploration, the G20 countries are creating a ‘triple-lose’ scenario. They are directing large volumes of finance into high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without catastrophic climate effects. They are diverting investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power. And they are undermining the prospects for an ambitious climate deal in 2015.

Read the report (PDF).

How the Walton Family is Threatening Our Clean Energy Future

By Stacy Mitchell - Institute for Local Self-Reliance, October 2014

Critical fights over the future of our energy system are underway in dozens of states, with far-reaching implications for both climate change and our economy. At issue is the recent, rapid expansion of rooftop solar, which is revolutionizing who owns and profits from electricity generation. Rather than power production being monopolized by utilities, more and more households are becoming energy producers themselves. This transition is saving families money and driving the creation of tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.

But rooftop solar threatens the profits of utilities and the companies that supply them with energy. These powerful interests have gone on the offensive and are campaigning to weaken policies that enable rooftop solar in multiple states. They have begun to score wins, including a pivotal victory in Arizona, where regulators granted the state’s largest utility, APS, the right to impose new fees on households with rooftop solar. The fees have undermined the economics of rooftop solar, dramatically slowing installations and causing widespread job losses.

Read the report (PDF).

Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Machine Vs Climate Science

By Greenpeace - September 2013

This report describes organized attacks on climate science, scientists and scientific institutions like the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC), that have gone on for more than 20 years. It sets out some of the key moments in this campaign of climate denial started by the fossil fuel industry, and traces them to their sources.

The tobacco industry’s misinformation and PR campaign in the US against regulation reached a peak just as laws controling tobacco were about to be introduced. Similarly, the campaign against climate change science – and scientists – has intensified as global policy on climate change has become more likely. This time though there is a difference. The corporate PR campaign has gone viral, spawning a denial movement that is distributed, decentralized and largely immune to reasoned response.

Download a PDF Version to view the complete document.

The Kochs and Clean Energy Jobs

By staff - International Forum on Globalization, October 2012

This IFG Special Report, “The Kochs and Clean Energy Jobs,” documents spending by the world’s two biggest billionaires intent on dealing a deathblow to green energy jobs and a low-carbon future.

IFG’s report reveals that the Kochs are today’s single largest funder of anti-environment and anti-worker activities, including:At least $643M in spending to block or rollback legal protections for the clean air, clean energy, clean water, and other environmental issues through sketchy scientific research, lobbying lawmakers, contributing to electoral candidates’ campaigns, media manipulation etc.At least $12M in spending to weaken the labor movement’s power through attacking collective bargaining rights, weakening worker protections, and stopping the financing for labor unions’ political activities.

Read the report (PDF).

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