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Groups slam Republican collusion with Big Oil to protect ExxonMobil from climate denial investigations

Saturday, October 1, 2016 18:03
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(Before It's News)

Desdemona Despair

Misleading graphs from John Christy's 16 February 2016 testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, purporting to show that global warming is not proceeding as fast as climate models predict. The graphs suffer from distortions caused by choice of baseline, inconsistent smoothing, incomplete representation of the initial condition and structural uncertainty in the models, and no depiction of the structural uncertainty in the satellite observations. Graphic: John Christy

So, so why is the Left so intent on trying to win the debate by silencing and de-funding their opponents? Well they have a little problem, we’ve got reality on our side. Let me just point out, here’s, here’s the famous John Christy graph that shows the model results versus the actual beta. The model results predict a lot of warming. The data doesn’t show much warming. And the, the circles and the squares on the bottom, those are two separate data sets. One is weather balloons and the other is satellite data. They’re in pretty close agreement. They’re not in agreement with the model projections. So what does the other side do? Well the first thing they try to do is try to change reality. They try to change the facts. So they reinterpret the data so the United States climate temperature data, as reinterpreted by the federal government, they make the 1930’s and 40’s much cooler and that makes it look like there’s been a significant warming but in fact there has not. – Myron Ebell of CEI, head of Donald Trump’s energy team

[Still trotting out the same old antiscience. –Des]

By Nadia Prupis
29 September 2016

(Common Dreams) – Environmental and advocacy groups on Thursday responded to recent reports that Republican attorneys general colluded with fossil fuel lobbyists to shield ExxonMobil from fraud investigations, saying the revelations were a clear case of industry corruption.

“Republican attorneys general are working for Exxon,” said R.L. Miller, co-founder of Climate Hawks Vote. “Silly me, I thought they were supposed to be working for the people.”

The corporate accountability group PR Watch, part of the Center for Media and Democracy, on Tuesday published undisclosed notes from secret meetings held in July between the 13 Republican AGs and representatives from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), discussing the ongoing investigation into ExxonMobil's decades-long campaign to suppress climate science. The meetings took place at the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) annual summit in Colorado.

“The recently-exposed collusion between Republican attorneys general and fossil fuel lobbyists exemplifies exactly why we need to kick big polluters out of climate policymaking,” said Katherine Sawyer, senior international organizer at Corporate Accountability International. “These attorneys general have a duty to serve the people, not the interests of fossil fuel corporations. It is unconscionable that financial contributions and closed-door meetings may have persuaded these attorneys general to turn a blind eye to Exxon's decades of climate deception.”

In an audio recording of one of the meetings, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange introduces leading climate skeptic—and head of Donald Trump’s energy team—Myron Ebell, who tells the audience, “So right now the climate inquisition is in retreat,” naming a number of the Democratic attorneys general investigating the oil and gas giant with updates on their progress.

“Claude Walker, the Virgin Islands AG has been pushed back. Maura Healey has been somewhat pushed back. Kamala Harris is running for governor and she has gone quiet at least for the moment. But Eric Schneiderman in New York has the Martin Act, which is much more powerful,” Ebell says, referring to the New York law that gives a wide berth of power and discretion to AGs investigating financial fraud.

Claiming Schneiderman had been “rattled” by a letter sent in June from Republican AGs stating that the Exxon investigation infringed on the corporation's First Amendment rights, Ebell added, “So we need to keep pushing that. We need to keep saying this is a matter of constitutional rights.”

As the green groups noted in their response on Thursday, RAGA has also received more than $2.25 million in donations from the fossil fuel industry and assorted allies since 2015, including $100,000 from Exxon alone.

“The great irony here is that we have heard false cries from the Republican attorneys general about a conspiracy between environmental groups and the Democratic attorneys generals,” said Nick Surgey, research director of the Center for Media and Democracy. “But these documents reveal a serious conflict of interest: RAGA is facilitating secret meetings between the profit-motivated fossil fuel industry and attorneys general to engineer pushback on investigations of ExxonMobil—and then raising money from oil and gas companies to keep those same Republican attorneys general in office.”

Later in the recording, Strange closes out the meeting by telling the audience of lobbyists, “we appreciate your presence here and your participation in this debate. We are winning now. I think [that] our fellow AGs that are on the other side here have pulled back to say this is going to be a long, standing effort that we need to be engaged in and be diligent about it.”

Jamie Henn, spokesperson for 350.org Action, said the recordings and other reports are “a smoking gun when it comes to fossil fuel industry corruption. These recordings are more evidence that Big Oil is bankrolling Republican attorneys general's attacks on climate legislation and the Exxon Knew investigation. It's just like Big Tobacco, but this time the entire planet is at stake.”

Groups Slam Republican AGs Big Oil Collusion to Protect ExxonMobil


NEW YORK, NY, 29 September 2016 (350 Action) – An investigative report from the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) recently revealed that Republican attorneys general held private, undisclosed meetings with fossil fuel lobbyists in July to coordinate on shielding ExxonMobil as the corporation faces investigations and public opposition around its climate deception and potential fraud.

Recent reports also revealed that the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) has received a staggering amount of financial donations from fossil fuel-funded groups, including $100,000 from ExxonMobil since 2015, $353,250 from Koch Industries, $250,000 from Murray Energy, and $100,000 from the American Petroleum Institute since 2015. According to materials reviewed by CMD, in total, fossil fuel interests, utilities and their trade groups have given more than $2.25 million to RAGA since 2015.

The RAGA meeting this past July also held a panel “Climate Change Debate — How Speech Is Being Stifled,” which did not include any scientific reports. Instead, the panel featured Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who is now Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s top energy advisor, as well as other industry executives that have donated heavily to RAGA.

As far back as the 1970s, Exxon’s own scientists warned the company’s executives about the devastating impacts of fossil fuel use on changing our climate change. Instead of heeding these warnings, Exxon’s executives embarked on a decades-long campaign to sow deception and doubt and block climate action at every level.

In response to the recent revelation that Republican attorneys general met with industry lobbyists, environmental and climate justice organizations issued the following statements:

Jamie Henn, spokesperson for 350 Action, said “This is a smoking gun when it comes to fossil fuel industry corruption. These recordings are more evidence that Big Oil is bankrolling Republican Attorneys General's attacks on climate legislation and the Exxon Knew investigation. It's just like Big Tobacco, but this time the entire planet is at stake. Instead of subpoenaing 350.org, maybe Rep. Lamar Smith should look at his own party's dirty dealings with these fossil fuel corporations and their front groups.”

RL Miller, cofounder of Climate Hawks Vote, said: “Republican attorneys general are working for Exxon. Silly me, I thought they were supposed to be working for the people.”

Nick Surgey, Director of Research at the Center for Media and Democracy, said: “The great irony here is that we have heard false cries from the Republican attorneys general about a conspiracy between environmental groups and the Democratic attorneys generals. But these documents reveal a serious conflict of interest: RAGA is facilitating secret meetings between the profit-motivated fossil fuel industry and attorneys general to engineer pushback on investigations into ExxonMobil— and then raising money from oil and gas companies to keep those same Republican attorneys general in office.”

Katherine Sawyer, Senior International Organizer at Corporate Accountability International, said: “The recently-exposed collusion between Republican attorneys general and fossil fuel lobbyists exemplifies exactly why we need to kick big polluters out of climate policymaking. These attorneys general have a duty to serve the people, not the interests of fossil fuel corporations. It is unconscionable that financial contributions and closed-door meetings may have persuaded these attorneys general to turn a blind eye to Exxon’s decades of climate deception.”

Billy Corriher, Director of Research for Legal Progress at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said: “Money in politics is a critical threat to our democracy, and nowhere is that more apparent these days than in the fossil fuel lobby. This report makes clear Attorney General Luther Strange and others have been taking their cues from Big Oil with attempts to block climate action and publicly criticize the investigations of other attorneys general. The Republican Attorneys General Association itself has taken millions from the dirty energy industry, and then convened meetings such as this where behind-the-scenes coordination takes place. The last thing Americans need is for their state attorneys general to become pay-to-play.”

Mary Nicol, Climate & Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said: “The undisclosed Republican Attorneys General Association meetings with fossil fuel lobbyists are like a speed-dating service for corporations looking for a friendly face. It is no surprise that this exposé found RAGA and affiliated groups were instrumental in organizing the response defending Exxon from a growing number of investigations.”

Brandy Doyle, Campaign Manager at ClimateTruth.org, said: “Exxon has its financial tentacles wrapped around our political system – from the Republican Attorneys General Association to Congress. Until candidates stop taking their cash, oil and gas companies will continue to pollute our democracy. We applaud the courage of attorneys general who have persisted in investigating Exxon for decades of deception on climate change. This investigation will not be silenced, and neither will public outrage at Exxon's grip on our elected officials.”

Contact

Jason Kowalski
Email: jason@350action.org
Phone: (202) 670-5345

Groups Respond to Republican AGs Privately Meeting with Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Around Exxon Knew Investigations


By Nick Surgey
23 September 2016

(CMD) – Republican attorneys general held private, undisclosed meetings with fossil fuel industry lobbyists in July to coordinate on shielding ExxonMobil from scrutiny as the company faces an ongoing investigation over allegations that it intentionally misled the public and its own shareholders about evidence of climate change, according to an audio recording of the session obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy.

Transcript available here.

The meeting occurred at a July 2016 summit hosted by the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) in Colorado, and included representatives from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), organizations which have previously received substantial funding from Exxon and the fossil fuel industry. At the summit, attorneys general including Luther Strange (R-AL) participated in a panel presentation titled “Climate Change Debate: How Speech is Being Stifled” alongside CEI Director Myron Ebell and AFPM President Chet Thompson.

“The great irony here is that we have heard false cries from the Republican attorneys general about a conspiracy between environmental groups and the Democratic attorneys generals,” said Nick Surgey, Research Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. “But these documents reveal a serious conflict of interest: RAGA is facilitating secret meetings between the profit-motivated fossil fuel industry and attorneys general to engineer pushback on investigations of ExxonMobil— and then raising money from oil and gas companies to keep those same Republican attorneys general in office.”

This past June, thirteen Republican attorneys—including AG Strange—penned an open letter to their fellow attorneys general in the defense of Exxon and the oil and gas industry. During the discussion, AFPM President Chet Thompson thanked the attorneys general for their ‘leadership’ and ‘support’ in the investigations of oil companies, and asked for further assistance in blocking the EPA ‘social cost of carbon’ disclosure rules for the fossil fuel industry and halting the college divestment campaigns.

The Center for Media and Democracy has previously found that corporations can pay a premium rate RAGA membership fee of up to $125,000 for the privilege of holding private briefings with attorneys general and their staff, as well as attending the annual meeting. The conference provides ample opportunity for attorneys general to directly solicit campaign contributions from corporate representatives during private meetings, informal conversations and leisure activities—like a golf tournament, zip lining, and a tour of the Olympic training center.

According to materials reviewed by CMD, since 2015 RAGA has received at least $100,000 from ExxonMobil, $350,000 from Koch Industries, $85,000 from Southern Company, $378,250 from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), and $250,000 from Murray Energy. In total, fossil fuel interests, utilities and their trade groups have given more than $2.25 million to RAGA since 2015.

GOP Attorneys General Held Private Meetings with Fossil Fuel Lobbyists on Exxon Investigation

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