Science

Energy in Depth's Disinformation Freakshow

setting water on fireEnergy in Depth and the gas industry are deploying spin doctors to counter a new documentary being aired nationwide on HBO. This time around, the truths unearthed about what the impacts would be of methane gas drilling into the Marcellus Shale unveiled by the film Gasland, by scientists, and by investigative journalists, are all victims of a prolific oil industry smear campaign.

Quick refresher: Marcellus Shale is an extensive underground formation of shale in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and other states in the region that has received renewed attention both because of new estimates of the quantity of methane gas believed to be under these rocks, and because of the significant environmental concerns that have been raised about the method of extracting the gas from the shale. "Hydrofracking" is a process in which a fluid is injected at high pressure into oil or methane gas deposits to fracture the rock above and release the liquid or gas below. The process uses enormous amounts of drinkable water, along with toxic chemicals. It also releases radioactive materials and other hazardous substances within the shale deposits, a fact that has raised significant environmental and health concerns.

U.S. Skeptic Has a European Outing

Fred Singer is one of the veteran climate change skeptics appearing at the Have Humans Changed the Climate? conference in Brussels hosted by Roger Helmer, a British Conservative Party representative in the European Parliament. Billed as speaking on the topic of "Why can’t we trust IPCC?" [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], Singer staked out a position that even other sceptics disagree with.

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Ian Plimer's Mining Connections

Since the publication in May of his book, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming - The Missing Science, Ian Plimer has been the darling of conservative media commentators and the global network of climate change skeptics. Plimer, an Australian geologist, has been strongly criticized by climate scientists for errors in his book. More recently, he has been in the news over his challenge to British journalist, George Monbiot, for a debate over climate science. Monbiot agreed, subject to Plimer answering some questions in writing ahead of a debate, but Plimer retreated.

While a few news stories have made a passing mention that Plimer is a director of several mining companies, none have looked with any detail at which companies he is involved with, and how substantial his interest is. Recently, a volunteer editor on SourceWatch (hat-tip to Scribe), did some digging into Plimer's directorships with three mining companies, Ivanhoe Australia, CBH Resources and Kefi Minerals.

Cap-and-Trade Gag

The Australian government's peak scientific research body, the CSIRO, has suppressed a research paper by one of its own environmental economists because it is critical of the design of the proposed 'cap and trade' greenhouse gas emissions reduction scheme. A paper by Dr. Clive Spash had been accepted for publication by the journal, New Political Economy. However, CSIRO managers wrote to the editor insisting that it not be published. In his paper, Dr.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Downsized

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a California-based power utility, has resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over what the utility's chairman and CEO, Peter Darbee, describes as "fundamental differences" over climate change policy.

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