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The fossil-fuel industry's campaign to promote climate denial, led by the Koch brothers, has corrupted Harvard University and the Smithsonian, two of the most trusted scientific institutions in the world.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a joint program of the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard University, is harboring a polluter-funded climate denier. Documents uncovered by Greenpeace reveal that Dr. Wei-Hock "Willie" Soon has taken money from the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, coal giant Southern Company, and others to produce "deliverables" that push the long-debunked claim that solar activity, not fossil fuel pollution, drives global warming.

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The tech exodus from the American Legislative Exchange Council continues, with German software giant SAP ending its membership in the anti-climate lobbying group.  The blow is especially harsh as ALEC's corporate board was chaired by SAP lobbyist Steve Seale. SAP's departure comes in the wake of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and other tech companies leaving in quick succession this fall.

German business journal Manager Magazin reported the departure on Wednesday. "We have decided that we will leave the organization today," an SAP spokeswoman told the magazine.

The spokeswoman told Manager that the company abandoned ALEC because of its "merkwürdigen" (strange) positions -- such as its support for  Stand Your Ground laws, climate denial, and opposition to solar energy deployment. Germany's state-supported solar-power revolution (part of its "Energiewende" transition) is in stark contrast to the United States, in no small part because of the work ALEC has done for decades to oppose renewable energy.

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Tue Nov 04, 2014 at 08:58 PM PST

Quick Notes on a GOP Senate

by ClimateBrad

Republicans have officially taken Senate with nearly clean sweep of competitive races, with a similar rout in governor races.

This means an all-out war on climate, workers, and anything else that stands in the way of the Ayn Randian scorched-earth crony capitalism practiced by the Kochs and their brethren.

Moreover, Ted Cruz will likely now be the most powerful man on the Hill. Having engineered control over the House agenda through radical brinkmanship, he can now bring his methods to bear on the Senate.

Looking forward:

-- The lame-duck session will likely be a wash, as the GOPers filibuster everything. I'd love to see the Ds push messaging bills, on climate, immigration, labor, but I'd be surprised if that happens.

-- I would not be surprised if first act of GOP Senate is to end the filibuster, and rapidly force Obama to veto bills right off the bat

-- The next debt-ceiling deadline is March 2015

-- passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade monster is much much more likely

-- the GOP crazy caucus is now large -- Cruz, Paul, Ernst, Gardner, Lankford, etc.

-- every nomination at every level will be a fight to the death; with lots of appointees leaving for greener pastures / 2016 campaigns, this will be brutal to the functioning of the executive branch. Judiciary appointments will similarly stall out.

-- a Supreme Court battle could be a moment of overreach for Cruz et al.

-- The D's left in the Senate will be much more progressive than the current caucus, which should allow them to work more coherently together, unless there's too much internal sniping, fed by nasty Politico stories.

The Koch brothers' candidates - McConnell, Gardner, Ernst, Cotton- sailed to victory. They all participated in the Koch network's secret retreat in June 2014. They will likely be grateful. That said, pretty much all GOP candidates did very well, so it's not worth reading too much into this, other than recognizing that the right-wing super PACs will be getting an infusion of cash from corporations and billionaires, who will believe that success breeds success.

Democratic Senate staff will be cut drastically -- those left will need a lot of outside support.

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The only thing the media seems to be able to write about Cory Gardner, who's threatening Senator Mark Udall in Colorado, is how pretty his smile is.

(Actually, the Denver Post just published a story about how Cory sometimes cries when he's sad -- I'm not kidding.)

But an online video that has been TOTALLY IGNORED BY THE MEDIA shows what the media has been missing -- Cory Gardner is an uncompromising, angry ideologue.

Watch:


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U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst denied coordinating with outside groups who are involved in the race, despite her participation in a secret summit organized by the Koch brothers in June. Speaking at a Des Moines, Iowa, event on October 23, Ernst claimed she doesn't have any contact with outside groups that are running negative ads.

"I can't control the outside groups, with the independent expenditures," Ernst said. "You know, I don't have contact with them."


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There's a scary Ebola outbreak here in the United States: Glenn Beck is going viral.

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This post originally appeared at Hill Heat.

Students across the country have launched a new effort to protest the influence of the petrochemical billionaire Koch brothers on their campuses.

As part of their effort to influence the American political system, Charles and David Koch have flooded hundreds of universities with contributions intended to promote their economic agenda. Although the contributions go back for decades, the spigot has been opened wide in recent years; from only seven universities recorded to have Koch contributions in 2005 to over 250 by 2012. According to UnKochMyCampus, the new grassroots effort to oppose Koch influence on higher education, 390 different colleges and universities have received Koch money.

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Protesters at MCW Energy ribbon-cutting ceremony in Vernal, Utah, on October 1, 2014
I have received one of the best emails all year. The subject line: “EXCLUSIVE INVITE * Witness the Opening of America's First Environmentally-Friendly Oil Sands Extraction Project.”

The invite explained that the “VIP Guests” of the “special ribbon-cutting ceremony” on October 1 would enjoy a complimentary stay at the Salt Lake City Radisson before boarding a “luxury bus” to Vernal, Utah, for a tour of the tar-sands plant and its “proprietary, enviro-friendly technology.”

As it turns out, this isn’t a new hoax from the Yes Men, the parodists responsible for the Halliburton SurvivaBall or ExxonMobil Vivoleum, a fuel rendered from global-warming victims. Instead, it’s from MCW Energy, a Canadian company involved in one of the first tar-sands mines in the United States.

MCW Energy is also trying to push forward the first tar-sands project on federal lands nearby. The Bureau of Land Management is still deciding whether to approve this; the provisional approval language does not consider the project’s greenhouse footprint, which is consistent with President Barack Obama’s stated self-defeating climate policy.

The publicist who sent the email sent this further promotional brochure:

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The first law of climate policy is that global warming won’t stop until we stop burning fossil fuels. As long as our policy elites attempt to address global warming while appeasing the fossil-fuel industry, all they can achieve is the appearance of insanity.

We are now entering the era of climate schizophrenia.  As the costs of fossil-fueled global warming grow, our leaders are accelerating the extraction of carbon reserves.

President Obama is the most prominent climate schizophrenic today. His self-defeating climate policy describes global warming as an existential threat to be solved by increasing fossil fuel production. In a July speech at a Seattle fundraiser, Obama discussed how costly western wildfires and drought are linked to climate change:

“And so I raise that because in all the day-to-day challenges that we face that are extraordinarily important, a long-term challenge that has to be dealt with right now is making sure that the planet works for the next generation and the generation after that. And so we’re very proud of the work we’re doing right now with our Climate Action Plan to make sure that we’re building resilience, and that’s what we’re talking with a lot of Western governors about — how can we start adapting our infrastructure to what are already increases in temperature, but then also what can we do to mitigate the damage that’s happening in climate change.”
Fifteen sentences later, Obama celebrated the massive increase in fossil fuel production during his presidency:
“Our energy production has been extraordinary. We’re now producing more oil in the United States than we are importing, and that’s the first time that’s happening in a couple of decades. Our natural gas production makes us the leading producer in the world and has skyrocketed.”
According to the official transcript, his audience of liberal supporters applauded.
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As the campaign manager for Forecast the Facts, I founded the "Don't Fund Evil" campaign in June 2013 challenging Google to stop funding climate-denial groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council, and climate-denial politicians such as Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Here's the story of how we got Google to drop ALEC.

On Monday, Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced that his company has ended its support for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of its persistent climate-change denial.  The decision came after a Schmidt made the announcement in response to a listener question on the Diane Rehm radio show.

"I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake," Schmidt said of Google's support for ALEC, "and so we're trying to not do that in the future."

Pressed to explain further, Schmidt harshly described the conservative lobbying organization's opposition to climate action as "really hurting our children" and "making the world a much worse place" by "literally lying."

Well, the company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts — what a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people — they're just, they're just literally lying.
Listen here:

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I'm excited to announce that I will providing livestreamed, on-the-ground coverage of the People's Climate March this Sunday and at follow-up actions in the days ahead at PeoplesClimate.tv.

The world needs a wake-up call. Climate change, and the destructive economy that propels it, must finally be taken seriously.

The People's Climate March hits New York City and hundreds of locations across the globe in less than 48 hours. Activists and organizers have labored for months to make this -- not just the biggest climate march in history -- but the wake-up call the world's been waiting for.

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Originally published at Hill Heat.

Sorry, fish.*

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), one of the premier climate research institutions in the world, has signed deals to assist foreign oil companies seek deep-sea carbon reserves, the Boston Globe reports.

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