News Article | February 19, 2017
As noted in an article earlier today, Steve Bannon reportedly said in 2013: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” He apparently described himself as a Leninist to Ronald Radosh, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, a bit before he became the main man behind the real-life Donald Trump puppet. There seems to be a lot of evidence that Bannon was telling the truth in that case — yet, the man is still seemingly the most powerful person in the United States. In case you’re just checking in, note that Bannon is widely speculated to be running the show more than anyone else since Donald Trump took office. Trump, of course, must think that he’s running things, but it’s obvious by now that Trump doesn’t do much actual work. People who have worked closely with him or ghostwritten his most well known prose have said that he can’t stay focused for more than a few moments, won’t read anything at all that is long or detailed, and has an extremely short attention span. Leaks from his White House staff indicate he has a TV obsession and it is reportedly very frustrating trying to get him to stop watching TV and actually do some work. Of course, he is also often based at his “winter White House” now (Mar-a-lago, which has doubled its initiation fee to $200,000 since the election), where he is mingling with rich friends and high-paying customers. Bannon, on the other hand, is obviously an intellectual of some sort and has long been hugely influencing Trump “ideology,” statements, and policy. He apparently even put himself on the “principals committee” of The National Security Council (via Trump’s reportedly unknowing signature) — both the point that he slipped himself onto it and that a person in such a role would be on the council are indeed odd. Not only that, he has created a competing “Strategic Initiatives Group” in his office and his “fingerprints” are all over several of Trump’s initial executive orders and public statements. As with many things #Trump2016, this may all seem too absurd to believe. But the absurd claims and connections from the Trump campaign trail have turned out to be very real, and in some cases even more extreme than expected. Before trying to figure out the implications of Bannon potentially “destroying the state,” let’s first run down a few points playing into his hands (and likely, in large part, orchestrated by him): → The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a person who has long fought the EPA and even sent letters as attorney general of his state that were written by the fossil fuel industry. His goal and that of the Trump administration is widely reported to be essentially crippling, neutering, handicapping, or destroying the EPA. It’s basically what you’d do if your overall goal was to destroy the state. → The new head of the Department of Education had reportedly never set foot in a public school before taking the position. Neither she nor her kids had ever attended a public school. She apparently didn’t know the basics of some common debates regarding educational theory. The department’s policy going forward seems to be crippling public education as much as possible — privatizing it as much as possible. DeVos is apparently already taking a machete to the department. It’s basically what you’d do if your overall goal was to destroy the state. → The former Trump pick for Secretary of Labor was the billionaire CEO of a fast food company who opposed the minimum wage. Again, it’s basically the person you’d want in charge of that department if you wanted to destroy the state. Puzder resigned from the process after a couple of scandals were revealed (including employing an undocumented immigrant). The new nomination seems on the surface to be much more in line with the actual work of the department, but he spent years in the Bush W. administration apparently “intentionally sabotaging” the goals of the department he worked for (Department of Justice). As summarized at the end of that article, “So, if you want to find somebody who can sabotage a federal agency and turn it against its whole purpose, Alex Acosta’s résumé is glimmering. It’s exactly who you want if you’re out to sabotage the Department of Labor.” → Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of the Interior had introduced legislation to sell off public lands (what she’d be managing if she gained that cabinet position). Trump’s eventual pick after extreme backlash doesn’t seem as focused on destroying the purpose of the Department of the Interior, but he did vote for a bill that “would have transferred 4 million acres of public lands to states” just last June. → Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary? After months of campaigning “against” Goldman Sachs, highlighting Ted Cruz’s connection to the firm and Hillary Clinton’s connection to the firm — and more or less co-opting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talking points in opposition to Wall Street and Goldman Sachs — Trump has brought on several Goldman Sachs veterans and chosen notorious former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin to head the Department of Treasury. This is completely against Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric. Mnuchin apparently profited off of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme as well as several other ripoff schemes. He also oversaw 50,000 home disclosures against the disadvantaged, including an 80-year-old man who didn’t violate the terms of his loan. Mnuchin lied during his confirmation hearings but got the job anyway. Thanks, Grand Old Party! Need I write more? It’s 100% clear that the Trump administration (largely controlled by Bannon) is completely focused on destroying the state — that is, destroying the US government in just about every way it can. That includes the Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of the Labor, etc., etc. How far will this go? It’s very hard to say. Career staff in these departments and the court system will probably do what they can to protect what the United States of America has built. There’s the potential that Congress could step in to try to help, but that seems unlikely given that it is largely ruled by Tea Party extremists who for various moronic reasons share the same goals and were guided by Bannon, the Koch brothers, etc. The GOP, once a party of different ideals, now more or less does want to destroy the US federal government, our government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Aside from all of the above, Bannon’s messaging strategy (which Trump plays right into) is a severe and consistent attack on our democratic system in other ways as well. Here are a few bits of that: → Clearly, “enemy #1” is now the media. This has been an explicit focus of Bannon’s for years, and it is obviously what Trump is most shouting about these days in his unique, insane manner. An article on this is coming, but yes, the independent media is central to a functioning democracy, dictators and fascists attack the media like Bannon and Trump are attacking the media, dictators and fascists want to control the media like Bannon and Trump are working to do so. If you want to destroy our democratic system, you certainly need to get the people believing that the media is the devil. → Approximately 2 years faster than the previous record, Trump’s national security advisor resigned after less than a month on the job. Frankly, there is so much nuance in this and so many questions unanswered that I’m not going to write much about this, but suffice it to say that there is some level of corruption — maybe multiple levels of corruption — at play in this story that seem to be risking US national security and democratic stability. → The chaos in the White House is reportedly unprecedented. Perhaps it is simply the bad luck of someone with no experience and debatable leadership skills being elected president. On the other hand, it very well may be the result of one part of the White House explicitly wanting to destroy the US federal government while other members of the White House are trying to protect it. There could be an ideological civil war of sorts occurring within the White House. Or it could just be that Bannon and/or Trump see chaos as a useful approach to achieve their core goals. Do I think Donald Trump has some grand master plan in all of this? Of course not. Bannon clearly does, but I think Trump is as simple as he seems: He has spent years in a weird bubble watching Fox News and getting worked up by conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh. He doesn’t have a clue how to actually govern. He is putting that task in the hands of people he trusts (whether that be Bannon, Pence, Flynn, or Priebus). He is also continuing his decades-long focus on pushing/protecting his brand in absurd ways and fighting anyone who criticizes him. But as long as Trump is being played by Bannon, Putin, or others who would like to see the current US government crumble, the White House is indeed trying to destroy the state, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. Because of the vast uncertainty about what is to come, it’s hard to guess what all of this means for solar energy, wind energy, and electric vehicles, but below are a few possibilities. If this insanity (it is insanity … or ignorance) eventually destroys the US economy, it’s rather hard to say what that will mean. That will harm the global economy a great deal as well, at least in the short term, but it could also lead to a dramatic shift in global political and economic power, and it’s hard to know what that would mean. Of course, in the short term, a global economic recession would also cut energy use (which would help cut pollution and stop global warming), but it would likely slow a transition to (new) electric cars and (new) clean power plants, since people, companies, organizations, and governments would delay retiring older and dirtier cars and power plants and making new purchases. Again, the ramifications of such a scenario are so broad and long term that it’s hard to imagine what exactly they would be, but slower growth of these industries seems likely. On the other hand, if more political and economic power shifts to Europe and China (only one possibility), their seemingly more stable strong cleantech focus could end up hastening the cleantech transition in certain ways and regions. Though, US cleantech companies would presumably do worse under such a scenario compared to “business as usual” (I know, we’re long past “business as usual” at this point). If the White House and a pollution-controlled Republican Congress simply slow progress, but don’t demolish the US economy, these fast-growing cleantech industries will presumably keep growing at a strong clip — just not quite as fast as they would have otherwise. With the Clean Power Plan all but dead, some dirty, old, coal power plants will stay open a bit longer. Without strong federal support for clean energy and electric cars, natural gas and gasmobiles will extend their pollution streaks for a few more years. With a dysfunctional Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, the rich and established fossil pollution industries will pollute more, take a bit longer to be priced out of the market, take a bit longer to retire, and potentially destroy our climate. But the trends are obvious — solar & wind are cheaper, electric cars are quickly becoming cheaper, solar & wind & EVs also protect public health and a livable climate (scientific facts cannot be broken), and EVs are just better cars. The market may transition more slowly if clogged with gobs of pollution corrupting the system, but the transition can’t be stopped. Presumably, if the goal is to destroy the state, Bannon & Trump won’t implement policies that ban clean energy or electric vehicles — they’ll just prevent the government from protecting people from pollution, prevent the government from protecting the world from global warming, and prevent the government from protecting the economy from scam artists. However, given the obvious corruption in this administration and the Republican Party as a whole, it’s clear that, if the government won’t be destroyed, it will just be run by people from the private sector who have their own agenda. These people will definitely “pick winners and losers” and aim to tilt government policies as much as possible in favor of their preferred companies and industries. I would not put it past them to make certain wind and solar projects illegal, make permitting more difficult, make electric cars more expensive, etc. Again, technological progress won’t be prevented forever, but this could slow things down a great deal. Just look at Spain’s sun tax (now repealed). And, yes, if your concern is a genuinely livable climate, that could be enough to extinguish future generations. If semi-functional and non-corrupt Republicans in Congress (and US society as a whole) wake up fast enough, the whole plot to destroy the US government and pollute like there’s no tomorrow could be stopped in its tracks. However, the Republican Party has become extremely extremist in recent years when it comes to energy matters — deeply, deeply, deeply in the pockets of pollution industries — so even if the US government isn’t effectively destroyed, the situation in the EPA and DOE may not get much better as long as they are in power. That said, the backlash from this unprecedented Trump administration (already breaking records for public disapproval) may be strong enough that it swiftly shifts Congress back to the Democrats. Maybe. If that happened in 2018, things would be looking much brighter for cleantech. What If Obama Did This? … & Where’s Trump’s Birth Certificate, By The Way 30 Cases Of Anti-Humanity Extremism From Republicans In Congress & Donald Trump The Links & Lack of Links Between Cleantech & Politics How The Terrorists Won — Part 2, The Economy Help The Rich, Help The Rich, Help The Rich — Republican Policy 101 Do Americans Understand What Government Is For? Push Trump To Create Clean Energy Jobs — Americans Want Clean Energy! (7 New Charts) Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | September 19, 2006
ExxonMobil is the world's most profitable corporation. Its sales now amount to more than $1bn a day. It makes most of this money from oil, and has more to lose than any other company from efforts to tackle climate change. To safeguard its profits, ExxonMobil needs to sow doubt about whether serious action needs to be taken on climate change. But there are difficulties: it must confront a scientific consensus as strong as that which maintains that smoking causes lung cancer or that HIV causes Aids. So what's its strategy? The website Exxonsecrets.org, using data found in the company's official documents, lists 124 organisations that have taken money from the company or work closely with those that have. These organisations take a consistent line on climate change: that the science is contradictory, the scientists are split, environmentalists are charlatans, liars or lunatics, and if governments took action to prevent global warming, they would be endangering the global economy for no good reason. The findings these organisations dislike are labelled "junk science". The findings they welcome are labelled "sound science". Among the organisations that have been funded by Exxon are such well-known websites and lobby groups as TechCentralStation, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Some of those on the list have names that make them look like grassroots citizens' organisations or academic bodies: the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, for example. One or two of them, such as the Congress of Racial Equality, are citizens' organisations or academic bodies, but the line they take on climate change is very much like that of the other sponsored groups. While all these groups are based in America, their publications are read and cited, and their staff are interviewed and quoted, all over the world. By funding a large number of organisations, Exxon helps to create the impression that doubt about climate change is widespread. For those who do not understand that scientific findings cannot be trusted if they have not appeared in peer-reviewed journals, the names of these institutes help to suggest that serious researchers are challenging the consensus. This is not to claim that all the science these groups champion is bogus. On the whole, they use selection, not invention. They will find one contradictory study - such as the discovery of tropospheric cooling, which, in a garbled form, has been used by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday - and promote it relentlessly. They will continue to do so long after it has been disproved by further work. So, for example, John Christy, the author of the troposphere paper, admitted in August 2005 that his figures were incorrect, yet his initial findings are still being circulated and championed by many of these groups, as a quick internet search will show you. But they do not stop there. The chairman of a group called the Science and Environmental Policy Project is Frederick Seitz. Seitz is a physicist who in the 1960s was president of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 1998, he wrote a document, known as the Oregon Petition, which has been cited by almost every journalist who claims that climate change is a myth. The document reads as follows: "We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth." Anyone with a degree was entitled to sign it. It was attached to a letter written by Seitz, entitled Research Review of Global Warming Evidence. The lead author of the "review" that followed Seitz's letter is a Christian fundamentalist called Arthur B Robinson. He is not a professional climate scientist. It was co-published by Robinson's organisation - the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine - and an outfit called the George C Marshall Institute, which has received $630,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. The other authors were Robinson's 22-year-old son and two employees of the George C Marshall Institute. The chairman of the George C Marshall Institute was Frederick Seitz. The paper maintained that: "We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of the carbon dioxide increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life than that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution." It was printed in the font and format of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: the journal of the organisation of which Seitz - as he had just reminded his correspondents - was once president. Soon after the petition was published, the National Academy of Sciences released this statement: "The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal. The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy." But it was too late. Seitz, the Oregon Institute and the George C Marshall Institute had already circulated tens of thousands of copies, and the petition had established a major presence on the internet. Some 17,000 graduates signed it, the majority of whom had no background in climate science. It has been repeatedly cited - by global-warming sceptics such as David Bellamy, Melanie Phillips and others - as a petition by climate scientists. It is promoted by the Exxon-sponsored sites as evidence that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. All this is now well known to climate scientists and environmentalists. But what I have discovered while researching this issue is that the corporate funding of lobby groups denying that manmade climate change is taking place was initiated not by Exxon, or by any other firm directly involved in the fossil fuel industry. It was started by the tobacco company Philip Morris. In December 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a 500-page report called Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking. It found that "the widespread exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in the United States presents a serious and substantial public health impact. In adults: ETS is a human lung carcinogen, responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths annually in US non-smokers. In children: ETS exposure is causally associated with an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This report estimates that 150,000 to 300,000 cases annually in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to ETS." Had it not been for the settlement of a major class action against the tobacco companies in the US, we would never have been able to see what happened next. But in 1998 they were forced to publish their internal documents and post them on the internet. Within two months of its publication, Philip Morris, the world's biggest tobacco firm, had devised a strategy for dealing with the passive-smoking report. In February 1993 Ellen Merlo, its senior vice-president of corporate affairs, sent a letter to William I Campbell, Philip Morris's chief executive officer and president, explaining her intentions: "Our overriding objective is to discredit the EPA report ... Concurrently, it is our objective to prevent states and cities, as well as businesses, from passive-smoking bans." To this end, she had hired a public relations company called APCO. She had attached the advice it had given her. APCO warned that: "No matter how strong the arguments, industry spokespeople are, in and of themselves, not always credible or appropriate messengers." So the fight against a ban on passive smoking had to be associated with other people and other issues. Philip Morris, APCO said, needed to create the impression of a "grassroots" movement - one that had been formed spontaneously by concerned citizens to fight "overregulation". It should portray the danger of tobacco smoke as just one "unfounded fear" among others, such as concerns about pesticides and cellphones. APCO proposed to set up "a national coalition intended to educate the media, public officials and the public about the dangers of 'junk science'. Coalition will address credibility of government's scientific studies, risk-assessment techniques and misuse of tax dollars ... Upon formation of Coalition, key leaders will begin media outreach, eg editorial board tours, opinion articles, and brief elected officials in selected states." APCO would found the coalition, write its mission statements, and "prepare and place opinion articles in key markets". For this it required $150,000 for its own fees and $75,000 for the coalition's costs. By May 1993, as another memo from APCO to Philip Morris shows, the fake citizens' group had a name: the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. It was important, further letters stated, "to ensure that TASSC has a diverse group of contributors"; to "link the tobacco issue with other more 'politically correct' products"; and to associate scientific studies that cast smoking in a bad light with "broader questions about government research and regulations" - such as "global warming", "nuclear waste disposal" and "biotechnology". APCO would engage in the "intensive recruitment of high-profile representatives from business and industry, scientists, public officials, and other individuals interested in promoting the use of sound science". By September 1993, APCO had produced a "Plan for the Public Launching of TASSC". The media launch would not take place in "Washington, DC or the top media markets of the country. Rather, we suggest creating a series of aggressive, decentralised launches in several targeted local and regional markets across the country. This approach ... avoids cynical reporters from major media: less reviewing/challenging of TASSC messages." The media coverage, the public relations company hoped, would enable TASSC to "establish an image of a national grassroots coalition". In case the media asked hostile questions, APCO circulated a sheet of answers, drafted by Philip Morris. The first question was: "Isn't it true that Philip Morris created TASSC to act as a front group for it? "A: No, not at all. As a large corporation, PM belongs to many national, regional, and state business, public policy, and legislative organisations. PM has contributed to TASSC, as we have with various groups and corporations across the country." There are clear similarities between the language used and the approaches adopted by Philip Morris and by the organisations funded by Exxon. The two lobbies use the same terms, which appear to have been invented by Philip Morris's consultants. "Junk science" meant peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and other diseases. "Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive. Both lobbies recognised that their best chance of avoiding regulation was to challenge the scientific consensus. As a memo from the tobacco company Brown and Williamson noted, "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy." Both industries also sought to distance themselves from their own campaigns, creating the impression that they were spontaneous movements of professionals or ordinary citizens: the "grassroots". But the connection goes further than that. TASSC, the "coalition" created by Philip Morris, was the first and most important of the corporate-funded organisations denying that climate change is taking place. It has done more damage to the campaign to halt it than any other body. TASSC did as its founders at APCO suggested, and sought funding from other sources. Between 2000 and 2002 it received $30,000 from Exxon. The website it has financed - JunkScience.com - has been the main entrepot for almost every kind of climate-change denial that has found its way into the mainstream press. It equates environmentalists with Nazis, communists and terrorists. It flings at us the accusations that could justifably be levelled against itself: the website claims, for example, that it is campaigning against "faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas". I have lost count of the number of correspondents who, while questioning manmade global warming, have pointed me there. The man who runs it is called Steve Milloy. In 1992, he started working for APCO - Philip Morris's consultants. While there, he set up the JunkScience site. In March 1997, the documents show, he was appointed TASSC's executive director. By 1998, as he explained in a memo to TASSC board members, his JunkScience website was was being funded by TASSC. Both he and the "coalition" continued to receive money from Philip Morris. An internal document dated February 1998 reveals that TASSC took $200,000 from the tobacco company in 1997. Philip Morris's 2001 budget document records a payment to Steven Milloy of $90,000. Altria, Philip Morris's parent company, admits that Milloy was under contract to the tobacco firm until at least the end of 2005. He has done well. You can find his name attached to letters and articles seeking to discredit passive-smoking studies all over the internet and in the academic databases. He has even managed to reach the British Medical Journal: I found a letter from him there which claimed that the studies it had reported "do not bear out the hypothesis that maternal smoking/ passive smoking increases cancer risk among infants". TASSC paid him $126,000 in 2004 for 15 hours' work a week. Two other organisations are registered at his address: the Free Enterprise Education Institute and the Free Enterprise Action Institute. They have received $10,000 and $50,000 respectively from Exxon. The secretary of the Free Enterprise Action Institute is Thomas Borelli. Borelli was the Philip Morris executive who oversaw the payments to TASSC. Milloy also writes a weekly Junk Science column for the Fox News website. Without declaring his interests, he has used this column to pour scorn on studies documenting the medical effects of second-hand tobacco smoke and showing that climate change is taking place. Even after Fox News was told about the money he had been receiving from Philip Morris and Exxon, it continued to employ him, without informing its readers about his interests. TASSC's headed notepaper names an advisory board of eight people. Three of them are listed by Exxonsecrets.org as working for organisations taking money from Exxon. One of them is Frederick Seitz, the man who wrote the Oregon Petition, and who chairs the Science and Environmental Policy Project. In 1979, Seitz became a permanent consultant to the tobacco company RJ Reynolds. He worked for the firm until at least 1987, for an annual fee of $65,000. He was in charge of deciding which medical research projects the company should fund, and handed out millions of dollars a year to American universities. The purpose of this funding, a memo from the chairman of RJ Reynolds shows, was to "refute the criticisms against cigarettes". An undated note in the Philip Morris archive shows that it was planning a "Seitz symposium" with the help of TASSC, in which Frederick Seitz would speak to "40-60 regulators". The president of Seitz's Science and Environmental Policy Project is a maverick environmental scientist called S Fred Singer. He has spent the past few years refuting evidence for manmade climate change. It was he, for example, who published the misleading claim that most of the world's glaciers are advancing, which landed David Bellamy in so much trouble when he repeated it last year. He also had connections with the tobacco industry. In March 1993, APCO sent a memo to Ellen Merlo, the vice-president of Philip Morris, who had just commissioned it to fight the Environmental Protection Agency: "As you know, we have been working with Dr Fred Singer and Dr Dwight Lee, who have authored articles on junk science and indoor air quality (IAQ) respectively ..." Singer's article, entitled Junk Science at the EPA, claimed that "the latest 'crisis' - environmental tobacco smoke - has been widely criticised as the most shocking distortion of scientific evidence yet". He alleged that the Environmental Protection Agency had had to "rig the numbers" in its report on passive smoking. This was the report that Philip Morris and APCO had set out to discredit a month before Singer wrote his article. I have no evidence that Fred Singer or his organisation have taken money from Philip Morris. But many of the other bodies that have been sponsored by Exxon and have sought to repudiate climate change were also funded by the tobacco company. Among them are some of the world's best-known "thinktanks": the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, the Reason Foundation and the Independent Institute, as well as George Mason University's Law and Economics Centre. I can't help wondering whether there is any aspect of conservative thought in the United States that has not been formed and funded by the corporations. Until I came across this material, I believed that the accusations, the insults and the taunts such people had slung at us environmentalists were personal: that they really did hate us, and had found someone who would pay to help them express those feelings. Now I realise that they have simply transferred their skills. While they have been most effective in the United States, the impacts of the climate-change deniers sponsored by Exxon and Philip Morris have been felt all over the world. I have seen their arguments endlessly repeated in Australia, Canada, India, Russia and the UK. By dominating the media debate on climate change during seven or eight critical years in which urgent international talks should have been taking place, by constantly seeding doubt about the science just as it should have been most persuasive, they have justified the money their sponsors have spent on them many times over. It is fair to say that the professional denial industry has delayed effective global action on climate change by years, just as it helped to delay action against the tobacco companies. · This is an edited extract from Heat, by George Monbiot, published by Allen Lane. To order a copy for £16.99 with free UK p&p (rrp £17.99), go to Guardian.co.uk/bookshop or call 0870 836 0875. · George Monbiot's film on this issue will be broadcast tonight on BBC2's Newsnight, starting at 10.30pm.
News Article | February 15, 2017
WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center Tuesday hosted the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah (www.FMITI.gov.ng) for a roundtable discussion with U.S. business executives at their office in Washington, D.C. The conversation focused on enhancing trade and investment relationship between both countries. This comes in the context of a telephone call between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump Monday, where both Presidents discussed security and economic issues. It is seen as suggesting the U.S. consideration of Nigeria as a strategic partner. “The U.S. has historically been one of Nigeria’s top trading partners; it was the biggest importer of Nigeria’s crude oil at some point. In the last five years, however, the sharp decline in U.S. imports of our crude, on account of rising domestic production of shale, has altered the trade balance between our two countries. This development presents Nigeria with a good opportunity for diversification and to explore and increase non-oil export – especially in agricultural products, services and the digital economy,” said Minister Enelamah. On his part, the President of the U.S.-Africa Business Center and Vice President for African Affairs at the Chamber Scott Eisner, stated that, “With the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria is an important partner for U.S. businesses. Our conversation highlighted the work being done to strengthen the economic relationship between our two countries and how we can continue to build on this relationship.” Enelamah also participated in a Facebook Live conversation with the U.S.-Africa Business Center following the roundtable. Some of the companies that attended the gathering include Google, Microsoft, Blackstone, Procter and Gamble, UPS, Johnson and Johnson, Boston Scientific, Philip Morris International, Lekoil Oil, ITIC, etc. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 70 regional and policy experts and 25 country-and region-specific business councils and initiatives. The U.S. Chamber also works closely with 117 American Chambers of Commerce abroad. The U.S.-Africa Business Center is the preeminent voice in the global business community advocating for increased trade between the United States and Africa. After the roundtable, the Minister went on to attend events focusing on the Ease of Doing Business and Investment at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Hudson Institute. He answered questions from a mixed audience of business executives, government officials, diplomats and others. He similarly had meetings at the State Department with the outgoing Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas Greenfield and U.S. Trade Representatives for Africa at the Commerce office. Issues on the agenda at the state department ranged from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), SMEs, Nigeria’s leadership on the Continent and continued engagement with the new administration, while the commerce office focused on trade and the WTO. Minister Enelamah was accompanied by his Trade Adviser and Chief Negotiator Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Special Adviser Bunmi Adeoye and Strategic Communications Adviser, Constance C. Ikokwu. Distributed by APO on behalf of Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, Nigeria.
Lane L.,Hudson Institute |
Montgomery W.D.,NERA Economic Consulting
Climatic Change | Year: 2014
Leading climate analysts are designing a set of new policy scenarios that will be used to frame future climate policy analyses. This new exercise seeks to improve the realism of the scenarios used in climate policy analysis. In recent decades, rational choice institutionalism (RCI) has increasingly influenced several social sciences. A systematic effort to apply findings and concepts borrowed from RCI studies would offer three types of benefits to this scenario exercise. First, it would increase internal consistency within each of the projected scenarios. Second, it would enhance the realism of the entire suite of scenarios. Third, it would illuminate a range of factors, trends, and causal pathways than might otherwise be considered. These gains could be exploited best by engaging some leading RCI scholars in the scenario building process. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013.
News Article | December 23, 2015
The fireball seen over Arizona, Nevada and California on Tuesday night was an SL-4 rocket body booster from Russia that launched Monday, U.S. Strategic Command spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn said. U.S. and Russian officials declined to discuss the rocket's use, but experts outside the government say it was launched as part of a project to bring materials to a space station. They say the rocket's body likely detached from the craft taking items into space and burned up as it started to go out of orbit. "It's not something people need to worry about," said David Wright, a space-debris expert who is co-director of the Union of Concerned Scientists. An unmanned Russian cargo ship lifted off Monday from that nation's space launch complex in Kazakhstan on a journey to the International Space Station. The craft, which carried fuel, water, food and other supplies, has since docked at the station. People who witnessed the burning light posted photos and video on social media, with some speculating that it was a meteor. Others resorted to humor, punctuating their comments with a rocket emoji and saying the light across the sky looked Santa's sleigh. Some people expressed distrust about the U.S. government's comments on the rocket. "I was kind of freaked out to see something like that blowing up in the air, and you don't know what it is," said Gunnar Lindstrom, who saw the streak of light as he got out of a car at his Las Vegas apartment complex. He initially thought it was an airplane. Lindstrom, a bartender with a side business as a videographer, said his first instinct was to grab his cellphone camera. "I was upset I couldn't grab my real camera," he said. The flash of light is not unusual in portions of the Western United States, which offer an effective stage for sky shows. Dark skies and few tall mountains make Nevada and northern Arizona a good spot to view the atmosphere at night, said Josh Bangle, a spokesman for the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Light pollution over major metro areas might make such a flash of light hard to see. The same areas got a good view of a U.S. military missile test two weeks ago in New Mexico that produced a white contrail across the sky. Officials shared details about the launch with communities hundreds of miles away to cut down on the speculation. The debris that burned up Tuesday was part of a rocket that's frequently used in the Russian space program, according to Hannah Thoburn, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute who specializes in the internal politics of Russia and Ukraine. She also said it wasn't something that should stir concern, but she understands why some people would distrust the government's comments on the spectacle, given the heightened tensions between the United States and Russia. "It makes sense that people are skeptical," Thoburn said. Explore further: Bright streak of light reported over California
News Article | February 22, 2017
Ladies, can your man make you vice president of a country? Probably not. Unless, of course, you happen to be the wife of the president in Azerbaijan, in which case your husband, Ilham Aliyev, just named you his deputy. Putting all other power couples to shame, Aliyev made his wife, Mehriban Aliyeva, vice president. Coincidentally, she’s the first vice president of Azerbaijan since the position was created by a referendum last year. This lucky lady is now set to succeed her husband should he ever step down from the role. Her man’s been president since 2003, when he took over from his father. And he was reelected in 2008 in an election that opposition parties boycotted. But there probably won’t be any boycotts of this appointment. Khadija Ismayilova, an award-winning investigative journalist who was arrested in December 2014 and released in May 2016, wrote on Facebook, “Wave of arrests preceded Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment to vice-president position. Just in case if someone would dare to protest. Number of opposition activists were sentenced to one month administrative arrest, siblings of the activists abroad were harassed and blackmailed just days before the appointment.” There’s even more good news for the Aliyev power couple: they’re not likely to meet any resistance from the international community. Between its well-documented lobbying efforts and oil and gas production, Azerbaijan has stayed in good standing in Washington, D.C. And, as a two-part report by the Hudson Institute suggests, Azerbaijan has used “caviar diplomacy” with the Council of Europe. There’s no mountain, valley, activist, or institution charged with watching human rights or preventing rampant nepotism that can stop this dream team from ruling Azerbaijan — currently ranked “not free” by Freedom House and famed for rampant human rights abuses — and from doing so together.
News Article | March 2, 2017
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On March 8, Hudson Institute will launch The Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances, a report led by Dr. Carol Adelman, director of the Center for Global Prosperity, at a public event at Hudson's headquarters. The report examines...
Weicher J.C.,Hudson Institute
Housing Policy Debate | Year: 2014
The Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has a negative net worth as of FY2012, partly because of the weak economic recovery and partly because its policy has been directed to supporting homeownership at the risk of incurring more defaults. Although recently announced reforms should reduce losses, higher insurance premiums and lower loan-to-value ratios will still be necessary. But FHA faced and survived similar situations before, and should be able to do so again, without draconian limitations on its authority. © 2013 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
News Article | November 29, 2016
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hudson Institute congratulates Secretary Elaine Chao on her nomination to be the next secretary of the Department of Transportation. Chao is a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute, focusing on employment, labor mobility,...
News Article | April 7, 2016
Poorly conceived policies could restrict development of abundant domestic natural gas resources and deny the US energy security, economic, and geopolitical opportunities, several speakers at an Apr. 6 Hudson Institute forum warned.