The new film Greedy Lying Bastards (GLB for short) opened Friday in theaters in about 30 cities around the US. Go see it, first of all…there is a theater list here. And tell your friends about it. Continue reading
This is a guest blog from Jane Bright of Healthlink, a local environmental health citizens group in Salem, Massachusetts.
Have you seen Romney’s 50 page “Climate Protection Plan”?
No? Well there’s a reason for that: He doesn’t have one and he is hiding from the issue on the campaign trail. Romney mocked climate change at the Republican National Convention in August and his campaign website reads:
“Mitt Romney will eliminate the regulations promulgated in pursuit of the Obama administration’s costly and ineffective anti-carbon agenda.”
So Romney’s only current “climate plan” is to attack the Obama EPA and its efforts to cut global warming pollution from power plants and other sources.
As news organizations cover the relationship between climate and extreme weather in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, we also need to consider the people attempting to misinform and distort the link. One name comes to mind: Andrea Saul.
A Greenpeace investigation on Andrea Saul began this year when a sharp ex-journalist tipped us on anti-climate science press releases sent his way while Saul worked for the lobbyists DCI Group several years ago. Upon further digging, it was clear that Saul played a key role in an Exxon-funded campaign to subvert global warming science — running counter-ops specifically denying any connection between global warming and hurricanes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading
“Qaddafi sat on that stool”, the photographer Platon said to me as I sat down on the wooden box with a pillow glued on top. There are certain sentences you never expect to hear, and certain experiences you never think you’ll have. Here were two firsts in one as I settled in for my New Yorker photo shoot.
“I don’t know how that makes me feel”, I pondered to myself. Platon has photographed nearly every significant world leader including President Obama, Vladimir Putin and the aforementioned Libyan dictator. So you could understand my humility. Continue reading
On today’s edition of Greenpeace Radio, Kert Davies interviews Nick Sundt, climate expert at the World Wildlife Fund.
The two discuss the impact of global warming on the ongoing record wildfire in Colorado and the recent “derecho” thunderstorm event that killed 23 people and knocked out electrical power to millions on June 29th. Many are still without power a week later with temperatures in Washington DC expected above 100 degrees.
Nick worked for the US Global Change Research Program during the Clinton Administration and was a smoke jumper forest firefighter earlier in his career.
As debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster washes ashore in Pacific Northwest, and the Japanese investigation continues to try to uncover among other things, the reasons for delays in notification of the failed nuclear plant’s neighboring residents. The investigation committee’s report is due out sometime this month (June).
All of Japan’s nuclear power plants are now shut down temporarily (as of May 6), pending a full safety review. Asked about the importance of this moment, the head of Greenpeace Japan commented on the risk and the path ahead:
”There is an increased chance of earthquakes in Japan, so that has a significant risk to the Japanese people and the Japanese economy. The only way forward is to rapidly shift the energy source from nuclear to other sources of energy.” said Greenpeace Japan’s Junichi Shimizu.
In our latest Greenpeace Radio segment, Jim Riccio, discusses U.S. nuclear industry foot dragging after Fukushima, as reported well on by Tom Zeller on Huffington Post. The industry wants to protect their investment by venting the waste containment structures on General Electric plants like the Fukushima design, but they continue to put public and workers at risk by not requiring simple radiation filters. Continue reading
The historic Joe Bast backfiring blunder of a billboard campaign featuring Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, the non-apology that followed, corporate funders running for the exits, the collapse of the Heartland DC office, former friends and colleagues jumping Bast’s ship in his “hour of need”…
Desperate times indeed for climate denial central….
The White House and BP have been hiding the truth about the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.
After almost two years after Greenpeace submitted a Freedom of Information Request for images and information related to the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster, we finally received the first batch of files. The images are disturbing and beg the question: What else about the Gulf disaster is the White House and Big Oil hiding from the public?
The (horrible) picture below is of a “critically endangered” Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.
Here some more of the images that we are releasing today. Take action and demand that the White House immediately make publicly available all the images, files and documentation before they reach a settlement with BP.
“These images of dead sea turtles, completely covered in oil, present a very different picture than what we were told by US officials,” said John Hocevar, a marine biologist with Greenpeace. “While the White House was trying to keep the emphasis on rosy stories of rescued animals being released back into the wild, they were sitting on these images of garbage bags full of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.”
Watch the updated edition of this great TV program debuted last night on People & Power on Aljazeera. The show provides a concise and deep look at the political motives and growing power of the notorious Koch Brothers.
Greenpeace’s Koch research, launched with our landmark March 2010 report. Koch Industries:Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine, just hit its 2nd birthday!
With the new Koch Foundation 990s in hand, we have updated the (public) Koch funding to global warming denial organizations, which totals nearly $60 Million dollars (1997-2010). We have also found a declining trend in the total funding reported to these denial front groups from the Koch Foundations and also fewer groups funded. This may be because the Kochs are prioritizing their political insurgency or as we suspect, they are finding creative ways to funnel the money through less visible pathways.
Enjoy a glimpse of what television could be…and the best 25 minutes you are spend all day.
Things to watch for in the Al Jazeera piece:
The Al Jazeera Koch documentary will be broadcast worldwide over the next week:
Wednesday, March 28: 1730 DC, 0630 KL, 0130 Doha, 2230 GMT
Thursday, March 29: 0430 DC, 1730 KL, 1230 Doha, 0930 GMT
Friday, March 30: 2230 DC, 1130 KL, 0630 Doha, 0330 GMT
Saturday, March 31: 1130 DC, 0030 KL, 1930 Doha, 1630 GMT
Sunday, April 1: 1730 DC, 0630 KL, 0130 Doha, 2230 GMT
Monday, April 2: 0430 DC, 1730 KL, 1230 Doha, 0930 GMT
Tuesday, April 3: 2230 DC, 1130 KL, 0630 Doha, 0330 GMT
Wednesday, April 4: 1130 DC, 0030 KL, 1930 Doha, 1630 GMT
Recently, Greenpeace got a rare look behind the curtain at how Big Oil stages citizen support for huge oil companies, when activists got inside a TV commercial shoot in Washington DC. The American Petroleum Institute (API), and their PR firm Edelman, were filming a new series of TV commercials that we learned API plans to air nationally on CNN starting in January. The ads, aimed at the 2012 elections, will aim to demonstrate authentic citizen support for the oil industry’s agenda.
Greenpeace disrupted API’s astroturf commercial plans by not following instructions and going off script, declaring support for a clean energy future and demanding an end political interference by the oil industry’s lobbyists and PR firms.
Activists (or…citizens) were led through the wardrobe and makeup process, approved for looks by representatives from API and Edelman Blue Advertising, before waiting their turns to go on set. Participants were required to be registered voters, explained an API representative, to protect API from “opponents” who may inquire if actors stating “I vote” are actually eligible to do so. Other recruited actors were being watched by the industry representatives during their takes, repeating lines like “That [energy independence] will come from our own energy resources – like oil and natural gas.”
Late in the morning, the API Edelman team filmed three unexpectedly honest ‘citizens’ who made clear the script did not represent their real opinions on energy. Greenpeace researcher Connor Gibson of the PolluterWatch project repeated their scripted line, “I vote,” then declared, “But I am a clean energy citizen. I will not believe the lies and influence peddling of the American Petroleum Institute, which would leave you to believe that I am a citizen that is okay with giving my tax payer dollars to billionaires and millionaires that run oil companies, the most profitable industry on the planet.” Gibson stressed movement away from a “perpetual petroleum future” and finished his speech by telling Edelman Blue President Robert McKernan ”we need clean sources of energy, like wind and solar.” Listen to Gibson’s full declaration and read the transcript, below.
In addition to Gibson, two other participants refused to recite API’s script. Peter Roquemore of the Sierra Student Coalition and Gabe Elsner, Deputy Director of the Checks and Balances Project showed up to the shoot with the expectation that they would provide their own assessments of American energy. Both decided not to participate once they were fed oil industry talking points on camera.
In a taped conversation with the activists, an API communications advisor described the upcoming Vote 4 Energy advertising package in great detail: “This is scheduled to launch in January in a commercial on CNN, so it’ll be a national spot…API—American Petroleum Institute—bought into an election package so anytime CNN does anything like covering the presidential debates, cover a caucus, anything like that, those will be the kinds of programs where the commercial is seen.” The commercial debuts on January first. How much the deal with CNN cost remains an open question.
The API rep also said, “we are shooting a ton of people so, you know, you may make the cut, you may not, it all depends on the demographic.” Earlier in the morning, API agents were overheard expressing a need for more people of color in the commercials, noting that black and Asian demographics tend to disagree with Big Oil’s warped political positions. API has been caught in the past photo-shopping print ads to include racial minorities in purchased iStock Photo to make their already fabricated supporters appear more diverse.
API BUSTED: Staging Grassroots Support for Dirty Energy
Over two years ago, Greenpeace obtained a confidential memo [pdf] from American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard, asking API member oil companies to support a campaign to fake a grassroots movement called “Energy Citizens.” Under the guise of this astroturf group, Big Oil would pay for public events similar to Tea Party rallies in support of their absurd wishlist: killing global warming legislation, unrestricted offshore oil drilling, increased tar sands development through the Keystone XL pipeline, expanded hydraulic fracturing, and no form of accountability for their immense contributions to climate change.
Luckily, the leaked memo was revealed on the front page of the Financial Times and covered in the Washington Post, Guardian and on Huffington Post. The New York Times called it “Another Astroturf Campaign,” revealing what a fluke Energy Citizens was before Chevron had the chance to bus its employees to API’s first round of staged rallies, the majority of which were organized by oil lobbyists. Greenpeace called attention to API’s tactic by installing astroturf on the front entrance of API’s Washington DC headquarters, featuring the logos of its largest members: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP and the banner CLIMATE FRAUD: FUNDED BY BIG OIL.
Given the nature of API’s newest commercial shoot, its Energy Citizens rallies where participants had to be instructed to clap (see [Astro]Turf Wars), and its repeated use of iStock Photos to boost the perception of public support for Big Oil, it is reasonable to question the authenticity of similar PR moves like the “1′m One” or “One in a Million” advertising campaigns, also run by PR company Edelman, which purport to show real people who work for the oil industry.
The American Petroleum Institute, the top lobbying firm for the oil and gas industry, has spent at least $30 million peddling its dirty influence to our federal government in the last five years, and recently announced it would start funneling oil money to politicians. With it’s $200,000,000 Big Oil budget, API has played a key role in the industry’s climate denial movement by funding junk scientists like Willie Soon and coordinating a public relations strategy to create doubt over climate change.
API explains the commercial deal with CNN (click to listen)
API: “Just so you know, I don’t know how much they told you, but this is scheduled to launch in January in a commercial on CNN, so it’ll be a national spot…API–American Petroleum Institute, uh, bought into an election package so anytime CNN does anything like covering the presidential debates, cover a caucus, anything like that, those will be the kinds of programs where the commercial is seen.”
API reveals commercial debut date (click to listen)
Greenpeace Activist: “So what date is this going to launch?”
API: “Um, January first.”
API Says Chance of Being in Commercial “Depends on the Demographic” (click to listen)
API: “And so to your point though, we are shooting a ton of people so, you know, you may make the cut, you may not, it all depends on the demographic.”
API explains concern over “opponents” (click to listen)
API: “And I’m sure they checked with you but you’re a registered voter and all that stuff?”
Gibson: “Yeah, they asked me. I don’t know how you check that, but I am.”
API: “We, um…the only reason is really a lot of the, you know, the script is saying “I vote,” “I vote for energy,” “I vote for…” so, we at least want to be genuine in the sense that you are a registered voter. As you can imagine, there are some opponents of the oil and natural gas industry and so we always have to be very careful of, you know, what our opponents could use against us. And that is, you know, if they found out that we were using people who aren’t actually registered voters, or not even eighteen, or whatever, so…”
Production staffer explains how lines are fed to participants (click to listen)
“No they put them in costumes and then the makeup lady takes care of them and then they walk them out, and all they do is the director feeds them the lines and he talks them through it. It’s…he’ll [Gibson] be fine.”
Transcript of Greenpeace Activist going off API script (click to listen)
Director, prompting the first scripted line: “Smile, deep breath… ‘I vote.’”
Gibson: “I vote. But I am a clean energy citizen. I do not believe in the lies and influence peddling of the American Petroleum Institute, which would lead you to believe that I am a citizen that is okay with giving my taxpayer dollars to the billionaires and millionaires that run oil companies, the most profitable industry on the planet. The American Petroleum Institute is peddling its influence to make you think people like me are fully in support of [a] perpetual petroleum future. ‘Energy Citizens’ is an astroturf front group created by the American Petroleum Institute to make it sound like there is citizen support for petroleum in our energy future, and we need clean energy – like wind and solar.”
UPDATE (1/4/2012): More about the Vote 4 Energy ad campaign can be found on the Vote 4 Energy website set up to mimic the API commercial. The actual Vote 4 Energy website excludes the hyphens.