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New report takes aim at corporate funding for climate denial

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NASA’s Aqua satellite, dedicated to advancing our understanding of Earth’s water cycle. Creative Commons license

The Union of Concerned Scientists has just published a report outing corporations that publicly back action on global warming, while quietly bankrolling climate change denier groups.

While the report acknowledged that not all corporations are engaged in this sort of Jekyll & Hyde behavior, it says many have adopted a strategy that “allows companies to maintain a public image of climate consciousness while, behind the scenes, undermining climate science and policy in powerful ways.” The report goes on the say:

While all companies in our sample stated they were taking voluntary internal action to reduce carbon emissions, half of them also misrepresented some element of established climate science in their public communications.

It’s worth pointing out that several of the two-faced companies profiled in today’s report are key partners and benefactors of the country’s biggest environmental groups. Companies like ExxonMobil Corp., General Electric Co., and Alcoa Inc. have bankrolled nature centers, conservation projects and public education campaigns, among other things. (For more details, check out my book.) Companies often spend more money publicizing their environmental projects than they spent on the good works in the first place. In contrast, you seldom hear much about the money channeled to groups such as the Heartland Institute that continue to claim climate change is a hoax.

You can find the report here.

Some of today’s coverage is here, here and here.

Today’s District Green: Hungry Cougars, Low-Gas Locomotives + the Power of Greenwashing

The Washington Post has a story on low emission trains that could seriously reduce pollution around train yards and the risk of cancer, heart and respiratory diseases among those living nearby.
Urban Places and Spaces seems only half-serious when suggesting we import cougars to take care of the region’s overpopulation of deer.
Are “green” energy companies joshing us? After hearing from so many wind power brokers at last weekend’s Energy Expo, his New York Times story is distressing. It asks: When electric utility customers pay extra for “green power certificates,” are they really getting green power?
Borderstan has a wrap up on last week’s “emergency” meeting at the 17th St. dog park.
WaPo also explores how electric car makers plan to address “range anxiety” by rolling out recharging stations.
Nanotechnology has enjoyed years of good press but it looks like a darker side is starting to emerge. E Magazine did an entire issue on human health concerns. Today, Environmental Health News publishes a report about new research showing that nanoparticles can kill and mutate fish embryos.
Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old University of Utah student who halted a Bush administration auction of oil and gas leases on federal land last year,  is in a tough legal position. Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that he cannot argue before a jury that he acted out of a necessity to protect the environment.
Greater Greater Washington has a roundup including a few bike and pedestrian news nuggets.
Susie Cambria urges everyone to tune into the DC Council hearings today and kindly provides a link to the webcast.
Finally, there’s a new development in the continuing saga of international climate talks: President Obama, in Beijing on an official visit, and Chinese President Hu Jintao both pledged Tuesday to work together to solve climate change, among other things. Should we dare to hope? Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of as the climate talks turn…