5 Awards For the World's Most Heinous Climate Villains
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This was the hottest decadeon record and 2010 has been the hottest year on record. Extreme weather and starvation are increasing on every continent, as beetles devour our forests and jellyfish begin to rule the sea. MITand the Met Office Hadley Centre predict a business as usual 6 degree Celsius surface warming by 2100, and more than that over land. Climatologists call this being "screwed." Response from the oil and coal people? Bend over. What follows is a list of people who just don't get it, are handsomely rewarded not to get it, or both.
1. Evil Twin Awards
David and Charles Koch
Misdeeds: Even more evil than their father Fred, who founded the John Birch Society and railed against communist plots while profiting from the oil refineries he built for Stalin. Koch business operations include coal mining, stealing oil from Indian reservations, pipelines and refineries for Canadian Tar Sands oil, and formaldehyde soaked wood from clearcuts. Wherever there's filth and destruction the boys are on it, like hound dogs rolling in bear shit. Between '05 and '08 alone, the Kochs spent $25 million spreading the ludicrous message that our best scientists are ideological fear mongers, who would use "climate change" to usher in World Government.
Corporate Teat: Koch Industries, with $100 billion annual income. Want some stock? Not for sale; it's all theirs, baby.
Most Egregious Lie: "Since we can't control Mother Nature, let's figure out how to get along with her changes." -- a company newsletter.
Comeuppance: Locked in an underwater exhibit as part of a display at the Smithsonian's $15 million David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which whitewashes the dangers of climate change, to demonstrate how people will evolve to live in the rising oceans.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet
Misdeeds: Pretend to be friends while engaged in a vicious competition to see who ends up with the most expensive coffin. Flew together to inspect the Alberta Tar Sands and ponder investments, looking to add to Buffet's $34 billion Burlington Northern Santa Fe coal-hauling railroad purchase and the Gates Foundation Nigerian oil portfolio. Gates is dumping cash into geo-engineering as a way to "hack" the climate, instead of getting off oil and coal. The duo insist that the government should be responsible for clean energy development, but that we need to tax our citizens to pay for it. They can't be bothered, since they're too busy banking on sure things like fossil fuels.
Corporate Teat:They're the tits, not the pups. Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway, much of it tax sheltered by the Gates Foundation.
Most Egregious Lie: "We need an energy miracle." Gates' time frame for converting to clean energy is 40 years, giving him and Buffet plenty of years of income from their dirty investments.
Comeuppance: Sent to actually work in an African village health care clinic for one full year.
Harold Lewis and Freeman Dyson
Misdeeds: Back in the 1950's, these two were respected physicists. Now, in the modern age, they've been inexplicably gripped by Satan and/or senility and defected to the anti-science camp. Dyson finally showed his worth to the oil boys by posing as a wise elder, warning about "alarmist" climate science for the New York Times magazine in '08, leading to 4 star hotel rooms and fine meals while addressing denier conferences.
Not to be out-denied, Lewis emerged from 25 years of hiding among Santa Barbara Republicans to mouth off about "Climategate." The media didn't notice that they weren't climate scientists and hadn't published any scientific papers for decades.
Corporate Teats: The attention has been good enough, along with upcoming free junkets to denier fests hosted by Far Right "think tanks" like CEI, Cato, and Heartland.
Most Egregious Lie: Lewis: "Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life."
Comeuppance: Sentenced to 30 days in the public stocks outside Sather Gate in Berkeley. No diapers allowed.
2. Brain-Fried '60s Icon Award
Misdeeds: Went from heading a psychedelic band in the '60s to touring in militia fatigues and howling "suck my machine gun, Obama." Hangs out with Sean Hannity and Massey Coal's Don Blankenship, and played guitar at Don's '09 "Friends of America" mountaintop removal celebration. Said our problems in Iraq are caused by the fact that we decided "not to Nagasaki them." As an inspiration to today's obtuse libertarians, he purports to despise all "Big Government" regulation and handouts, yet as the national spokesman for DARE, Ted receives federal funds to help local law enforcement regulate drug use.
Corporate Teats: Massey Coal, National Rifle Association, Republican Party, old people with terrible taste in music.
Most Egregious Lie: "Global warming is a fraud. Watch Glenn Beck."
Comeuppance: Cat scratch syphilis
Misdeeds: Wrecked any remaining cred from his stint as a Merry Prankster and '60s tepee and patchouli oil Whole Earth Catalog by hitching his wagon to corporate America. Tours the country with a Power Point presentation, trying to persuade people that nuclear power is going to save us from global warming. Missed the memo that nuclear costs at least $7 million a megawatt, and insurance beyond the federal guarantee is not available. Constantly cites bad data, bullshits about nuclear waste disposal technology and now, he's even for "clean coal" (read: coal).
Corporate Teat: Global Business Network, a corporate consulting firm co-founded by Brand, which counts among its clients next-gen nuclear developers GE, Bechtel, Duke Power and Westinghouse.
Most Egregious Lie: To scare environmentalists into embracing nuclear: "I would like to see an environmental movement that's comfortable noticing when it's wrong ..." because "...DDT was banned worldwide, and malaria took off in Africa." (DDT was never banned for disease prevention.)
Comeuppance: Uranium bong hits.
3. Credentials in the Wrong Field Award
Misdeeds: Overnight, went from local TV weatherman to a climate "expert," constantly attacking scientific reports for groupthink, grant-seeking greed, and phony data. Sent his minions to photograph those US temperature stations which he claimed were too close to heat sinks, skewing temperature readings.
NOAA decided to take him up on his claim and analyzed the station data from all 1218 sites, and found no evidence of bias or distortion. Anthony instantly dropped the project with no mention of his error and simply began shouting, "Climategate!" -- the oil company e-burglary and nontroversy, which ultimately offered no evidence of scientific wrongdoing.
Corporate Teats: People contribute to the "cookie jar" on his loony blog, but oil and coal companies support him through former pro-smoking "researchers" at the Heartland Institute.
Most Egregious Lie: "The Hockey Stick is Broken!" Really? The hockey stick has been duplicated in over 20 charts from climate scientists, and vindicated in an exhaustive study by the National Academy of Sciences.
Comeuppance: Cross checked by Al Roker.
Misdeeds: Statistician from George Mason University in Virginia (which receives financial support from Koch and other dirty companies), who in '06 was enlisted by congressional denier "Smokey" Joe Barton (R-Texas) to disprove anthropogenic global warming. "The Wegman Report," billed as an "independent" analysis, was actually based on source material provided by a Barton staffer. Despite the affront to scientific rigor, the work attained iconic status on wacky denier blogs.
The Wegman Report has been thoroughly deconstructed by John Mashey at Deep Climate, who found it to be full of plagiarized sections, distorted data and unwarranted conclusions. This was too much even for George Mason, so Wegman is currently under formal investigated by his own university.
Corporate Teats: Far Right think tank money, originating from Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Peabody Coal.
Most Egregious Lie: "Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus 'independent studies' may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface."
Comeuppance: Fired from George Mason for fraud, gets an assignment from the Heartland Institute to produce a report on the volume, consistency and taste of Michael Mann's stool.
Glenn Beck, Professional Histrionic
Misdeeds: Has no expertise on any subject whatsoever, yet manages to have opinions about everything, including evolution, Islam and global warming. Instinctively distrusts anything that has been proven by empirical evidence. Whips crowds into a frenzy about taxes and socialism, and solemnly warns about the ethics of academic climate scientists. Is the heir apparent to Joe McCarthy in exemplifying the Death of the American Dream, through ignorance, paranoia, and megalomania. Repeats every lie about global warming that Fox and the oil companies feed him, then holds a summer rally at the Lincoln Memorial about "restoring honor."
Corporate Teats: Fox Broadcasting, and advertisers such as Exxon, Peabody and Georgia Pacific (a Koch company).
Most Egregious Lie:"Global warming is a hoax."
Comeuppance: Turned into an actual puppet by George Soros, made to perform a nightly rendition of "Fame" outside Jackpot, Nevada.
4. Slimy Politician Award
Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia
Misdeeds: Unstoppable diarrhea of the mouth. Will swim across a river of dog shit if there's a camera on the opposite bank. In addition to suing the federal government over healthcare reform, being a rampant homophobe and prudishly covering the breast of Vitus on the Virginia state seal, this Tea Party favorite unsuccessfully tried to prosecute climate scientist Michael Mann for "fraud." Wants to criminalize climate science itself, and tried to subpoena 10 years of 39 scientists' private emails with Mann in an effort to prove wrongdoing. Parrots bullshit from Koch-supported nutter sites, such as the claim that climate scientists lie about global warming in order to secure grant money.
Corporate Teats: Obvious errand boy for the energy companies who helped elect him with dough funneled through the US Chamber of Commerce to the Republican Attorneys General Association. Nakedly ambitious, he's basically already running for governor, so he can really cash in.
Most Egregious Lie:"The authors (Mann et al) knew, or should have known, that their claims contained false information, misleading and unsubstantiated claims, and/or were otherwise misleading."
Comeuppance: Sentenced to one year of community service legal work by representing one of two competing drug cartels in Michoacán, Mexico.
Mitch McConnell, Senator from Kentucky and Senate Minority Leader
Misdeeds: Possibly the phoniest, most corrupt and physically repulsive lawmaker in 100 years. Makes Richard Nixon look like Abraham Lincoln. Grovels for "campaign contributions" from banking, oil and coal companies, in spite of not having been in a close election for 20 years. Charms desperate and out of work Kentuckians with smarmy warmth.
Performed the incredible feat of gaining a 100 percent Senate voting rating from the US Chamber of Commerce, a zero percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters, and then completed the trifecta by making CREW's annual Most Corrupt Senators list. Canes Senators like Graham and McCain into submission if they threaten a vote that Exxon or Peabody don't approve of.
Corporate Teats: Dozens-including Peabody Coal, News Corp (Fox), Blue Cross, and Citibank.
Most Egregious Lie: "I am the Godfather of Green."
Comeuppance: Assigned to a Kentucky County Hospital for a year to work as a nurse's aide for terminal black lung and emphysema victims.
Joe Barton, Congress-critter from Texas
Misdeeds:Started out as an oil and gas company consultant. As former Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he tapped Wegman to produce the aforementioned report, feeding the statistician spurious source material. Responsible for many of the provisions in the '05 House Energy Policy Act, a huge giveaway to the nuclear and oil industries. Apologized to BP's Tony Hayward for the White House's "$20 billion shakedown" of the criminally negligent oil giant. A global warming "skeptic," Barton has called for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, helped nix Kyoto, and expressed his concern over wind power because he thinks wind is a finite resource. Seriously.
Corporate Teats: Received more from the coal industry in campaign contributions than nearly anyone in Congress, and is close to the top collectors of oil company contributions. Exelon Corp., a nuclear energy producer, just happened to donate $25 K to the Barton Family Foundation at the same time Joe introduced legislation assisting companies with the recycling of spent nuclear fuel.
Most Egregious Lie: "Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?"
Comeuppance: Cochlear implant, which plays Justin Bieber songs for the rest of his very long life.
5. Most Evil Performance as a Chief Executive
Gregory Boyce, Peabody Coal CEO
Misdeeds: Along with his Board and shareholders, surely one of the most malignant men of the 21st century. Boyce's mission in life is to see that the world burns as much coal as possible, in spite of scientists' warnings that this path is already heating the planet and destroying life. Pays lobbyists to fight regulation of coal plants' emissions of cancer-causing mercury, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide.
Claims that the vast amount of CO2 emissions from coal plants can somehow be sequestered and stored. Hedges against eventual regulation of US coal plants by developing export markets to Third World countries, then pretends that he's doing it to help the poor. Believes that the interests of Peabody stockholders and executives are far more important than starvation, death, and species extinction. Boyce is Lucifer in a $5000 suit.
Corporate Teats: In addition to running Peabody, Boyce helps to coordinate efforts by coal trade groups, utilities, and the Chamber of Commerce to help them continue to poison the atmosphere.
Most Egregious Lie: "Only once we have a growing, vibrant, global economy providing energy access and an improved human condition for billions of the energy impoverished can we accelerate progress on environmental issues such as a reduction in greenhouse gases."
Comeuppance: Sentenced to perform community service while living next to and downwind from an Arizona coal plant in a non air-conditioned trailer.
Tony Hayward, former BP CEO
Misdeeds: Prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, he presided over furious maintenance and safety cost cutting efforts, leading to higher profits, despite internal warnings. "Managed" the expanding oil plumes by claiming that only 1,000 barrels a day were escaping, later modified to 5,000 barrels a day. Hayward was perfectly aware that the actual figure was closer to 50,000 barrels.
In another unconscionable act of public relations, BP ordered the use of the toxic dispersant Corexit-banned in Britain -- while failing to equip cleanup crews with respirators. As BP was busy shutting out journalists, and death washed onto Gulf shores, Tony was playing the "demonized and vilified" yacht enthusiast, saying that he just "wanted his life back."
Corporate Teats: Began as a geologist for BP, but worked his way up to CEO by cutting costs, earning the devotion of BP shareholders even as spills and accidents increased.
Most Egregious Lie: "I think BP's response to this tragedy has been a model of good social corporate responsibility."
Comeuppance:Orifices shot full of rubber scraps, mud and golf balls.
David Lesar, Halliburton CEO
Misdeeds: Oversees a company whose missions are to bribe politicians, screw taxpayers, and subcontract work to the lowest, most incompetent bidder. Faulty work by subsidiary KBR in Iraq led to the electrocution of US soldiers while they were taking showers. Charged $45 a case for Coca Cola in Iraq and $100 for a load of laundry. Halliburton knowingly used faulty cement on the Deepwater Horizon, which was a major cause of the explosion, but such is their juice in DC that even Obama is still handing them no bid contracts, even though they moved their headquarters to Dubai.
Corporate Teats: Halliburton's main teat is the Defense Department (the largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world), so the Gulf explosion was part of the company's secondary operations. Killing and environmental mayhem are their main business interests.
Most Egregious Lie: "Will things go wrong? Sure they will; it's a war zone. But when they do, we'll fix it. We always have...We're serving our troops because of what we know, not who we know." -- from an '06 Halliburton PR video
Comeuppance:Encased up to his neck in Halliburton "foam" cement, and ordered to fix faulty shower wiring with his teeth.
**Correction: The association between Watts and “pro smoking researchers at the Heartland Institute” was tenuous. Heartland does indeed support Watts, but there appears to be no direct link between those Heartland researchers who work on tobacco issues and contact persons for Watts. Regarding the statement in the article about the Temperature Stations Project, we stated that “Anthony instantly dropped the project with no mention of his error, and began shouting ‘Climategate.’” This was generally true based on coverage at his blog wattsupwiththat.com, but, unbeknownst to the authors, temperature stations have been continually addressed at his other site: gallery.surfacestations.org/main.php. Watts’ continued concerns about distortions from improperly located temperature monitoring stations have been thoroughly debunked at NOAA, Skeptical Science, and SUNY Suffolk.