Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Free the Climate Scientists!

The fossil fuel industry have teamed up with very wealthy idealogues to make you doubt global warming is happening, or that we are forcing big changes in the climate.

For years, we guessed and partly knew that a small group of Right-wing think tanks, weathermen, and bloggers, and even a couple of low-grade climate scientists, were being paid off. We just couldn't see through the corporate veil of deception.

Now we know many of the same people hired by the tobacco industry to create doubt that smoking killed millions of people, found a new source of funding, and a new cause. They are attacking climate science, and the scientists. Hidden money fuels a campaign of lies, inuendo, fear mongering and fake science.

In recent news, we finally got hard information on just who is paying for these attacks, and how the money flows out to so-called independent "experts" and bloggers. A well-known scientist, Peter Gleick, penetrated the secret funding sources for climate attack central - an alleged charity called "The Heartland Institute".

We didn't really need the Heartland emails, leaked to Another source, Dr. John Mashey, patiently analysed public documents to track it all down. In an exclusive radio interview, John Mashey lays out the conspiracy, and names names.

Here is a link to John Mashey's blog, and here is where to download his 200 page PDF documentation, showing the donors, the front groups, and the propaganda machine of climate denial.


In Canada, the Prime Minister represents "the oil patch" of Alberta. He pushes the Tar Sands - and his government issued draconian new rules that make it pretty well impossible for government climate scientists, ocean experts, and more - to speak to the public.

Canadian government scientists are often forbidden to speak to the press, even after publishing studies in major international journals. We'll hear three shocking cases explained by Canada's top science reporter, Margaret Munro. That is from her presentation at the 2012 American Academy for the Advancement of Science Panel "Unmuzzling Government Scientists" in Vancouver February 17th, as recorded by

In one case, a scientist who published about a flood in Canada's North 13,000 years ago was forbidden to speak about his scientific study. Is it because the ultra-Christians in Harper's government believe the world is only 6,000 years old, in their interpretation of the Bible?

Another scientist found a virus in wild fish. That was inconvenient for the lucrative farmed fish market. Although the international press were promised an interview with the government scientist - that never happened.

In fact, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans was supposed to speak at this AAAS Panel. It's printed in the conference listings. But she didn't show up. The presenters left an empty chair where the government of Canada was supposed to be.


Here is another crazy example. The environmental regulators, the supposedly neutral government called opponents of the proposed Enbridge northern pipeline unpatriotic foreign-funded radicals. These "radicals" include pretty well every aboriginal nation along the route from the Tar Sands, and a majority of Canadians opposed to the pipeline. To make sure no one talks too much at the environmental impact hearings, the government imposed Orwellian rules.

In Procedural Directive #4, the Panel ruled oral evidence should not include:

* technical or scientific information;

* opinions, views, information or perspectives of others

* detailed information on the presenter’s views on the decisions the Panel should make or detailed opinions about the Project;

* recommendations whether to approve or not approve the Project and the terms or
conditions that should be applied if the Project were to proceed;

* or questions that the presenter wants answered.

In other words, just shut up. Maybe you can talk about the weather. No facts, science, or questions allowed. Presenters, including First Nations People whose salmon streams will be crossed by the Enbridge pipeline, get just 5 minutes to speak.

Presenter and Federal Member of Parliament Nathan Cullen, whose riding is most impacted by the would-be Tar Sands pipeline, was repeatedly interupted and silenced by these rules of procedure.


It's not just Canada.

The right of scientists to speak out has improved slightly in the United States, since George Bush gave way to the Obama administration. Francesco Grifo from the Union of Concerned Scientists reveals how information important to your safety was suppressed by industry lobbyists.

This is still happening. Grifo gives examples of toxic substances, dangerous to the health of consumers, that were recommended to be banned by government science studies. When it gets to the top of the Agency, or the White House, the necessary rules are dropped or stalled, by industry lobby groups.

In some departments, new rules are allowing scientists like James Hansen to exercise their First Amendment rights, to speak freely about their own views.

The out-going President of the AAAS, Dr. Nancy Fedoroff, told a press conference in Vancouver:

"Belief systems, especially when tinged with fear, are not easily dispersed with facts."

She said, as a result of a campaign of misinformation through the mainstream media and the Net, in America "fewer people believe in climate change each year."

Federoff told reporters: "I'm scared to death, because that obviously stalls what we need to be doing to adapt to climate change." She continued: "We are sliding back into a dark era."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hot Earth: Science & Anti-Science

Just back from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science annual conference 2012, this is Alex Smith. I've recorded two of the best speechs of the weekend gathering of thousands of scientists, held this year in Vancouver, Canada.

You will hear presentations by NASA climate scientist James Hansen, and best-selling author and science writer Cris Mooney.

Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warns it isn't enough to reduce our emissions. We must actually take carbon dioxide back out of the air, to avoid entering a new and dangerous age of greenhouse living.

We are currently at 392 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere, and rising rapidly. The target Hansen says is 350 parts per million. That is the level where the Polar ice, which regulates the climate humans have known for the past 10,000 years, will remain on planet Earth.

Chris Mooney, author of "The Republican War on Science," says scientists fail to communicate the danger of climate change, because they wrongly believe mere facts will convince the public.

Instead, Mooney outlines studies showing humans use facts to bolster pre-existing beliefs about the world. There are large differences in the basic personalities of those who gravitate toward the Right and Left of politics.

We get a sneak preview from Mooney's upcoming book.

Recorded by Alex Smith Feb 19, 2012 in Vancouver, Canada at the event "Climate Solutions: The Challenges of Getting to 350".

Monday, February 13, 2012


Maybe we need a big burst of methane to get real climate action.

Recent Russian expeditions to the Eastern Siberian coast find plumes of methane into the atmosphere. Is it worse than our own oil and coal pollution? I ask three top climate scientists: oceanographer Carlos Duarte, ice expert Peter Wadhams, and carbon-meister David Archer.

There is a growing wave of unease, even panic. Our fossil fuel civilization may be accelerating straight off the cliff of mass extinction.

Will the rapid rise in Arctic temperatures, and the disappearance of summer sea ice, trigger a runaway climate change, and a mass extinction event?

You would think a possibility so huge would fill television news and newspapers. What are political candidates saying, or business leaders? Everyone must be talking about the chance we could be killed off within a generation or two. No, the silence is deafening.

Right now, this debate is sealed off into a strong debate among scientists, and a small group of journalists and concerned citizens. You'll have to go to blogs like or climateprogress to find the discussion. Or listen to Radio Ecoshock.

What is the problem? New science shows seven of thirteen major feed-back mechanisms - the forces that create climate tipping points, are found in the Arctic. We'll talk to the lead author of that paper, award-winning scientist Carlos Duarte.

One of those frightening developments is the discovery by a joint Russian Amerian research expedition that large plumes of methane are escaping into the atmosphere from the Arctic sea bed along Eastern Siberia.

Scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov suggest a burst of 50 Gigatonnes of methane could result from an "abrupt release at any time". The would multiply current methane levels by about 12 times with "consequent catastrophic greenhouse warming".

As a result, a combination of scientists, journalists and other concerned people have formed the Arctic Methane Emergency Group. They call for an immediate war-scale geoengineering effort to save the last of the Arctic summer sea ice cover, so save our climate. In this program, I interview one of the world's top ice experts, Dr. Peter Wadhams of Cambridge. He warns the Arctic Sea could become virtually ice-free in September as early as 2015, just three years from now.

We may already be seeing the destabilizing results of this loss of the Arctic climate regulator in the mild almost snowless winter in North America, while Arctic cold pushed deep into Europe and even North Africa in the late winter of 2012.

Dr. David Archer thinks the warnings of catastrophe from Arctic melting methane are either over-blown, or miss the real and known threat. You know, the threat you and I create every day, as we participate in ever-increasign emissions of carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels. Don't miss our new interview with David Archer, a famous climate expert - and his dark dare about a methane burst.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fracking - The Rest of the Story Gasland director Josh Fox arrested at U.S. Congress Hearing on Fracking Feb 1, 2012. Speakers Rep Harris (R-MD), Rep Miller (D-NC), Kathleen Sgamma (Industry), John Fenton (well poisoned, Pavillion Wyoming), Theo Colborne (on air pollution health impacts of fracking, for Great Lakes United NGO). Then interview with EPA whistle-blower Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, inspiration for the No Fear Act. Radio Ecoshock 120208 1 hour.

In this program, you'll hear the voices of Congress, and the voices Congress doesn't want you to hear.

First Josh Fox, the Oscar nominated director of the documentary "Gasland" is arrested at the Energy and Environment Subcommittee - on EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Research. Acting Chair Andy Harris had Fox arrested for trying to film this Hearing, despite pleas from minority head Brad Miller, for freedom of the press.

Then listen Congressman Harris denounce Obama and the EPA for lack of "transparency". Why doesn't he want to be on camera? Harris attacks the EPA, and promotes the glories of the oil and gas industry, especially fracking.

But first, we hear the voices Congress didn't. Fred Fenton, rancher from Pavillion Wyoming, speaks of the suffering and neglect of those living in gas industry polluted zones. His is just one of several suffering as groundwater was poisoned by fracking chemicals. Listen to 4 speakers in the press conference call organized by WORC, the Western Organization of Resource Councils. (25 min).

Here is the Q and A (16 min)

US Representative Andy Harris, Republican from Maryland denounced the EPA study - that showed hydraulic fracking for gas poisoned ground water in Pavillion, Wyoming. The wells are owned by the Calgary-based Canadian energy company Encana.

Here is a link to that draft study, and this to the press release that went with it.

Congressman Brad Miller, Democrat from North Carolina shows up as the only person to speak for fracking victims and the EPA.

Also in this program: Theo Colborne of TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, tells you about the choking, toxic air-born chemicals from fracking.

At this Energy and Environment Subcommittee - EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Research, held February 1st, 2012 in Washington, the EPA witness was Regional Administrator James B. Martin. His defense of the science and his agency was weak.

As we'll hear in our concluding interview with whistle-blower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is already weakened from within by persistent racism, sexism, and cover-ups for corporate America.

This program is stuffed with audio. Find still more bonus audio and source material linked below.


As Committee Sub-Chairman Andy Harris begins, and calls repeatedly for "transparency", keep in mind his action before the web cameras were turned on. Harris had Josh Fox, the famous Director of the Oscar-nominated fracking film "Gas Land" arrested.

In our program, you hear the opening remarks of Rep Harris, a powerful spokesman for the oil and gas industry, promoter of fracking, and acidic critic of the Environmental Protection Agency, or any need for the Federal Government to interfere with industry. Even when sick citizens call for action, when the State fails to protect them.

Then a rebuttal by Democratic Congressman Brad Miller. Miller, from North Carolina, seems to be the only one in the room who cares about fracking victims, and supports the EPA. Maybe that is because Miller is not seeking re-election in North Carolina - so he doesn't need the oil and gas industry kick-back money (I'm sorry, "campaign donations") that most Congressmen and Senators crave.

The witnesses were heavily stacked in favor of the fossil industry. Wyoming sent Tom Doll, from the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. The State makes big money from fracking. Tom Doll claimed the EPA caused the pollution they found just by drilling two test wells. Even the man-made chemicals must have come from this testing, Doll seems to suggest.

Next up, Ms. Kathleen Sgamma, was a PR person from the Western Energy Alliance. She told the Hearing "mistakes happen" - but the fracking industry is still fabulous. I found her hacking at science and the EPA hard to listen to.

Note Ms. Sgamma's claim the "Ground Water Protection Council" finds fracking is a low pollution risk. Of course they do. This so-called "Protection Council" admits right on their web site they were established to sell the public on the safety of deep well injection technology. That is how the fracking industry disposes of millions of gallons of toxic liquids.

That is where we end in this Radio Ecoshock broadcast. But the hearing went on for another hour, without really saying a lot - unless you enjoy unwinding industry double-speak.

The fill list of "witnesses" (such as they were) includes:

Mr. James B. Martin, Regional Administrator, Region 8, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mr. Tom Doll, State Oil & Gas Supervisor, Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission
Ms. Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Western Energy Alliance
Dr. Bernard Goldstein, Professor and Dean Emeritus, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh

The official Chair is supposed to be Republican Ralph M Hall. At around age 89, Hall is the oldest serving member of Congress. He did ask a couple of questions, but nobody was too sure who he was addressing.

The real head of the Committee is Andy Harris. He runs the show - including running any media out of town, before the official cameras come on.

I'm offering you the bare recording from the Republican led House Committee titled "Fractured Science – Examining EPA’s Approach to Ground Water Research: The Pavillion Analysis." The recording is 1 hour 40 minutes, taken from a House web cam, recorded by Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock.

This is the big file CD Quality version (90 megabytes).

Or try the faster downloading Lo-Fi version (23 MB).

You can also watch the hearing in video on this page - but notice THEY CENSORED OUT all mentions of the media being kicked out!! The "official version" caught in the act, when compared to my live recording.


In 2004, a law was passed prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating fracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It was a Bush era give-away to the industry, which has left Americans blinded to the impacts of fracking on water supplies, and the very toxic chemicals used by the industry.

In a strange co-incidence, which company became the largest supplier of technology and toxic chemicals to the fracking industry? Remember Vice-President Dick Cheney, former CEO of... that's right, Haliburton! This
mega-corporation made more billions, in part because the fracking industry dodged the Safe Drinking Water Act, or really, any regulatory oversight at all.


What about the impacts of all the volatile chemicals going into the air? The EPA does not monitor that either.

There haven't been any real studies of air pollution health impacts of fracking for either workers or people who live near fracking. Many of them are sick.

Before you say "they shouldn't have let the companies in" - remember, especially in the West, most homeowners and ranchers don't hold the underground rights. In the case of Pavillion Wyoming, those rights were held either by the Federal Bureau of Land Management, or by native tribes. Fracking can pop up anywhere, and put 24 hour-a-day wells, generators, trucks, and pumps within 400 feet of your bedroom window. It's all perfectly legal, even if it kills you.

Gas fracking is booming all over the world, in the UK, in Canada, in New Zealand, Australia and more.

This is Radio Ecoshock. I'm Alex Smith, and here is, as the famous broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, "the rest of the story" - on air pollution from fracking.


Our speaker in the program is Theo Colborne, founder of TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange at Theo was speaking in a press teleconference for the non-profit citizens' group Great Lakes United, on January 10th, 2012.

You can download a recording of the whole teleconference from the "Energy" section at our web site, Or find it linked below.

I recommend it. You will hear so many people sick, and worried sick, about fracking.

The Great Lakes United conference call (1 hour 24 minutes) in CD Quality (big file! 77 MB)

Or try the smaller Lo-Fi version (19 MB)

The recording of Theo Colborne in this week's Radio Ecoshock show is specifically about the health impacts of AIR POLLUTION from fracking, not the usual water pollution concerns. For a video of Theo talking about the water impacts, see this Democracy Now video.


At the start of this program we delved into the House Hearing on an EPA study. I was distressed to see the weak presentation by the EPA Regional Administrator. Maybe the EPA Regional Administrator was told to lie low, since the Republicans and their Tea Party friends are threatening to kill off the whole EPA if they can.

It turns out the EPA itself, even as it is hobbled by industry and the White House, is also weakened by a long regime of disturbing behavior.

It's an honor to talk with Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, who has been through it all.

Marsha is the author of "No Fear: A Whistleblower's Triumph Over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA."

Essentially, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo went to work for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with the naive hope to protect the environment - and people.

With her expertise in African affairs, and a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she was quickly promoted to a key role. Marsha was appointed as a White House liaison in talks between the Vice President, Al Gore, and then Vice President of South Africa, Tabo Mbeki (who later became President after Nelson Mandela.)

As an African American woman working at the EPA, Coleman-Adebayo encountered disgusting racism and sexism. Then she found conditions in the slums of South Africa to be intolerable. But what probably pushed her over the edge was a realization that her role was to represent the interests of U.S. multi-national corporations, not the environment.

That came to a head as Coleman-Adebayo was approached for help for miners digging and processing the metal called "Vanadium". This is a strategic metal, because it makes other metals less brittle, when then are heated. For example, whether a car engine or a jet engine, metals become brittle with reheating, unless they also contain vanadium. America needs it.

There is big money in mining vanadium in South Africa, especially when you don't have to provide any safety equipment to protect workers from the toxic vanadium dust. Or pay for any decent housing. Or cover their health care costs when they become sick, disabled, or dead.

Coleman-Adebayo raise this issue, showing how little it would cost to at least provide breathing masks for works. She was told to shut up about it. A big U.S. corporation owned the mines. She couldn't shut up.

Finally, Marsha sued the U.S. Government, for racial and sex discrimination, and bullying in the workplace. Almost everybody loses against the government. Coleman-Adebayo won.

Her court win was so unusual, she managed to gather support from both Republicans and Democrats to pass an act to protect whistleblowers. It is called the No Fear Act. Marsha calls it the first civil rights legislation of the 21st century. Listen to her moving story, and her description of the requirements of this new Act.

It's still never really over. After winning her court case, Coleman-Adebayo went back to work for the EPA. They fired her. She says it's because she sued. Marsha is back in court, this time for wrongful dismissal.

Download this 19 minute Radio Ecoshock interview with Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo in CD Quality (17 MB)

Or this Lo-Fi version (4 MB)

Visit her web site here.

Subscribe to our free weekly podcast, by clicking the podcast symbol at

Next week we'll talk about the emergency in the Arctic, with some of the world's best climate scientists.

I'm Alex Smith, thank you for listening.