Brendan DeMelle

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Brendan DeMelle is Executive Director of DeSmogBlog.com.  He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in new media, politics, climate change and clean energy. He has served as research associate for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., researcher for Laurie David, law and policy analyst for Environmental Working Group, campus organizer for Connecticut Public Interest Research Group, environmental justice associate for EPA Region 10, among other positions in his career. 

His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets, including a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Rural History about the social and ecological impacts of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies in 1998, and lives in Seattle.

Announcing The Narwhal, Canada's Independent Media Solution

Read time: 1 min
The Narwhal

Congratulations to our long-time colleagues Emma Gilchrist and Carol Linnitt, who are launching The Narwhal today to continue to advance more constructive conversations about energy and environment issues that are critical to Canada's future.

Check out their new website at thenarwhal.ca for top-quality independent news and analysis, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you don't already.

Before the Flood: A Must-See Film By Leonardo DiCaprio Explores Climate Change Risks and Solutions

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Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio’s new feature length climate documentary, premieres on the National Geographic Channel on October 30th at 9pm EST.

So first things first, go to your DVR or cable app and set a recording. Since it’s airing in 171 countries in 45 languages, and also streaming on Netflix and Hulu and elsewhere, you really can’t — and shouldn’t — miss it.

Announcing DeSmog UK's New Editor Kyla Mandel

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DeSmog UK is pleased to introduce you to its new editor, Kyla Mandel. Starting this month, Kyla will take the reins from DeSmog UK’s founding editor Brendan Montague as he leaves to pursue writing a book on climate denial.

Kyla began working with DeSmog UK as deputy editor in November 2014 shortly after the project launched. During this time, she has broken numerous stories on energy policy, including one on the Koch Brothers' European lobbying efforts.

Lima COP20 Climate Summit Marked By Protests, Publicity Stunts and PR Promises

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An estimated 15,000 people marched through the streets of Lima yesterday in the People’s Climate March, demanding a shift to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Earlier in the day, a group of 100 children delivered a petition signed by 2.2 million people to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and COP President Manuel Pulgar Vidal in Lima.

The people’s message couldn’t be any clearer — leave the fossil fuels in the ground and build a just, fair and equitable future using clean technology — as the momentum continues to build following the People’s Climate March in New York City in September which drew over 400,000 citizens calling for climate action.

Edelman’s TransCanada Astroturf Documents Expose Oil Industry’s Broad Attack on Public Interest

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Edelman TransCanada Energy East PR

Documents obtained by Greenpeace detail a desperate astroturf PR strategy designed by Edelman for TransCanada to win public support for its Energy East tar sands export pipeline. TransCanada has failed for years to win approval of the controversial border-crossing Keystone XL pipeline, so apparently the company has decided to “win ugly or lose pretty” with an aggressive public relations attack on its opponents.

The Edelman strategy documents and work proposals outline a “grassroots advocacy” campaign plan to build support for TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline as well as to undermine public opposition to oil and pipelines generally.

The documents should cause well-deserved embarrassment for Edelman, the largest PR company in the world, as well as TransCanada. 

But this is not just a temporary black eye for a PR firm and its corporate client. The Edelman documents reveal a broader industry campaign to undermine the public interest and attack the oil industry’s critics across the board. 

Meet DeSmogUK's New Deputy Editor

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We’re pleased to announce that DeSmog UK has appointed Kyla Mandel as Deputy Editor.

With in-depth reporting experience on topics including sustainable timber and fracking, Kyla will bring an analytical eye to all her work as Deputy Editor.

Living in London for the past two years, Kyla has worked for titles such as Green Futures Magazine, EnergyDesk and most recently The ENDS Report. Her work has also appeared on Forbes Online and The Guardian’s Sustainable Business channel.

DeSmog UK Launches To Combat Climate Denial in Europe Ahead of Paris Climate Talks

Read time: 3 mins

A welcome message from DeSmogBlog executive director Brendan DeMelle.

We’re pleased to introduce DeSmog UK, a brand new investigative journalism and research outlet dedicated to clearing the PR pollution that clouds climate science and exposing the individuals and organizations attacking solutions to global warming.

Keystone XL Decision Delayed Again? Inspector General Pushes Report on ERM Scandals to January

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Did the Obama administration's decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline just get delayed again? Quite possibly, since the State Department Inspector General announced today that it has delayed until January the release of its review of the scandals surrounding Environmental Resources Management, Inc., the contractor chosen by TransCanada to perform State's Keystone XL environmental review. 

Although the State Department was evasive about whether the IG's announcement signals a delay in the administration's decision, it would seem odd for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to decide on the fate of the KXL export pipeline without waiting for the results of this critical report.  

Bloomberg News and The Hill broke the news about the delay, and all signs point to the fact that State's “inquiry” has morphed into a thorough conflicts-of-interest investigation into ERM's financial ties to TransCanada and other scandals. 

Ever since the March 2013 release of the State Department's environmental impact statement, critics have pointed to ERM Group's historical ties to Big Tobacco, its green-lighting of controversial projects in Peru and the Caspian Sea, and its declaration that a tar sands refinery in Delaware made the air “cleaner,” among many other industry-friendly rulings.  

Worst of all, perhaps - and potentially in violation of federal law - ERM Group lied on its State Department contract, claiming it had no business ties to TransCanada and the tar sands industry. The facts showed otherwise. 

This latest development certainly raises the prospect of a further delay, if not another sign that the Keystone XL will be rejected by President Obama.   

Tar Sands Oil Companies 71 Percent Foreign-Owned - Cue Ezra Levant's Outrage

Read time: 2 mins

ForestEthics Advocacy released a game-changing research brief today documenting the massive foreign control of Alberta's tar sands oil industry. Publicly traded oil companies with active tar sands operations have a very high level of foreign ownership – 71 per cent.

Some supposedly “Canadian” oil companies including Suncor, Canadian Natural Resources Limited, Imperial Oil and Husky are predominantly owned by foreign interests. More than half of Canada’s oil and gas revenue goes to companies under foreign control.

This revelation stands in stark contrast to the talking points of the Harper administration and its media echo chamber, which insist that there is too much foreign influence over Canada's resource decisions from environmental groups. In fact, the evidence shows overwhelmingly that foreign interests are influencing tar sands and other resource decisions - chiefly Chinese and other foreign oil companies. 

Cue Ezra Levant's outrage at this foreign influence in Canadian interests! Where's Vivian Krause when you need her? Surely the Ethical Oil Institute will agree that this level of foreign intervention is a dangerous threat to Canada's future

Recall that when the Ethical Oil Institute launched its allegedly “100% Canadian” OurDecision.ca website, this was the statement by spokesperson Kathryn Marshall:  “We’ll never take foreign money to undermine our country’s national interests.” 

The group admits that it receives funding from companies active in the tar sands. Now that it's been revealed that all these companies are predominently foreign-owned, the group's claims to be 100% Canadian are highly misleading. We await their statement correcting the record.

Anticipating that someone, perhaps from the 'ethical oil' team, will quickly attempt to do damage control by claiming that this is just some ginned up report by ForestEthics, let's be crystal clear that the data underlying the report are all from independent sources including Bloomberg Professional and industry journals.