Top News

Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 00:02 • Brendan DeMelle

This week's episode of DeSmogCAST covers the Edelman TransCanada dirty PR campaign, DeSmogBlog's new report on the gas industry revolving door lobbying push for LNG exports, and the outcome of the BC elections.

Hosted by DeSmogBlog contributor Farron Cousins, the DeSmogCAST guests this week are Emma Gilchrist, Brendan DeMelle and Steve Horn. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 15:20 • Ben Jervey
TransCanada

TransCanada has bought some unlikely support for the company’s public relations astroturf offensive aimed at winning support for the Energy East pipeline.

Erin Jacobson, the recent director of communications for the NDP, Canada’s official opposition party, will be helping advise TransCanada on developing the astroturf campaign, bringing her expertise in Canadian public affairs and developing digital political campaigns.

As revealed in documents obtained by Greenpeace (reported Monday on DeSmogBlog), TransCanada hired Edelman, the world’s largest PR company, to create a “grassroots advocacy” campaign to help push the oilsands crude pipeline through the eastern provinces to New Brunswick.

A document prepared by Edelman for TransCanada, titled “Grassroots Advocacy Vision Document,” dated May 15, 2014, lists Jacobson as “Canadian program lead,” and explains that she “will join the Energy East team to provide Canadian-specific advocacy counsel.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 08:30 • Kyla Mandel

NASA scientists have brought to life the invisible carbon emissions floating around the atmosphere in a vivid, swirling simulation.

The “Year in The Life of Earth’s CO2” computer model is the first to show in such fine detail how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere moves across the globe.

The new model clearly shows that carbon is not distributed uniformly across the globe. Wind carries away the long streams of emissions spewing out of North America, Europe and Asia, with much of it winding up above the Arctic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 08:00 • Emma Gilchrist ...
Vivian Krause

Vivian Krause has spent years scrutinizing how Canadian environmental groups are funded, claiming she's just asking “fair questions.”

But as the blogger-turned-newspaper-columnist has run rampant with her conspiracy theory that American charitable foundations' support of Canadian environmental groups is nefarious, she has continually avoided seeking a fair answer.

If Krause were seeking a fair answer, she'd quickly learn that both investment dollars and philanthropic dollars cross borders all the time. There isn’t anything special or surprising about environmental groups receiving funding from U.S. foundations that share their goals — especially when the increasingly global nature of environmental challenges, particularly climate change, is taken into consideration.

Despite this common-sense answer, Krause’s strategy has effectively diverted attention away from genuine debate of environmental issues, while simultaneously undermining the important role environmental groups play in Canadian society.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 11:33 • Robyn Allan
Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain rally on Burnaby Mountain

Kinder Morgan, the Texas-based multinational that owns and operates the Trans Mountain Pipeline System, claims Trans Mountain is a significant contributor to federal and provincial income tax revenues. The company is relying on this as proof it deserves public licence to triple its pipeline capacity in Western Canada.

Pouring tax revenues into Canada is not the story Kinder Morgan tells its U.S.-based shareholders. Promoting Trans Mountain south of the border, Kinder Morgan boasts of tax refunds — two in the past five years. From 2009 to 2013, Trans Mountain's combined federal and provincial Canadian corporate tax contribution averaged just $1.5 million per year.

How could this be? The answer lies in complexities of U.S. corporate tax regulation which I will do my best to explain here.

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 22:10 • Brendan DeMelle
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. 

Monday, November 17, 2014 - 17:31 • Judith Lavoie
Grizzly

Official recognition that a Canadian species is in trouble is no guarantee that the slide towards extinction can be slowed or halted, a new study has found.

A paper by Raincoast Conservation Foundation scientist Caroline Fox and co-authors from the University of Victoria, published Monday by the scientific journal PLOS ONE, looks at species assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and concludes that, instead of recovering, many have become more endangered.

Using the COSEWIC assessments, obviously we are not doing as well as we would like,” Fox said in an interview.

The study, Trends in Extinction Risk for Imperiled Species in Canada, aimed to assess the effectiveness of Canada’s biodiversity conservation and the report card is not good. 

Fox and her colleagues looked at 369 species and found that 115 had become more endangered, 202 were unchanged and 52 improved in status. Only 20, amounting to 5.4 per cent, improved to the extent that they were no longer at risk of extinction.