Energy and Policy:

Renewable energy received no mention today on the new White House website, launched today during Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Trump pledged to include renewable energy, including solar and wind, in his energy plan while on the campaign trail last year.

After Trump met with oil and gas industry leaders in October, his campaign put out a press release summarizing his America First Energy Plan, which included the following statement:

The Trump energy policy will make us energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and clean water. We have one of the world’s most diverse resource bases – from abundant coal, oil, and natural gas to geothermal, solar, and wind. We are also the world’s leader in energy technologies like nuclear power.

During a September visit to Pennsylvania, Trump delivered a speech before members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. Here is what he had to say about his plans for renewable energy then:

Our energy policy will make full use of our domestic energy sources, including traditional and renewable energy sources.

But when a new webpage titled “An America First Energy Plan” appeared on Inauguration Day, shortly after the Trump team began its takeover of, it contained no mention of renewable energy, and no mention of solar and wind power. It did reiterate Trump’s pledge to eliminate U.S. climate change policies, as noted today by DesmogBlog.

Any informed plan for energy independence must recognize that renewable energy is our nation’s top new source of electricity – and a homegrown source to boot. Solar and wind power are on track to again outpace natural gas and coal for growth in 2016, based on the latest numbers from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:


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More from my AGU Interviews.

The fact that I was involved in Saturday’s march gives me enough strength, and hope, that I can watch this without ripping my clothes.

Texture of this music suggests optimal configuration of public engagement on Putin/Trump.


For anyone following the war on science over the last 30 years or so, it was clear that the general movement to delegitimize real expertise and disinform the public, eventually would become a threat to democracy. Welcome to 2017.

Researchers used the hoary “30,000 scientists’ petition as a test case of climate denial nonsense.  It is, according to John Cook, actually one of the most shared denial memes on Facebook – which probably accounts for the continued popularity of my vid, above.

Expect the anti-vaxxers out on this one.

In medicine, vaccinating against a virus involves exposing a body to a weakened version of the threat, enough to build a tolerance

Social psychologists believe that a similar logic can be applied to help “inoculate” the public against misinformation, including the damaging influence of ‘fake news’ websites propagating myths about climate change.

A new study compared reactions to a well-known climate change fact with those to a popular misinformation campaign. When presented consecutively, the false material completely cancelled out the accurate statement in people’s minds – opinions ended up back where they started.

Researchers then added a small dose of misinformation to delivery of the climate change fact, by briefly introducing people to distortion tactics used by certain groups. This “inoculation” helped shift and hold opinions closer to the truth – despite the follow-up exposure to ‘fake news’.
The study on US attitudes found the inoculation technique shifted the climate change opinions of Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike.

“Misinformation can be sticky, spreading and replicating like a virus,” says lead author Dr Sander van der Linden, a social psychologist from the University of Cambridge and Director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab.

“We wanted to see if we could find a ‘vaccine’ by pre-emptively exposing people to a small amount of the type of misinformation they might experience. A warning that helps preserve the facts.

“The idea is to provide a cognitive repertoire that helps build up resistance to misinformation, so the next time people come across it they are less susceptible.”

To find the most compelling climate change falsehood currently influencing public opinion, van der Linden and colleagues tested popular statements from corners of the internet on a nationally representative sample of US citizens, with each one rated for familiarity and persuasiveness.

The winner: the assertion that there is no consensus among scientists, apparently supported by the Oregon Global Warming Petition Project. This website claims to hold a petition signed by “over 31,000 American scientists” stating there is no evidence that human CO2 release will cause climate change.

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“ You, the People”

January 23, 2017

The tone is right on, except in reality it’s the powerless who are being ripped from their beds.

That’s the resonant fictional depiction. Below, the reality.

Charles Blow in the NYTimes:

On Friday, Donald J. Trump, the embodiment, instrument and provocateur of American animus, was installed — and I use that word with purpose and displeasure — as America’s 45th president. He delivered a particularly inauspicious speech to a seemingly sparse crowd, presenting a vision for America that would best be described as aggressive atavism, a retrograde positioning of policy that threatens to drag the country back to a time of division and fear and hostility, when some stand in the light by casting others into darkness.

The speech was replete with phrases never before uttered in an Inaugural Address. Bleed, carnage, depletion and disrepair. Ripped, rusted and stolen. Tombstones, trapped and windswept. Urban, sad and Islamic. It felt at times as though he were reading aloud from a post-apocalyptic movie script.

Indeed, some have pointed out that portions of the speech sounded eerily familiar to one delivered by the movie villain Bane in the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Bane, too, promises: “We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you, the people,” even as he plunges the fictitious city into chaos.

There were few overtures to his opponents, let alone his enemies, little attempt to seek unity and amity. The Dean of Discord made clear his purpose and his plan: It is not to bring America together but to rip it asunder.

DC Urban Moms and Dads:

If you are puzzled by the bizarre “press conference” put on by the White House press secretary this evening (angrily claiming that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history, accusing them of faking photos and lying about attendance), let me help explain it. This spectacle served three purposes:

1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of “negging,” the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible person (e.g., Donald Trump).
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Our local paper published my piece on a recent conversation with a Trump voter.

And yes, it’s fiction, but based on fact, much like the Dr. Who quote above

Midland Daily News:

So, I finally got my emotions stabilized enough to chat with my Trump voter friend — let’s call him “Forrest.”

“Forrest, what I can’t understand is, the first thing Trump is going to do is cancel Obamacare. What are you going to do about health insurance?”

“Oh, I never signed up for that Muslim Socialist Obamacare, I’m with the Affordable Care Act — that’s much better insurance that the Republicans passed!”

I explained that the Affordable Care Act was Obamacare, but Forrest demurred, “No, I saw Trump the other day, he said they were going to make our health insurance even better. In fact, huge. And tremendous! I can’t wait to get rid of all the death panels, the FEMA camps, and for the government to stop intruding in my life!”

“So, you’re ready to have your Medicare reduced to a voucher? And the age of eligibility raised?”

“Oh, Mr. Trump would never do that. He wants to make America Great Again.”

“But it’s in the Republican platform!”


He switched course.

“Here’s what I’m mad about, people that say Mr. Trump is ‘illegitimate’ even before he’s sworn in!” he said.

Peeling my jaw off the counter, I blurted, “But, Donald Trump built his political career claiming Mr. Obama was not an American, and therefore ineligible to be president!”

“Oh, I’m sure Mr. Trump was just saying that to win an election, he doesn’t really believe it.”

“But,” says I, “…You told me that yourself! In fact, as recently as August, 41 percent of Republicans didn’t believe Obama was born in the U.S. — and another 31 percent weren’t sure. It’s an astonishing disconnect from reality!”

‘Well, he doesn’t believe it any more.”

“But then, how do you know what he does believe?”

“I do know. He wants to make America Great Again.”

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