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Aaron Huertas

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About the author: Aaron Huertas is a science communications officer at UCS with expertise in helping scientists represent their work to the media and the public. He conducts workshops for scientists and other technical experts and has previously worked at the National Air and Space Museum and for Congressman Jim Saxton (R-NJ). See Aaron’s full bio.

Transparency is Great, Harassment is Worth Preventing: A Response to Paul Thacker and Charles Seife

*See 8/24/15 update*

Transparency is in everyone’s interest. Harassing scientists is not. So where should we draw the line when politicians use their investigatory powers to target scientists or when corporations and ideological interest groups use open records requests to harass researchers at public institutions? Read More

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How News Outlets Factchecked the U.S. Chamber’s Flawed Clean Power Plan Numbers

What should journalists do when powerful institutions and politicians mangle and manipulate information about climate and energy issues? One of our intrepid researchers took a look at a particularly notorious example: last year’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. His findings suggest some important lessons for critically examining claims around complex climate and energy policies, especially as states move forward with reducing emissions under the EPA plan. Read More

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Shell Leaves ALEC, Improves Consistency on Climate Lobbying

Shell has told several journalists that it will sever ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a U.S.-based lobbying group that spreads misinformation about climate science and tries to roll back clean energy polices. According to Shell, ALEC’s stance on climate change “is clearly inconsistent with our own.”

It’s not often that you hear science policy advocates say things like, “Woohoo!” but this one of them. (Another was earlier this week, when the EPA finalized its Clean Power Plan.) Read More

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Unpacking Charles Koch’s Misinformation on Climate Change

The Washington Post recently interviewed billionaire political activist and fossil fuel titan Charles Koch. He and his brother David have been doing a public relations tour in response to repeated criticisms of their political activities, including funding groups that reject climate science and oppose climate policy.

Below is a brief examination of Charles Koch’s answers to two questions on climate policy and climate science. Read More

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How to Prepare for Sea Level Rise: Follow New Hampshire’s Lead

New Hampshire has the nation’s shortest coastline, at less than 20 miles, but don’t let that statistic fool you: when scientists count its bays, tidal rivers, and salt marshes, they tally more than 230 miles of so-called inland tidal shoreline. These areas are vitally important for New Hampshire’s economy, especially when it comes to tourism and shipping. They’re also vulnerable to coastal flooding, which is why the state is using the best available science to plan for the future, including rising seas. Read More

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Esquire Falls into the Despondency Trap—We’re Not “F’d” on Climate Change

John H. Richardson has published a despairing profile of climate researchers in Esquire, where he examines the existential dread they sometimes feel as they study the effects of industrial carbon burning. In particular, he focuses on Jason Box, a climate researcher whose blunt Twitter message went viral last year: Read More

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Exxon Responds to Revelation that Company Recognized Climate Risks as Early as 1981

The Union of Concerned Scientists broke the news yesterday that Exxon employees were considering how climate change should factor into decisions about new fossil fuel extraction as early as 1981. The reactions, especially from ExxonMobil, have been as interesting as the original revelation. Read More

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What Does the Pope’s Climate Encyclical Mean?

Pope Francis released his much-anticipated encyclical on humans’ stewardship of our planet earlier today. While my colleagues and I spend most of our time talking about science and policy, the pope’s message has given us an opportunity to reflect on our own moral reasoning around climate and energy issues as well as the intersection of faith and science.

Update, June 23: My colleague Mike Jacobs, a senior energy analyst, added his thoughts in a separate post about Pope Francis’s plug for electric co-cops and other clean energy issues in the encyclical. Read More

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Jeb Bush on Climate Change: What Do We Really Want Politicians to Debate?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) described the certainty of scientific knowledge on climate change as “convoluted” yesterday. Specifically, he said that it’s unclear “what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural.”

He also claimed that people who say the science is “decided on” are “arrogant.” Read More

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CNN Just Went a Full Year without Debating the Reality of Climate Change

It’s been exactly a year since CNN hosted a misleading debate about established climate science. I hope it was the last one for the network and that CNN and other news outlets can move on to debates about how society is responding to climate risks. Read More

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