Don’t Be Deceived by ALEC’s Special Interest Agenda

When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) arrives in San Diego on July 22 for its annual meeting, the agenda will include efforts to undermine clean energy and climate policies that are widely supported by the people of California. Yet the public won’t know what is discussed at the meeting because the doors will be closed to most media, despite the presence of lawmakers from around the country. Read More

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New Report Illuminates the American Chemistry Council’s Efforts to Undermine the Chemical Policies that Protect Us

I always assumed that if chemicals were in use, they were safe. As a child, I’d play in the grass despite pesticide warning signs and never thought about my water bottle’s material. If there was evidence that the chemicals were harmful, we wouldn’t be allowed to use them, right? This is, of course, how it should work. But the reality is that special interests can get in the way of public health protections when it comes to our chemical policies. My new report shows just how harmful that influence can be. 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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Why We Need an Executive Order on Political Spending: An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

You’ve had a great week. With the Affordable Care Act upheld and nationwide marriage equality now the law, you must feel like celebrating. But wait!  Why not carry this momentum and take another step that would increase the equality and well-being of Americans?  I’m talking about an executive order asking government contractors to disclose their political spending. Read More

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Bad Policies Should Not Get a Free “Ride” on Spending Bills

I try hard not to be cynical about Congress. I believe that in the House and Senate, many men and women of good will and their staffs work hard to advance policies that they believe will benefit the people they represent. Our elected representatives may disagree about what the best solutions are. But they are motivated by the desire to do good, not ill.

That sentiment is being tested as the House and Senate vote on a series of spending bills to pay for government agencies and other expenses in the coming fiscal year. 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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Is Fracking Safe Now? What the EPA’s Fracking and Drinking Water Study Really Says

Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited (and heavily scrutinized) report on drinking water impacts from hydraulic fracturing. The report has made headlines, but anyone following the science around fracking impacts shouldn’t be surprised by the results—that hydraulic fracturing has had adverse effects on drinking water sources in several cases, and that risk for future contamination of drinking water exists through several pathways.  Yet, yesterday’s headlines read very differently. Read More

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4 Ways “Fast Track” Is a Bad Deal for Science

Soon, members of the House of Representatives will cast a vote that could affect every American family for years to come. The vote is on Trade Promotion Authority, or fast-track, legislation that would give not only the current President but also a future president the power to negotiate complicated trade deals and then submit them to Congress for an up-or-down vote. The Senate approved fast-track in late May, after a spirited debate that raised many concerns about the wisdom of this approach. Read More

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The Science Community Must Fight Attacks on Science-Based Regulations

It is easy in the day-to-day work of science to miss the struggle now being waged in Washington over the role science plays in crafting health and safety protections for America. But that struggle is heating up and the outcome matters not only for the science community but for the country. The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, and our Steering Committee of eminent scientists and public servants, are asking you to join the fight in a Policy Forum article published in Science May 29th.
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Will Shell Leave ALEC? An Executive Hints At An Exit

Ask and you shell receive? (Sorry. Had to take that one.) It may be so. Last week, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden hinted that the company may leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) by not renewing its membership, according to an interview with the Guardian. The statement comes after increasing pressure on Shell to leave the climate-misinformation-spreading lobbying organization. Read More

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