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12 Investigative News Stories of 2016 Exposing Corporate Greed
By Ashley Braun
From fake news to phony Twitter support, 2016 was dominated by plenty of falsities surrounding climate change and energy development. DeSmog remains dedicated to uncovering this misinformation—and disinformation—clouding the national conversation on climate change.
We've put together a list of 12 of our most important and influential stories covering these issues from the last year.
In addition to shining a light on what's false, we also seek to reveal what's true: the enduring dark money influence of the Koch brothers, the international military ties of the firms policing the Dakota Access Pipeline, the differences between the trains carrying ethanol and the "bomb trains" carrying oil.
We also keep close tabs on the individuals and organizations that have helped to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight global warming (though sometimes those are our elected leaders).
Dive into some of our biggest stories of 2016 below.
One of America's most outspoken deniers of the link between fossil fuel burning and global warming—Marc Morano of the conservative think tank the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow—has refused $20,000 in bets that the planet will keep getting hotter.
Nineteen U.S. Senators who understand the need to clear the PR pollution that continues to block overdue climate policy action spoke out on the Senate floor in support of the Senate Web of Denial Resolution calling out the destructive forces of fossil fuel industry-funded climate denial.
A long-awaited campaign to rebrand fossil fuels called Fueling U.S. Forward made its public debut at the Red State Gathering 2016, where the organization's President and CEO Charles Drevna gave attendees the inside scoop on the effort and confirmed that the campaign is backed financially by Koch Industries.
TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran.
After Kenneth Bone asked a question about energy to presidential nominees Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the presidential town hall debate on Oct. 9, he quickly became a viral internet sensation. Lost in the shuffle of the viral memes, internet jokes and a Facebook fan page is a basic question: Who is Ken Bone and what does he do for a living?
A DeSmog investigation has revealed the possibility that a front group supporting the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline—the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN)—may have created fake Twitter profiles, known by some as "sock puppets," to convey a pro-pipeline message over social media. And MAIN may be employing the PR services of the firm DCI Group, which has connections to the Republican Party, in order to do so.
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In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.
By Byron Reeves, Nilam Ram and Thomas N. Robinson
There's a lot of talk about digital media. Increasing screen time has created worries about media's impacts on democracy, addiction, depression, relationships, learning, health, privacy and much more. The effects are frequently assumed to be huge, even apocalyptic.
By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5 percent of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.
Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.