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12 Investigative News Stories of 2016 Exposing Corporate Greed

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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).

We regularly update our Disinformation Database, so check out some of today's major players, including President-elect Donald Trump and former Exxon CEO and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson.

Dive into some of our biggest stories of 2016 below.

1. Exclusive: Climate Hustle's Marc Morano Turns Down $20k Global Warming Bets from Bill Nye the Science Guy

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.

2. Senators Launch Resolution, Speech Blitz Calling Out #WebOfDenial Blocking Climate Action

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.

3. New Koch-Funded Group "Fueling US Forward" Aims to Promote the "Positives" of Fossil Fuels

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.

4. Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and Afghanistan

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.

5. Ken Bone, Internet Sensation from Presidential Debate, Works for Coal Company Opposed to Climate Regulations

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?

6. Did an Industry Front Group Create Fake Twitter Accounts to Promote the Dakota Access Pipeline?

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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