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The Video Climate Deniers Don't Want You to See

Climate

On the heels of nearly 200 countries around the world coming together to reach a historic climate deal in Paris, and ahead of Republican climate deniers taking the presidential debate stage in Nevada on Tuesday, Americans United for Change released a new video Monday, "Still Not A Scientist," a sequel to the Webby Award nominated video "Not A Scientist."

"Still Not A Scientist" will run with paid backing on social media in Nevada ahead of Tuesday’s debate. It features numerous Republican leaders and presidential hopefuls all singing from the same climate denial hymnal, all refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific data that climate change is happening and is man-made. The truth is 99.99 percent of peer-reviewed climate science papers have concluded that climate change is happening and that it’s man-made, but that doesn’t matter when the Koch brothers own 99.99 percent of the GOP.

Under President Obama, the U.S. has made huge strides on climate, leading here at home with the Clean Power Plan and leading abroad by helping negotiate key commitments from countries like India, Brazil and China ahead of the Paris agreement. But all of that could change under one of the candidates set to take the stage in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

Republican presidential hopefuls are more concerned with protecting the profits of Big Oil and the Koch brothers who have given the Flat Earth Society of the 21st Century hundreds of millions of reasons to peddle the most “dangerously ignorant” climate denial talking points they can come up with. That’s why while President Obama was sending actual scientists and negotiators like Sec. of State John Kerry to Paris, Ted Cruz was showing he’ll rely on conservative shock jock radio host fill-ins for Rush Limbaugh for counsel on climate science, because Republicans know the further they drive their heads into the sand on climate change, the bigger the “Hero” they are to their big polluter donors.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.