Fake Grassroots Group Launched by Natural Gas Industry to Counter Pipeline Protests
The American Gas Association, a major trade group representing some of the nation's largest natural gas companies and utilities, has launched a new front-group called Your Energy America aimed at promoting natural gas and pipeline infrastructure, all while casting fossil fuel opponents as "anti-energy extremists."
"As the name implies, Your Energy paints itself as a grassroots organization, something akin to the Sierra Club or the American Civil Liberties Union, but for folks who support natural gas," Huffington Post reporter Alexander C. Kaufman writes.
The organization's about section states: "Your Energy was created to speak out against a misguided movement that assaults our way of life. This movement is based on the simplistic belief that keeping our natural resources in the ground is the only solution to climate change. This isn't just false—it's dangerous to our quality of life, economy and energy security."
Notably, the group's Virginia chapter quietly debuted last month ahead of the state's governor's race, which is considered by local publications as a "pipeline referendum" over the highly contested Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.
Environmental groups worry about the proposed paths of the two fracked-gas pipelines, which would cross through pristine areas of Virginia, taking private property by use of eminent domain, removing mountaintops and threatening valuable drinking water resources.
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, in particular, is owned by utility Dominion Energy, the state's largest energy company and the largest corporate donor to state candidates.
Dominion has been a member of the American Gas Association since at least 2009. The American Gas Association declined HuffPost's request to describe what role the utility may be playing in Your Energy, and a spokesman for Dominion did not return the website's call for comment.
Besides Virginia, Your Energy already has an active website for Connecticut and registered domain names for Ohio and New Jersey.
American Gas Association president and chief executive Dave McCurdy said the effort will expand to more states, including the West Coast.
"The whole principle behind Your Energy is that we reject the false choice of an opposition movement that believes keeping natural resources in the ground is the only solution to climate change," McCurdy explained to HuffPost. "That's not just a false choice; it's a dangerous choice."
But Jesse Coleman, a researcher on fracking politics for Greenpeace USA, criticized the rhetoric coming from Your Energy.
"It's crucial for the companies behind these front groups to portray normal community activism as somehow abhorrent or portray it as something other than what it is," Coleman told HuffPost. "You can't really win when your opposition just wants to keep their kids healthy, so you have to make them into some sort of bogeyman."
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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