Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist

Discovering Global Environmental Interconnections

Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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Stephen:

Wrote this nearly fours year ago, can’t believe it is more relevant than ever.

Originally posted on Stephen Leahy, International Environmental Journalist:

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100,000 repetitions of a lie is still a lie

Many of those who deny that burning fossil fuels is altering the climate work diligently to confuse and delay action that would in reality benefit nearly all of us. These professional deniers and their followers can be convincing, citing well-known experts and twisting their views and findings.

So here’s a couple of common sense tips to add to your BS detection system.

Denier Tip #1:Check out suspect claims/sources with a simple Google search

100,000 repetitions or variations of a lie is still a lie. A reader recently told me global warming is really caused by variations in the sun’s activity. His proof was a “science” article from Investor’s Business Daily that said this was the conclusion of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, a well-known research centre in Germany. A quick check of the Institute’s website…

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A Very Inconvenient Truth: Gore Got It Right on Global Warming

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[Reposted from 2006, nearly six years ago. It offers interesting perspective about the continuing (worsening?) political insanity of inaction  - Stephen]

By Stephen Leahy

BROOKLIN, Canada, Jun 20 (IPS)

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth”, is filling theatres across North America – and gets the science right, according to climate experts.

“I saw it last night and was impressed with the climate science presented in the film,” said David Archer, a climatologist at the University of Chicago.

“I left the theatre profoundly depressed because of the political insanity in this country that denies global warming is a concern,” Archer told IPS.

Gore’s personal passion about global warming can be traced to the early 1980s. After losing the election to George W. Bush in 2000, Gore dedicated himself to warning the public about the devastating impacts climate change will have on hundreds of millions of people.

“An Inconvenient Truth” is a 98-minute documentary comprised mainly of highlights from Gore’s high-tech slide show explaining the science documenting global climate change.

Some truths are hard to hear, because if you really hear them – and understand that they are in fact true – then you have to change. And change can be quite inconvenient,” Gore says in the film.

Using an impressive set of graphics, he carefully illustrates changes underway such as receding glaciers, collapsing ice sheets, devastating floods and droughts. One memorable scene shows a graph of carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere going back 650,000 years that varies only a little until fifty years ago when it skyrockets. Gore mounts a motorised platform to lift him up high up the chart so he can place his finger on the current level of CO2. Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Journalism: Adopt a Muckraker

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“Should you and I pay for the kind of accurate news reporting that is needed to fill us in on what is happening to the planet?

If we’re not willing to pick up the tab to stay better informed, who will?”

Renowned Swiss journalist Daniel Wermus and Director of the Media21 Global Journalism Network in Geneva asks those questions in an April 2010 article about my launch of Community Supported Journalism in 2009. [Updated from Sept 2010] – Stephen

Frontline Earth: Adopt a Muckraker?

By Daniel Wermus

I meet international freelance journalists quite often. Most make it clear that budget cuts have made it increasingly difficult for just about anyone, especially freelancers, to get into print. It is usually the freelancers who are most willing to risk their lives to get the stories that need reporting the most. If the day arrives when they can no longer carry out their professions, we will all have a serious problem.

Muckraker: A reporter or writer who investigates and publishes reports involving a host of social issues, broadly including crime and corruption

Stephen Leahy, a Canadian, and one of the world’s best-known investigative reporters on environmental issues, has launched a challenge: if corporations won’t pay for the news, then it is up to communities and the public to fill the gap. A free society needs journalism, even if reporting the news is not commercially profitable.

Leahy’s model for supporting the news has the journalist make his pitch over the internet. The completed article can then be distributed by news agencies or magazines that are low on funds but high on public interest. That could be IPS, Reuters-Alertnet, Commondreams, InfoSud, The Essential Edge or any number of other publications and news outlets.

[edit: Wermus concludes] Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to Bizarro World: Canada and US Spending $billions to Create Climate Chaos

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President Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper (left) say they’re worried about climate change, but neither the U.S. nor Canada has cut emissions.

Analysis by Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Aug 10, 2011 (IPS)

Canada and the United States are now the centre of Bizarro World. This is where leaders promise to reduce carbon emissions but ensure a new, supersized oil pipeline called Keystone XL is built, guaranteeing further expansion of the Alberta tar sands that produce the world’s most carbon-laden oil.

“It’s imperative that we move quickly to alternate forms of energy – and that we leave the tar sands in the ground,” the U.S.’s leading climate scientists urged President Barack Obama in an open letter Aug. 3.

“As scientists… we can say categorically that it’s [the Keystone XL pipeline] not only not in the national interest, it’s also not in the planet’s best interest.”

The letter was signed by 20 world-renowned scientists, including NASA’s James Hansen, Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, Ralph Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and George Woodwell, founder of the Woods Hole Research Center.  Read the rest of this entry »

Environmental Journalism in the Public Interest

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I’m an independent journalist who covers international environmental issues in the public interest.copenhagen press pass

My work has been published in publications around the world including National Geographic, The Guardian (UK), Vice Magazine, Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), Al Jazeera, Earth Island Journal, The Toronto Star, Common Dreams, and DeSmog Canada.

Co-winner of the 2012 Prince Albert/United Nations Global Prize for reporting on Climate Change.

News media have cut their coverage of environmental issues so I launched Community Supported Environmental Journalism

Swiss journalist Daniel Wermus in 2010 article: “Stephen Leahy, a Canadian, and one of the world’s best-known investigative reporters on environmental issues, has launched a challenge:
if corporations won’t pay for the news, then it is up to communities and the public to fill the gap.“

I am asking people to provide some financial support so I can continue to research and write articles millions will read*.  Just $10 a month helps guarantee more articles like the ones on this site. All supporters receive a personal, one-page weekly newsletter. Without your support I can’t work for all of us — Stephen

Contributions can be made safely and easily via PayPal or Credit Card

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“Multiple environmental crisis represent “the greatest challenge in the history of our species” – Thomas Lovejoy, professor, George Mason University,  former chief scientist of the World Bank

“We need people like you. In tough economic times, where information flow is increasingly channeled and controlled…” – E. Ann Clark, Associate Professor, University of Guelph

*Yes, millions of readers. My articles are used by newspapers and magazines around the world and reprinted on news websites such as Reuters AlertNetthe GuardianAl JazeeraAlterNet, Common Dreams, Truthout,  InfoSudNone of these pay me for this reuse. Unfortunately I only average $175-$200 payment even if it took a week or more to research and write the article.

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Canada Slashes Charity’s Funding To Protect Giant Tar Sands Project P.S. Oil companies get $2+ billion in subsidies

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Please read this eloquent piece from Toronto Star columnist Catherine Porter on how the Harper govt cut funding of Kairos, a renowned church charity for telling the truth about Canada’s tar sands.

How can Canadians in good conscience try to help African women get water when it is carbon emissions from the tar sands are part of the reason they face drought?

And then Harper and his Minister Bev Oda lied and tried to cover up their vindictive actions claiming they want to improve the lives of the poor “efficiently”. (This from a govt giving billions in public subsidies to oil companies)

Here’s the first paras of Porter’s column:

A few years back, the staff at Kairos planned a trip to Nigeria’s oilfields to examine environmental damage, corporate responsibility and human rights abuses.

The board of the faith-based development organization rejected the idea. It sent them to Alberta’s tar sands instead.

“I remember saying, ‘They’ll kill us — that will be considered very political,’ ” recalls Mary Corkery, Kairos’ passionate executive director. “The churches said, ‘This is our work. Our work is inspired by faith to tell the truth. It’s a development issue if it’s far away. It’s a political issue if it’s at home. Or if it offends anyone.’ ”

Think it’s a stretch to compare Canada to Nigeria? A government that forges documents, that makes things up, that smothers dissenting opinions, that accuses the media of lying.

via Porter: Kairos does important work; we should all support it – thestar.com.

About Subsidies:

Every Day Governments Give an Estimated $2 billion to Oil, Coal & Gas Industry

About the Tar Sands:

30 Page e-book:_Oil Stains in the Boreal Forest: The Environmental Cost of Canada’s Tar Sands

Europeans stopped Canada’s Slaughter of Baby Seals – Can They Stop Canada’s Tar Sands?

Canada’s “Mordor” Ensures Climate Treaty Failure in Copenhagen

Report: +2.4C by 2020 leaves Billions Hungry? Scary but Untrue. Inside Story of Good Intentions Gone Wrong (and how the media fell for it)

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Food Report Released Knowing the Science Was Wrong

By Stephen Leahy

Jan 19 2011

In the year 2020 climate change will devastate much of the world’s harvest leaving one in five people starving because the global temperature will have shot up an average of 2.4 degrees C a new report released Tuesday shows.

Shocking. Stunning. Scary even. And completely untrue.

Days before the report’s release I told the author Liliana Hisas of the Universal Ecological Fund (FEU), an Argentina-based NGO, it was impossible to get to 2.4 degrees of warming by 2020. Global temperatures have increased 0.8C in the last century and the 64-page report, “The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production: A 2020 Perspective,” is based on additional 1.6C degree increase in just nine years time.

I asked several climate experts if it was possible to reach a +2.4 degree average global temperature by 2020. Their answer: “No way”.

This independent environmental journalism depends on public support. Click here learn more.

The reason is that the oceans absorb 93 per cent of the additional heat being trapped in the atmosphere due to the burning fossil fuels. If we stopped burning all fossil fuels and emitting other greenhouse gases today, the atmosphere would still continue to slowly heat up over the next 50 to 100 years as the oceans released that stored heat.

So ‘thank God for the oceans’ I said to Hisas who is also Executive Director of FEU-US when I explained all this via emails. And in an interview with Hisas on Monday I suggested the report be withdrawn. She refused, saying her organization had worked on the report for more than a year and the science was solid. It was all based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report and had been vetted by Osvaldo Canziani, a former co-chair of the IPCC she said.

Unfortunately Canziani was in hospital and unavailable for an interview. Read the rest of this entry »

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