MILLS: Russian Propaganda Machine Attacks U.S. Oil Industry

Insider’s ENERGY REPORT: Questionable actions by people at center of the Global Warming Debate

By Alex Mills

AUSTIN, Texas (Texas Insider Report) – A recent U.S. Intelligence Report re-confirmed several other studies that the Russian government has an ongoing program to limit oil and natural gas production in the U.S.

Those finding are documented in an analysis released Jan. 6 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which includes information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA).

The focus of the report centered on the presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The report discloses the use of cyber tools and media campaigns to influence public opinion and undermine public faith in the U.S.

“We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the report stated.

Even though the report centered on the election, it also stated that the Russian government has been trying to undermine the oil and gas industry, too. The report stated the Russian propaganda highlighted U.S. environmental issues involved in the debate on hydraulic fracturing and infrastructure development, such as pipelines.

“This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and U.S. natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability,” the report stated. Gazprom is an oil and gas company owned by the Russian government, and it is a monopoly.

Russia is a major exporter of crude oil and natural gas. It relies heavily on revenues from oil and gas exports. Increased production in the U.S. has increased competition for oil and gas internationally. It has affected the price of both commodities.

If Russia could create a movement against hydraulic fracturing, it might have a negative impact on U.S. production, which would reduce some competition and possible increase price.

Russia’s government-funded international media outlet, RT, “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet,” has attacked the environmental integrity of hydraulic fracturing in a report that interviewed environmental activists in the U.S. and abroad in an effort to build public opposition and government bans on hydraulic fracturing.

Newsweek published on Jan. 29 a story by Drew Johnson, senior fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, which stated in 2014, intelligence information led then-NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen to conclude that Moscow conspired with environmental groups to block fracking activities in Romania, Lithuania and Bulgaria.

“Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas,” said Rasmussen.

Johnson reported that a U.S. Senate report found the Sea Change Foundation funneled more than $43 million to environmental causes in 2011. He said the Foundation is heavily funded by a Bermuda-based shell corporation with direct ties to Putin and Russian oil interests.

The revelation that Russia wants to limit oil and gas production and exports from the U.S. is not new. There have been numerous reports in recent years linking the Kremlin to propaganda campaigns and the funding of environmental groups, attempting to restrict energy development in the U.S.

However, the energy renaissance continues even after years of low commodity prices, massive layoffs, and attacks from environmental groups.

The battles continue. The legislative director of the Sierra Club, one of the many environmental groups dedicated to limiting oil and gas production, said: “We’re preparing for the fight of our lives.”

Yes, many people see this battle as a fight for their lives, but Russia does not have America’s best interest at heart.

Global Warming Debate Heats Up

The global warming debate got even hotter recently when Dr. John Bates, an award-winning retired National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientist questioned the validity and preservation of data collected by the NOAA, causing Congressman Lamar Smith (right, R-TX), Chairman of the U.S. House Science, Space & Technology Committee to remark during a Feb. 6 hearing that “EPA has pursued a political agenda—not a scientific one.”

Chairman Smith added that EPA had “relied on questionable science,” leading to “expensive and ineffective regulations.”

A few days before the Congressional hearing, Dr. Bates wrote a paper criticizing both the procedures used during an NOAA temperature study and one of the people who conducted that study.

The study, conducted by Tom Karl et al. in 2015 (K15), attempted to disprove the results of previous studies conducted by United Nations (UN) scientists. The UN studies showed an unexplained “hiatus” in global warming from 1998-2013; K15 attempted to counter those studies and prove there never was any “pause” in global warming. Consequently, the K15 study earned the moniker, “Pausebuster Paper”.

The “pause” UN scientists observed in global warming had puzzled climate scientists for years because as temperatures remained steady, emissions continued to rise, leading some to question exactly how much influence manmade emissions have on Earth’s climate.

Bates said Karl “failed to disclose critical information” to NOAA, and that,

“The land temperature dataset used in the K15 study had never been processed through the station adjustment software before, which led me to believe something was amiss.”

Bates, whose “visionary work in the acquisition, production, and preservation of climate data records” earned him a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, was,

“dumbstruck that Tom Karl, the NCEI Director in charge of NOAA’s climate data archive, would not follow the policy of his own agency, nor the guidelines in Science magazine for dataset archival and documentation.”

Bates also revealed that Karl “worked the co-authors, most subtly but sometimes not, pushing choices to emphasize warming,” and that “Gradually, in the months after K15 came out, the evidence kept mounting that Tom Karl constantly had his ‘thumb on the scale’ […] in an effort to discredit the notion of the global warming hiatus, and rushed to time the publication of the paper to influence […] deliberations on climate policy.”

K15 was published just before the release of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and before the adoption of the Paris climate agreement.

As questions about the data’s validity arose, computer “software problems” began:

“All software has errors, and it is not surprising there were some, but the magnitude of the problem was significant and a rigorous process of software improvement like the one proposed was needed,” Bates wrote.

“However, this effort was just beginning when the K15 paper was submitted, and so K15 must have used data with some experimental processing [that had] known flaws.”

“I later learned that the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure, leading to a tongue-in-cheek joke by some who had worked on it that the failure was deliberate to ensure the result could never be replicated,” Bates wrote.

Bates’s disclosures give yet another example of questionable actions by people at the center of the global warming debate. In 2009, thousands of leaked emails were released that indicated scientists were manipulating data to conceal inaccuracies in an effort to support their global warming theory, a scandal that later became known as “Climategate.”

Chairman Smith issued subpoenas demanding data relevant to the “Pausebuster Paper”, including internal emails, but NOAA refused to comply.

Dr. Bates said he decided to speak out after reading comments from scientists who said they feared the Trump administration would fail to maintain and preserve NOAA’s climate records.

“I read with great irony recently that scientists are ‘frantically copying U.S. climate data’, fearing it might vanish under Trump,” Bates wrote, stating, “The most serious example of a climate scientist not archiving or documenting a critical climate dataset was the K15 study.”

Texas Alliance of Energy Producers3c

Alex Mills is President of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.  The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers is an oil & gas trade association that represents some 3,000 members. It has offices in Austin, Houston, Fort Worth & Wichita Falls.

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