DeSmog UK is officially six months old. Boy does time fly!
While February may be the shortest month of the year, it was jam-packed with some pretty incredible stories. And DeSmog UK has been busy digging into them for you.
This month saw our most read story on the site to date, when we revealed how David Cameron’s government snuck a new definition of fracking into law. We also released some amazing exclusive coverage on the Willie Soon controversy.
Soon Said What?
Soon, an aerospace engineer working at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, was caught out when telling his fossil fuel industry funders that his research papers and U.S. Senate evidence were “deliverables”.
And in two separate interviews with Brendan Montague, DeSmog UK‘s editor, Soon said some pretty incredible things. You may want to hold onto your hats for this.
The New York Times revealed at the end of February that Soon has received more than $1.2 million from the fossil fuel industry over the last decade. Yet, we revealed that less than a year ago Soon claimed he could make more money flipping burgers for McDonald’s.
Something doesn’t add up…
Even Mark Ruffalo, Avengers star and clean energy advocate, agreed; he retweeted the story! (Perhaps our meme helped super-size our impact?)
But we were only just getting started. Our second Soon story caused an even bigger Twitter storm when we showed the climate denier calling Exxon cowards for not funding his work.
In just one interview, lasting only slightly over an hour, Soon managed to attack his former sponsors at ExxonMobil, disparage his hosts at the Heartland Institute, and reveal that his employers were already seriously angry about his oil and coal sponsorships.
Meanwhile, back in Britain, DeSmog UK was the first to report on how a new definition of fracking has been snuck into law.
The controversial Infrastructure Act was passed into law on 12 February. It contained watered-down fracking rules that will allow fracking underneath national parks, and it fails to provide a definition for ‘protected areas’ where fracking won’t be allowed.
But what no one noticed was that the government defined fracking in a very specific way: based on the amount of fluid used. This was the first time it’s ever been defined in UK legislation and MPs didn’t even have a chance to vote on it.
With more than 2,000 Facebook likes, over 250 tweets, and 3,500 hits and counting, this is our most read story yet.
And it doesn’t stop there. I did a follow-up investigation into where exactly this definition came from. As it turns out, it has all the hallmarks of industry influence.
Oh, and did I mention that we were also the only ones to report on how climate deniers Matt Ridley and Lord Lawson helped weaken all of these fracking rules?
But if that isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of other awesome stories worth checking out from the past month.
Our two-part epic history series feature: ‘How a Tobacco-Funded Think Tank Recruited Scientists in the Attack Against Climate Change’ and ‘What You’ve Always Been Getting Wrong About Big Tobacco Funding Climate Deniers’.
Don’t read this one if you’re hungry: ‘Osborne Dines Former Chancellors, See the Menu They Fought to Keep Secret for Half a Decade’
And finally, Have Frackers’ Shares Hit Rock Bottom?
Do you have questions or comments? Got any suggestions for investigations? Feel free to email me at [email protected]