By Sewell Chan, New York Times
Is the environmental movement, like the war on terror, premised on a “politics of fear”? In other words, does it try to unify people by scaring them with threats to their basic survival? That was the provocative thesis advanced by Alex Gourevitch, a doctoral candidate in political theory at Columbia University, at a panel discussion on Tuesday evening at the New York Public Library. He was confronted by vigorous dissent from his fellow panelists and from some members of the audience.
Let’s say it: Environmentalism is a politics of fear. It is not a progressive politics. When I say it is a politics of fear, I don’t mean that it just deploys hysterical rhetoric or that it exaggerates threats, which I think it does. I mean it in a much deeper sense. Mr. Gourevitch did not portray himself as a skeptic of climate change, but he argued, “What the science cannot tell you is what our political and social response should be.” Science cannot determine whether humans should focus on mitigation or adaptation, he said.
Mr. Gourevitch quoted Al Gore as describing the climate change not only as the most urgent issue of our time, but also as a unique opportunity for current generations to affect the course of history. Mr. Gourevitch summarized this approach as “the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the human need for transcendence.”
He added: Environmentalism is not just some politics. It’s a political project, a full-bodied ideology, and one that presents itself in terms of progress and aspiration. But when you look at what this ideology is built on, it’s built on the idea that a collective threat that makes security the basic principle of politics and makes the struggle for survival the basic and central aim of our social and political life. This, to me, is not a progressive politics at all. Most provocatively, Mr. Gourevitch compared the environmental movement to the war on terror, which he said relies on a unity based on fear. Read more here.
By World Climate Report
A couple of weeks ago, New York Times science writer Andrew Revkin wrote a piece titled “Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts” in which he described this year’s record low Arctic summer sea ice extent and the how the dramatic decline over last year had caught many sea-ice scientists by surprise. Revkin goes on to interview a variety of experts on the topic of sea ice, most of which realize that some (most) of the sea ice decline observed over the past several decades is likely related to anthropogenic changes to the earth’s climate, while admitting that undoubtedly, some natural (non-human-influenced) processes likely contributed to the decline as well. Revkin starts out by noting “astonished by the summer’s changes [in ice extent], scientists are studying forces that exposed one million square miles of open water—six Californias—beyond the average since satellites started measurements in 1979.”
Perhaps he could consult the writing of noted early to mid-20th century Arctic researcher Dr. Hans Ahlmann. Ahlmann wrote a number of papers describing climate changes taking place in the Arctic in the first half of the 20th century, often referring to the warm-up that occurred back then as a “climate improvement.” He wrote: “The extent of drift ice in Arctic waters has also diminished considerably in the last decades. According to information received in the U.S.S.R. in 1945, the area of drift ice in the Russian sector of the Arctic was reduced by no less than 1,000,000 square kilometers between 1924 and 1944. The shipping season in West Spitsbergen has lengthened from three months at the beginning of this century to about seven months at the beginning of the 1940s. The Northern Sea Route, the North-East Passage, could never have been put into regular usage if the ice conditions in recent years had been as difficult as they were during the first decades of this century.”
Granted, one million square kilometers is not the same as Revkin’s one million square mile anomaly, but it is a healthy portion of it (~40%) and, it only pertains to the “Russian sector,” so, it is possible that additional declines occurred in other portions of the Arctic Ocean as well. Likely the source of Ahlmann’s comments and the source of Dr. Mahoney’s data are one and the same. But even so, they seem to provide tantalizing evidence that large-scale sea ice variations took place in Arctic sea ice extent prior to human alteration of the earth’s greenhouse effect.
Perhaps the revelation of this early Russian sea ice data will cause modern day ice researchers to scratch their heads even more than they are doing already when trying to understand the processes that are involved in controlling Arctic sea ice conditions. Read more here.
California is now heavily populated with homes everywhere. People move their because, as the song from the 60s goes, “it never rains in southern California”. The region attracts people because it is warm and dry. When the area was not populated there were frequent smaller fires which burned away lots of brush. But as people move in those fires are controlled so the brush accumulates adding more fuel to the fires—literally. When the normal heat and normal Santa Ana winds combine with this accumulated fuel the fires we’ve seen are the result.
And at least one study of wildfires in the West, published in Science, recently found no increase in wildfires in southern California. In addition here are the actual raw precipitation rates for Fairmont, California as provided by the U.S. Historical Climate Network. I don’t see a pattern of increased dryness over earlier years in the last century. And in Brawley, California the statistics from USHCN show the driest period in recent history was from around 1940 to 1975 and that the last 25 years were actually wetter.
And both these stations were picked precisely because they are in the midst of the fire regions.The reality is that, once again, any event that is tragic or unfortunate is being exploited to push warming alarmism. Media pundits and environmental activists do this routinely. And what science they may have on their side of the debate is discredited because of it. No doubt they will next trot out Al Gore to preach to the sinners about the evils of consumption and other such vices.
Read full blog and see plots here.
By Bill Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Tribune
This swing to subjective journalism on environmental issues began decades ago. But it reached a tipping point in 2001, when both U.S. News & World Report and Time jettisoned all pretense of objectivity and cranked out sensationalized cover stories about the various apocalypses that anthropogenic global warming was certain to bring to our tender planet. Since then, most mainstream journalists effectively have decreed that the global warming debate is over, that man’s fossil-fuel burning is the primary culprit and that anyone who doesn’t parrot the James Hansen-Laurie David party line is in bed with ExxonMobil or is the moral and intellectual equivalent of a Holocaust denier.
Scientific American has devolved into a huckster for Al Gore. The senile tough guys at “60 Minutes” have gone soft. Only John Stossel of ABC’s “20/20” can be counted on to regularly challenge the media’s alarmist consensus on climate change. Compare skeptic Stossel to Anderson Cooper. For his laughably one-sided “Planet in Peril” special last week, Cooper jetted to Greenland’s treacherous ice sheets to demonstrate, ad nauseam, that global warming is causing glaciers there to melt at a faster rate than 10 years ago.
No ice chip of skepticism threatened CNN’s scary story line. Cooper—who made a major gaffe when he said 40 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet had gone away in the last 40 years—did manage to admit it was not likely the island’s 630,000 cubic miles of ice were going to melt anytime soon. See full story here.
By Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters
As media regularly accuse every scientist skeptical of man’s role in global warming as being on the payroll of Big Oil, you almost never see a news report addressing the funding of those responsible for spreading climate alarmism. This all changed Thursday when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an op-ed by the John Locke Foundation’s Paul Chesser detailing how one environmental advocate receives funds from largely liberal donors to encourage state governments to impose strict regulations on all things speculated to be causing global warming.
Chesser’s fabulous exposé began: Imagine you are an advocacy group and want to sway a government’s policy development, but really want to keep your activism a secret. You could learn a lot by observing and then avoiding the practices of the Center for Climate Strategies, a group of global warming worrywarts.
CCS in recent years has approached many states, including Washington, with an inexpensive, tantalizing offer: to establish and manage a process for climate change policy development. The results are a study legitimized by government that promotes onerous regulations, property rights infringement through smart growth initiatives, and new taxes and fees on fuels and utilities. Read more here.
By Mike Rosen, Rocky Mountain News
Here’s a prediction: Someday, when future generations look back on the Great Global Warming Panic of the early 21st century and Al Gore’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (for fanning global warming hysteria with selective propaganda and gross exaggerations), Gore’s award will be regarded as even more preposterous than Yasser Arafat’s Nobel for bringing peace to the Middle East.
Yes, there’s been a modest increase in mean global temperatures over the last hundred years, about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Big deal. And most of the warming in the 20th century occurred from 1900-1940, when man-made greenhouse gases were even less of a factor. The impact of human activity continues to be overwhelmed by myriad other variables, most of which we don’t fully understand or have the ability to accurately predict. Even if we squander trillions on feasible greenhouse gas mitigation, we’ll only achieve minor reductions at the margin. Minor reductions of a minor influence. This is insanity fueled by mass hysteria.
Climate change is a natural and age-old phenomenon on this planet, predating humanity by millions of years. Ice ages have come and gone, long before industrialization and SUVs. So count me among the skeptics. Of course, I’m no scientist. But neither is Al Gore, a politician looking for a new career and a new cause. My opinion on this has been shaped by scientists, experts in the field, who have refuted the alarmists, point by point. There are many more of these dissenters than you’ve been led to believe by the liberal mass media, which have been driving the global warming bandwagon.
There are qualified climatologists, meteorologists and astrophysicists who’ve had the courage to take on the so-called consensus, just as Galileo and Copernicus took on the conventional wisdom of their day. And let’s be clear, these are legitimate dissenters, not deniers, as they’ve been branded by global-warming brownshirts attempting to equate them with Holocaust “deniers.” To deny the Holocaust is to deny a historical infamy that undoubtedly occurred, for which there are eyewitnesses and physical evidence. To disagree about the likelihood of highly debatable, alarmist forecasts of what might occur hundreds of years in the future is quite another matter. Read more of this excellent Op Ed piece here.
By Manav Tanneeru, CNN
Most of the scientific community believes that some warming is occurring across the globe and through some layers of the atmosphere. But why it is occurring and what that means for the future is scientifically and politically contentious.
The temperatures were relatively unchanged from 1880 to 1910, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. They rose till about 1945, cooled until about 1975 and have risen steadily to present day. There are several possible reasons for the warming, scientists say. A change in the Earth’s orbit or the intensity of the sun’s radiation could change, triggering warming or cooling. The reason most cited—by scientists and scientific organizations—for the current warming trend is an increase in the concentrations of greenhouse gases, which are in the atmosphere naturally and help keep the planet’s temperature at a comfortable level.
But there are those who do not share this view, and among the skeptics is Richard Lindzen, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’ve suddenly taken to reading tea leaves,” he said. “When we saw cooling from 1940 to 1970, we were proclaiming global cooling. Since then, there’s been a few tenths of global warming, so we’re proclaiming global warming.” He believes the current warming trend is the result of natural variability, where a planet goes through phases of warming and cooling and the human contribution to it is minimal. “The Earth is always getting colder and warmer,” he said. “It’s always changing. In fact, this is true of any fluid-covered planet.”
By Mike Simonson, on BusinessNorth.com
Not everyone is onboard when it comes to former Vice-President Al Gore’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize last week. Mike Simonson talked to local meteorologists about it.
The weather forecasters all agreed global warming is happening. But they didn’t all agree on whether Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” is part of the answer. WDIO-TV’s Kyle Underwood questions some of the information in the Academy Award-winning film. “We need to be careful about where we get our information on global warming, and this debate unfortunately is driven by politicians.” He and KBJR-TV Meteorologist Carl Spring agree the topic is important to get on people’s radar screens. But Spring hasn’t seen the movie. “And I wouldn’t pay a dime to see it for many reasons. (Why?) Politically. He’s a left-wing nut. And he does things for other agendas.” Spring says Gore exaggerates the impact of global warming. Even so, Fox 21 Forecaster Todd Nelson says the movie was important. “Before the movie, people were kind of talking about it but now that the movie is out there in the mainstream media, people are talking about it every single day.” National Weather Service Warning Coordinator Carol Christianson agrees. She says global warming is a fact since the beginning of the industrial revolution. “Whether you like Al Gore and his politics or not, he probably has skewed a lot of the statistics quite a bit but maybe that’s a good thing to get people to act.” As for Gore’s politics, his political advisors say winning the Nobel Peace Prize will not increase his chances of running for President. Read more here.