By Julia A. Seymour, Media Research Center
Recent years’ slowdown in global warming completely ignored by networks 92 climate change stories in 2013.
Stories citing experts or the latest studies promoting alarmism get covered more than 8 times as often as critical experts and studies.
Although many scientists say no, ABC, CBS and NBC continue to link weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves and more to climate change nearly one-fourth of the time.
President Barack Obama’s new climate change initiative will purportedly share “a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change and lead global efforts to fight it.” Although he intends to demand action, most Americans do not see climate change as a “major threat,” according to Pew Research.
The Washington Post reported Obama will include “a plan to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants.” That’s an agenda item the media will love. It was just a month ago when CBS “This Morning” interviewed Time magazine senior writer Jeffrey Kluger on May 11 who said “we have to curb the use of fossil fuels.”
No doubt the broadcast networks will cheer the president’s efforts, since they’ve spent years warning of the threat of climate change, even in the face of science that challenges their view. This year they’ve worried about many things including “raging infernos, surging seas, howling winds,” reported alarmist claims that weren’t accurate and connected weather to climate when scientists disagree. The networks have also completely ignored the “lull” in warming in recent years, in all 92 stories about climate change they reported in 2013.
One ABC report was typical, warning: “Many cities had record warmth, including Washington, D.C. where a lack of action on manmade climate change is likely to mean 2012 is just a glimpse into an unpleasant future, according to many scientists.”
Just since Jan. 1, 2013, ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs have aired 92 stories about “climate change” or “global warming.” Not a single one of those stories mentioned the “warming plateau” reported even by The New York Times on June 10. The Times wrote, “The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.” Even though the Times piece wasn’t published until June 10, a warming slowdown had been reported by foreign media outlets in November 2012, and by The Economist online in March, Reuters in April and BBC online in May of 2013.
The problems with climate forecasting models were’t mentioned either, even though a researcher at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg found that many climate models couldn’t correctly model known temperatures in China. Investor’s Business Daily reported on March 28 that “Only half of the 21 analyzed climate models were able to reproduce the changes in some regions of China,” he said. “Few models can well reproduce the nationwide change.”
In an interview with Der Spiegel on June 20, German climate scientist Hans von Storch of the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg pointed to the major problems of climate modeling. “So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break. We’re facing a puzzle. Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit)—a value very close to zero. This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year,” he explained.
The Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute looked at all the “climate change” or “global warming” stories from Jan. 1, 2013, through June 15, 2013, aired on ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs. BMI found that out there were more than 8 times as many stories that cited a study or included a scientist promoting global warming alarmism than cited a study or included a scientist challenging alarmism (25 stories to 3 stories). Nearly one-fourth of the stories this year (22 of 92) also connected (or at least asked if there was a connection) weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, snow or flooding to climate change, in spite of the many scientific critics of those claims.
Of course in 2010, when the weather seemed to contradict the message of global warming alarmism Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said, “It is important that people recognize that weather is not the same thing as climate.”
8 Times the Alarmism
New reports, studies or scientists that warned of the threat of climate change from concern over penguin populations, to predictions of sea level rise continued to be promoted by the networks in 2013. There were stories or news briefs warning that flying would become more turbulent because of climate change, connecting allergies to global warming, and others worrying about glacial melt and sea level rise.
There were 25 networks reports that mentioned a new report or analysis or that cited a scientist who promoted the climate alarmist viewpoint. That was 8 times as many as the other side; there were only three stories that cited a report or included such a scientist challenging alarmism.
The networks consulted scientists from NASA and NOAA as well as activists like Michael Oppenheimer from Princeton, who has gotten climate predictions wrong in the past. “Nightly News” interviewed Kenneth Kunkel from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center on May 25 who continued the hype, saying “If we continue to increase atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, we will warm the globe and that will bring certain risks into play or increase the risks of certain types of extremes.”
The networks also included other people promoting alarmism who were not counted in this analysis because they weren’t on to discuss a new study and they aren’t scientists. Editors and reporters from Time magazine went on network broadcasts and hyped the threat of climate change. And NBC interviewed global warming activist and former Vice President Al Gore in three separate stories.
One of those times was Jan. 29, on “Today.” Matt Lauer and Gore were discussing Gore’s latest book and Lauer asked the former vice president about skepticism of the danger of global warming.
“I want to talk to you about some polling. If you talk to Americans, about four in five people in this country believe that climate change is happening, global warming is real and it’s going to present a problem. But there’s a group inside that large group, and it’s not an insignificant group, and they don’t believe that climate change is manmade or exacerbated by humans. Does that surprise you?” Lauer asked.
Gore then slammed anyone with a different point of view claiming that “there’s been a lavishly funded, well-organized effort to convince to try to convince people of falsehoods...”
In spite of science, networks continue to link weather to climate
Weather events that did a lot of damage and claimed lives, like the recent Oklahoma tornado and last year’s “Superstorm Sandy” were cited as incontrovertible proof of climate change. Scientists who argued otherwise were left out of the broadcasts. Even snowfall, wildfires and droughts were mentioned in some reports as examples of what one reporter called “globalweirding.”
On Jan. 8, NBC “Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams mentioned a new report on the cost of extreme weather saying “natural disasters caused a total of $160 billion damage around the world in 2012 ... These new numbers coincide with a new official look at just how hot our past year was.” Anne Thompson followed up his introduction by linking the “year of extreme weather” to “nature and man made climate change.”
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi has vehemently opposed such connections and told Forbes.com columnist Larry Bell, “The fact is that those alarmist claims [about weather getting more extreme because of man made climate change] simply aren’t true.”
Another natural disaster had NBC “wondering” on May 25. NBC’s Lester Holt cited the Moore, Okla., tornado saying it “has a lot of us wondering if things have gotten even more extreme than usual.” John Yang’s follow-up report mentioned “devastating tornadoes, Searing heat waves. withering droughts and related wildfires and powerful hurricanes.”
Yang later directly blamed weather on climate change citing “government scientists” who say it is at least “partly the result of manmade climate change.”
Just one day earlier, NBC’s Matt Lauer tried to get New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to blame Superstorm Sandy on global warming. He called it a “distraction.” But “Today’s” Al Roker had his mind made up about Sandy’s relationship with climate.
On April 3, Willie Geist, Natalie Morales and Roker were discussing a public policy poll of “20 widespread conspiracy theories.” One of those “theories” was that “global warming is a hoax.” Roker was astounded to learn that 37 percent of Americans “don’t believe in global warming,” and exclaimed: “Two words: Superstorm Sandy.”
CBS was less certain of the connection between Sandy and global warming, but the network was no less adamant that climate change is a problem. On the May 28 “Evening News” Norah O’Donnell said, “Earlier in the broadcast, we showed you the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Whether climate change is to blame for it is the subject of debate. But there’s not doubt that the climate is changing. Dean Reynolds introduces you to some folks who are out to prove it.”
But was warming to blame for Sandy and for hurricanes as some have claimed? Professor of Environmental Studies Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. from the University of Colorado has said: “There is no evidence that disasters are getting worse because of climate change.” “There’s really no evidence that we’re in the midst of an extreme weather era – whether man has influenced climate or not,” Pielke added.
The networks made a big deal of the “extreme” weather and claims that 2012 was the “hottest year ever.” ABC’s Diane Sawyer said it was the hottest year the U.S. had seen, “hotter, not by a little, but by a landslide ... the red flags of warning about extreme heat all across the globe.”
Over on CBS “This Morning” May 24, Bryan Walsh of Time magazine was discussing the hurricane forecast for 2013. Charlie Rose said, “I assume there are many causes, but is climate change one of them?” Walsh declared that “It is one of them. I mean, scientists are always working on this. But what we think is that it does make these storms stronger if not more frequent.”
What he didn’t clarify is that hurricanes are not happening more frequently. In fact, NOAA data shows that hurricanes have been on the decline and the worst decade for category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes in the U.S. was the 1940s.
The networks were wrong on both counts: extreme weather and the supposedly “hottest” year on record. NOAA had put out a press release about 2012 being the warmest year, but was only referring to the lower 48 states. That’s a big difference!
As for the supposedly “extreme” weather year of 2012, things were also not as they appeared. Strong tornadoes have been on the decline in the U.S. since the 1950s, and climatologist Roy Spencer pointed out that since there was warming during this time “Obviously, the conclusion should be that warming causes fewer strong tornadoes, not more (Or, maybe a lack of tornadoes causes global warming!).”
ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” provided a rare admission on June 3 when Sawyer said, “a lot of us were wondering this weekend if climate change is somehow creating a lot more tornadoes than usual. The answer is no.”
Sadly, the networks’ bias on climate change has been happening for decades. In 2007, BMI found that global warming proponents overwhelmingly outnumbered those with dissenting opinions. On average for every skeptic there were nearly 13 proponents featured. ABC did a slightly better job with a 7 to 1 ratio, while CBS’s ratio was abysmal at nearly 38 to 1.
Another BMI Special Report, Fire and Ice, noted that print media have warned about impending climate doom four different times in 100 years. Only they can’t decide if mankind will die from warming or cooling. BMI conducted an extensive analysis of print media’s climate change coverage back to the late 1800s.
It found that many publications now claiming the world is on the brink of a global warming disaster said the same about an impending ice age - in the 1970s. Several major ones, including The New York Times, Time magazine and Newsweek, have reported on three or even four different climate shifts since 1895.
The MRC’s Business and Media Institute analyzed all stories mentioning “climate change” or “global warming” on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “World News with Diane Sawyer,” “World News Saturday” and “World News Sunday,” CBS’s “This Morning,” and “Evening News” and NBC’s “Today” and “Nightly News” from Jan. 1, 2013, to June 15, 2013. A few casual mentions, such as the mention of climate change in a a fashion story, were excluded from the analysis.
Joseph D’Aleo, Weatherbell Analytics
Global Highlights NOAA GHCN May 2013
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2013 tied with 1998 and 2005 as the third warmest on record, at 0.66C (1.19F) above the 20th century average of 14.8C (58.6F).
The global land surface temperature was 1.11C (2.00F) above the 20th century average of 11.1C (52.0F), also the third warmest May on record. For the ocean, the May global sea surface temperature was 0.49C (0.88F) above the 20th century average of 16.3C (61.3F), tying with 2003 and 2009 as the fifth warmest May on record.
UAH Global Temperature Report: May 2013:
Global composite temp.: +0.07 C (about 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for May.
Northern Hemisphere: +0.16 C (about 0.29 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for May.
Southern Hemisphere: -0.01 C (about 0.02 degrees Fahrenheit) below 30-year average for May.
UAH Notes on data released June 4, 2013:
Global average temperatures and the tropics continued a slow cooling drift in May, downward from a warm January, said Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Compared to seasonal norms, during May the coldest area on the globe was in northern Greenland, where the average temperature was as much as 3.75 C (about 6.7 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than seasonal norms. Compared to seasonal norms, the “warmest” area on the globe in May was in the northern Siberia. Temperatures there were as much as 3.91 C (about 7.0 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms for May.
It was tied for the 11th warmest out of 35 years of record:
In addition to the discrepancy in terms of ranking, the claim that GHCN was tied for third place with 1998 and 2005 is out of line with UAH which had 2013 very different from 1998.
RSS, the other satellite date set is colder than UAH and significantly colder than NOAA.
Even GISS from NASA (usually the warmest data set) was cooler by 0.10C than NOAA and actually the 5th coldest in the last 13 years!!!
Ryan Maue’s global anomaly for CFSv2 initializations is -0.024C
The government announced major plans for climate and energy policy will be forthcoming this summer. Looks like NOAA is trying to accommodate this. The data like most government data is said to be preliminary. We will continue to follow.
Andrew Freedman writes in this Tabloid Climatology piece at Climate Central:
When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City on October 29, 2012, the dark waters of Flushing Bay poured over the edges of LaGuardia Airport, flooding parts of the facility’s 7,000-foot long east-west runway, and damaging lighting and navigation systems. The floodwaters created an eerie image of jetways ending in water, as if they had been converted into boat ramps.
This was not the first time that LaGuardia suffered major flooding during a storm, nor will it be the last. Due to climate change-related sea level rise, LaGuardia and other coastal hubs throughout the U.S. face a growing risk of flooding during even modest storms.
Now, wait for it....here’s the fake picture they rendered to show what this might look like:
This is a ‘jumped the shark moment for Climate Central. Read the whole story here.
Gosh, I never knew that sea level rise was so abrupt that it would catch those speedy airliners off guard so fast they couldn’t move out of the way. The climate change onset was so fast...that maybe future archeologists will find fossilized passengers with half chewed peanuts still in their mouths.
By Paul Homewood
Originally, it was thought to be the coldest spring since 1962.
Winter? Teesdale in County Durham blanketed in snow on May 23 in what is likely to be Britain’s coldest spring since 1962.
According to the Central England Temperature Series, England has just experienced its coldest Spring since 1891. The average mean temperature of 6.87C ranks the 31st coldest on records starting in 1659, and is 2 degrees lower than the 1981 to 2010 average of 8.9C.
The 5-Year average has dropped to 8.9C, a level commonly seen in the 1940’s and 50’s. Although the cold Spring has been due in large part to the exceptionally cold weather in March, which was the coldest since 1892, both April and May have also been much colder than normal.
CET Warmer/(Colder) v 1981 to 2010
March 2013 2.7C (3.9)
April 2013 7.5 (1.0)
May 2013 10.4 (1.3)
The 12-Month running average continues to drop, and at 8.9C is well below the levels seen for the last decade, and 1.0C lower than the 1981 to 2010 annual average.
US SPRING AT A GLANCE
Spring was cooler than average for a large portion of the contiguous United States east of the Rockies. Fourteen states, from North Dakota to Georgia, had spring temperatures that ranked among the ten coldest.
This was the first season since Spring 2011 not classified as “warmer than normal”, or in the warmest one-third of the historical distribution.
New England and the West were both warmer than average. California had its seventh warmest spring on record with a seasonal temperature 3.5F above average.
Spring brought both wet and dry precipitation extremes to the United States. Iowa had its wettest spring on record with 17.61 inches of precipitation, 8.63 inches above the seasonal average. Wetter-than-average conditions were observed in the Northern Plains and Midwest, where North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan each had one of their ten wettest spring seasons.
Below-average precipitation was observed in the Mid-Atlantic, Southern Plains, and West. New Mexico had its second driest spring with 0.66 inch of precipitation, 1.72 inches below average. California had its eighth driest spring, with 2.34 inches of precipitation, 3.33 inches below average.
The above-average precipitation and below-average temperatures in the north-central United States were associated with a spring snow cover extent that was above average. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the spring snow cover extent was the eighth largest on record and the largest since 1984.
ALASKA SPRING TEMPERATURES
They were the coldest since 1984.
Alaska colder winters and springs are due to the cold PDO.
Climate Highlights - April
The April average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 49.7F, which was 1.4F below the 20th century average. April 2013 ranked as the 23rd coolest such month on record and marked the coolest April since 1997 when the monthly average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 48.0F.
The central U.S. was much cooler than average during April. North Dakota had its coldest April on record with a statewide average temperature of 31.0F, 9.9F below average. Six additional states - South Dakota,Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Wisconsin - each had a top ten cold April. Below-average temperatures were also present for the Northern and Central Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Mississippi River Valley.
Near and above-average temperatures were present along the U.S. East Coast and in parts of the West.California had its 12th warmest April on record with a statewide temperature 3.7F above average.
The April average precipitation for the contiguous U.S. was 2.90 inches, 0.47 inch above average, and tied with 1953 as the 19th wettest April on record.
The Northwest, Midwest, and the Southeast were wetter than average. Iowa and Michigan both had their wettest April on record. The Iowa statewide average precipitation total of 6.71 inches was 3.76 inches above average; the Michigan precipitation total of 5.97 inches was 3.29 inches above average. Additionally,Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin each had one of the ten wettest Aprils on record.
The wet conditions in the central U.S. resulted in several rivers in Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan reaching record high levels, with widespread flooding observed. The Mississippi River at St. Louis also reached flood stage after dropping to near-record low levels at the beginning of the year.
Below-average precipitation was observed in the Southwest and Northwest. New Mexico had its 12th driest April, while Connecticut and Rhode Island had their sixth and 11th driest April, respectively.
Alaska was much cooler than average during April, with a statewide average temperature 5.8F below the 1971-2000 average. This was the 7th coldest April in the 96-year period of record for the state, and the coldest April since 1985. The average temperature in Fairbanks was 14.5F below normal and the coldest April on record for the city.
According to the April 30 U.S. Drought Monitor report, 46.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate-to-exceptional drought, smaller than the 51.9 percent at the beginning of the month. Drought conditions continued to improve across the Southeast, Midwest, and along the northern and eastern periphery of the core drought areas of the Great Plains. Drought conditions worsened for parts of the Southwest, and drought continued for much of the Great Plains and Mountain West.
Several storms impacted the U.S. bringing record-breaking, late-season snowfall to central United States. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the April snow cover extent for the contiguous U.S. was approximately 480,000 square miles, 209,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average and the 5thlargest April snow cover extent in the 47-year period of record. However, dismal snowpack continued in parts of the West, with only 18 percent of normal snowpack reported in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
On a local basis, over three times as many record cold highs and lows occurred than record warm highs and lows. Approximately 3,430 record low temperatures and about 4,050 record cool daily high temperatureswere tied or broken. In comparison, approximately 690 record warm daily high temperature records and 1,570 record warm daily low temperatures were tied or broken.
March/April was the coldest since 1996 and 33rd coldest out of 119 years.
Climate Highlights - year-to-date (January - April)
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. for the year-to-date period was 39.3°F, which was near the long-term average. Near to below-average temperatures were present from the Rockies, through the Plains and into the Ohio Valley. Near to above-average temperatures were observed in the West and the Northeast.
The nationally-averaged precipitation total for the year-to-date period was 8.94 inches, 0.13 inch below average.
Wetter-than-average conditions stretched from the Great Lakes, along the Mississippi River Valley, and into the Southeast. Michigan and Wisconsin each had their wettest January-April, with precipitation totals 5.26 inches and 3.62 inches above average, respectively. Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois also had a top ten wettest year-to-date period.
Much of the western and northeastern U.S. was drier than average during January-April. In the West,California had its driest year-to-date with a statewide precipitation total of 3.59 inches, 9.49 inches below average. Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho each had one of their ten driest year-to-date periods. In the Northeast,Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont also had a top ten dry January-April.
The year-to-date USCEI was near-average. Despite the near-average USCEI, the extremes in 1-day precipitation totals and the component that examines the spatial extent of drought were both much above average.
By Caleb Shaw
Guest post by Caleb Shaw
I am having trouble getting to the bottom of a serious issue, (or a serious issue for a bird lover like myself.) It may well be that wind turbines are killing endangered birds, and may lead to the extinction of the California Condor and the Whooping Crane.
Because wind turbines involve a great deal of capital, (not merely the big-bucks of fat-cats, but also and especially the political capital surrounding the save-the-world idea of Global Warming,) the bullying of media-warping power politics seems to be involved. You can’t get a straight answer to a simple question.
All I want to know is whether or not the population of whooping crane has fallen by over a hundred, since wind turbines were erected in their flyways.
I think it may well have happened, but because the government would get bad press if such was “a fact,” the facts get muddled. The government is on record as saying wind turbines are good, and has invested huge amounts of taxpayer’s money in erecting them. They will downplay bad news. One way to downplay is to change the way of counting whooping cranes. For 61 years an aerial count was used. Now a new “hierarchical distance sampling” is used, and gives a number with an absurd degree of uncertainty. .
What is the degree of uncertainty? “Plus or minus 61 whooping cranes.” That could be as much as a half of the total population. It is a failure to give an honest questioner an honest answer.
261 would not be good news, but would indicate the population was at least holding steady, however, if you subtract 61 from the positive direction and go 61 in the other direction, you have 139 whooping cranes, which is an environmental disaster.
It also would be a political inconvenience, and a business inconvenience to all fat cats who have invested huge amounts of money into the enormous, towering, and very ugly turbines.
However I always thought true environmentalists didn’t care about what was inconvenient for politicians, and inconvenient for fat cats, and instead cared about what was inconvenient for whooping cranes.
When you can’t even get the data that matters, not even from the Environmental Protection Agency, it starts to look like environmentalists have been bought out by, and have sold out to, fat cats and politicians. I always thought that was the one thing that environmentalists never, ever would do.
I figured environmentalists needed to be warned. Therefore I left the following comment, (actually a sort of letter-to-the-editor,) at the environmentalist website Wind Turbine Syndrome, on the post.
“I have linked to your story in a post at my obscure website. I have also left links to your post when I comment at other websites.
The problem is that environmentalists have overused the sympathy of the public, because some less-than-altruistic environmentalists have raised the alarm, but have done so for reasons that involve political and even business interests. By allowing such people to infiltrate our ranks we have dug a grave for ourselves, because we are now like the little boy who cried wolf. When we raise the alarm, the public rolls their eyes and doesn’t listen.
An example of such a false alarm may well be the “snail darter,” which is a small fish which lives in a California delta. Because California’s climate has included both copious rainfalls and withering droughts, the delta has varied hugely, and the little fish has evolved to cope with tremendous variations. However the environmentalists involved made it sound like the slightest bit of irrigation in America’s richest farmland, (which has the longest growing season,) could wipe the obscure minnow out, by reducing the water in the delta.
While there are good arguments on both sides, the uproar made environmentalists look bad for two reasons. First, it made them look like they cared more for a few hundred minnows than feeding hundreds of thousands of Americans. Second, it made them look like liars, when it turned out that particular minnow had survived horrific historic droughts when the delta was practically dry. Once environmentalists have been made to look bad in this manner, the public is slow to forgive the stain on their reputation.
The whooping crane population was down to around 21 in 1941. It was only due to the work of altruistic environmentalists, who worked hand in hand with Washington DC, that the population bounced back to over 200. It is a triumph, and shows environmentalism at its best.
We need to return to that goodness, but we cannot do so with people who abuse environmentalism in our ranks. We are like a beautiful garden, but our ranks contain some rank weeds.
Some of our members are merely young, and need the guidance of older and wiser members. However others are rather obviously more interested in money, quick profits, and power politics than anything that has to do with keeping nature in balance, and beautiful creatures alive.
None of us much likes to be disagreeable, but we had better disagree with these people, who are actually fakes and phonies. In the most polite manner possible, we need to bring up the truth and demand the facts, and confront them. They are corrupting a beautiful thing, and if we don’t stand up for what environmentalism stands for, we are standing by as a sewer pipe pollutes a beautiful river, but in this case the river is environmentalism itself.
Shepherd or Shoot Goats in the Name of Climate Change
By Steve Goreham
Originally published in The Washington Times.
O’Hare airport will finally get its goats. The Department of Aviation of the City of Chicago has awarded a contract to a private firm to provide 25 goats to munch vegetation at the city’s airport. These “green lawn mowers” will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to sustain the planet.
Last fall, when the project was bid, Amy Malick, head of sustainability at the Department of Aviation, commented on the planned use of goats in hard-to-mow areas, “They may have steep slopes, very hard to get to with heavy machinery, and those machines also emit pollution. They’re burning fossil fuel. So as a sustainability initiative we’re looking to bring in animals that do not have emissions associated with them, at least to the same extent that heavy machinery would.”
A shepherd will herd the goats across 120 acres at four different sites on airport property. The 25 fuzzy critters are expected to clear vegetation each day from a square at least sixteen feet on a side.
Chicago is not the first city to employ animals to reduce airport vegetation. Sheep are used at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and goats are used at San Francisco International. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport deployed goats as early as 2008, but stopped because “it was not cost effective.” How can a guy with a lawn mower be as cost effective as a herd of goats?
A single one-way Boeing 747 flight from Chicago to London emits about 200 tons of carbon dioxide, or about 5,000 times the annual emissions from a gasoline-powered lawn mower of a homeowner. It appears that emissions savings from O’Hare goats will be relatively small. But what about methane emissions from the herd?
On the other side of the world, about 10,000 miles from Chicago, the government of Australia has a different solution for global warming. More than a million wild camels, called “feral” camels, roam the outback of Australia. They munch up the foliage and emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from both the nose end and the tail end. Each camel produces more than one ton of CO2-equivalent emissions per year. Feral goats are also part of this severe climate problem.
But the enlightened Australian government passed the Carbon Farming Initiative Act in December of 2011. The act calls for “The reduction of methane emissions through the management, in a humane manner, of feral goats, feral deer, feral pigs, or feral camels.” “Management” companies are now flying over the outback, shooting goats and camels from helicopters, and earning carbon credits. Maybe the Aussies should use goats instead of lawn mowers at airports?
So goats are both grazed and shot to reduce those evil carbon dioxide emissions. It’s all part of this mad, mad, mad world of Climatism.
Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the new book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.
Without much fanfare, the Department of Energy (DOE) recently updated the list of loan guarantee projects on its website. Unlike in 2008, when Barack Obama pledged to create 5 million jobs over 10 years by directing taxpayer funds toward renewable energy projects, there were no press conferences or stump speeches. But the data are nonetheless revealing: for the over $26 billion spent since 2009, DOE Section 1703 and 1705 loan guarantees have created only 2,298 permanent jobs for a cost of over $11.45 million per job.
By Dr. David Deming
[Author’s note: this article was originally submitted as a “letter to the editor” to the Bellingham Herald, a newspaper that published an attack on Dr. Don Easterbrook. The Herald refused to publish my rebuttal. The executive editor, July Shirley (firstname.lastname@example.org) explained “We only print letters from residents of Whatcom County. We are not publishing your letter."]
Letter to the Editor by Dr. David Deming
I write in rebuttal to the March 31 letter by WWU geology faculty criticizing Dr. Don Easterbrook. I have a Ph.D in geophysics and have published research papers on climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. In 2006 I testified before the US Senate on global warming. Additionally, I am the author of a three-volume history of science.
I have never met Don Easterbrook. I write not so much to defend him as to expose the ignorance exhibited in the letter authored by WWU geology faculty. Their attack on Dr. Easterbrook is the most egregious example of pedantic buffoonery since the Pigeon League conspired against Galileo in the seventeenth century. Skepticism is essential to science. But the goal of the geology faculty at WWU seems to be to suppress critical inquiry and insist on dogmatic adherence to ideology.
The WWU faculty never defined the term “global warming” but described it as “very real,” as if it were possible for something to be more real than real. They claimed that the evidence in support of this “very real” global warming was “overwhelming.” Yet they could not find space in their letter to cite a single specific fact that supports their thesis.
There is significant evidence that would tend to falsify global warming. The mean global air temperature has not risen for the last fifteen years. At the end of March the global extent of sea ice was above the long-term average and higher than it was in March of 1980. Last December, snow cover in the northern hemisphere was at the highest level since record keeping began in 1966. The UK just experienced the coldest March of the last fifty years. There has been no increase in droughts or wildfires. Worldwide hurricane and cyclone activity is near a forty-year low.
One might think that the foregoing facts would raise doubts in scientists interested in pursuing objective truth. But global warming is not so much a scientific theory subject to empirical falsification as it is a political ideology that must be fiercely defended in defiance of every fact to the contrary. In the past few years we have been told that not only hot weather but cold weather is caused by global warming. The blizzards that struck the east coast of the US in 2010 were attributed to global warming. Every weather event hot, cold, wet or dry is said to be caused by global warming. The theory that explains everything explains nothing.
Among the gems in the endless litany of nonsense we are subjected to are claims that global warming causes earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Last year we were warned that global warming would turn us all into hobbits, the mythical creatures from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels. I am not aware of any member of the WWU geology faculty criticizing these ridiculous claims. Their vehemence seems to be reserved for honest skeptics like Dr. Easterbrook who advance science by asking hard questions.
At the heart of the WWU geology faculty criticisms was the claim that peer review creates objective and reliable knowledge. Nonsense. Peer review produces opinions. Scientists, like other people, have political beliefs, ideological orientations, and personal views that strain their scientific objectivity. One of the most disgusting things to emerge from the 2009 Climategate emails was the revelation of an attempt to subvert the peer-review process by suppressing the publication of work that was scientifically sound but contrary to the reviewer’s personal views.
The infamous phrase “hide the decline” refers to an instance where a global warming alarmist omitted data that contradicted his personal belief that the world was warming. This sort of bias is not limited but pervasive. Neither is science a foolproof method for producing absolute truth. Scientific knowledge is always tentative and subject to revision. The entire history of science is littered with discarded theories once thought to be incontrovertible truths.
The WWU geology faculty letter asserted that technological advances arise from application of the scientific method. They claimed that airplanes were invented by scientists. But the Wright brothers were bicycle mechanics not scientists. The modern age of personal computing began in a suburban California garage in 1976. The most significant technological advance in human history was the Industrial Revolution in Britain that occurred from 1760 through 1830. When Adam Smith toured factories and inquired as to who had invented the new machinery, the answer was always the same: the common workman. Antibiotics were not discovered through the rigorous application of scientific methodology but serendipitously when Fleming noticed in 1928 that mold suppressed bacterial growth.
Dr. Easterbrook’s contributions have furthered the advance of scientific knowledge and the progress of the human race. It matters not if a multitude of professors oppose him. As Galileo explained, it is “certain that the number of those who reason well in difficult matters is much smaller than the number of those who reason badly...reasoning is like running and not like carrying, and one Arab steed will outrun a hundred jackasses.”
Professor of Arts & Sciences
University of Oklahoma
email: ddeming [at] ou.edu