See Alan Caruba’s essay on the Environmental Insane Asylum here.
...or Lenin’s birthday if you prefer. The demonstrators who claim to support that ‘respect nature’ message at a rally in DC for a clean earth and end of the use of fossil fuels proved hypocritical again, leaving the area trashed. This was near the Washington Monument.
Hollywood and politicans who push this agenda on the people live in estates that use as much energy as some small towns and fly their private jets around the world to give talks while their limos idle outside. Their agenda which causes energy, food, goods and service costs to rise which hurt the people most they claim to care about - the poor and middle class all while the live the high life. Hypocrits everyone.
What happens when two heavyweights in the climate debate square off against one another?
It’s likely to provide quite a rollicking and informative time - and you can watch it live!
Friday evening, April 10th, long-time CFACT advisory board member Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, Founder and National Spokesman of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, will face noted climate activist and author Bill McKibben, founder of the alarmist 350.org group.
They debated on “Christians, the Environment & Climate Change” as part of the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Also see the Sensible Environmentalist, Dr. Patrick Moore, co founder of Greeenpeace show the hypocrisy of the radical environmental organizations like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club in this hour interview with Canada’s Ezra Levant.
Is it morally permissible to allow “climate deniers” to appear in print and televised media?
Columbia University journalism students wrestled with this question recently at a screening of the new documentary, “Merchants of Doubt.” “Merchants,” based on the 2010 book by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, endeavors to smear skeptics of anthropogenic global warming as the henchmen of the fossil-fuel industry. The film is light on evidence, as I show here, but heavy on verve. Director Robert Kenner ("Food, Inc.") traces the stories of sly 1950s tobacco reps who hired scientists to cast doubt on a growing consensus that smoking was unhealthy. The film’s implication, insinuated rather than demonstrated, is that global warming doubters are likewise mercenary.
If you buy that argument, then it makes some sense to keep “deniers” from deluding the public. In a room full of journalism students in training to ask tough questions and root out the truth, everyone bought it.
Global Warming Opposition Equals Propaganda
“It is a lie to say that global warming poses no danger,” New York Times reporter Justin Gillis told the crowd as part of a panel after the screening. He was responding to a question from the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, who had asked him whether news outlets present a “false balance” when they cite both proponents and skeptics of anthropogenic global warming. Since the science is “settled,” and “consensus” has been achieved, why not quote only the proponents? “Journalists care about the truth - that’s my only care in life, to find the truth,” Gillis added. “To act as if the evidence is half and half is to tell a lie. I refuse to perpetuate that lie.”
Wendell Potter from the Huffington Post recommended that newspapers create a new “propaganda beat” with reporters devoted solely to unmasking the “deniers” as frauds.
“Accurate information about climate change is a human right,” insisted Emily Southerd, campaign manager for the advocacy group Forecast the Facts. “Accurate information” in this case apparently means “consensus” information. Southerd shared that her organization is petitioning news stations to quit booking “deniers” like Marc Morano of ClimateDepot.com, one of the “merchants” shown in the film.
It’s hard to take such caviling seriously when the New York Times is running beguiling hit pieces on respected (but climate-skeptic) astrophysicist Willie Soon and cheering a McCarthyite investigation into seven other professors who expressed skepticism towards the idea that global warming is dangerous and man-made. In the United Kingdom last summer, after global warming-skeptic Lord Nigel Lawson appeared on the BBC, the head of the BBC Complaints Unit announced that “minority opinions and sceptical views should not be treated on an equal footing with the scientific consensus.” Lawson has not been on the BBC since.
Skeptics are not exactly popular in the media. Gillis acknowledged a tacit pact among print journalists to stop giving credence to climate skeptics. He called this an “enlightenment” that began ten or 15 years ago. American television, he noted, still lets a few skeptics onto the air; broadcasters have yet to come out of the Dark Ages.
Denying the Deniers
The merits of the term “denier” also got some play among the panelists. Southerd cast a strong vote in favor of the term: “these people need to be labeled what they are: climate change deniers.” Gillis explained the need to maintain the appearance of impartiality. “This is much like the abortion wars: what term you use signals what side you are on.” His own preference was to describe the “deniers” as “people who oppose climate science.” He was adamant, though, that these opponents-of-climate-science should never be called “skeptics”; all scientists are professional skeptics, and it would be inappropriate to honor the climate-doubters with such a term.
Paper trails indicate that federal agencies solicited climate science research that supported their conclusions, cherry-picked peer reviewers known to be sympathetic to the pro-global warming cause, and overlooked conflicts of interest.
One member of the audience thought to ask about the funding for pro-anthropogenic global warming scientists. What if someone investigated the money that supports global warming research, and made a “Merchants of Doubt” sequel about the consensus scientists? An excellent question, especially since in the last 15 years pro-sustainability and global warming research has enjoyed nearly $400 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); $3 billion from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; $600 million from the National Institutes of Health; $1.7 billion from National Science Foundation; and even $2 million from the National Endowment for the Arts.
No worries about that, Gillis responded: “99.9 percent of climate science is funded by the government.” That means, he explained, that each grant is disclosed by number to the public, making every transaction transparent and trustworthy.
But Gillis neglected to explain that studies from two different organizations have uncovered in this federally-funded research cozenage and artifice of exactly the sort “Merchants” espies in climate change doubters. Paper trails indicate that the EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other federal agencies solicited climate science research that supported their conclusions, cherry-picked peer reviewers known to be sympathetic to the pro-global warming cause, and overlooked conflicts of interest by assigning research papers to be reviewed by members of the same organizations that produced the research in the first place. In response to concerns such as these, the House of Representatives is considering the Secret Science Reform Act and the Science Advisory Board Reform Act to try to bring transparency to the research these federal agencies use as the basis for their environmental regulations.
But none of this was relevant, apparently, in an evening’s conversation about threats to the integrity of climate science. Perhaps such obstinate belief in the credibility of global warming research should itself be labeled a kind of doubt-denialism.
Rachelle Peterson is a research associate for the National Association of Scholars.
The Jack Rabbits in the southern intermountain west have enjoyed a warmer cold season. Yes our friends in the Pacific Northwest and California into the Rockies have gotten off easier thanks to the warm eastern Pacific, the driver for the warm (and dry) west and cold east much like the late 1970s and the 1916-1918 winters.
The late winter will only increase the negative anomalies in the northeast and Mid Atlantic including the eastern Lakes.
The dichotomy peaked in late winter with 6 states in the west under the ridge at or near warmest February while 23 states in the east and central had a top 10 coldest February and 9 states the 2nd coldest. Several cities in the Northeast had their coldest month of any month on record including Buffalo, New York where the monthly average temperature was 10.9F, dipping below the 11.6F observed in February 1934. Several additional cities, including Chicago, Illinois and Cleveland, Ohio observed their coldest February on record.
The western U.S. was warmer than average, where eight states had a top 10 warm February. Arizona, California, Utah, and Washington each had their warmest February on record.
During February, there were 5,448 warm daily temperature records (2,866 daily warm maximum temperature records and 2,582 daily warm minimum temperature records) broken or tied while there were 8,281 cold daily temperature records (4,778 daily cold maximum temperature records and 3,503 daily cold minimum temperature records) broken or tied.
For the winter, thanks to a warmer December (that followed on the heels of a frigid November), the average was in the top 10% percent coldest east and near warmest west.
According to NOAA, the winter contiguous U.S. temperature was 34.3F, 2.1F above the 20th century average, the 19th warmest winter on record.
According to the data that goes into the models 4 times a day, the CONUS anomaly was only 0.2F above the 1981 to 2010 climatology. NOAAs (and NASA’s which starts with NOAA data) high rankings have been accomplished by significant cooling of the early century in the adjusted data. This lowers the average and increases the apparent warming.
You can explain all the lower troposphere global winter bumps and dips and trends with volcanoes and El Nino and La Nina (also the AMO was positive after the middle 1990s). Satellites tell us it was the 6th warmest ever not the first or second warmest as the surface temperature data sets (contaminated by UHI and land use changes and poor siting) suggest. If we had satellite temperatures going back to the 1895 data start, you would see the recent warming pale in comparison
to the 1930s to 1950s.
How can we know? The only unadjusted surface data set is the record highs and lows for the states. They show 23 of the 50 record highs from the 1930s and 38 before 1960. They show more all time records since the 1940s.
I have seen emails suggesting they would like to modify this inconvenient data set but they have no excuse to do it as the Time of Observation adjustment that does much of the adjustment (cooling early decades and warming later) is said to prevent double counting a high two straight days. For all-time records, this doesn’t matter. Homogenization, the other ‘blending’ trick also makes no sense when looking for record cold or warm records.
After March is done and available we will recap the entire cold season.
See stories like this daily on weatherbell.com.
See also how Gallup reports the public believes Climate Change is the lowest priority.
I was updating a U.S. Corn Belt summer temperature and precipitation dataset from the NCDC website, and all of a sudden the no-warmng-trend-since-1900 turned into a significant warming trend. (Clarification: the new warming trend for 1900-2013 is still not significantly different from zero at the 90% confidence level. H/T, Pat Michaels)
As can be seen in the following chart, the largest adjustments were to earlier years in the dataset, which were made colder. The change in the linear trend goes from 0.2 deg F/century to 0.6 deg. F/century.
I know others have commented on the tendency of thermometer data adjustments by NOAA always leading to greater warming.
As Dick Lindzen has noted, it seems highly improbable that successive revisions to the very same data would lead to ever greater warming trends. Being the co-developer of a climate dataset (UAH satellite temperatures) I understand the need to make adjustments for known errors in the data...when you can quantitatively demonstrate an error exists.
But a variety of errors in data measurement and collection would typically have both positive and negative signs. For example, orbit decay causes a spurious cooling trend in the satellite lower tropospheric temperatures (discovered by RSS), while the instrument body temperature effect causes a spurious warming trend (discovered by us). The two effects approximately cancel out over the long term, but we (and RSS) make corrections for them anyway since they affect different years differently.
Also, the drift in satellite local observation time associated with orbit decay causes spurious cooling in the 1:30 satellites, but spurious warming in the 7:30 satellites. Again this shows that a variety of errors typically have positive and negative signs.
In contrast, the thermometer data apparently need to be adjusted in such a way that almost always leads to greater and greater warming trends.
Like Roy, I have been burnt. I downloaded data from NCDC Climate at a Glance a few years ago that showed no warming (actually a small not statistically significant cooling). I ws asked to resprise my presentation this year and despite the cooler weather in recent years, when I downloaded it, the chart showed a significant warming trend that the Portland Press Herald reported on, claiming that Maine was warming faster than any other state. The change involved a dramatic cooling of the past and of the average to make the recent data rank constantly among the warmest and turn no trend into a significant warming one. Each iteration in the USHCN produces more cooling of the past and greated apparent warming. We are now at least at version 3.2.
2015 was the coldest January through March in the entire record in the 10 Northeast States and DC
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
The eastern Pacific has driven the climate bus the last two years. The warm water moved into the Gulf of Alaska in 2013 and the Alaska ridge pumped down arctic and at times Siberian air down to the Great Lakes and east. A constant stream of clipper storms brought snow almost every other day to the lakes.
In 2014 the warm water was carried south along the west coast and aided by diminished upwelling with a displaced/weakened Pacific high, helped as it did in the mid 1970s, produce the California drought. See the sea surface temperature anomalies this winter.
This winter, the trough and the axis of coldest air was in the mean farther east, the expansion east made easier by a cooling North Atlantic. The cold shifted to the northeast and all of the cities in eastern Canada, which had their coldest February and January to March and in many places in the east, the snowiest ever on record (similar to what we saw and earlier wrote about in parts of central New England).
This week, NCDC updated their Climate pages to include March 2015 and looked at the brutal eastern January to March story for the Northeast, and the cold in the Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, South and Southeast.
The last two winters have been throwback winters for the Great Lakes and northeast.
No one who has lived in central New England including the Boston area has experienced a 6-week and calendar month as extreme for the combination of cold and snow as we have this late winter. Here in the Nashua area, February 2015 was the coldest month ever recorded with an average temperature of 12.2F. It beat out January 1888, which had averaged 12.9F. A record 18 days had low temperatures zero or below (as cold as 14F below). 25 days remained freezing or below, also a record.
In Boston where temperature records began in 1872, this month was exceeded only by February 1934, which brought Boston their all-time record of -18F. Temperatures never rose out of the 30s this year in February in Boston though it topped 40 four times in 1934.
The cold in February 2015 was not confined to the Boston-Nashua area. It was the coldest month ever in Worcester, Hartford and Portland. It was the coldest February in Chicago and Cleveland and 3rd coldest in New York City, 5th coldest month ever in Detroit and Baltimore, both with records back into the early 1870s.
The year Nashua replaced, 1888, was the year was the year of the Blizzard of ‘88 in March. That storm called ‘The Great White Hurricane’ dumped as much as 50 inches of snow in parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts, while parts of New Jersey and New York had up to 40 inches. Drifts were reported to average 30-40 feet, over the tops of houses from New York to New England, with reports of drifts covering three-story houses. That storm spared eastern New England its worst as milder Atlantic air dominated the early stages of that storm with less than 2 feet here in the Nashua area and just 12” in Boston although 42” fell in southwest New Hampshire at Dublin.
2015 in Nashua had a record February for snowfall, though Boston had more with 64.6 inches and 100.4 inches in the 39 days following January 24th. The 110.6 inches exceeded the 107.6 inch record from 1995/96. The snow that year was spread out over 6 months with thaws, not concentrated so much in less than 6 weeks. The snow blitz and the intense cold is why the snow piles were so high this year.
ONLY 1717 BEAT THIS?
Looking back through accounts of big snows in New England by the late weather historian David Ludlum, it appears for the eastern areas, this winters snowblitz may have delivered the most snow since perhaps 1717.
That year, snows had reached 5 feet in December with drifts of 25 feet in January before one great last assault in late February into early March of 40 to 60 more inches. The snow was so deep that people could only leave their houses from the second floor, implying actual snow depths of as much as 8 feet or more. The New England Historical Society’s account indicated New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut were hardest hit, a lot like 2015 in what was known as the year of the great snows.
“Entire houses were covered over, identifiable only by a thin curl of smoke coming out of a hole in the snow. In Hampton, N.H., search parties went out after the storms hunting for elderly people at risk of freezing to death… Sometimes they were found burning their furniture because they couldn’t get to the woodshed. People maintained tunnels and paths through the snow from house to house.”
The driver for this winter was a peculiar configuration of ocean warm and cold pools, similar to the frigid winters of 1916/17, 1917/18, 1976/77 and 1977/78. We correctly forecasted the last two historic winters many months in advance based on the ocean patterns. The models suggest the ocean temperatures remain in this configuration this spring and summer resulting in a cool spring and relatively cool and wet summer.
You may hear or read the increased snow is consistent with global warming because warmer air holds more moisture. In actual fact, only 1 of the 14 years with more than 60 inches of snow in Boston was warmer than normal.
During the 40 days of snowy weather this winter, we averaged over 11F below normal. Cooling increases snowfall not warming. Indeed winter temperatures have cooled over the last two decades in the United States which fits with the fact that 10 year running mean of Boston area snowfall has increased to the highest level since snow records were first kept in 1890.
The cold continued in March here in New England. The month averaged 5.8F below normal here in Nashua and 5.1F below in Boston. There were only four 50F days after no 40F days in February in Boston. This compares with seventeen 50F days, eleven 60F days, seven 70F days and one 80F day in March 2012.
JANUARY TO MARCH RECORD COLD
The January to March average temperatures were the coldest in the entire record in Nashua, Worcester, Providence, Hartford and third coldest in Boston behind only 1885 and 1895.
Ironically 2012 was the warmest first quarter in the record. Despite that spike then, temperatures in the winter (and cold season) in the US (including the northeast states) have declined for over 20 years, which fits with the fact that 10 year running mean of Boston and eastern New England area snowfall has increased to the highest level since snow records were first kept in 1890. This season, most areas of central New England had the snowiest mid to late winter and many spots the snowiest season on record.
The combination of cold and snow here to northern areas and back to the Great Lakes the last two winters, harkens back to the Little Ice Age that ended in the early 20th century.
The Adirondacks in these years usually gets the worst of the arctic cold. Saranac Lake in February 2015 was 13.6F below normal with 23 sub-zero days, no day reaching freezing and 4 record lows. March had 15 days zero or below with 10 record lows. Last March (2014), Saranac Lake was 11.4F below normal with 10 sub-zero days and 7 record lows. These were two amazing late winters.
WHAT IS BEHIND THE EXTREMES?
I learned early in my career from the some of the giants in the field like Jerome Namias how ocean temperature pools that change locations with changes in the global ocean current circulation patterns in conjunction with strong El Nino and La Nina events are important to where the jet stream sets up and how strong and persistent it is. This determines how extreme winters and summer are for both temperature and precipitation.
A super La Nina in 2010/11 (2nd strongest in 120 years by some measures), set up warm water in the central Pacific and cold water near the west coast of North America, which lead to that record warm and droughty 2011/12 central and eastern winter, spring and summer. That warm water came east first to off of Alaska last year leading to the historic winter near the western Lakes and North Central and then the warm water was carried by the currents southeast to the entire west coast forcing the cold to take aim more on the eastern Lakes and Northeast.
Similar changes occurred in the Atlantic. Starting in 2007, warm North Atlantic helped build high pressure in the Polar Regions and drive Siberian air west to Europe where in December 2010, the UK had their second coldest December since 1659 in the Little Ice Age.
Though scientists had warned them snow was a thing of the past, the UK and much of northern Europe had all-time record snows and cold in 5 of 6 years. The North Atlantic turned cold last year and more so this year and Europe turned milder. But a cold North Atlantic means colder and snowier winters in eastern Canada, the Great Lakes and northeast. The Atlantic thus helped exaggerate the Pacific driven cold last two winters.
At Weatherbell.com, where we use the oceans and sun in our statistical models for long-range prediction, we successfully predicted many months in advance these historic winters.
Boston breaks all-time seasonal snow record; California drought an outlier not a trend
By Joseph D’Aleo
A quick 2.9 inches of snow at the end of a weekend cold rain storm followed by another 2.3 inches in the following weeks brought Boston to an all-time snow record of 110.6 inches (over 9 feet) beating out the all-time record of 107.6 set in 1995/96. In that year, the snow was spread out over 6 months.
This year it has been mostly concentrated in 40 days centered on the second coldest month in the city’s history. Records for snowfall began in 1891, temperatures in 1872 in Boston. The snowy recent years have the 10 year running mean at a new high in the entire record.
California is seeing the reverse of 2012 when the eastern Pacific was cold and the coastal areas cold and wet. Now the eastern Pacific is warm due to downstream effects after the super La Nina of 2010/11 and the cluster of La Ninas since 2007. This warming in the eastern Pacific is similar to what happened in the 1970s when La Ninas were dominant and some strong in the last cold PDO. In 1976, water warmed off the west coast and a two year devastating drought followed despite, like this year, a weak El Nino. 1977/78 was legendary big snow year in Boston which 2014/15 will surpass or at least rival in the minds of the populace that experienced both years.
The warmists decided several years ago to play ambulance chasing games to try and alarm the public into believing every natural event was man made and required eliminating fossil fuel from the energy equation because it emits CO2, a beneficial gas, which by the way we emit 40,000 ppm in every breath we take into air containing near 400 ppm. Record crop yields have occurred as a benefit of the increased CO2, allowing us to feed more of the world’s people at a lower cost.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) set off a firestorm recently when he advised states not to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Yet that advice isn’t as radical as his detractors make it sound. As a state public utilities commissioner who deals with the effects of federal regulations on a regular basis, I also recommend that states not comply.
Proposed last summer and with a final rule due in June, the Clean Power Plan aims to reduce overall U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. Each state must cut its emissions by a different amount, ranging from an 11% reduction in North Dakota to 72% in Washington, using a baseline established by the EPA.
From the EPA’s perspective, states have two options for achieving these reductions. The agency’s preferred option is for states to comply and create their own State Implementation Plans, or SIPs, which would allow the feds to share the blame for the ensuing electricity-rate increases and destabilized energy grid.
The other option, which Sen. McConnell and I support, is refusal to comply, at which point the EPA would impose a Federal Implementation Plan that risks even greater harm. The EPA designed this threat to force state lawmakers into compliance. But while letting the feds call the shots may seem risky, it will force them to own the individual implementation plans and the overall regulation. This also places the feds in a legally tenuous position that is fraught with political repercussions.
States choosing to comply with the regulation have until next summer to submit their SIPs. They can achieve emissions reductions through four “building blocks” - reducing coal use, increasing natural-gas use, using more renewable and nuclear energy, and enhancing energy-efficiency standards.
No matter which building blocks the states use, electricity rates are expected to soar. According to a recent study by NERA Economic Consulting, electricity costs will increase by as much as $366 billion between 2017 and 2031, with 43 states seeing double-digit rate increases each year. Coal-dependent states like Utah, Wyoming and Montana will see their rates increase the most - an estimated 20%, 18% and 16%, respectively, each year. Less coal-dependent states will likely see their rates increase by around 10%.
Moreover, in a 2014 report the North American Electric Reliability Corp. warned of threats to the stability of the U.S. energy grid as the regulation moves toward full implementation in 2030. “Constructing the resource additions, as well as the expected transmission enhancements,” NERC said, “may represent a significant reliability challenge given the constrained time period for implementation.”
Any state that doesn’t comply will be assigned a federal plan. But the problem for the EPA is that the federal government lacks the legal authority under either the Constitution or the Clean Air Act to enforce most of the regulation’s “building blocks” without states’ acquiescence. This severely limits the EPA’s ability to tailor a federal plan to a state’s unique needs.
Any federal plan will likely rely heavily on building block No. 1 - reducing coal usage - which will require draconian cuts to the number of coal-reliant power plants in noncompliant states. The likely result will be even greater electricity-rate increases than if states were to draft their own plans.
Proponents of the Clean Power Plan therefore argue that any state lawmakers who oppose the regulation - not the EPA that created it - will be responsible for higher energy costs. As such, they argue, states opposed to the EPA’s demands should comply with the regulation to prevent even greater harm.
This argument should be dismissed out of hand. While the short-term effects may be painful, the long-term consequences of submitting to this federal power grab are far worse.
For one, compliant states will enter into a “Mother may I?” relationship with the federal government. Not only will the initial SIP require the EPA’s blessing, so will any future modifications. This gives the EPA de facto veto power over any proposed state energy regulations, thus centralizing all energy decisions in Washington.
Compliance also would absolve the federal government of accountability once the disasters of this regulation begin to unfold. The regulation is designed so states will share blame with the EPA when electricity rates skyrocket. If federal regulators want to raise Americans’ electricity bills by thousands of dollars each year, they can do that. State lawmakers would be wise to let them walk that road alone.
The more states that refuse to give in to the EPA’s demands, the more likely it is that the agency will be forced to hold back the most burdensome elements of its Clean Power Plan. This could mean anything from nonenforcement to amending provisions of the regulation to mitigate their impact.
All of this assumes the regulation will ultimately go into effect, which is far from certain. Thirteen states are challenging the plan in federal court as unconstitutional and in violation of the Clean Air Act. Such liberal legal scholars as Harvard Law School’s Laurence Tribe have supported this position.
With the first SIPs not due until June 2016, state lawmakers still have plenty of time to weigh their options. As they do, they should understand the long-term implications of their final decision. Giving in to Washington’s demands might seem like the easy option now, but it will ultimately do far more harm in the long run.
Mr. Hill is a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.
Apr 19, 2015
“To the Museums of Science and Natural History” - An Open Response
A recent public letter, “To the Museums of Science and Natural History,” demands that museums in the United States accept no charitable donations from companies involved with fossil fuels. The idea that the world can or should abandon fossil fuels is deeply wrong-headed, not just from a scientific perspective, but also from a humanitarian perspective.
For thousands of years only a small fraction of mankind lived well while the rest faced poverty, filth, hunger and disease. That has all changed over the past century and a half, thanks to the use of fossil fuels. The benefits of low-cost and abundant energy from fossil fuels have permitted a standard of living for most of society that exceeds the wildest dreams of past elites. Today China, India and other developing countries are lifting hundreds of millions of people out of deprivation by the greater use of fossil fuels. Despite these clear benefits, a movement has emerged that demonizes fossil fuels and anyone who questions the dogma that a near-term climate catastrophe is upon us. The letter is a good example of the movement’s tactics.
Nearly everyone today is instinctively an environmentalist. Most recognize that fossil fuels must be extracted responsibly, minimizing environmental damage from mining and drilling operations, and with due consideration of costs and benefits. Similarly, fossil fuels must be used responsibly, deploying technologies that minimize emissions of real pollutants such as fly ash, carbon monoxide, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds. If fully cleansed of such real pollutants, the exhaust from fossil-fuel combustion contains very nearly the same components, and in comparable proportions to those of a baby’s breath: a little oxygen, nitrogen, water vapor (H20) and carbon dioxide (CO2). So far the movement has not declared water vapor to be a pollutant, but for several decades it has mounted a vigorous, extensive and expensive propaganda campaign to demonize CO2.
Atmospheric CO2 is beneficial and it is not a pollutant. It is, in fact, the most important food for life on Earth. Without CO2 in the atmosphere our planet would be as dead as Mars. At current CO2 levels of about 400 parts per million, the Earth remains in a CO2 famine compared to levels of 1000 parts per million and higher that have prevailed since the Cambrian period, some 550 million years ago. The world has already shown noticeable “greening” because plants are growing better and more extensively due to the modest increases of atmospheric CO2 seen over the past century.
However, the movement has promoted a multitude of scary scenarios associated with CO2, none of which have come to pass. Why doesn’t the letter contain the earlier favored phrase, “global warming?” Most likely because precise satellite measurements have shown there has been no global warming of Earth’s atmosphere for nearly 20 years, in stark contrast to the alarming predictions of the movement and deeply flawed computer models, most of which do not predict catastrophe anyway.
Instead of arguments based on science and facts, the movement labels any who question their dogma as “deniers,” funded, according to the letter, by “climate-change-denying organizations spending over $67 million since 1997 to fund groups denying climate change science.” The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Orders of magnitude more funding has been given by governments and foundations to organizations and individuals charged with “scientifically” proving the alleged evils of CO2 and inventing ways to cope with it. In 2011 alone, ten large foundations donated $577 million to environmental causes, nearly ten times more than the total funding since 1997 to the so-called “deniers.” And that does not count tens of billions of dollars from the government and other foundations. Apparently the movement’s scientific case is so weak that they feel threatened by any research that does not support their doctrine.
We applaud support for informative studies of the climate, for example, ocean monitoring programs, satellite instruments, or meteorological networks with high-quality data archives. This work needs no defense from scientific challenges, regardless of the source of funding. The honest scientists responsible for much of this excellent work cannot be blamed for the excesses of the anti-fossil fuel movement. But the signers of the letter include some of the biggest feeders at the climate trough, who benefit from millions of dollars of funding every year for research empires, which, in many cases, stoke a propaganda mill instead of producing real science. In the interests of transparency and intellectual integrity, the signatories of the “To the Museums” letter should have each revealed their annual and cumulative climate funding.
The criterion for valid science has been succinctly stated by physics Nobel Laureate, Richard Feynman: “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess or what his name is, if it disagrees with experiment it;s wrong.” Experiments-observations-do not support the movement’s alarming scenarios.
We, the undersigned, urge museum managements to reject the exceptionally bad and misguided advice in the letter. Abandoning fossil fuels, aside from the economic impossibility of that proposition, would not help the environment but would likely harm it, and would be profoundly anti-human and immoral. Without the benefits of low-cost and abundant energy from fossil fuels, much of the world’s poor today and in the future would be condemned to continued poverty, ignorance and exploitation.
Click here to view a pdf file of the signatories of this letter.
TO ADD YOUR NAME
We welcome additional signers, both US and non-US citizens, who are informed about CO2 and climate. If you would like to add your name, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and a short affiliation, analogous to that of other signers. Also include a brief paragraph to show that you are familiar with the facts of climate and CO2, either as a scientist, a meteorologist, an engineer, or an informed person with another occupation. We will review this paragraph and add your name to the list if we judge that you base your opinions on knowledge. Neither information from this paragraph, nor your e-mail address, will be made public.
Apr 09, 2015
Global warming didn’t give Malia asthma; WV students can debate global warming
“President Obama says that climate change became a personal issue for him when his older daughter Malia, now 16, was rushed to the emergency room with an asthma attack when she was just a toddler,” ABC News reports.
The President explained in a one-on-one interview with ABC News health editor, Dr. Richard Besser: “Well you know Malia had asthma when she was 4 and because we had good health insurance, we were able to knock it out early… And if we can make sure that our responses to the environment are reducing those incidents, that’s something that I think every parent would wish for...”
Is there any sillier justification for pricing low-income families out of affordable power, or for EPA to seize control of State electricity markets, than the one the President just gave?
Carbon dioxide, the substance targeted by EPA’s Clean Power Plan, is not a lung irritant and does not contribute to respiratory problems. At most, the CPP would reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations a few parts per million by century’s end. What biological difference could that make to children, when their exhaled breath contains about 40,000 parts CO2 per million?
Obama argues that CO2 emissions cause global warming, which in turn increases ozone smog, which then causes asthma. But how can that be so when, despite global warming, smog-forming emissions and ozone levels have declined, decade-by-decade, since the 1970s? Besides, asthma-related hospital admissions are lower in summer than in winter, and childhood asthma rates have gone up as smog levels have gone down. Those facts indicate that air quality is an increasingly unimportant factor in childhood asthma.
Obama plays the asthma card because, as explained in a secret strategy memo, obtained via FOIA by my colleague Chris Horner, the public won’t care about climate change unless it is repackaged as a threat to children’s health.
President’s smoking more likely to cause daughter’s health problem than climate change.
President Obama blames global warming for his daughter’s asthma. Today that’s politically useful spin, but the science says something different. If you’re looking for a culprit, it just might be Malia’s dad.
In an interview Wednesday, in support of a new White House climate change awareness campaign, the president noted that his 16-year-old daughter had asthma when she was 4. He said that as a father, when your child says she has trouble breathing, “the fright you feel is terrible.” Fortunately, doctors were able to treat Malia’s condition quickly.
The president connected his daughter’s malady to global climate change. In a discussion Tuesday, he said “all of our families are going to be vulnerable” to global warming-induced health risks because “you can’t cordon yourself off from air or from climate.”
A White House fact sheet connected the dots, saying that asthma rates have more than doubled in the past 30 years, and that “climate change is putting these individuals and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital” like Malia.
The good news is that there is less reason for alarm than the White House suggests. The Environmental Protection Agency cautions that “outdoor air pollution and pollen may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma.” Yet the EPA also reports that our air quality has substantially improved; aggregate emissions of common pollutants have decreased 62% between 1980 and 2013. It is unlikely that cleaner air is causing the increase in asthma.
Whether there is a link between asthma and global warming, Malia herself hasn’t really experienced much. The high school junior was born in 1998, when temperatures spiked. By some measurements, the world hasn’t warmed significantly since then.
Which brings us back to her father and his Marlboros. The president, who quit smoking years ago, has long kept his tobacco use out of doors. That’s a common-sense tactic for folks who have trouble quitting. But sometimes, science can show that common sense has less sense than you think.
Research funded by the National Institutes of Health has shown that smoking outside doesn’t totally protect children from secondhand smoke. Even when smoking is done outside, nicotine in infants’ hair is five times higher for babies with outside smoking parents than non-smoking parents. Smoking-related chemicals in infants’ urine is seven times higher. Other studies have found similar results.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “tobacco smoke is one of the most common asthma triggers,” and “if you have asthma, it’s important that you avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.”
Still organizations I once supported (I had asthma as my father smoked cigars) like the American Lung Associations allowed themselves to be infiltrated by the EPA (one of the board members) and benefiting from a $43M in goverment grants with an EPA member on their board of directors, they were willing to do unsupportable ads like the baby carriage in front of congress to appeal to emotions and support the EPA’s regulatory war on the economy,
Victory as WV School Board allows students to debate global warming
The West Virginia Board of Education voted yesterday to put an end to months of controversy and open up teaching standards to permit students to consider both sides in the climate debate.
The Board voted 6-2 in favor of amending the standards to, as the Charleston Daily Mail reports, “allow students to use scientific models to form their own conclusions on the debated topic.”
“Supporters of the changes, including board members Wade Linger and Tom Campbell, argued that ‘science is never settled’ and that debate will lead students into a deeper understanding of the issue,” the paper added.
The vote represents a significant victory for student rights and for science. The scientific method demands consideration of all data, without regard for the impact this may have on a cherished theory. Open minds and free debate are essential to science and climate science is no exception.
When the Board voted in December to amend teaching standards to allow students to consider both sides in the climate debate, global warming pressure groups were apoplectic.
They ridiculed the Board and demanded it drop its revised standards and ban facts which question the man-made global warming narrative from the classroom.
CFACT Executive Director Craig Rucker, Marc Morano, who edits CFACT’s Climate Depot news and information service and a contingent of students from CFACT Collegians chapters at the University of West Virginia and Marshall University testified before the Board, which voted in January to temporarily pull back the amended standards and further consider the matter.
CFACT also asked readers to submit comments to the Board and large numbers did. Sources close to the West Virginia Board report that CFACT readers submitted thoughtful and persuasive comments that made a significant impact on the proceedings.
The original standards forced students to only consider “rises” in temperature. The amended standards substitute “changes” and permits students to consider “natural forces” as well as human activity when they study the climate.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would do the world a lot of good if it adopts similar standards.
Thanks to everyone who emailed their comment to the Board. Your voices were heard. Well done!
Here’s the comment CFACT sent in
Protect students’ rights to all the facts about the climate
The Board of Education should ensure that its science standards permit students to examine and learn from all the data and analysis about global warming.
Must students be made ignorant of scientific data which shows that over the last 18 years climate computer models have consistently projected a warmer world than scientific observations record? Global warming has not occurred as projected during the entire lifetime of today’s school children.
Should the actual recorded data of world temperature, sea levels, storms, droughts, floods and all the rest be banned from our classrooms? Is comparing this data to the pronouncements of highly funded global warming pressure groups heresy?
Claims of an overwhelming scientific global warming consensus have been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked.
The discussion is far from over. The true mind of science remains open to new data and alternative explanations. Whether and how much of the approximately 1/2 degree C of warming which occurred in the latter half of the 20th century is due to human industry has not been conclusively established. Neither have any of the incredibly expensive “solutions” proposed to address any global warming been shown to be meaningfully effective or worth their tremendous cost.
The Board owes every child an open-minded education free of indoctrination.
Alarmists, greens, the administration, the minority party and the compliant media all with their heads up their a.., would prefer to see the public and young people kept in the dark with their heads…
P. J. O’Rourke said it best:
“There’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. Maybe climate change is a threat, and maybe climate change has been tarted up by climatologists trolling for research grant cash. It doesn’t matter. There are 1.3 billion people in China, and they all want a Buick. Actually, if you go more than a mile or two outside China’s big cities, the wants are more basic. People want a hot plate and a piece of methane-emitting cow to cook on it. They want a carbon-belching moped, and some CO2-disgorging heat in their houses in the winter. And air-conditioning wouldn’t be considered an imposition, if you’ve ever been to China in the summer.
“Now I want you to dress yourself in sturdy clothing and arm yourself however you like - a stiff shot of gin would be my recommendation - and I want you to go tell 1.3 billion Chinese they can never have a Buick.
“Then, assuming the Sierra Club helicopter has rescued you in time, I want you to go tell a billion people in India the same thing.”
My advise is to stop wasting time on stuff you can’t change and focus your efforts on the real climate change - “let’s work on making our culture less toxic and harmful to children and families.”
According to RSS, this year so far is even lower down the rankings in 8th place. See in this WAPO story how the nonsense from Seth and Romm and the warmists and enviro extremists in the capitol, have cost DC gardeners and horticulturalists dearly the last two years.
Given the weak El Nino conditions in place since last April, there is nothing out of the ordinary about the satellite rankings.
We have been repeatedly assured for the past year that satellite temperatures would catch up with the surface datasets. They have not, and instead the latter continue to diverge more and more.
The alarmist tactic now is to tell us to simply ignore the satellite data, as it is “not measuring the same thing”, and is therefore somehow irrelevant. This is all highly amusing, as the UK Met Office, back in 2013, was reassuring us that the surface datasets were reliable as:
“Changes in temperature observed in surface data records are corroborated by records of temperatures in the troposphere recorded by satellites”
This divergence is now becoming the elephant in the room, which the likes of NASA and their media allies are desperately trying to ignore.
It is time that the matter was fully investigated by a properly independent inquiry.
Icecap Note: The theory remember has the warmth trapped in the atmosphere by CO2 and H2Ov and other gases and some of the heat rerdiated back. The modles have the warming greater aloft than at the ground. The greater warming at the surface is the signature of the UHI effect.
Also NOAA and NASA have not cooperated on the corruption of the surface data but on a prodigious work of science fiction, the GCRP, which the demagogue party, the radical enviros and their allies in the MSM will use to eliminate our most reliable workhorse energy sources and drive up prices, hurting the poor and middle class.
Democrats’ attempts to paralyze climate skeptics in academia, think tanks, and companies, using intimidating letters threatening a federal investigation into their funding connections, backfired. They opened a Pandora’s Box of questions concerning where climate alarmists get their money. Now Democrat Senators Barbara Boxer (CA), Ed Markey (MA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Democrat Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva have egg on their faces.
Public-choice economics explains politicians and bureaucrats are as self-interested as anyone. They seek expanded authority and bigger budgets. Because the federal government and left-wing foundations provide the vast bulk of climate research funding, funding from these two sources certainly should undergo at least as much scrutiny as funding from private industry.
Nearly all university-based climate scientists are funded mainly by federal grants, and the ideological and political goals of those authorizing the grants could reasonably be expected to affect the kind of research universities and researchers undertake. The conflict between gaining research money and scientific integrity puts sound but nonconformist science at a crushing disadvantage.
Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State University’s notorious ClimateGate email scandal figure, has garnered close to $6 million promoting scary scientific conclusions serving government’s goal of control over energy sources, $3.6 million of it from the National Science Foundation. Both PSU and the NSF conducted investigations absolving Mann of any wrongdoing in ClimateGate, but with the offending institutions effectively investigating one of their own, would anyone expect a different outcome?
Influence, Conflicts of Interest
Princeton professor Michael Oppenheimer has written more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and testified before Congress on multiple occasions. He was the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior scientist (1981-2002) and remains as science advisor to the multimillion-dollar lobbying group (2013 assets: $208.7 million). EDF has received $2.8 million in federal grants since 2008, spent $11.3 million on lobbying, and has 55 people on 32 federal advisory committees.
Since 2008, EDF has received 3,332 grants from 600 foundations, totaling $544,487,562. EDF is deeply rooted in left-wing foundation agendas. Oppenheimer’s professorship is supported in part by private equity tycoon Carl Ferenbach’s High Meadows Foundation, which has given Princeton $6.5 million and the Environmental Defense Fund $6 million. Ferenbach is both EDF’s Chairman of the Board and a trustee of Princeton, suggesting a strong conflict of interest.
The proudly progressive Center for American Progress (CAP) has five people on federal advisory committees, spent $3.6 million on lobbying, and gave $312,400 to Democrat candidates in 2014. CAP Senior Fellow and Chief Science Advisor Joe Romm has testified before Congress on global warming and coauthored numerous peer-reviewed studies. Yet Romm failed to file conflict-of-interest disclosures for an article in Environmental Research Letters although the journal explicitly requires it.
Since 2004, CAP has been supported by left-wing foundations including Marilsa (Getty Oil fortune, $7 million), Rockefeller (Standard Oil fortune, $5 million), Sea Change (ties to Russian oil money laundering, $4.8 million), and 200 other left-wing foundations.
Government and foundation monies go only toward research advancing a pro-regulatory climate agenda. That is the greatest threat to the integrity of scientific research.
Ron Arnold (email@example.com) is a free-enterprise activist, author, and commentator.
In the record-setting (since satellite monitoring began in 1979) summer melt season of 2007, NSIDC noted the importance of both oceans in the arctic ice.
“One prominent researcher, Igor Polyakov at the University of Fairbanks, Alaska, points out that pulses of unusually warm water have been entering the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic, which several years later are seen in the ocean north of Siberia. These pulses of water are helping to heat the upper Arctic Ocean, contributing to summer ice melt and helping to reduce winter ice growth.
Another scientist, Koji Shimada of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, reports evidence of changes in ocean circulation in the Pacific side of the Arctic Ocean. Through a complex interaction with declining sea ice, warm water entering the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait in summer is being shunted from the Alaskan coast into the Arctic Ocean, where it fosters further ice loss. Many questions still remain to be answered, but these changes in ocean circulation may be important keys for understanding the observed loss of Arctic sea ice.”
Frances et al. (GRL 2007) showed how the warming in the arctic and the melting ice was related to warm water (+3C) in the Barents Sea moving slowly into the Siberian arctic and melting the ice. She also noted the positive feedback of changed “albedo” due to open water then further enhances the warming.
The International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks showed how arctic temperatures have cycled with intrusions of Atlantic water -cold and warm.
See how the Atlantic has cooled and though the Pacific (PDO) has spiked, there are signs that this is temporary like the late 1950s and it will turn cold again in two years. When both oceans cool, the arctic, we predict will recover. Some may try and delay the truth by adjusting how and where they measure ocean ice (redefining the arctic region or what percentage of ice/ or level of satellite brightness qualifies).
Phil Klotzbach and Bill Gray have a variant of the water temperature based AMO that factors in atmospheric pressure. JB sparked this post with this ‘musings on the arctic ice’, a bit to long to post in its entirety on Icecap.
This past winter broke tons of low temperature records across the eastern seaboard, but would you have guessed the Northeast just had the snowiest winter since the “Little Ice Age”?
“Looking back through accounts of big snows in New England by the late weather historian David Ludlum, it appears for the eastern areas, this winters snowblitz may have delivered the most snow since perhaps 1717,” wrote seasoned meteorologist Joe D’Aleo with Weatherbell Analytics.
“That year, snows had reached five feet in December with drifts of 25 feet in January before one great last assault in late February into early March of 40 to 60 more inches,” D’Aleo wrote. “The snow was so deep that people could only leave their houses from the second floor, implying actual snow depths of as much as 8 feet or more.”
The New England Historical Society wrote that the so-called “Great Snow” of 1717 was so intense that “Puritans in Boston held no church services for two successive weeks” - and if you know anything about Puritans, you know they don’t take missing church lightly.
“Entire houses were covered over, identifiable only by a thin curl of smoke coming out of a hole in the snow,” the Historical Society noted. “In Hampton, N.H., search parties went out after the storms hunting for widows and elderly people at risk of freezing to death.” Sometimes snow would pile so high people would burn “their furniture because they couldn’t get to the woodshed.”
“It wasn’t uncommon for them to lose their bearings and not be able to find the houses,” the society wrote in its account of winter 1717. “People maintained tunnels and paths through the snow from house to house.”
Luckily, in the modern world snow storms are more manageable thanks to plows, de-icing agents and so forth, but even so, some East Coast cities were caught off guard by the extraordinary amount of snow and record cold.
In late January, New York City shut down transit services in the face of about two feet of snow. Similar moves were made in New Jersey, even though the blizzard was not nearly as bad in these two states compared to states in New England.
During that same blizzard, about 30,000 homes in the Boston-Cape Cod area lost power, and near-80 mile per hour winds were reported on Martha’s Vineyard. By March, the city of Boston had gotten more than 110 inches of snow- an all-time record.
Federal agencies in Washington, D.C. shut down in mid-February when the National Weather Service predicted there would be six to eight inches of snow on the ground. The U.S. government was shut down again in early March when forecasters predicted six to seven inches of snow.
The D.C. area’s public schools were also shut down, with students in Fauquier County, Virginia getting 11 snow days and Howard County, Maryland getting seven snow days.
Meteorologists and climate scientists have hotly debated what has caused fierce winters in the last two years. Some climate scientists say it’s global warming, saying warmer temperatures in the Arctic have made the jet stream more wobbly or that warmer temperatures caused more precipitation to build up leading to bigger snowstorms.
Others have argued natural climate cycles are driving the heavy snowfall. Two recent studies from the University of Washington argue that activity in the Pacific Ocean drove warm, dry air into the western U.S. while forcing cold, wet air east.
D’Aleo says a “super La Nina in 2010/11 (2nd strongest in 120 years, by some measures), set up warm water in the central Pacific and cold water near the west coast of North America” and caused drought in the west and frigid weather in the east.
“That warm water came east first to off of Alaska last year leading to the historic winter near the western Lakes and North Central and then the warm water was carried by the currents southeast to the entire west coast forcing the cold to take aim more on the eastern Lakes and Northeast,” D’Aleo wrote.
“The combination of cold and snow here to northern areas and back to the Great Lakes the last two winters, harkens back to the Little Ice Age that ended in the early 20th century,” D’Aleo wrote.
Its ideas would send the West back 100 years and keep poor nations impoverished and wretched
A few years ago, a journalist asked me for my thoughts on the importance of “Earth Hour” which was reprised this past weekend. What I told him applies today, perhaps even more so.
I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.
Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as on the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of safe hot water.
Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke-and parasite-related lung diseases.
Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the Third World should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the West developed.
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that. Instead, I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness.
By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation, it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining and enjoying the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.
People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there, too.
I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.
Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks.
I like visiting nature, but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.
Ross McKitrick is Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, a Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.
Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes is best known to climate realists for her 2010 screed Merchants of Doubt, but a short, obscure, error-riddled essay she wrote as a chapter in the book How Well Do Facts Travel? The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge is more significant. In it she examines the 1991 origin of the “skeptics are paid industry shills” narrative found in a legendary set of “leaked Western Fuels memos.”
Oreskes’ chapter is important because she interprets the memos as industry’s plan for a vast national campaign using paid climate scientists to create lasting public doubt about global warming. That’s the same interpretation repeated ad nauseam by climate alarmists such as Al Gore, Ross Gelbspan (1997’s The Heat Is On), and Canadian attack website DeSmogBlog.
Appallingly, nobody in this parade of critics ever fact-checked the memos, not even historian Oreskes. Critics misinterpreted what they were looking at in the hundred-or-so pages of “Western Fuels memos.” They cherry-picked pieces that made skeptics look worst and patched them together into an assumption- laden fairy-tale.
Memos Misnamed, Misunderstood
According to Russell Cook’s excellent Heartland Institute Report Merchants of Smear, and numerous interviews with the “memo” sources, all the critics had was a hodgepodge of e-mail exchanges from a loose coalition of 24 large and small electric utilities worried about a carbon tax bill in Congress.
The fairy tale spinners focused only on emails from the utilities’ coal suppliers. The coalition explored lobbying to raise public concern about the impact of the tax, along with pointing out the weaknesses in the claims humans were causing climate change, using well-established skeptical scientists as spokesmen to balance the deluge of alarmist publicity.
The “memos” were the everyday work products of coalition members- including the Edison Electric Institute, a large trade group of investor-owned utilities-filed away in no particular order. EEI coordinated the most misinterpreted document, a campaign proposal by opinion survey firm Cambridge Reports of Massachusetts. The other “memos” included letters, meeting notices, reports from a hired Washington public relations firm, sample ads from a North Dakota direct mail firm, and similar items.
Innocuous Trade Association Demonized
Less than one-third of the jumbled “memos” involved Western Fuels Association. It’s ironic that they became known as the “Western Fuels memos,” because WFA is just the opposite of what the alarmist critics thought. It wasn’t a lobbying group but rather a nonprofit, member-owned co-op serving consumer-owned rural electric cooperatives and other public power systems. WFA manages mining and transportation of coal from member-owned mines and buys additional coal in the open market, facts printed on the inside cover of WFA’s annual reports.
The coalition’s climate skeptics picked the semi-humorous acronym “ICE,” and Cambridge Reports suggested several names to fit, including “Informed Citizens for the Environment” and “Information Council for the Environment.” Western Fuels used the latter.
The single most misinterpreted page, “Strategy,” listed nine goals, topped by “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” Critics mischaracterized that as “orders from headquarters” to reposition the public into believing global warming is not a fact. Al Gore even featured it in ominous red letters spread across a frame of his movie An Inconvenient Truth. Actually, it was merely a suggestion offered by Cambridge Reports.
Even more importantly, Western Fuels Association officials did not even read the Cambridge Reports proposal, because they had already hired Simmons Advertising of Grand Forks, North Dakota. They never saw the “Reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” goal, and they say they wouldn’t have used it if they had, because it was too abstract.
The national campaign never happened, a three-city test run flopped, and the coalition dissolved amid disagreements between skeptics and pragmatists. In July 1991, coalition members went their separate ways. Smaller ones, generally skeptics, chose to fight for sound science and against new regulations, whereas big, investor-owned utilities abandoned the science debate and chose to lobby to favorably influence legislation.
Slanted Focus, Coverage
Of the original “Western Fuels memos,” only fifty poorly scanned, frustratingly incomplete images on a Greenpeace Investigations site are publicly available today. So, where did Oreskes get the entire set?
She claims she found them “in the archives of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in Washington, D.C.” and advises, “scholars wishing to consult these materials should contact the AMS.”
AMS is actually headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts It maintains a small Washington, DC office for government affairs, but it has no archives. The AMS archivist in Boston verified no such documents ever existed in the society’s archives.
Oreskes said an “Anthony Socci” brought the documents to her attention. The AMS archivist said Socci-a Senate Commerce Committee staffer from 1991 to 1993 who managed hearings for Sen. Al Gore - had been an AMS employee for a time, and likely had a personal copy he made available to Oreskes.
How did Socci get the documents? The most likely answer comes from a letter on EEI letterhead dated May 6, 1991, showing the group’s global warming task force strongly disparaged the skeptic campaign. Within a month, the memos were circulating among environmentalists in Washington. The Sierra Club forwarded a copy to the New York Times, mentioned in a July 8, 1991 article headlined, “Pro Coal Ad Campaign Disputes Warming Idea.”
A noted historian, when asked for the simplest definition of history, said, “History is what really happened.” That’s not what Oreskes wrote.
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Daniel J. Boorstin
Ron Arnold (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a free-enterprise activist, author, and commentator.
In Oreskes name, these signs are being posted on lakes across the country.
This Wednesday we mark Earth Day. A week from now, the Vatican will add its own contribution to what Pope Francis calls “human ecology” in the form of a summit called “Protect the Earth, Dignify Humanity.” The summit will in turn be followed by an encyclical some time later this year.
Many find the whole idea unsettling. They fear it means a papal imprimatur for the political and economic orthodoxies of the green movement, confusing the faithful and leading to another series of press conferences that will begin with a Vatican spokesman saying, “What the pope meant to say . . .”
The fears are not without cause. There are many signs that do not augur well, from the muddled section on economics in the pope’s first encyclical to his posing for a photo while holding up an anti-fracking T-shirt, to press coverage anticipating he will be to the fight against greenhouse gases what Pope John Paul II was to the fight against Soviet communism.
Even so, the topic is ripe for precisely the kind of corrective a pope has to offer: a reminder that God’s creation is meant to serve man -not man the environment. And its corollary: It is the have-nots who pay the highest price for the statist interventions so beloved of the Church of St. Green.
The Judeo-Christian view takes its lead from Genesis 2:15: “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Plainly this imposes on mankind an obligation of stewardship. And yes, we can all think of people and regions that have suffered because someone exploited an area for private gain while dumping all the costs on the public.
Still, the first part of that Genesis passage means something too: that the earth is to be worked, and that this work and the fruit it bears are also blessed.
After all, what is work but the application of human ingenuity and labor to God’s creation to increase God’s bounty? For Genesis also tells us we are fashioned in the image and likeness of our Creator. In a sense this means we are at our most human when we use our God-given talents to participate in acts of co-creation.
How different this is from the narrative that dominates the conversation on the environment, and especially the conversation on climate change. All too often the vision of man here is as the despoiler, speeding the planet along the path to doom and destruction.
In this reading, modern technology is almost always an enemy, progress is illusory and more babies mean more carbon footprints melting the ice caps where polar bears live. Indeed, the number of environmentalists who end up embracing population control is astounding. Likewise their language, which tends to the apocalyptic - from Paul Ehrlich calling his book “The Population Bomb” to the conservationist Paul Watson characterizing humans as “the AIDS of the earth.”
When this thinking is taken to its logical conclusion, it’s not Swedish or American women or their babies who find themselves targeted. It is African women and African babies, Chinese women and Chinese babies, Indian women and Indian babies, Latino women and Latino babies, and so on. Something, perhaps, for the pope to ponder next time he’s in the mood to preach against noxious Western exports.
Meanwhile, encouraging a sturdier appreciation in the green movement for man’s ability to use his mind to find solutions for the earth’s problems would help. Take, for example, two popular targets of the environmental movement: chemicals and fossil fuels.
Those of us who get our fruit and vegetables at Whole Foods may have a hard time appreciating the scourge that insects, parasites and disease are to those in poorer parts of the world. Or the high price these people pay when they are denied these man-made tools in the name of some environmental fad.
How many African children died, for example, when the use of DDT on the continent - arguably the most effective anti-mosquito insecticide - declined after the U.S. banned it in 1972 on the basis of pop science? Along the same lines, when we measure the costs of fossil fuels, shouldn’t we include the human costs that result when restrictions on fossil fuels would mean denying hundreds of millions of people in the developing world the life-enhancing improvements that come from cheaper energy?
In its unwillingness to consider such trade-offs, modern environmentalism at times takes on the aspects of an authoritarian religion for the wealthy, with its own Eden (earth before man ruined it); its heretics (skeptics about man’s contributions to global warming are “deniers"); and its indulgences (make up for your corporate jet by driving a Prius).
All well worth not only mentioning but highlighting, especially in a papal effort that aims at putting the human back in human ecology.
Read here about Pope Francis’s conference on the environment April 28th, in advance of addresses at a joint session of Congress in September, the U.N. General Assembly in New York, and his December speech at the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris.
CBS Market Watch reports that the Pope is expected to address humanity’s “lost moral compass” on the environment, the “exploitation of natural resources,” “rapid environmental collapse,” a “failure to respect nature” and the greed behind it all, saying “money trumps morality” and “capitalism is killing planet Earth.”
The Great Climate Change Bamboozle Industry by Dr. E. Calvin Beisner and Douglas Fox
In the “The Great Climate Change Denial Industry,” University of Connecticut geology professor Robert Thorson sought to discredit all dissent about climate change by tying it (falsely in most cases) to funding from the fossil fuel industry - niftily adopting the logical fallacy of ad hominem circumstantial while ignoring the fact that advocates of global warming alarmism get hundreds of times as much funding from governments (with their own biases) and alternative-energy corporations, making them subject to the same critique (still fallacious, but sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander).
After sniping at religion (as if only fundamentalists are “climate skeptics"), bemoaning the decline in public fears of global warming but lacking the curiosity to ask whether there might be good reasons, and repeating the myth that polar bears are endangered, Thorson progressed to errors of fact and, well, more fallacious reasoning.
He summed up with five two-word sentences: “It’s real. It’s us. It’s bad. Scientists agree. There’s hope.” Oh?’
One: It’s real. Yes, as throughout earth’s history. But Thorson equivocates (fallacy). What he means by “climate change” is historically unprecedented and dangerous global warming driven primarily by human emission of carbon dioxide. Substitute that and “It’s real” becomes highly debatable and is highly debated, even among climate scientists,
like former NASA and now Columbia University astrophysicist James Hansen, who affirms it,
like professor and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry, who went from affirming it to strongly questioning it after interacting with climate scientists who reject it,
like University of Alabama climatologists John Christy and Roy Spencer, who manage NASA’s satellite remote sensing program and together won NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites.
The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than now, and at least two periods since 1850 but before CO2 rose enough to contribute significantly had as rapid and as long upward trends in global average temperature as the warming trend from about 1977 to 2000 that some attribute to higher CO2. So “modern warming” is not unprecedented.
The 97% “consensus” study, Cook et al. (2013) has been thoroughly refuted in scholarly peer-reviewed journals, by major news media, public policy organizations and think tanks, highly credentialed scientists and extensively in the climate blogosphere. The shoddy methodology of Cook’s study has been shown to be so fatally flawed that well known climate scientists have publicly spoken out against it,
“The ‘97% consensus’ article is poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed. It obscures the complexities of the climate issue and it is a sign of the desperately poor level of public and policy debate in this country [UK] that the energy minister should cite it.”
Mike Hulme, Ph.D. Professor of Climate Change, University of East Anglia (UEA)
Only 65 Scientists of 12,000 Make up Alleged 97% on Climate Change and Global Warming Consensus According to Breakdown of Cook et al study, say Friends of Science
In response to multiple inquiries from media and global warming advocates, Friends of Science issue this release to expose the statistical manipulation evident from the break down of the Cook et al paper. Friends of Science decry the linking of this flawed study with alleged danger from man-made carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) as there has been no global warming in 16 years despite a rise in CO2 levels; Friends of Science say the sun and oceanic oscillations are the main drivers of climate change, not CO2.
The following is a list of 97 articles that refute Cook’s (poorly conceived, poorly designed and poorly executed) 97% “consensus” study. The fact that anyone continues to bring up such soundly debunked nonsense like Cook’s study is an embarrassment to science.
Warmist Kevin Drum on selling the global warming hoax: “...anecdotal evidence (mild winters, big hurricanes, wildfires, etc.) is probably our best bet. We should milk it for everything it’s worth” H/T Tom Nelson.
See Dr. Doug Hoyt’s Greenhouse Scorecard on Warwick Hughes site here.
From Jack Black’s Climate Change Dictionary
PEER REVIEW: The act of banding together a group of like-minded academics with a funding conflict of interest, for the purpose of squeezing out any research voices that threaten the multi-million dollar government grant gravy train.
SETTLED SCIENCE: Betrayal of the scientific method for politics or money or both.
DENIER: Anyone who suspects the truth.
CLIMATE CHANGE: What has been happening for billions of years, but should now be flogged to produce ‘panic for profit.’
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Leftist Nutcase Prize, unrelated to “Peace” in any meaningful way.
DATA, EVIDENCE: Unnecessary details. If anyone asks for this, see “DENIER,” above.
CLIMATE SCIENTIST: A person skilled in spouting obscure, scientific-sounding jargon that has the effect of deflecting requests for “DATA” by “DENIERS.’ Also skilled at affecting an aura of “Smartest Person in the Room” to buffalo gullible legislators and journalists.
JUNK SCIENCE: The use of invalid scientific evidence resulting in findings of causation which simply cannot be justified or understood from the standpoint of the current state of credible scientific or medical knowledge
Speaking of junk science, see Lubos Motl’s excellent point by point counter to the John Cook 104 talking points document attacking the skeptical science here.
See all the talks at the latest ICCC9 Conference in Las Vegas in 2014 here.
Heartland has the presentations and powerpoints posted for the Heartland ICCC IV. If you could not go, there is plenty to see there. Please remember the goldmine of videos and PPTs at the Heartland ICCC proceeding sites for 2008 NYC here, 2009 NYC here and 2009 DC here. Here is a PPT I gave at the Heartland Instutute ICCC Meeting in 2008 and here is the follow up in 2009. Here is an abbreviated PPT in two parts I presented at a UK conference last month: Part 1, Part 2.
See C3 Headlines excellent collection of graphs and charts that show AGW is nonsense here.
See Climate Theater with a collection of the best climate skeptic films and documentaries here. See additional scientific youtubes here.
“The above papers support skepticism of “man-made” global warming or the environmental or economic effects of. Addendums, comments, corrections, erratum, replies, responses and submitted papers are not included in the peer-reviewed paper count. These are included as references in defense of various papers. There are many more listings than just the 900-1000 papers. Ordering of the papers is alphabetical by title except for the Hockey Stick, Cosmic Rays and Solar sections which are chronological. This list will be updated and corrected as necessary.”
The less intelligent alarmists have written a paper allegedly connecting the scientists to Exxon Mobil. Here is the detailed response from some of the featured scientists. Note that though this continues to be a knee jerk reaction by some of the followers, there is no funding of skeptic causes by big oil BUT Exxon has funded Stanford warmists to the tune of $100 million and BP UC Berkeley to $500,000,000. Climategate emails showed CRU/Hadley soliciting oil dollars and receiving $23,000,000 in funding.
Many more papers are catalogued at Pete’s Place here.
The science and economics of global warming are not too complicated for the average person to consider and make up his or her own mind. We urge you to do that. Go here and view some of the articles linked under “What’s New” or “A Primer on Global Warming.” Or go here and read about the new report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), which comprehensively rebuts the claims of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Go here for the sources for the factual statements in the ads.
See the ICECAP Amazon Book store. Icecap benefits with small commission for your purchases via this link.
The Weather Wiz here. See how they have added THE WIZ SCHOOL (UPPER LEFT) to their website. An excellent educational tool for teachers at all class levels. “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel” - Socrates (470--399 BC)