Mar 24, 2015
Reporters Explain Why Balance Isn’t Needed On Global Warming
By Rachelle Peterson
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.
Mar 20, 2015
Extreme winter of 2014/15 redux
Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
For populous areas from the south central to the Great Lakes and east coast, it has been a very cold winter season (November 1 through mid March).
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.
February was the most extreme winter month.
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.
Even so, the trend for temperatures for the winter for the United States the last 20 years has been down - at a cooling rate of 8.2F/century.
Satellite monthly CONUS temperatures do not show a significant trend since 1979. Outliers included the frigid early 1979 months and the 2012 spring spike.
Plotting the CONUS annual temperatures you can see a pop after the super El Nino of 1997/98 then with the exception of the warm 2012 a drop off.
The volcanic cooling of the early 1980s and 1990s can be seen.
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.
The Great Lakes ice has been again above normal.
The historical seasonal fell short of last year but was above normal and second highest since 1995/96. Back to back years at this level is unprecedented in the record.
It is having its effect on navigation and cargo shipments again in the eastern lakes which were hardest hit.
Read full story here.
Mar 13, 2015
Even Though Warming Has Stopped, it Keeps Getting Worse?
by Dr. Roy Spencer
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.
Mar 07, 2015
Silencing skeptics - financing alarmists
By Paul Driessen
Will Congress and media examine government, environmentalist and university alarmist funding?
Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), other senators and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) recently sent letters to institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work questions claims that Earth and humanity face unprecedented manmade climate change catastrophes.
The letters allege that the targeted researchers may have “conflicts of interest” or may not have fully disclosed corporate funding sources. They say such researchers may have testified before congressional committees, written articles or spoken at conferences, emphasizing the role of natural forces in climate change, or questioning evidence and computer models that emphasize predominantly human causes.
Mr. Grijalva asserts that disclosure of certain information will “establish the impartiality of climate research and policy recommendations” published in the institutions’ names and help Congress make better laws. “Companies with a direct financial interest in climate and air quality standards are funding environmental research that influences state and federal regulations and shapes public understanding of climate science.” These conflicts need to be made clear, because members of Congress cannot perform their duties if research or testimony is “influenced by undisclosed financial relationships,” it says.
The targeted institutions are asked to reveal their policies on financial disclosure; drafts of testimony before Congress or agencies; communications regarding testimony preparation; and sources of “external funding,” including consulting and speaking fees, research grants, honoraria, travel expenses and other monies - for any work that questions the manmade climate cataclysm catechism.
Conflicts of interest can indeed pose problems. However, it is clearly not only fossil fuel companies that have major financial or other interests in climate and air quality standards - nor only manmade climate change skeptics who can have conflicts and personal, financial or institutional interests in these issues.
Renewable energy companies want to perpetuate the mandates, subsidies and climate disruption claims that keep them solvent. Insurance companies want to justify higher rates, to cover costs from allegedly rising seas and more frequent or intense storms. Government agencies seek bigger budgets, more personnel, more power and control, more money for grants to researchers and activist groups that promote their agendas and regulations, and limited oversight, transparency and accountability for their actions. Researchers and organizations funded by these entities naturally want the financing to continue.
You would therefore expect that these members of Congress would send similar letters to researchers and institutions on the other side of this contentious climate controversy. But they did not, even though climate alarmism is embroiled in serious financial, scientific, ethical and conflict of interest disputes.
As Dr. Richard Lindzen, MIT atmospheric sciences professor emeritus and one of Grijalva’s targets, has pointed out: “Billions of dollars have been poured into studies supporting climate alarm, and trillions of dollars have been involved in overthrowing the energy economy” - and replacing it with expensive, inefficient, insufficient, job-killing, environmentally harmful wind, solar and biofuel sources.
Their 1090 forms reveal that, during the 2010-2012 period, six environmentalist groups received a whopping $332 million from six federal agencies! That is 270 times what Dr. Willie Soon and Harvard-Smithsonian’s Center for Astrophysics received from fossil fuel companies in a decade - the funding that supposedly triggered the lawmakers’ letters, mere days after Greenpeace launched its attack on Dr. Soon.
The EPA, Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA, USAID, Army and State Department transferred this taxpayer money to Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Defense Council, National Wildlife Fund and Clean Air Council, for research, reports, press releases and other activities that support and promote federal programs and agendas on air quality, climate change, climate impacts on wildlife, and many similar topics related to the Obama war on fossil fuels. The activists also testified before Congress and lobbied intensively behind the scenes on these issues.
Between 2000 and 2013, EPA also paid the American Lung Association well over $20 million, and lavished over $180 million on its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee members, to support agency positions. Chesapeake energy gave the Sierra Club $26 million to advance its Beyond Coal campaign. Russia gave generously to anti-fracking, climate change and related “green” efforts.
Government agencies and laboratories, universities and other organizations have received billions of taxpayer dollars, to develop computer models, data and reports confirming alarmist claims. Abundant corporate money has also flowed to researchers who promote climate alarms and keep any doubts to themselves. Hundreds of billions went to renewable energy companies, many of which went bankrupt. Wind and solar companies have been exempted from endangered species laws, to protect them against legal actions for destroying wildlife habitats, birds and bats. Full disclosure? Rarely, if ever.
In gratitude and to keep the money train on track, many of these recipients contribute hefty sums to congressional candidates. During his recent primary and general campaign, for example, Senator Markey received $3.8 million from Harvard and MIT professors, government unions, Tom Steyer and a dozen environmentalist groups (including recipients of some of that $332 million in taxpayer funds), in direct support and via advertisements opposing candidates running against the champion of disclosure.
As to the ethics of climate disaster researchers, and the credibility of their models, data and reports, ClimateGate emails reveal that researchers used various “tricks” to mix datasets and “hide the decline” in average global temperatures since 1998; colluded to keep skeptical scientific papers out of peer-reviewed journals; deleted potentially damaging or incriminating emails; and engaged in other practices designed to advance manmade climate change alarms. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based many of its most notorious disappearing ice cap, glacier and rainforest claims on student papers, magazine articles, emails and other materials that received no peer review. The IPCC routinely tells its scientists to revise their original studies to reflect Summaries for Policymakers written by politicians and bureaucrats.
Yet, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy relies almost entirely on this junk science to justify her agency’s policies - and repeats EPA models and hype on extreme weather, refusing to acknowledge that not one Category 3-5 hurricane has made U.S. landfall for a record 9.3 years. Her former EPA air quality and climate czar John Beale is in prison for fraud, and the agency has conducted numerous illegal air pollution experiments on adults and even children - and then ignored their results in promulgating regulations.
Long-time IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri has resigned in disgrace, after saying manmade climate change is “my religion, my dharma” (principle of the cosmic order), rather than a matter for honest, quality science and open, robust debate. The scandals go on and on: see here, here, here, here and here.
It’s no wonder support for job and economy-killing carbon taxes and regulations is at rock bottom. And not one bit surprising that alarmists refuse to debate realist scientists: the “skeptics” would eviscerate their computer models, ridiculous climate disaster claims, and “adjusted” or fabricated evidence.
Instead, alarmists defame scientists who question their mantra of “dangerous manmade climate change.” The Markey and Grijalva letters “convey an unstated but perfectly clear threat: Research disputing alarm over the climate should cease, lest universities that employ such individuals incur massive inconvenience and expense - and scientists holding such views should not offer testimony to Congress,” Professor Lindzen writes. They are “a warning to any other researcher who may dare question in the slightest their fervently held orthodoxy of anthropogenic global warming,” says Dr. Soon. Be silent, or perish.
Now the White House is going after Members of Congress! Its new Climate-Change-Deniers website wants citizens to contact and harass senators and congressmen who dare to question its climate diktats.
Somehow, though, Markey, Grijalva, et al. have not evinced any interest in investigating any of this. The tactics are as despicable and destructive as the junk science and anti-energy policies of climate alarmism. It is time to reform the IPCC and EPA, and curtail this climate crisis insanity.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.
Mar 01, 2015
By Alan Caruba
It is a sure sign that the advocates of the “global warming” and “climate change” hoaxes know that the public no longer believes that the former is occurring or that the latter represents an immediate, global threat.
Even though the “climate skeptics”, scientists who have produced research proving false methodology and the conclusions based on it are quite few in number, an effort to silence them by smearing their reputations and denying funding for their work has been launched and it is based entirely on a lie.
Scientists are supposed to be skeptical, not only of other scientist’s findings, but their own. Good science must be able to reproduce the results of published research. In the case of the many computer models cited as proof that global warming was occurring or would, the passing years have demonstrated that none were accurate.
As Joseph L. Bast, president of The Heartland Institute and Joseph A. Morris, an attorney who has fought in several countries to defend free speech, wrote in a February 24 commentary, “The Crucifixion of Dr. Wei-Hock Soon”, of an article co-authored with Christopher Monckton, Matt Briggs, and David Legates, and published in the Science Bulletin, a publication of the Chinese Academy of Sciences “The article reveals what appears to be an error in the computer models used to predict global warming that leads models to over-estimate future warming by a factor of three.” (Emphasis added) Their commentary has been downloaded more than 10,000 times!
“If the work of Soon et al is confirmed by other scientists, the ‘global warming crisis’ may need to be cancelled and we can all enjoy lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more personal freedom.” However, “having failed to refute the article, environmentalists turned to smearing the authors.”
Little wonder the “Warmists” are worried; the Earth has been in a cooling cycle since 1996. People are noticing just how cold this record-breaking and record-setting winter is.
The attack on Dr. Soon began with a Greenpeace news release that was republished on the front page of The New York Times on February 22nd. Despite its august reputation, The Times’ coverage of climate issues has been an utter disgrace for decades. As public interest waned, it eliminated its staff of reporters exclusively devoted to writing about the “environment.”
Myron Ebell, a climate change skeptic and director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted on February 27th that the Greenpeace attack on Dr. Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics claimed they had secured $1.2 million in funding for his research over the past decade and that it came from energy corporations, electric utilities, and charitable foundations related to those companies. The truth, however, is “that the grants were made not to Dr. Soon but to the Smithsonian, which never complained while taking its sizable cut off the top.”
Columnist Larry Bell who is also an endowed professor at the University of Houston, disputed the Greenpeace claim, saying, “First, let’s recognize that the supporting FOIA documents referred to an agreement between the Smithsonian (not Dr. Soon) and Southern Company Services, Inc., whereby 40 percent of that more than $1.2 million went directly to the Smithsonian” leaving “an average funding of $71,000 a year for the past eleven years to support the actual research activities.”
Focusing on Greenpeace and its Climate Investigations Center which describes itself as “a group funded by foundations seeking to limit the risks of climate change”, Bell asked “Do these activist organizations make their estimated $360,000,000 annual funding publicly available?” Bell said “Ad hominem assaults disparaging the integrity of this leading authority on relationships between solar phenomena and global climate are unconscionable.”
In his article, “Vilifying realist science and scientists”, Paul Driessen, a policy advisor to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), noted that in 2012 Greenpeace USA was the recipient of $32,791,149 and that this is true of other environmental pressure groups that in 2012 secured $111,915.138 for the Environmental Defense Fund, $98,701,707 for the Natural Resources Defense Council, $97,757,678 for the Sierra Club, and, for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, $19,150,215.
“All told,” noted Driessen, “more than 16,000 American environmental groups collect(ed) total annual revenues of over $13.4 billion (2009 figures). Only a small part of that comes from membership dues and individual contributions.” With that kind of money you can do a lot of damage to scientist’s reputation.
They fear that the public may actually learn the truth about “global warming” and the fear-mongering claims about “climate change” does not stop with just the environmental organizations. At the same time The New York Times was printing the Greenpeace lies, U.S. Senators Ed Market (D-Mass), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined together on February 25th to send letters to 107 companies, trade associations, and non-profit groups demanding comprehensive information about all funding of research on climate or related issues.
Among the groups receiving the letter were two for whom I am a policy advisor, The Heartland Institute and CFACT, but others include the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the American Energy Alliance.
Following The New York Times article, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, sent letters to the presidents of seven universities asking them to provide details about seven professors who are either prominent global warming skeptics.
As Rich Lowrey, editor of the National Review, pointed out on February 27th, that “Science as an enterprise usually doesn’t need political enforcers. But proponents of a climate alarmism that demands immediate action to avert worldwide catastrophe won’t and can’t simply let the science speak for itself.”
This is not fact-finding. It is an act of intimidation.
And it looks like a carefully organized effort to quash any research that might dispute “global warming” or “climate change” as defined by the Greens and by both the President and the Secretary of State as the greatest threat we and the rest of the world faces.
The greatest threat is the scores of environmental organizations that have been exaggerating and distorting their alleged “science” in order to thwart development here and around the world that would enhance everyone’s life. Now they are attacking real scientists, those who are skeptical of their claims, to silence them.
This is what fascists do.