January 25, 2012
January 25, 2012
Bullying, intimidation, and threats are the currency of the climate denial movement .
There is a ripple of unease among many scientists who study the warming of the planet these days. Some have faced harassment, legal challenges and even death threats related to their research, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reports.
On Tuesday, the board of directors of the association, which publishes the journal Science, released a strongly worded statement “vigorously opposing” such attacks on researchers, saying that the tactics inhibited the free exchange of scientific ideas.
“Reports of harassment, death threats and legal challenges have created a hostile environment that inhibits the free exchange of scientific findings and ideas, and makes it difficult for factual information and scientific analyses to reach policy makers and the public,” the board said. “This both impedes the progress of science and interferes with the application of science to the solution of global problems.”
Climate scientists like Mike Mann, Ben Santer, and Phil Jones have born the brunt of this behavior unassisted for more than a decade. Now there’s help.
Washington, DC — The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has found a non-profit home in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which provides it fiscal sponsorship and logistical support. CSLDF lets scientific colleagues and the public directly help climate scientists protect themselves and their work from industry-funded legal attacks.
In recent years, these legal attacks have intensified, especially against climate scientists. The fund is designed to help scientists like Professor Michael Mann cope with the legal fees that stack up in fighting attempts by climate-contrarian groups to gain access to private emails and other correspondence through lawsuits and Freedom of Information Act requests at their public universities.
January 25, 2012
The anti-science movement, including the climate denial movement, owes its beginnings as a serious organized force to the tobacco industry.
The same people who have peddled addictive poison to billions of the world’s most vulnerable, are the good people who have brought you the twisted web of “sound science”, non-thinking “think” tanks, and ignorant “experts” who today congratulate themselves as the planet careens to a precipice.
Those who spread the misinformation and outright lies of the climate denial industry, are useful idiots of some of history’s coldest and greediest killers.
January 25, 2012
Guest Post by Colin Maessen:
The scientific discussion has long since moved on from whether we are causing the increase in our planets temperature to fine tuning what effects this will have. We know it is happening, we are responsible for it and we are now in the process of finding out that we have been underestimating it.
Yet, the so-called sceptics have managed to delay action, very effectively spreading misinformation. A considerable amount of misinformation comes from the blogosphere, where familiar and long-debunked claims about climate change are repeated time and time again.
Case in point, Anthony Watts with his website Watts Up With That:
Being called out does not stop him from spreading obvious misinformation.
So how does he manage to still hold on to the trust of his readers?
The reasons are many, and have lot to do with the mindset of a science denier, but he does have his methods for creating the illusion of legitimacy. One of these methods is gaming the internet vote for certain dubious “science blog” awards.
When Watts won the 2011 Bloggie Award in the category Best Science Blog, he gave full credit to his loyal readership:
This was truly surprising. According to the Bloggies Facebook page, WUWT has been named the first ever winner of the Best Science Blog category (new this year for the Bloggies), beating Wired and Boing Boing, both of whom have way more reach and traffic than we do. I suppose it demonstrates the loyalty of our readers.
These awards are won by popular vote, rather than merit. Those that rouse or manufacture enough support, can engineer a win in the submitted category – in this case resulting in “science” awards for a blog that routinely misinforms on scientific subjects and even slanders scientists.
Watts is at it again for the 2012 Bloggies:
Well, it is that time of year again. You can nominate your favorite blogs for top honors in the 2012 Bloggies Awards. As many know, WUWT won last year in the Best Science Blog category. This year, Science and Technology blogs have been combined into a single category, so the competition will likely be stronger.
I also followed up on his advice and joined in to vote, which also meant I had an interesting opportunity. If you submit nominees for the Bloggies you can indicate that you are interested in being selected as a one of the 200 randomly selected voters who choose the finalists.
And I was selected as one of those 200 voters. Thanks to this I am in the possession of a ballot to vote for the finalists and a list of the candidates for “Best Science or Technology Weblog”. For your convenience I’ve marked the ‘sceptic’ sites in orange and the actual science sites that report accurately on climate change in green (order as they appeared on the ballot):
The latest climate scientist to come under fire from the climate denial extreme is Katharine Hayhoe, Atmospheric Scientist at Texas Tech University.
After coming into the public eye as the author of proposed chapter on climate change for GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s forthcoming book, Hayhoe had her name and email contact published by the ever-cuddly Marc “climate scientists should be flogged” Morano, grand Wazir of the Sharia school of Climate denial.
The climate deniers are kicking puppies now.
That was my reaction when I heard that Katharine Hayhoe was being deluged with hate mail after stories surfaced that she had written a chapter on climate change for Newt Gingrich’s upcoming book, a chapter quickly dropped when conservative commentators began making a big fuss about it. Similar attacks have been leveled against MIT scientist Kerry Emanuel following his speech at a forum for Republicans concerned about climate change. The “frenzy of hate” he’s received include threats to his wife.
Anyone who has ever listened to Hayhoe would be as sickened as I was over the vitriolic attacks she has endured in the past week. Being both a climate scientist and an evangelical Christian, Hayhoe speaks to faith communities, explaining the science of climate change in easy-to-understand language and also offering the spiritual perspective on global warming: What would Jesus do about climate change?
I had the privilege to interview Dr. Hayhoe this past weekend at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, where the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise was conducting a workshop and Town Hall meeting entitled “Cures for Climate Confusion”. (web video of the public Town Hall meeting here)
I wish to thank the organizers, Andy Hoffman of the Erb Institute, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, for graciously, and inexplicably, welcoming me when I arrived somewhat, uhm, unexpectedly, to the gathering.
More on Medieval enthusiast Marc Morano below:
January 23, 2012
Nine of the top ten warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000. Last year was another one of them, coming in at 9th warmest since 1880.
The map above shows temperature anomalies, or changes, by region in 2011; it does not depict absolute temperature. Essentially, the map shows how much warmer or cooler each region was in 2011 compared with an averaged “base period” from 1951–1980. The line plot shows yearly temperature variations (from the base period average) for every year from 1880 to now. (For more explanation of how the analysis works, read World of Change: Global Temperatures.)
On January 19, 2012, researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) released their annual analysis of global temperatures, noting that Earth’s land and ocean surfaces continue to experience higher temperatures than several decades ago. The global average temperature for 2011 was 0.92 degrees Fahrenheit (0.51 Celsius) higher than the mid-20th century baseline.
“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS director James Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the ten warmest years on record.”
It is important to note that during La Nina years like the current one, although the planet continues to absorb more heat than it emits, cool waters upwelling in the Pacific suck a lot of that heat out of the atmosphere – affecting weather around the globe, and causing thermometer readings to dip. This year was, however, the warmest la nina year in the record, as the graph below (from NOAA) shows.
Despite a strong La Nina event cooling the Pacific Ocean, 2011 was about the 10th hottest year on record, scientists have found. “It’s clear over time the El Niño years tend to be the warmer years and the La Niña years tend to be the cooler years,” said Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. “This year the La Niña-related temperatures for 2011 were as warm as anything we’ve seen in the past, very close to the year 2008.” Every year since 1976 has been warmer than average, according to NOAA. While 2011 was the coolest year in the 21st century, it was tied with the second-warmest year of the 20th century, notes Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman.
January 23, 2012
Last night we enjoyed once again a new sign of the season in the upper midwest, the January thunderstorm. It used to be that we could rely on snow in the winter, with our annual spring flood in March as the melt water surged down rivers and streams. In recent years, the flooding comes 2, 3, 4 times a year, as snowfall is followed by repeated midwinter thaws and melts.
Changes in rainfall and the hydrological cycle are, of course, one of the most well documented and noticeable effects of global climate change, as the graph above from NOAA indicates.
A corollary of this change is the increase, as documented by giant insurance companies like Munich Re, in damaging extreme events. The graph below shows the increase in such events in China.
See Below for an analogous trend documented for India.
January 23, 2012
I know, its early in the week for break, but this is worth the time. Warm up your coffee.
Alabama blues musician Doctor G B Burt began his career at the age of 71, when he was discovered by a music producer whose van he was fixing.
Since then, Mr Burt has performed in prestigious venues such as the Lincoln Center in New York City, and abroad in Australia, France and Germany.
Before playing on stage he spent time as a golden glove boxer, a Ford auto line worker, an auto mechanic and a civil rights activist.
During the 1960s the 7ft-tall guitarist was shot five times while walking along a railroad track. He says it was he who ended up spending five years in jail because his assailant was white.
Still, Mr Burt plays a gentle guitar and explains why the “rough side, not the slick side of the mountain” is actually the best one in life.
Republicans are already blasting Obama for failing to stand up to his base — environmentalists had organized aggressively against the decision, and deserve tremendous credit for helping to make this outcome happen. Whether or not a fear of the base drove this decision, Obama did stand up to his Republican opponents.
When Congressional GOP leaders initially tied the Keystone approval decision to the debate over whether to extend the payroll tax cut, Republicans — and some neutral commentators, too — confidently predicted that Obama would not be able to oppose the pipeline, because he would be nixing jobs heading into an election year. It didn’t matter that an independent study cast doubt on how many jobs the probject would create; this was seen as a sure loser for the president.
But even some proponents of the project say that by attempting to box Obama in, Republicans ended up making it more likely that the Presient would call the GOP bluff and shoot down the project, the political consequences be damned. As John Engler, a pipeline backer and former Michigan governor who is now head of the Business Roundtable, put it last week: “No chief executive likes to be painted into a corner by anybody.”
The politics of this going forward are murky. Republicans will hammer Obama relentlessly as a “job killer” who puts the whims of pointy-headed greenies before the interests of the American worker. One question is whether the media will uncritically report on the GOP’s argument without pointing to doubts about the number of jobs the pipeline would have created, and without noting the larger context, which is that Republicans have opposed virtually every job-creation policy Obama has proposed in the last year. Also: Will the fact that the state department warned that it could be forced to reject the pipeline if Republicans insisted on an expedited decision vanish down the memory hole?
January 19, 2012
John DeCicco, Professor of Practice at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and Research Professor at the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute at University of Michigan, is a nationally known expert on green cars. He visited the North American Auto Show in Detroit in January 2012 and evaluated various alternative fuel vehicles, recommending the “greenest” choices for consumers.