February 23, 2017
Good on Mark Phillips of CBS News for his series this past week on the impact that human-caused climate change is having on our world. After years of US broadcast and cable entities downplaying and dismissing the importance of this issue, it was quite impressive to see Phillips and CBS report on the climate crisis with the extensive focus this problem deserves.
Of course, CBS could have produced this series this time last year, prior to Donald the Denier’s ascension to the White House and the subsequent selection of climate-contemptuous Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency. However, had CBS done so, the first-grade dropouts who insist that Trump was right when he labeledclimate change nothing more than chicanery from the Chinese would have assailed CBS for alleged liberal bias, as right-wing media entities and the fossil-fuel industry long taught them to; presumably, they’re too embarrassedby the failure of the fool they elected to go after CBS and Phillips as aggressively as they otherwise would.
February 23, 2017
James Brown drummer Clyde Stubblefield just past. The music that they made was as far ahead of its time ad Jimi Hendrix, maybe more so.
Check under the hood, above, then see how it all came together, below.
Ahead of his time seems appropriate.
February 22, 2017
Tweet here from Climate Denier Joe Bastardi seeks to mislead, confuse, as usual. Bastardi’s predictions of 6 and 7 years ago of an impending cold period have yet to be realized. Apparently this is his effort to seem relevant.
He was taken to task by climate scientist and twitter boss Zack Labe.
This winter has seen a series of unusual weather hit the Arctic in general, it has been much warmer than average in the high Arctic since October though there have also been some periods of extreme cold, especially in western Greenland but also new high temperature records have been set in the east and north.
There has also been a succession of heavy storms hitting Greenland. Starting in October these storms have dropped a lot more snow than average over Greenland, particularly on the eastern side and in the south. This increasing mass has not gone unnoticed and we have received a number of questions about it, so here we attempt to summarise what we know and can infer about the winter 2016-2017 and what it might mean to the overall surface mass balance year 2016-2017.
The surface mass balance year goes from September to August, with most of the snow falling between September and May (known as the accumulation season) and melt generally dominating June-August (known as the ablation season). The accumulation season got off to a flying start in October, when a series of large storms hit the east coast of Greenland dropping 264mm of rain in the main town of Tasiilaq in 25 days, compared to the average for October of 83mm for the whole of October. Most of the precipitation from these storms fell as rain at lower levels but as this freezes in the surface snow over the ice sheet it still adds ice to the ice sheet. However, these storms also meant that Autumn was record warm in east Greenland with all DMI weather stations on the east coast recording the warmest or second warmest October on record. These records stretch back to 1873 in some places on the east coast. Read the rest of this entry »
February 22, 2017
Did you ever, like, confirm a Cabinet official hoping that controversial emails with Oil and Gas companies about to be released will just go away because no one cares? Me neither, but the Senate did, last week.
I’m betting there might be some folks out there willing to comb thru these.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — As a result of an Open Records Act request and lawsuit filed by the Center for Media and Democracy, on Tuesday night the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office released a batch of more than 7,500 pages of emails and other records it withheld prior to Scott Pruitt’s nomination as EPA Administrator last Friday.
The AG’s office has withheld an undetermined number of additional documents as exempted or privileged and submitted them to the Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons for review. A number of other documents were redacted, and CMD will be asking for the court to review those as well. On February 27, the AG’s office has been ordered to deliver records related to five outstanding requests by CMD.
“Despite repeated attempts by Pruitt and the Oklahoma AG’s office to stonewall CMD and the public, we’ve won a major breakthrough in obtaining access to public records that shine a light on Pruitt’s emails with polluters and their proxies,” said Nick Surgey, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy. “The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events. And our work doesn’t stop here – we will keep fighting until all of the public records involving Pruitt’s dealings with energy corporations are released – both those for which his office is now asserting some sort of privilege against public disclosure and the documents relevant to our eight other Open Records Act requests.”
“There is no valid legal justification for the emails we received last night not being released prior to Pruitt’s confirmation vote other than to evade public scrutiny,” said Arn Pearson, general counsel for CMD. “There are hundreds of emails between the AG’s office, Devon Energy, and other polluters that Senators should have been permitted to review prior to their vote to assess Pruitt’s ties to the fossil fuel industry.”
Among the documents released late yesterday, CMD has found: Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve tweeted that the current American mass uprising will make the Tea Party look like a tea party.
We are in the midst of a widespread awakening of the American public that has no parallel since the Vietnam War, and I believe it will eclipse the public engagement of that period. It is, of course, beyond the average journalist to look beyond conventional wisdom to describe what is happening – so we hear over and over the comparison between the “Tea Party” movement of 2009/10 and the current activism.
The 2009 movement, subsequent studies have shown, was the result of a long cultivated astro-turf effort with roots in the Tobacco, Fossil Fuel, and science denial establishment.
I’m reposting this piece, from 2013, as a reminder. While we watch the current movement unfold –
consider the differences between an actual uprising of courageous, inspired and morally outraged Americans, and the sad collection of racist, misspelled, and misguided impulses we saw in 2010.
The anti-science movement is rooted in the decades old realization among conservative corporate and political entities, that the findings of science were not always compatible with the economic interests of the wealthy and powerful. (read this post first for background. If you still have 17 minutes, the video above is worth your time)
The publication of an exhaustive investigation into the origins of a tobacco funded anti-science movement got headlines last week, as clear lines can now be drawn between corporate pirates like David Koch, the Tobacco barons, and “grassroots” movements like the Tea Party, all of which are prominent in the climate denial movement. (for example, we have at least one prominent Tea Party member who regularly posts his climate denialist views in comment threads here)
The study, which appears on Feb. 8 in the journal Tobacco Control, shows that rhetoric and imagery evoking the 1773 Boston Tea Party were used by tobacco industry representatives as early as the 1980s as part of an industry-created “smokers’ rights’’ public relations campaign opposing increased cigarette taxes and other anti-smoking initiatives.
From previously secret tobacco industry documents available at the UCSF Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, IRS filings and other publicly available documents, the study authors traced a decades-long chain of personal, corporate and financial relationships between tobacco companies, tobacco industry lobbying and public relations firms and nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party.
A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving climate disruption.
The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party’s anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke.
Published in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Tobacco Control, the study titled, ‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party, is not just an historical account of activities in a bygone era. As senior author, Stanton Glantz, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor of medicine, writes:
“Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry’s anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda.”
The two main organizations identified in the UCSF Quarterback study are Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks. Both groups are now “supporting the tobacco companies’ political agenda by mobilizing local Tea Party opposition to tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws.” Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity were once a single organization called Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). CSE was founded in 1984 by the infamous Koch Brothers, David and Charles Koch, and received over $5.3 million from tobacco companies, mainly Philip Morris, between 1991 and 2004.
In 1990, Tim Hyde, RJR Tobacco’s head of national field operations, in an eerily similar description of the Tea Party today, explained why groups like CSE were important to the tobacco industry’s fight against government regulation. Hyde wrote:
“… coalition building should proceed along two tracks: a) a grassroots organizational and largely local track,; b) and a national, intellectual track within the DC-New York corridor. Ultimately, we are talking about a “movement,” a national effort to change the way people think about government’s (and big business) role in our lives. Any such effort requires an intellectual foundation – a set of theoretical and ideological arguments on its behalf.”
The common public understanding of the origins of the Tea Party is that it is a popular grassroots uprising that began with anti-tax protests in 2009.
However, the Quarterback study reveals that in 2002, the Kochs and tobacco-backed CSE designed and made public the first Tea Party Movement website under the web address www.usteaparty.com. Here’s a screenshot of the archived U.S. Tea Party site, as it appeared online on Sept. 13, 2002:
February 21, 2017
This one will be rocketing around the tubes for a few days.
Watch and spread.
February 21, 2017
It’s summer in Antarctica, which has scientists scurrying around the seventh continent carrying out various research experiments. That includes monitoring the massive crack that has spread across the Larsen C ice shelf, located on the Antarctic Peninsula.
On Tuesday, researchers with the British Antarctic Survey released new aerial footage showing the widening rift that threatens to tear the ice shelf asunder at any moment. The footage makes the immensity of the crack clear, as the yawning chasm stretches off into the horizon.
The crack now stretches more than 100 miles in length. And at 1,500 feet across, you could lay the Empire State Building across the rift with a few feet to spare.
The rift is expected to soon cleave a monster iceberg off the Larsen C ice shelf. Scientists estimate the iceberg could be up to 1,930 square miles in size, or roughly 10 percent of the whole ice shelf. That’s the equivalent of Delaware (or twice the size of Wales if you prefer Commonwealth measurements).
Scientists at Project MIDAS, an Antarctic research group monitoring the rift, wrote in January that the breakup “will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula” and leave the ice shelf in a less stable state.
That could eventually cause it to collapse, a fate that befell the Larsen A and B ice shelves in 1995 and 2002, respectively. The Project MIDAS scientists wrote that the Larsen B breakup followed a similar massive iceberg calving event, which was caused by abnormally warm air in one of the world’s fastest warming places.
Ice shelf health is a key metric researchers are watching all around Antarctica. The shelves act like bookends, holding up the massive stores of ice on the continent. If they disappear, it will cause more land ice to tumble into the ocean, raising sea levels. Since Larsen B’s collapse, the glaciers behind it have flowed to the sea six times faster.
The West Antarctic has some shelves very vulnerable to breakup, including the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf. It recently calved a comparatively small “aftershock” iceberg following a major July 2015 calving event. But satellites show that it has started to develop a large crack as well.
Previous research has shown that an unstoppable melt that would drive oceans at least 10 feet higher could already be underway in West Antarctica, though it would take centuries for the process to play out. Warming oceans and air are the main culprits.