Language is very important in communicating something as complex as climate change – and science reporting most often suffers because it over-simplifies, or misses important nuances in making the case. This CBS report is case in point.

Overall, it’s affirming of science, but several glaring errors and misspeaks mar this message.

Surprising in that physicist Michio Kaku is the one mis-speaking. I am sure he would correct if he reviewed.

So, rather than me writing this all out, I’m asking the Climate Crocks very-well-prepared readers to write it for me.
Get out your pens and count the errors!

Economize language, eschew jargon – you are all budding climate communicators – get me some succinct, just-the-fact bullets.
Pretend I’m Donald Trump getting an intel briefing – except in my case, OK to name sources.

There are reports that Princeton Physicist William Happer is being considered as President Trump’s science advisor.  Here’s an overview of some of his statements and views on climate science.


December 8, 2016

We’re doing our best to try and counter this myth that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant. It’s not a pollutant at all.” [69]

“We should be telling the scientific truth that more CO2 is actually a benefit to the earth. [… ]There are very good reasons to think that.” [69]

Let me point out that if you have a well-designed coal plant, what comes out of the stack of the plant is almost the same thing that comes out of a person’s breath.”  [69]

The main thing is that people don’t realize we’re in a CO2 famine right now. […] We’re way down. We’re down by a factor of 4 or 5 over the levels that plants would really like.” [69]

For “carbon starved” argument, see here.

We know that the scary things about CO2 you keep hearing about — sea level rise, we’re all going to boil—that’s all based on models that don’t work. They’re not even close to working. […] So why are we basing these ruinous regulations on models that don’t work?” [69]

Dr. Happer was part of Senator Cruz’s infamous “Data or Dogma” hearing of December 2015.  He got kind of testy when a Greenpeace activist asked him about payments from the fossil fuel industry.

Greenpeace Energy Desk:

Investigators also approached Professor William Happer of Princeton University, who is chairman of the climate sceptic George Marshall Institute and a former Director of Energy Research at the US Department of Energy under the first President Bush where he “supervised all of DOE’s work on climate change”.

Professor Happer, who is a physicist rather than a climatologist, told Greenpeace reporters that he would be willing to produce research promoting the benefits of carbon dioxide for $250 per hour. He asked that the money be paid to climate sceptic campaign group, the CO2 Coalition, of which he is a board member.

Happer described his work on carbon dioxide as a “labor of love” and said that while other pollutants produced by burning fossil fuels are a problem, in his opinion “More CO2 will benefit the world”, adding “The only way to limit CO2 would be to stop using fossil fuels, which I think would be a profoundly immoral and irrational policy.”

When reporters asked if it would be possible for the fossil fuel client’s role in commissioning the research to remain hidden, in order to give the work more credibility, Happer replied that: “If I write the paper alone, I don’t think there would be any problem stating that ‘the author received no financial compensation for this essay.’”

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In remembrance of victims of the Bowling Green massacre, and all imaginary terror events across the world.

New York Times:

During a campaign-style rally on Saturday in Florida, Mr. Trump issued a sharp if discursive attack on refugee policies in Europe, ticking off a list of places that have been hit by terrorists.

“You look at what’s happening,” he told his supporters. “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this?”

Not the Swedes.

Nothing particularly nefarious happened in Sweden on Friday — or Saturday, for that matter — and Swedes were left baffled.

Old Intel saying. “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action”.

Raw Story:

However, there was no terror attack in Sweden on Friday. Perhaps, as some Twitter users suggested, the attack in Sweden happened in the same parallel universe as Kellyanne Conway’s fictitious “Bowling Green massacre.”

Press Secretary Sean Spicer was recently busted for citing a fictitious terror attack in Atlanta. When called on it, Spicer said that he meant to say Orlando.

With relatives and friends of the victims of the real terrorist attacks on 9/11 protestingthe Trump administration’s exploitation of the tragedy for political gain, perhaps members of the administration, including Trump himself, are feeling the pressure to create more “alternative facts.”

Kyrie Irving is, I guess, a basketball player, but apparently gunning, now, to be a member of the Donald Trump cabinet.

He has “done his own research”, and discovered that the earth is flat. A fact that “they’ don’t want you to know. This is where the war on science is taking us.

Sports Illustrated:

Pressed to explain himself, Irving spoke of “particular groups” and a mysterious “they” who want to convince us Earth is round.

“It’s right in front of our faces,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s right in front of our faces. They lie to us.

The podcast was being recorded on a plane, which Kyrie attempted to use as evidence for his claims.

“What I’ve been taught is that the earth is round,” he continued. “But if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that, can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates, being perpendicular with what’s going on with these planets.”

Does this remind you of anything?

Here, new Secretary of Education Betsy Devos reminds us that 4th graders should be taught to critically evaluate the last 40 years of findings by the National Academy of Science.

Spokane Spokesman-Review:

BOISE, Idaho – An Idaho House panel has approved new K-12 science standards, but only after striking key references to climate change caused by human behavior.

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In a time of universal deceit — telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
That’s where we are.

Washington Post:

First the National Parks went rogue, sharing climate change data on Twitter. Now museums and libraries have taken up arms — or at least typing fingers — to fight on behalf of facts.

Using the hashtag #DayofFacts, more than 280 scientific and cultural institutions are devoting Friday to dropping 140-character truths on Twitter. Many of the facts seem pointedly political — like the National Museum of American Jewish History’s tweet about a George Washington letter affirming religious freedom in the country, or a placard held up in a video by Chicago’s Field Museum that stated “Climate change is accelerating the extinction of plants and animals.”

The political undertone is the goal, according to Alli Hartley, a museum educator from Virginia who helped organize the campaign with her colleague Mara Kurlandsky.

“We’re using facts to illustrate truth about the present moment,” Hartley said.

By midmorning Friday, the hashtag was trending in the United States.

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Keeping out bad hombres.


TORONTO — From Windsor, Ontario, it’s just a 10-minute drive over the Ambassador Bridge or through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to downtown Detroit. People cross all the time to work, shop, visit a gallery, go to a show or a game. Taxis regularly make the trip, and there’s even a Windsor city bus route through the tunnel.

But President Trump’s policies about who will be allowed to cross the border have Canadians so worried that school officials in and around Windsor have decided to suspend all student field trips to the American side.

“It was the prudent thing to do because there is so much confusion and uncertainty,” said Scott Scantlebury, spokesman for the Greater Essex County District School Board, which represents 35,000 students, many of them immigrants or the children of immigrants. “We don’t want to have some student turned back at the border, or even held up for a period of time.”

The school board’s decision was just one sign of the growing apprehension on the Canadian side of the border.

Stories of Canadian Muslims with immigrant backgrounds being stoppedand turned away from the border have roared across the country over the past week, as well as accounts of refugees fleeing the States and sneaking illegally the other way.

Canadians are concerned that American border officials are taking Mr. Trump’s travel ban to heart, even though his executive order barring people from certain Muslim countries has been suspended by the courts.

“It is like 9/11 all over again,” said Victor Konrad, a research professor at Carleton University who has written about the border. “Right after 9/11, most Canadians became very apprehensive about crossing the border. Many found themselves actually excluded from the United States.”

Students from the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor decided to not risk going to Detroit last week for a lecture on cross-border economics, even though the ban was suspended, said Mark High, the president of the group that organized the lecture, the Canada-United States Business Association.