Heroes of Climate Denial

January 6, 2011

I try not to let this blog get too “inside baseball” — that is, consumed in the day to day back and forth of who said what idiotic thing and where etc.

But for those that are following the action, and have the popcorn, you might as well know some of the players. I’ve featured a number of the good guys, – Hansen, Alley, Santer, and others – now tbd.com offers a rogues gallery of the goon squad – the folks who, when the history is written, will be named as the clodfathers of climate denial.

I now present the list – with added bonus links to videos where I’ve unmasked, mocked, derided, ridiculed and otherwise refudiated these quacks. (usually by the devious and underhanded tactic of quoting them verbatim)

Marc Morano
Morano was the mouthpiece for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), one of the biggest skeptics in Congress. Morano helped draft a list of like-minded scientists that basically became the official Republican policy position on global warming for 2007 and 2008. Morano is now working at the website Climate Depot, a project of the free-market group Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. On the site, the ex-flack pitilessly skewers the prevailing climate science, linking to stories like “Pig bites Seoul resident; CO2 blamed.” “All of the stories about global-warming science being something other than a clear reason that we need to reduce fossil fuels have been processed through him,” says Brad Johnson, a climate researcher at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. “He’s been relentless at hammering reporters, helping move stories up from blogger to Fox News up into the halls of Congress.”
Fun fact: Morano also was behind the Swift Boat campaign used to demolish John Kerry’s presidential hopes.
Demolished here

Myron Ebell
The Competitive Enterprise Institute wonk is perhaps the only global-warming denier to have been officially censured by the British government, right after he said the country’s chief scientist knew nothing about the climate. He has been dubbed a “climate criminal” by Greenpeace and a global-warming “misleader” by Rolling Stone. Some credit Ebell with helping turn the D.C.-based CEI toward its current anti-alarmist, anti-regulation climate philosophy, which may have something to do with ExxonMobil giving the institute $2 million in funding. He has testified before Congress and sparred with environmentalists including heads of the Sierra Club and Chesapeake’s Tidwell, who walked off stage during one post-Katrina debate. “That’s when I made a decision that I will not debate deniers. I just won’t debate them,” says Tidwell.
Flattened at the end of this one

Tim Phillips
Phillips’ group, the Arlington-based Americans for Prosperity, follows climate-change conferences around North America like a bunch of ungroovy Deadheads. The Hot Air Tour, on the road since 2008, attacks global-warming hysteria while the Regulation Reality Tour attacked EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, Phillips dreamed up the No Climate Tax Pledge against cap-and-trade energy regulation, which 83 incoming members Congress apparently signed. Americans for Prosperity was founded by David Koch of Koch Industries, a gigantic plastics, lumber and oil-refining company.
Fun fact: The nifty “Tweet a Bureaucrat” feature on Phillips’ Web site lets you write messages like “This is America! Many soldiers have died to protect our freedom; freedom to use energy WITHOUT RATIONING! NO UN CONTROL!!!”
Totally unmasked as a tool here

Ken Cuccinelli
Cuccinelli, Virginia’s attorney general, is suing both his own state university and the federal government in a legal jihad against environmentalists who believe in fighting climate change. In the first suit, he accuses former University of Virginia scientist Michael Mann – the guy who proposed that historical heat levels are peaking in ahockey stick-shaped pattern – of committing fraud. Cuccinelli lost the first round of that court battle, but his spokesperson promises he will appeal. The prosecutor has also sued the EPA for trying to limit greenhouse gas emissions, saying that the so-called Climategate e-mail scandal last year casts doubt on the EPA’s determination that we probably should do something about emissions, soon.
Laughed out of the room here

Patrick Michaels
Patrick Michaels had an odd moment in 2006 as head of the Virginia State Climatology Office, when ex-governor Tim Kaine declared under pressure from environmental groups that Michaels didn’t speak for the state or the governor. A senior fellow at George Mason University, Michaels is less a denier than a hem-hawer – he accepts that global warming is real but says we shouldn’t draft regulation to try to curb it. He said as much when he testified before Congress this month. Michaels faced a rough patch in 2006 when he nearly ran out of money to scrutinize the data of other climate scientists, but luckily a Colorado utility company raised about $150,000 so he could keep working. Michaels also authored the climate-change chapter of the Cato Institute’s “Handbook For Policymakers,” writing, “Does the most recent science and climate data argue for precipitous action? (No.) Is there a suite of technologies that can dramatically cut emissions by, say, 2050? (No.) Would such actions take away capital, in a futile attempt to stop warming, that would best be invested in the future? (Yes.)”
Had the Crap beaten out of him here
— slipped up and told the truth here

Steven Milloy
The concept of global warming amuses Milloy so much he won’t spell it properly on his website, Junk Science, preferring instead to write “global weirding” or “gorebull warbling.” An adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who lives in Potomac, Milloy spreads his anti-warming message through lectures and on FoxNews.com. His website included a Cap-and-Trade Death Clock that ticked toward the moment the new Congress is installed. Although the title of his book makes it pretty clear what he feels – Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them – a quick peek inside confirms it: “Whether they’re demanding that you turn down your thermostat, stop driving your car, or engage in some other senseless act of self-denial, the Greens are envisioning a grim future for you marked by endless privation.”
Fun fact: Did you know that, according to Milloy’s GoreFacts.com, “Al Gore allowed an innocent man to be prosecuted for a 1989 car accident in which Gore’s son was severely injured”?
This guy’s time has not yet come.

S. Fred Singer
Singer is the granddaddy of skeptics, with real research cred: He’s been professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia and chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Now, he’s president of the Arlington-based Science & Environmental Policy Project, a group of scientists who have provided information to Congress suggesting that humans are not threatened by climate change. When the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore snared a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Singer blasted back by forming a Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which released a report saying climate change is a natural phenomenon.
Fun fact: Singer is a skeptic on other things, too: After the BP oil spill, he noted while government crews had found 1,826 visibly oiled dead birds, that “statistic does not mean the oil killed the birds.”
Explains how he feels about taking money from the tobacco industry here

And here are some who are just passing through:

Texas Rep. Joe Barton
To prepare for global warming, buy more sunscreen, suggests Barton. Or maybe find a tree. “When it’s hot, we get in the shade,” the Texas congressman said in a hearing last year. Barton is BFFs with companies that produce greenhouse gas, receiving about $2.8 million over the years from the oil, gas and utility industries. In 2006, Barton commissioned an influential Congressional report blasting scientists believed that there were possible man-made warming trends last century. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the report was “integral to congressional hearings about climate scientists” and “preceded a lot of conspiratorial thinking polluting the public debate today about climate scientists.” However, the author, George Mason University statistician Edward Wegman, is being investigated by his own school over charges that he cobbled together the study by plagiarizing textbooks and Wikipedia.
Fun fact: Barton doesn’t believe oil spills are bad for you either, apologizing to BP this year for the Obama administration’s gall at asking the company to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Apologizes to BP here

Sen. James Inhofe
Half of the Republicans now in Congress deny that climate change poses a threat, but Inhofe was pooh-poohing global warming before it became cool. In 2003, as chairman on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, Inhofe called global warming the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” He’s helped jam up legislation like the Climate Security Act, which would have imposed emission limits on power companies and manufacturers, and has personally rushed to a distant part of the globe to protest at a United Nations climate summit, like a cranky Batman called by a Bat signal composed of the floating lit-up head of Al Gore. Inhofe’s position is that the U.N. and climate-change scientists are perpetuating the warming scare as a way to tap a faucet of grant money because, you know, they just give academic funding to anybody nowadays.
Fun fact: Inhofe’s whole family made a big igloo on the National Mall during the 2009 blizzard, and decorated it with a cardboard sign reading “Honk if you [HEART] global warming.”
Denies climate change, then denies there have ever been any gay people in his family here


9 Responses to “Heroes of Climate Denial”

  1. otter17 Says:

    Way to refudiate ’em!

    Some appeal to emotion. Some resort to attacking scientists’ character. Some obscure the message. All of them are unable to approach the global warming knowledge that we have with an objective stance, and they all are in the position to influence the public.

    Keep fighting, Peter. You approach these crocks with a mostly rational tone, but you also don’t pull any punches when they are deserved.

  2. greenman3610 Says:

    Thanks. Hope you’ll spread them around.

  3. gypsychief Says:

    We have one right here in Fort Collins, CO. He is William M. Gray of the Hurricane Watch program at Colorado State University. He recently wrote an op-ed for the Fort Collins Coloradoan in which he said that otherwise well meaning people who are worried about man made global warming are not qualified to comment since they lack the scientific creds that he has. And regarding spreading the word I use resources from here on my personal blog.

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  8. […] several well-known figures and organisations among the climate science deniers, one of them being Marc Morano. His account @climatedepot on twitter tweets mostly articles from his website climatedepot.com and […]

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