I’ve posted twice in recent weeks on Republicans who are increasingly unwilling to ride the climate denial crazy bus.

Seems like every time a bell rings these days, a Republican finds his or her conscience on climate…

National Journal:

A Republican lawmaker in Wyoming is taking a stand in favor of teaching climate science in the classroom.

Republican state representative John Patton will introduce legislation early this week to overturn a state-wide ban on a set of K-12 science education standards that teach the scientific consensus on global warming.

The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, have sparked controversy across the U.S. because they call on teachers to instruct students that climate change is real and caused by human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels. The science standards controversy is part of a much larger fight: Parents, teachers and politicians are sparring nationwide over the question of how global warming should be taught in classrooms.

A patchwork of existing science education standards across the country has created widespread disparities in the teaching of climate change in high school and middle school classes.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have so far adopted the Next Generation standards, which were finalized last year by a coalition of scientists and educators. But the guidelines have faced fierce political pushback in states like Wyoming, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.

Readers of Politifact, the journalistic fact checking site, have named Climate Denial the year’s Dumbest Idea. Above, a prime example of piping hot dumbness.


Climate change was in the news this year, starting with the polar vortex at the beginning of 2014 and continuing with the Keystone XL pipeline and proposed carbon-cutting regulations on power plants.

But what stuck with readers were the claims that flat-out denied climate change science. The statement “Climate change is a hoax” won PolitiFact’s annual Readers’ Poll for Lie of the Year with 31.8 percent of the vote.

That claim was the title of a five-minute video released by congressional hopeful Lenar Whitney, a Republican from Louisiana. Several climate scientists told PolitiFact that Whitney’s claim was “laughable,” “deeply misguided,” “uninformed,” “disgusting” and “absurd.” We called it Pants on Fire. Whitney, meanwhile, didn’t even make the run-off.

Here, then, are other highlights from our fact-checks about climate change in 2014.

The hoax

Politicians with much higher profiles than Whitney also have argued with basic climate change science, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a potential 2016 presidential contender. He said in May that human activity is not “causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” We rated that claim False.

How do we know climate change isn’t a mass conspiracy to pull the wool over the world’s eyes, as Whitney and others claim?

Such a scenario seems near impossible, considering the overwhelming consensus among respected climate scientists that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming is indisputable.

Research also shows that climate change denial is concentrated among those who have less expertise in the subject or no scientific training at all.

New Polling continues to swing hard against climate denial, with the latest AP poll showing a majority of even Republican voters wanting regulation of greenhouse gases.


Six in 10 Americans, including half of all Republicans, said they support regulation of carbon dioxide pollution, although they weren’t asked how. Nearly half of Republicans said the U.S. should lead the global fight to curb climate change, even if it means taking action when other countries do not. And majorities across party lines said environmental protections “improve economic growth and provide new jobs” in the long run, a popular Obama administration talking point.

Read the rest of this entry »

New York banned fracking last week. One amusing footnote:

In explaining why, Governor Andrew Cuomo explained that, since he “was not a scientist”, he decided to listen to those actual scientists who have concerns about the health and hydrological effects of fracking.
This turns the newest climate denial dodge, the “I’m not a scientist” meme, on it’s head, by drawing the obvious conclusion.
Since the Governor is “not a scientist”, he listens to those that actually are.(quote at about 1:00 in the video)

Fracking’s visual effects, as these photos show, are just as noxious as the health effects.

Wasson Oil Field- Detroit City- Texas_900Wasson oil field, Detroit City, Texas. Photo credit: Mishka Henner



A few weeks ago we ran some photos by artist Mishka Henner who creates projects that make people think about how we interact with our environment. Those photos showed industrial-scale feed lots, factory farms where thousands of animals are raised, taken from the air. He discovered them while flying over the country working on another project: aerial photos of oil drilling sites.

San Andres oil field, Hockley County, Texas. Photo credit: Mishka Henner




David Gergen is a frequent go-to guy on news programs looking for good-old-boy Washington insider conventional wisdom. Gergen served in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan, as well as Clinton Whitehouses. He’s maintained his position thru an exquisite sense of where the center of the body politic is moving, and positioning himself exactly there. You would never get anything cutting edge or remotely innovative from this commentator. That makes his recent comments all the more telling.

In the piece above, (at about 1:15 if you’re rushed) Gergen describes President Obama’s initiatives on climate change as the most significant foreign policy initiatives of this presidency. More evidence that even the most jaded political hacks now get it that this is an issue that has to be dealt with, that is important now, and will be more important in the years to come.

Additional evidence can be seen in the high profile new series of ads put out by Exxon Mobil. In these “Energy Quiz” ads, although climate change is not explicitly acknowledged, the importance of CO2 emissions is, as here.

Greenwashing? Sure. But – Hypocrisy is the Tribute that Vice pays to Virtue.

Below,  another in the series that predicts great efficiency increases in future auto fleets. (underestimate, in my view, but still worth a look)

Read the rest of this entry »

Al Gore on Climate from 1983

December 20, 2014

This is what a visionary looks like.

No wonder deniers hate him. If Gore’s been right for 30 years – then what are they?

Tom Hardy as an updated Mad Max.


I’m flying today from San Francisco back to home base in Michigan. My fourth American Geophysical Union conference has been extremely interesting and productive, and I hope the material I have gathered here, in concert with Bloggers John Cook and Collin Maessen, will make it easier to crank out more informative posts with greater ease.

Yale Climate Connections:

The Greenland Ice Sheet in HD

The highest resolution satellite images ever taken of the Greenland ice sheets were announced Thursday in an initial data release. Ohio State University has partnered with the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota to capture images taken by DigitalGlobe’s Worldview-1 and -2 satellites and convert them into publicly available elevation maps for researchers who track the ice.

The imagery offers resolution down to half a meter. Researchers convert the images into digital elevation maps with a resolution down to 2 meters. One illustrative example of how powerful this imagery can be: a mosaic depicting the fast-moving Jakobshavn Glacier shows ice bergs floating out to sea but also cracks in the glacier itself hundreds of kilometers inland from Jacobshavn — where in the past there has been a flat expanse of ice. The cracks are signs that the flowing ice is accelerating toward the sea.

The imagery also covers parts of Alaska, including the Brooks Range Mountains and other areas. Check out some pretty impressive images here.


Early Data from NASA’s New Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO2) 

Researchers with the new Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2, launched in July, described the first global maps of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Read the rest of this entry »

Tea-leaf readers, heads up.


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama downplayed the benefits of building the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada on Friday. He said it would not lower gasoline prices and argued more jobs would be created by repairing America’s infrastructure.

He said the pipeline would mainly benefit Canadian oil companies that need to get Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico.

He said the pipeline is “not even a nominal benefit for U.S. consumers.”

Obama has resisted efforts by Republicans to authorize the pipeline’s construction. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it would be the first bill taken up in the new GOP-controlled Senate.


Mike Mann’s Hockey Check

December 19, 2014


Above, Dr. Michael Mann displays his court awarded damages check, won against the climate and science denying, fossil fuel funded “think” tank,  “American Traditions Institute” aka, the “Energy & Environment Legal Institute”, after judges realized that actions against Dr. Mann were pure anti-science harassment and had no basis in fact.

Dr. Mann donated the check to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, an organization devoted to providing a legal bulwark against attacks on climate science and scientists.

Holding the check with Dr. Mann, from left to right, CSLDF Executive Director Lauren Kurtz, and Board members Charles Zeller, Scott Mandia, and Josh Wolfe. The picture was taken December 18, 2014, in San Francisco, at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Charlottesville News Advance, July 13, 2014:

It’s not the size of the penalty, it’s the principle behind it, but that principle depends on which side you’re on.

The state Supreme Court has ordered the nonprofit Energy & Environment Legal Institute to pay $250 in damages to former University of Virginia professor Michael Mann and the school following the institute’s failed legal bid to obtain Mann’s emails regarding climate change research.

The institute, formerly known as the American Tradition Institute, filed the suit in 2011, after UVa refused to turn over about 12,000 emails requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Read the rest of this entry »