With New Temp Record – Climate Change Becoming Conventional Wisdom. Deniers Freak Out, Backpedal

January 19, 2015

All weekend I’ve been watching the media coverage of NASA and NOAA’s announcement, Friday, that 2014 set a new record for global temperatures.
What we’re seeing is the mainstream media, in the US, and, I think, every country now, coming around to where they should have been 25 years ago – firmly on board with the science. Still a few examples of false balance, but overall, the coverage, especially on television networks, overwhelmingly on the factual side.

Meanwhile, since I’m on the mailing list of some of the most obnoxious climate troll sites, I’ve been getting a stream of panicky “Not so fast..” items from the science denial side.  I won’t do them the favor of a link.
The dynamics of the public dialogue are now swinging firmly against them – in that, to make their point (“warming is not a threat”), they have to repeat what is now the media framing, ie global warming is happening and getting worse, thereby reinforcing that meme. It’s the same bind they’ve been in with the “97 percent of experts agree” meme, –  by trying to refute it, they end up repeating it more and more – and what we’ve learned in the climate communication biz over the last decade, is that repeating the opposing talking point simply reinforces it further.

Tom Zeller in Forbes:

The revelation late last week that global average temperatures set a new record in 2014 seemed to underscore a political and cultural shift on climate change that, by many accounts, was already well underway. From the stock markets and Wall Street to the boardrooms of Big Oil — and even the living rooms of Republican voters — the era of reflexive skepticism and denial of basic climate science appears to be coming to a close.

That won’t likely mean an end to partisan bickering, of course. But as the adage goes, the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one.

nytimes_record_small

That’s precisely what the American Petroleum Institute did when it released its annual State of American Energy Report two weeks ago. Amid its bullish assessment of the nation’s ongoing boom in shale oil and gas, the leading fossil fuel trade group clearly and unequivocally acknowledged the threat of global warming, and highlighted — at some length — the steady rise of solar power as an encouraging sign.

“Few things threaten America’s future prosperity more than climate change,” the report declared. “But there is growing hope: Every 2.5 minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is helping to fight this battle by flipping the switch on another completed solar project.” The report goes on to note that the solar power sector has shaved installation costs and enjoyed over 40 percent growth over the last year:

Simply put, when looking at America’s energy future, solar can be a real game changer, providing more and more homes, businesses, schools and government entities across the United States with clean, reliable and affordable electricity while also helping states to meet proposed new obligations under … the Clean Air Act.

Zeller notes that the same publication also contains the mandatory fossil industry talking points about new EPA coal regs, yadda yadda – and everyone knows that the Petroleum Industry has been behind the most toxic and damaging anti-science propaganda over the decades.
But the fact remains, that, for anyone that wishes to be viewed as sentient, much less, serious – on energy issues – an acknowledgement of the challenge of climate, and the onrush of renewable energy technology, is no longer optional.

American Petroleum Institute:

api_solar1

From an environmental perspective, solar helped offset an estimated 20 million metric tons of harmful CO2 emissions in 2014, which is the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off U.S. highways or saving 2.1 billion gallons of gasoline.
Simply put, when looking at America’s energy future, solar can be a real game changer, providing more and more homes, businesses, schools and government entities across the United States with clean, reliable and affordable electricity while also helping states to meet proposed new obligations under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.
api_solar2
Obviously there is still a lot of work to do. Carbon pollution is still rising globally, we still do not have a comprehensive plan in the US, much less a coherent international framework, but the momentum has now clearly shifted, and climate deniers in the US congress will be on the defensive from here on out.
See here:
 
UPDATE:
The reliably crazy-conservative Washington Examiner notes:

Republicans are trying to find solutions of their own to climate change instead of just attacking President Obama’s environmental policies, but the party hasn’t been able to agree on specific plans or policies.

Now in control of Congress, some Republicans are beginning to think that simply throwing bombs at the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama’s regulations won’t work any longer, staffers on Capitol Hill say. Instead, they believe they must develop their own ideas on how to combat climate change, especially to help moderate GOP senators up for re-election in 2016. Nine Senate Republicans are on the ballot in states Obama carried at least once, and House districts that were safe in midterm races likely will be tighter in the general election.

The plan is still emerging, according to interviews with nearly two dozen people that included lawmakers, lobbyists, strategists and aides, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and evolving subject.

The rough outline is that tactics to reduce emissions should not harm the economy, but what that would entail is not certain.

“They’re going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy.”

Democrats think climate change can be a winning issue for them, and they plan to put GOP senators on record this week with at least one amendment on a bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline that asks whether senators believe in man-made climate change.

The 2016 map largely favors Democrats. It puts many Republicans in blue states elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave on the ballot during a general election that will bring more Democrats to the polls. That has some incumbent Republicans searching for a message on climate.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they were looking at the electoral map and thinking, ‘How am I going to win? I can’t leave all these votes on the table,” said the Environmental Defense Fund’s Tony Kreindler, who works with an environmental group called the Conservation Leadership Council that’s stocked with former George W. Bush administration officials.

That has some of the party’s most vocal members openly questioning where the party is on climate change, as some believe a change is required if the GOP plans to stay in the majority.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Roll Call in November. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”

Below, more of the mainstream media coverage.

5 Responses to “With New Temp Record – Climate Change Becoming Conventional Wisdom. Deniers Freak Out, Backpedal”

  1. andrewfez Says:

    =“They’re going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy.”=

    They are still framing it as though it’s an economic killer. It’s an upfront investment with very low risk, and offers a high return on multiple fronts. Doing nothing is the economy killer and high risk, high volatility position.

    Latest news for tiny fracking companies: Credit market frozen for those guys! From their perspective, it’s 2008 all over again. All the Wall St. B.S. and negative profit margin denial is catching up with them this week.

    Money Dries Up For Oil And Gas, Layoffs Spread, Write-Offs Start

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/2828756-money-dries-up-for-oil-and-gas-layoffs-spread-write-offs-start

    Not in this article, but in another one, i’ve watch some of the commenters say, “Well how come Obama just doesn’t start giving loans to our fracking companies?” In other words, ‘Market discipline is for poor people; not us!!’.

  2. climatehawk1 Says:

    “I won’t do them the favor of a link.” Good thinking–zero percentage in making it easier to access lies.

  3. petersjazz Says:

    I have heard that in Bangladesh there is solar panel installed every minute. But I havent been able to get it verified

  4. redskylite Says:

    Excellent article, I can’t even visit WUWT or Judith Curry’s climate etc. now as they now seem grotesque, obscene and out of place. I expect they are all clinging on to John Christy and the UAH satellite readings as a last ditch effort of denial. Just run the NASA, NoAA and JMA datasets into an Excel spreadsheet at look at the statistical trend projection, never mind natural climatic variations and supercomputers.

    Paul Krugman in today’s New York Time sums it up for me:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/opinion/paul-krugman-hating-good-government.html?_r=0


  5. […] Now, while sounding out the potential for a White House bid in 2016, Mitt Romney has signaled that he has (again) shifted course on climate – proving that, while the GOP does not like science, they can read polls. (above, see his snide and sarcastic mention of climate change at the 2012 GOP convention) More evidence that Republicans are being forced, kicking and screaming, by reality to re-calibrate their climate stance. […]


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