Below, former conspiracy nut wakes up. Read the rest of this entry »

Heading into an election year that will be marked by wild weather and record heat.


More than 40 of the nation’s leading environmental and social justice groups demanded a federal investigation of Exxon Mobil on Friday, accusing the huge oil and gas company of deceiving the American public about the risks of climate change to protect its profits.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the groups, citing recent news reports, suggested that Exxon Mobil might be guilty of the same kind of fraud that the tobacco companies were found to have perpetrated when they hid the risks of smoking. Those violations ultimately cost the companies tens of billions of dollars in penalties.

The call for an investigation echoes demands made in recent days by three Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and by several Democrats in Congress.

Exxon Mobil rejected the comparison to the tobacco industry, declaring that it had helped to finance accurate scientific research about climate change and that it had made its research public from the 1970s to the present.

“There is a definite risk from climate change,” the company’s vice president for public affairs, Kenneth P. Cohen, said on Friday in an interview. “We have an unbroken record of participation in significant and serious scientific inquiry into this problem.”

A spokesman for the Justice Department, Wyn Hornbuckle, said the department was reviewing the letter from the advocacy groups, but had no additional comment on it.

I’ve been seeing the Ad spot above at our local cinema the last few months.
Strikes me as somehow touching on the realization that’s creeping up on a lot of people.

We might be in a little trouble…

KXAN Austin:

ALL-TIME 24 HR RAIN RECORD SMASHED AT ABIA (Austin Bergstrom International Airport): 14.54” today. Previous record: 8.70” on 11/23/1974.

WETTEST MONTH ON RECORD AT ABIA: 22.08″ this month. Previous record: 15.59 in June, 1981.

*Record daily rainfall at Camp Mabry: 4.92”. Now 52.33” in 2015—3rd wettest on record since 1891, with 2 months remaining in the year. Record is 64.68” in 1919.

*Record daily rainall at ABIA: 14.54”. Now 55.26” in 2015—2nd wettest year on record since 1942, with 2 months remaining in year. Record is 55.74” in 1957.

The stranded motorist was rescued.

This isn’t from Hurricane Patricia. That was last week.

Severe weather is expected to continue in the Southern Plains throughout the weekend.

“The threats are two-fold. First, warm and very humid air coupled with an approaching southward dip in the jet stream will spawn severe thunderstorms, some of which may spawn tornadoes, in Texas and the Deep South through Saturday,” said meteorologist Jon Erdman. “Secondly, areas of slow-moving, heavy rain will trigger flash flooding in Texas and Oklahoma through early Saturday, then spread into the Lower Mississippi Valley and Deep South later Saturday. This flood threat includes San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Houston.”

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In summary, newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA’s NCEI do not support the notion of a global warming “hiatus.”

Karl et al Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus

For a better understanding of the paper at the center of the House Science Committee/NOAA kerfuffle – no better person than Dana Nuccitelli at Skeptical Science, followed by John Abraham in the Guardian.

Last week, a paper out of NOAA concluded that contrary to the popular myth, there’s been no pause in global warming. The study made headlines across the world, including widely-read Guardian stories by John Abraham and Karl Mathiesen. In fact, there may have been information overload associated with the paper, but the key points are relatively straightforward and important.

1. Rapid Global Warming Continues

Arguments about short-term temperature changes only deal with the Earth’s surface temperatures, which account for just 1–2% of the overall warming of the planet. More than 90% of that heat goes into the oceans, and as my colleagues and I noted in a paper published 3 years ago, if anything that warming is accelerating, building up heat at a rate faster than 4 atomic bomb detonations per second.

If you carefully cherry pick start and end dates, you can find a period around 1998–2012 during which the warming of surface temperatures slowed a bit due to temporary natural cooling factors (like more La Niñas), just like it sped up a bit during the 1990s due to temporary natural warming factors (like more El Niños). But these are just wiggles on top of the long-term human-caused global warming trend. As Michael Mann put it,

there never was any “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming. There is evidence, however, for a modest, temporary slowdown in surface warming through the early part of this decade.

2. The Surface Warming Slowdown is Probably Over

This is a tough pill to swallow for those who have misused the short-term slowdown in global surface warming to argue against climate policies, but it’s likely over. 2014 was the hottest year on record, and 2015 looks likely to break the record again.

These slowdown-based anti-policy arguments have been made by everyone fromRepublican presidential candidates to political think tanks to science-denying blogs. It’s a simple argument – if we pretend the surface warming slowdown can continue indefinitely, then global warming is less of a concern and we don’t need policies to stop it.

Since we’ve always known the slowdown was temporary, these were never credible arguments, but they nevertheless helped to delay efforts to curb global warming. After the publication of this NOAA paper, and possibly two consecutive record hot years, it seems unlikely that these arguments will be considered credible any longer.

3. The Most Common Denial Response: Conspiracy Theories

Social science research has shown that conspiracy theorists are more likely to reject scientists’ conclusions about climate change. It’s a logical connection – given that 97% of climate scientists and their research agree on human-caused global warming, the easiest way to deny that reality is to accuse all those scientists of being part of a vast conspiracy. Otherwise it’s difficult to justify rejecting the conclusions of 97% of experts.

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Washington Post:

China, the world’s biggest user of coal, is suddenly burning less of it, a change with enormous implications for the state of the atmosphere and the potential course of global climate change.

The shift has been both abrupt and unexpected, bringing fresh credibility to China’s pledge to rein in its greenhouse gas emissions, now also the highest level in the world. Blamed in the West for the failure of the last global climate change talks, in Copenhagen in 2009, China is setting itself up to play a constructive role at the next round of discussions, in Paris later this year.

As recently as 2010, China added as much coal-fired electricity generation capacity in a single year as exists in all of Germany. It took China’s slowing economy, a slump in heavy industry and unprecedented moves by the Communist Party to curb choking levels of air pollution to produce the drop-off in coal consumption, which began in 2014 and has continued this year.

Still, the idea that China might be transformed from the world’s smoke-belching factory into a cleaner, more high-tech place remains a distant prospect — even with the advent of a new cap-and-trade system that President Xi Jinping has promised to put in place by 2017.

“I was traditionally, honestly extraordinarily pessimistic about all this, if you had asked me two or three years ago,” said Mikkal Herberg, director of the Energy Security Program at the Seattle-based National Bureau of Asian Research. “It is only in the last year or two that I have actually begun to believe they can do some of the things they are promising to do.”

Charleston Gazette (W. Virginia):

ROANOKE — Coal consumption is not likely to increase, regardless of whether new federal regulations on power plants go into effect, and, from coal’s perspective, the national debate on coal and climate change has largely been lost, the president of West Virginia’s largest electric utility told a roomful of energy executives Tuesday.

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The Hill:

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who is facing a tough reelection contest next year, is touting her support for the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.

In a web video released by her campaign on Wednesday, Ayotte highlighted her support for the Clean Power Plan, saying it “will help address climate change” in the years ahead.

“As your atorney general, I fought to protect New Hampshire from out of state polluters, and I’ve done the same in the Senate, crossing the aisle to protect New Hampshire’s clean air and water,” Ayotte said in the 30-second video.

“Now, I’m supporting the Clean Power Plan, which will help address climate change with clean energy solutions that preserve our environment.”

Ayotte’s support for the climate rule — and her willingness to publicize it — is in sharp contrast to many other Republicans in the Senate.

A group led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a series of resolutions to undo President Obama’s power plant rules this week, and the Senate is expected to vote on them later this fall.

In a floor speech on Tuesday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said he expects a vote against the resolutions to be a political problem for some senators, saying the votes will “[force] accountability by people who are answerable to the public.”

But in New Hampshire, circumstances might be different. Ayotte faces a stiff challenge next year from Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Senate race and has already attacked the senator on climate issues.

Miami New Times:

The science is conclusive. Vast swaths of Miami-Dade will someday be underwater thanks to rising sea levels caused by carbon emissions. How much of Miami-Dade ends up underwater, however, may depend on what we do now to curb carbon emissions.

So it’s quite odd that Attorney General Pam Bondi announced on Friday she’s joining a lawsuit with the attorney generals of 23 other states against the Obama administration’s requirements to curb those carbon emissions.

Bondi doesn’t really want to talk about it, though. Read the rest of this entry »

A hidden camera recording of the US House Science Committee has come to light, thanks to an intrepid whistle blower.