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March 16 2012

04:55

See No Evil At George Mason University

George Mason University (GMU) has labored for 2 years on simple plagiarism complaints.  It has just written self-contradictory findings that avoided seeing plagiarism in the 2006 Wegman Report (WR) while admitting the same text elsewhere was plagiarism.

In March 2010, climate scientist Ray Bradley complained to GMU of 2.5 pages of plagiarism of his paleoclimatology book by the Wegman Report.  In May he added 5.5 pages of WR Social Networks Analysis  plagiarism  and a 1.5 -page subset in a Computational Statistics and Data Analysis (CSDA) paper.

All were based on the work of Canadian blogger Deep Climate, who kept finding more problems. The known total of 80+ pages has 4 PhD dissertations, some lectures, a patent and 7 papers.

Edward Wegman and Yasmin Said published two largely-plagiarized papers in a “peer-reviewed” Wiley journal they edit with David Scott.  Wikipedia pages they copied were better. 

In May 2011, CSDA publisher Elsevier finally forced retraction of the CSDA paper.

 

 

 

 

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March 06 2012

01:08

Fakegate: Who’s the Fake?


4 out of 5 climate deniers prefer Heartland In recent weeks, the climate community has been in a bit of an uproar over leaked documents from the Heartland Institute (H.I.). One of which was a memo outlining specific strategies that H.I. claims is “a forgery apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute,” not written byanyone associated with The Heartland Institute, “ nor does it “express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics.”

While the jury is still out as to whether or not the H.I. memo leaked by Gleick is a forgery, many are concerned that this incident may tarnish the credibility of climate science and its consensus.  Peter Gleick, president and founder of the Pacific Institute climate research group who fraudulently obtained the documents has admitted to a “serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics,” and resigned from his posts on the board of the National Center for Science Education and the chairmanship of the American Geophysical Union task force on scientific ethics.

Meanwhile, the Heartland Institute, the self-proclaimed victims of a dastardly “criminal offense subject to imprisonment,” are now using it for their advantage – fundraising. Prominently displayed on their website: “Left wing groups commit fraud but we’re fighting back. Join our legal defense fund to remove false and defamatory materials and prosecute the true criminals…

Heartland Institutes’s President and co-founder Joseph Bast recently emailed his donors asking for their support:

“I need your help!…Can you make a charitable contribution to our legal defense fund? You would be helping us defend ourselves against a cowardly and criminal attack. You would also help us take down a notch some of the left-wing activists and their friends who so plainly crossed the line this time.”

Now a few things come to mind. For starters, regardless if this memo was a fake or not, the climate denial machine already has a long history of strategic memos that  were leaked.

In 1991, the Information Council for the Environment (ICE) was created by coal and mining associations with the objective to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact) if not a myth” and “attack the proponents [by comparing] global warming to historical or mythical instances of gloom and doom.” ICE disbanded soon after internal memos were leaked to the press.

In 1998, there was the memo drafted by the American Petroleum Institute’s Global Climate Action team that highlighted specific strategies to “inform the American public that science does not support the precipitous actions Kyoto would dictate…” Explicitly, “Victory will be achieved when average citizens, industry leaders and media ‘understand’ (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; [and it] becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.”  These strategies included a direct outreach program with information kits and educational materials, recruiting scientists who would publicly debate the science, a national media relations program to generate coverage, the establishment of a foundation to serve as a “one-stop resource on climate science” and grassroots efforts with literature such as peer-reviewed papers, fact sheets and op-eds that would “undercut the ‘conventional wisdom’ of climate science.”

(Any of this sound familiar?)

Then there was Frank Luntz’s memo in 2002 advising Republican leaders on how to win the “environmental communications battle,” particularly to “the global warming debate.” Suggesting a variety of tactics, his foremost advice was to challenge the science and emphasize scientific uncertainty: “The scientific debate remains open…should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue.”  

While Luntz has finally come around to believe in the reality of global warming and agrees with the  consensus, the damage was done and the denial machine continues to challenge the science and emphasize uncertainty.

In December 2010, during the height of Climategate and immediately after correspondent Wendell Goler reported on-air that 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record,” Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon emailed a memo to Fox journalists:

“…we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.”

(Yet again proof, as if we didn’t know, that Fox News is in the business of unfair and unbalanced and industry biased infotainment – not news. And the climate denial wheels keep spinning round…)

My second thought and again irregardless if the memo leaked by Gleick was a fake, why ever is the Heartland Institute in such a frenzy, so outraged, so indignant? As in the words of Bast,Left-wing bloggers are filling the blogosphere with quotes from the fake memo, claiming it reveals our “hidden agenda” and “secret plans.” Oh no, sound the alarm!

Look, we all know that H.I. is a key player in sowing doubt and denial, nearly a poster child for the strategies outlined in the API memo. Their publication Environment and Climate News, “the monthly newspaper for common-sense environmentalism,” currently runs with the headline, “Climategate 2   Reveals Further Scientific Misconduct, Doubts.” Their list of contributors, speakers, fellows, so-called experts is a shining constellation of prominent deniers: Sallie Baliunas, Lord Christopher Monckton, Ross McKitrick, Christopher C. Horner, William H. Gray, Myron Ebell, Willie Soon, Tim Ball, PhD, Richard Lindzen, Bjorn Lomberg, Pat Michaels, S. Fred Singer, et al.

To date, H.I. has presented 6 “International Conferences on Climate Change,” sponsored by such unbiased, truth-seeking and yes fossil-fuel-funded organizations such as the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation.  Topics include “global warming is not a crisis;” the “widespread dissent to the asserted ‘consensus’ on various aspects of climate change and global warming;” and “new scientific discoveries have cast doubt on how much of the warming of the twentieth century was natural and how much was man-made.”  This past summer’s  6th conference, “Restoring the Scientific Method” acknowledged that the “science of climate change is based on ‘post-normal science’ which substitutes claims of consensus for the scientific method” with “terrible consequences for science and society.”

So, is it defamatory to assert or even reveal that H.I. has a “hidden agenda” and “secret plans” to dispute the reality of global warming? Actually, maybe it is since they’re not being all that  secretive about it – nor is their intent to debate and dispute climate science (or any science that threatens the free market) very hidden.

This brings me to my final point. In his book, Propaganda, social theorist Jacques Ellul writes, “Facts come to be discussed in the language of indignation, a tone which is almost always the mark of propaganda.” More so, “The propagandist will not accuse the enemy of just any misdeed, he will accuse him of the very intention that he himself has and of trying to commit the very crime he himself is about to commit…”

With that in mind, let’s take one more look at Bast’s email:

“When the left runs out of arguments and facts which is usually pretty quickly they turn to attacking our donors. They do this to discourage people from supporting us, as well as other conservative and libertarian groups. We understand their game.”

You bet they do… Cripes, they nearly invented it… in this decades long, fully-funded, industry agenda-driven propaganda campaign to distort, debate and defame the science and reality of anthropomorphic global warming and climate change. All to ensure that we remain content with business, or rather fossil fuel profits, as usual.

And despite Gleick’s actions, which were dishonest, dishonorable, bad and wrong, we are still amateurs at the game – that is if we really wanted to play it and resort to their deceptions or even their obvious tactics like the editing and censoring of news items or federal documents.

Just take look at what they do: All this hubbub about leaked documents and no mention of what went down during Climategate, (and now Climategate2.0)  As Kate Sheppard  writing in Mother Jones eloquently put it, “Heartland didn’t seem to mind when emails between climate scientists that were stolen from a server, made public, and lied about on the internet—either the first or second time it happened. It’s only now that such behavior is “just despicable,” a “violation of journalistic ethics,” and a criminal offense.”

Or when in 2009 climate journalist Andrew Revkin misstated information in an article and caught the heat.  Lord Christopher Monckton accused Revkin and the New York Times of “deliberate misrepresentation”  and of writing a “mendacious article.”

Or consider what H.I. contributor Christopher C. Horner wrote in his Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming:

“The dishonesty and bully tactics employed to preserve the appearance of consensus are startling:” The consensus claim depends on discredited reports, character assassinations and fake experts.” “It’s the greens who seek to censor science and intimidate dissent and debate prompting a stream of intimidation and ad hominem attacks.”Alarmists “have decided that the best way to win the global warming debate is by shouting down the opposition and demonizing them in the eyes of the public.”“When one side is short of persuasive arguments, it resorts to personal denigration of the other side; ignoring its arguments; attempting to silence it; and exaggerating its own claims. All these telltale signs are manifest from the climate change side today.”

Really… yes, they do understand the game alright but just whom are they talking about? Surely not the left who is now in a tizzy about Gleick’s unfortunately questionable means to reveal the conscious efforts to deny climate change.  But hear this, those of you who fear that scientific credibility has been tarnished, we can worry about this so-called Gleickgate, this Fakegate, Climategate(s) – all of the “gates” we want to –  because that is exactly their game – to debate, dispute, distort, deny the science and precisely to tarnish credibility to keep the American public confused and distracted so that we continue to use fossil fuels, build pipelines, bemoan the price of gas without ever demanding green energy, a green infrastructure and a sustainable economy.

Seriously, don’t we have enough to worry about?

The good news is that more Americans believe climate change is happening – because they now have direct experience. Mother Nature has taken care of that. We must now, in good faith, move on and continue to expose the denial machine and all of its tactics, while also moving towards the means of curbing any more effects, and ensure we do the right thing as a nation for ourselves and the planet.

Image credit: ClimateCrocks.com

Internal Heartland Institute Email Blasts “Lamestream Media” for Climate Leak, Mother Jones, By Kate Sheppard Feb. 16, 2012

February 24 2012

07:56

What passes for a Brain Trust at Heartland?

Has beens, also-rans, deniers-for-hire on retainer at "think tank"

The Heartland Institute maintains a stable of 13 scientists on retainer for the express purpose of attacking the work of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to budget information released last week in the Heartland document dump.

The scientists, ranging from one of the world's least credible deniers-for-hire (Dr. S. Fred Singer) to a sessional lecturer on the evolution and history of the domestic dog (Susan Crockford), include no top climate scientists currently publishing in the peer-reviewed literature.

The best paid "expert" on the Heartland list is Craig Idso, a former Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy (the largest coal company in the world). Heartland pays Idso $11,600 a month through his Center for the Study of CO2 & Global Change, which like the Heartland Institute, has charitable status and therefore operates with an effective subsidy from the American taxpayer. (Funny how quick libertarians are to fleece old Uncle Sam when THEY get to kick the money back to their rich friends.)

read more

February 22 2012

23:48

Evaluation shows "Faked" Heartland Climate Strategy Memo is Authentic

A line-by-line evaluation of the Climate Strategy memo, which the Heartland Institute has repeatedly denounced as a "fake" shows no “obvious and gross misstatements of fact,” as Heartland has alleged. On the contrary, the Climate Strategy document is corroborated by Heartland’s own material and/or by its allies and employees.

It also uses phrases, language and, in many cases, whole sentences that were taken directly from Heartland’s own material. Only someone who had previous access to all of that material could have prepared the Climate Strategy in its current form.

In all the circumstances – taking into account Peter Gleick’s explanation of the origin of the Heartland documents, and in direct contradiction of Heartland’s stated position – DeSmogBlog has concluded that the Climate Strategy memo is authentic. 

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February 15 2012

01:26

Mashey Report Confirms Heartland's Manipulation; Exposes Singer's Deception


S. Fred Singer Lied to the IRS about identity of his chair

The new report by computer scientist, researcher and DeSmogBlog contributor John Mashey (next post), completely corroborates the authenticity of leaked Heartland Institute budget, planning and fundraising documents released on the DeSmogBlog earlier today.

Mashey's report also produces evidence that Dr. S. Fred Singer, who Heartland keeps on a $5,000-a-month retainer to spread disinformation about climate change, claimed Dr. Frederick Seitz as the chair of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) for two full years AFTER Seitz died.

As always when Mashey is involved, this new report is painstakingly detailed and carefully referenced throughout. It both corroborates and is corroborated by the leaked Heartland documents, which reinforce Mashey's conclusion that Heartland is a for-profit public relations and lobbying firm that is operating with non-profit status by misrepresenting the nature of its activities in its own tax filings.

Specifically, Mashey's report, Fake science, fakexperts, funny finances, free of tax, documents the following conclusions:

read more

February 14 2012

23:08
21:14

Heartland Insider Exposes Institute's Budget and Strategy

An anonymous donor calling him (or her)self "Heartland Insider" has released the Heartland Institute's budget, fundraising plan, its Climate Strategy for 2012 and sundry other documents (all attached) that prove all of the worst allegations that have been levelled against the organization.

read more

April 17 2011

22:41

Don't Be Fooled: Fossil Fools Fund Latest Climate Skeptic Petition

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) recently published a flashy headline that reads, '900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism Of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm'. The article links to a blog post on Populartechnology.net listing more than 900 papers which, according to the GWPF, refute "concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic."

The "900+ papers" list is supposed to somehow prove that a score of scientists reject the scientific consensus on climate change. One might be persuaded by the big numbers. We're not. <!--break-->

Oh, where to begin? First, a note of caution about the Global Warming Policy Foundation. It's a UK group opposing climate change action. Sourcewatch's digging reveals links to right-wing libertarian climate change deniers. According to the UK Charity Commission, GWPF's mandate is to "advance the public understanding of global warming and of its possible consequences, and also of the measures taken or proposed to be taken in response to it". Actually, they're a heck of a lot more interested in sowing seeds of doubt than in disseminating knowledge. The GWPF's director is the Heartland Institute's* Benny Peiser, climate change denier extraordinaire. Other notable members include Canada's Ross McKitrick of the Fraser Institute.   

Curiously, the GWPF was launched just as the Climategate emails were released. An op-ed by Chairman Nigel Lawson announced the GWPF, predicted the (hopeful) failure of the Copenhagen climate talks, and called for an inquiry into the content of the stolen emails.

Using a screen-scraping process to analyze the data on the "900+" list, the folks over at Carbon Brief dug up some pretty incriminating information. Turns out nine of the ten most cited authors on the list (representing 186 of the 938 papers) have links to ExonMobil-funded organizations. The tenth has co-authored several papers with Exxon-funded contributors. Anyone familiar with these kinds of lists ("More than 500 scientists dispute global warming" or "more Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims") knows that if you've seen one, you've seen them all.  Many familiar climate skeptic names appear over and over again.

Dr. Sherwood B Idso is the most cited author on the list, having authored or co-authored 67 of the papers. Idso is president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a think tank funded by ExxonMobil and the Sarah Scaife Foundation

The second most cited is Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, a well-known climate sceptic who admits that around 40% of his funding comes from the oil industry.

When you really crunch the numbers, all you really find is a small echochamber of the same individuals who pop up on every denier list and petition around. James W. Prall at the University of Toronto has put together a fantastic analysis of the names that appear on these lists, and shows how most of them share funding ties to the oil industry. 

Now a note on the most cited journals on this list. Articles from trade journal Energy and Environment are cited 137 times on the list. Energy and Environment is edited by Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen and Benny Peiser. Numerous known climate skeptics sit on the editorial staff including Sallie Baliunas, Patrick Michaels, Ross McKitrick, and Richard Lindzen.  The journal has become a go-to resource for policymakers and politicians who are skeptical of the scientific consensus of climate change. 

Michael Ashley of the University of New South Wales has described it as “the climate sceptic’s journal of choice”. The Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge is considered a key resource for establishing the credentials and influence of key academic journals. It does not list Energy and Environment.  

A further 24 papers come from the journal Climate Research which is perhaps best known for publishing a 2003 paper by Sallie Baliunas and Willy Soon that received funding from the American Petroleum Institute. In response to the paper’s publication, the editor in chief, Hans Von Storch, and five of ten members of the editorial board, resigned in protest.

Let's contrast this "900+ list" with the real facts. Expert Credibility in Climate Changewhich appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examines over 2,400 climate scientists and authors who have signed public statements on climate change. Their research says that 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field believe that global warming is happening, and that we must respond to it.

A note to deniers: if you keep publishing these lists, we'll keep debunking them. Long lists might look convincing, but they're no substitute for research that is free of fossil fuel industry bias and is taken seriously by the scientific community. 

*Updated: Peiser is listed as one of the global warming 'experts' by the Heartland Institute, but does not work there.

Image Credit: Prospect Magazine

February 08 2011

22:44

Oily Strategists Mint Another Silly Climate Petition

The public relations man and energy industry front group promoter Tom Harris has partnered with the Exxon-sponsored Idso family on a new petition dismissing the risks of climate change as "small to negligible."

The petition is currently headlining at the WattsUpWithThat website, which probably shouldn't surprise anyone, given that proprietor and weather guy Anthony Watts was one of the original signatories to one of the original silly climate petitions: the Leipzig Declaration.

These petitions are, in the most important ways, all the same. They feature the same cast of discredited characters (Pat Michaels, Fred Singer) and the same discredited arguments. The biggest such effort of the last 20 years was the Oregon Petition, which used a fraudulent National Academy of Sciences letterhead to solicit something in excess of 30,000 signatures from "scientists," including a small handfull who had actually studied or practiced climate science.

But the point has never been to advance the science. The goal has been to give the impression that a legitimate scientific argument persists. And here we go again.

<!--break-->The wedge for this particular effort was a letter that 18 legitimate climate scientists submitted a couple of weeks ago to the Members of Congress. Those scientists appealed to legislators to stop fiddling with the "abstractions" (I would have said, deceptions) of the climate argument and to get on with some solutions that will spare us all from a future that no one wants.

In response, Harris, a former APCO Worldwide PR pro, who has since launched energy-linked front groups including the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project, and remains a policy bender at the International Climate Science Coalition, teamed up with the oil-implicated Idso-family business, the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change. Together, they produced a new letter and began soliciting new signatures, taking care to get to a number larger than 18, so they can say they carry more weight than the impressive scientists whom they are trying to shout down.

I will leave it to the experts to dismiss the specious arguments that the Harris-Idso cabal have advanced, but bid you to look at the names (and ages) of those "experts" who have signed this letter. There are many complaints from this community that a tight group of climate scientists control the peer-reviewed literature and keep them out. But the real reason these people don't crop up much in scientific journals discussing climate change is that - at least with people like Singer, Michaels and the Idsos - they are not much engaged in science. They're in PR. Which can be an honourable calling. Or not. It really depends on who's practicing and who's paying.

November 17 2010

23:44

ICSC Climate Scientists' Register: Usual suspects; usual tactics

The tired, old climate-change deniers who keep trying to get themselves taken seriously have launched another petition claiming that "having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, (they) do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming."

This new laundry list of paid skeptics and ideologues is yet another instalment in the periodic petition process that has confused the climate conversation since Dr. S. Fred Singer launched the first such stunt in 1992. In fact, usual suspects such as Singer, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels and Sherwood Idso are on both lists.

Connoisseurs will recognize more names, perennial Canadian deniers like Tim Patterson and Tim Ball, both alumni of an evolving series of oil-backed astroturf groups including the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project. The oily lobbyist and former APCO Worldwide PR guy Tom Harris, who was prominent in both of those organizations, is also the "brains" behind this effort.<!--break-->

For a sense of the degree of scientific expertise one needs to be welcomed into this crowd, you could look to weather forecaster "Art Horn, Meteorologist (honors, Lyndon State College, Lyndonville, Vermont), operator, The Art of Weather, U.S.A." For a measure of ideological fervor, you can check in with "Kenneth P. Green, Doctor of Environmental Science and Engineering (UCLA, 1994), Resident Scholar, Interim Director, Center for Regulatory Studies, American Enterprise Institute, Washington D.C., U.S.A.

The unfortunate thing is that, like the famous and famously plumped up Oregon Petition, this new edition could well be taken seriously by some unsuspecting reporter (and his or her badly served readers) who simply doesn't understand that science is not conducted on the weight of popular opinion - especially when, in the case of people like Michaels, Singer, Harris, Ball and Green, those opinions are so clearly for sale.

May 19 2010

05:42

Will Happer To Testify At Congressional Hearing on Climate Science

Will Happer, as chair of the George C. Marshall Institute, will testify Thursday before Rep. Ed Markey's Select committee as the sole GOP witness arguing against the global warming consensus.  Even though Happer, a physicist, has published exactly one paper that discusses climate change, he is apparently the top choice of the GOP to discuss "the ability to present data and information that can guide global warming solutions in a sometimes fierce political landscape."

Professor Will Happer augments his Princeton duties with high-profile climate denial.  Ever since he and Fred Singer claimed that ozone depletion was not happening, Happer has been willing to let his Princeton position and American Physical Union title serve the whims of ExxonMobil's policy goals. 

Happer proudly says "I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind." 

He even falsely told a congressional committee: “We evolved as a species when CO2 concentrations were three or four times what they are now”.  Actually, you need to go back hundreds of millions of years to find CO2 levels this high.  Sorry Mr. Happer, your facts might be a bit muddled, but your motivations are clear.<!--break-->

Happer has been on the board of the George C. Marshall Institute since at least 2002, and is currently its director.  The institute receives a sizable portion of its funding from ExxonMobil.  Out of an operating budget of about $800,000, an average of $91,428 per year from 2001-07 comes directly from ExxonMobil.  They also receive $250,000 per year from the Scaife oil fortune, and we see almost half of the Institute is funded by oil money. 

Global warming policy is the institute's largest advocacy program, spending over $200,000 in 2007 and over $300,000 in 2006 on the program.  That program employs former registered Exxon lobbyist William O'Keefe, who previously served as CEO fo the American Petroleum Institute.  Also on the team, Sallie Baliunas who co-authored a paper on climate change with Willie Soon which was sponsored directly by the API, and then refuted by 13 of the authors she cited.

As the chair for the organization Happer has stepped into a central role in the global warming denialosphere.  While some organizations like Competitive Enterprise Institute have renounced funding from ExxonMobil, GMI has been unabashed in its acceptance of oil money.  Consequently, Exxon connections form a tight circle around GMI and Happer.  See this map of connections.

Will this week's climate tesimony be as hilarious as previous weeks?  I doubt Happer will match the absurdity of Hitler-Youth-Monckton at the previous congressional hearing earlier this month, but it will be interesting to see if he makes up more on CO2 levels or pretends to be baffled as to how a mere gas can effect the climate.  Stay tuned.

February 08 2010

00:37

Plagiarism? Conspiracies? Felonies? Breaking out the Wegman File

Did Edward Wegman's team commit plagiarism in preparing its 2006 Congressional report on the so-called MBH Hockey Stick? Objectively, yes.

Is there a conspiracy to confuse and distort climate science? Absolutely. If you doubt it, read the John Mashey paper attached (or our book, Climate Cover-up).

Have any crimes been committed? That'll be for a judge to decide. But given that misleading Congress is a felony offense, there might be some justifable nervousness among the people who coached Wegman through his attack on the scientistists behind the Hockey Stick.

The inspiration for these questions, and some fodder for the answers, is presented in painstaking and well-documented detail in the attached paper (see new version 1.0.1, updated Feb 11, 2010). Prepared by the computer scientist and entrepreneur John Mashey, it is a roadmap, a reference source and a timeline for the campaign of deceit that began in the 1990s and has come to something of a crescendo with the recent thefts of the East Anglia emails.<!--break-->

Mashey begins with a context-heavy review of the excellent research by the blogger Deep Climate, whose most recent revelations are described in greater detail here.

But Mashey doesn't stop there. He burrows back into the campaign of climate change denial, naming names and describing tactics. He is unfailingly cautious in making accusations, but the weight of his documentation is devastating for scientific sellouts like Dr. S. Fred Singer and for organizations like the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which have chosen to insert themselves in the the political process and in the public conversation - in a way that is, often, anything but forthright.

This document should be required reading for Congressional investigators and for any reporter who wants to cover this issue credibly.

We have been  told repeatedly, of late, that science has become politicized and that a cabal of conspirators are trying to make us believe something for which they have no evidence. That's absolutely true, but not in the way the Wall Street Journal or Canada's National Post would have you think.

As Mashey documents here, so well, this whole party has been a set-up, with scientists on one side, bound by the rules of evidence and by their own integrity, and think tanks, PR counsellors and their aides and allies on the other side, using any technique aailable  (including, apparently, obtaining, using and disseminating stolen emails), to defend the right of fossil fuel companies to continue, unrestrained, in the sale and distribution of a substance that is threatening the human habitability of planet earth.

We know that the scientists have been telling the truth - a couple of trivial exceptions help prove that rule. Mashey shows that the track record on the other side is considerably more checkered.

AttachmentSize plagiarism.conspiracies.felonies.v1.0.pdf2.21 MB plagiarism conspiracies felonies v1 0 1.pdf2.22 MB

February 06 2010

20:06

McIntyre and McKitrick Unmasked

Hockey stick bashers revealed as industry goons

In a painstakingly documented review of the disinformation campaign led by the retired mining promoter Stephen McIntyre and the Fraser Institute economist-for-hire Ross McKitrick, Deep Climate has shown how badly manipulated - and how badly overblown - the so-called "hockey stick controversy" has been in the last seven or eight years.

DC also shows the complicity of think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Fraser Institute and, perhaps especially, the Canadian journalistic centre of climate change denial, the National Post.

The questionable tactics that McIntyre and McKitrick have used to discredit excellent scientists like the University of Pennsylvania's Michael Mann have been on the record for some time. But DC is a tireless researcher, whose patience and hard work are amply demonstrated in this new post. It becomes increasingly clear that while scientists have been building an un undeniable case for the science of global warming, M&M have been working hand-in-hand with people like the denier PR guru Tom Harris to deny it all, anyway.

This post should be mandatory reading for any mainstream media reporter who wants a fair briefing on the integrity of the various voices so often quoted on this story.<!--break-->

December 11 2009

14:52

Loopy Larouchians on the "Copenhagen scandal"

Another day; another wacky denier website

The Schiller Institute, a project of the failed politician (and spouse of Lyndon Larouche) Helga Zepp-Larouche, has launched a new website dedicated to denying climate change and attacking the Copenhagen climate conference.

Copenhagenscandal.org reads like a hastily (but expensively) assembled collection of denier tracts, including recent speeches from Christopher Monckton, the Third Viscount Monckton of Benchmark Crude, and the denier for hire, Dr. S. Fred Singer.

According to the website, and to a ponderous news advisory issued in Copenhagen, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has nothing to do with protecting the environment. It's all a crafty plan to establish a world dictatorship.<!--break-->

If that makes no sense to you, reading the 1,700-word news advisory probably won't help. And if it DOES make sense to you, you've probably read something exactly like it a hundred times before.

So, on the face of it, this is all crazy enough to be dismissed out of hand. But it is another indication of the money that is being spent on denial and the enthusiasm that has been engendered by the theft and distribution of the University of East Anglia emails.

That said, the attention being paid to this issue is, on one hand, drifting away as the assembled conference goers and the media turn their attention to the actual issues of the Copenhagen climate summit. On the other hand, the UNFCCC has announced a press conference Saturday entitled "THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS FOR A COPENHAGEN AGREEMENT," to be hosted by IPCC Chair Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. It appears that he, at least, is still convinced that a rearguard action is necessary against the small, well-funded and resilient denier horde.

December 10 2009

14:02

Best Dissection Yet of CopenDeniers Conference

Guardian environment editor John Vidal gives the DenierChaps convening in Copenhagen the kind of attention they deserve in his piece today.

He had the temerity to stand up in the room and ask:

"I would like to know whether you or anyone in this room has been to the Himalayas, or to the Sunderbans, or to the villages that are now drowning near Chittagong in Bangladesh, where temperatures are being recorded 4C above normal, where respected scientists are finding significant sea level rises, where cyclones are more frequent and intense? Have any of you tried to find out for yourself what is going on there?"

Through the whistling and abuse that followed, you could only conclude that the answer was no.<!--break-->

December 06 2009

21:11

Copenhagen Weathers a Splash of Denial

Alternativ Klimakonference closed to critics

No day can end badly when you begin by getting thrown out of a conference on climate change denial.

Even so, it was disappointing just to know that - on the eve of COP15 - Copenhagen is playing host to such an event and more disappointing yet to learn that there is a robust, if tiny rump of homegrown denial beyond even the famous (if famously discredited) Bjorn Lomborg.

The Alernative Climate Conference on Sunday Dec. 6, 2009 was booked into a small room in Christiansborg, the Danish Parliament building. In order to gain access, you had to have signed up days ago - and there was no press table, or any avenue of appeal, even for someone with UN press accreditation. Carefully checking off names at the door, it was clear that organizers had already identified their target audience.

The speakers list was also a well-known group. Usual suspects: Roger Pielke, the infamous former scientist Fred Singer, the failed politician and former journalist Christopher Monckton, and oil and gas company director Leighton Steward filled in as the out of town talent. Locals included the astrophysicist Henrik Svensmark, Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen, from the Technical University of Denmark, Bjarne Andresen of the University of Copenhagen and hometown boy Ole Humlum of the University of Oslo.<!--break-->

While the out of towners are all tainted by the loyal service that they have offered oil-backed U.S. think tanks, (and in Singer's case, tobacco companies, CFC producers, asbestos miners, DDT manufacturers ...), the locals don't have obvious corporate relationships. And this conference was officially organized by backers who are political, rather than corporate. The sponsors were the group European Freedom and Democracy, and the Danish People's Party Delegation to the European Parliament.

But contrarian climate opinions can earn a profit in Denmark even at arms length from the corporatocracy that dominates the North American conversation. Bjorne Lomborg, for example, was  enjoying government funding in the amount of 5 million Danish kroner (DKK) ($1 million U.S.) even before this year. And you don't have to worry about him now. In these difficult economic times, Lomborgs funding for his institute of climate quibbling, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, went UP by 2.5 million DKK.

Svensmark has also received a handsome tranche of additional funding for his efforts to study the effects of the sun (rather than carbon dioxide) on climate change, regardless that he wasn't winning that funding in an arm's length competition. The Danish government gave him 15 million DKK ($3 million US) a couple of years ago.

This is not to suggest that the Danish government is officially wrong-footed on climate policy. (No Canadian is in a position to criticize.) The Danish Minister responsible for COP 15, Connie Hedegaard, has earned a good deal of credibility, perhaps more than might be expected of someone from the right-of-center Conservative People's Party. But Hedegaard's efforts are in danger of being undermined by troublemakers in her own coalition. Historically, the former Finance Minister and current Parliamentary President Thor Pedersen of the Liberal Party, was widely seen as Bjorn Lomborg's biggest fan in government. As President, Pedersen is by convention elevated above the political fray. But he nevertheless reinforced his reputation for contrarian activism today, attending part of the denier fest and calling news media afterwards to stand up for "freedom of expression," regardless of how the opinions being expressed may offend the world's best scientists.

Even more problematic lately has been today's opening speaker, the young Member of the European Parliament, Morten Messerschmidt (inset), a member of the hard right-wing Danish National People's Party and a former member of the Danish Parliament. (Some Danes joked that they had voted for him in the European elections purely in hopes of getting him out of the country.)

All this denier action, in the place that is currently being branded as Hopenhagen, raises two issues. First, it is an unpleasant demonstration of the degree to which the denial industry is no longer limited to its traditional home in North America. The investment in climate confusion which has been paying industry dividends in America, is bleeding across international borders and bears watching even more closely in the coming year.

The other issue arises from President Thor Pedersen's precious freedom of expression. Because this is NOT an issue of free speech. It's an issue of paid speech. It is, in too many cases, an issue of people like Christopher Monckton and Fred Singer speaking up not for the climate, the future or the science, but for the clients who pay their speaker fees and expenses - who fund Singer's website and "think tank" and who fly Monckton in high style all over the world. These people aren't standing up for democracy. They are standing up for oil company profits, regardless of the risk that presents to everyone else. You have to wonder if the Danes truly understand what kind of company they're keeping.

Having been following Pielke, Singer and Monckton for years, I certainly have no doubt. And given the option of spending a whole day listening to their outrageously manipulative claptrap about climate science, I should probably send the organizers of today's even a note of thanks for blocking my entry. Copenhagen is a beautiful city, full of history and culture and, this week, melting ice sculptures. It was a much more charming option than listening to Chris Monckton trying to argue that "the scare is over."

 

November 19 2009

01:29

Climate Skeptic Fred Singer Now "Nobel Prize" Winner? Huh?

Climate skeptics are, not surprisingly, hitting the European speaking circuit in the weeks leading up to the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. But what is surprising is that notorious global warming denier S. Fred Singer was described at a skeptic conference today as a Nobel prize winner, a flat out lie.

According to a Belgian journalist who alerted DeSmog to Singer’s appearance today at a skeptic conference in the European Parliament building, Singer was described in event materials as:

"reviewer of IPCC reports, he shares the 2007 Nobel peace prize with Al Gore and 2000 others."


The idea that Fred Singer shares any part in the IPCC/Gore Nobel prize is laughable, of course.  Other than Mr. Gore, the Nobel committee recognized only the IPCC authors, and they all received framed Nobel prizes.  If Singer can produce a framed Nobel, I’ll produce my Olympic gold medal (Singer must eat cereal too, I sure enjoy the prizes inside, although I've never seen a Nobel peace prize before).

None of the countless reviewers of the IPCC reports (DeSmogBlog’s own Kevin Grandia included) can claim any part of the Nobel glory. But that hasn’t stopped Fred Singer from trying to elevate his role as a reviewer to Nobel status.

Singer now “shares the 2007 Nobel peace prize with Al Gore,” according to materials announcing his keynote speech at today’s one day conference “Have Humans Changed the Climate?,” hosted by Roger Helmer, a British conservative member of the European Parliament. To be clear, this event isn’t endorsed by the entire European Parliament. Helmer just booked a room inside the building, no doubt hoping to add legitimacy to this leg of the Denial-a-Palooza’09 tour, European edition. 

Other “distinguished” guest speakers at today’s skeptic parade include Ross McKitrick (of hockey stick denial fame), University of Oslo Professor Tom Segalstad (also a guest speaker at Heartland Institute's skeptic conference), and James Delingpole from the Daily Telegraph (UK author who says he'll "provide comedy value" at the conference).

Delinpole describes himself on his website as “a libertarian conservative who writes brilliant books and brilliant articles, and is really great on TV, radio and the internet too.”

Enticed by such an amazing self-description, I wandered inside his website to take a look around. I didn’t have to look too far before being completely impressed. After all, front and center of his own homepage today, Delingpole acknowledges what we at DeSmogBlog have known for years:


We climate change sceptics would have lost the battle long ago had it not been for the happy advent of the internet. It’s in the Blogosphere (and a few odd MSM strongholds such as The Wall Street Journal and Christopher Booker’s Sunday Telegraph column) where all the counterarguments are being disseminated.


Mr. Delingpole, thank you for admitting openly that skeptics like Fred Singer and yourself would be out of a job if you all had to rely on trying to get your non-scientific views published in actual peer-reviewed science journals. Please let Fred Singer know this when you see him next.

My work here is done.

 

Have you heard S. Fred Singer described elsewhere as a “Nobel prize winner?” Drop us an email at desmogblog@gmail.com.

November 11 2009

22:15

Another Silly Climate Petition Exposed

In the realm of silly petitions, manufactured by a small, agenda-driven group and leveraged to extend the fiction of a legitimate scientific controversy, no document has ever been studied to this degree.

Thanks to John Mashey, a technology consultant, entrepreneur, member of the American Physical Society and tireless researcher, this document lies completely exposed as another phony front group play for attention.

<!--break-->

Mashey's own explanation begins like this:

"The American Physical Society (APS) was petitioned by 206 people, about 0.45% of the 47,000 members, to discard its climate change position and declare decades of climate research non-existent. The Petition was “overwhelmingly” rejected, but this anti-science campaign offers a useful case study. The Petition signers‟ demographics are compared to those of APS in general. Then, the social network behind the petition is analyzed in detail, person by person for the first 121 signers. This might seem a grassroots groundswell of informed expert argument with the existing position, but it is not. Rather, it seems to have originated within a small network of people, not field experts, but with a long history of manufacturing such things, plausibly at the Heartland Institute‘s NYC climate conference March 8-10, 2009. APS physicists can, do, and will contribute strongly to solving the 21st century‟s conjoined climate+energy problem, but this petition was a silly distraction, and rightly rejected. However, its existence was widely touted to the public."

The whole, exhaustive document is attached. Fred Singer should be embarrassed.

AttachmentSize 2009 science bypass v3 0.pdf2.04 MB

November 05 2009

08:39

Who is the Bernie Madoff of Climate Change?

DeSmog co-founder James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore have been taking to the airwaves regularly over the last few weeks to tackle recent news stories and promote Climate Cover-Up.

On Monday, Jim was interviewed by Josepha Planta of www.thecommentary.ca – you can listen to the interview here.

On Tuesday, Jim and Richard were featured on Thom Hartmann’s Midday show on WYPR – one of the most listened-to progressive talk shows in America. Also featured during the same show was notorious (and widely discredited) climate denier Fred Singer. Singer’s argument of the day, as far as we could tell, was that the fact that it was a nice day meant climate change was not real.

Dr. Cindy Parker, Co-Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was another guest. She put the perspective of real, credible, and up-to-date climate scientists well:

“I am uncomfortable with the fact that radio talk shows such as this continue to give Dr. Singer airtime to present his views as if they were science and as if there was still some scientific debate…because there isn’t any scientific debate. 2500 scientists from around the world versus Dr. Fred Singer – that’s not a reasonable debate.”

As Jim put it “Asking Fred Singer for advice on climate change is like asking Bernie Madoff to manage your money.” Touché.

You can listen to that show in full here.

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