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August 21 2013

17:58

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Closing the Consensus Gap

closing the consensus gap in the Journal of Atomic ScientistsBulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Closing the Consensus Gap (via Skeptical Science)

Posted on 20 August 2013 by John Cook The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a prestigious journal, established in 1945 to warn the public about the consequences of using nuclear weapons. They’ve published the writings of Hans Bethe, Albert Einstein…



The post Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Closing the Consensus Gap appeared first on Global Warming is Real.

August 15 2013

19:19

ALEC Must Die

ALEC seeks to thwart open democracy and progress on clean energy and climate actionThere is a sinister force that is corrupting American politics by giving the most environmentally destructive elements of Big Business significant control over state legislatures. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) turns 40 this year. This organization is composed of large corporations and state lawmakers. They draft environmentally harmful model laws that have been adopted in state legislatures across the country.

ALEC describes itself as “nonpartisan public-private partnership” and is registered as a not for profit organization. While the organization enjoys 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, many groups see it as little more than a front for one of the most powerful and influential lobby groups in America.

The threat to America’s democracy from ALEC should not be underestimated as this is a well-funded and well-coordinated organization that has a proven track record of successfully manipulating state legislatures.

According to a new report from the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), ALEC continues to hold sway over statehouses across the country. In total, CMD identified 466 ALEC bills that were introduced in state legislatures during the first seven months of 2013. At least eighty-four of these measures have become law.

As reviewed in PR Watch, ALEC’s real mission in state legislatures is, “to allow dirty energy companies to pollute as much as they want, to attack incentives for clean energy competitors and to secure government handouts to oil, gas and coal interests,” says Connor Gibson, a Research Associate at Greenpeace.

Fossil fuel lobby

One of the most egregious threats to the public interest comes from the fossil fuel industry’s involvement with ALEC. “Disregarding science at every turn, ALEC is willing to simply serve as a front for the fossil fuel industry,” says Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org.

Corporate sponsors of ALEC include the leaders of the fossil fuel industry. Companies like Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Duke Energy, Peabody Energy, BP, Shell, Chevron, TransCanada and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, as well as industry trade associations and large corporate foundations provide almost all of ALEC’s funding.

ALEC’s goals are clear, they seek to provide financial rewards and protections to the companies that they work with.

According to Calvin Sloan, a legislative researcher with People for the American Way, corporations pay $50,000 each for full membership in ALEC. The purpose of the ALEC meetings is to instruct lawmakers on policy initiatives, which according to Sloan is “a fossil fuels-funded agenda.”

“They [ALEC] have participating corporations like fossil fuel companies drafting legislation that benefits those corporations directly, and then can get that legislation introduced in 50 states within a year,” Sloan said. “It’s part of an overall framework of corporations exerting their will and agenda upon the people.”

ALEC supports some of the most destructive fossil fuel legislation ever tabled including bills supporting coal, fracking and the Keystone XL Pipeline project.  It should come as no surprise that TransCanada Corp., the company that wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline, is also a member of ALEC. The company even sponsored an expense-paid trip called “ALEC academy” for nine ALEC-member state legislators. Following the trip, some of those in attendance introduced resolutions backing the pipeline in their state legislatures.

According to CMD, 77 ALEC bills promoting fossil fuels and undermining environmental protections were introduced in 34 states in 2013. At least seventeen of these measures have become law.

Climate change denial

ALEC’s activities extend beyond support for fossil fuel interests and encompass climate change misinformation. The Environmental Literacy Improvement Act which passed in at least four states, teaches children that climate change is a “controversial theory.” (The truth is that with 98 percent support, there are few theories that have garnered more support from scientists than anthropogenic climate change).

ALEC is a leading organization that actively denies the veracity of anthropogenic climate change and opposes limits on climate change causing emissions. At the 2013 meeting of ALEC, climate change was one of the items on the agenda.

One of the speakers at this year’s ALEC meeting was Joe Bastardi, he is a leading climate change denier and television weather forecaster who frequently comments on Fox News. He has called human-caused global warming an “obvious fraud.”  This year, Bastardi was the speaker at a plenary breakfast meeting misleadingly titled “A Thoughtful Approach to Climate Science.” In 2011, he spoke about “The Many Benefits of Increased Atmospheric CO2″ at ALEC’s annual meeting.

As reported in a May 2013 Forbes article, Bastardi says that “blaming turbulent weather on global warming is extreme nonsense.” While many have speculated as to whether he is willfully ignorant, willful, or just plain ignorant, as a meteorologist Bastardi should know better.

Opposition to renewable energy

ALEC does not only work in support of dirty hydrocarbons, it also is working to snuff out renewable energy. “ALEC’s long time role in denying the science and policy solutions to climate change is shifting into an evolving roadblock on state and federal clean energy incentives, a necessary part of global warming mitigation,” says Gibson.

Through legislation called the Electricity Freedom Act, ALEC sought to prevent states from requiring energy companies to increase electricity production from renewable energy sources. Because the Electricity Freedom Act failed to gain the support of state legislatures, ALEC is modifying its plan of attack against renewable energy standards. At its August 2013 meeting, ALEC introduced a bill called the Market Power Renewables Act, which seeks to undermine the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS.

As explained by PR Watch, this legislation “would phase-out a state’s RPS and instead create a renewable “market” where consumers can choose to pay for renewable energy, and allow utilities to purchase energy credits from outside the state. This thwarts the purpose of RPS policies, which help create the baseline demand for renewables that will spur the clean energy investment necessary to continue developing the technology and infrastructure that will drive costs down.”

Opposition to emissions reduction

ALEC has drafted laws that seek to oppose state efforts to reduce emissions. This includes a model bill titled, “State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives”, which opposes limiting climate change causing carbon emissions.

ALEC bills have not only opposed efforts from state agencies to regulate pollution, they even tried to stop the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

In essence, ALEC’s goal is to undermine emissions reduction efforts and to continue our reliance on fossil fuels. Resistance to limiting atmospheric CO2 represents a serious threat to global health as it is widely understood that failure to reign in carbon emissions will have catastrophic consequences.

Control of water, land and information

An ALEC bill titled “Environmental Services Public-Private Partnership Act” would give for-profit companies control over wastewater treatment and drinking water. Another ALEC law titled “Disposal and Taxation of Public Lands Act” would give states access to resources in federal lands that are protected as wilderness preserves.

In addition to promoting anti-environmental bills, and seeking control over resources, they also craft legislation to control information and help industry escape public accountability. ALEC’s Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act would quash the First Amendment rights of reporters, investigators and videographers by making it harder for them to document issues associated with food safety and animal cruelty.  This is similar to Utah’s ag-gag law of 2012, which led to charges against a young woman named Amy Meyer, who filmed the outside of a slaughterhouse from public land. This ALEC model bill could also criminalize environmental civil disobedience.

Click here to view the full list of 2013 bills from the ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force bills.

Growing resistance

The American public is increasingly aware of ALEC’s activities. As ALEC gathered for its 40th annual meeting in Chicago on August 7, they were met by protesters who marched outside the Palmer House Hotel where the meeting was held. The thousands who demonstrated included environmentalists, union members, civil rights activists, and social justice campaigners. Although this was not the first protest against ALEC, it was the largest to date.

Groundbreaking news coverage has helped to expose ALEC. Some of the most inclusive coverage of ALEC was provided by the CMD in the 2011 piece titled “ALEC Exposed.” Another was a documentary from Bill Moyers & Company titled “United States of ALEC.

One of the ways that ALEC has managed to wield so much power is by virtue of the fact that they have always functioned in the shadows. However, people are increasingly coming to terms with the nefarious ways in which ALEC threatens democracy and efforts to combat climate change.

The normally clandestine activities of ALEC are no longer hidden under a blanket of secrecy. Companies are increasingly understanding that involvement with ALEC is a PR liability.  Already, there have been a number of big multinationals that have withdrawn from the organization. Over the past year-and-a-half, almost 50 global corporations have dropped their ALEC membership and national campaigns are encouraging others to abandon ALEC.

After four decades of covert operations, ALEC is starting to feel the pressure from public scrutiny. Although ongoing resistance can be expected from the fossil fuel industry, public awareness can divest ALEC of its influence over state legislatures.

Shinning a spotlight on ALEC’s activities will kill the succubus that is draining the lifeblood of America’s democracy.
——————-
Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, eco-economics and enviro-politics. He is the owner of The Green Market Oracle, a leading sustainable business site and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find The Green Market on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed.

Main image credit: DonkeyHotey, courtesy flickr
Featured image credit: Light Bridgading, courtesy flickr

 

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August 09 2012

22:37

Was Scott Walker Chosen to Headline Heartland Institute Gala Due to His Bradley Foundation Ties?

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker will keynote the Heartland Institute's 28th Anniversary Benefit Dinner this evening at Navy Pier in Chicago, IL

Walker recently won the Kochtopus-funded Americans for Prosperity George Washington Award. Now, two months after his recall election steamrolling of Democrat Tom Barrett, the climate change denying group famous for its Unabomber billboard will embrace Walker with much fanfare

Heartland, whose internal documents were published this past spring by DeSmogBlog, sings praises for Walker's union-busting agenda and his recent recall victory in promoting the event

This year’s keynote speaker, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, is the nation’s most influential and successful governor. Elected in 2010 to balance a budget that was billions of dollars in deficit without raising taxes, he did exactly that, winning the passionate support of taxpayers, business owners, and consumers across the state. After years of economic stagnation caused by high taxes and excessive regulation, Wisconsin is growing again.

To balance the state’s budget, Gov. Walker took on powerful public sector unions, reining in their collective bargaining privileges and requiring that public-sector workers start to contribute toward their retirement and health care benefits. Unions fought back, and after they failed to block legislation implementing Walker’s plan, they tried to recall him in a special election. On June 5, 2012, they failed, as Walker won reelection and a solid mandate to stay his course.

The trove of leaked Heartland documents exposed the Institute's current climate change denying agenda and revealed whose money supports this reality-denying agenda. But DeSmogBlog neglected to talk about the details of "Operation Angry Badger" in the documents, as at the time, we thought it was outside the scope of our mission.

Turns out, we were wrong.

The WI-Bradley Foundation-Heartland Institute Nexus

A significant chunk of the Heartland Exposed documents discussed the Heartland Institute's "Operation Angry Badger." These documents laid out the role Heartland would play in serving as a messaging machine for the forthcoming Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election. 

The Center for Media and Democracy's Brendan Fischer broke down the "Angry Badger" details (emphasis mine):

Leaked documents show that the Chicago-based Heartland Institute is planning to spend $612,000 supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

(Snip)

The leaked documents propose a $612,000 campaign to include print ads, mailers, web ads, and blog posts that would promote the "successes" of Wisconsin Act 10 and portray Wisconsin teachers as overpaid and schools as underperforming. Act 10 — also known as the "budget repair bill" — included Governor Walker's plan to curtail collective bargaining for public employees, which its proponents said would result in cost-savings for school districts and make it easier to fire bad teachers. 

Why was Heartland - a 'free-market' think tank most well-known for its role in peddling climate change denial - so invested in supporting Walker in the recall election? And given the controversy surrounding Heartland's Unabomber billboard failure, why is Walker - who is also set to keynote the Republican National Convention later this month - interested in associating with such an extreme group by serving as the keynote speaker at Heartland's Annual Dinner?

Just follow the money and the personnel for some indications. 

Milwaukee, WI-Based Bradley Foundation Gives Big Bucks to Heartland

The Milwaukee, WI-based conservative Bradley Foundation gave $648,000 to Heartland between 1986-2009, according to Media Matters.

The Foundation's President and CEO, Michael Grebe, served as Chairman for Walker's 2010 gubernatorial race, in which Walker handily dispatched his challenger, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.

Grebe is also the Chairman of the Board of Philanthropy Roundtable, which, according to the Center for Media and Democracy's Sourcewatch, "was established by the Bradley Foundation to help facilitate conservative grantmaking." 

Bradley gave Philanthropy Roundable $2,585,000 between 1993-2009, according to Media Matters.

Compared to its close allies, the Koch Family Foundations - the funding epicenter of the Kochtopus empire and another Heartland funder - the Bradley Foundation has largely operated beneath the public's radar, particularly in the national media. The veil of secrecy Bradley enjoys was lifted when Wisconsin's biggest daily newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, published a lengthy investigation in November 2011, "From local roots, Bradley Foundation builds conservative empire." 

Walker's first meeting as Governor-Elect was not with the Koch Brothers, but with upper-level management of Bradley, explained the Sentinel:

Less than a week after being elected governor, Scott Walker and his wife met privately with one of the most powerful philanthropic forces behind America's conservative movement.

It wasn't the Koch brothers - the bogeymen for the American left.

On Nov. 8, 2010, the Walkers broke bread at the upscale Bacchus restaurant in the Cudahy Tower with the board and senior staff of the Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

The Bradley Empire has actually doled out far more money to conservative causes (not including electoral efforts) in the past decade than has the Koch Empire.

"It receives a fraction of the attention given the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch and the Scaife family," wrote the Sentinel. "But the Bradley Foundation is in a different league: From 2001 to 2009, it doled out nearly as much money as the seven Koch and Scaife foundations combined."

The Bradley Empire Uses Walker to Push Post-Recall Agenda

Foundation money doesn't grow on trees. It comes from various donors who share mutual ideological and fiduciary interests. In the case of the Bradley Empire, these interests are multi-tentacled, but the thread that ties the interests together is that they're always in the interest of corporations.

The $612,000 funneled to Heartland to work the "Operation Angry Badger" Walker recall effort could be looked at as a small down payment investment. Walker's victory now gives him the mandate to push the corporate agenda full-steam ahead - and push this agenda he has.

With the recall complete, and the national spotlight shifting away from Walker, he got to work creating numerous committees and working groups to service private interests ahead of the public interest, both now and long into the future. This is best highlighted in an ongoing investigative series by The Progressive magazine's Rebecca Kemble.

Two of the key working groups, The Council on Workforce Investment and the College and Workforce Readiness Council, "are working closely with Competitive Wisconsin, an alliance of politically connected businesses organized by Jim Wood, president of their family PR firm Wood Communications," according to Kemble's reporting.

Competitive Wisconsin, Kemble went onto to explain, launched something called the "Be Bold Campaign" in 2010. This campaign called for the creation of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), a public-private partnership that eventually was turned into reality as WI Act 7 (also known as Special Session SB 6 and Special Session AB 6) on February 9, 2011. This was merely two days before Walker announced he would be pushing the union-busting "Budget Repair Bill." 

Competitive Wisconsin spent 95% of its lobbying time in the first half of 2011 making the case for Act 7, according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. This ran at a cost of $3,750 - or roughly three-fifths of the money ($4,875) it spent on lobbying for the half-year period. 

The WEDC, in turn, is currently putting together an influential study set to be released after Labor Day, according to a press release. "The $300,000 study is being funded by grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the Bradley Foundation, and corporate donations," wrote The Wisconsin State Journal

The study is titled "Be Bold 2," a sequel to the study that created the WEDC to begin with.

A "Bold" Push For Jobs in Wisconsin's Growing Oil and Gas Industry?

"Be Bold 2" will be released under the auspices of Competitive Wisconsin, though it is co-funded by the WEDC and the Bradley Foundation. Competitive Wisconsin's "strategic counsel" is Jim Wood, President of Wood Communications Group

Wood Communications Group is a self-described "full-service public relations firm, providing problem solving and communication tools that work in the real world." Importantly, one of its clients is Murphy Oil Corporation

Murphy has a refinery in Superior, WI, which is refining tar sands crude that makes its way into the state via the Enbridge Alberta Clipper Pipeline, approved by the Obama Administration in August 2009.

In late July, the Alberta Clipper Pipeline spilled 1,200 barrels of oil near Grand Marsh, WI, according to Enbridge. Not even two weeks after the spill, Enbridge was given the go-ahead to restart pipeline operations

Wisconsin is also home to four Koch Industries tar sands refineries, owned by its subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources. Koch PAC donated $43,000 to the Walker campaign in 2010, while James Kowitz, Manager of the Murphy Oil Superior refinery gave Walker $800 prior to his 2010 victory.   

"Operation Angry Badger" A Wild Success

Of course the fossil fuel industry-funded Heartland Institute doesn't want Wisconsin citizens to think about how the tar sands crude that flows through the pipelines and refineries in their state causes climate change. 

After a close look at the tight ties that bind Walker to the Bradley Empire, its anti-union initiatives in Wisconsin, and Bradley's ties to the Heartland Institute, one can see that Walker's speaking gig at Heartland's 28th Annual Dinner actually makes perfect sense. 

And coming full circle, by the looks of it, "Operation Angry Badger" has been nothing short of a wild success for its special interest backers.

Photo CreditMegan McCormick | WikiMedia

March 07 2012

17:59

Kochtopus Cato Institute Power Grab: A Historical Perspective

A new chapter is being added to the ongoing Kochtopus saga. On March 1 the Washington Post, in a story sure to fill the airwaves for the weeks and months to come, revealed the Kochtopus is suing the Cato Institute for control of the recently deceased and former Cato Chairman William Niskanen's ownership share in the think-tank.

The Koch Empire was recently outed by DeSmogBlog as a key seed funder of the climate change denier think-tank, the Heartland Institute. Heartland's internal documents were recently leaked to DeSmogBlog (see "Heartland Exposed"). 

Billionaire oil baron Charles Koch is now waging war against another entity that was created with Koch seed money decades ago: the Cato Institute.

The Post explained succinctly:

At the heart of the dispute is the fate of the shares owned by Niskanen, who died in October at age 78 of complications from a stroke. The Koch brothers believe that they have the option to buy Niskanen’s shares, while Cato officials believe that the shares belong to Niskanen’s widow, Kathryn Washburn, according to the complaint.

Cato's Pat Michaels is a key player in the world of climate change denial, "sowing the seeds of doubt" on human-caused climate change.

That said, Cato has also stood up for key libertarian principles in the past that do not fit a partisan framework. Among them: protection of civil liberties, opposition to imperialism, opposition to the war on drugs, opposition to the militarization of domestic law enforcement agencies, and support for gay rights, to name several.

A brief overview of the key movers and shakers behind Cato's ascendancy is important to understand the rise of the Koch Empire and the split between the faux-libertarians and the true libertarians.

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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

March 01 2012

19:36

Heartland Institute: A Manifestation of the Kochtopus Empire

It is nearly impossible to discuss the vast climate change denial echo chamber and not mention the Koch BrothersKoch Industries, and what some have called the Koch Empire.

Perhaps unsurpisingly then, the origins of the Heartland Institute — whose internal documents were recently leaked to DeSmogBlog — have a direct historical link to the rise of the Kochtopus's wide-reaching climate change denial machine.

It all began in 1977 in Wichita, Kansas, with the creation of the Cato Institute.

David Padden, Cato Institute, and the Rise of Heartland

The Cato Institute was founded in 1977 and originally funded by Charles Koch, of Koch Industries fame and fortune.

It is known today for its libertarian policy stances on issues like the War on Drugsanti-interventionist foreign policy, and support for civil liberties, and perhaps most notoriously for its climate change denial and pro-polluter stance in energy policy debates. Cato's most infamous talking head today is Pat Michaels, who serves as its "Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies."

One of the key original members of Cato's Board of Directors was David Padden, a Chicago, IL-based investment banker and then owner of Padden & Company, which now also has a spinoff called Padco Lease Corporation. Padden passed away in October 2011.

In 1984, piggybacking off of his role at Cato, Padden founded the Heartland Institute, also serving on its original Board of Directors.

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January 24 2012

22:07

Forecast the Facts Challenges American Meteorological Society to Hold Weathercasters Accountable for Climate Denial

Do you get your climate science from your weatherman? If so, you might be the dupe of an ongoing anti-science campaign, played out by some of national television’s most recognizable TV weathercasters – more than half of whom are climate change deniers. 

It might not be immediately apparent that America’s meteorologists are a crucial lynchpin in the dissemination of climate science. But according to ThinkProgress, TV weather reporters come only second to scientists in terms of public credibility. And weather reporting is emerging as an ideal platform for ideologically-driven science denial.
 
Forecast the Facts, lead by 350.org, the League of Conservation Voters, and the new Citizen Engagement Lab, is tracking anti-science ideologues – or ‘zombie weathermen’ – as part of a new campaign to expose ‘meteorologists blowing hot air.’ Forecast the Facts reveals many of these trusted weather reporters are little more than right-wing spokesmen, feeding the American public shoddy climate science denial.  
 
As part of the campaign, Forecast asked the AMS to beef up their climate change statement – a position statement up for review on February 1, 2012. America’s weather reporters rely on AMS information more than any other source, including climate researchers, making the institution’s stance particularly relevant to the meteorological body at large. But the AMS has so far put off updating their statement.
 
According to a Forecast press release, circulated today, Forecast’s request for an undiluted statement on climate change has created significant upheaval within the AMS, causing some members of the drafting committee to threaten resignation. 
 
According to Daniel Souweine, director of Forecast the Facts, what the AMS is calling a ‘routine delay’ is really the sign of massive internal upheaval.
 
The 14,000 members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) are considered respected representatives of the scientific community. Statements issued from the AMS are “intended to provide trustworthy, objective and scientifically up-to-date explanation of scientific issues of concern to the public at large.”
 
The issue of climate change denial on national television gained major attention in 2010 after the release of a George Mason University report that found 63% of TV meteorologists claimed climate change was naturally occurring, and an additional 27% considered the scientific consensus on global warming a scam.
 
The contingent of science-denying weathercasters has not responded well to Forecast’s challenge to the AMS. ThinkProgress Green documents the weathercaster’s backlash against the campaign, which has been accused of ‘blacklisting’ weather reporters in a ‘gestapo’ fashion.
 
 
The AMS’s delay in responding to Forecast the Fact’s challenge doesn’t bode well for the integrity of the scientific body. In fact, the postponement is already in contravention of the society’s internal guidelines, creating delays that run beyond the strict time limit in place to guide the statement’s drafting committee. 
 
It remains to be seen if the AMS will rise up and take ownership of its role in climate change denial across the country. Will the AMS demand our weathercasters forecast the facts?
 

January 05 2012

18:19

Deniers Cling to their Denial, but Insurers Are Paying Out, Taking Action to Mitigate Climate Change


Climate change deniers hold steadfastly to their belief that human activity isn’t accelerating global warming and climate change. The world’s insurers aren’t waiting around for some universal consensus. Having seen, and in many cases paid compensation for, the damages caused by increased extreme weather events have been having around the globe, they’re taking action both on the asset and liability sides of their balances sheets.

Total insured losses from natural catastrophes in the US in 2011 totaled $35.9 billion, more than 50% above the average loss from 2000 to year-end 2010 of $23.8 billion in constant 2011 dollars. That’s the 5th highest on record, according to a January 4, 2011 webinar on 2011 global natural catastrophes hosted by Munich Re and the Insurance Information Institute (III).

2011: A Year of Record Natural Catastrophes, and Insured Losses

Significant extreme weather events affecting the US in 2011 included a very active thunderstorm (tornado-hail) season, with insured losses of $35.9 billion more than doubling the previous record, and Hurricane Irene, which caused major flooding in the northeastern US. At 820 globally, the number of natural catastrophes was in line with the 10-year 2000-2010 average of 790, though insured losses hit a record high $105 billion. Japan’s Fukushima disaster accounted for 47% of losses due to earthquakes.

One instance of the rising worldwide trend in extreme weather events, 2011 was a record year for federal disasters in Connecticut, the Hartford Courant reported. Three federal disasters were declared in the state last year – for a snowstorm in January 2011, Tropical Storm Irene and the late October Winter Storm Alfred that brought down the state’s power lines. Connecticut had never suffered more than one federally declared disaster previously.

At 99, federal disasters also hit a record. The Courant notes that Munich Re and III’s latest report states that the number of natural catastrophes worldwide more than doubled from an average of 356 in the early 1980s to an average 894 during the last five years.

Insurers Taking Action on Climate Change

Not having the luxury of sitting idly by and not being affected by extreme weather events and climate changes, leading insurers are actively working to protect their interests, which just happen to coincide with the well-being and comfort of the many millions of individuals, properties and businesses their policies cover.

In terms of assets, insurers are working to enhance and foster climate change awareness, prevention, mitigation and protection efforts for homes, commercial properties, land and natural resources. On the liability side, they’re working with clients to develop climate change risk management models that include ways of avoiding environmental harm and damage. Failure to protect against or disclose such harm may lead to lawsuits, according to the Insurance Information Institute’s October 2011 update on climate change issues.

Photo courtesy KNS Financial

November 21 2011

22:58

Enviro News Wrap: Why the Koch Brothers Are Lying About Solyndra; Oil Spill Off the Coast of Brazil; Green Business Fleeing California, and more…


The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:

 

November 09 2011

19:28

Combating the Culture of Climate Change Denial


Overcoming a culture that pits Man against natureThe failure to accept the anthropogenic origins of climate change may be partly attributable to a fallacy of modern culture. Popular culture pits us against nature which in turn undermines efforts to curtail climate change.

Man versus nature is one of seven conflicts in literary studies, it relates to the theme in literature that places a character against the forces of nature. Many disaster films and survival stories deal with the theme of man’s alienation from nature. As reflected in surveys on climate change about half of Americans are estranged from nature.

Americans are also dangerously divided on the urgency of climate change. According to a 2011 report from GfK and SC , even though the environment is an economic issue, a majority of Americans (52%) accept trading environmental protection for economic development to maintain their standard of living.

The human role in climate change is the most controversial subject of the 21st century even though the issue has been settled. Writing in WIREs Climate Change, Dr Kevin Trenberth, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, says that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is now so clear that the burden of proof should lie with research which seeks to disprove the human role. “Humans are changing our climate. There is no doubt whatsoever,” said Trenberth.

Almost 5 years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report indicated that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities. Since then, attempts at large scale climate regulation have failed at a number of levels.

Even the few scientists who previously resisted man-made climate change are increasingly being swayed by the overwhelming body of evidence. People like the Koch brothers work hard to resist the science supporting global warming, yet even scientists paid by this climate denying duo are finding it hard to ignore the findings of their own research.

At the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the concentration of the greenhouse gas CO2 was at 360 parts per million (ppm). In the 20 years since, it has risen to 390 ppm, and that number is continuing to grow with no end in sight.

We have not seen climate and energy legislation in the U.S. and the U.N. has failed to produce a binding emissions agreement. When combined with the imminent expiration of the Kyoto protocol at the end of 2012 it makes a bad situation worse.

Despite a sluggish global economy, the latest calculations from the U.S. Department of Energy indicate that CO2 emissions have risen sharply in 2009 and 2010.

Under these circumstances, Jochem Marotzke, the head of the German Climate Consortium, believes we are “on a course of development with CO2 emissions that makes the 2-degrees goal more and more illusory.” Politicians are not willing to face up to the realities and take action. “This reluctance will bring about fatal results,” Marotzke said.

Climate change denial is a major obstacle impeding action. According to a book written by Riley E. Dunlap, a sociology professor at Oklahoma State, and Aaron M. McCright of Michigan State, organized denial has succeeded in blocking domestic legislation. These authors have indicated that deniers make it nearly impossible to get responsible climate legislation in the U.S. This is the point they make in their book, “Climate Change Denial Machine” in a chapter titled, “Organized Climate Change Denial.”

“We have argued that because of the perceived threat posed by climate change to their interests, actors in the denial machine have strived to undermine scientific evidence documenting its reality and seriousness. Over the past two decades they have engaged in an escalating assault on climate science and scientists, and in recent years on core scientific practices, institutions and knowledge. Their success in these efforts not only threatens our capacity to understand and monitor human-induced ecological disruptions from the local to global levels (Hanson 2010), but it also weakens an essential component of societal reflexivity when the need for the latter is greater than ever.”

To succeed in auguring the major changes required it may not be enough to communicate the facts. One of the salient factors compounding climate change denial concerns the state of disconnection between humans and nature. Western culture opposes nature and is defined by consumerism and anthropocentrism. We have been brainwashed by the idea that the natural world is there for our exploitation. Pop culture reinforces the cleavage between people and the natural environment.

If we are to save the planet we need to better understand the overarching significance of nature. We need to review our propensity for over-consumption and we need to reevaluate our homocentric tendencies. In its simplest essence, we need to understand that the Earth is more than a reservoir of raw materials; it is the indispensable substrate of our lives.

We are under the illusion that man is not part of the fabric of the natural world and this is blinding people to the need for urgent action. Although we may be disconnected from nature, this detachment is a matter of choice, and connection can always be recovered.

Until we deal with the failings of a culture that pits man against nature, we will not marshal the support required to fully engage the battle against climate change.

——————-
Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, eco-economics and enviro-politics. He is the owner of THE GREEN MARKET, a leading sustainable business blog and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find The Green Market on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed.

Image credit: Facebook – Earth2100

October 11 2011

18:52

Effects of Global Warming Posing Threats from the Arctic to Australia


Arctic sea ice - 2011It seems climate change deniers will try every trick in the book and go to almost any lengths to spread their message and gain supporters. You can’t deny what people and all forms of life around the world are experiencing, however, or the growing mountain of evidence supporting climate change theory being amassed by good, honest climate science.

The following are excerpts from noteworthy climate science and climate-related developments around the world in the past week.

* Rising average temperatures are threatening Australia’s water supply. A report commissioned by Australia’s Federal Dept. of Climate Change predicts that average temperatures will rise 0.6 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2050, and that overall precipitation will drop by as much as 24% by 2050.

Runoff from snow melt and precipitation in the “Australian Alps,” which stretch from Victoria to New South Wales, produces an estimated average 9600 gigatons of water a year. Reduced to dollars and cents terms, that’s as much as US$9.8 billion annually. The mountain runoff also supplies nearly 30% of the Murray-Darling River system, which in turn is the source of water for Australia’s primary agricultural lands and farms. Alps’ water helps support some 2.1 million of Australia’s total 21.9 million population.

* Younger, thinner sea ice once again dominated the Arctic in September, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Young, thin ice is much more prone to melt than older, thicker ice. The decreasing ice cover is also a positive global warming feedback cycle as it reduces the amount of sunlight reflected back into the atmosphere, termed the albedo effect.

The amount of sea ice four years old or older has been declining steadily, while sea ice one to two-years old has been increasing in the Arctic basin. Four year-old or older ice made up 45% of total Arctic sea ice in 1984. That compares to around 9% as of this September.

* Danger zones are emerging across the Himalayas as rising temperatures cause glaciers to melt. The melting Imja glacier in the Nepalese Himalayas “is a high-altitude disaster in the making – one of dozens of danger zones emerging across the Himalayas,” according to a report from The Guardian. Mountain regions from the Andes to the Himalayas are warming and melting faster than average. The melting Himalayan glaciers undoubtedly pose numerous and varied short- and long-term threats across one the world’s most heavily populated regions, which includes the entire Indian subcontinent.

* Samoa’s electric power company has asked all residents to cut their water consumption as drought has brought the island nation’s water reservoirs to lows and has caused rivers and creeks to completely dry up.

“At the moment we are mainly encouraging communities to minimize all the adverse impacts into the water shed areas because that’s not helping the situation at the moment, especially for surface water,” Suluimalo Penaia, assistance chief executive of the Water Resource Division, was quoted as saying in a news report. “There’s not much we can do. All we are doing at the moment is just monitoring the impacts, which one is actually flowing at the moment for the surface water and which are the main streams that are totally dried up at the moment.”

* More often heard than seen, American pikas living in the US Rocky Mountains are moving up to higher elevations as a result of the changing, warming climate. The American pika is second species that conservationists have petitioned for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) because of climate change-associated threats. The polar bear was the first.

Low-elevation pika populations around the region are at high risk from climate change. In Yosemite National Park, they have migrated more than 500 feet up-slope over the last 100 years. That’s coincided with a temperature increase of 5.4 °F in Yosemite, according to a Talking Science report.

Between 1999 and 2008, pikas in the Great Basin on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada have undergone an almost five-fold increase in extinction rate and an 11-fold increase in the rate of up-slope retreat.

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October 04 2011

18:19

The Spiraling Costs of Climate Change Denial


Climate change deniers continue to try to hammer home the idea that enacting proactive climate change policies would cost too much, would hurt consumers, and hamper economic growth. These assertions have consistently been challenged and refuted, but in recent weeks there’s been a string of events and new research reports that highlight the spiraling costs of climate change denial and inaction in greater-than-ever detail.

The following list is a summary sample of them:

* Marking World Habitat Day, Oct. 4, UN officials warned that climate change could create as many as 200 million refugees around the world. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon noted that 60 million people live within one meter of sea level. As thousands fled densely populated Luzon - home to Manila and the Philippines’ main island – due to heavy rainfall and two successively close typhoons,  the increasing frequency of severe storms and rise in mean global sea level put coastal cities at greater and greater risk, the Secretary-General said.

* Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yim Chhay Ly called on local and international organizations public and private to assist the country as it tries to cope with the latest series of floods. Climate change is already taking a particularly heavy toll on countries that don’t have the resources to develop and enact long-term, large-scale climate change action plans. Yim pointed out the Cambodia has suffered heavily from Mekong River and flash floods over the last decade. “It cost human lives, destroyed agricultural crops, infrastructure, homes and so on,” he said. “It has slowed down Cambodia’s efforts to develop the nation.”

* Climate change could cost Caribbean countries as much as 5% of their collective annual GDP between 2011 and 2050 if climate change mitigation and adaptation actions aren’t taken, according to a report from the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Caribbean countries are among the first to be substantially affected by climate change, given their geographies and economies, Hirohito Toda, Office-in-Charge of ECLAC sub-regional headquarters stated. “Since more than half of the population lives near the coast, increase in temperature, change in precipitation and rise in sea level due to human activities will not only lead to loss of land but to lowered prospects for economic growth as well as quality of life for its people,” he said.

* The cocoa industries of Ivory Coast and Ghana – the mainstays of their economies - are threatened by climate change, according to research conducted by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. An anticipated rise in global mean temperature by as much as 2 degrees Celsius would make many cocoa-producing areas in West Africa unsuitable for cocoa agriculture and chocolate production by 2050, according to the report. Rising mean temperatures have already adversely affected cocoa crops in some marginal areas, noted Dr. Peter Laderach, the report’s lead author.

* Climate change is affecting land, plants, water resources and wildlife in Yellowstone National Park. Temperatures in the Yellowstone area have risen faster in the past ten years than the global average 20th century rise, according to a study by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. The changing climate could increase the frequency and severity of wildfires, eliminate moisture-dependent trees such as aspen — whose numbers are already falling precipitously in Colorado — lower water volume and flows of mountain streams with world-class trout fisheries and further degrade habitat for threatened and endangered species including grizzly bears.

* The Canadian government’s advisory panel on business and environmental issues submitted a report warning that increasing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the Canadian economy as much as $43 billion a year by 2050 if a strong action plan to combat global warming isn’t put into effect. The consequences could include major flooding in coastal cities, effects on human health and dramatic changes in the forestry industry, agriculture and other economic sectors, according to the panel’s report, “Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada.”

It’s long been said that “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” That’s becoming abundantly clear with respect to climate change and the effects a world population equipped with 21st-century technology is having on our environment and climate.

As the authors of Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy stated, “Ignoring climate change costs now and will cost us more later.”

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September 14 2011

18:23

Science and Pernicious Ignorance of Climate Change Denial


Willful ignorance of the reality of climate changeIt is nothing short of tragic that so many Americans continue to dismiss the scientific veracity of climate change. Deniers are not moved by the coherency of the research that weaves together the different points of measurement. The plethora of data includes higher global mean surface temperatures, melting glaciers, retreating sea ice, increasing water temperature, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and extreme weather. The data is unequivocal yet there are scores of confused people who are woefully unaware of the facts.

Deniers are not phased by the fact that we are already beyond dangerous climate interference (as indicated by leading scientist John Holdren in 2006). They reject as alarmist the global planetary emergency (as declared by world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen in 2008) and they scoff at the notion that radical reductions in carbon emissions are the only solution to our escalating climate emergency (as recognized by the IPCC).

Deniers ignore the fact that the climate system has moved beyond the patterns of natural variability. They disregard the significant risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.

They seem oblivious to the fact that based on current trends, the end of this century will be characterized by sea level rises, the collapse of rainforest and marine ecosystems, desertification, and the disruption to the monsoon system that supports more than one billion people.

Even the collapse of the global carrying capacity of the Earth does not soften climate denier resistance. These deniers are not swayed by the evidence of a pronounced warming trend around the globe.According to an EPA report, seven of the top ten warmest years on record for the continental U.S. have occurred since 1990. The report also indicates that tropical cyclone intensity has increased in recent decades and of the ten most active hurricane seasons, six have happened since the mid 1990’s. Sea levels have risen between 1993 and 2008 at twice the rate of the long-term trend. Glaciers are melting and their loss of volume has accelerated over the last decade. The frequency of heat waves has steadily risen since the 1960’s and the percentage of the US population experiencing heat waves has also increased.

Deniers dismiss the relevance of the EPA’s findings along with the fact that seventeen of the warmest years in recorded history have occurred over the last twenty years and the warmest years on record occurred in the most recent decade.

Although extreme weather has made headlines across the world, deniers appear oblivious. The summer of 2011 was one of the hottest on record and the summer of 2010 saw record-setting temperatures in more than a dozen nations. There were record-breaking temperatures all around the world in 2010 and a new record was set for the second highest average global temperature over a 12 month period. In 2011, the U.S. experienced widespread record-breaking heat waves and droughts, which along with other extreme weather events, have been linked to climate change.

In 2010, China recorded the second highest temperatures it had ever seen, and India recorded its warmest year ever. Many heat records were also set in the U.S. in 2010. According to NASA, 2010 was tied for the hottest year ever in the U.S. and NASA’s temperature record showed that it was the hottest January to April in recorded U.S. history. In the U.S. there were more than 4000 daily high temperature records that were tied or broken in June. There were also 159 reports of record high temperatures for June and 42 reports of all-time record hottest temperatures.

Even before 2010, the evidence for a warming trend was building. Researchers have been pointing to a link between weather and climate for decades. Eight years ago, a study published in NatureNews indicated that global warming was partially responsible for the deadly heat wave that scorched Europe in 2003. Hurricane Irene pushed the U.S. yearly record for billion-dollar natural disasters to 10 in 2011, smashing the 2008 record of nine.

A 2009 study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) showed that there is an increasing trend of record-breaking heat in the U.S. There has been a substantial increase in the number of record daily highs and in the last 30 years.

An article from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) titled “Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S.“ presents some of the findings from a climate study by NCAR, Climate Central, The Weather Channel, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They indicate that daily record high temperatures occurred twice as often as record lows over the last decade across the continental United States. They also suggest that the ratio of record highs to lows is likely to increase dramatically in coming decades if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to climb.

“Climate change is making itself felt in terms of day-to-day weather in the United States,” says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at NCAR. “The ways these records are being broken show how our climate is already shifting.”

Deniers are quick to say that the world has been warmer in the past; however, a 2010 study discovered that even though the Pliocene Epoch (5.3 to 2.6 million years ago) was approximately 19ºC warmer than today, CO2 levels were only slightly higher than they are today. Stefan Rahmstorf, Professor of Ocean Physics at Potsdam University, said that three million years ago, during the Pliocene era, temperatures were just two to three degrees warmer, but sea levels were 25m to 30m higher.

According to some predictions, within a decade, summers in the North Pole will be devoid of ice. Images from NASA support this contention as they show a significant decline in Arctic sea ice thickness between 2003 and 2008. The Arctic’s reserve of thick ice that’s more than 2 years old makes up 10 percent of its winter ice cover, down from 40 percent in the past. And for the first time on record, the Northwest Passage was open to navigation.

Global warming is also melting glaciers around the world. A massive crack in Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland has led scientists to predict that a big part of the Northern Hemisphere’s largest floating glacier will soon disappear. A record amount of Greenland’s ice sheet has already melted.

When it comes to tornadoes and other forms of extreme weather, 2011 is proving to be the deadliest and most destructive year ever. 2011 is already the deadliest year for tornado outbreaks in the United States since 1953, with more than 500 people killed.

Rising seas threaten areas like Grand-Lahou in the Ivory Coast and the Maldives. A 2007 climate change report predicts that sea levels will increase 7 to 23 inches by 2100, speeding erosion and threatening coastal land. Warm air holds more water vapor than cold and on average, the Earth’s atmosphere is about four percent wetter than it was 30 years ago. This has prompted major flooding in Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil, and Colombia.

According to satellite data, annual sea level rises are 50 per cent higher than last century. Research suggests 1 in 10 people could be at risk of coastal flooding by 2100. Sea levels are rising significantly faster than previously thought and are on track to rise by more than 1 meter by the end of the century, putting entire countries and many of the world’s largest coastal cities at risk of inundation, according to research presented at the Climate Congress in Copenhagen. An increase in sea levels of 1 meter would affect an estimated 600 million people, or almost 10 per cent of the world’s population, putting them at serious risk of coastal flooding.

“You have to remember it is not just the steady increase in sea levels that is the problem, it is that combined with the increased flood risk,” warned Dr John Church of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research. He added that research looking at the impact of a 50 centimeter increase in sea levels on areas of the Australian coast found that under such a scenario “flooding events we today expect once in 100 years would occur several times a year”.  Acidification of seawater is another major problem that deniers refuse to link to human activity.

Climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf  warned that there was a very real danger of reaching a tipping point this century, which would result in sea level rises of many meters. Research from the OECD has suggested that the rise of sea levels risk US$35 trillion in property and asset damage due to coastal flooding by 2070, (which represents a tenfold increase).

Climate experts have cautioned that the world is now at significant risk of “abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts” that could make half the globe uninhabitable.

In 2009, climate scientists warned of a ”devastating” five-degree temperature increase. They say that we are currently on track for a “five-degree world” where the global population would be slashed from an expected nine billion in 2050 to just one billion people by the end of the century.

Professor John Schellnuber of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the world’s leading climate scientists said a “five-degree world” would activate a number of tipping points such as the collapse of the rainforest, the accelerated melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the disruption of the monsoon system, and the creation of “oxygen holes” within the seas that would have disastrous consequences for the food chain.

According to 2,500 Climate Congress scientists, “observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realized.

New research clearly supports links between extreme weather and climate change. As reported in USA Today, a new climate report titled “Current Extreme Weather and Climate Change,” suggests that U.S. record-breaking extreme weather, likely enjoyed a boost from global warming. In the study, released by the Climate Communication scientific group, leading climate scientists outlined how industrial emissions of greenhouse gases are increasing climate change effects, contributing to the extreme weather seen in 2011.

“Greenhouse gases are the steroids of weather,” says climate projection expert Jerry Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “Small increases in temperature set the stage for record breaking extreme temperature events.” The report indicates that a one-degree global average temperature rise in the last century has contributed to recent extreme weather.

In 1950, U.S. record breaking hot weather days were as likely as cold ones. By 2000, they were twice as likely, and in 2011 they are three times more likely. By the end of the century they will be 50 times more likely, Meehl says.

With global warming’s higher temperatures packing about 4% more water into the atmosphere, total average U.S. snow and rainfall has increased by about 7% in the past century, says the study. The amount of rain falling in the heaviest 1% of cloudbursts has increased 20%, leading to more flooding.

Rather than totally triggering any extreme event, global warming just makes it worse, says meteorologist Jeff Masters of Weather Underground. “A warmer atmosphere has more energy,” he says, contributing to heat waves, tornadoes and other weather extremes. “Years like 2011 may be the new normal.”

“There’s really no such thing as natural weather anymore,” says climate scientist Donald Wuebbles of the University of Illinois, who largely agreed with these conclusions. “Anything that takes place today in the weather system has been affected by the changes we’ve made to the climate system.” Wuebbles says.

“The facts of the matter are this: The planet’s climate has changed over the last 30 years, chiefly because of human activities. This will impact the weather – in the trivial sense that the specific weather we are having is not the same as the weather that we would have had without human actions,” climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said.

The study also suggests over the past 30 years, areas covered by snow and ice at least part of the year is diminishing at more than twice the pace projected by global climate models. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the seasonal cooling effect of light-reflecting snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere may be lessening twice as fast as predicted by climate models, accelerating the impact of global warming.

Mark Flanner, a climate researcher at the University of Michigan who led the team, says the goal of the new study was to provide a reality check on global climate models.’ This study corroborates research published by a different team in 2009, which showed that on the Canadian Archipelago, the melt season grew at a rate of about seven days per decade during the 1979-2008 period.

Despite the fact that deniers are inundated with countless examples of severe weather, they refuse to make the connection to the role humans have played in driving climate change.

In an op-ed in the Washington Post, environmentalist Bill McKibben said, ”It is vitally important not to make connections. It is [far] better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discreet events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas—fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been—the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl. But do not wonder if they’re somehow connected.”

McKibben pointed out that the China’s central region is suffering through the worst drought they have ever recorded. Colombia has been experiencing massive volumes of rain prompting the Columbian president to say, “We’ve gotten so much rain in the last year, it’s washed away so much of our infrastructure that it’s as if we haven’t been doing any development work for the last 10 or 20 or 25 years.”

The Great Russian drought of 2010 prompted fires and destroyed 25 million acres of crops. Thousands died around the globe as many parts of the world suffered under the record-breaking heat. More recently, the Amazon faced its second “hundred-year drought” in the past five years.

In 2009, research from Singapore revealed that global warming is 37 percent to blame for droughts. Peter Baines of Melbourne University in Australia found an underlying trend where rainfall over the past 15 years or so has been steadily decreasing, with global warming 37 percent responsible for the drop. “The 37 percent is probably going to increase if global warming continues,” he said.

“The scale of this stuff is immense,” McKibben said. “And as long as we just think about it as just a series of one-off, isolated disasters, we probably are not asking ourselves the most important questions. What can we do to stop this destabilization before it gets much worse?”

The effects of global warming are widespread and diverse. Drought, flooding, and extreme weather are widely reported, but other effects are less well known. Some 4 million acres of mature trees in Alaska have been killed by spruce bark beetles. Scientists believe that warmer temperatures have allowed the beetles to breed and mature twice as fast as normal.

Although disputed by some ill-informed deniers, carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant of the greenhouse gases, accounting for over 80 percent of climate change pollution. Atmospheric levels of CO2 are now higher than at any time in the past 420,000 years. And the changes we are witnessing are largely due to human behavior. Around 97 percent of the CO2 emitted by western industrialized countries comes from burning coal, oil and gas for energy. We spew approximately 25 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, which translates to 800 metric tons every second.

According to an EPA report entitled “Climate Change Indicators in the United States,” U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human sources are increasing. From 1990 to 2008, emissions have grown by 14 percent in the US.

In 2009, Professor Schellnuber warned that emissions were continuing to grow faster than anticipated, while carbon sinks such as tropical rainforests and oceans were becoming less effective at storing carbon.

“The impact on extremes from human emissions is one of a myriad reasons why we probably don’t want to continue to mess with the planetary energy balance,” said climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. Despite the increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts, deniers are undeterred in their crusade against the scientific evidence.

Although we already have many tools and approaches to manage climate change, deniers stand in the way of the economic, technological, behavioral, and management efforts.  These people do not seem to care that climate change already causes more than 300,000 deaths per year, nor do they seem concerned about the wars that are likely to be the result of resource scarcity. Deniers are only interested in the facts that are in line with their partisan agenda. When reality does not conform to their revisionism, they simply ignore the facts or dismiss them as a conspiracy.

The deniers’ propaganda campaign has confused the public and Congress about the science of climate change. Deniers are buoyed by the oil industry, which spends hundreds of millions on lobbying against climate change legislation. A huge well funded disinformation campaign has managed to weave uncertainty into the debate.

It is hard to understand how any thinking person could dismiss the entire body of evidence supporting anthropogenic climate change. After decades of peer-reviewed research, it is obvious to all but the willfully belligerent that the climate is changing and humans are the cause.

Even if you eschew the reams of scientific data that predict a warming planet, there are numerous factual observations that make the point abundantly clear. Rather than being driven by science, much of the debate on global warming has been led by ideologically driven deniers who publish pseudo-science or work to undermine competing research. For those who simply refuse to believe the facts, there is little that will penetrate their fervent dogmatism.

Sadly, Republicans are the legislative mouthpiece of the deniers and they control the House of Representatives. In the spring of 2011, the House voted by a 50-vote majority against a resolution that says climate change poses a significant risk to human health.

The dogmatism of the deniers is not merely driving legislative deadlock, it imperils life. Former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta said it best when he called climate deniers the “Know Nothings” of the 21st century.

——————–

Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, eco-economics and enviro-politics. He is the owner of THE GREEN MARKET, a leading sustainable business blog and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find The Green Market on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed.

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July 08 2011

09:33

Clearing Up The Climate Debate with A Conversation

CLIMATE scientists must sometimes feel that they're taking part in some horrific, humourless worldwide game of Chinese Whispers.

After spending months, in some cases years, diligently carrying out research, checking, re-checking and quantifying observations and data, they submit their discovery to a science journal.

Journal editors then send that work out to other scientists who pick holes in it, or praise it, before sending it back with the academic equivalents of those smiley faces or red crosses that school teachers loved to draw on your school books.

Issues with the research are then rectified (if they can be) and finally the work is published. Except of course, that's not the end of the story.

Because when the "mainstream media", vested interests and ideologues get hold of it, the game of Chinese Whispers begins. Conclusions are re-interpreted or misunderstood. Key points are missed, findings are misrepresented or, in some cases, bits of the research get cherry-picked. Contexts are lost and nuances trampled.

Andrew Jaspan, co-founder of a new popular Australia-based media website The Conversation, says as advertising dollars have shrunk, so too have the numbers of experienced journalists who can report and analyse science stories accurately and fairly.

Put this together with the rise in corporate marketing dollars and you have a public which, on academic research including climate science, is either deliberately or inadvertently confused.

"We are told that this is the information age, but what we actually have is an age where we have huge amounts of information but most of it is unadulterated nonsense and people trotting out drivel. We have a very shallow age of information," Jaspan told DeSmogBlog.

"That's due to the fragmentation of the media. The advertising dollar is being sliced thinner and thinner and news rooms are being reduced and clawed out - subject experts and specialists are replaced with junior general reporters."

As newsroom resources have shrunk, Jaspan says the amount of news space filled by simple re-writes of corporate press releases has increased.

"They want cheap labour to fill the spaces between the ads," adds Jaspan, a former editor of The Age (Melbourne), The Observer (London) and The Scotsman.

The Conversation, just three months old, is already registering more than 220,000 visits a month but it is not like any other news website. There is no agency news wire, for example. All the main contributors, of which there are now more than 1000 registered, are academics at universities.

Writers are only allowed to contribute on areas in which they are actively researching, or have a history of researching. Conflicts of interest, such as corporate funding or associations with think-tanks, have to be disclosed to the reader. Even anonymous commentators are banned.

The Conversation's latest venture has been a series of a dozen articles from leading climate researchers, titled "Clearing up the climate debate" which directly challenge the science and credibility of climate change deniers.

To start the series, a group of almost 90 scientists co-signed an open letter. It read,

"Like all great challenges, climate change has brought out the best and the worst in people. A vast number of scientists, engineers, and visionary businesspeople are boldly designing a future that is based on low-impact energy pathways and living within safe planetary boundaries; a future in which substantial health gains can be achieved by eliminating fossil-fuel pollution; and a future in which we strive to hand over a liveable planet to posterity.

"At the other extreme, understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes."

Under the motto "Academic Rigour, Journalistic Flair", like all the site's content, the series articles are available under a Creative Commons License. The series included "Rogues or Respectable: How Climate Change Sceptics Spread Doubt and Denial", "Bob Carter's Climate Counter Consensus is an Alternate Reality", "Who's your expert? The difference between peer review and rhetoric" and "Climate change denial and the abuse of peer review".

Jaspan, a speaker at the recent Worldviews Conference on Media and  Higher Education in Toronto, explains:

"The Clearing Up The Climate Debate series came about because a bunch of scientists approached us and asked if we would host a series of articles that subject climate change deniers to some peer review… let's have a close look at what their evidence is. We said we would be happy to do that.

"We are believers in the fact that good quality information makes all of us better citizens and that is what this [website] is about. We don't let in any corporations or think-tanks or people who have the power to buy their way into the media. The idea was to give a new voice.

"Big tobacco has worked very, very hard to undermine the scientific research around lung cancer and tried to say that the science was not 'in'. Lobbysists have adopted the same approach with climate - if you can sow seeds of doubt then policy makers become concerned about making decisions.

"This slows the whole process and if you can slow it down then those who are profiting from selling cigarettes or minerals with minimal responsibility can continue their work. My concern is the lack of scrutiny and well-informed public debate on some of these issues."

The Conversation has a team of journlaists and editors who work with academics to either commission work to react to topical issues or to help them communicate their research. The academics get final approval, which even extends to the headline.

Jaspan says the idea for The Conversation came after spending time speaking to academics at the University of Melbourne.

"It really just hit me in a blinding flash," he says. "These people in the university were far brighter than any person I'd ever had in a newsroom. These were great people, so why were they not engaging with the public. A lot were just fed up with the media. They were being misquoted a lot of the time.

"They would get a young general reporter that hadn't properly prepared themselves for the interview. But the academic would explain the story to them. Each time a reporter went away, academics would ask themselves the same question. How bad will this piece be?

"I thought maybe we need to build a new pipeline that's not mitigated by journalists and people with their own agendas. I decided I was going to turn the universities into a newsroom."

June 02 2011

21:16

May 18 2011

22:08

Temperature Leads Carbon – Rebutting a Common Denier Myth


The latest from greenman3610 (Peter Sinclair) in the Climate Denial Crock of the Week series. One of the most pernicious myths from the climate denial industry is the idea that “temperature leads carbon.” In other words, the assertion that carbon emissions from human activity are not causing any rise in global temperature averages, but somehow it’s the other way ’round.

They point to studies of the climate conditions hundreds of thousands of years ago, as the Earth emerged from the last ice age. If you’re thinking comparing modern conditions with that of several hundred thousand years ago is comparing apples with oranges, you’d be right. It’s also picking cherries.

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March 30 2011

07:31

Are Right Wingers Seriously Using Craigslist To Recruit Trolls For Canadian Election?

Today a campaign on behalf of a public relations firm to skew online debate about the Canadian election was caught using Craigslist to recruit new writers to their cause.

The series of job postings appeared in large Canadian cities across the country, and invited prospective writers to apply for jobs to post on newspaper comment sections, media forums, facebook pages, and other online outlets. The goal? To "help balance the left-wing bias of the major media outlets".

Though the ads were promptly flagged and removed from Craigslist, we scored a screen cap

With Canada early on into an election campaign, one can only wonder on just what scale this type of organized astroturf online trolling exists.<!--break-->

The public relations firm charged on behalf of a political organization to recruit young trolls ennumerated the ideal skillsets of desireable candidates. Successful saboteurs of honest conversation were to be chosen based on strong writing skills, consistent tone, ability to find or make up facts and statistics to stir controversy. The ability to use humour, sarcasm and personal insults was considered an asset, and bonuses were offered for particularly biting commentary that caused a stir.

Bloggers and commentators across the country have been scratching their heads wondering if the ads are bogus or not. Assuming this is real and not a hoax, Canada is not alone in a growing trend of online astroturf. There is growing evidence of the existence of sophisticated "denier-bot" networks that are used to distort public debate and discussion.

Recently, Happy Rockefeller over at Daily Kos broke the story of a leaked document from a private security firm that demonstrated the sophisticated technology that enables public relations firms to create a Justin Beiber flashmob online with only a few voices.

The report prompted others to wonder about the state of online democracy when online debate becomes a "bonanza for corporate lobbyists, viral marketers and government spin doctors, who can operate in cyberspace without regulation, accountability or fear of detection." ClimateProgress has similarly noted "the same arguments and phrasings keep cropping up in the comments’ section of the many unmoderated news sites on the web," particuarly when that discussion is about climate change. 

George Monbiot is one of the most eloquent commentators on the subject of online astroturf. As he so potently phrases it, online astroturf "has the potential to destroy the internet as a forum for constructive debate. It makes a mockery of online democracy."

Monbiot closes with the burning question that's on all our minds: How do we fight back? 

Image Credit: Icanhazcheeseburger

December 02 2010

19:10

The Climate Change Divide: Have We Reached a Political Tipping Point?


Are we at a political tipping point with global warming?Despite overwhelming physical evidence of anthropogenic climate change, and a definite of majority (97 percent) of scientists who agree that human activities are causing the climate to change, in the latest poll from the Pew Research Center found that the number of Americans who believe in climate change, particularly Republicans, has decreased dramatically since 2006.

In 2006, 79 percent of Americans believed there was evidence of global warming and 50% said it was caused by human activity. 61 percent felt it required immediate action. 59 percent said scientists agreed that the cause was human activity.  Only 29 percent said that scientists did not agree.

Now in 2010, 59 percent of American adults believe that there is evidence that the planet has been warming over the past decades, and 34 percent state that it is mostly caused by human activity. 32 percent see global warming as a serious problem, while 31 percent think it is somewhat serious. The public is also divided as to whether scientists themselves are in agreement that the planet is warming as a result of human activity – only 44 percent say that scientists agree, and 44 percent say that they do not.

While 80 percent of Democrats and a majority of independents state that there is solid evidence of climate change, with 34 percent believing that it is a result of human activities only 53 percent of Republicans say that there is no evidence of climate change whatsoever.

70 percent of those Republicans who were on board with the Tea Party movement were “much more likely…to say there is no solid evidence,” and “do not think that the earth’s temperature has been rising.” (Of the Republicans who are not aligned with the Tea Partiers, only 38 percent hold this view.) 50 percent of the Tea Partiers  do not see global warming as any sort of problem and 71 percent believe that scientist do not agree as to whether or not human activity is the cause of global warming.

Evidence and perception diverge

This all during a year of climate disasters, of extreme weather – record breaking temperatures, heat waves, floods, and droughts. In the past century, sea level has risen 4 to 10 inches, and glaciers and ice caps are melting at unprecedented rates. On the Antarctic Peninsula, 90 percent of the glaciers are in retreat, and winter temperatures have soared by 11 degrees Fahrenheit. Habitats are shifting and seasonal cycles are changing, endangering countless species of plants and animals.

NOAA has reported that planet has been warming significantly, a full 1 degree Fahrenheit, over the last 50 years, that each of the past three decades was warmer than the last, and the 2000s is the warmest decade in recorded history. According to NASA, 2010 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded.

Furthermore, the current level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere — about 390 parts per million — is higher today than at any time in measurable history — at least the last 2.1 million years.

So, as the evidence has become alarmingly apparent year after year, why are the numbers of Americans who believe in climate change decreasing? When even prior climate change deniers poster boys Bjorn Lomberg and Fran Luntz have seen the light – or rather the heat.

Granted, the economy has taken its toll. These days, when countless Americans are focused on how to keep or get a job, concerned with how to feed their families, any other threats, especially those that are not immediately in one’s face, do not seem so urgent or significant. Moreover, the changes due to global warming are gradual, subtle, and much more pronounced in regions like Antarctica, where most Americans never go, much less even think about.

As Fen Montaigne writes:

“If such  profound changes (those occurring at the Antarctica peninsula) had come to our temperate zones over the last few decades – if average winter temps in New York City had soared a dozen degrees, if our oaks and maples were being replaced by palms, if sea levels had risen half a dozen feet – chances are the public would not be so indifferent to our warming world and many politicians would not be denying that climate is changing because of human activity.”

A tipping point?

And yet, they are. Have we reached the political tipping point in regards to climate change? Has the intensely divisive nature of our two party system, created two separate and not necessarily equal Americas? Even the news media is now as divided, and in parroting their own party line, they relay completely different views of the issues, of the world, of reality altogether.

A Yale/George Mason University poll released this past summer found similar results whereas a large number of those who considered themselves conservative, and/or part of the Tea Party movement, were either doubtful or dismissive about global warming, and those who considered themselves alarmed or concerned identified themselves as Democrats or liberals.  This poll also revealed that the news media consumed by those considered “alarmists” and those “dismissive” regarding climate change, were completely different – i.e. Fox News or MSNBC.

That said, what one may deduce from these polls is that Americans overall are NOT ignorant nor apathetic when it comes to climate change – only some, maybe half, of us, and mostly the Tea Party members of the Republican party. That’s the good news. The bad news, well, it is those Republicans, who as of this past Fall, have completely changed our political landscape, which may just have a direct effect upon our cultural, and our physical landscape, as well.

According to the blog Think Progress, 50 percent of the freshmen Republicans entering Congressdeny the existence of manmade climate change, while a shocking 86 percent are opposed to any legislation to address climate change and increases government revenue. Meanwhile, all of the Republicans vying to chair the House Energy Committee — which handles climate and energy issues — in the new Congress are climate change deniers,” including longtime climate denier, and BP apologist, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX).

Nevertheless, though opinions about and reactions to climate change are in stark contradiction between party lines, we all still live on the same planet, like it or not. When the seas and rivers rise, and the heartland turns to dust bowls, when the winter and summers are nearly intolerable, these effects will not vary between red states and blue states. Just because you don’t believe doesn’t mean it will not affect you – nor your grandchildren – nor theirs.

So here we are. In the worst recession since the 1930s, with an economy and infrastructure that desperately needs an influx of jobs, of which green jobs and a green economy is a perfect fit. Right as the UN Conference on climate change has begun; right as the moratorium on deepwater drilling has been lifted. At the brink of another year, another decade, where (some) Americans continue to hide their heads in the sands, or rather tar pits, and may just continue to do so for further decades, and generations to come. While China, and soon other countries, has quickly overtaken us in research and development, emerging as the pioneers in green technology and the green market, leaving us literally in the dust.

November 19 2010

01:27

GOP Congressman Schools His Party on Misplaced Climate Denial


An excerpt of Representative Robert Inglis’ remarks, as reported by the Huffington Post:

There are people who make a lot of money on talk radio and talk TV saying a lot of things. They slept at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and they’re experts on climate change. They substitute their judgment for people who have Ph.D.s and work tirelessly [on climate change].

September 20 2010

20:02

A Rebranding for 'Global Warming'?

After a White House adviser suggests that "global climate disruption" is a more accurate term, conservative news outlets suggest that politics is at work.
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