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Global WarmingPolicies & PoliticsScience

Global Weirding News of the Week

Other than what we’ve already covered, of course, here’s our weekly global weirding news link drop. A little more than normal given our extensive coverage of the mass bird and fish deaths that are occurring right now (and, thus, our inability to get to other important news).

Coal prices soar as warmest sea surface temperatures on record fuel ‘biblical’ Australian floods

Australian floods now cover an area “the size of France and Germany combined.” Yesterday, their government’s Bureau of Meteorology released its “Annual Australian Climate Statement 2010,” which helps explain why — record sea surface temperatures….

Theater audience boos Tea Party pollutocrat David Koch

Money can buy you weaker regulations, an unlivable climate, extremists running Congress, and bad science (see “New Yorker exposes Koch brothers along with their greenwashing and whitewashing Smithsonian exhibit“).  But it can’t buy you love….

Heroes of Climate Denial

I try not to let this blog get too “inside baseball” — that is, consumed in the day to day back and forth of who said what idiotic thing and where etc.

But for those that are following the action, and have the popcorn, you might as well know some of the players. I’ve featured a number of the good guys, – HansenAlley,Santer, and others – now tbd.com offers a rogues gallery of the goon squad – the folks who, when the history is written, will be named as the clodfathers of climate denial.

I now present the list – with added bonus links to videos where I’ve unmasked, mocked, derided, ridiculed and otherwise refudiated these quacks. (usually by the devious and underhanded tactic of quoting them verbatim)….

1989: Isaac Asimov on Climate Change

Of all the books my parent’s shelves, the weighty, dog eared volume I remember turning to most as a young person was “The Intelligent Man’s Guide to Science”, by Isaac Asimov.  For a generation, Asimov defined the rational approach, and a sense of the possibilities that reason and science might bring.  His science fiction work is legendary, and a primary inspiration for many of the imaginary universes that permeate pop culture.

This video is part of a longer presentation at the Humanist Institute in New York in 1989, and it demonstrates yet again one of the primary messages of this series, – that the broad outlines of the climate change story have been understood for decades by, well, intelligent men people who are guided by science.
It’s been a recurring theme in this series – that the science was essentially complete long before Al Gore, long before the IPCC, long before the Hockey Stick.

The hangup has been the organized campaign of lies and distortions that has made political action impossible on the issue….

Big. Round. Complex. Get Used to it.

What the climatology community has been looking at, rather than old magazine covers, is an image of a changing arctic,a new normal, that is being reshaped by, among other things, the decreasing sea ice cover in northern polar regions.
For two winters in a row, unusual and striking weather systems have aligned to spill winter cold out of the arctic, where in most years it has historically been bottled up, and draw warm air up into the northern latitudes.

I’ve blogged on this several times in the last few weeks, so if you want to do a 10 minute review, here’s your cliff notes….

Climate Fun Facts: First Carbon Negative Volcanic Eruption

New Scientist reports:

Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that closed Europe’s airspace and stumped English-speaking newscasters trying to pronounce its name, is estimated to have emitted between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a day. That’s less than the grounded flights would have emitted, making it the first carbon-negative volcano.

How Do We Know: Tracking C02 Emissions

Scientist David Crisp explains how NASA tracks regional CO2 emissions from space using sophisticated satellite technology.

After Russian Wheat Failure, Australian Floods bring more fears of Grain shortage

But I thought increased CO2 would cause crops to double and triple! After all, indoor hemp growers pump CO2 into their basement grow rooms to increase their output. Isn’t the planet just like a fluorescent lit closet in a lab, or your neighbor’s basement?…

House Republicans seek to limit EPA climate rules

The 112th Congress has just begun, and so have the attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases….

Republicans launch swift attack on Obama’s climate change agenda

House Republicans use first day of legislative business to table three bills that would neuter the EPA….

Know your zombies: Sensenbrenner, picked to lead House attack on climate science, says, “I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do.” – WI Republican has called for blacklisting climate scientists

The NYT/Climate Wire reported yesterday that House Science chair Ralph Hall wants to investigate “doubts about the quality of the climate science”:

Hall said his vice chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), an outspoken climate skeptic who served as ranking member on the recently disbanded Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will take the lead on the issue.

Of course, Hall is not aware of multiple vindications of climate science since “The first rule of vindicating climate scientists is you do not talk about vindicating climate scientists.”

While Hall himself is not an outright denier of basic climate science, Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is.   Here’s some background on the Wisconsin Republican, starting with an interview by conservative radio show host Jay Weber…

Forbes’ rich list of nonsense

Guest commentary from Michael Tobis and Scott Mandia with input from Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, and Kevin Trenberth

While it is no longer surprising, it remains disheartening to see a blistering attack on climatescience in the business press where thoughtful reviews of climate policy ought to be appearing. Of course, the underlying strategy is to pretend that no evidence that the climate is changing exists, so any effort to address climate change is a waste of resources.

A recent piece by Larry Bell in Forbes, entitled “Hot Sensations Vs. Cold Facts”, is a classic example.

Bell uses the key technique that denialists use in debates, dubbed by Eugenie Scott the “Gish gallop”, named after a master of the style, anti-evolutionist Duane Gish. The Gish gallop raises a barrage of obscure and marginal facts and fabrications that appear at first glance to cast doubt on the entire edifice under attack, but which on closer examination do no such thing. In real-time debates the number of particularities raised is sure to catch the opponent off guard; this is why challenges to such debates are often raised by enemies of science. Little or no knowledge of a holistic view of any given science is needed to construct such scattershot attacks….

New Film Takes an Inside Look at Fearless Climate Activist Feats

I have often thought about the power of film to bring about social change, but this concept really hit home for me when I saw how quickly Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth brought a basic understanding of global warming to such a large portion of the world.

Recently, I learned about another activist documentary in the works that I think has a lot of the same potential.

The documentary is unique in a lot of ways. To start, the title and the basic subject of the film: Just Do It: Get Off Your Arse and Change the World! It is a story about three organizations (Climate CampClimate Rush, and Plane Stupid), two “loose affiliations” (World Association of Carbon Traders The Bike Bloc), and one “domestic extremist” (Marina Pepper). It covers a wide range of climate activism efforts, from rushing the British Parliament to “swooping on power stations” to locking onto airplanes….

So you want to find a peer-reviewed paper in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report

This is a post about my website Zvon.org where I’ve created a resource for the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (AR4). I’ve created a searchable database of almost every peer-reviewed paper referenced in the AR4, with links to each paper’s abstract and lists of all the authors. This provides a powerful tool that lets you search the AR4 by author, subject, title and journal.

I used to be an organic chemist in the last millennium who reached a tipping point in 2000 and was irreversibly transformed to a computer specialist. The primary forcing behind my change was the foundation of site Zvon.orgwhich became quite well known among XML programmers….

Why science-based (dire) warnings are an essential part of good climate messaging – Nature’s Matt Kaplan blows the story

Back in November I explained how the media blew the story of UC Berkeley study on climate messaging.   That study found the best message is also the most science-based:  Doing nothing risks “many devastating consequences” but “much of the technology we need already exists.”  We just need to deploy it already!

Brad Johnson also discussed howWinning climate messages combine dire scientific threat with solutions for a just world” — almost the exact opposite of how the media reported it.

Yet Nature’s Matt Kaplan has just published a piece on the study, “Why dire climate warnings boost scepticism” that again utterly misrepresents (and oversells) the results of this tiny-sample study — even though at least one of the people he talked to explained how the study was being misrepresented….

Incoming Energy Chair Rep. Fred Upton: ‘I Don’t Think We Have To Regulate Carbon’

ThinkProgress recently noted that Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), who will take control of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week, has dramatically changed his views on regulating carbon emissions over the past several months, evolving from a position that “[c]limate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions” in April 2009 to writing in the Wall Street Journal this week that he opposes any regulation of carbon emissions, and that if the EPA did so, it would be an “unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs.”

Noting Upton’s affiliation with a group “financed in part by oil companies,” Fox News host Chris Wallace challenged Upton to explain why he has flipped on his views regarding carbon emissions…

New Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) defends hiring energy lobbyist as chief of staff

Incoming Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) ran as a tea party candidate, who claimed to be determined to change how business was done in Washington.  But the R-UT is already in the rut, as ThinkProgress explains in this cross-post.

On Fox News Sunday, Lee was asked by Chris Wallace why if his goal was to “drain the swamp” would he pick to have an energy lobbyist as his Chief of Staff? Lee responded that he wasn’t “scared” of lobbyists and that his lobbyist was “brilliant”…

Extreme weather events help drive food prices to record highs

In 2009, Lester Brown and Scientific American asked “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?” This summer’s extreme global weather raised fears of a “Coming Food Crisis,” as CAP’s John D. Podesta and Jake Caldwell warned inForeign Policy:  “Global food security is stretched to the breaking point, and Russia’s fires and Pakistan’s floods are making a bad situation worse.”

Now the Financial Times reports the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s “food price index, a basket tracking the wholesale cost of wheat, corn, rice, oilseeds, dairy products, sugar and meats, has jumped to a record high, surpassing in December the peak of the 2007-08 food crisis” (see figure)….

Photo Credit: Just Do It




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