Global Weirding Link Drop: WikiLeaks, Citizen Kane Award, War on Santa, Climate Change vs Global Warming…

Here we go again, our weekly link drop of global weirding stories we didn’t cover. For the numerous stories we did cover, check out:

The year of living dangerously. Masters: “The stunning extremes we witnessed gives me concern that our climate is showing the early signs of instability”

A year of deadly record-smashing weather extremes from Nashville to Moscow, from the Amazon to Pakistan, ended with staggering deluges from California — “Rainfall records weren’t just broken, they were obliterated” — to Australia:

More than a year’s rain fell in Carnarvon in just 24 hours this week.  A monsoonal low hovering over the Gascoyne dumped a 24-hour record 204.8mm, smashing the previous record of 119.4mm set on March 24, 1923.

NASA reported that it was the hottest ‘meteorological year’ [December to November] on record and likely to be the hottest calendar year.

Uber-meteorologist and former NOAA Hurricane hunter Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground reported, “The year 2010 now has the most national extreme heat records for a single year–nineteen. These nations comprise 20% of the total land area of Earth. This is the largest area of Earth’s surface to experience all-time record high temperatures in any single year in the historical record.”

UK’s infrastructure will struggle to cope with climate change, report warns

Floods, rising temperatures and higher sea levels threaten the UK’s road, rail, water and energy networks between 2030 and 2100….

And the 2010 Citizen Kane award for non-excellence in climate journalism goes to …

I think it’s pretty obvious who the winner will be this year.  I have tried to be responsive to those who felt last year’s Citizen Kane award didn’t give enough weighting to the unprincipled bad actors, as opposed to those who are merely doing a bad job.  As always, though, I welcome your thoughts on the “winners” and any omissions….

The war on Santa Claus (and Superman)

The question of the season is — What will happen to Santa Claus (and Superman) when the North Pole is ice free in the summer?…

White House: Polar bears not ‘endangered’

The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status.

In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act….

Debunking the dumbest denier myth: ‘Climate Change’ vs. ‘Global Warming’

Some myths pushed by the anti-science crowd are so laughably backwards that repeating them should be grounds for expulsion from homo ’sapiens’ sapiens.  And so it is with the doubly wrong claim that progressives are now using the term ‘climate change’ because the planet has supposedly stopped warming.

Of course, it hasn’t actually stopped warming (see NASA reports the 12-month running mean global temperature has reached a new record in 2010 — despite recent minimum of solar irradiance:  “We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s”)….

Obstruction-Obsessed McConnell To Democrats: If You ‘Think It’s Bad Now, Wait Till Next Year’

The 111th Congress witnessed a record amount of Republican obstruction. Wielding an unprecedented numberof filibusters, the GOP waged war against the Democratic agenda to defeat Obama, apparently viewing unemployed workersjudicial nomineesservice members, and even 9/11 rescue workers as collateral damage. As Congress entered the lame-duck session, Senate Republicans threw ‘operation obstruction’ into overdrive. In a rare moment of honesty, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) openly admitted that the GOP stalling tactics on publiclysupported legislation were nothing more than an attempt “to run out the clock.” And even as the lame duck lurches to a close, “angst-ridden” Democrats better gird their sanity for another round because, according to a chuckling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “if they think it’s bad now, wait till next year“…

Attacks on EPA Led by Group that is Linked to Owner of Largest Private U.S. Coal Reserves

Last year, in December 2009, an attorney representing the Coalition for Responsible Regulation sent an email to Texas government officials. EDF obtained that email [PDF] through the Texas Open Records Act. The email encouraged a legal challenge to EPA authority under the Clean Air Act, and requested that Texas and the Coalition:

“begin the coordination process”

But who, or what, is the Coalition for Responsible Regulation?  It appears to be closely linked to the largest private owner of coal reserves in the country….

Small islands’ huge move toward renewable energy, global carbon market pioneering model for world

historic agreement will help small island states in the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Island regions, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change, make a giant leap in clean energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and begin work on adaptation to the effects of climate change….

WikiLeaks cables: Dalai Lama called for focus on climate, not politics, in Tibet

Exiled Buddhist leader told US ambassador to India that ‘political agenda should be sidelined’ in favour of climate issues….

WikiLeaks: Hackers Tried To Infiltrate U.S. Climate Negotiators

A diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks reveals that hackers launched a sophisticated attack against United States climate negotiators about the same time the Climategate hacking of scientists happened last year. The attack, a “spear phishing” attempt to gain control of Department of State (DoS) computers, took place in the months before the Copenhagen climate talks of December, 2009. The June 19, 2009, cable warned that these kinds of “socially engineered” attacks, trying to trick people into running malicious software, were likely to be repeated….

Polar bear, Arctic sea ice all-but doomed: Misleading Nature cover story misleads the media, public

Last week Nature published a study, “Greenhouse gas mitigation can reduce sea-ice loss and increase polar bear persistence” (subs. req’d).  The journal had a pretty sensational cover, with a polar bear and the compelling headline, “Staying Alive:  Cut greenhouse-gas emissions now we can still save the polar bear.”…

I really wish any of that were realistic, not so much because the polar bear is a critical linchpin species, but because the loss of Arctic ice in the summer may well trigger even more rapid warming (see “Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“ and below).  But in fact a much more reasonable AFP headline would be “Arctic ice cap on verge of runaway melting:  study.”  The NSF release should read, “Polar bear extinction now likely.”…

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