Monday, October 12, 2015

"Exxon’s Climate Concealment", so what?

A couple days ago I started a thread over at the CFI Forum titled "Exxon’s Climate Concealment" with an introduction and the following quote:

The Opinion Pages New York Times
Exxon’s Climate Concealment
By NAOMI ORESKES |  OCT. 9, 2015

"The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of articles based on internal documents from Exxon Mobil dating from the 1970s and interviews with former company scientists and employees. 
Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation. 
Government and academic scientists alerted policy makers to the potential threat of human-driven climate change in the 1960s and ’70s, but at that time climate change was still a prediction. By the late 1980s it had become an observed fact. …" 
One comment it received is worth mentioning over here: "Imagine that, pass thousands and thousands of regulations, make it so you have attorneys running the big business and the country. And you have a company that employees thousands of scientists and engineers covering up the truth. What the hell did you expect would happen? The lawyers to tell the truth and do what is morally right?" 

To which I responded: 
What about the simple matter of scientists having a right to have their papers and information honestly represented?

My point is, it’s one thing to come up with every conceivable bias driven argument you can dream up to support one’s doubts.

It’s quite another to deliberately and repeatedly LIE about the work and information of bonafide experts 
in critically important scientific fields.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Considering Steve Goreham's clueless "climatism" in a mad, mad, mad world

Even when I try to get away from the climate science contrarian campaign it seems like there's no escape.  I was looking for a few sites that shared good information about our planet's hydrologic cycle and how a warming world is impacting that.  I came across "Earth’s water cycle, over Carbon Dioxide, cause of Global Warming" by one Steve Goreham at Communities Digital News.  When I first opened it I went straight for the article so missed the first red flag, or more accurately small banner: "Climatism: A Mad, Mad, Mad World."  In any event, I started reading it and it's pretty good, sticking to basic facts, but then the thing goes right off the tracks.

It's appalling the crap these people keep recycling so I'm going to share my observations regarding Mr. Goreham's piece of disconnected nonsense.  I welcome his response.

Goreham writes: "But for the last 16 years, Earth’s surface temperatures have failed to rise, despite rising atmospheric carbon dioxide." ~~~
- WRONG - to begin with the rise continued, but at a slower pace then some expected.  But, more importantly, an incomplete (it left out polar regions among others) surface temperature data set comprises about 8/9% of the heat within our global heat and moisture distribution engine. Ignoring what's been happening in the ocean (90%) is dishonest in the extreme and not at all helpful if you're interested in understanding global patterns.

Goreham writes:"All climate models predicted a rapid rise in global temperatures, in conflict with actual measured data." ~~~ That's a totally bogus claim. It's not backed up by a serious review of the available information.

Writing: "Today’s models are often unable to predict weather conditions for a single season, let alone long-term climate trends." ~~~

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Considering Republican/libertarian disconnect from down to Earth facts.

During my recent forays into commenting at some right-wing websites I've been re-exposed to the Republican faith-based reasoning, which is a sort of oxymoron considering the self-certitude they project and their unwilling to reflect, or learn anything new, let alone change.  I mean it's like they think there's nothing anybody else can teach them.  

In fact, it's worse, anyone who presents information about our world that they don't like, is considered an enemy.  Becoming an "enemy" invites any tactic; misdirection, dirty tricks, manipulative lies, and just plain insults.  All are considered fair-play and a God Given Free Speech Right for them*.

That the "opponent" has a free speech right to have his/her work and words honestly represented to the public, doesn't even cross their minds.  Instead, engaging in vicious destructive slander towards serious professionals who are considered "enemies"  is considered good fun.

In any event, I read a most interesting article worth sharing, "Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World?," by Jonathan Chait at New York, it does a much better job than I ever could of putting all this into a relevant context, I will share large sections, but encourage you to read the complete article.

"Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World?"

Of all the major conservative parties in the democratic world, the Republican Party stands alone in its denial of the legitimacy of climate science. 
Indeed, the Republican Party stands alone in its conviction that no national or international response to climate change is needed

A new paper by Sondre Båtstrand studies the climate-change positions of electoral manifestos for the conservative parties in nine democracies, ...

Nor can a fealty to free-market theory alone explain the change, either. Free-market ideology traditionally recognizes a role for government when it comes to “externalities,” or actions that impose costs on others. Pollution is the most classic case of an externality — a factory whose production pollutes the air, or a local stream, should have to pay the cost. ...

It is also worth noting that the Republican Party used to fit in with the pattern of other international conservative parties. The Nixon administration created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed the Clean Air Act. The first Bush administration passed amendments strengthening it. Both of those presidents are considered, correctly, to be aliens to the conservative movement. The conservative movement has always opposed environmental regulation, and Republican leaders since the first President Bush — the GOP Congress since the era of Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, and the current Republican presidential field — have followed conservative thinking. ...

Indeed, administrators of the EPA from previous Republican administrations have endorsed Obama’s climate program, but they lack any influence or even legitimacy within the party today. ...

Rabid opposition is not the only quality that sets the GOP apart from other major conservative parties. The fervent commitment to supply-side economics is also an almost uniquely American idea. The GOP is the only major democratic party in the world that opposes the principle of universal health insurance. The virulence of anti-government ideology in the United States has no parallel anywhere in the world. 

 And so the “moderate” Republican climate position is that action is pointless,  

 The more right-wing position within the party — endorsed by the party’s leading presidential candidate and the chairmen of the science committees in both houses — is that thousands of climate scientists worldwide have secretly coordinated a massive hoax. And then the even more conservative position, advocated by the second-leading candidate in the polls, holds not only that climate science is a massive hoax, but so are evolution and the big bang. The “moderate” candidates are still, by international standards, rabid extremists. It is the nature of long-standing arrangements to dull our sense of the peculiar, to make the bizarre seem ordinary. From a global standpoint, the entire Republican Party has lost its collective mind. ... (emphasis added - LINK)


And then there's this:

Why Republicans are scared of everything and everyone right now

The world is changing. So is the Republican Party, but not in the same way.
By Daniel W. Drezner - September 30, 2015 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a regular contributor to PostEverything.

It's about a revealing study that presents some "pretty incontrovertible" evidence that the most conservative Republican's of 1985 to 1990 would be among the most liberal members these days.  

This seems important for people with a rational experience-based perspective towards life on Earth to learn about and appreciate.  Weird days are heading our way and those who trust in science and humanistic principles of rational dialogue and constructive debate (that we can all learn from) - have these passionate Republican/libertarian/TeaParty characters to deal with, time to understand them a bit better.  

(* Yes I believe extreme conservatism and religious fervor go hand in hand.)

Michael Crichton's "State of Fear" considered, a collection

I've been loaded up with work and other commitments that keep me from getting to some WUWTW projects, but I still have time for checking out what's happening on the internet and I do keep looking for good documentaries and such on YouTube, where I've noticed the stepped up right-wing astro-turfing of ridiculous climate science denying videos repeating the same old discredited arguments.  Lately there seems to be a surge in Michele Crichton "State of Fear" related videos yelling at me from the sidebar, so I figure this may be timely.

It's another example of how your typical Republican/libertarian state of mind is happy to be satisfied with a science-fiction writer (who's interest is in selling block busters that liberally mangle science in order to keep his thrillers moving forward) rather than experts who understand their field and can teach us something. 

Crichton never studied climate science, but he was popular as heck, spoke 'sciency' and said what they wanted to hear.  Here again we see the fundamental problem - that arrogant disregard for learning about how our global heat and moisture distribution engine operates and how human society has been altering it. 

In any event, I'm posting this collection of informative sources for those who want to understand Crichton's "State of Fear" PR game and thus be better prepared for the next time someone tries blowing this bit smoke up yours.


Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion
Gavin Schmidt @ 13 December 2004 -

In a departure from normal practice on this site, this post is a commentary on a piece of out-and-out fiction (unlike most of the other posts which deal with a more subtle kind). Michael Crichton’s new novel “State of Fear” is about a self-important NGO hyping the science of the global warming to further the ends of evil eco-terrorists. The inevitable conclusion of the book is that global warming is a non-problem. A lesson for our times maybe? Unfortunately, I think not.

Like the recent movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, the novel addresses real scientific issues and controversies, but is similarly selective (and occasionally mistaken) about the basic science. I will discuss a selection of the global warming-related issues that are raised in between the car chases, shoot-outs, cannibalistic rites and assorted derring-do. The champion of Crichton’s scientific view is a MIT academic-turned-undercover operative who clearly runs intellectual rings around other characters. The issues are raised as conversations and Q and A sessions between him (and other ‘good guys’) and two characters; an actor (not a very clever chap) and a lawyer (a previously duped innocent), neither of whom know much about the science.

So for actors and lawyers everywhere, I will try and help out.
The issues Crichton raises are familiar to those of us in the field, and come up often in discussions. Some are real and well appreciated while some are red herrings and are used to confuse rather than enlighten. 

The first set of comments relate to the attribution of the recent warming trend to increasing CO2. One character suggests that “if CO2 didn’t cause the global cooling between 1940 and 1970, how can you be sure it is responsible for the recent warming?” (paraphrased from p86) . ...

Secondly, through the copious use of station weather data, a number of single station records with long term cooling trends are shown. ... Global warming is defined by the global mean surface temperature. It does not imply that the whole globe is warming uniformly (which of course it isn’t). ...

Next, and slightly more troubling, we have some rather misleading and selective recollection regarding Jim Hansen’s testimony to congress in 1988. ...

Another issue that often comes up in discussion about the surface temperature record is the impact of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), and here it appears on p370. ...

A central issue in the book concerns sea-level rise. Vanuatu is singled out for special attention since the islanders there are understandably concerned about their low-lying islands eventually being swamped. Sea level however is a surprisingly difficult thing to measure. ...

There are only a few out-and-out errors, but to be generous, they probably just slipped through the editing process. ...

In summary, I am a little disappointed, not least because while researching this book, Crichton actually visited our lab and discussed some of these issues with me and a few of my colleagues. I guess we didn’t do a very good job. Judging from his reading list, the rather dry prose of the IPCC reports did not match up to the some of the racier contrarian texts. Had RealClimate been up and running a few years back, maybe it would’ve all worked out differently… - See more at:

Review of Michael Crichton's State of Fear
By Jeffrey Masters, Ph.D. — Director of Meteorology, Weather Underground, Inc.

Masters finishes and extensive review with the following:

In a conversation about trying to educate an ignorant environmentalist about the realities of Global Warming, Kenner sums up for me the essence of Crichton's presentation of science in State of Fear:

"Her intentions are good," she said.

"And her information is bad," Kenner said. "A prescription for disaster."

The excessive interruptions of an otherwise good story by Crichton's bad science make State of Fear a bad buy.

For further reading...
For one of the more balanced and up-to-date views of the controversies surrounding the Global Warming issue, see Dr. Stephen Schneider's web site. Dr. Schneider, one of the world's foremost climate experts, has testified frequently before Congress on environmental issues and is one of the lead authors of the IPCC scientific reports. He has criticized both industry-funded skeptics and environmental groups on their biased treatment of the Global Warming issue.

Skeptics have routinely called global warming "a hoax", and attacked the credibility of scientists promoting the idea. Are the skeptics right? To shed light on the issue, it is helpful to review how the same skeptics treated the ozone hole issue. Read the 

Weather Underground special feature, The Skeptics vs. The Ozone.

The latest IPCC summary has an excellent summary of what the best scientists in the field figure we know and don't know about Global Warming.


New York Times Sunday Book Review
'State of Fear': Not So Hot
By Bruce Barcott  -  Jan. 30, 2005

There's a problem with Michael Crichton's new thriller, and it shows up before the narrative even begins. In a disclaimer that follows the copyright page, Crichton writes: "This is a work of fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions and organizations in this novel are the product of the author's imagination, or, if real, are used fictitiously without any intent to describe their actual conduct. However, references to real people, institutions and organizations that are documented in footnotes are accurate. Footnotes are real."


Yes, there will be footnotes. Although "State of Fear" comes dressed as an airport-bookstore thriller, Crichton's readers will discover halfway through their flight that the novel more closely resembles one of those Ann Coulter "Liberals Are Stupid" jobs. Liberals, environmentalists and many other straw men endure a stern thrashing in "State of Fear," but Crichton's primary target is the theory of global warming, which he believes is a scientific delusion. In his zeal to expose the emperor's nudity the author cites, ad nauseam, actual studies that seem to contradict the conventional wisdom on global warming. Hence, footnotes.

Scholarly trappings aside, "State of Fear" does follow the basic conventions of the mass-market thriller. There are villains, there are heroes and there is an evil plot to be foiled. ...

A review of the distorted science in Michael Crichton’s State of Fear
By Gavin Schmidt on February 2, 2005 


Book Review: Bad fiction, worse science

Michael Crichton has achieved celebrity status as a novelist, film director, and television producer/series creator. Trained as a doctor, Crichton never pursued a medical career but instead successfully combined his interest in science with a talent for storytelling. His novels and other productions frequently begin with some scientific underpinning—dangerous organisms brought to earth by space capsules in The Andromeda Strain; dinosaurs restored to life from fossilized DNA in Jurassic Park. In most of his novels, he envelops this scientific content in the now-classic formula of a modern technothriller: starkly defined heroes and villains; Earth or some large part of it at risk of destruction; and beautiful, intelligent, available women saved from death by even more able and heroic men. Crichton’s novels attract many readers who take pleasure in reading understandable explanations of cutting-edge science and technology in the sugarcoating of a mass-market thriller.

In his new novel State of Fear, Crichton retains most of the formula while adding a heavy-handed political message. ...


Crichton Thriller State of Fear

Michael Crichton's book State of Fear has characters debating data (complete with graphs and footnotes) and concepts that cast doubt on the validity of global warming evidence. This doubt is echoed in the author's message at the end of the novel and in public interviews. 

Readers may understandably take away some misconceptions from his book. To clear up these misconceptions, we have selected some representative cases to discuss; the list below, however, is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the errors in Crichton's book.

  1. How was Michael Crichton able to take the same data that climate scientists use and come to the conclusion that global warming isn't a real threat? 
  2. State of Fear uses graphs that don't show a warming trend. How can specific locations show cooling if global warming is happening?
  3. What is the "urban heat island effect" and is it contributing to warming?
  4. Crichton argues that C02 in the atmosphere is not closely correlated with warming trends. So why is C02 blamed as a greenhouse gas?
  5. Several times Crichton notes that glaciers are expanding not retreating. Is this accurate or only part of the story?
  6. Michael Crichton says we can't predict the future. Does this preclude our taking steps to reduce heat trapping gas emissions?
  7. Why do we have to act now to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

CO2 ocean acidification, series by Craig Welch, Seattle Times

Last year I came across a excellent investigative series about ocean acidification and its impacts written by Craig Welch of the Seattle Times.  At the time I posted the following over at my other blog Citizen's Challenge since I believe this is information more people should be familiar with and just the sort of educational opportunity I like sharing.  Not sure why I never posted it over here.  But, recently I was reminded of Craig's articles while participating in a couple internet comment threads and experiencing the shear nonsense some people have been sucked into believing with the help of con-men such as one Jim Steele and pals.

Anyone out there who doesn't understand what ocean acidification is all about, but who would like to learn, I recommend this series as a great place to begin your educational journey.

Seattle Times had a disturbing front page story by Craig Welch reporting on his four years worth of research into current impacts of an acidifying ocean on the life forms within our oceans.

"Acidification already eating away at tiny creatures along our coast" 
Craig Welch  |  Seattle Times  |  April 30, 2014
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Documenting Sea Change: The story begins.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Seepage, impacts of a chimera - Lewandowsky, Risbey, Oreskes study

Stephan Lewandowsky together with James Risbey and Naomi Oreskes published a new study looking at how the contrarian PR campaign has influenced the way serious climate science was being done.  Here's the abstract followed by some more information regarding the pause and a previous "Seepage" study.

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 2015 

The “Pause” in Global Warming: Turning a Routine Fluctuation into a Problem for Science

Stephan Lewandowsky
University of Bristol and University of Western Australia
James S. Risbey
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Tasmania
Naomi Oreskes
Harvard University

Contrarian discourse about a “pause” in global warming has found traction in climate science even though there is little evidence for anything but a fluctuation in the warming rate similar to earlier deviations from a longer-term trend.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - Profiles in Self-Delusion

These past decades its been painful, in fact increasingly hideous, watching self-absorbed Republican/libertarian self-interest bulldozing ahead with their ruthless cynical campaign of malicious disinformation, all dedicated to out screaming legitimate and critical scientific information thus crippling public education about the global climate situation we are creating for our world (no one escapes).  

It's as though the GOP leadership has been reduced to egomaniacal fools who possess no conception of the reality that humanity and society is utterly dependent on our biosphere's good health, which in turn is dependent on moderate global weather patterns, among other things such as constructive environmental stewardship. 

A couple years back Joseph Romm Ph.D. wrote "The coming GOP civil war over climate change" an optimistic take on the struggle within the Republican Party between those who are committed to demonizing then ignoring serious science and their few remaining rational souls.  Unfortunately it looks like the civil war is over and that the one time Grand Old Party has really and truly jumped down the poopshoot of reality denial in favor of a whole hearted embrace of their delusions of self-grandeur and being God's personal appointed agents of tribalism who defiantly see the greater world and anyone not in their clique as an enemy.  

But, enough of my struggle to understand what's happening out there - this post is about sharing Joe Romm's recent article where he considers Senator Mitch McConnell's (Republican Majority Leader) commitment to destroying any and every effort to reducing fossil fuels consumption.

In Radical Shift, GOP Leaders Actively Embrace Catastrophic Climate Change
BY JOE ROMM SEP 11, 2015 

Over the past year, GOP leaders, driven by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have made a radical shift in the party’s public position on climate change. They are now actively seeking to destroy a global climate deal.

In any other universe this would be a major news story. ...

In fact, for most of the past quarter-century, most of the GOP leadership has at least given lip service to the idea that global warming is a global problem that needs a global solution. Not only have they abandoned that public position, but they now apparently believe the role of the “exceptional” and “indispensable” nation is to actively work to undermine the world’s best chance to save billions of people — including generations of Americans — from needless misery.

In its Monday piece, “GOP to attack climate pact at home and abroad,” Politico reports:
“Top Republican lawmakers are planning a wide-ranging offensive — including outreach to foreign officials by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office — to undermine President Barack Obama’s hopes of reaching an international climate change agreement that would cement his environmental legacy.”

Let’s set aside Politico’s ridiculous framing, whereby the purpose of Obama’s efforts to achieve a global climate treaty is strictly personal and political — to “cement his environmental legacy” — rather than what it in fact is, moral and science-based, to avert centuries of misery for billions of people. For Politico, such framing is a feature, not a bug.

What’s radical is the nakedly immoral and self-destructive greed underlying McConnell’s strategy, which includes one of his aides “informing foreign embassies about GOP plans to oppose Obama’s strategy on global warming.”  

Consider that the Pope’s recent climate encyclical …  

Later there's this tidbit: 

Last November, the Obama administration leveraged the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which cuts carbon pollution from the electric utility sector, to get Xi Jinping to announce China’s game-changing commitment last year to peak CO2 emissions in 2030, “and to make best efforts to peak early.”

McConnell immediately complained he was “particularly distressed” by this deal because it supposedly “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years.”
In fact, China had also pledged to double its carbon-free power capacity between 2015 to 2030, ...

As if to directly rebuke McConnell, two weeks later the Chinese announced that they would peak in coal consumption by 2020! By the spring it was clear that the Chinese would beat their coal and CO2 targets by several years.

McConnell apparently decided his crusade to persuade GOP governors to simply defy the new EPA standards and thereby block U.S. climate action wasn’t enough. …
… McConnell’s actions end the pretense that the GOP leadership has any interest whatsoever in trying to globally address the gravest preventable threat America faces. As Chait notes, ... without a peep of protest from within the party or the conservative movement — says everything you need to know about the party’s stance on climate change.” …  (For the rest of Joe Romm's story link here)


For more about Joseph Romm

October 10, 2012

Why Aren't Politicians Listening to Joe Romm About Climate Change?

For years, he's been arguing that talking about the science of warming is a winning political strategy. Now, new polling data are backing him up.

He's been called "America's fiercest climate blogger." And as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a former Clinton administration official on clean energy, and an MIT-trained physicist, the subjects he covers are vast -- ranging from energy policy to the role of rhetoric in communications, as discussed in his new book Language Intelligence. But there's been a recurrent theme over the years at Joe Romm's popular blog Climate Progress -- the argument that political leaders, and perhaps most prominently President Obama, need to step up and explain to the public why global warming is such a dramatic threat to our livelihoods and future. 
Now, a raft of new polls are showing that this issue has the potential to move independent and swing voters -- the subject of the first Climate Desk Live Capitol Hill briefing on October 10. So we stopped to chat with Romm, who will present at the briefing, about his unusual take on this subject.
Climate Desk: You've been writing for a long time about how climate is a winning political issue. So what first got you onto this? ...