Sunday, January 24, 2016

Guest Post: News Media Bias Against Science



There are still a number of news media outlets that chose to support climate change denialism. This is done in a number of ways. Some simply don't allow any credible science to appear in their pages, while others suppress science and promote the pseudo-science (see Fox News). Others, such as in the example below, print the scientific viewpoint but do so in a manner to indicate it is faulty. The below guest post consists of exchanges of letters between a reader and the opinion page editors of the Duluth News Tribune and the Superior Telegram. Both of these newspapers have previously supported the anti-science positions of climate change deniers.

*********************

(Note: Chuck Frederick and Shelley Nelson are, respectively, the opinion page editors of the Duluth News Tribune, and the Superior Telegram)

Good Morning Chuck and Shelley,

Today's Tribune (January 7, 2016) ran a puzzling local view article written by a well educated person having a PhD in aquatic ecology, and was also reviewed by another well educated person with a degree in climatology, who is an assistant professor at Large Lakes Observatory, in Duluth.

What was puzzling about this guest post column offered by Duluthian David Gerhart, is that it lists a number of very solid and valid scientific reasons why the concentration of Earth's CO2 levels is much greater now than it was 800,000 years ago, and also that today's rise in global mean temperatures is not due to the orbit, or the intensity of our sun--actually the sun is delivering less energy to the Earth than is has previously, and would actually decrease the Earths temperature if it were truly driving global warming. The article also makes readers aware of the fact that the Earth goes through normal glacial cycles that scientist have known about for many, many years and are now trying to prudently warns us about the fact that Arctic areas are continually loosing ice mass and that this will directly affect future sea levels---so why is all this very valid and very well known scientific evidence, presented directly beneath a cartoon showing an ad for a Godzilla movie, and another movie depicting a giant glacier, with the caption, "Run for your lives! It'll melt in 1000 years?"

Why are you depicting actual science in such a way, as to imply that those who are warning others about man-made global warming, are nothing more than hysterical alarmists worried about something which might happen 1000 years in the future? In truth, most scientists project only a 3 to 6 foot sea level rise by the end of the century, which in itself will pose a problem to many large populated communities occupying coastal areas that are already established near sea level. And, no climatologist, or scientist in any related field, has ever encouraged us to panic about what might happen a full millennium in the future!

When the Arctic ice cap and the Greenland ice cap melt, they not only release more water into our oceans, but the loss of snow and ice in those regions will prevent large amounts of sunlight from being reflected back into space---also increasing temperatures averages. Then there is the fact that since the actual Arctic land surface contains vast amounts of accumulated methane gas, which may be released into the atmosphere relatively quickly and, if so, suddenly increase the rate of global warming. That's because methane is one of the most potent green house gasses in regards to heat trapping properties!

Why then do you present actual facts provided by qualified experts, and then simultaneously run a cartoon implying that all this climate stuff---(my words)---is nothing but hysteria? If this is what journalist call balance, it's only because most of you are sadly misinformed or uninformed about the real problems posed by climate change and the fact that we must begin taking aggressive actions NOW to reduce emissions world-wide. Unfortunately, when the news industry knowingly or unknowingly distorts or prevents real knowledge from being available to the public that only reinforces the environment of political paralysis created by legislators who are in the pockets of large oil and large coal. So preventing real information from reaching voters is tragically closing the limited window of time which we will need to make big changes---if our future Earth is to be a comfortable and safe place for our progeny to live! You may not realize it, but the FALSE BALANCE, you feel you must provide, is not only contributing to the problem, but also preventing the necessary political will required for us to successfully deal with the real problems created by AGW and its attendant effects on our climate.

Sincerely,
Peter W. Johnson

(from Chuck Frederick, Duluth News Tribune opinion page editor).

We provide space on our Opinion pages for all viewpoints. It's not so much a desire for balance as for allowing the expression of a diversity of views, reflecting the entirety of our community. I know there are those who feel anything critical of or even in question of global warming should be suppressed, rejected --- and not published. I know you won't agree with me, but I don't feel we're at that point yet in this debate. I think the need for conversation remains relevant.

Thanks,
Chuck


Chuck,

The articles you and other Newspapers usually run provided by deniers of global warming, usually contain grossly inaccurate information or misinformation which comes from faulty scientific analysis or deliberate use of cherry picking or other ways to distort information. But no matter how technicality sophisticated some of it may sound, the issues they raise have virtually all been examined and eliminated by truly educated and by truly informed scientists. The distorted claims and inaccurate data provided by the deniers you publish are like similar distortions made by "experts" employed by tobacco companies who swore in front of congressional committees that tobacco smoke posed no risks at all for causing cancer---along with numerous other false bits of information. Just like those lies, the falsehoods being currently circulated by AGW deniers will eventually be exposed and rejected politically, but in this case we have a very limited period of time in which to enact effective measures to lower CO2 emissions. That's why it is so unfortunate that most members of the press do not grasp the true importance of real scientific evidence and usually do not even believe writers like me.


One would think that even as you allow such misinformation and distortions of facts to be printed that at least you would not place the knowledge of valid and qualified scientists directly beneath cartoons portraying the information they provide as nothing but hysteria offered by supposedly "mistaken" PhDs who have spent decades studying this problem. Outside of the few scientists employed by CO2 producing companies who deliberately distort the message of real scientists and studies done by supposed experts who have no real qualifications to know what they are talking about, or by those whose work has been solidly rejected by their peers, there is virtually no evidence at all confirming the falsehoods they circulate. This is really not a case of one opinion verses another---it's a matter of purposefully false information being distributed by special interest groups who know they will benefit financially from distorting the massive evidence about the real effects of man-made CO2. Eventually you and other news outlets will realize that. But the frustrating thing about all this is that because of the false balance, (or diversity of views) you think you must provide, that realization may come to you only after it is entirely too late to do anything about it.

Sincerely,
Peter W. Johnson



Saturday, January 23, 2016

2015: Hottest Year Ever Recorded - So Far

Analyses by NOAA and NASA showed 2015 to be the hottest year ever recorded. This should come as no surprise to anyone seeing as how ten of the twelve months set records as the hottest ever recorded, including a string of eight in a row. This included a record-shattering December, which was not only the hottest December ever recorded but was 1.11°C (2.00°F) higher than the monthly average. The margin of increase in the record was the largest ever, breaking the previous all-time record set only two months earlier in October 2015 by 0.12°C (0.21°F). This is the first time in the NOAA record that a monthly temperature departure from average exceeded 1°C and the second widest margin by which an all-time monthly global temperature record has been broken. (February 1998 broke the previous record of March 1990 by 0.13°C / 0.23°F.)

You would think this would be enough to cause deniers to shut-up for a while. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. In fact, they are now claiming 2015 wasn't hot at all. And, then they wonder why people look on them with disdain. It's hard to have any respect for someone who promotes such nonsense.

What they are really concerned about is that the heat will continue. In this we can finally agree, but for different reasons. I'm concerned because it will not be good for the planet. They're concerned because they're afraid people will finally see them for the liars and deceivers they are.


For the last 12 months, the tally is:

December 2015 was the hottest December ever recorded;

November 2015 was the hottest November ever recorded;

October 2015 was the hottest October ever recorded;

September 2015 was the hottest September ever recorded

August 2015 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2015 was the hottest July (and hottest any month) ever recorded;

June 2015 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2015 was the hottest May ever recorded;

April 2015 was tied for the third hottest April ever recorded;

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded.


Adding up the score for the last 12 months gives us: one 3rd hottest month, one 2nd hottest month, and ten hottest months ever.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ocean Heat Contet Increase Is Accelerating

One of the most common omissions deniers make is to ignore the oceans. Approximately 93% of all heat goes into the oceans. So, when we discuss 'global' warming, in it imperative we make sure to include the ocean. They are, after all, part of the globe.

Now, it looks like it is even more important that we realized. A new paper by Gleckler, et al. recently published in Nature Climate Change reported the results of a study of new data on the deep ocean and found warming is penetrating even into the very deep ocean - below 2300 feet. In fact, they found that 35% of the ocean's heat uptake is going into the deep water. 

That alone is bad because it means another region of the planet is being changed and the results of the change are not likely to be in our favor. But, it gets worse because they found that half of the ocean warming has occurred since 1997. In other words, the amount of heat being stored in the ocean is very large and is increasing at a faster pace than before. Take a look at this figure from their paper.


Source: Gleckler,et al.   
Ocean heat uptake (percentage of total 1865–2015 change) for the CMIP5 MMM layers.

We are currently witnessing what heat stored in the oceans can do to us. The El Nino event we are experiencing - a record large one - is fueled by heat stored in the ocean. As this heat in the oceans increases, it is reasonable to expect that the dangers from severe El Ninos and other events will also increase.

Something to look forward to.

Friday, January 15, 2016

U.S. Warming?

One of the most common false arguments made by deniers is a statement to the effect, "It was coldest in Umptysquatch, US State, this season than I can ever remember. This proves global warming isn't real." Fill in the town and state of your choice.

This is a false argument for a number of reasons. First, we're talking about global warming, not U.S. warming. The continental U.S. covers about 2% of the planet's surface. Picking a specific town is, obviously, much less. Deniers are engaging in a massive cherry-picking exercise when they do this.

But, the data rarely backs them up. When we look at the actual measured data and compare it to people's claims, it is not unusual at all to find the reality is very different. Here is the data for the continental U.S. for 2015 released by NOAA:


Month
Percent area of CONUS "very warm"
Percent area of CONUS "very cold"
January
25.90
0.00
February
29.87
31.42
March
46.50
2.22
April
8.17
0.00
May
16.10
2.01
June
39.77
1.10
July
13.13
5.04
August
23.39
0.00
September
61.21
0.00
October
38.86
0.00
November
46.13
0.22
December
51.17
0.00
 
For the purposes of this graphic, NOAA defines "very warm" as being in the top 10% of warm periods and "very cold" as being in the bottom 10%.

For the record, the average amount of CONUS that was 'very warm' was 33.3% per month. Fully one-third of CONUS was experiencing temperatures in the top 10% every month.The average for 'very cold' was 3.5%. This means the amount of CONUS experiencing 'very warm' conditions was nearly 10 times as much as the amount experiencing 'very cold.'

Some people will simply dismiss this as a consequence of the massive El Nino currently underway. This is a false argument for two reasons. First, where do they think the warmth being released by the oceans came from? El Ninos are not warming events, they are merely transferring heat trapped in the oceans into the atmosphere. But, that heat in the oceans had to come from somewhere. But, this argument also fails the data test. The current El Nino started in March. So, if we look at only the first three months we find the average for 'very warm' was 34% (less than for the entire year) and for 'very cold' it was over 11% (much greater than for the total year). If that argument contained any validity, we would see the percentages to be nearly equal.

So, the next time you hear someone claim global warming isn't real because they know someone who said they had the coldest season they can remember, you will know their claim is not valid.







Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Employment In Solar Larger Than Fossil Fuel Sectors

One of the false arguments and misinformation claims put out by the fossil fuel lobbyists is that addressing climate change will hurt the economy by eliminating jobs. This, of course, is shear nonsense. Anyone taking even a few seconds to think about this would realize that someone has to be working in the renewable energy sector. Therefore, as that sector grows, so do the number of jobs.

Now, there's a report that shows exactly that.

The Solar Foundation's National Solar Jobs Census 2015 shows the solar sector is adding jobs at 12 times the rate of the rest of the economy and has grown 123% over the last six years with an increase of over 20% in just one year. The census reports solar now employs 208,859 people in all 50 states. This is more than in either the oil or natural gas construction sectors and nearly three times as large as the entire coal industry workforce of 67,929. And, that growth is expected to continue with an anticipated increase of 14.7% over the next year.

Notably, these jobs by good wages and don't force you to risk your life by working in mines and carcinogenic waste dumps. Both things the coal industry is famous for doing to its employees.

Remember this the next time a denier tells you fixing the problem will cost people their jobs. Not only are the jobs safe, so are the lives and health of the workers. And, it addresses the climate change problem, too.

The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transform markets. It is not funded by the solar industry.




Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Another Indication Deniers Are Losing the PR Battle

The purpose of climate change denial lobbyists is to convince the public that lawmakers shouldn't take any action to address climate change. This is to protect the profits of certain groups, especially the fossil fuel industry which supplies most of the funding for these lobbyists. They have been very successful at this in the past, but there have been signs lately that indicate they are now losing the battle for the public's mind. Take a look at how irrelevant one of these lobbyists, Tom Harris, has become. Now, the lobbyists themselves have been gracious enough to show us they no longer matter.

The Climate Depot has long been one of the most notorious of these denier lobbyists. Marc Morano of that organization has a long track record of  making false statements and false arguments. He is also the communications director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), yet another fossil fuel supported organization. He has even gone as far as providing the personal contact information for climate scientists and encouraging people to send them threatening and harassing communications. In the movie Merchants of Doubt he not only admits this but calls it one of his proudest accomplishments and laughs. Now this shining example of humanity has made his own film - Climate Hustle. The purpose of this film is to supposedly show how climate change is all a big hoax and nothing to worry about.

The plan was to premier their new film in Paris during the COP21 conference with the hope they would make a big splash. Oops! They succeeded in making some news, but not the way they were hoping. The premier was a massive dud and they couldn't fill the theater, even with free tickets.

So, what we have is the deniers are spending a huge amount of fossil fuel money on a project that even the deniers won't watch for free. Well, they are right about one thing. Fossil fuel money does create jobs. If nothing else, I'm sure the people who worked on this project appreciate the money they were paid.

But, you have to wonder how much longer this boondoggle will continue when no one is listening to them anymore.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Climate Change Catastrophe?

The word 'catastrophe' is bantered about quite a bit when climate change is debated. Deniers try to demean climate science by calling it 'catastrophic anthropogenic global warming' (CAGW). I've also heard people on the science side of the debate discuss various climate change catastrophes. Is either side even realistic? That depends on how you define 'catastrophe.'

Let's first discuss the deniers. They state claims of the end of civilization are crazy. I have to agree with them on this point. If your definition of 'catastrophe' is the end of civilization or even the end of the species (I have heard both claims in recent weeks), I can't accept that future. Let me illustrate why.

Suppose we had an epically catastrophic heat wave. Let's suppose it lasts a full month and kills a million people. I think most people would agree that would be a catastrophe. Just imagine - a million dead bodies piling up in the heat faster than they can be buried. And yet, more than a million babies would be born during that month. In other words, we could have a heat wave greater than anything ever recorded and the human population would still increase.

Understand, I am not in any way predicting such a heat wave. I am merely making a point with a fictional situation. People simply don't understand what it means to say '7.3 billion people' (the current world population). Put it this way. If we reduced the world population by one million people every single day, it would take over 7300 days to wipe out everyone. That's more than 20 years. That's a whole lot of death and I don't see it happening. Not ever. The human species is the most adaptable, more resilient species of life on the planet. Assuming the climate takes a gigantic turn for the worse, I still don't see it wiping us out.

So, does that mean there is no cause for alarm? Again, it depends on your definition of 'catastrophe.' Studies show climate change is already responsible for more than 400,000 deaths per year. That is not some hypothetical number for a future. That is what is happening right now. If you or someone you love is one of those 400,000 per year, you would probably consider it to be a catastrophe.

The fact is, climate change has already resulted in a lower standard of living for hundreds of millions of people. It is already responsible for the deaths and illnesses of millions. It is already responsible for the massive damage to the environment. The list goes on. This is stuff that is already here. What about the future? How much worse will the weather get? How much more will diseases spread? How much more will sea levels rise? How many more droughts and heat waves will there be? Again, the list goes on.

So, will we see catastrophes caused by climate change?

Define 'catastrophe.'

By my definition, it's already here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

No Surprise: Another Heat Record

NOAA released their global analysis today for November. I'm sure no one who has been following the data is surprised, but November 2015 was the hottest November ever recorded. That makes seven months in a row that a temperature record has been set. November was nearly 1 degree C above the 20th century average. Almost halfway to the 2 degree mark the Paris accord is trying to limit us to.

The litany of records NOAA lists is depressing. I'll limit myself to just these. The September-November period was the hottest such period ever recorded. The first 11 months of 2015 were the hottest first 11 months of any year ever recorded. Nine of those eleven months were record hot months.

Things are not good.

For the last 12 months, the tally is:

November 2015 was the hottest November ever recorded;

October 2015 was the hottest October ever recorded;

September 2015 was the hottest September ever recorded

August 2015 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2015 was the hottest July (and hottest any month) ever recorded;

June 2015 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2015 was the hottest May ever recorded;

April 2015 was tied for the third hottest April ever recorded;

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded;

December 2014 was the hottest December ever recorded.

Adding up the score for the last 12 months gives us: one 3rd hottest month, one 2nd hottest month, and ten hottest months ever.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Irrelevent Tom Harris: The Future of Denialism




Tom Harris is a well-known paid shill for the fossil fuel and tobacco industries.  He denies this, but he has a long track record that is hard to hide. He was the Executive Director of the now defunct Natural Resources StewardshipProject (NRSP), which was controlled by energy business lobbyists. He was the Director of Operations for High Park Group (HPG), a fossil fuel PR agency, and worked for APCO Worldwide which promoted tobacco interests. He is also affiliated with the anti-science Heartland Institute which promotes tobacco interests and is funded by the fossil fuel industry (FFI) to spread climate change denial misinformation. Possibly his worst reference is his association with the so-called ‘Friends of Science’, even though they are the furthest thing from being friends of science, or society for that matter. This group has been shown to receive its funding from the fossil fuel industry, something they went to great lengths to hide (why is that?).



According to ExxonSecrets.org, ICSC is linked to the following fossil fuel supported organizations (organizations with an * after their names are known to receive funding from ExxonMobil):

The Heartland Institute*;
CFACT;
Science and Public Policy Institute;
American Council on Science and Health*;
International Policy Network - North America*;
Cooler Heads Coalition;
Tech Central Science Foundation*;
Australian Science Coalition;
Institute for Public Affairs;
Competitive Enterprise Institute*;
George C. Marshall Institute*;
New Zealand Climate Science Coalition;
and the Fraser Institute*

All of these organizations are known to receive funding from the fossil fuel industry, many times via Donors Trust or the Heartland Institute. In other words, the organizations paying ICSC are all paid by the fossil fuel industry.

In his role as executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), Mr. Harris is paid to put editorials in as many media sources as he can with the goal of providing false information with the express purpose of deceiving the public into not supporting any actions that may impact the profits of his employers in the fossil fuel industry. At first glance, it would seem the FFI is getting their money's worth. By my count, Tom Harris has written or co-written articles that have appeared in over 20 news outlets since the beginning of October. They even hosted an alternative meeting in Paris during the COP21 conference.

But, let's take a closer look. These articles have appeared in important news outlets such as the North Korean Times (yes, THAT North Korea), the Uzbekistan Newsnet, Pagosa Daily Post, Your Houston News, the Malay Mail, the Lethbridge Herald, Daily Inter Lake, and Mothers Against Wind Turbines. I don't view any of these as being relevant sources of outreach.

And, when we actually read his articles (a really unpleasant exercise of wading through lies, false arguments, and deception), we find increasingly shrill claims and statements. Along the way, he made gems of statements such as "I have never worked as a PR rep for any company or sector (see his resume above) (Munroe News Star),  "...the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense." (Yes, it is and no one is making any such claim. So, why is Mr. Harris claiming someone is?) (Westmoreland County Times), and "Coal sector workers ... must demand that their leaders defend them properly."  (The coal industry probably has the worst record of any industry since the slave days of abusing its employees. Why would coal workers turn to the industry leaders?" (Daily Inter Lake).  

And, how about that Paris meeting? I saw only one report in the news media (yes, only one). That article stated there was  an audience of "about 35 mostly greying, white, middle-aged men, and a handful of women." Seriously? COP21 had representatives from 195 different countries, and the deniers can get only 35 individuals? I'm going to guess that most of them were the people hosting the conference.

Now, he may be facing criminal charges in Canada as a result of his actions.

Mr. Harris is taking on the appearance of someone who has fallen to the wayside and knows it. But, he shouldn't feel lonely. All of the other FFI lobbyists are right there with him.

The message is clear. No one is interested and no one is listening.

Maybe ExxonMobile should ask for it's money back.





the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense. - See more at: http://westmorelandtimes.com/news/17304/30/opinion-hurricane-patricia-records-not-real/#sthash.sZOEdllD.dpuf
the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense. - See more at: http://westmorelandtimes.com/news/17304/30/opinion-hurricane-patricia-records-not-real/#sthash.sZOEdllD.dpuf
the idea that we control tropical cyclones is nonsense. - See more at: http://westmorelandtimes.com/news/17304/30/opinion-hurricane-patricia-records-not-real/#sthash.sZOEdllD.dpuf

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sign The Ecojustice Letter

I wrote about how Ecojustice has petitioned the Canadian government to investigate denier organizations for violating Canadian law. If you would like to sign the Ecojustice letter, you may do so here:

Sign the Ecojustice Letter

Spread the word.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Climage Change Deniers May Face Criminal Charges in Canada

The link below is to an article detailing a complaint filed in Canada against climate change denier groups, including The Friends of Science, The International Climate Science Coalition, and the Heartland Institute. The complaint details how these groups have posted false and misleading billboards in an effort to confuse the public on climate change in order to benefit the fossil fuel industry. What I find interesting is how the denier groups had been found in violation of the law before, a finding which was upheld on appeal, and then they went ahead and put up new antiscience billboards. It would seem to me it should be an easy decision on the part of the Canadian government to charge them. If they were told once to stop doing it, then went ahead and did it again, the next thing to do would be to charge them with a crime. I also liked how they will have the grounds to demand a list of their donors if they pursue an investigation. That would be great to see.

We'll need to watch how this one turns out. Hopefully, these groups will have to explain themselves in court.

Update: Here is a link to the entire filing (Thanks to cunuduin).


Ecojustice files complaint with Competition Bureau against climate denial groups

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Warming Has Not Stopped

I would like to hear from even one denier who can take a look at this plot and explain to me how they can justify saying global warming has stopped.

Source: Accuweather

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Record Heat Continues

It's that bad time of the month for deniers. That's because NOAA released the October Global Analysis today showing this last October to be the hottest October ever recorded. It also had the highest departure from average ever recorded for any month, beating the record set just the previous month. That was the sixth consecutive hottest month in a row. January through October 2015 is the hottest such period ever recorded. And, the bad news continues for the deniers. The deviation from the 20th century average is greater than the statistical uncertainty. The deniers out there will have to find some other justification for rejecting science.

It really makes me wonder, if there has been no warming, why do the months keep getting hotter?

So far, 2015 has eight hottest months ever recorded, one second hottest month, and one third hottest month, not to mention the hottest of all 1630 measured months (July).

For the last 12 months, the tally is:

October 2015 was the hottest October ever recorded;

September 2015 was the hottest September ever recorded

August 2015 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2015 was the hottest July (and hottest any month) ever recorded;

June 2015 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2015 was the hottest May ever recorded;

April 2015 was tied for the third hottest April ever recorded;

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded;

December 2014 was the hottest December ever recorded;

November 2014 was the 7th hottest November ever recorded.


Adding up the score for the last 12 months gives us: one 7th hottest month, one 3rd hottest month, one 2nd hottest month, and nine hottest months ever.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Exxon Investigation - What Does It Mean?

If you haven't hear by now, the New York attorney general has begun an investigation of ExxonMobil concerning the corporate claims on climate change. The basis for the investigation is to determine if the company lied to the public and its shareholders about climate change and the effect it might have on shareholder value. So, what does all of this mean, if anything?

The call has gone out recently for a RICO investigation of the fossil fuel industry, ala the tobacco RICO investigation. Some deniers have been stating it couldn't happen because there is no proof of wrong-doing. There are two problems with that statement. The first being the deniers don't get to define what is, and isn't, evidence. Their definition of 'evidence' is a signed confession and tape recordings of secret meetings where corporate executives use a movie-script to lay out their nefarious conspiracy to deceive the world for their own benefit. Anything less than that and it isn't evidence. Russell Cook is a notable proponent of this line of thinking. But, like I said, they don't get to define what constitutes evidence - the legal system does. The other problem the deniers are going to have is there doesn't have to be proof of wrong-doing in order to conduct an investigation. There only has to be enough evidence to issue subpoenas and begin deposing people. It's funny the way evidence and testimony starts appearing when that happens.

So, denier claims that there is no basis for an investigation clearly are obviously not valid (is anything the deniers say valid?) because the New York attorney general is conducting one.

So, back to the original question - what does this mean? I think it means the forces are building. When we look at the situation with the tobacco industry we see it took a long while for the lawsuits to begin and once they did, tobacco consistently won. And, yet, they continued and we all know how tobacco was eventually brought down and its deceitful practices fully exposed. Today, I believe we are witnessing the same kind of evolution. Things are building against the deniers and the fossil fuel industry. More and more, they sound shrill and panicky. Their claims are becoming increasingly bizarre and less rationale. Even people who support them are realizing how silly their statements are becoming.

Will ExxonMobil be charged? I don't know the answer to that. I believe, from what I've seen, there is a good case for it. But, that will be for the AG to determine. A bigger question is if the US AG will initiate a RICO investigation. That would be the coup de grace for the deniers. Once the evidence from that came to light, the denier lobby would dry up quickly. The FF people would be radioactive.

And, here's the thing. The evidence obtained by the New York AG could be what finally motivates such an investigation.

Hopefully, we're seeing the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel industry anti-science campaign and their dark money support of the denier lobby.  Of course, the next question is, will it be in time?


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Road Not Taken In Climate Change

In The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost said,
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Some people view this as a celebration - by taking the road less traveled he had good experiences that he might not have had otherwise. Others view it as a lament - this road led him to things he would prefer he hadn't experienced. Either way, the point is made. We all have that occasion to go right or go left and the decision makes 'all the difference.'

That time has long since passed when it comes to climate change. We came to the branch in the road decades ago and decided not to take the path of dealing with it. Now, we are in a time and place where manmade climate change is a reality we have to deal with. That is why I find it interesting to see articles about whether or not global warming is responsible for some weather event.

In recent months, we have seen massive heat waves that have left thousands dead in India and Pakistan, huge flash floods in the Southwest that swept away homes and cars; incredible drought in California resulting in record amounts of wildfires and eventual mudslides; super-typhoons in the Pacific; and a '1000-year' flood in South Carolina, to name just a few. For all of these events (and many more), the question is always raised - is this the result of global warming? The problem is this question makes no sense.

Asking this question supposes we know of some alternative time-line without manmade climate change, one where we can check the weather on a given date and compare it to our own timeline to see how they compare. If we hadn't changed the climate, would California still have a drought? Would South Caroline still have a '1000-year' flood? Would thousands still be dead from heat in India and Pakistan? How do we know and how could we possibly know? The best we can do is make an effort at calculating the probabilities of such events. And, of course, how can you tell if this particular event is the result of AGW or not?

The answer is, they are all the result of AGW - every single one of them. In fact, all weather is the result of AGW. We are responsible for every single weather event, no matter how mild or severe. The reason is weather doesn't just pop-up out of nothingness and climate change isn't some switch you can flip on or off. Significant AGW has been ongoing for over 40 years. That means any climate system today is the end product of a 40-year climate system that has been changed by our emissions.

There is the claim in chaos theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Rocky Mountains can cause a storm in Miami three days later. I don't subscribe to this belief, but the point is important. If weather is so sensitive that a butterfly flapping its wings can change it, then what will be the effect of 40 years of AGW? Wouldn't everything be different as a result?

There is no alternative timeline to which we can compare our weather. All weather today is the result of manmade climate change caused by human emissions. There is no other possible conclusion. And, we made the decision decades ago to do nothing about that. We chose our path in the woods and that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yes, Mr. Monckton, Warming Continues

I see it's time for Christopher Monckton, the Great Lord Denier, to come out with another of his ridiculous claims that there has been no warming for xx number of years (time span to be determined). That's because NOAA released the September Global Analysis today showing this last September to be the hottest September ever recorded. It also had the highest departure from average ever recorded for any month. That was the fifth consecutive hottest month in a row. January through September 2015 is the hottest such period ever recorded.

Tell us, Mr. Monckton, if there has been no warming, why do the months keep getting hotter?

So far, 2015 has seven hottest months ever recorded, one second hottest month, and one third hottest month, not to mention the hottest of all 1629 measured months (July).

For the last 12 months, the tally is:

August 2015 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2015 was the hottest July (and hottest any month) ever recorded;

June 2015 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2015 was the hottest May ever recorded;

April 2015 was tied for the third hottest April ever recorded;

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded;

December 2014 was the hottest December ever recorded;

November 2014 was the 7th hottest November ever recorded;

October 2014 was the hottest October ever recorded;


Adding up the score for the last 12 months gives us: one 7th hottest month, one 3rd hottest month, one 2nd hottest month, and nine hottest months ever.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Seasonal Increases of CO2 Underway

The CO2 level in the atmosphere experiences seasonal increases and decreases over the year. As plant life becomes dormant in the fall, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases. This continues until the following spring when the amount of plant life activity is enough to start pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere faster than it goes in. Unfortunately, the amount being dumped in the atmosphere year-to-year is greater than the amount taken out by natural processes, so the level increases every year. This process produces a saw-tooth curve with an upward slope, known as the Keeling curve after Charles Keeling, the scientists who began high-precision atmospheric CO2 measurements on Mauna Loa, Hawaii in 1957. Here is the total curve since he began his measurements:

Source: SIO
Recently, the level hit the annual minimum and has begun increasing again. This year's minimum was about 1.5 ppm higher than last year's minimum. Here is the two-year plot:

Source: SIO

This year (2015) saw the monthly average level exceed the benchmark of 400 ppm from February through July. We will also see it exceeded in December. Only August through November will be below 400 ppm this year. My forecast is that September next year will be the last month we will ever see where the average is below 400 ppm. August, October, and November will be over 400 ppm next year and September will be only a little bit below.

But, I suppose ruining the planet is a small price to pay to protect the jobs of a few coal miners (who could get jobs doing something else a lot safer) and the profits of billionaires (who already have more money than they could ever spend).



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fossil Fuel Companies Vow to Fight Climate Change

I was wondering, if manmade climate change isn't real, why did 10 of the largest fossil fuel companies feel it was necessary to make a vow to stop it? BG Group, BP, Eni, Pemex, Reliance, Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total all made pledges to reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions and work towards greener energy sources. They specifically stated they were committed to working towards to goal of limiting global temperatures increases to 2 degrees Celsius.

The initiative is being written off by some as a public policy ploy. It is true these are the same companies that have funded denier organizations and have worked to obstruct initiatives to address the problem. However, we now have on record statements from these ten companies that manmade emissions are responsible for global warming and manmade climate change.

That, at least, is some progress

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Guest Post: Ben Boychuk and Criticism of Pope Francis



9/28/2015
To Ben Boychuk,
RE: Your recent syndicated comments in the Duluth News Tribune,

With all due respect Mr. Boychuk, it concerns me that you have the audacity to criticize religious leaders like the Pope for pursuing social and economic issues that are directly related to religious duty and moral actions concerning the practice of caring for our environment, and how we can preserve that environment for the benefit of posterity.

You accuse the Pope of resorting to misguided politics when he discusses the empirical research done by esteemed and knowledgeable climate scientists who are simply reporting their findings for politicians to either act upon or not act upon? You don't get that one does not choose to believe in climate science and global warming like you would choose to believe in Santa Clause or Bigfoot. What scientists are doing is simply reporting the facts they have discovered about our environment, and the effects man is having on it. For them it was never meant to be a political issue. They represent both conservatives and liberals and are merely amassing data and then reporting it—after all, that's their job.

It's also distressing that you make no bones about accusing the Pope of speaking about matters he knows very little about, yet decline to extend the same criticism to the many members of Congress who know absolutely nothing about the challenges involving human caused global warming—at least beyond how it will affect the future earnings of oil industry moguls and CEOs, who are myopically concerned only with increasing their profits and attending to their bottom line. The Pope was educated as a chemist in Argentina—and attained a level of proficiency which equals the expertise attained by those in America who earn degrees in chemistry from our Universities. As such, he very likely knows much more about the heat trapping properties of Co2 and the effects that even relatively small changes in temperatures can have on our biosphere. And, he is certainly much more knowledgeable than Ted Cruz or the many Republicans in congress who think climate change can be disproved by simply tossing a snowball procured from a single snowfall in Washington. It's also very presumptuous of you to imply that that the Pope has no right to view climate change as an issue directly involving human morality and proper stewardship of the Earth we live in—not only for ourselves but for our children, our grandchildren, and those who come after them.

And what pray tell, is your conception about his supposed ignorance of the way free markets work? His criticisms obviously involve our tendency to worship the materialistic products and the political environments which allow our love of money and power to flourish—he has never claimed the right to educate others about market forces—rather, his criticisms concern the ways we tend to ignore human moral responsibilities towards our fellow men when caught up in the pursuit of wealth via satisfying the materialistic needs we have all become so absorbed in. These matters are not merely matters concerning economic theories about capitalism or communism. He has never denied the need to make money—only to warn us about the immoral worship of money which has already enabled our “too big fail institutions” to foolishly threaten the economy of America and the world. If market forces require worshiping human greed and profit motives in exclusion of all other important social concerns, then materialism has clearly become a moral issue and something that the Pope or any other religious leader has the right, (and the duty) to weigh in on!

The Pope would be the last person to claim that he is acting or distributing opinions under a cloak of infallibility—he is not that kind of religious leader, and in, fact has asked everyday people to pray for him. However, the fact that he has dedicated his life to doing God's work, clearly gives him the right to criticize human forms of sin and folly wherever they appear. Jesus said, in Matthew 6 verses 19-22, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

This simple and unambiguous teaching directly from Jesus, leaves no doubt that it is entirely appropriate for our religious leaders to alert us about the moral folly of worshiping money and wealth, and about the consequences this kind of worship has when used to unnecessarily burden our fellow men. Sorry if you disagree, but as far as I am concerned you are much less qualified to lecture the Pope about man-made global warming, and economic greed, then he is to make these issues part of his mission to teach us what attitudes God and Jesus would want us to have—especially concerning the true value of wealth! Here is a link you should examine:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

Peter W. Johnson

Superior WI

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Coal Industy Ugliness Exposed

Of course, climate change deniers are famous for making claims that defy logic. Among these are efforts to defend the coal industry. A common refrain I have heard repeatedly lately is that modern human civilization was made possible by coal. Of course, that is a false claim. Our modern society depends on energy, not specifically coal. It doesn't matter where that energy comes from.

Now, we have even more proof of how nasty the coal industry is, as if any reasonable person needed more. Patriot Coal Company filed for bankruptcy and in their reorganization papers they proposed taking $18 million from a $22 million fund for retired coal workers and spending it on legal fees. This money was supposed to be dedicated for the health benefits of the workers. Now, Patriot Coal has decided the health of these workers isn't important enough and is reneging on its promises to them.

To see just how nasty this is we need to take a look at the reported health problems of the workers. It is reported some suffer from black lung disease, while others are suffering from cancers they believe are linked to industrial waste dumps at Squaw Creek. No mention is made in the article of the health effects down stream of non-miners who may have been affected by that dumping.

But, even that isn't the end of it. The evidence strongly suggests this was a plot to unload pension liabilities and even have them disposed of in bankruptcy. It began when Alcoa and Peabody energy had a joint venture called Squaw Creek Coal Co.  In 2007, Peabody assigned the Squaw Creek health care liabilities for 208 workers to an offshoot called Heritage Coal, which was a subsidiary of Patriot Coal. Peabody also assigned 40% of its health care obligations, covering about 8400 former workers, to Patriot Coal.  Then, in 2008, Patriot purchased Magnum Coal and assumed the health care liabilities for another 2,300 retirees.

Lo and behold, this health care liability dumping was more than the mining could support and Patriot filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2011. Patriot emerged from bankruptcy that same year and part of the deal was to turn over the health care liabilities to the union, along with $310 million to help support the health care for about 11,000 retirees. 

Then, Patriot filed for bankruptcy again this year.

Since the Squaw Creek liabilities were supposed to be paid for by Alcoa under the original contract, it was a big surprise when the union and the retirees learned Alcoa had traded a $40 million obligation for a $22 million payment to Patriot. Then, as stated earlier, Patriot has decided only $4 million of that money is to go towards supporting the health care liabilities of the people who are suffering due to their work in the industry. In case you haven't been keeping count, that is 10 cents on the dollar of the original health care obligation. The rest of the money is being used to pay legal fees. The tragedy is that the Squaw Creek workers who are being abused by this procedure never worked for Patriot.

Hopefully, these workers will be covered by a government program assisting retired coal industry workers. Oh, by the way, that program is costing taxpayers nearly $500 million per year.

Remember this the next time some denier talks about how cheap and morally correct the coal industry is.

If that isn't enough, read about this hero of the coal industry, one we can all hope will be going to prison very soon.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Record Highs in Australia Increasing

I was reading a paper in Geophysical Research Letters on a study conducted on Australian hot records (high maximum and high minimum temperatures). If the climate is stable, the number of record highs should equal the number of record lows. However, during the period of 2000 - 2014 the number of record highs outnumbered the record lows by twelve to one on average.

One of the things I keep saying about regional temperatures is that we are discussing global warming, not xxx regional warming. That applies here, as well. The term is 'global' warming, not 'Australian' warming. However, when you combine many regional trends you get a global trend. And, in fact, the Australian trend is characteristic of the global trend (see the Climate Change Institute's Climate Reanalyzer for a global view).

It has been said that when we see the effects of climate change it will be too late. Hopefully, this is not true because we can certainly see the effects in Australia, as well as other parts of the world.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reality Makes Lies Of Denier Economics

A common claim by many deniers is that global warming is good for us, or at least not as expensive as doing something about it. A couple of news stories from this past week puts the lie to those claims. And, this is just two.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated it will be doubling the amount of loans for climate change adaptation from $3 billion to $6 billion annually by 2020. This is just for the Pacific and Asian territories, not world-wide. That comes to about $100 billion in additional dollars by 2050 in this one bank in this one market.

Additionally, the head of the Bank of England stated climate change threatens a global financial crises and long-term declines in wealth. Just the cost to insurers from weather-related losses has increased five-fold since the 1980s to $50 billion per year. Assuming those losses don't increase any further (a completely invalid assumption), the additional costs will amount to $1.4 trillion by 2050. By the way, the insurance companies will merely pass those expenses on to their customers.

These two events by themselves amount to $1.5 trillion in the next 35 years. When you include everything else and then factor in how things are getting worse, it is easy to see the claims of the deniers are lies. Just imagine what we could do if we devoted $1.5 trillion to fixing this problem instead of paying the coal companies to poison our land, water, and air.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Can RICO Be Used Against the FFI?

There has been a lot of talk about bringing RICO charges against the fossil fuel industry. Read an interesting article on this topic here. This raises the question, is such a think even legally possible? Considering the success of the government in pursuing RICO charges against the tobacco industry, the answer certainly seems to be 'yes' on the face of it. But, let's look more closely.

The first issue we need to look at is the definition of 'racketeering'. After all, RICO stands for "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations," (18 US Code Chapter 96). Basically, racketeering is continued criminal activity to protect and advance an organized crime 'business'. There is a long list of specific activities under this definition. Originally intended to address activities of organized crime syndicates, it has been used against a number of non-mafia entities, including Michael Millikan, Major League Baseball, pro-life activists, the LAPD, FIFA, and, of course, the tobacco industry. Clearly, you don't have to be some kind of mafia for the RICO Act to apply. If you are engaged in a continuing criminal activity to further or protect an illegal business, you have engaged in racketeering.

But, that isn't enough to violate the RICO Act. Prohibited activity under the act is defined as:
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt in which such person has participated as a principal within the meaning of section 2, title 18, United States Code, to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce. A purchase of securities on the open market for purposes of investment, and without the intention of controlling or participating in the control of the issuer, or of assisting another to do so, shall not be unlawful under this subsection if the securities of the issuer held by the purchaser, the members of his immediate family, and his or their accomplices in any pattern or racketeering activity or the collection of an unlawful debt after such purchase do not amount in the aggregate to one percent of the outstanding securities of any one class, and do not confer, either in law or in fact, the power to elect one or more directors of the issuer.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person through a pattern of racketeering activity or through collection of an unlawful debt to acquire or maintain, directly or indirectly, any interest in or control of any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.

(d) It shall be unlawful for any person to conspire to violate any of the provisions of subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section.


The act specifically states there must be at least two violations, one that occurred after the act was passed and another one within ten years of the first violation.

I am not a legal mind, but let me play here. After all, it isn't up to me to bring charges so what's the harm?

The thing that immediately jumps out at me is the phrase, "the establishment or operation of, any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce."

Whoa! If you are engaged in racketeering and it affects interstate or foreign commerce you are liable under the RICO Act. Well, there is no doubt the fossil fuel industry affects both interstate and foreign commerce. The only question then becomes, are they engaged in illegal activity for the purpose of protecting or advancing criminal business?

The big break in the tobacco case came when it was found corporate executives perjured themselves in front of Congress. They had colluded to deceived Congress for the purpose of protecting their business. And, it was found they were intentionally committing fraud by engaging in a conspiracy to deceive the government and the public on the dangers of smoking.

How does that compare to the FFI?

Well, we now know they have engaged in a conspiracy to confuse the public and Congress on the dangers associated with burning fossil fuels. I think that certainly qualifies as racketeering. But, is there a criminal business operation in progress that they were protecting or advancing? After all, simply using gasoline and coal is not, in and of themselves, a crime. They have a right to protect and advance legal activities, although they can't use illegal activities to do so. So far, as far as I can tell at this point, RICO does not apply, even if other criminal statutes do apply.

What needs to be shown is that they were engaged in a criminal business. I'm sure if we were to dig into their activities we would easily find that is exactly the case. They willingly and knowingly engaged in business activities fully aware it would bring harm to the public and the U.S. government. That, by itself, is sufficient. But, let's take a look at the "section 2, title 18, United States Code" referenced above:
(a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.

(b) Whoever willfully causes an act to be done which if directly performed by him or another would be an offense against the United States, is punishable as a principal.

18 U.S. Code, Section 2
The fossil fuel industry has testified before Congress, and has provided funds to individuals to testify, that the science was not correct and there is no danger from manmade climate change or that it does not exist. We now know the fossil fuel industry was fully aware this testimony was not truthful, making it perjury. This perjury was committed for the purpose of interfering with any actions the government might take to ameliorate the threat and would negatively impact the profits of the fossil fuel industry. Additionally, they have used the mail and wire systems in the commission of these acts. My understanding is that constitutes mail and wire fraud.

In other words, the fossil fuel industry has violated the RICO Act on a continuing basis and should be charged accordingly by the U.S. Department of Justice.

But, that isn't all. Take a look at the subparagraphs b through d. These subparagraphs specifically prohibit the actions of persons to further the interests of the organized criminal activity. And, in this case, that is a long list. In addition to the fossil fuel corporations, the US DoJ needs to charge the individual players in this activity, such as the Cato Institute, the Heartland Institute, the George C. Marshall Institute, the NIPCC, the International Climate Science Coalition, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Christopher Monckton, and many others who are equally guilty of violating the act.

As I stated, I am not a lawyer and it is not up to me to charge anyone, but the evidence seems very clear from where I'm standing - a massive violation of the RICO Act has been committed and continues to be committed. It is time for the government to charge the perpetrators.

Will it happen? I'm not going to lose sleep while waiting for it. But, at the same time, I spend many years hoping the government would charge the tobacco industry with criminal activity and thinking it would never happen. And, we all know how that turned out.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

More Bad News For Coal

The U.K.'s Department of Energy and Climate Change released statistics showing, for the first time ever, the U.K. produced more energy via renewables than for coal during this past April - June time span. Not only did the percentage of energy coming from renewables increase from 16.7 to 25.3 percent, the percentage coming from coal dropped from 28.5 to 20.5 percent. Interestingly, the coal percentage dropped by 8 percentage points while the renewable percentage increased by 8.6 points. This means coal's loss was more than made up for by increases in renewables.

It is become increasingly difficult for coal to claim renewables are more expensive and bad for the economy. The writing is on the wall.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tom Harris Employs McCarthyism Scare Tactics

My favorite fossil fuel shill has stooped to a new low in a recent op/ed piece by comparing people who support business and science to Soviet sympathizers and calling them 'useful idiots.'

Here is the response I submitted:



Harris resorts to McCarthyism

Re: OP/Ed: The climate scare’s ‘useful idiots’, Sep 17

Tom Harris is sinking to a new low. It is a common tactic among those denying climate change to denigrate climate scientists and anyone accepting the science. Amazingly, anyone who promotes or accepts climate science is somehow a ‘liberal’ without any possible knowledge of the person’s political beliefs or affiliations. Now, anyone who is both pro-business and pro-science is a ‘useful idiot’ and is compared to Soviet sympathizers. You have to wonder what is Mr. Harris’ motive and objective here. We can’t be sure because Mr. Harris refuses to reveal any of his funding sources, but he has a long history of being affiliated with fossil fuel and tobacco and there is ample evidence ICSC is supported by the fossil fuel industry.

What is less amazing is how he then uses this McCarthyism scare tactic to introduce false claims. For instance, discussing the effects of the CPP on global warming, he states, “The Chamber correctly concludes, “it’s essentially undetectable.”” Of course, what they don’t want to tell you is how much of an increase there will be without the CPP.  We are already almost 1.5 degrees (.81 C) above the 20th century average and the global temperature is increasing rapidly. 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. 2015 will smash that record.
Also, Mr. Harris fails to discuss the other effects of the CPP, as listed by the EPA (http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-overview-clean-power-plan):
·  Within this larger context, the Clean Power Plan itself is projected to contribute significant pollution reductions, resulting in important benefits, including:
  • Climate benefits of $20 billion
  • Health benefits of $14-$34 billion
  • Net benefits of $26-$45 billion
·  Because carbon pollution comes packaged with other dangerous air pollutants, the Clean Power Plan will also protect public health, avoiding each year:
  • 3,600 premature deaths
  • 1,700 heart attacks
  • 90,000 asthma attacks
  • 300,000 missed work days and school days
The fact is, the CPP and clean energy are good for the public and for the economy. What they are bad for is the fossil fuel industry, Mr. Harris’ customers. This explains the increasingly shrill rhetoric coming from his fossil fuel advocacy group.
I wonder, how many of the readers of his op/ed feel as though being pro-science somehow puts you in the same category as Soviet sympathizers. Do you feel that if you are both pro-business and pro-science you are a ‘useful idiot’? Why would Mr. Harris resort to those kinds of tactics? And, more importantly, why would you bother to listen to him? McCarthy got his power by creating fear with lies and smear tactics. He was defeated by ignoring him. The fossil fuel anti-science crowd is doing the same thing by spreading lies and using smear tactics. They need to be treated the same way as McCarthy. Ignore them.
Dr. Christopher Keating is a professor of physics and does research in climate change and planetary geophysics. He is the author of two books on climate change and writes the blog Dialogues on Global Warming. He also issued the $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge which ran through July 2014.