Monday, July 12, 2010

Smearing Global Warming Skeptics

Meteorologist blogger Anthony Watts normally talks about the crumbling science of man-caused global warming, but recently he described an uninvited office guest demanding to know about his alleged "big oil funding." The charge that only the lure of big money causes people to question warmist gospel is old but, as it turns out, of highly questionable origin.

Al Gore typifies the central accusation in An Inconvenient Truth, pg 263:
The misconception that there is a serious disagreement among scientists about global warming is actually an illusion that has been deliberately fostered by a relatively small but extremely well-funded cadre of special interests, including Exxon Mobil and a few other oil, coal, and utilities companies. These companies want to prevent any new policies that would interfere with their current business plans...

One of the internal memos prepared by this group to guide the employees they hired to run their disinformation campaign was discovered by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ross Gelbspan. Here was the group's stated objective: to "reposition global warming as theory, rather than fact."

Internet searches of the "reposition global warming" phrase show how viral it is. However, more searching reveals former Boston Globe reporter Gelbspan not only has never won a Pulitzer, despite uncountable times he's described as such, but he is also not the discoverer of the "campaign." Intensive investigation reveals only myriad ties to the phrase, but the actual 1991 internal PR campaign memo containing the phrase is never seen.

Gore's 2004 NY Times review of Gelbspan's then-current second book offered this praise:
Gelbspan's first book, "The Heat Is On" (1997), remains the best, and virtually only, study of how the coal and oil industry has provided financing to a small group of contrarian scientists...In this new book, Gelbspan focuses his toughest language by far on the coal and oil industries. After documenting the largely successful efforts of companies like ExxonMobil to paralyze the policy process, confuse the American people and cynically "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact."

Greenpeace director Phil Radford offers more praise in an article describing two people he worked with who most impressed him:
John Passacantando, the former director of Greenpeace, whose strategic instinct and track record of changing the political landscape on global warming has made it possible to imagine that solving the problem could be a reality. And Ross Gelbspan ... who ... uncover[ed] the scandalous cover up of global warming by polluting companies. Ross has been the lone voice ... that has inspired countless people, me included, to demand our country and our future back from the coal and oil interests behind global warming.

The article also says Radford worked for Ozone Action. Prior to 1996, their focus was ozone depletion. Ozone Action had just over/under $1 million worth of contributions per year in 1998, 1999, and 2000 under John Passacantando's leadership, who then merged his group into Greenpeace in 2000. Greenpeace archive records of a 1996 Ozone Action report (page 5, paragraphs 3 & 4) reveal:
...the Information Council for the Environment (ICE) stated their goal was to "reposition global warming as theory (not fact)[.]"

According to documents obtained by Ozone Action and by Ross Gelbspan, several ICE strategies were laid out: the repositioning of global warming as theory, not fact.

The word "obtained" prompts questions about assertions that Gelbspan was the discoverer. Worse, Greenpeace/WWF activist Andrew Rowell cites the "reposition" phrase in his 1996 Green Backlash (second paragraph) while not saying where the "ICE internal packet" came from. NY Times reporter Matthew Wald's July 8, 1991 article reported:
The goal of the campaign, according to one planning document, is to "reposition global warming as theory" and not fact.

A packet of internal correspondence and other information relating to the campaign was provided to The New York Times by the Sierra Club, the San Francisco-based environmental group that favors taking steps to reduce the risk of global warming.

Curtis Moore, who cites Wald's article about the "reposition" phrase in his 1994 Green Gold, also refers to an interview of Simmons Advertising's Tom Helland. That appears to be the same Simmons contact "T. Helland" seen on page 13 of another set of Greenpeace scans, a fair indication that Moore saw the documents. And on page 14, there is a Simmons letter describing "what you'll find in this packet," the same descriptive word in Rowell's book note and Wald's article. Gelbspan refers to other 1991 articles breaking this story near the bottom of the page at his website. An obvious question is: Who discovered these documents?

That second set of Greenpeace scans contains something vastly more important on page 10: the document with the "reposition" phrase in its complete context. Of all the internet searches for the phrase, I found no others showing it in its entirety, or any linking to this Greenpeace scan. In Gelbspan's own hugely acclaimed 1997 book, no scan is shown. He simply says, "ICE documents in author's possession." Why is that? And what is the significance of yet another Greenpeace scan of an October 1996 Kalee Kreider e-mail to "D Becker" at the Sierra Club? That's probably Dan Becker, director of the Sierra Club's Global Warming Program from 1989 to 2006. Kreider worked at Ozone Action just three months earlier, repeating the "reposition" phrase in a media release. Many now know Kreider as Al Gore's spokesperson.

It turns out that the attempted slander of global warming skeptics as tools of big oil is as poorly grounded as the theory itself.


The Climategate Whitewash Continues

PATRICK J. MICHAELS, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia from 1980-2007, describes the whitewash particularly clearly below:

Global warming alarmists claim vindication after last year's data manipulation scandal. Don't believe the 'independent' reviews.

Last November there was a world-wide outcry when a trove of emails were released suggesting some of the world's leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Keith Briffa called "a nice, tidy story" of climate history. The scandal became known as Climategate.

Now a supposedly independent review of the evidence says, in effect, "nothing to see here." Last week "The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review," commissioned and paid for by the University of East Anglia, exonerated the University of East Anglia. The review committee was chaired by Sir Muir Russell, former vice chancellor at the University of Glasgow.

Mr. Russell took pains to present his committee, which consisted of four other academics, as independent. He told the Times of London that "Given the nature of the allegations it is right that someone who has no links to either the university or the climate science community looks at the evidence and makes recommendations based on what they find."

No links? One of the panel's four members, Prof. Geoffrey Boulton, was on the faculty of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences for 18 years. At the beginning of his tenure, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU)—the source of the Climategate emails—was established in Mr. Boulton's school at East Anglia. Last December, Mr. Boulton signed a petition declaring that the scientists who established the global climate records at East Anglia "adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity."

This purportedly independent review comes on the heels of two others—one by the University of East Anglia itself and the other by Penn State University, both completed in the spring, concerning its own employee, Prof. Michael Mann. Mr. Mann was one of the Climategate principals who proposed a plan, which was clearly laid out in emails whose veracity Mr. Mann has not challenged, to destroy a scientific journal that dared to publish three papers with which he and his East Anglia friends disagreed. These two reviews also saw no evil. For example, Penn State "determined that Dr. Michael E. Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community."

Readers of both earlier reports need to know that both institutions receive tens of millions in federal global warming research funding (which can be confirmed by perusing the grant histories of Messrs. Jones or Mann, compiled from public sources, that are available online at Any admission of substantial scientific misbehavior would likely result in a significant loss of funding.

It's impossible to find anything wrong if you really aren't looking. In a famous email of May 29, 2008, Phil Jones, director of East Anglia's CRU, wrote to Mr. Mann, under the subject line "IPCC & FOI," "Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith [Briffa] re AR4 [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report]? Keith will do likewise . . . can you also email Gene [Wahl, an employee of the U.S. Department of Commerce] to do the same . . . We will be getting Caspar [Amman, of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research] to do likewise."

Mr. Jones emailed later that he had "deleted loads of emails" so that anyone who might bring a Freedom of Information Act request would get very little. According to New Scientist writer Fred Pearce, "Russell and his team never asked Jones or his colleagues whether they had actually done this."

The Russell report states that "On the allegation of withholding temperature data, we find that the CRU was not in a position to withhold access to such data." Really? Here's what CRU director Jones wrote to Australian scientist Warrick Hughes in February 2005: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it[?]"

Then there's the problem of interference with peer review in the scientific literature. Here too Mr. Russell could find no wrong: "On the allegations that there was subversion of the peer review or editorial process, we find no evidence to substantiate this."

Really? Mr. Mann claims that temperatures roughly 800 years ago, in what has been referred to as the Medieval Warm Period, were not as warm as those measured recently. This is important because if modern temperatures are not unusual, it casts doubt on the fear that global warming is a serious threat. In 2003, Willie Soon of the Smithsonian Institution and Sallie Baliunas of Harvard published a paper in the journal Climate Research that took exception to Mr. Mann's work, work which also was at variance with a large number of independent studies of paleoclimate. So it would seem the Soon-Baliunas paper was just part of the normal to-and-fro of science.

But Mr. Jones wrote Mr. Mann on March 11, 2003, that "I'll be emailing the journal to tell them I'm having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor," Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland. Mr. Mann responded to Mr. Jones on the same day: "I think we should stop considering 'Climate Research' as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues . . . to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board."

Mr. Mann ultimately wrote to Mr. Jones on July 11, 2003, that "I think the community should . . . terminate its involvement with this journal at all levels . . . and leave it to wither away into oblivion and disrepute."

Climate Research and several other journals have stopped accepting anything that substantially challenges the received wisdom on global warming perpetuated by the CRU. I have had four perfectly good manuscripts rejected out of hand since the CRU shenanigans, and I'm hardly the only one. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, has noted that it's becoming nearly impossible to publish anything on global warming that's nonalarmist in peer-reviewed journals.

Of course, Mr. Russell didn't look to see if the ugly pressure tactics discussed in the Climategate emails had any consequences. That's because they only interviewed CRU people, not the people whom they had trashed.


Climate Change Lunacy

A new book, critical of the climate change establishment, is additionally noteworthy because the author, Mark Lawson, is a senior journalist who writes on environmental matters for the Australian Financial Review.

While large Australian publishers ignore climate warming sceptics a small publisher, Connor Court, continues to give writers with something to say a platform and the opportunity to be read by an ever growing readership:
A Guide to Climate Change Lunacy: bad forecasting, terrible solutions

Mark Lawson, Connor Court Publishers, paperback, 286 pages. $29.95.

Activists and even some scientists will tell you that the science behind the expected major warming of the globe is rock solid. In fact, the projections of temperature increases in coming decades are based on entirely unproven forecasting systems which depend on guesses about crucial aspects of the atmosphere behaviour and the all-important oceans. In addition, these forecasts use carbon dioxide emission scenarios that have been generated by economic calculations rather than from science, and parts of which are already hopelessly wrong less than a decade after they were made.

As Mark Lawson explains in this book, in layman’s language, this lunacy has been compounded by further forecasts based on these already deeply flawed projections and combined with active imaginations, to produce wild statements about what will happen to plant, animal, bird and marine life, as well as coral reefs, hurricanes, sea levels, agriculture and polar ice caps. The books shows that these projections are little more than fantasy.

On top of all this lunacy activists, aided and abetted by some scientists, have proposed a range of solutions to the supposed problem that are either never going to work, such as an international agreement to cut emissions, or are overly complicated and expensive for no proven return, such as carbon trading systems and wind energy. None of these proposals have been shown to be of any use in reducing carbon emissions, outside of theoretical studies. Where wind energy has been used in substantial amounts overseas the sole, known result has been very expensive electricity for no observed saving in emissions.

Mark Lawson is a senior journalist on the Australian Financial Review. He has a science degree from Melbourne University, and has been a science writer, editorial writer and Perth bureau chief for the Review. He now edits a series of reports for the AFR, including environmental reports.


Native American rabbits not dying of heat after all

If they do die out, Australia's got about a billion rabbits that they would gladly donate to anyone who wants to come and take them away!

Discussing: Millar, C.I. and Westfall, R.D. 2010. Distribution and climatic relationships of the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) in the Sierra Nevada and Western Great Basin, U.S.A.; periglacial landforms as refugia in warming climates. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 42: 76-88.


American pikas are small generalist herbivores that are relatives of rabbits and hares. They tend to inhabit patchily-distributed rocky slopes of western North American mountains and are good at tolerating cold. However, they are widely believed to have a physiological sensitivity to warming, which when "coupled with the geometry of decreasing area at increasing elevation on mountain peaks," in the words of the authors, "has raised concern for the future persistence of pikas in the face of climate change," so much so, in fact, that "the species has been petitioned under California [USA] state and federal laws for endangered species listing."

What was done

Millar and Westfall developed a rapid assessment method for determining pika occurrence and used it "to assess geomorphic affinities of pika habitat, analyze climatic relationships of sites, and evaluate refugium environments for pikas under warming climates," while working over the course of two field seasons in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, the southwestern Great Basin of California and Nevada, and the central Great Basin of Nevada, as well as a small area in the central Oregon Cascades.

What was learned

The two U.S. Forest Service researchers report that "whereas concern exists for diminishing range of pikas relative to early surveys, the distribution and extent in our study, pertinent to four subspecies and the Pacific southwest lineage of pikas, resemble the diversity range conditions described in early 20th-century pika records (e.g., Grinnell and Storer, 1924)." In fact, they say that the lowest site at which they detected the current presence of pikas at an elevation of 1827 meters "is below the historic lowest elevation of 2350 m recorded for the subspecies by Grinnell and Storer (1924) in Yosemite National Park; below the low elevation range limit for the White Mountains populations given by Howell (1924) at 2440 m; and below the lowest elevation described for the southern Sierra Nevada populations of 2134 m (Sumner and Dixon, 1953)." In addition, they report that "a similar situation occurred for another lagomorph of concern, pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis), where a rapid assessment method revealed much wider distribution than had been implied from historic population databases or resurvey efforts (Himes and Drohan, 2007)."

What it means

Millar and Westfall say their results suggest that "pika populations in the Sierra Nevada and southwestern Great Basin are thriving, persist in a wide range of thermal environments, and show little evidence of extirpation or decline," over a period of time, we might add, when the world's climate alarmists claim the planet warmed at a rate and to a level of warmth that was unprecedented over the past one to two millennia, which suggests to us that current concerns about the future of American pikas in a warming world may be wildly misplaced. Moreover, the documentation of a similar phenomenon operating among pygmy rabbits suggests that still other animals may also be better able to cope with various aspects of climate change than we have been led to believe possible.


There is most certainly a pattern to climate change… but it’s not what you may think

For at least 114 years, climate “scientists” have been claiming that the climate was going to kill us…but they have kept switching whether it was a coming ice age, or global warming.

* 1895 - Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again – New York Times, February 1895

* 1902 - “Disappearing Glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with a persistency that means their final annihilation…scientific fact…surely disappearing.” – Los Angeles Times

* 1912 - Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age – New York Times, October 1912

* 1923 - “Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada” – Professor Gregory of Yale University, American representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, – Chicago Tribune

* 1923 - “The discoveries of changes in the sun’s heat and the southward advance of glaciers in recent years have given rise to conjectures of the possible advent of a new ice age” – Washington Post

* 1924 - MacMillan Reports Signs of New Ice Age – New York Times, Sept 18, 1924

* 1929 - “Most geologists think the world is growing warmer, and that it will continue to get warmer” – Los Angeles Times, in Is another ice age coming?

* 1932 - “If these things be true, it is evident, therefore that we must be just teetering on an ice age” – The Atlantic magazine, This Cold, Cold World

* 1933 - America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise – New York Times, March 27th, 1933

* 1933 – “…wide-spread and persistent tendency toward warmer weather…Is our climate changing?” – Federal Weather Bureau “Monthly Weather Review.”

* 1938 - Global warming, caused by man heating the planet with carbon dioxide, “is likely to prove beneficial to mankind in several ways, besides the provision of heat and power.”– Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society

* 1938 - “Experts puzzle over 20 year mercury rise…Chicago is in the front rank of thousands of cities thuout the world which have been affected by a mysterious trend toward warmer climate in the last two decades” – Chicago Tribune

* 1939 - “Gaffers who claim that winters were harder when they were boys are quite right… weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer” – Washington Post

* 1952 - “…we have learned that the world has been getting warmer in the last half century” – New York Times, August 10th, 1962

* 1954 - “…winters are getting milder, summers drier. Glaciers are receding, deserts growing” – U.S. News and World Report

* 1954 - Climate – the Heat May Be Off – Fortune Magazine

* 1959 - “Arctic Findings in Particular Support Theory of Rising Global Temperatures” – New York Times

* 1969 - “…the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two” – New York Times, February 20th, 1969

* 1969 – “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000″ — Paul Ehrlich (while he now predicts doom from global warming, this quote only gets honorable mention, as he was talking about his crazy fear of overpopulation)

* 1970 - “…get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters – the worst may be yet to come…there’s no relief in sight” – Washington Post

* 1974 - Global cooling for the past forty years – Time Magazine

* 1974 - “Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age” – Washington Post

* 1974 - “As for the present cooling trend a number of leading climatologists have concluded that it is very bad news indeed” – Fortune magazine, who won a Science Writing Award from the American Institute of Physics for its analysis of the danger

* 1974 - “…the facts of the present climate change are such that the most optimistic experts would assign near certainty to major crop failure…mass deaths by starvation, and probably anarchy and violence” – New York Times

* 1975 - Scientists Ponder Why World’s Climate is Changing; A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable – New York Times, May 21st, 1975

* 1975 - “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind” Nigel Calder, editor, New Scientist magazine, in an article in International Wildlife Magazine

* 1976 - “Even U.S. farms may be hit by cooling trend” – U.S. News and World Report

* 1981 - Global Warming – “of an almost unprecedented magnitude” – New York Times

* 1988 - I would like to draw three main conclusions. Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements. Number two, the global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect. And number three, our computer climate simulations indicate that thegreenhouse effect is already large enough to begin to effect the probability of extreme events such as summer heat waves. – Jim Hansen, June 1988 testimony before Congress, see His later quote and His superior’s objection for context

* 1989 -”On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” – Stephen Schneider, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Discover magazine, October 1989

* 1990 - “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing – in terms of economic policy and environmental policy” – Senator Timothy Wirth

* 1993 - “Global climate change may alter temperature and rainfall patterns, many scientists fear, with uncertain consequences for agriculture.” – U.S. News and World Report

* 1998 - No matter if the science [of global warming] is all phony . . . climate change [provides] the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” —Christine Stewart, Canadian Minister of the Environment, Calgary Herald, 1998

* 2001 - “Scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.” – Time Magazine, Monday, Apr. 09, 2001

* 2003 - Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels,” shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration” – Jim Hansen, NASA Global Warming activist, Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb?, 2003

* 2006 - “I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.” — Al Gore, Grist magazine, May 2006

* Now: The global mean temperature has fallen for four years in a row, which is why you stopped hearing details about the actual global temperature, even while they carry on about taxing you to deal with it…how long before they start predicting an ice age?

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Australian buyers browned off with hybrid green cars

THE federal government's billion-dollar green car scheme has stalled on the starting grid. The first subsidised project, Toyota's locally built hybrid, is selling well below expectations despite a booming vehicle market.

The Hybrid Camry, which began rolling off its Melbourne assembly lines six months ago, was expected to attract 10,000 buyers this year, but fewer than 3000 had been registered at the halfway mark, this week's figures reveal.

A string of record months for vehicle sales and an aggressive marketing campaign by Toyota failed to stimulate demand for the Hybrid Camry, hailed as a new era in Australian manufacturing by Kevin Rudd when he launched it in December, just before he flew to Copenhagen for the ill-fated climate change summit, and the project was granted $35 million from the green car scheme.

A sales breakdown of customer types, obtained by The Weekend Australian, shows 571 of the 2960 sales are awaiting test drives in dealerships or being used by Toyota, while the customers Toyota was hoping to attract are shunning the car, which costs $36,990.

Business fleets have bought 506 Hybrid Camrys, with taxi and rental operations accounting for another 333. Private buyers, who were expected to account for 3000 sales a year, took just 657.

By far the biggest buyers are governments, mostly state governments, which have bought 755. The Victorian government committed to purchasing 2000 before the price was announced.

The Toyota Prius, launched as a new model a year ago, is also underperforming, with sales down 16 per cent to 1019 to the end of last month, despite Toyota's forecast of 4500 buyers this year.

Consumer research by Roy Morgan shows most potential buyers baulk at the starting price of hybrids, even though the petrol-electric cars are cheaper to run.

As well as the $35m from Canberra, the Victorian government injected money into the project but has refused to reveal how much, with estimates ranging from $15m to $35m....

Other green car projects include Holden's plan to return small-car manufacturing to Australia with the Cruze, which attracted $149m in funding, and Ford's four-cylinder Falcon and diesel Territory, which got $42m. All are due on sale next year.

With its local Hybrid Camry and the new Prius in the market, Toyota expected demand for hybrids to blossom to 15,000 cars a year -- triple the best result. However, a decade after the technology was first offered, it remains the least successful alternative fuel option and has yet to muster 1 per cent of the market. This is despite a 17 per cent rebound in vehicle demand this year, a result that has taken the industry by surprise.

Buyers shopping for cheap-to-run cars have turned to diesels, as stricter fuel standards have encouraged importers to introduce a wave of new models, mainly from Europe, Japan and Korea.



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1 comment:

Roald A. said...

Regarding the top-of-the-page article, "Smearing Global Warming Skeptics", there's the same story with added details and a nod toward Al Gore at "Al Gore's current marital breakdown & "other" difficulties may be the LEAST of his problems", link here: