Friday, June 06, 2014

As Peanuts might say...

New paper shows anthropogenic emissions have had a net cooling effect since beginning of industrial revolution

Note that the authors show that clouds have a COOLING effect.  Global warming theory assumes that they have a WARMING effect.  So in more ways than one this article strikes at the heart of global warming theory

A paper published today in Science claims the transition from "pristine" to "slightly polluted" atmosphere at the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century had a "dramatic aerosol effect [of increasing] clouds" over the oceans.

According to the authors:  "transition from pristine to slightly polluted atmosphere yields estimated negative forcing of ~15 watts per square meter (cooling), suggesting that a substantial part of this anthropogenic forcing over the oceans occurred at the beginning of the industrial era, when the marine atmosphere experienced such transformation."

By way of comparison, the IPCC alleged change in radiative forcing from CO2 [plus alleged positive water vapor feedback] since the beginning of the industrial era is +1.8 watts per square meter*, or 8.3 times less. According to an accompanying editorial to the paper, the authors "show that even small additions of aerosol particles to clouds in the cleanest regions of Earth's atmosphere will have a large effect on those clouds and their contribution to climate forcing."

*Per the IPCC formula: 5.35*ln(395/280) = 1.8 W/m2 at the top of the atmosphere [or only about 1.8* (1/3.7) = 0.5 W/m2 at the surface]

From aerosol-limited to invigoration of warm convective clouds

By Ilan Koren et al.


Among all cloud-aerosol interactions, the invigoration effect is the most elusive. Most of the studies that do suggest this effect link it to deep convective clouds with a warm base and cold top. Here, we provide evidence from observations and numerical modeling of a dramatic aerosol effect on warm clouds. We propose that convective-cloud invigoration by aerosols can be viewed as an extension of the concept of aerosol-limited clouds, where cloud development is limited by the availability of cloud-condensation nuclei. A transition from pristine to slightly polluted atmosphere yields estimated negative forcing of ~15 watts per square meter (cooling), suggesting that a substantial part of this anthropogenic forcing over the oceans occurred at the beginning of the industrial era, when the marine atmosphere experienced such transformation.


Note a corollary of the above finding:  If we did as Warmists want and drastically cut back industrial activity, there would be a pronounced WARMING effect, not a cooling effect

G20 not a place to discuss climate change, says BHP chief

The chief executive of the world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, has backed Prime Minister Tony Abbott's decision to keep climate change off this year's G20 agenda, despite concerns Australia is increasingly viewed as being disengaged from the international climate debate.

In the same week that United States president Barack Obama pledged to slash carbon emissions from power plants by 30 per cent on 2005 levels, and China flagged an unprecedented absolute cap on emissions, Mr Abbott signalled he would pass on the opportunity to use Australia's leadership role as host of the G20 to focus on climate change – arguing the November summit in Brisbane was primarily an "economic meeting" to discuss matters of finance and trade.

"I don't think that's a backward step," BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie told reporters in Beijing, where he was attending meetings as part of a trade and business advisory panel advising the G20. "I agree with the Australian government with this. If you try and use [the G20] to solve all the problems of the world, you'll solve none. It's better to concentrate on a few things and do them really well."

Mr Mackenzie said he accepted there was a "long-term need" to have a pricing mechanism for carbon to drive the innovation that would "ultimately decarbonise the creation of energy around the world" – but insisted Labor's tax would have done more harm to the economy than good.

"That's kind of a mixed message, I accept," he said.

The BHP chief, who was also on the tail-end of a 10-day tour of China, Japan, Korea and India, which included meetings with some of the miner's largest customers, also insisted the mining giant remained an attractive long-term investment prospect for shareholders despite sharp falls in the iron ore price and persistent concerns over China's economic outlook.


Just Assume We Have A Climate Crisis

Climate modelers and disaster proponents remind me of the four guys who were marooned on an island, after their plane went down.

The engineer began drawing plans for a boat; the lumberjack cut trees to build it; the pilot plotted a course to the nearest known civilization. But the economist just sat there. The exasperated workers asked him why he wasn’t helping.

    “I don’t see the problem,” he replied. “Why can’t we just assume we have a boat, get on it and leave?”

In the case of climate change, those making the assumptions demand that we act immediately to avert planetary crises based solely on their computer model predictions. It’s like demanding that governments enact laws to safeguard us from velociraptors, after Jurassic Park scientists found that dinosaur DNA could be extracted from fossilized mosquitoes … and brought the carnivores back to special-effects life.

Climate models help improve our conceptual understandings of climate systems and the forces that drive climate change. However, they are terrible at predicting Earth’s temperature and other components of its climate. They should never be used to set or justify policies, laws and regulations – such as what the Environmental Protection Agency is about to impose on CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Even our best climate scientists still have only a limited grasp of Earth’s highly complex and chaotic climate systems, and the many interrelated solar, cosmic, oceanic, atmospheric, terrestrial and other forces that control climate and weather. Even the best models are only as good as that understanding.

Worse, the models and the science behind them have been horribly politicized. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was ostensibly organized in 1988 to examine possible human influences on Earth’s climate. In reality, Swedish meteorologist Bert Bolin and environmental activist groups wanted to use global warming to drive an anti-hydrocarbon, limited-growth agenda. That meant they somehow had to find a human influence on the climate – even if the best they could come up with was “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” [emphasis added]

“Discernible” (ie, detectable) soon metamorphosed into “dominant,” which quickly morphed into the absurd notion that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have now replaced natural forces and become the only factors influencing climate change. They are certainly the only factors that climate activists and alarmists want to talk about, while they attempt to silence debate, criticism and skepticism. They use the models to generate scary “scenarios” that are presented as actual predictions of future calamities.

They predict, project or forecast that heat waves will intensify, droughts and floods will be stronger and more frequent, hurricanes will be more frequent and violent, sea levels will rise four feet by 2100 [versus eight inches since 1880], forest fires will worsen, and countless animal species will disappear. Unlikely.

Natural forces obviously caused the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the Pleistocene Ice Ages. (A slab of limestone that I dug up has numerous striations – scratches – left by the last mile-thick glacier that covered what is now my home town in Wisconsin.) After long denying it, the IPCC finally acknowledged that the LIA did occur, and that it was a worldwide agricultural and human disaster.

However, the models and computer algorithms the IPCC and EPA rely on still do not include the proper magnitude of solar cycles and other powerful natural forces that influence climate changes. They assume “positive feedbacks” from GHGs that trap heat, but understate the reflective and thus cooling effects of clouds. They display a global warming bias throughout – bolstered by temperature data contaminated by “urban heat island” effects, due to measuring stations being located too close to human heat sources. They assume Earth’s climate is now controlled almost entirely by rising human CO2/GHG emissions.

It’s no wonder the models, modelers and alarmists totally failed to predict the nearly-18-year absence of global warming – or that the modeled predictions diverge further from actual temperature measurements with every passing year. It’s no wonder modelers cannot tell us which aspects of global warming, global cooling, climate change and “climate disruption” are due to humans, and which are the result of natural forces. It’s hardly surprising that they cannot replicate (“hindcast”) the global temperature record from 1950 to 1995, without “fudging” their data and computer codes– or that they are wrong almost every time.

In 2000, Britain’s Met Office said cold winters would be a thing of the past, and “children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” The 2010 and 2012 winters were the coldest and snowiest in centuries. In 2013, Met Office scholars said the coming winter would be extremely dry; the forecast left towns, families and government agencies totally unprepared for the immense rains and floods that followed.

In 2007, Australia’s climate commissioner predicted Brisbane and other cities would never again have sufficient rain to fill their reservoirs. The forecast ignored previous drought and flood cycles, and was demolished by record rains in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Forecasts of Arctic and Antarctic meltdowns have ignored the long history of warmer and colder cycles, and ice buildups and breakups.

The Bonneville Power Administration said manmade warming will cause Columbia River Basin snowpack to melt faster, future precipitation to fall as rain, reservoirs to be overwhelmed – and yet water levels will be well below normal year round. President Obama insists that global temperatures will soar, wildfires will be more frequent and devastating, floods and droughts will be more frequent and disastrous, rising seas will inundate coastal cities as Arctic and Antarctic ice shelves melt and disintegrate, and 97% of scientists agree. Every claim is based on models or bald-faced assertions unsupported by evidence.

And still the IPCC says it has “very high confidence” (the highest level it assigns) to the supposed agreement between computer model forecasts and actual observations. The greater the divergence from reality, the higher its “confidence” climbs. Meanwhile, climate researchers and modelers from Nebraska, Penn State, Great Britain and other “learned institutions” continue to focus on alleged human influences on Earth’s climate. They know they will likely lose their government, foundation and other funding – and will certainly be harassed and vilified by EPA, environmentalists, politicians, and their ideological and pedagogical peers – if they examine natural forces too closely.

Thus they input erroneous data, simplistic assumptions, personal biases, and political and financial calculations, letting models spew out specious scenarios and phony forecasts: garbage in, garbage out.

The modelers owe it to humanity to get it right – so that we can predict, prepare for, mitigate and adapt to whatever future climate conditions nature (or humans) might throw at us. They cannot possibly do that without first understanding, inputting and modeling natural factors along with human influences.

Above all, these supposed modeling experts and climate scientists need to terminate their biases and their evangelism of political agendas that seek to slash fossil fuel use, “transform” our energy and economic systems, redistribute wealth, reduce our standards of living, and “permit” African and other impoverished nations to enter the modern era only in a “sustainable manner,” as defined by callous elitists.

The climate catastrophe camp’s focus on CO2 is based on the fact that it is a byproduct of detested hydrocarbon use. But this trace gas (a mere 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere) makes life on our planet possible. More carbon dioxide means crops, forests and grasslands grow faster and better. CO2’s role in climate change is speculative – and contradicted by real-world measurements, observations and history.

Computer models, scenarios and predictions of planetary Armageddon are little more than faulty, corrupt, even fraudulent pseudo-science. They have consistently forecast what has not happened on Planet Earth, and failed to forecast what did happen.

They must no longer be allowed to justify EPA’s job-killing, economy-strangling, family-bashing rules for vehicles, power plants, cement kilns, refineries, factories, farms, shopping malls and countless other facilities that are or soon will be regulated by agency fiat.


Fracking, property rights and compensation

Written by Dr. Eamonn Butler

A new Infrastructure and Competitiveness Bill, to be announced to Parliament in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday, will change the UK's trespass law to allow shale gas exploration firms to drill beneath private property without needing the owners' permission.

This move will greatly advance fracking in the UK, where there are large shale gas reserves. It will bring major economic benefits, not to mention increased energy security, at a time when the country's North Sea oil production is tapering off. But there are issues about it, which need to be addressed.

People feel strongly about their property rights, and do not like the idea that people can 'mine' underneath it, even if it is a mile or more underneath it. Others are not over-bothered, but maintain that if people are going to drill under their property, they should be compensated. And some people are concerned about what might go wrong, in terms of the geological stability of their land or the pollution of local water supplies. While research suggests that these latter concerns are almost entirely unfounded, drilling under people's property remains something of concern for them, for a variety of reasons.

The government has tried to address the issue by saying that prospecting firms must make 'community payments' by way of compensation, though critics have complained that the amounts being mooted are rather small. But a more important question is whether such collective payments really meet the public concerns at all. If they simply go into the coffers of local governments, to be spent by local politicians on whatever pet social-engineering scheme they favour, property owners will not regard that as any compensation at all.

If public disquiet is not to hamper the UK's fracking initiatives, compensation should do directly to those whose property is affected. And it must be large enough to convince the majority of them to accept the process. Sending a cheque directly to every home in a village is not such an onerous task. But it is the one thing that would make people accept – and even welcome – fracking under their property, the only practical measure that shows at least some respect for their property rights.


Reid blocks McConnell's bill on EPA rule

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blocked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) from passing his Coal Country Protection Act.

McConnell asked unanimous consent to pass his bill, S. 2414, which would require the administration to meet bench marks before the Environmental Protection Agency implements a carbon reduction plan for power plants, but Reid objected.

“The rule will not become effective for a long time,” Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “I know the importance of this issue, and I’ll be as cooperative as I feel is appropriate with the Republican leader. But at this time, I object.”
The EPA announced earlier this week that is would issue a new rule to reduce carbon emissions at power plants by 30 percent over 15 years. McConnell said this was just another part of President Obama’s “war on coal.”

McConnell is concerned that the new rule will cost his state jobs in the coal industry. He said there would create “lots of pain for minimal gain.”

"The president’s regulations will increase electricity prices and create job loss," McConnell said. “Opponents of this bill would be supporting job loss in Kentucky, our economy being hurt, and seniors’ energy bills spiking — for almost zero meaningful global carbon reduction."

McConnell’s bill would stop the administration from implementing the new rule until it can prove no jobs will be lost and that energy prices won’t increase. While Democrats control the Senate, it’s unlikely that his bill will receive a vote.


Climatologist Dr. David Legates tells the U.S. Senate of the harassment and silencing of climate dissenters

By David R. Legates, Ph.D., C.C.M. - University of Delaware. Testimony before the  Environment & Public Works committee of 3 June 2014

I am a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware and I served as the Delaware State Climatologist from 2005 to 2011. I also am an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics & Statistics and the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering Program. I received a B.A. in Mathematics and Geography, a M.S. in Geography, and a Ph.D. in Climatology, all from the University of Delaware. I served on the faculty of the University of Oklahoma and Louisiana State University before returning to the University of Delaware in 1999. I was part of the US delegation that negotiated a protocol for the first climate data exchange program with the Soviet Union in 1990. I am recognized as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist by the American Meteorological Society and was the recipient of the 2002 Boeing Autometric Award in Image Analysis and Interpretation by the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

Excerpted from Legates testimony:

In my Senate Testimony in 2003 regarding the so-called “Hockey Stick” graph of global air temperature (Legates 2003), I concluded with the statement I’m sorry that a discussion that is best conducted among scientists has made its way to a United States Senate committee. But hopefully it has become evident that a healthy scientific debate is being compromised and that only by bringing this discussion into the light can it be properly addressed.

At that time, an attack had been made on the scientific process. Editors at two journals were harassed to the extent that an abrogation of their commitment to reviewer confidentiality had been demanded of them. One of the journals, Climate Research, was threatened with an organized boycott and the Director of its parent organization, who first evaluated the situation and exonerated the managing editor, recanted in the face of this boycott. The newly appointed Senior Editor had moved to bar two scientists from future publication in Climate Research – without a hearing and without even an accusation of fraud or plagiarism.

I would like to provide you with an update on how the state of science has progressed in the intervening eleven years as it regards climate change. In 2009, a release of documents from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom (known colloquially as ‘ClimateGate’) shed light on how the scientific process was being subverted. With respect to me personally, I learned that in 2001, I had been denied publication of an important rebuttal due to collusion between an author and an editor. In the Second Assessment Report (SAR) of the IPCC, the phrase “balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate” had been inserted, and that five separate statements to the contrary had been removed by a single author.

Dr. Robert E. Davis and I examined the citations given in support by Dr. Ben Santer, Dr. Thomas Wigley, and their colleagues. We had found that the statistic they used to make their conclusions was seriously flawed and published our results. Wigley and his colleagues published a rebuttal and we were denied a response since “we did not add anything significant to the discussion.” I assumed we had not done enough to sway an impartial editor.

But in an e-mail, Dr. Wigley explained how he had engineered his rebuttal and suggested it be used as a template for others. He indicated he had contacted the editor, complained that any such publication criticizing his research should have been cleared by him first, and the two agreed that his rebuttal would be treated as a new submission and any response Davis and I made were to be squelched by the editor. We had always suspected such events might have occurred but it took the ClimateGate documents to provide the proof.

But these issues were to pale in comparison to what was about to happen. On December 16, 2009, I received a letter that, due to the ClimateGate revelations and pursuant to the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Greenpeace requested my “email correspondence and financial and conflict-of-interest disclosures” that were “in the possession of or generated by the Office of the Delaware State Climatologist” from January 1, 2000 regarding ‘global climate change’ and containing any of 22 additional keywords.

The Delaware FOIA statute is fairly terse with respect to the University. It simply states that the University of Delaware is exempt from State FOIA except for the conduct of the Board of Trustees of the University and documents relating to the expenditure of public funds. Although during my tenure as the State Climatologist, the Office obtained no funds from either the State or the University – I provided goodwill climate services to the State on behalf of the University – and I had conducted no business that could be construed as climate change related. Technically, nothing should have been produced.

Shortly after receiving the request from Greenpeace, I met with the University Vice President and General Counsel, Mr. Lawrence White. He summarily informed me that I was required to turn over not just documents related to the State Climate Office and what Greenpeace requested, but ALL documents that I had in my possession relating to ‘global climate change’ – whether or not they were produced through the State Climate Office. I was told that as a faculty member, I must comply with the request of a senior University official.

On January 26, 2010, Mr. White received a letter from the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) making a nearly identical request of three other faculty members who had contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One of those faculty members was from my own department (Dr. Frederick E. Nelson) and had an office down the hall from me. Mr. White sent me an e-mail containing this FOIA request and indicated “this one will probably be answered with a short ‘no’.” After a follow-up letter by CEI on February 3, Mr. White finally responded that “because the information you seek does not relate to the expenditure of public funds, the University respectfully declines your records request.”

I subsequently met with Mr. White to obtain an explanation as to why I was being treated differently. He explained to me that I did not understand the law. As he sees it, even though the law may not require the University to produce e-mails and documents, the law does not prohibit him from requiring me to produce them for his perusal and potential release to Greenpeace. As such, I was again instructed to turn over all the documentation he requested to him ASAP.

At that point, I sought outside legal counsel. On February 9, 2010 and after questions raised by my lawyer, Mr. White agreed to a ‘do-over’. After further review, Mr. White indicated in a letter to CEI that he wished to retract his email to them and “reconsider the substance of your FOIA request” because his initial response “did not take sufficient account of the legal analysis required under the Act.” Mr. White indicated to CEI and to my lawyer that their FOIA would be handled in a manner identical to my Greenpeace FOIA.

In a telephone conversation between me and the Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, I subsequently was told that as a University faculty member, Mr. White in a discussion with my colleague, Dr. Frederick Nelson, I learned that he had met with one of Mr. White’s assistants’. Dr. Nelson related to me that she shared all she could about my FOIA discussions but then left the meeting without providing instructions regarding his FOIA. He subsequently sent a follow-up email to both her and Mr. White asking for specifics of what he was to produce. As of July 2012, he had yet to hear back from either of them. He has since retired from the University.

On June 20, 2011 – 472 days or exactly 1 year and 3.5 months – I again heard from Mr. White. He had now hired a 3rd year law student to go through the materials I had provided to him over a year earlier. But why the delay and now the sudden flurry of activity? Less than a month earlier, on May 25, 2011, the Virginia Supreme Court had ruled on the case between Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the University of Virginia that emails by former professor Dr. Michael Mann and in the University of Virginia’s possession must be turned over to the Attorney General’s Office.

Interestingly, all this began as a result of a CEI FOIA of Dr. Mann that followed a similar Greenpeace FOIA on Dr. Patrick Michaels – a former faculty member at the University of Virginia. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and several professional organizations including the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union (of which both Dr. Michaels and I are members) vehemently protested the FOIA request. The AAUP stressed to the University of Virginia that “we urge you to use every legal avenue at your disposal to resist providing the information demanded in the [civil investigative demand]” arguing that “documents and e-mail communications that were part of an ongoing scientific discussion might be taken out of that context, and used to create an impression of wrongdoing.” They concluded that “it is the University’s obligation to protect academic freedom by seeing that legal tools such as this…are not used to intimidate scientists whose methods or conclusions are controversial.”

Interestingly, Dr. Joan DelFattore, president of the AAUP Chapter at the University of Delaware had recently published an article on academic freedom at the University of Delaware. Citing her appreciation for having a general counsel (i.e., Mr. White) who understands the importance of academic freedom, she wrote: “It is also useful to consider that once an administration silences any speech, it may be assumed that the university is endorsing whatever speech it fails to suppress. A university’s real interest lies in fostering the exchange of divergent views on the understanding that the university itself does not necessarily endorse any of them and certainly does not endorse all of them.”

I therefore decided to elicit her assistance through the AAUP. While her comments sounded laudable, her response to me was that FOIA matters “would not fall within the scope of the AAUP”. This, of course, is in direct contrast to the stance taken by the AAUP in the Cuccinelli vs. University of Virginia where the AAUP President, Cary Nelson, wrote: “We are urging the University of Virginia to…publicly [resist] the threat to scholarly communication and academic freedom represented by the concerted effort to obtain faculty emails…Whatever people may think of climate research, the climate for academic freedom must not be allowed to deteriorate. If scientists think every email they send may be subject to a politically motivated attack, it will create a chilling effect on their discourse and hurt scientific research.’”

Indeed, the AAUP defended Dr. Mann at the University of Virginia but refused to become involved in my similar case at the University of Delaware, citing that they stood firmly behind Mr. White’s actions.

Finally, on July 22, 2011, I was provided a list of what Mr. White had decided to release to Greenpeace – pending my permission. Mr. White further reiterated that he was indeed treating the subjects of the CEI FOIA in an identical manner. Communication I had with Dr. Nelson and the response by the 3rd year law student to my query – she indicated I was the only faculty member whose documents were being examined – suggests otherwise. If I am being singled out for my views – punish the ‘skeptics’ while protecting the ‘believers’ as happened by the disparate treatment at the University of Virginia regarding Drs. Mann and Michaels – then doesn’t that make the entire discussion of academic freedom at the University of Delaware by Dr. DelFattore into a lie? Again, Dr. DelFattore wrote that “once an administration silences any speech, it may be assumed that the university is endorsing whatever speech it fails to suppress.”

On this topic I cannot agree more.

Mr. White wrote “if you object to the release on any of these documents, then I would inform the groups requesting this information that there are some documents in Dr. Legates’ custody that we have not produced and that they should direct further questions about the documents to you.”

I am puzzled as to why I have the right to object to the release of any documents. If Mr. White’s interpretation of FOIA as it pertains to the university is correct, then why should I or any other faculty member be allowed to object to their release? Doesn’t the law trump my protests? But if he has decided to release documents outside of the FOIA just because he can, as he explained to me at the outset, then the University has unfairly targeted me. On this there can be no middle ground.

Through my attorney, I subsequently requested several questions be answered by Mr. White.

Until my letter, I had not indicated to Mr. White that I had been in contact with Dr. Nelson regarding his FOIA case. At this point, I informed Mr. White that I knew he had not asked Dr. Nelson to produce any documents, despite the fact that on three occasions, Mr. White had asserted he would treat all of us equally. The next day, February 2, 2012, Mr. White responded to questions posed to him – not to the ones contained in my letters but to questions he had already answered on August 2, 2011. Most interesting is Mr. White’s response to question 1 of that exchange which explicitly addressed the equal treatment of me and those targeted by the CEI FOIA request:

“Attached is a .pdf of an email exchange we had on February 10, 2010, memorializing our agreement on how this matter would proceed. Term 5 provides: “Dr. Legates and the University of Delaware professors who are the subject of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s FOIA request (dated Feb. 3, 2010) will be subject to the same process—that is, they too will be required to produce documents for your review—and they will be subject to the same legal standard for determining whether and to what extent FOIA applies.” On August 2, 2011, Mr. White had provided a short, one word response to that question – “Confirmed.” But on February 2, 2012, his reply to the same question indicates he had not been truthful:

“I have not yet dealt with FOIA requests directed at faculty members other than Dr. Legates. I reiterate that, if and when additional documents are gathered relating to other FOIA requests on this subject matter, you will be allowed to review those documents before they are produced.”

In February of 2010, Mr. White had agreed that all parties would be subject to the same procedures and insisted that he was proceeding in exactly the same manner with them. Now, he asserts that “if and when additional documents are gathered” I will be allowed to review those documents. Why should I have the right to look at the documents of others?

More importantly, two years had passed since CEI submitted its FOIA request and Mr. White indicated that “I have not yet dealt with FOIA requests directed at faculty members other than Dr. Legates.” This clearly indicates that he had no intent to honor his do-over request on February 9, 2010 – in essence, I will be treated differently than other faculty because he has every right to treat me that way.

I have since become aware of a case that involved the University of Delaware in 1991. In the Gottfredson/Blits federal arbitration case of 1991, the University of Delaware explicitly conceded (and it was upheld by the arbiter) that the University’s review of research and teaching notes would violate a faculty member’s academic freedom. The University’s Faculty Senate Committee on Research that had investigated Professor Linda Gottfredson stated that, “the Committee has never directed its attention to the content or method of any faculty member’s research or teaching, and would oppose any attempt to restrict a colleague’s rights in these protected areas” (i.e., areas of academic freedom and contract rights).

In a meeting with the Chief Budget Officer of the University, I learned that my faculty salary only includes my teaching workload since FY2009 when that was transferred to state support. Thus, the only item that could be covered by State funds (and hence covered under the State FOIA) was my teaching materials since September 2008. No e-mails, no unfunded research, no service assignments were covered. Mr. White’s actions violate a federal ruling to which the University has agreed to abide by.

Thus, there were no documents that fell under the Greenpeace FOIA – nothing I did as Delaware State Climatologist related to global climate change and none of my teaching duties were accomplished as the Delaware State Climatologist. On April 8, 2014, my documents were finally returned to me.

Thus, it appears that Mr. White arbitrarily decided to gather, examine, and potentially release files to Greenpeace simply because he, acting as an officer of the University has chosen to harass and try to silence me for deviating from ‘University-approved’ scientific views. I chose to resist the release of these materials – not because I have anything to hide – but to protect my academic freedom and the freedom of others and to reject the University’s attempts “to intimidate scientists whose methods or conclusions are controversial,” as the AAUP argued at the University of Virginia. If one faculty member can be bullied by a heavy-handed administration, then certainly other faculty will be under attack in the future.

Over the years, I have applied for several federal grants. Two in particular, submitted to NASA and the USDA (the latter involved using precipitation estimates by weather radar to enhance agricultural planning which had nothing to do with climate change), were never reviewed. It is not that I have received bad reviews; indeed, I have received no reviews at all. Program officers refuse to provide reviews and even to respond by e-mail or telephone. My understanding is that this is related to Anderegg et al. (2010) which often is used as a type of ‘black list’ to identify “researchers unconvinced of anthropogenic global warming,” to use their terminology.

As existed in the case of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, a healthy scientific discussion is being subverted for political and personal gain. With the recent case of Professor Lennart Bengtsson and the story I have told here, scientists who deviate from the anthropogenic global warming playbook are likely to be harassed, have grants and proposals rejected without review, be treated more harshly than their peers, and be removed from positions of power and influence.

I would have hoped that in the past decade, the discussion has become more civil. Indeed, a civil discussion can be had with some scientists that believe in the extreme scenarios of anthropogenic global warming. But too many in places of prominence and with loud voices have made this a war zone. Scientists like Bengtsson and myself have tenure or its equivalent and are somewhat insulated from the extreme attacks. But young scientists quickly learn to ‘do what is expected of them’ or at least remain quiet, lest they lose their career before it begins.

I leave you with this thought: When scientific views come under political attack, so too does independent thinking and good policy-making because all require rational thought to be effective.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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