Monday, October 13, 2014

The documentary "Merchants of Doubt"

Below is a review of a Warmist film based on the work of an old hag named Naomi Oreskes -- who some years ago did a literature survey that showed 100% agreement in the academic journals on the reality of global warming.  The test of any scientific claim, however, is replication and when Benny Peiser attempted to repeat the Oreskes results using her methods, he found radically different results.  For instance:  "Of all 1117 abstracts, only 13 (or 0.1%) explicitly endorse the 'consensus view'".  Oreskes is just an ugly old lady seeking attention.  She is a fraud.  So anything based on her work is on very shaky ground.

Some excerpts from a review of the film below that will surprise no skeptic.  It's just the usual Warmist boilerplate.  Paragraph 3 below does however make the surprising claim that (unidentified) media pundits have made death threats against Warmists.  I am sure we would all like to hear details of that!  It would seem that the reviewer is as imaginative as Naomi

Note that the review is just the usual rage-filled smears one expects from those who have no chance of surviving a debate based on facts.  As usual, there is of course  no mention of a single climate datum or of arguments from the skeptic side

UPDATE:  Oreskes can actually be amusing. She is by training a geologist and has worked on scientific methods, in particular model validation in the Earth sciences.  So why have we not heard from her about the repeatedly invalidated models  used by Warmists?  Surprising answer.  She says: "Verification and validation of numerical models of natural systems is impossible...  Models can only be evaluated in relative terms, and their predictive value is always open to question".  But no sign from her of climate skepticism, despite the total reliance on models by Warmists

"Merchants of Doubt," a new documentary which had its U.S. premiere Wednesday at the New York Film Festival, is a film that will likely sow despair in anyone who would like to believe that truth always wins in the end, or that the rational sides of peoples' (or even Congressional members') brains -- when choosing between the facts that will protect us and the misinformation intended to protect special interest -- will go with the facts every time.

Sadly, they don't. And certainly not in a world with 24 hours of cable news airtime filled with gladiatorial battles of sound bites and screaming Cassandras.

Directed by Robert Kenner (the Oscar-nominated 2008 documentary, "Food, Inc."),"Merchants of Doubt" is inspired by the 2010 book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, which explored the plethora of media pundits consistently throwing sand in the gears of action on climate change. These pundits -- many with no scientific training or experience -- trumpeted the existence of scientific discord over climate change when there was none. They slandered climate scientists as socialists, and attacked them with death threats. They skewed the contents of leaked emails to suggest climate data number-crunchers were cooking the books. And even if they do bend to admit that climate change IS real (hard not to after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy), they dig their heels in by denying a causal relation to human industrial activity, and scare the populace with dire warnings of lost jobs and government overreach. To them, reducing coal and oil = Big Brother.

The film points to the origins of this pundit class in the late 1950s, within the PR efforts of the tobacco companies, whose secret documents (revealed by whistleblowers or as evidence in lawsuits) detailed the playbook that a company peddling a hazardous product should follow to avoid financial ruin: cast doubt upon medical research (or even produce studies of your own); warn against the economic impacts in terms of job losses; rail against regulations as government overreach impinging upon people's liberties (it doesn't hurt to liberally throw the terms "Socialist" or "Communist" around); and make the culprit in any public health issue the consumer, as a matter of "personal responsibility."

Fred Singer, of the Heartland institute (a libertarian think tank funded in part by Exxon), is a well-known climate change denier who for years has called scientific evidence of a warming planet a lie. He proudly displays the publications his group produces that mimic actual scientific publications but which are meant to confuse Congressmen.

Also interviewed is Marc Morano, a former producer for Rush Limbaugh and staffer for James Inhofe (a major climate change denier in the Senate), who specializes in spin. He proudly tells Kenner about his role in "creating chaos" through on-air debates with actual scientists; and he shows no remorse for the public attacks he launched against NOAA scientist James Hansen, who was among the first to warn of the dangers of CO2 pollution to irreversibly affect the Earth's climate. Morano laughs off having sent or encouraged threats of violence to Hansen, saying he's entertained by reading the threats he receives.


UPDATE from Russell Cook about the movie:

In just a quick internet search of where this movie is showing in the US, I had to resort to using the Google Cache to read what the  web page said, since its current page shows a "movie you were looking for doesn't appear to be with us anymore" message. The Oct 10 Cache version of that page showed the movie as only being released in LA and NY. This may end up to be a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-it' movie release. For those of you on Facebook, the movie's FB page only has 24 'Likes' for it so far. By way of comparison, when I went to see "Greedy Lying Bastards" in order to review it last year, there were only around a half dozen or so other people in the theater and I don't think it played for more than a week in the Phoenix metro area.

Kentucky Democrat  Staff Caught on Hidden Camera: She’s Lying About Support for Coal Industry:  "It's a lying game"

U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is lying about her support for the state’s coal industry according to Kentucky Democrats, including members of her campaign team, who were captured on a hidden camera video.

The video, produced by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, shows five employees of the Grimes campaign and local Democratic Party affiliates speculating that the Democratic challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is only professing her support for the industry out of political expediency.

“If we can get her elected do you think she is going to do the right thing and she’s gonna try to wipe out that coal industry and go for better resources?” asks an undercover videographer in one segment of the video.

“I absolutely think she is,” responds Fayette County Democratic Party operative Gina Bess.

The video’s release comes as Grimes works to salvage a campaign that has consistently trailed in public polling and which, according to Nate Silver’s election model, has just a 12 percent chance of victory in November.

“Let me set it straight for you Mitch McConnell. I am the pro-coal candidate in this race,” Grimes declared at a recent campaign event with former President Bill Clinton.

Grimes has used that type of rhetoric in attempts to distance herself from President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, which has enacted regulations on coal-fired power plants that coal companies and supporters say are taking a heavy toll on the industry.

Support for such regulations is a political albatross in coal-heavy Kentucky, and Grimes campaign staffers featured in O’Keefe’s video recognize that fact.

“She’s saying something positive about coal because she wants to be elected,” said Ros Hines, a staffer in Grimes’ Lexington campaign office. “And in the state of Kentucky, if you are anti-coal, you will not get elected, period, end of conversation.”

Some Grimes supporters captured in the hidden-camera video likewise suggest that Grimes is lying about her support for the industry in order to get elected.

“She has to say that,” remarked Juanita Rodriguez of the Warren County Democratic Party. “But you know what? Politics is a game. You do what you have to do to get [elected]. … It’s a lying game unfortunately.”

Rodriguez speculated that Grimes does not in fact support the industry to the extent that she has declared publicly.

“I really don’t think her heart is 100 percent in backing coal. But she has to say she is because she will not get a high number of votes in this state if she doesn’t. But she’s got to get in there first and she’s gonna say whatever she has to say or do. And that’s the way the political game is played.”

Like Grimes, McConnell routinely criticizes the EPA’s attempts to crack down on the coal industry. McConnell has also introduced legislation to stymie those efforts. However, Senate Democrats have stymied McConnell’s efforts.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) blocked action this summer on a McConnell bill that would block EPA power plant regulations unless the agency certified that it would not eliminate jobs or increase electricity prices.

McConnell’s staff seized on O’Keefe’s video to blast Grimes’ purported dishonesty on the coal issue.

“It is absolutely shocking that Alison Lundergan Grimes’ own staff now admits that she has no intention of protecting the coal industry,” campaign spokeswomen Allison Moore wrote in an emailed statement. “The level of deception that Alison Grimes and her campaign engages in to appear pro-coal despite virulent opposition is both disturbing and dangerous.”


A lament from West Virginia

West Virginians pay, on average, $106 a month for electricity, according to Electricity Local, which tracks such things.

That reflects having the second-lowest electric rates in the nation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Only Washington state with its hydroelectric power stations has a lower average rate.

The national average rate is 39 percent higher than what West Virginians pay. Get ready to pay 39 percent more, if the Democratic Party gets its way. The party’s second in command, Vice President Joe Biden, told supporters in 2008 that an Obama administration would get rid of coal.

Reporters called it a gaffe.

Six years later, that is coming true. President Obama’s administration has targeted coal. From ripping up perfectly good permits to build coal mines to imposing unnecessary restrictions on coal-burning electric plants, Democrats have attacked coal. Then they stepped back and said it is market forces when Democratic rules force utilities to switch to natural gas.

It’s cynical and hypocritical.

And for what? Global warming? Everything the people pushing this junk science predicted has been wrong. And as Nobel laureate and physicist Richard Feynman said, “If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.“

For example, in testimony before Congress in 1988, James Hansen, then the global warming guru of NASA, forecast what to expect in 20 years.

“The West Side Highway (which runs along the Hudson River) will be under water,” Hansen said.

“And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds.

“And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.

“There will be more police cars.”


“Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”

But 26 years later, none of that is true. Crime actually fell by 42 percent. Global warming is what Feynman would call a cargo cult science. Weather is cyclical. The globe has warmed in general for 12,000 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently admitted that global warming stopped 18 years ago; the IPCC calls it a pause.

Killing the coal industry will cause much pain with no gain.  Paying the national average for electricity would raise the average bill in West Virginia to $145 a month. We can either fork over $145 a month to Appalachian Power, or reduce our use.

Goodbye air conditioning.

Hello heat strokes.

Paying more for electricity might be OK if West Virginians earned the national average. But, for every dollar of income the average American enjoys, West Virginians get 77 cents, according to the Census Bureau.

After 80-plus years of Democratic Party control of the state, the state’s economy is in a shambles.

Paying unemployment benefits to strikers told employers all they needed to know about this state.

Decades of trial lawyer domination of the courts also helped run off the businesses that provide the jobs.

Democrats drove the post-coal economy away.

The chemical industry employed 15,000 people in the Kanawha Valley when I moved here 30 years ago.

Democrats helped reduce the industry. Companies did not modernize their plants or invest in new lines.

Coal is why we have an aluminum plant in Ravenswood. There is no aluminum-rich bauxite ore to mine here.

But the production of aluminum requires energy. Lots of it. Coal provides it cheap.

Now the Democratic Party wants to kill coal.

Natural gas is next. Democrats in New York state already banned hydraulic fracturing.

The average residential electric rate for New York is double that of West Virginia.



Oil & Gas surge

The American oil and gas industry has saved our collective bacon

On July 3, 2008, oil closed at $145.29 a barrel. Demand was strong. Inventories were low. And production was inelastic.

A few weeks ago, headlines screamed that U.S. and Gulf State aircraft had target Syrian oil installations under ISIS' control in an attempt to degrade its ability to fund its operations.

Did oil find a new high in the face of yet another round of Middle East jitters?

It did not.  In fact, oil closed yesterday at $87.75 per barrel and that was an increase of 44 cents from the day before.

What has changed? How have we gone from wildly swinging oil prices in the face of even a hint of a wind storm in Eastern Saudi Arabia to ho-hum over potentially major supply interruptions?

We're producing more oil right here in the good ole U.S. of A. That's how.

New York Times reporter Clifford Krauss wrote in Tuesday's editions about a tanker that "set sail with little fanfare from the port of Galveston, Tex., on July 30, loaded with crude oil destined for South Korea."

Krauss reported, that represented the first represented the first "unrestricted export of American oil to a country outside of North America in nearly 40 years. That would take us back to 1974.  Jimmy Carter. The Arab Oil Embargo. Gas lines.

According to the Energy Information Agency oil production in the U.S. hit its peak in 1970 at 9.6 million barrels per day.

By 2008 that number was about five million barrels a day.

We were using about the same amount (until the recession hit full blast) but out production had fallen by nearly half.

We were importing about 10 million barrels a day from OPEC and were paying a terrible price in U.S. treasure and blood to protect those supplies.

Domestic oil production is back up to 8.7 million barrels a day according to Krauss and "with domestic oil production growing month after month, many oil experts predict that the country's output will rise to as much as 12 million barrels a day over the next decade."

Since this renaissance of oil and gas production has hit the market, we have reduced our OPEC imports by about half.

The same thing has happened to oil production in the U.S. as happened to natural gas: New technologies were developed and improved to get oil and gas out of shale deposits in quantities and at costs that were previously unattainable.

"Fracking," it's called, even though that has become as pejorative a word on the Left as "compromise" is on the Right, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have changed the nature of oil production, distribution, and utilization throughout the world.

The Enviro-Liberals hate fracking because it has done exactly the opposite of what they have been lobbying for: It has made oil (and gasoline) cheaper so we use more of it. Or, at least, we aren't flying into a blind rage every time we go to a gasoline pump.

Liberals want to Europeanize gasoline prices so we will drive smaller, more fuel-efficient cars until we can switch all 250 million cars and light trucks in the U.S. to battery power.

As of September 29, here was a representative sample of gasoline prices per gallon (in U.S. dollars):

US - 3.71
Belgium - 7.38
France - 7.15
Germany - 7.52
Italy - 8.28
Netherlands - 8.25
UK - 7.89

All is not rosy with even a small resumption of oil exports. There is an argument to be made that we should look for ways to utilize domestic oil right here at home. If we have the cheapest energy in the world, we should look for ways to bring manufacturing back on shore and utilize it.

For natural gas, as you've read for years, Boone Pickens wants to use it to fuel heavy trucks (that batteries can't move) instead of imported diesel to further reduce our need for OPEC oil.

For an industry that has been vilified, taxed, regulated, and reviled; oil and gas producers are exerting a powerful positive force on the U.S. economy.  They should stand up and take a bow.


Scrap the Climate Change Act to keep the lights on, says former British Environment Secretary

Britain will struggle to “keep the lights on” unless the Government changes its green energy policies, the former environment secretary will warn this week.

Owen Paterson will say that the Government’s plan to slash carbon emissions and rely more heavily on wind farms and other renewable energy sources is fatally flawed.

He will argue that the 2008 Climate Change Act, which ties Britain into stringent targets to reduce the use of fossil fuels, should be suspended until other countries agree to take similar measures. If they refuse, the legislation should be scrapped altogether, he will say.

The speech will be Mr Paterson’s first significant intervention in the green energy debate since he was sacked as environment secretary during this summer’s Cabinet reshuffle.

In his address, he will set out an alternative strategy that would see British homes serviced by dozens of small nuclear power stations.

He will also suggest that home owners should get used to temporary power cuts — cutting the electricity to appliances such as fridges for two hours at a time, for example — to conserve energy.

Mr Paterson will deliver the lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank set up by Lord Lawson of Blaby, a climate-change sceptic and former chancellor in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet.

In the speech, entitled “Keeping the lights on”, he will say that Britain is the only country to have agreed to the legally binding target of cutting carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

Campaigners fear that this will bring a big increase in the number of wind farms.

They say that to hit the target Britain must build 2,500 wind turbines every year for 36 years.

Mr Paterson will say that the scale of the investment required to meet the 2050 target “is so great that it could not be achieved”. He will warn that Britain will end up worse off than if it adopted less ambitious but achievable targets. Mr Paterson voted for the 2008 Climate Change Act in opposition and loyally supported it when he was in power.

However, since he left office he has considered the effect of the legislation and has decided that Britain has to change course.

He will argue this week that ministers should exercise a clause in the Act that allows them to suspend the law without another vote of MPs.

In his speech, on Wednesday night, Mr Paterson will state that, without changes in its current policy, large-scale power cuts will plunge homes across the country into darkness.

“Blind adhesion to the 2050 targets will not reduce emissions and will fail to keep the lights on,” he will say. “The current energy policy is a slave to flawed climate action.

“It will cost £1,100 billion, fail to meet the very emissions targets it is designed to meet, and will not provide the UK’s energy requirements.

“In the short and medium term, costs to consumers will rise dramatically, but there can only be one ultimate consequence of this policy: the lights will go out at some time in the future.

“Not because of a temporary shortfall, but because of structural failures, from which we will find it extremely difficult and expensive to recover.”

He will say that the current “decarbonisation route” will end with the worst of all possible worlds.

The Government will have to build gas and coal power stations “in a screaming hurry”.

Britain’s energy needs are better met by investing in extracting shale gas through fracking and capturing the heat from nuclear reactors, Mr Paterson will argue.

He proposes a mix of energy generation based on smaller “modular” nuclear reactors and “rational” demand management. This would see dozens of small nuclear power stations, using reactors that are already fitted into submarines, being built around the country.

Home owners would also have to get used to timed power cuts using special switches that would cut electricity used by appliances.

“Let us hope we have an opportunity to put it into practice,” he will say. “We must be prepared to stand up to the bullies in the environmental movement and their subsidy-hungry allies.

“What I am proposing is that instead of investing huge sums in wind power, we should encourage investment in four possible common sense policies: shale gas, combined heat and power, small modular nuclear reactors and demand management.

“That would reduce emissions rapidly, without risking power cuts and would be affordable. What’s stopping this programme? Simply, the 2050 target is.”

Mr Paterson has spent the past few months visiting rural Tory seats — he visited six in the week after he was sacked by David Cameron in July.

He said he was appalled at the damage to the countryside from new pylons to take electricity from remote onshore wind farms.

This week’s speech will be Mr Paterson’s first intervention since he lost his job in the Cabinet reshuffle in the summer. He is to make another speech on Europe before Christmas as he seeks a more active role on the Right.

Mr Paterson has already set up a think tank called UK2020 to consider new policies on personal taxation, immigration and the economy.

However, his intervention was dismissed last night by Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

Mr Davey said: “Ripping up the Climate Change Act would be one of the most stupid economic decisions imaginable.

“The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that climate change exists while most leading British businesses and City investment funds agree with the Coalition that taking out an ‘insurance policy’ now will protect the UK against astronomical future costs caused by a changing climate.

“The majority of European countries are ready to implement proposals that would see [them] adopt targets similar to our Climate Change Act in a deal the Prime Minister should seal later this month.

“With the USA, China and India also now taking the climate change threat seriously, the global marketplace for green technology is increasingly strong.”


Australia: Labor Party leader says Labor wants to 'tackle carbon pollution', but rules out return of carbon tax

Labor will not bring a carbon tax to the next election but a market mechanism is still the best way of dealing with emissions, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

While urging the government to address China's recently introduced tariff on Australian coal, Mr Shorten said the Australian people had spoken on the carbon tax at the last election, which saw Labor lose office.

"We will not have a carbon tax, the Australian people have spoken and Labor is not going to go back to that," Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

Fairfax Media earlier reported Mr Shorten had confirmed Labor would take a carbon price, although not a tax, to the election.

"Labor doesn't support a carbon tax, but in terms of real and effective action on climate change I do support a market-based system to set a price and that's where the rest of the world's going," Mr Shorten told Fairfax.

On Saturday he said it was "important we use the market ... to help set a priority in terms of tackling climate change.

"So we will have a sensible policy on climate change. We do want to tackle carbon pollution, but we won't be going back to what you saw in the past."

Mr Shorten also urged the government to "sort out" China's surprise decision during free trade talks to impose tariffs on Australian coal.  The decision is a blow to Australian producers dealing with China, the second biggest market for coal, and comes as free trade negotiations continue with an agreement expected later this year.

"This is a new obstacle in the path of Australian coal," Mr Shorten said.  "I think the government looks silly when it talks about negotiating a free trade agreement with China, the very people it says it's making new progress in negotiations with. "The government needs to sort this issue out."

Mr Shorten praised the industry for making real efforts to remain competitive, but said mineral producers on the east coast of the country were doing it tough.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday described China's decision as a hiccup.  "This is the kind of hiccup in our biggest and most important trading relationship that we just don't want or need," the prime minister told reporters in Canberra on Friday.  "I think that we will work with the Chinese to get to the bottom of what seems to have happened overnight."

Environment minister Greg Hunt is expected to address Mr Shorten's comment's on the carbon tax at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.



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Captain Pithart said...

hey JR, could you please moderate your blatant misogyny a bit. calling a researcher you disagree with "an old hag" is hardly contributing to the debate is it.

JR said...

Considering the abuse of skeptics in the article concerned, it seemed quite moderate for me to hand some abuse back