Sunday, March 08, 2015
Media stunt "Exposes Climate Deniers" (?)
We will have to wait and see how vicious the VICE production (mentioned below) is but I append after the article some comments on the matter from Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute
The third season of the Emmy-winning news series VICE debuts today at 11 p.m. on HBO. The first episode covers the pressing issue of sea level rise. VICE Media founder Shane Smith travels to the bottom of the world to investigate the instability of the West Antarctic ice sheet and see how the continent is melting. Then, the VICE crew heads to Bangladesh to capture the impacts of rising sea levels on this South Asian country.
“From the UN Climate conference to the People’s Climate March to the forces that deny the science of global climate change,” says HBO, “this extended report covers all sides of the issue and all corners of the globe, ending in a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden.”
VICE is an innovative media company whose correspondents cover stories that traditional news outlets often overlook. HBO partners with VICE to produce the weekly series. And the season premiere has good timing because next week Robert Swan will take his 2041 team on this year’s International Antarctic Expedition to show the firsthand effects of climate change on the continent.
“Antarctica holds 90 percent of the world’s ice and 70 percent of its freshwater,” says VICE Media founder Shane Smith. “So if even a small fraction of the ice sheet in Antarctica melts, the resulting sea level rise will completely remap the world as we know it. And it is already happening: In the last decade, some of the most significant glaciers [in Antarctica] have tripled their melt rate.”
Antarctica is getting all of this attention because if “it starts melting at the same rate as Greenland, we’re in for trouble,” says Smith. And yet, “in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence,” says Smith, there’s a small, but vocal group of climate deniers that have skewed public perception of climate science and stonewalled efforts to take meaningful action in addressing climate change.
VICE gets an inside look at these self-proclaimed “skeptics” at their annual International Conference on Climate Change hosted by the Heartland Institute, who are funded by the likes of Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers. As Upton Sinclair famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Jim Lakely comments:
Any promotional material that contains the words “ending in a special interview with Vice President Joe Biden” is special all right … just not in the way they imagine.
I remember the VICE crew at ICCC-9. Mostly nice fellas, smiling on the outside while gathering their audio and video, but certainly frowning on the inside. I was helpful, giving them background information on Heartland and these conferences. It obviously didn’t take.
VICE “star” Shane Smith parachuted in for one day to interview some people. One of them was Joe Bast. Smith was so ignorant of even the most basic knowledge about this debate he embarrassed himself. I believe I have some raw video of that interview on my home computer.
If you go to the link, one note about the second video, which is about Heartland’s latest climate conference: Smith proves himself incapable of even Googling Heartland and finding our website. He calls us an “environmental organization.”
Paper: Global Warming? More Like Global Cooling
A new paper claims that declining solar activity since 1998 could mean falling global temperatures in the years ahead — contrary to predictions of rapid warming made by virtually all climate models.
“The stagnation of temperature since 1998 was caused by decreasing solar activity since 1998,” wrote Jürgen Lange Heine, a physicist with the German-based European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE).
“From 1900 to 1998, solar radiation increased by 1.3 W / m², but since 1998 it has diminished, and could reach values similar to those of the early 20th century. A drop in global temperature over the next few years is predicted,” Heine wrote.
Heine argues that warming during the 20th Century was not caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions, but instead by increasing solar activity, changes in cloud cover caused by cosmic rays and huge amounts of cloud condensation nuclei in the atmosphere from the nuclear weapons tests conducted from 1945 to 1963.
Climate scientists have attributed this warming largely to carbon dioxide emissions emitted from human activities, mainly from burning fossil fuels, but Heine says the connection between carbon dioxide and temperature is only superficial.
“Despite steadily rising carbon dioxide levels observed in the years 1945 to 1975, as well as since 1998, a decrease or stagnation in global temperatures occurred that does not fit with the carbon dioxide hypothesis,” Heine wrote.
The “stagnation” in global temperatures since 1998 Heine refers to is known as the “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming. Both satellite-derived and surface temperature readings show no significant warming trend in global temperatures for the last 10 to 20 years.
Heine is not the first researcher to tie the “pause” in warming to declining solar activity. Several researchers over the years have predicted that declining solar activity could plunge the Earth into another “Little Ice Age.”
Shrinivas Aundhkar, director of India’s Mahatma Gandhi Mission at the Centre for Astronomy and Space Technology, recently told people attending a lecture that declining solar activity could mean a “mini ice age-like situation” is nigh.
“The sun undergoes two cycles that are described as maximum and minimum,” Aundhkar said. “The activity alternates every 11 years, and the period is termed as one solar cycle. At present, the sun is undergoing the minimum phase, reducing global temperatures.”
High sunspot activity has been associated with periods of warming on the Earth, like the period between 1950 and 1998. On the other hand, low sunspot activity has been linked to cooler periods, like the so-called “Little Ice Age” when temperatures were much cooler than today.
Scientists have struggled to explain why global temperatures have not risen nearly as fast as climate models predicted. Researchers have offered dozens of explanations as to why global temperatures have stagnated since 1998.
A recent study by Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, a noted environmentalist and creator of the “hockey stick” graph, claims that man-made global warming is on the rise but is being tempered by natural cooling cycles from the oceans.
“We know that it is important to distinguish between human-caused and natural climate variability so we can assess the impact of human-caused climate change on a variety of phenomena including drought and weather extremes,” Mann said in a statement. “The North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans appear to be drivers of substantial natural, internal climate variability on timescales of decades.”
“Our findings have strong implications for the attribution of recent climate changes,” he said. “Internal multidecadal variability in Northern Hemisphere temperatures likely offset anthropogenic warming over the past decade.”
Other research suggests that warming has stalled because increasing amounts of carbon dioxide are being absorbed by the world’s oceans, which is causing them to warm and acidify.
A recent study published in the journal Nature found that most of the excess heat from carbon dioxide has been trapped in the tropical southern oceans. Researchers said the top 1,600 feet of ocean water warmed 0.009 degrees Fahrenheit. The next 4,000 feet warmed just 0.0036 degrees since 2006.
But the study also illustrates how the ocean is able to absorb lots of carbon dioxide, or heat, without experiencing much warming.
The Rise of the CO2 Fairy
By forecaster Joe Bastardi
In Sept. 2011, I did a video explaining why I thought the winters of ‘12-'13, '13-'14 and '14-'15 could be quite severe for the U.S. We had the late start in '12-'13, the brutal start to finish of '13-'14, and then the fast out of the gate, back off, then come on gangbusters winter this year.
When one considers November challenged the legendary November of 1976 in terms of cold, and that February went after such years as 1934, 1958, 1978 and 1979 – all holy grails of cold for people who understand how the weather can get so extreme – then you understand the magnitude of the cold that major population areas of the U.S. have dealt with. Moreover, the preseason snow forecast from Weatherbell.com is looking very good, and snowfall is not done yet for the season. The following graph was made in October, not after all this started. In fact, in mid-winter, there were loud cries asserting winter’s demise, similar to the pre-2010 “Snowmeggedon.” That winter backed off also.
It’s not perfect, but it said loudly, Look out, there is going to be a lot of snow this year. In the West, a lot of the snow is early and late in the season, so it’s common to see late-season rallies. For instance, Denver had a very snowy November and the snowiest February on record. So there is time to “bullseye” the southern and central Rockies.
And precisely what we loudly proclaimed beforehand about the result of what we saw coming last winter and now this winter (and in early Jan 2013, warning about the rest of that one) is being echoed by economists: "Slowing U.S. economy is inconvenient truth" (MarketWatch)
A quote from the article:
“[A] good chunk of this [economic] slowdown traces to the unusually severe weather that struck most of the country late last year and early in this year.”
Our reasons were laid out well beforehand and were centered on an idea I picked up while talking with some meteorologists I knew around Houston in 2007. I listened to their idea and researched it privately, getting input from people I knew and trusted in the field. There were plenty of years to look at, plenty of examples of similar set ups. The point is that you can see this coming by lining up patterns in the past.
In the highly competitive world of private meteorology, cutting edge ideas are battle-tested. One does this on one’s own time, and your “funding” is having a job where clients pay you to be right on the weather. So you spend countless hours researching ideas to give them an edge.
It is the nature of the competitive meteorologist to trust but verify that all that came before you is a foundation for the chance to compete against the ultimate opponent – weather. One understands that in an infinite system as majestic as the atmosphere there is nothing etched in stone. Grasping the total picture with a intimate knowledge of the past is essential to even having a chance to hit events that resemble some of the great occurrences of the past. While similar, nothing is ever the same!
In talks I give now, I always make sure people know that no extra CO2 was used to come up with my ideas. It’s done to get a laugh, the point being the forecast does not take CO2 into account.
I also stated I hoped that, if my ideas had merit, it would wake people up to the folly of the statements being made when the earth was still in a warming phase. I introduced publicly on the O'Reilly Factor the Triple Crown of Cooling, which is now The Grand Slam of Climate.
It was also opined that, in the past, when these cyclical shifts occurred, there were local pickups of what is now being called extreme weather. But it is nothing out of the ordinary in the big picture, no sign of an appending atmospheric apocalypse, warm or cold. It’s nothing that is not well within the realm of what nature does. Why? Because we used examples of past events before the fact to set all this up.
Case in point: the idea we put out in Jan. that this month in the Northeast could rival the benchmark February of 1934. That was said before it happened. You will notice many of the people reporting on the cold now bring that month up. But we explained the why before the what. Anyone can say there is six inches of snow on the ground when there is six inches of snow on the ground.
But my better angel years ago was hoping such events I was alluding to would wake people up to the folly of things they were saying about man-made global warming. The very people I was saying that to instead have doubled down on excuses.
I was going to do this opinion on one particular column I saw Feb. 17 in USA Today titled “Nationally, it’s been one of the warmest winters on record” that used data through Jan. to claim this was one of the warmest winters on record.
I got mad for four reasons:
a.) The author seemed to forget that Feb. accounts for a third of winter, so 20% of the winter season was not considered.
b.) The West was warm, but many of the stations are far newer, have less records and are less reliable as far as station upkeep goes than the long running stations in the Plains and East.
c.) While Nevada and Utah are great states, far less people live there than the Northeast, which the author had the amazing chutzpah to call “chilly” in the face of a run at the coldest month ever.
d.) The entire Heating Degree day season is November-March. When you include November, it’s darn close to last year (which was also being spun twofold: 1. It’s not that cold, and 2. Yes, it is cold, but it’s caused by global warming).
Like most of the great winters in the Eastern U.S., there is a lot of warmth in the West and North. The enhanced meridional flow is something we forecasted based on the Pacific temperatures last year and this year. No big mystery unless you either don’t know about it or do and choose to deceive people as to the cause of such things.
In any case, I said I was going to write on that, but with the onslaught of one blast after another that has come down the pike from people pushing this issue (the colder it got, the bigger the excuse) – the latest being a witch hunt launched by people in congress on several climate scientists who actually believe there may be some human influence but dare to question how much – I decided I can’t single out one article. They are coming fast and furious by people who had no idea before what was going on.
Explanations that, frankly, make a lot of us in the field laugh, including some people I am friendly with but don’t see eye to eye with me. (Side note: I never see these folks in public venues, where one can be embarrassed if wrong. But they love to explain after the fact what they didn’t know before.)
So here we are, being told CO2 is responsible for global warming — climate change, the term they are now using, is a natural event which only people that claim humans are driving them deny – and events perfectly natural and to a large degree fairly predictable simply by understanding what went on before. What we have to ask these people in the face of the actual geological record that shows CO2 and temperatures is: Why is it CO2 now, but not before?
Anyone see any linkage between CO2 and temperatures?
Why would the increase of one molecule of CO2 out of every 10,000 molecules of air over a 100-year period suddenly pick now, at 400 ppm, to overcome the sun, oceans, stochastic events and the design of the system, including the physical properties of CO2 in relation to the other greenhouse gases, of which it’s only 1%?
The answer below I think makes as much sense as the explanations I am seeing out there:
Could it be there is a CO2 fairy waving its magic wand? While CO2 has little to do with actual weather and climate, as shown by past events, both recent and in the geological time scale, apparently it can affect people who believe it does.
Environmental Reforms that conservatives would like
Here’s a quick update on the latest developments in environmental regulation: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing what likely will be the most costly regulation in history—stringent ozone restrictions that manufacturers estimate will cost the economy $140 billion and threaten one million jobs.
The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are attempting to vastly expand their authority over virtually every land-use decision under the guise of protecting wetlands. And then there’s the Obama administration’s attempt to bypass Congress with its “climate action plan” to drastically raise the cost of the fossil fuels that power the nation.
Although the details of these various regulatory schemes differ, collectively they represent deeply disturbing aspects of current environmental policy: agencies routinely exceeding their statutory powers, the absence of scientific and economic analyses to inform decision-making, the penchant of Congress to ignore regulatory costs and delegate their powers, and a persistent imbalance between regulatory costs and benefits.
These problems represent dysfunction of a high order, the result of years of regulatory abuse. Nor are the problems solely economic. Overly politicized policies shift attention and resources from real environmental threats to ideological causes—and the environment suffers.
For years, some conservatives (and only some) have argued against ineffective and inefficient environmental regulation. But just saying “no” isn’t enough. Americans care about the environment and thus advocates of sensible natural resource stewardship must initiate commonsense reforms and offer alternatives to the status quo.
Toward those ends, the Heritage Foundation this week released its recommendations for improving environmental policy. The new Environmental Policy Guide features 167 recommendations for reform that arose from consultations with dozens of experts from a variety of fields. In nine chapters organized by environmental issue, the guide offers reforms that can be achieved through legislation, authorizations and oversight.
For example, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act require amendment in order for property owners to receive compensation when government restrictions result in the loss of property value. Otherwise, there is no check on the agencies’ “taking” of private property, and individuals are forced to pay the costs of policies that supposedly benefit all.
Congress also must conduct oversight hearings on the near-term impacts of the administration’s sweeping climate action plan on electric power reliability. In addition, there should be no funding to implement or enforce any regulation that is based on information or data that does not meet federal quality standards. Junk science makes for junk policy.
Regulatory excess increasingly inhibits economic growth and erodes individual liberty. Reforms are urgently needed to impose accountability on agencies and Congress. The Environmental Policy Guide provides concrete and sensible actions to do so.
Judge Slams EPA’s ‘Offensively Unapologetic’ Handling of Conservative Group's FOIA
A federal judge on Monday strongly criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for being either careless or incompetent, calling the agency “offensively unapologetic” in its mishandling of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from at least one conservative group.
Also, concerning one EPA employee in particular, the judge said the person "at best, demonstrated utter indifference to EPA's FOIA obligations" and "at worst" the employee "is lying," although there is not enough evidence in the record to determine which conclusion is correct.
In his opinion in the case of Landmark Legal Foundation v. the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth described the EPA’s attitude toward FOIA requests as “shoddy,” “offensive” and “insulting” after the agency effectively ignored and continually botched a FOIA request from the LLF, a right-leaning law firm, in 2012.
Lamberth also said, "At bottom, EPA's handling of Landmark's request leaves far too much room for a reasonable observer to suspect misconduct."
“Two possible explanations exist for EPA’s conduct following Landmark Legal Foundation’s filing of a Freedom of Information Act request in 2012,” Lamberth wrote in his opinion, released Monday, Mar. 2. “Either EPA sought to evade Landmark’s lawful FOIA request so the agency could destroy responsive documents, or EPA demonstrated carelessness toward Landmark’s request.”
“Either scenario reflects poorly upon EPA and surely serves to diminish the public’s trust in the agency,” he added.
On Aug. 17, 2012, the Landmark Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm run by well-known conservative attorney Mark Levin, filed a FOIA request with the EPA asking for information and records regarding any outside environmental groups the agency had consulted or communicated with on policy and regulations.
The LLF also asked for any records showing that the EPA was slowing or delaying the announcement of any regulations or public comment opportunities until after the presidential election on Nov. 6 of 2012.
The short, two-part FOIA started a series a actions in the EPA that would last more than two years.
The EPA first denied LLF’s request for expedited processing in October of 2012. The agency then issued a notice to 45 of its employees to preserve “potentially relevant information” relating to the FOIA request with a due date of October 30.
This notice, however, was not sent to the agency’s top two officials, then-Administrator Lisa Jackson and Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe.
Aaron Dickerson, special assistant to the Administrator, and Nena Shaw, then-special assistant to the Deputy Administrator, reportedly received but did not respond to the notice, and were not given the due date, Lamberth said.
The agency then dragged its feet on responding to the FOIA until well after the Nov. 6 election, when President Barack Obama was ultimately elected for a second term. The EPA officials also failed to conduct a thorough search for potentially relevant EPA records, including searching Administrator Jackson’s personal email accounts that she used for government business, Lamberth noted in his opinion.
Jackson’s Blackberry, which easily could have contained relevant information, was erased following her resignation in February 2013, Lamberth added.
Lamberth also noted that “there is no evidence in the record that…anyone…conducted a search of the Deputy Administrator’s records prior to December 20, 2014” – more than two years after the initial FOIA request was filed.
On top of failing to look through relevant records, Special Assistant Nena Shaw also claimed to have experienced “technical difficulties” while transferring information to the collection database. Instead, she “printed the responsive records” but “does not recall precisely what happened to the printed records,” Lamberth said.
“Such an assertion is about as close to a sworn ‘dog ate my homework’ statement as one can make,” Lamberth said, adding that “the Court can only conclude that such responsive records – if they ever existed in the first instance – have been lost.”
Lamberth further said, "At best, Shaw demonstrated utter indifference to EPA's FOIA obligations. At worst, Shaw is lying. There is not enough in the record from either Landmark or EPA to determine which is correct. What is clear, however, is that Shaw goes out of her way to avoid presenting any defined timeline for her search-related activities, which only adds to the fuzziness of her declaration."
Despite slamming the EPA for its poor management of the LLF’s information request, Lamberth denied LLF’s request for sanctions against the agency for withholding information, explaining that LLF could not prove that EPA officials acted in “bad faith,” and that “[n]egligence is insufficient to impose punitive sanctions.”
However, that did not stop Lamberth from stating that the EPA’s “offensively unapologetic” mishandling of the FOIA request “leaves far too much room for a reasonable observer to suspect misconduct.”
“The Court is left wondering whether EPA has learned from its mistakes, or if it will merely continue to address FOIA requests in the clumsy manner that has seemingly become its custom,” Lamberth said.
“This Court would implore the Executive Branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests – regardless of the political affiliation of the requester – are treated with equal respect and consciousness,” he added.
Responding to Lamberth’s opinion, Levin accused the EPA of viewing Americans as “public enemies,” calling their mishandling of FOIA requests “reprehensible.”
"Judge Lamberth's decision should be a complete embarrassment for everyone at the Environmental Protection Agency,” Levin said. “Their conduct, from start to finish in this case, was reprehensible, and the Judge made clear that they avoided severe punitive sanctions only because of the narrowly defined requirements of the law.”
"The corporate culture at the EPA, from the Administrator down to the most junior administrative assistant, is that of an imperial bureaucracy answerable only to its own ideological agenda,” Levin added. “To them, the American public are nothing but public enemies. And the EPA shouldn't judge its success in handling FOIA requests by whether or not any of its people wound up facing federal contempt charges or possible criminal prosecution."
Subsidized global-warming propaganda musical
Fortunately, propaganda is rarely funny or entertaining
Elizabeth Harrington at the Washington Free Beacon offers a familiar old slice of sleaze funded by the federal government. An “investigative theatre” company in New York, The Civilians, has been granted almost $950,000 by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and believe it or not, the National Science Foundation.
Why should the American taxpayer – you – be forced to pay for the garbage that follows? Because you, and everyone else, would never pay for it if it weren’t mandated by this radical administration which will be gone in 22 months, thank God.
Their most recent work of “art” was a musical called “Pretty Filthy,” exploring the “human side of the porn industry.” While the porno piece wasn’t directly funded by the NEA, federal funds keep this propaganda wagon on the road.
In “Pretty Filthy,” the troupe based their songs and scripts on interviews with “adult entertainers.” They promoted themselves as “armed with notepads and recorders,” providing an insider’s glimpse into the “other Hollywood” – the porn industry in the San Fernando Valley.
Naturally The New York Times loved it. Critic Charles Isherwood oozed that the “thoroughly winning cast” showed an “admirable sympathy” for porn stars. He liked the lyrics (“Two things you need to shoot porn? A camera and a thumb”) and the snark (“It was like being with a corpse … a corpse who [sic] giggled”).
But usually The Civilians are funded to churn out radical-left claptrap. Last year, they were awarded $20,000 for a podcast series called “Let Me Ascertain You.” In a series titled “LGBTQ All Out!,” they explored topics such as “a teenage lesbian shunned by her Jehovah’s Witness community, a master domination top who locks people up in his basement, a gay military soldier who attempted suicide, and the life of homeless gay youth on the streets of New York City.”
The company received a $12,000 NEA grant in January 2013 for new plays from their “Research and Development Group.” Winter Miller, a playwright, is working on a project about the “stigma” of abortion. Asking when life begins is hurtful, Miller believes, and has “led to the murder of doctors and the growth of extremist movements in the United States, of which the tea party is the least overtly violent.”
The NEA also provided The Civilians a $25,000 grant to produce a musical on the “Paris Commune” that briefly ruled the city in 1871, which, according to Marxist.com, was “where the working class for the first time in history, took power into its own hands.” Leon Trotsky preached about its lessons and how the “masses” had failed to embrace the revolution. Playwright Michael Friedman insisted the commune resembled the hope springing out of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Overall, The Civilians has received $247,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts since 2007, including $65,000 for “The Great Immensity,” a musical about the doom rapidly approaching through climate change. The majority of the project was funded by a National Science Foundation grant of $697,177. Characters proclaimed panicky things like, “We are actually breaking the world. We break the world and it’s done. Game over.” Why hasn’t everyone grasped the allegedly imminent demise of our planet? “People are stupid,” they proclaimed.
Unsurprisingly, this amply subsidized global-warming propaganda musical was canceled after only a three-week run last spring at Manhattan’s Public Theatre. Even the reviewers couldn’t make themselves love it.
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
Posted by JR at 1:39 AM