Monday, October 30, 2006

Benny Peiser Finally Admits He's Wrong

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Benny Peiser
, the climate change skeptic that claimed there was a conspiracy against his work by the scientific journals finally admits he was wrong. Peiser claimed there were 34 peer review journals that refuted the existence of human driven climate change. Even though one of the abstracts he referenced as "debunking" the climate change consensus was about carbon sequestration and promoted alternative energy it took him about a year to admit he was wrong on "some" of them. Now he has admitted to Media Watch (video) that the only one that belonged on his list was a paper that wasn't even peer reviewed. It belonged to a group called the AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists). The AAPG is the same group that gave skeptic Michael Crichton a journalism award for his book "State of Fear" which claimed global warming is just one big hoax. According to Media watch:

So how many of the 34 articles does Benny Peiser stand by?

How many really "reject or doubt" the scientific consensus for man-made global warming?

Well when we first contacted him two weeks ago he told us...

"Only [a] few abstracts explicitly reject or doubt the AGW (anthropogenic global warming) consensus which is why I have publicly withdrawn this point of my critique." -- Email from Benny Peiser to Media Watch

And when we pressed him to provide the names of the articles, he eventually conceded - there was only one.

hat tip: Tim Lambert

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ford's Two-Face

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On the first night at the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference representatives from several major auto manufacturers took part in a panel discussion about alternative fuel vehicles. After they had all spoken, the audience was allowed to ask questions. DeSmogBlog's Kevin Grandia stood up and asked his question to the senior Ford rep (paraphrased here):
"If you say that you're so concerned about climate change, and acknowledge that it's happening, and are involved in things like Terrapass and alternative fuels, then why are you still funding think tank groups like the CEI, who have a position that climate change is not happening and is nothing to worry about?"
Ford's senior representative who was standing in front of the microphone didn't even attempt to answer the question. Instead one of his PR people who was sitting in the audience stood up to answer that question. He responded:
"We completely divorced ourselves from that particular campaign,"
Ironically that is the exactly same response Ford gave DeSmogBlog when a leaked memo showed that Ford funded CEI's "CO2 is life" and the "Glacier" TV ad. TV ads that attacked the science of global warming. TV ads that Professor Curt Davis says misrepresent his very own papers and research.

Considering polls show the vast majority of Americans believe global warming is happening it's bad business to openly campaign against the environment. At the same time it's well known that the gold mines in the auto industry aren't the hybrids and economy vehicles but the gas guzzling SUV's and muscle cars. It looks like some people are trying to get the best of both worlds.

But it doesn't stop there, Ford has abandoned several environmental strategies including hybrid cars. The auto industry has also lobbied against higher CAFE standards. The list goes on and on. This is just one tiny slice of a much larger pie. In the end I can't blame them. The business world is ruthless and Ford is only doing what businesses do.... making money. Ford is not a charity and they are not going to spend a significant amount of energy fighting for the environment. Anyone that assumes they are needs to pay a little more attention. The only good news, for the environment anyway, is that Toyota is promoting traditional but efficient cars as well as hybrid technology and their market share is growing.

More info:
Washington Post: Ford Abandons Pledge On Hybrid Production
NYT's: Is Ford running on empty?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Re-writing the History of Science

On Fox News Sean Hannity (video) went on about global cooling calling it , and the scientists as well, "madness". Anyone that has been to Realclimate, William Connolley's website, or read the peer review journals at the time knows that imminent predictions of global cooling were never made in the peer review literature.

Sean Hannity and friends probably just get their information from unreliable sources. But the real kicker is when Newsweek re-examines their old 1975 article. They concede that the article was "so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future" but defend themselves with In fact, the story wasn't "wrong" in the journalistic sense of "inaccurate". Well, that's one way to cover your own tail at the expense of the scientific community.

What really amazes me is the fact that they actually link to "William Connolley, a climate scientist at the British Antarctic Survey who has made a hobby of studying Ice Age predictions." The title of the very page they link to is "Was an imminent Ice Age predicted in the '70's? No" yet they continue to insist that predictions were made. Newsweek references a forecast made in 1975 but doesn't mention who or what made that forecast. Could they be referencing the 1975 National Academy of Sciences report? Lets take a quick look at some quotes. From the foreword:
"...we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate...".
It simply amazes me that this attack on science continues to go on. It's like what happens in the scientific community has nothing to do with what is being reported in the mainstream media.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Lack of leadership" from climate scientists

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Apparently some people get upset when climate research leaders fly in private jets for philanthropy reasons. Mark Lynas made a public outcry asking the public to "[p]lease urge them to apologize for this outrageous incident". On the other side of the fence I've seen the Exxon funded CEI use this tactic to discredit Al Gore's movie. And I've seen the argument from the former Reader's Digest staff writer Robert Bidinotto that environmentalists just want to make us poor peasants.

I would just like to say that not all of those that are in touch with climate change science are conservationists. Ross Gelbspan once said that even if we give up our cars and turn off the lights it won't solve all of our problems anyway. I will have to double check those figures, but the point is simple lifestyle changes aren't going to make a drastic impact on CO2 emissions.

The Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley campaigned until his death for an Apollo energy program. A program that would encourage the development of a wide variety of energy technologies. He is very pro-energy and wants to break our dependence on terrorist funding oil and other fossil fuels. Dr. Ulf Bossel wants us to be able to say: "Goodbye steam engines. Goodbye Carnot cycles. Here we are with electricity. We don't need you any longer."

So for all of you climate change deniers that think scientists are limousine liberals like the ones portrayed in this book, well you are sorely mistaken. Pharisees once tried to trick Jesus by saying
“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone". Well that trick won't work here either. There is more than one camp defending the climate change science.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Au revoir Bangladesh!

The new(ish) GRACE satellites have been keeping a close watch on Greenland's Ice sheet. In the past snowfall has outpaced the melting of the ice sheet. However, now things have changed. Researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center explain:

"What we see is a massive amount of mass shedding that far outweighs an interior growth. .

We are now losing 20 percent more coming out each year than goes in as snowfall.

None of this has been predicted by numerical models, and therefore all projections of the contribution of Greenland to sea level [rise] are way below reality."

Sounds like the future is going to be fun for a few million in Bangaldesh.

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EDIT: As a precautionary note GRACE has only been around for 4 years. So we have to be careful extrapolating long term trends over such a small sample set. It seems my title may be a bit premature. However, since "all indicators have started to point in the same direction" it is certainly something to think about.

source: Scientific American; Gravity Measurements Confirm Greenland's Glaciers Precipitous Meltdown

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Lindzen fibs again..............

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On a Fox News interview (video) climate change skeptic Richard Lindzen says:
But there is no agreement that the warming we've seen is due to man. Moreover, the warming we've seen is much less than we would have expected on the basis of the models that produce alarm.
So I guess this list of people are in no agreement. It seems as if national academies of 18 total countries never signed these two press releases. And Lindzen says the models are wrong? It looks as if these graphs and predictions are fake then.

See the video of Lindzen talking here. If anyone can download the video please help me out. I want a copy of this on my hard drive so I can take clips of this to add to his profile page.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bush vs. EPA round 23, fight!

The NYT's is reporting how the scientists at the EPA (voting 20-2) and the unanimous votes at the AMA are asking for tighter restrictions on soot emissions. Yet the politically appointed head at the EPA says there is “insufficient evidence” and kills the increased air quality standards. The following is the breakdown of the cost/benefit analysis:

The environmental and medical communities suspect that the administration’s main motive was to save the power companies and other industrial sources of pollution about $1.9 billion in new investment that the more protective annual standard would have required. But here, too, the administration appears to have ignored expert advice. Last Friday, the agency released an economic analysis showing that in exchange for $1.9 billion in new costs, the stronger annual standards could save as many as 24,000 thousand lives and as much as $50 billion annually in health care and other costs to society. Studies like these always offer a range of possible outcomes, but even at the lower end — 2,200 lives and $4.3 billion in money saved — the cost-benefit ratios are very favorable.

source: NYT's, Science Ignored, Again
Flock of Dodos

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A new documentary is out called Flock of Dodos. It analyzes evolution and intelligent design proponents. Should be worth a watch. There is an ABC news interview clip on the website that gives a good feel of the films direction.

The author also recomends Stephen Gould's book Rocks of Ages which says evolution and religion do not conflict.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Coming to a church near you: An Inconvenient Truth

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Eric Berger is reporting that more than 20 Houston-area churches with show Gore's film on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. The religious have banded together on environmentalism before. This event is sponsored by Interfaith Power and Light which says:

The weeklong event -- called "Spotlight on Global Warming" -- is sponsored nationally by Interfaith Power and Light, an organization of congregations and individuals devoted to deepening the connection between ecology and faith. There are 18 state Interfaith Power and Light chapters, including Texas Interfaith Power and Light.

The world's religious traditions are clear in their message that God loves the whole creation and calls people to care for the Earth and everything in it. Religious leaders of all faiths are increasingly vocal in their calls for strong action on global warming to protect human life and all creation.

Texas leads the nation in global warming pollution but there's good news, too: Texas has the greatest renewable energy potential of any state, and this year became the largest wind power producer in the US. It's a key time for people of faith and all Texans to engage in the debate surrounding global warming solutions.

It seems the churches of Texas are ahead of the big man from Texas.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

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In Episode 13, season 1 of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! they try to prove the global warming crisis, among other things, was created by the out of control imagination of hysterical hippies and environmentalists. This is why the episode is titled "Environmental Hysteria". We would just like to point out that Penn Jillette is a research fellow of the ExxonMobil and Industry funded CATO institute which has strong minarchist leanings. This gives Penn Jillete a conflict of interest when it comes to any topic that might require government regulation. During the show he puts Tobacco and Oil funded lobbyists against hippie college protesters. If a fair match was their intent they should have those lawyers up against any of the scientists on this massive list. Granted the show was officially about "hysteria" and not science itself but that doesn't excuse them for grossly misrepresenting a very strong scientific consensus and providing facts thats are demonstrably false. The following is a quoted, sourced, and time stamped point by point analysis of their show (google video). It will focus on the facts presented by Penn & Teller's "experts":

10:28 Bjorn Lomborg presents his book

Lomborg is an associate professor of statistics at Denmark's University of Aarhus. He has been widely criticized for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist. Scientific American has a 12 page article titled "Misleading Math about the Earth" dedicated solely to debunking Lomborg's book. The prestigious peer-review scientific journal Nature also joined the battleground and described Lomborg's work as 'employs the strategy of those who argue that... Jews weren't singled out by the Nazis'. Grist Mill certainly didn't treat Lomborg kindly as they lined up a whole host of leading scientists to critique his work. And National Academy of Science member Norman Myers says Lomborg lacks "a preliminary understanding of the science in question." Regardless of whether or not Lomborg is right or wrong, Penn & Teller may have done better by choosing someone that is a little more respected among mainstream scientists. More information on Lomborg can be found here.

13:30 Penn says 1998 was the peak (temperature wise).

Not anymore, according to NASA 2005 was the hottest year. Penn Jillete also left out a little thing called El Nino which gave 1998 a nice artificial boost. In defense of Penn Jillette, the show was made in 2002. However, this does not excuse the fact that he cherry picked the year of El Nino. If he had interviewed a mainstream scientist Penn & Teller would have known this. If he had looked at a simple line graph he would have also seen an obvious trend in temperatures. The 1998 argument stems from Bob Carter and his claims are debunked in full here.

13:42 Jerry Taylor from CATO says "If we plot temperatures... put them on a graph and draw a trend line, we will know what is going to happen with global warming in the next 100 years.

Jerry Taylor, might want to comment on
this list of quotes or even this graph:

This is known as the "hockey stick". It is arguably the most analyzed graph in the history of science. The hockey stick continues to be affirmed by realclimate, the IPCC, the national academies of 11 countries, Wahl and Amman, and every major American scientific society with relativant expertise.

15:08 Jerry Taylor from CATO claims scientists predicted an Ice age

Real climate covered this topic in their article titled The Global Cooling Myth. William Connolley has also made a hobby out of debunking this myth. There is a BIG difference between peer-review scientific literature and regular magazines and newspapers. While there were some questions about aerosols blocking sunlight, the global cooling threat was not predicted in the peer-review scientific literature and it was not predicted by the National Academy of Sciences.

Taylors exact quote from Penn and Teller's show: "In the mid 70's we were told pollution is going to cause a new ice age... The very same scientists who argued an ice age was coming because of industrial pollution then shifted gears and argued industrial pollution will bring on a greenhouse warming world with virtually no breath in between." It would be nice if he actually named which NAS reports and scientific journals he was talking about. If you find any peer-review journals predicting imminent global cooling please email them to us or William Connolley. As of right now we can't find any.

15:50 Penn says "they must remember we are still gathering information..... we are not sure yet!"

Maybe Penn should actually do a little research or ask a real scientist what the scientific consensus is before he makes such a bold claim. The National Acadamies of 18 countries and every single scientific institution with relative expertise disagrees with him. There is a massive list of people that say we do know.
Dr. James Baker says "There's a better scientific consensus on this than on any issue I know - except maybe Newton's second law of dynamics". There is probably a very good reason why there is such a strong worldwide consensus. Maybe Penn should have asked them what those reasons might be.

25:40: Patrick Moore says the "best science tells us less than 1% of the species will go extinct in the next 100 years."

This is also false. A peer review paper from Nature titled "Extinction risk from climate change" showed a significant percentage of our planets species could become extinct by 2050. As an added note, the excess CO2 is also increasing the oceans acidity by turning into carbonic acid. The acidification of the ocean could drive all known forms of coral to extinction by 2065. 10, 11, 12 In the Discovery Channel's show "Global Warming: what you need to know with Tom Brokaw" NASA's James Hansen talks about the extinction of 50% of the planets species by 2050 being a realistic possibility due to ocean acidification and other mechanisms. The World Wildlife Fund says: "Without action, climate change will cause the extinction of countless species and destroy some of the world's most precious ecosystems." So what exactly is "the best science" in Patrick Moore's mind? Again, he doesn't mention their source. This may be hard to believe for many of our readers so here are some more sources on climate change and species extinction:

Blogs, Mainstream Media & Press Releases:
BBC: Acid oceans spell doom for coral
Los Angeles Times: A Primeval Tide of Toxins
The New York Times: British Scientists Say Carbon Dioxide Is Turning the Oceans Acidic
University of Minnesota ecology professor David Tilman: Species extinction rate speeding up The Acid Ocean – the Other Problem with CO2 Emission
NCAR: Report Warns about Carbon Dioxide Threats to Marine Life
World Wildlife Fund: Climate Change
Discovery Channel: "Global Warming: what you need to know with Tom Brokaw"

Peer-Review Scientific Journals & Government Reports
Thomas et. al., Nature 8 January 2004: Extinction risk from climate change*
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Climate change hastens population extinctions
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe
Pearson & Palmer, Science 10 December 1999: Seawater pH and Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
Pennisi, ScienceNOW 5 July 2006: Coral Face Death From Above
NSF, NOAA, USGS Report: Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and other Marine Calcifiers
*interviews w/ Gavin Schmidt from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies show this is the source of the Discovery Channel's info

End Notes:

Penn & Teller did bring up some good points. For example, they managed to get college aged protesting hippies to sign petitions to ban dihydrogen monoxide which is also known as water. This showed that people will take information at face value and that can be a very dangerous thing. By the same token many of the industry lobbyists interviewed on that show were speaking falsehoods (e.g. the global cooling myth) to discredit mainstream scientists. So you really have to watch your sources. Penn & Teller used these falsehoods to debunk "hysteria" that lined up very well with the scientific consensus. If they are going to critique "environmental hysteria" it might be wise for them to focus on a movement that doesn't agree with the scientific consensus. Misinformation is a double edged sword. Former Greenpeace member and cofounder Patrick Moore spent a considerable amount of time denouncing the motives of Greenpeace. The problem is that Greenpeace is not an accredited scientific institution and does not represent the scientific consensus. So while Greenpeace may go overboard when it comes to certain dangers with fusion and fission power, nothing mentioned in the "Environmental Hysteria" show that was attributed to Greenpeace differed from the scientific consensus. To make matters even more complicated Patrick Moore owns Greenspirit whose clients consist of industries that have to deal with environmental regulations. Moore's current business gives him a conflict of interest. Penn & Teller's Bullshit! started in 2003. This was after the Royal Society's 2001 press release on climate change which was signed by 16 countries. For more about the consensus please go here. Since so many scientists agree, maybe they should have talked to scientists instead of oil lobbyists to get their environmental data and scientific facts. If this show really was about "hysteria" then why did the only post-puberty 'environmentalist' interviewed on the show, Ross Gelbspan, represent the scientific consensus and undisputable facts far more accuratetly than the oil-funded experts used by Penn & Teller?

Please Comment!
Please comment on this article at our Blog!. I posted a link to this page on wikipedia here. Apparently it might be against the rules (rule #4 and #6 are conflicting) to post a link to a website you maintain. One wikipedia user that doesn't like this page has since removed it from the page's external links. However, that doesn't prevent other people from referencing this website! The wikipedia user that deleted the link called this page a "strawman" even though I've been very careful to use quotes, time stamps, and address every single scientific "fact" presented or "debunked" during the show with multiple and reproducible peer review journals. If you feel I have misrepresented the show in any way please feel free to comment on our blog. Since I cannot post a link to this site on wikipedia I release the content of this page under a GPL. In otherwords, feel free to reproduce, rehost, and even modify this page. Just don't forget to give me credit for my hard work! If you do replicate the page please let me know, my e-mail is at the bottom of the page.

For more info on Penn & Teller:
Related Info:
Sierra Club director Paul Watson says: "
Moore makes accusations that have no basis in fact."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

If I wanted to kill off climate science........

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I'm not big on conspiracy theories. However, I started thinking about what I would do if I wanted to kill climate change science and remain friends with some oil buddies. So this is my plan of action:

Step #1
Place an oil lobbyist as the chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Have him edit the work of scientists. Anything regarding climate change must be heavily edited.
BBC: Bush aide 'edited climate papers'

Step #2
Suppress, edit and delete the voices of scientists at NASA as well. If the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space studies reports warmest temperatures in a century, threaten him with "dire consequences".
NYT's: Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
CBS: Rewriting the Science

Step #3
"Eliminat[e] virtually all scientific research funded by NASA". When Congressman John Culberson (R-T) and many other Senators and Congressmen complain just stress that manned missions are far more important than scientific discovery.
Culberson Letter

Step #4
Remove the highlighted part from NASA's motto “To understand and protect our home planet; to explore the universe and search for life; to inspire the next generation of explorers ... as only NASA can.” In other words, make it official that NASA is to ignore the one planet we live on.
NYT's : NASA’s Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet

Step #5
Box up all climate satellites. Who cares if they are finished and cost 100 million to build. If France or the Ukraine offers to launch them into space for free just say "no thanks". Don't give any reasons why. Just box those satellites up.

Step #6
Cook the climate change and alternative energy research budgets. Make it seem like they are growing when you are really slashing the funds. Ignore useful technologies and only invest in technologies that have no future such as hydrogen.
The Bush Administration Climate Budget — Cooking the Books while Cooking the Planet

Step #7
Rewrite the alternative energy accounting books so that not even the Government Accountability Office can understand them. This should prevent the crazy environmental activists from trying to figure out what you are up to.

Step #8
Put the gag on NOAA scientists as well.
SALON: Climate-controlled White House

Step #9
Appoint someone bold enough to violate the law (video) as the head of NOAA. Have him delay and suppress any regular reports put out by NOAA regarding climate change even if this requires him to violate Congressional statutes.
US Senates Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Wed, June 8 2005

Step #10
Turn NASA into a military operation. This is a good way to cover up the the budget cuts in scientific research. It helps us ignore things like global warming, CFC's, pollution and similar nonsense. NASA's budget stays the same. This way it looks like scientists are just bitter that their projects are being cut for more important things.
Digg comment & article
Space: New Bush Space Policy Unveiled, Stresses U.S. Freedom of Action
DefenseTech: Space is for Soldiers

Step #11
Let your friends use their oil money to create a complex network of oil funded lobbyists that make it look like scientists aren't in agreement when there is no doubt they really are in agreement.

It's just a theory though. Oh wait.......