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Climate Cover-Up: A (Brief) Review

Filed under: — mike @ 20 October 2009 - (Español)

We often allude to the industry-funded attacks against climate change science, and the dubious cast of characters involved, here at RealClimate. In recent years, for example, we’ve commented on disinformation efforts by industry front groups such as the “Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute, and a personal favorite, The Heartland Institute, and by industry-friendly institutions such as the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and other media outlets that assist in the manufacture and distribution of climate change disinformation.


When it comes to the climate change disinformation campaign, we have chosen to focus on the intellectually bankrupt nature of the scientific arguments, rather than the political motivations and the sometimes intriguing money trail. We leave it to others, including organizations such as SourceWatch.org, the sleuths at DeSmogBlog, authors such as Ross Gelbspan (author of The Heat is On, and The Boiling Point), and edited works such as Rescuing Science from Politics to deal with such issues.

One problem with books on this topic is that they quickly grow out of date. Just over the past few years, there have been many significant events in the ‘climate wars’ as we have reported on this site. Fortunately, there is a book out now by our friends at DeSmogBlog (co-founder James Hoggan, and regular contributor Richard Littlemore) entitled Climate Cover Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming that discusses the details of the contrarian attacks on climate science up through the present, and in painstaking detail. They have done their research, and have fully documented their findings, summarized by the publisher thusly:

Talk of global warming is nearly inescapable these days — but there are some who believe the concept of climate change is an elaborate hoax. Despite the input of the world’s leading climate scientists, the urgings of politicians, and the outcry of many grassroots activists, many Americans continue to ignore the warning signs of severe climate shifts. How did this happen? Climate Cover-up seeks to answer this question, describing the pollsters and public faces who have crafted careful language to refute the findings of environmental scientists. Exploring the PR techniques, phony “think tanks,” and funding used to pervert scientific fact, this book serves as a wake-up call to those who still wish to deny the inconvenient truth.

There are interesting new details about the Revelle/Singer/Lancaster affair and other tidbits that were new to me, and will likely to be new to others who been following the history of climate change contrarianism. Ross Gelbspan who has set the standard for investigative reporting
when it comes to the climate change denial campaign, had this to say about the book:

absolutely superb-one of the best dissections of the climate information war I
have ever seen. This is one terrific piece of work!

There is an important story behind the climate change denial effort that goes well beyond the scientific issues at hand. Its not our mission at RealClimate to tell that story, but there are others who are doing it, and doing it well. Hoggan and Littlemore are clearly among them. Read this book, and equally important, make sure that others who need to do as well.

455 Responses to “Climate Cover-Up: A (Brief) Review”

  1. 301
    Paul L says:

    #283 “People who have radically different political views (Chavez & Bush, say) end up united over the desire to keep fossil fuel sales high.”

    Ike, Hugo Chavez doesn’t deny global warming, quite the opposite in fact. He gave a speech at the UN in 2005 expressing grave concern about climate change. I think this points to the fact that while economic interests play an important role in the whole debate, ideology seems to be the main factor. (Of course, ideology and economics affect each other. But not in a crude, mechanistic way.)

    There’s another side to the story. Oil-producing nations have an interest in making the most, long-term, out of their resources. Using them all up as quickly as possible isn’t the most sensible exploitation of those reserves. Also, since OPEC more-or-less sets the amount of crude oil extracted per year, they can push prices up by reducing production. Long-term, oil-producing countries have an interest in diversifying their economies so as not to be vulnerable to the swings in world oil prices. I think the evidence shows that the main resistance to accepting the science of global warming comes from consumers, or rather from special interests which are related to consumption (not extraction) of fossil fuels.

  2. 302
    Jim Bouldin says:

    KevinM says:

    If AGW is really not a crock of soup, we’ll find a way to beat it.

    It’s not and we already have: reduce energy waste, fuel emissions, and forest clearing, and alter agricultural mgt. practices.

    Or avoid the root cause of the problem and dream and finagle and waste time and resources with crackpot “solutions”, like mirrors in space and sulfate injections, which do not relate to the cause of the problem, which we have no idea how will actually affect the earth’s energy balance, no idea how much they will cost, no assurance of being able to implement, and no idea how to correct if they blow up on us and make the problem worse, or cause other spin-off problems.

    Take your pick.

  3. 303
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #241, truth &

    A massive global bureaucracy is to be established to police the mandates of the Climate Change Convention—and it will reach into the operations of every economy—every industry and business in all our countries—controlling our living standards according to its mandates, no matter how much an individual country tries to establish its own policy for its own conditions

    You’re right, and it will all be because you personally refused to mitigate climate change in whichever way you could.

    We wouldn’t even have laws, much less autocracies, if someone way back then hadn’t kept doing wrong to others. The earliest societies didn’t have laws. Social control has evolved and increased over the millennia bec of people like you who refuse to do the right thing.

    So, what do you say. Why not voluntarily do all those money-saving, life-enhancing things that mitigate AGW, even if you don’t believe AGW is real. It could cut your emissions in half or more, save you money, improve your health, increase your quality of life, make you happy, AND most importantly make it unnecessary for a dystopic world autocracy.

    It’s all up to you now. The balls in your court.

  4. 304
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Now since the US ’sceptical’ website WattsUpWithThat featured the poll there > has been a surge in the Count me Out numbers – even though the petition is
    > for strong representation at Copenhagen by the UK Government.

    Let’s hope they tally up the number of “votes” they get from people who aren’t UK residents.

    They can report votes as “yes, no, and votes from people who don’t have a clue” — fake votes from the wannabe-Tory people who, though physically resident in the US, act like the Lord Himself is their personal MP.

  5. 305
    parallel says:

    Are these moisture levels right or wrong?
    http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/moisture.html

    [Response: Yes and no. The are ‘right’ in that they represent what a single reanalysis shows, but very wrong if you think that fairly represents what has actually happened. The other reanalyses don’t show this and good quality in situ and remote sensed data contradict it as well. – gavin]

  6. 306
    Hank Roberts says:

    An illustration of how “robust trend” is used, from a recent abstract:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL040104.shtml

  7. 307
    JCH says:

    New paper about a lake on Baffin Island that has unaltered sediments far back into earth’s history indicates current warming is unlike past warming caused by natural variability. Skeptics have ceased upon the temp record of a nearby weather station at Clyde, NW Territory as proof there has been no warming in that local, and the possibility that DDT spaying in the mid 20th Century may explain the disappearance of certain cold loving insects. Have they debunked the paper that easily? If not, why?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091023163513.htm

  8. 308
    Chris Colose says:

    parallel,

    you may be interested in this post concerning the re-analysis data and humidity trends.
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/is-the-atmosphere-drying-up/

  9. 309
    Ray Ladbury says:

    JCH and Parallel,
    Those are excellent examples of why you must consider the evidence in aggregate rather than cherry-picking a single station or study that shows what you want.

    Considering all the evidence=science
    Cherry-picking=lying like a rug

  10. 310
    Ike Solem says:

    Interesting point from that paper, JCH:

    Yarrow Axford, a research associate at the University of Colorado, and the paper’s lead author, noted: “The 20th century is the only period during the past 200 millennia in which aquatic indicators reflect increased warming, despite the declining effect of slow changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis which, under natural conditions, would lead to climatic cooling.”

    That points to a major shift in global carbon biogeochemistry that may have already taken us back some 3.2 million years. If so, then the climate trajectory over the next thousand years would result in massive deglaciation and huge sea level rises as well as a fundamentally altered climate. In other words, by dumping huge quantities of fossil carbon into the actively circulating carbon pool, we’ve reset the clock and put an end to several millions of years of ice age cycles.

    That’s what geoengineering looks like – plenty of unexpected consequences.

    For some good news, the US Chamber of Commerce has switched positions:

    http://www.chamber-of-commerce.us/090118tjd_prosperity.html

    Climatologists tell us that if we don’t enact dramatic reductions in carbon emissions today, within 5 years we could begin facing the propagating feedback loops of runaway climate change. That would mean a disruption of food and water supplies worldwide, with the result of mass migrations, famines, and death on a scale never witnessed before.

    Needless to say, that would be bad for business.

    We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business. We need business more than we need relentlessly higher returns.

    Some of the old guard are upset about this new direction, but that’s to be expected.

  11. 311
    Phil. Felton says:


    JCH says:
    24 October 2009 at 12:10 PM
    New paper about a lake on Baffin Island that has unaltered sediments far back into earth’s history indicates current warming is unlike past warming caused by natural variability. Skeptics have ceased upon the temp record of a nearby weather station at Clyde, NW Territory as proof there has been no warming in that local, and the possibility that DDT spaying in the mid 20th Century may explain the disappearance of certain cold loving insects. Have they debunked the paper that easily? If not, why?

    Because they haven’t explained why DDT eliminated the cold adapted midges but not the warmer adapted midges!

  12. 312
    PHG says:

    JCH,

    The implication that DDT caused the reduction in chronomids in the Baffin Island study appears to be incorrect.

    The chronomids that disappeared were specifically adapted to colder temperatures, there was no evidence of a general reduction in insects which is what you would expect if DDT were a factor. At least, that’s my reading of the report.

    WUWT than compared this study to one done further south,(Rolland, 2009) There did not appear to be any of the colder adapted insects as in the Axrod study. As pointed, the lake in the Rolland study is in a different climate zone which, interesting enough has not shown the same level of temperature increase as the rest of the arctic. Guess these guys didn’t get the hockey stick memo. Curiously DDT is not a factor here.

    The Baffin Island study does an estimate of water temperature, the comparison was made to August air temperatures. I don’t think that is a valid comparison as the water temperature would respond more to a yearly average than a single month.

    Another comparison was done to a study in the Swiss Alps, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to point out that industialized Europe is a far cry from the remoteness of Baffin Island.

  13. 313

    The Funding of a Propaganda Machine

    The central idea:

    According to Ernest Hearst, Chip Berlet, and Jack Porter, two writers who helped uncover Scaife’s funding techniques were scholar Karen Rothmeyer and journalist David Warner, ‘who were the first to note that Scaife funded conservative projects in a very strategic manner to maximize the propaganda value of his dollars. Scaife accomplishes this by simultaneously funding several different projects at different groups on the same topic. According to Rothmeyer, the result is that in matters of defense and economic policy Scaife has helped to foster the illusion that there is a far greater diversity of views than actually exists.’

    RightWeb: Richard Mellon Scaife
    http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Scaife_Richard_Mellon

    Methodology: I took lists of organizations that had received $100,000 or more over a specified period from the Scaife Family Foundation in one case and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in the other case then looked those organizations up in ExxonSecrets.org. I then took each organization and selected “show all people” then “hide all people” for that organization. This had the effect of leaving only those people that are shared between organizations and therefore of highlighting the network. The result is a diagram showing all organizations involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science that are funded to the tune of $100,000 or more by the foundation and all of the people that belong to more than one organization in that list. The individuals listed are not necessarily involved in the disinformation campaign themselves, but they illustrate the existence of the network — in each case a subnetwork of a much larger network devoted to a broad set of economic and political goals.

    My results:

    Scaife Family Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1450

    The Center for Media Transparency lists 200 organizations that Scaife gives at least $100,000 to between 1985-2006. Looking at ExxonSecrets, 17 of these organizations are also organizations that Exxon gives money to for the purpose of funding disinformation regarding global warming. Of these 17 organizations, 66 people are listed as belonging to more than one organization.

    17 organizations, 66 multi-org people

    *

    The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1452

    Looked at organizations receiving $100,000 or greater from 1985 to 2005. Assumed Independent Institute and Independence Institute were the same. Assumed Mackinac Center and Mackinac Center for Public Policy were same

    25 organizations, 84 multi-org people

    Enjoy!

  14. 314

    PS

    Of the organizations being funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 587 received $100,000 or more for the period from 1985-2005, but all but 25 of these were eliminated from the final list — that is, of those that are also listed in ExxonSecrets as part of the disinformation campaign against climate science.

  15. 315
    Ken says:

    @Ike (310). Are you sure that CoC link is a legitimate press release? The Yes Men did a faux CoC press release and even held a press conference claiming they were the CoC representatives. Be good news if this were a legitimate CoC item.

  16. 316
    Joe says:

    I wonder why people make such a fuss over climate change. For the price of one cup of coffee a day one can prevent the negative effects. Hell, I’ll pay that…

  17. 317

    Aggregated Grants from the Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch, and Claude R. Lambe Foundations
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1453

    Assumed Citizens for a Sound Economy and CSE Educational Foundation (Exxon Secrets) is Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation (Media Transparency) are the same, assumed Earthwatch Institute (Exxon Secrets) and Earthwatch Expeditions (Media Transparency) are the same. Media Transparency listed 76 organizations that received $100,000 or more between the years of 1986 to 2004 from Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch and Claude R. Lambe Foundations. Of these 17 organizations were listed in the ExxonSecrets database, and 56 individuals in that database were listed as belonging to two or more of those organizations. The individuals are not necessarily involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science, but they do help to illustrate the existence of the network.

    17 organizations, 56 multi-organization individuals

  18. 318

    Castle Rock Foundation (operated by Coors family)
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1454

    This one is interesting. One of the goals of the Castle Rock Foundation is apparently the funding of the extremist religious right, namely reconstructionists and dominionists. The total number of organizations it funds to the tune of $100,000 or more from 1995 to 2006 is 68. Given their reputation, it should seem odd to say the least, but on that list are included two United Negro College Funds. One to the tune of $120,000, the other to the tune of $150,000. Of the 68 organizations the fund to the tune of over $100,000 or more for the years from 1995 to 2006, organizations are in the ExxonSecrets database. In that database, there are 55 people who belong to two or more of those organizations.

    17 organizations, 55 multi-organization individuals

  19. 319
    Hank Roberts says:

    310 is pointing to the spoof by the YesMen; details here:
    http://theyesmen.org/chamber

    The Chamber of Commerce response seems to have been basically “WTF? DMCA!”

    Perhaps because attempts to use DMCA to suppress political satire have consistently failed, the Chamber went fishing with dynamite, shutting down an upstream Internet note instead, shutting down some 400 customers. Amazing.
    http://theyesmen.org/chamberDMCA

    In related news, for those who have a small business, the Chamber has long claimed to be speaking for you in Washington — without your knowing or having any say in what they claimed to say on your behalf, like it or not.
    Your business is one of their “3 million” —

    Today’s top three Google hits, just to memorialize this moment for history:

    #1
    Jim Hoggan | US Chamber’s Long History of Killing Clean Energy Policy
    Oct 22, 2009 … the Chamber’s exaggerated dishonest membership claim is simple: they …
    http://www.desmogblog.com/us-chambers-long-history-killing-clean-energy-policy

    #2
    The US Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, … http://www.uschamber.com/

    #3
    Video: Chamber of Commerce has size issues
    … Chamber of Commerce … Tom J. Donohue found to have been woefully exaggerating his organization’s membership and influence. … (Olbermann, MSNBC, starting about 1:30
    http://vodpod.com/watch/2365833-video-chamber-of-commerce-has-size-issues

    The latter is Olbermann of MSNBC: CofC claimed — still claims as of this moment — that 3 million businesses are members; actual membership 1/1000th as many, about 300,000.

    This tactic seems familiar, somehow.

  20. 320
    Hank Roberts says:

    > YesMen

    Too good not to quote:

    “This isn’t the first time a Yes Men site has found itself targeted by a DMCA complaint brought by a large corporation. The Yes Men have in the past received DMCA notices from Exxon, Dow Chemical, DeBeers, and the New York Times. In each case, the the Yes Men (represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation) refused to comply, and prevailed. Even the George W. Bush campaign sent a complaint to try to interrupt service to GWBush.com, in 2000, resulting in extensive ridicule that culminated in Bush’s mind-boggling gaffe that ‘There ought to be limits to freedom.'”

  21. 321
    rykart says:

    The central problem is democracy–allowing people to vote and determine pubic policy decisions on which human survival depends. We take it as a given that in an open election between a NOVA special on galaxy formation and The Jerry Springer Show, the latter will ALWAYS win in a landslide. Yet we have retained these disastrous democratic institutions which reliably deliver the worst leaders, food, music, clothing, and entertainment. Why are we surprised that the brainless majority is finally leading humankind off a cliff? It was only a matter of time.

    Science can only save us if public input on scientific issues is completely removed from the equation.

  22. 322

    Politics, Religion and Economics, Part I of II

    On various occasions people have brought up the “Environmental Stewardship Project,” an attempt to undermine the conclusions of climatology in public sphere by means of religion. At this point I believe it is possible to show how this part of a broader effort to impose political ideology upon the nation’s churches, one that is funded by the very same foundations that have been funding so much of the concerted attack upon the science of climatology.

    Please see:

    The political right-wing, operating in the guise of a gaggle of so-called “renewal groups,” particularly one named the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), has acquired the money and political will to target three mainline American denominations: The United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the Episcopal Church. The IRD was created and is sustained by money from right-wing foundations and has spent millions of dollars over 20 years attacking mainline denominations. The IRD’s conservative social-policy goals include increasing military spending and foreign interventions, opposing environmental protection efforts, and eliminating social welfare programs.

    In a document entitled “Reforming America’s Churches Project 2001-2004,” the IRD states that its aim is to change the “permanent governing structure” of mainline churches “so they can help renew the wider culture of our nation.” In other words, its goal extends beyond the spiritual and includes a political takeover financed by the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife, Adolph Coors, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee.

    JULY 10, 2003
    The Fighting Methodists
    — Andrew J. Weave
    http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2003/0710.shtml

    From a revealing internal document by the Institute on Religion and Democracy:

    Environmentalism: The National Religious Partnership for the Environment includes the U.S. Catholic Conference, the National Council of Churches, and liberal Jews and Evangelicals. Founded with help from Vice President Al Gore and sustained with money from the Pew Foundation, it aims to enlist America’s religious denominations in the environmental movement. The partnership especially focuses on the most dire predictions of global warning in order to justify increased taxation and heavy federal regulation. IRD has been nearly alone in challenging the partnership. But this year we joined a new coalition sponsored by the Acton Institute. Called the Environmental Stewardship Project, it joins Protestants, Catholics and Jews together to challenge the unsubstantiated and politicized claims of the green theology movement embodied by the partnership. IRD will focus during the next four years on discrediting mainline church lobby efforts to spout environmental extremism in defense of liberal legislation that relies on the Kyoto Accords and unproven apocalyptic suppositions.

    Reforming America’s Churches: A Project of the IRD, 2001-2004
    http://www.yuricareport.com/Strategies_Propaganda/IRD_InternDocReformingUSChurches.html

  23. 323

    Politics, Religion and Economics, Part II of II

    Given this strong stand against the science of climatology one would expect the Institute on Religion and Democracy to have received a fair amount of funding by the interested parties. The actual result?

    Donations to the Institute on Religion and Democracy
    Coors Castle Rock Foundation: $110,000 from 1995-2006
    Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation: $1,825,000 from 1985-2005
    Scaife: $150,000 from 1985-2006

    Now this may not seem like a lot. However, in the religious sphere these foundations would appear to likewise have a network. For example, there is the Institute for Religion in Public Life, formed by Richard John Neuhaus, and he is a key member of several other religious organizations intent upon ceasing control of America’s churches, including the Institute on Religion and Democracy:

    Since the late 1970s, Neuhaus has been a leading cultural warrior in the neocon camp. He once wrote: “Politics is chiefly a function of culture, at the heart of culture is morality, and at the heart of morality is religion” (National Review, May 2, 1994). Along with Michael Novak, Peter Berger, and Weigel, Neuhaus has been a key figure in spearheading the neoconservative initiative to seize ideological control of the culture wars against liberalism and secularism. Neuhaus serves on the boards of directors of three prominent neoconservative-aligned institutes: the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), the EPPC, and the Foundation for Community and Faith-Centered Enterprise. He is also a director of the right-wing World Youth Alliance, which promotes a “culture of life” at the United Nations among other activities. In a survey of national leadership, Time magazine named Neuhaus one of the “25 most influential evangelicals in America” (Time, February 7, 2005).

    Institute on Religion and Public Life
    last updated: February 25, 2007
    http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Institute_on_Religion_and_Public_Life

    He likewise advocates a “virtuous” role for corporations in public life:

    Neuhaus is an outspoken advocate of “democratic capitalism” in which corporations are seen as having a virtuous role in public life. Neuhaus is perhaps best known for his thesis that the secular “New Class” and big government have crowded religion out of “the public square” (see The Neoconservative Mind, p. 311). Since the late 1970s, Neuhaus has argued that Judeo-Christianity should be reasserted back into the public square….

    ibid.

    The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation donations to the Institute on Religion and Public Life for the period from 1985 to 2005: $5,537,500 from 1985-2005.

    Then there is the Acton Institute

    The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (founded 1990) is a Classical Liberal think tank, part of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation network, which promotes laissez-faire economics and public policy within a Christian framework. “Together, empowered by faith in God and belief in human freedom, we truly can make a difference.”

    SourceWatch: The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Acton_Institute

    Scaife? $465,000 from 1985-2006. Bradley? $1727,000 from 1985-2005. Koch? $212,500 from 1986 to 2004.

    For more on the attempt to meld religion, politics and economics, you may want to visit:

    Dominionism
    and the Rise of Christian Imperialism
    By Sarah Leslie
    http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/05/sarah-leslie/dominionism.htm

  24. 324
    pjclarke says:

    Regarding the UK Science Museum poll, and the moral scuples of your average WUWT commenter. Oh dear ,it’s pretty much as I suspected from a cursory reading of the reports of the count as reported on WUWT. The Science Museum site launch was on Oct 22nd. A day later Mr Watts predicted …

    Future presentation of results to the government: “The results show overwhelmingly that people agree with us. Hardly anyone chose COUNT ME OUT.

    But what has occurred? One day after the launch the count stood at 333 ‘Count me in’ to 234 ‘Count me out’, a ratio of 1:0.7 Right now, the count stands at 461 ‘Count Me In’, and 3034 ‘out’, about 1:6.5. This is so far outside of the domain of every other similar poll in the UK as to redefine the word ‘outlier’.

    Sadly, we do not need to look far for the root cause …
    I tried to count myself out. Gave them a false name “Whatta Lyingsackofsh**e” and a valid throwaway email.

    Mickey Mouse just counted himself out three times…

    I have a dozen quite legitimate e-mail addresses (personal and business) and I’ve just used each one to be “counted out.”

    As what goes for the poll on that uk site, anyone wanna bet the out votes are up by 1000 after a few minutes?

    Shortly after that last WUWT post, in the space of 12 minutes, the ‘count me outs’ jump from 485 to 1496 in the space of just 12 minutes. Heck, might be a glitch in the site sofware, but surely more likely the scripted addition of 1,000 ‘votes’ by the poster who boasted in advance of what he was about to do.

    Hint to all riggers of polls:

    (1) Do not push your rigged results beyond the realm of plausibility .

    (2) Do not boast about having voted a dozen times. This has the double whammy effect of exposing your personal ethical system as worthless, and invalidating the poll.

    (3) If you are about to stuff 1,000 votes into the ballot box, it is probably unwise to advertise this fact in a public place. See (2).

    Now I voted in this poll, Being just one person, I used a single identity, expecting that my opinion would count for the same as eveyone elses’s. It appears I am mistaken. If I may quote… Wow, just wow. Who would think we’d see this sort of language and lack of sound judgment …?

    Oh Dear.

  25. 325

    Patrick 027 wrote in 284:

    From an economics perspective, one could consider the solar panels (or whatever conversion device is used) to be the “fuel”.

    Mark responded in 300

    Except the fuel doesn’t get consumed, so you can’t consider it fuel.

    More a catalyst.

    Quite right.

    However, I believe the way that Patrick may have been looking at things was that solar panels wear out, albeit over a rather long period of time. In this sense they might be comparable to radioactive fuel rods. The fuel gets spent, but it is still largely there — only broken down. From this perspective, “wearing out” or “decaying” might be analogous to being “used up,” and from a strictly economic perspective there might be very little difference indeed.

  26. 326
    Mark A. York says:

    “Maybe he doesn’t refute Crichton, but Robinson truly gets it when it comes to global warming.”

    Of course he does and I liked his books, but many readers didn’t. It’s just that he used some unbelievable illustrations and portrayals in it and Crichton rules still from the grave. That needs to change. I am doing my part in that regard. I attended a climate change symposium at JPL today. Just awesome. Thanks Barton. It’s a good deal better now with your help and others. Hopefully it will sell. Book two is half done.

  27. 327

    CORRECTION

    In comment 313 I had stated of…

    Scaife Family Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1450

    … that there were 17 organizations that had received $100,000 or more from the Scaife Family Foundation between the years of 1985-2006 that were also listed in the Exxon Secrets database and were therefore involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science, and that of those organizations, 66 individuals listed in the Exxon Secrets database belong to more than one organization.
    However, just looking at…

    Sarah Scaife Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1455

    … for 1985 to 2005, relying upon just the figures from Media Transparency, I found…

    38 organizations that had received $100,000 or more and were part of the Exxon Secrets database, with 102 multi-organization individuals. In total, for the period from 1985-2005, the Sarah Scaife Foundation gave $261,512,035 to organizations that received at least $100,000 from the foundation for this period and which have been implicated in the campaign against climate science.

    In any case, it appears that I missed a significant amount of the funding — and the Scaife Foundations do not simply consist of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, so the amounts are bound to be more.

    Consequently the figure of $261,512,035 for Scaife funding should be regarded as conservative — and I may very well have overlooked funding with some of the other foundations.

  28. 328

    CORRECTIONS

    I have already given a corrections involving the Scaife Foundations — the Sarah Scaife Foundation is larger than what I had given for the Scaife Family Foundation. The corrections for the non-Scaife foundations were smaller.

    The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc.
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1456

    27 organizations on the Exxon list have received $100,000 or more from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation from 1985-2005, with 84 individuals belonging to 2 or more of those organizations. The grand total given by the foundation to these 27 organizations for this period is $64,707,196.

    *

    Aggregated Grants from the Charles G. Koch, David H. Koch, and Claude R. Lambe Foundations
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1457

    20 organizations on the Exxon list for have received $100,000 or more from the Koch/Lambe foundations from 1986-2004. Total number of individuals belonging to 2 or more of these organizations in the Exxon Secrets DB is 73. Total given: $36,815,538.

    *

    Coors’ Castle Rock Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1458

    18 organizations on the Exxon list for having received $100,000 or more from the Castle Rock foundation from 1995-2006. 55 individuals on the Exxon list that belong to 2 or more of these organizations. Total given $7,068,760.

    *

    Calculating the total amount given by the foundations dealt with in this comment and that involving the Sarah Scaife Foundation, we have $370,103,529 given to organizations involved in the disinformation campaign against climate science. Well over a quarter of a billion dollars. Undoubtedly much of this money was spent on other things, but it is nevertheless indicative of the scale and coordination commanded by these foundations.

  29. 329

    CORRECTION

    One last correction. The formula used in calculating the total given by the Sarah Scaife Foundation was incorrect. The amount it gave was roughly equal to the total amount given to all causes and organizations by the Sarah Scaife Foundation. For just those organizations of interest to us here we are looking at $101,205,000, not $261,512,035.

    Thus the total for all of the organizations I have included should be $209,796,494, not $370,103,529. The amount given by the Sarah Scaife Foundation to those organizations involved in the disinformation campaign is roughly equal to that given by the other (non-Scaife) foundations I analyzed combined.

  30. 330

    The old consensus isn’t science bogus line is surfacing again; how’s this for a new twist? In a little battle I had at The Australian last week, one Greig, a staunch acolyte of the cult of carbon, accuses me of being in a minority of one in correcting his misrepresentation of Mojib Latif‘s recent comments on how we need better tools to model short-term trends. I find this amusing in view of the denialists’ claim that science is not composed out of consensus.

    Let’s contrast a few cases:
    1. thousands of scientists publish papers, passing a rigorous process of peer review that may sometimes allow serious errors to slip through. When they all get consistent results (barring a few cases shown to be in error), they agree the probability all are making a serious error is close to zero. Right wing bloggers and columnists denounce “consensus” as foreign to science.
    2. thousands of people of no known qualification sign a petition. Right wing bloggers announce that the number who signed the petition is proof that the science is bogus
    3. a couple of usually correct news sources make an error in interpreting a scientist’s remarks, and hundreds of bloggers who usually revile these same news sources suddenly cite them as unimpeachable authorities

    Spot a small inconsistency here?

  31. 331
    canbanjo says:

    Hi, a bit off thread, but just listened to BBC radio 4 – a piece by Clive James on scepticism.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm

    from about 7mins 40s to 9mins 40s on global warming. Unfortunately although he admits to knowing nothing about global warming, he seems to believe he is enough of an authority to conclude that there is no consensus, that the science is not settled and that there are only scientists either for, or against.

    Awful.

  32. 332
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    To all the motley and ignorant remmants of denylists out there..take a look at the 350 army! What does that tell you? that the general public all over the world are demanding from thier respective ‘leaders’ to take assertive and bold action to attempt to lessen the catastrophic impacts of anthropegenic climate change before it’s well and truly too late. To all the remaining denylist scum out there..watch your back! and let those who truly love the planet wrestle it’s fate out the grubby hands of the coal, oil and other affiliated industries..who left to there own selfish devices will surly destroy us all.
    Even if we stop polluting tomorrow it will still take 60+ years for the atmosphere to begin resoring itself..by that time the arctic will be largely ice free mor most of the year..will no thermanl regulator what is in store for us???

  33. 333
    Gail says:

    srsly? http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/science/earth/25threefifty.html?scp=1&sq=350&st=cse

    Please tell me this was out of context!

    A focus on 350 makes a lot of sense to me, because it is a real, measurable target.

    [Response: The quote wasn’t out of context, but the point I was trying to make is that there is very little point in spending much time arguing about whether 350, 387, 450 or 280 ppm as targets when we are headed in completely the wrong direction. We don’t know what the full consequences of 450 would be, and we don’t know even what the long term consequences of the current levels are. So an aim for something less than today is a good long term goal. However, people should be aware that there is very little possibility that anyone will get a cast iron scientific case for any very specific number. But – and this is key – all of these targets are moot if emissions keep increasing. We need to turn the car around. – gavin]

  34. 334
    rykart says:

    May have posted this in the wrong section…sorry for the repost.

    Wonderful site. Just curious to hear from the experts here on their view of the 350 campaign. I’m not asking about the political ramifications but rather, an assessment of whether 350 PPM of C02 is widely considered among climate scientists to be the upper limit allowable to avert catastrophe or if any strong consensus exists today as to what that upper limit might be. The anti-350 crowd claim the goal is utterly unmeetable. If this is true, what is the ballpark extent of disaster we will face..or are there simply too many variables to venture a meaningful guess at this point?

  35. 335
    Gail says:

    Since there’s no way to achieve 350 ppm without turning the car around, I’m surprised you don’t endorse that goal. If there is any chance we can avert climaticide we desperately need a popular international movement for folks to rally in support of clean renewable energy, and demand leadership from our governments – and 350.org although perhaps not ideal, is the closest I’ve seen to that. Unless there’s something bigger going on that I don’t know about yet.

    [Response: I’m not arguing with anything you say here. My point was that *arguing* about exact targets is a waste of effort, not that rallying around the goal was. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. -gavin]

    Civil disobedience Nov. 1?

    Ha ha, I was handing out leaflets yesterday before the matinee performance of Aida at Lincoln Center, and one guy handed it back to me and said, sorry, but I work for the Chamber of Commerce. Oh boy did you guys ever get punked! I said, and he laughed.

  36. 336
    Paul says:

    350 – If you don’t have defined goal then you have nothing to strive for. Check it out: http://www.zazzle.com/350_now_tshirt-235693678115775281?gl=zipteedoo&group=womens&lifestyle=classic&rf=238778706144811487

  37. 337
    Mark says:

    “However, I believe the way that Patrick may have been looking at things was that solar panels wear out, albeit over a rather long period of time”

    However, the palladium catalyst converter in car exhausts needs recycling and the cat is definitely a catalyst. Not a fuel.

    It’s not a terrible way to look at it, but “fuel” carries far too heavy a loading in unquestioned assumptions to be used.

  38. 338
    Gail says:

    Gavin, could you maybe ask the NYT to publish a clarification, because the way they paraphrased your comments makes it sound like you think rallying around the goal is misguided:

    “Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate scientist who works with Dr. Hansen and manages a popular blog on climate science, realclimate.org, said those promoting 350 or debating the number might be missing the point.”

    as in, “promoting 350”

    I would be very sorry to see some climate deniers take your statement and use it to discredit the legitimacy of the concept.

  39. 339

    Last post on this for a while.

    I looked at the aggregated grants may by the Scaife Foundations according to Media Transparency — and this was of course somewhat larger than those by the Sarah Scaife Foundation…

    Aggregated Grants of Scaife Foundations
    Includes: Scaife Family Foundation, Carthage Foundation, Allegheny Foundation and Sara Scaife Foundation
    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/index.php?mapid=1459

    For the period from 1985 to 2006…

    1. A Total of 41 organizations found in the Exxon Secrets database where each organization received at least $100,000.

    2. Number of individuals belonging to multiple organizations according to the database? Unknown as I am running up against the limits of my machine with the web-based interface.

    3. The total grants for all causes by Scaife Foundations for this period was $471,475,733 according to Media Transparency. Looking only at organizations that received $100,000 or more over this period that were in the Exxon Secrets database I have $121,418,540. As such, while only 41 of the 434 organizations that received total grant amounts of at least $100,000 were in the Exxon Secrets database, thus constituting only 9.45% of the 434 organizations, 27.75% of the grant money went to organizations that are in the Exxon Secrets database.
    *
    Now if someone wishes to duplicate the results…

    Media Transparency is down — but for a little advertisement on each page to the effect that Media Transparency 2.0 is coming. However this does not mean that the material from Media Transparency is entirely inaccessible.

    I entered into Google:

    mediatransparency.org scaife aggregate

    This brings up a number of web pages with links to Media Transparency. The first web page in my results was:

    Right Web | Profile | Scaife Foundations

    Searching the web page for the link to Media Transparency gave me:

    (20) Mediatransparency: Aggregated Scaife Grants
    http://www.mediatransparency.org/scaifeaggregate.php

    Clicking on that link gives you only, “Coming Soon: Media Transparency 2.0, A Project of the Media Matters Action Network.” However, taking that link and pasting it into the search at www archive dot org gives you multiple results. I picked those from web dot archive dot org followed by…

    /web/20080408140352/http://www.mediatransparency.org/scaifeaggregate.php

    … which means it is an image of that page as it appeared on 8 April 2008 at 2:03 PM and 52 seconds.

    At that point I copied the table that appears giving the grant recipients and amounts and pasted that into Excel. Then I entered ones in the column for each organization in the Exxon Secrets database, and the rest should be fairly straight forward.

    For non-aggregated foundation grants (e.g., the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation) you can perform a Google search for:

    http://www.mediatransparency.org/funderprofile.php?funderID Bradley

    … to narrow the results.

    One point: with the Exxon Secrets database, the search for multi-organization individuals requires that you “show all people” for a given organization (after bringing up all organizations), then wait until the interface stops refreshing (I wasn’t and therefore I ended up with truncated lists of people), then “hide all people” where the people who are left behind belong to more than one organization.
    *
    In any case, I don’t know which would be worse — whether these people actually believe in the sort of extremism that they are pushing with the resources they have (the war against climate science is only one part of it — see 322 and 323 above), or if they are doing this without regard for the personal consequences of those they affect — using religion, political ideology and extremist forms of their fusion as a means of control — and are so recklessly playing with the nation’s and the world’s future simply in the pursuit of profit. Not sure that it matters. But perhaps it is a little bit of both.

  40. 340
    Martin Vermeer says:

    “truth”, what kind of scientist would you want to be treated with respect?

    You’re living in an upside down fantasy world, where every cop’s a criminal, and all the sinners saints… In the real world it’s the real scientists that are the target of ‘character assassination’, and sometimes worse, by clowns that wouldn’t be able to separate valid from invalid science if their lives depended on it.

    Grow up and return to the reality-based universe.

  41. 341
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re Timothy Chase, Mark:
    “In this sense they might be comparable to radioactive fuel rods.”

    That is a lot like what I was thinking; one can consider a solar panel to have some effective energy density (which can be quite large).

  42. 342
    Fred Magyar says:

    But – and this is key – all of these targets are moot if emissions keep increasing. We need to turn the car around. – gavin]

    No, we need to pull over, park the car and pour sand into the gas tank! Then continue the trip under human or possibly electric power generated in some sustainable and renewable manner.

    I took part in a 350 rally yesterday, on the beach in West Palm beach, organized by Reef Rescue. The focus was on protection of coral reefs and as the president of a Kayak scuba diving club in south Florida, it is an organization I have a deep (no pun intended) respect for. I have personally witnessed the degradation of our local reefs over many years of diving. While CO2 caused acidification of reef environments is but one mitigating factor in the overall decline of our tropical reefs, The vast majority of the problems have human causes. I won’t bore you here with the nasty details.

    Suffice it to say that I have very little hope that we as a society will do what is needed, I was struck by the fact that tha majority of the good people who showed up at the rally came by ICE powered automobiles. If the very people who purport to be concerned about AGW can’t find suitable alternatives for their transportation to a rally raising awareness about climate change, then what can we possibly expect of rest? That’s a rhetorical question of course, because one need only to go to the comments section of the article in today’s papers to see that most people consider the participants to be either communist terrorist against business interests or just plain nuts.

    So good luck to us all and best hopes for a new paradigm, I’m not holding my breath.

  43. 343
    Linda Dennis says:

    I’ve read Mark York’s WARM FRONT, which completely rebuts all the points Crichton made in STATE OF FEAR. Not only does Mark’s book explain climate science in a reader-friendly style, it has the hottest erotic scenes I’ve ever read in any upmarket or literary novel.

  44. 344
    Bill D says:

    My blood pressure rises when I watch commercial tv and see the “energy citizens” ads sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute. I am Indiana. Is the rest of the country also being blanketed by these ads? Their premise is that government actions on climate will lead to higher energy prices and higher unemployment. They don’t say anything about the science or the possible risks of climate change. The only conclusion “now isn’t the time to raise energy costs. Sometimes they say that gasoline prices will be driven to $4.00/gal. I’m afraid that these slick ads featuring attractive young adults will have their effects. We can only hope that many Americans will realize that the American Petroleum Institute is not a good abd unbiased source of information on climate and environmenal policy.

  45. 345
    John says:

    Re Juliette #15 of 20 Oct “Antarctic Ice website explaining status of Ice”
    This is a link to Australian Antarctic Division on Ice status.

    http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=36276

  46. 346
    Pete W says:

    #344 Bill D

    I have not seen those ads here in Oregon. Maybe someone has put one of them on youtube?

    Living in Oregon, we have ballot measure initiatives. Oregon voters have had quite a few measures to vote on that were written and submitted by puppet non-profit organizations under the control of corporate special interest groups that are motivated by financial gain. These organizations like to run massive one-sided publicity campaigns to “sell” the proposed law to the voters as a “good thing”, targeting newspapers, radio, and TV 24 by 7.

    It has been heartening to me to watch several of these types of measures go down in flames. The opposition to these types of measures rarely have deep pockets. But they quite often focus on educating the public regarding where the money is coming from for these ads they are watching 24/7. And in several cases, that has been all that it took to convince the voters that it was a bad idea.

    Lets hope the public is getting the word regarding who is paying for those ads you see. We can help in small ways. Write a letter to your local paper!

    Pete

  47. 347
    Pete W says:

    #344 Bill D

    I visited the web site for “energy citizens”, and their list of corporate sponsors includes Coal, Gas, and Petroleum organizations. What a surprise!

    Pete

  48. 348
    Jimmy Haigh says:

    “We need to turn the car around. – gavin”

    Actually, we need to ditch the car. Is anybody here willing to do that?

    [Response: It was a metaphorical car. -gavin]

  49. 349
    Chris Dudley says:

    Gavin in (#333),

    One can make a cast iron case for 280 ppm since that is where we started from and where we as a species and a civilization building set of creatures have most evolved. Unmaking our waste would put the issue to bed. It is at the higher levels where model uncertainties leave us partly in the dark and we remain unsure about what level is safe.

  50. 350
    EL says:

    I think global warming is hard to talk about in general. People on both sides of the debate are very passionate in their beliefs. To make matters worse, the topic is complex and poorly understood. People are often irrational when they are presented with such a topic. People formulate an opinion then they find evidence to support it. I’m surprised that the physiological community has not done studies on the topic of global warming in order to learn more about irrational human behavior.

    My personal thoughts on global warming are unique in a fashion. I think the global warming problem will eventually hit an extrema and decline with or without intervention. I think it’s quite obvious that the world has hit the extrema on oil production, and we will have a decline in production in the future. Coal is in much of the same shape. We will be seeing a decline in CO2 emissions with or without the aid of policy; thus, global warming will eventually self correct because we do not have enough supplies to push the models as high as predicted. As fossil fuel usage declines, renewable energy will be used to offset the difference. I think that fate is unavoidable no matter who wins public opinion.

    Your thoughts?