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Cuccinelli goes fishing again

Filed under: — group @ 4 October 2010

In keeping with our role as a site that tries to deal with the science of climate change rather than the politics, we have specifically refrained from commenting on various politically-motivated legal shenanigans relating to climate science. Some of them have involved us directly, but we didn’t (don’t) want to have RC become just a blog about us. However, the latest move by Ken Cuccinelli, the Attorney General of Virginia, against Mike Mann and UVa is so ridiculous it needs to be highlighted to the widest audience possible.

For background, Rosalind Helderman at the Washington Post has covered most of the story. The last installment was that Cuccinelli’s attempt to subpoena 10 years of emails between 39 scientists and Mike Mann and ‘all documents’ residing at UVa related to four federal and one Commonwealth of Virginia grant, was thrown out by a judge because Cuccinelli did not provide any reason to suspect that fraud had occurred and that federal grants are not covered by the relevant statute. Without due cause, the AG is not allowed to investigate (and without such a restriction, there would be no end to politically motivated witch hunts).

Yesterday, Cuccinelli filed a new demand that takes this previous judgment into account. Namely, he attempts to give a reason to suspect fraud and only targets the Commonwealth grant – though still asks for 10 years of emails with an assortment of scientists. However, his reasoning should scare the bejesus of anyone who has ever published a paper on any topic that any attorney might have a political grudge against. For the two papers in question the fraud allegation is that the authors

… knew or should have known [that they] contained false information, unsubstantiated claims, and/or were otherwise misleading. Specifically, but without limitation, some of the conclusions of the papers demonstrate a complete lack of rigor regarding the statistical analysis of the alleged data, meaning the result reported lacked statistical significance without a specific statement to that effect.

So in other words, if you publish a result that might turn out to be statistically weak or with understated error bars – even if this was in no way deliberate and regardless if you were aware of it at the time – Cuccinelli thinks that is equivalent to fraud. And any grant that you apply for that even cites this paper would therefore be a false claim under the statute. Cuccinelli is specifically not stating that deliberate scientific misconduct must have occurred, all you need to have performed is an inadequate (according to him) statistical treatment or you made an unsubstantiated claim. If you want “unsubstainted claims”, Soon and Baliunas (2003) (cited approvingly by Cuccinelli) would be a great example of course. But more generally, this would clearly open up pretty much the entire literature to ‘fraud’ investigations since one can almost always improve on the statistics. You didn’t take temporal auto-correlation into account in calculating the trend? Cuccinelli thinks that’s fraud. You didn’t fully characterise the systematic uncertainty in the “unknown unknowns”? That too. You weren’t aware of the new data that showed an older paper was incomplete? Too bad. This is not just an attack on Mike Mann, it is an attack on the whole scientific enterprise.

However, as appalling as this reasoning is, Cuccinelli’s latest request is simply bone-headed because the grant in question, entitled “Resolving the scale-wise sensitivities in the dynamical coupling between the climate and biosphere”, simply has nothing to do with the MBH98 and MBH99 papers! Even if one agreed with Cuccinelli about their quality (which we don’t), they are not referenced or mentioned even obliquely. The grant was to look at how climate variability impacted land-atmosphere fluxes of carbon, water and heat and doesn’t involve paleo-climate at all. So even if, for arguments sake, one accepted Cuccinelli’s definition of what constitutes ‘fraud’, nothing associated with this grant would qualify. We doubt there could be a clearer demonstration of the inappropriateness of Cuccinelli’s case.

Well, maybe one. In the attachment to the subpoena, Cuccinelli repeats his claim that since Mann used the word “community” in a blog post here on RC, he must therefore be using “Post Normal” jargon, and that might be “misleading/fraudulent” in the context of a grant application. Really? Scientists who use the word “community” regardless of context are therefore to be suspected of fraud? This is just embarrassing.

It might be worth pointing out that under the Virginia Bar ethics guidelines, it states that:

A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others.

We can only wonder when this will start to be applied to the current AG.

444 Responses to “Cuccinelli goes fishing again”

  1. 401

    JB 400: The knowledgeable people have long been saying that mercury only becomes a problem in organic products of mercury through the process of photosynthesis, and the warnings always relate to the food chain whereby such organic compounds get to people.

    BPL: Super! Why don’t you break some old thermometers and publicly swallow the mercury, just to show how harmless it is? Strain out the broken glass first, of course.

  2. 402
  3. 403
    Dan says:

    From the Richmond Times Dispatch:
    “U.Va. asks for stay on Cuccinelli subpeonas
    By Staff Reports

    The University of Virginia is seeking a stay on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s latest demand for information on climate research while the case is under appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.

    “The motion is intended to avoid the waste of the parties’ and the Circuit Court’s resources in litigating the next round before the Supreme Court has an opportunity to weigh in on the prior ruling and to decide whether to hear it or not,” U.Va. spokeswoman Carol Wood said by e-mail.

    In separate filings Wednesday, the university also asked Albemarle County Circuit Court to set aside a revised civil investigative demand seeking information about the climate research of former U.Va. professor Michael Mann.

    The motion cites primarily the same arguments that led Judge Paul M. Peatross Jr. in August to set aside Cuccinnelli’s earlier subpeonas.

    Cuccinnelli revised one of the civil investigative demands in September after Peatross ruled that the attorney general had not sufficiently articulated “the nature of conduct” by Mann to support its inquiry alleging that he defrauded state taxpayers to obtain the grants.”

  4. 404

    #397–I’ll listen when and if the time comes.

  5. 405
    Dan H. says:

    Regarding Mercury.
    All forms of mercury are hazardous. Organic forms, such as methyl mercury, are more commonly encountered due to ingesting of fish and other substances which have concentrated mercury. Liquid mercury, and gaseous mercury are just as hazardous, and people who have worked directly with mercury have suffered dire consequences (most famouusly Isaac Newton).

    Mercury occurs naturally, and is constantly being emitted by volcanoes, hot springs, the land, and the oceans. On a global basis, nature far exceeds man with regards to emissions. However on the local level, such as the New Almaden mine listed above, mankind far exceeds nature, which can lead to mercury posioning.

  6. 406
    Snapple says:

    Re: European corporations sponsoring US politicians and movements

    This may be a bit off-topic, but related to my concern about the sources of Cuccinelli’s money from his father’s business. The elder Cuccinelli is a gas lobbyist.

    I have been trying to find out if the elder Cuccinelli’s clients are European or even Russian gas interests. The Russian GAZPROM heats a lot of Europe these days, and they use economic leverage to advance their political agendas. There is no way that Gazprom is not doing what other gas companies are doing. They are full of former KGB political operatives. Often, it is not obvious that a company is Russian. GAZPROM also owns a LOT of media, Internet, etc. It is bad that US companies are sponsoring denialism, but if GAZPROM is involved, this is a whole different ball game. The Russian government and GAZPROM are pretty much on the same page, and GAZPROM is more than half owned by the Russian government.

    Since the fires, Medvedev has officially confirmed that there is global warming. He is the former CEO of GAZPROM, so that is a new development. It is a sensitive subject, because they want to make money and GAZPROM makes it for them. The Kremlin can’t totally boss GAZPROM. Here Medvedev is sort of talking around the subject of global warming, but the fires freaked them out.

    There is a good article at the Guardian and a link that shows how European companies are contributing to the campaigns of Senators.

    Here is the report the article is based on:

    I guess I thought that foreign money was not allowed in elections. I thought I read this on the FBI site about public corruption.

    Our denialist politicians talk about states’ rights and claim that President Obama is like King George. They almost incite people to violent revolution.

    But look who the Tea Party politicians are taking money from–foreigners. Possibly Russia, but I can’t prove it because of all the fronts.

    Here is what I found out myself about Cuccinelli, but I think experts could (and should) find out more.

  7. 407
    Edward Greisch says:

    17 CTG says:
    October 28, 2010 at 2:31 pm
    Doug, here in New Zealand we have a local group of deniers who are trying to sue the NZ temperature record. They don’t like the fact that NZ has been warming, so they trying to get the courts to rule that any temperature record that shows warming is “invalid”.

    I wish I was joking…

  8. 408
    Ray Ladbury says:

    In some ways, it is comforting to know that the US doesn’t have a monopoly on Stupid. This is especially so as the election approaches and candidates try to outdo eachother in pioneering efforts in stupid.

  9. 409
    Radge Havers says:

    A further elaboration on the riff, from the land were corporations are considered persons and money somehow = free speech:
    Climate Change Denial Pervades U.S. Elections

    “Most of these bodies call themselves “free-market thinktanks”, but their trick – as (Astro)Turf Wars points out – is to conflate crony capitalism with free enterprise, and free enterprise with personal liberty.”

  10. 410
    Rod B says:

    Radge, Matthew Berger of your reference is making mountains out of anthills. While admittedly I would guess (but don’t know for sure) many of the candidates are on the skeptic side of the equation, climate change is mentioned seldom if at all in the campaigns, Berger’s crocodile tears not withstanding. True, many talk against “cap and trade” but that overtly is because it’s a rotten bill for many reasons not directly tied to climate change. Many if not most AGW proponents think it’s a bad bill.

    $240,000 of foreign corporate contributions (a highly doubtful description but I’ll take it at face value for discussion) is “hijacking” the $3,700,000,000 2010 election???? Wow! The man seethes with hyperbole.

  11. 411
    Patrick 027 says:

    “True, many talk against “cap and trade” but that overtly is because it’s a rotten bill for many reasons not directly tied to climate change. Many if not most AGW proponents think it’s a bad bill.”

    All bills are bad; some are useful (?) – but seriously, who do you see proposing better alternatives, vs worse or none?

  12. 412
    Patrick 027 says:

    Usually I identify in some way who I’m quoting; my last comment was re Rod B’s 410

  13. 413
    Rod B says:

    Patrick 027 (411), I trust/hope you are not saying that the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill must be passed since it’s the only current one — and we have to pass something even if it is bad???!!? — albeit useful ??? (to whom???)

  14. 414
    Radge Havers says:

    Rod @ 410


    He was quoting CANE, so while the reporting is certainly incomplete (sadly no surprise there) your characterization of it is also somewhat hyperbolic given that the article is about more than just the foreign funding streams; US corporate money going to California, for example. Of the totality, including no doubt what can’t be tracked, what Berger actually says is this: “The effect of all this spending is still unclear.

    As for CANE, any effect would depend upon which particular elections were targeted, not the amounts relative to the total pool across the board. What they say (in the report linked by Snapple in 406 above ) is “The European companies are funding almost exclusively Senate candidates who have been outspoken in their opposition to comprehensive climate policy in the U.S., and candidates who actively deny the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and is caused by people.”

    You can read more of it from the link and make of the arguments and amounts what you will. Whatever. You can be sure that donors give strategically and at least attempt to get some bang for the buck–donations being one leg of a strategy that would probably also include activities under the heading of lobbying. Perhaps more to the point regarding CANE was the part of the article’s quote that you left out — the part concerning contributors’ “hypocrisy in that these companies often tout their green credentials.”

    In fact the article wraps up thusly:

    Citing the still poor economy and hostile political environment, Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, sees the outcome of the elections as “likely to make advancing climate policy an even tougher fight than we experienced over the last two years”.

    “I think I speak for most of those working on this issue in Washington when I say the chances of passing a major climate bill in the next two years are nearly zero,” Claussen told an energy and business convention in Tel Aviv last week.

  15. 415
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod, if you’d cite sources for your assertions, it would be harder to make stuff up. Oh, wait …. well, you could read the Berger piece you appear to be talking about, which cites to opensecrets, and that would … oops. Nope, you’re going to have to look harder for credible sources for the stuff you claim. Berger’s sources disagree with what you’re saying.

  16. 416
    Snapple says:

    According to Czech intelligence officials, many European gas companies are really owned by Russians through a lot of shell companies. The Russians are “cultivating” Czech politicians, too. That’s my nice word, but you can call it infiltration and subversion if you want.

    RFE/RL has an excellent article about this, and peopel should read it a few times.

    This subversion has already happened in America in once famous case. Republican Congressman Curt Weldon’s daughter was given 500,000 dollars by the Russian gas company Itera formally for “cunsulting services.” Really she got the money because her father was a political shill for Itera.

    Itera was created by stripping some assets from Gazprom. They have a headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida and some sketchy places (possibly some money-laundry island in the Caribbean and maybe Cyprus).

    It’s so hypocritical that these Republicans talk about “states’ rights” when they are taking European (and probably Russian) money and using our states to subvert our federal government.

    They say Obama is like King George and that the states should revolt against our federal government, but really they are just trying to use the states to attack the EPA and the scientific agencies.

    The Republicans want a revolution, so I am going to give them one–I am voting Democrat and I am going to keep asking my questions about Cuccinelli’s dad’s money. I am very furious that I was tricked by them, but once I really started to pay attention to them as if they were Russian politicians, it was all very clear.

    Cuccinelli wants Dr. Mann’s emails, but he won’t be transparent about who his dad’s clients are, and the father’s company gives to his campaign. Gazprom moves its money through a maze of many different companies. It is a huge company that owns TV, Internet, banks, etc.

    I bet Cuccinelli’s secrets are a lot more damning that a few indiscrete remarks in those scientists’ emails.

    The elder Cuccinelli is a career gas lobbyist with “European” clients. Why don’t big newspapers investigate this? Don’t they know who sells gas in Europe?

    It is my suspicion that the father gets formally paid for some legitimate professional services he provides; but the real services he provides his clients may be the services of his son—our meretricious Attorney General Cuccinelli, who also got money from that alleged criminal in Florida Bobby Thompson. People don’t give you 55,000 dollars for nothing.

    Cuccinelli didn’t investigate a real criminal when the evidence was screamingly obvious, but he cooks up ridiculous fabrications against Dr. Mann.

    Cuccinelli tried to put consumer affairs under the authority of the AG office. That would have protected bogus charities/money laundries like Thompson’s from oversight.

    This is like the police protecting the drug dealers, something which the FBI just stopped in Puerto Rico.

    That’s what some Russian police do–they protect the criminals. That’s what the KGB does–they protect the criminals.

    Thompson also gave money in Ohio to a former AG whose law firm included experts on consumer affairs. He gave that firm 100s of thousands in “legal fees.”

    The indictment came down in Cleveland. Cuccinelli’s dad has an office in Cleveland, but that may be a coincidence.

    If I have to speculate, that is Cuccinelli’s fault for his lack of transparency about his dad’s “European” clients.

    The alleged Florida criminal Thompson vanished successfully, but they got a woman who worked for him and the computers.

    I am a Republican, and I think the leaders of my party are nothing but a bunch of thieves who are trying to trick us by appealing to traditional values.

  17. 417
    Snapple says:

    Here is another RFE/RL article about the Russian petrostate’s political subversion. Read the whole thing. This is a good quote:

    \In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries.\


    Since Vladimir Putin took power a decade ago, Russia, the world’s biggest energy exporter, has been extending an ever-tighter grip over Europe’s energy market by vying for control over the pipeline networks, storage facilities, and utilities that deliver Russian oil and natural gas to European consumers. It has been doing that partly by rebuilding the influence it lost after the Cold War in former Soviet bloc countries that are now members of the European Union and NATO. \Russian energy companies are using their old, communist-era contacts,\ former Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursik says.

    The contacts include lobbyist Miroslav Slouf, a former communist youth leader whose Slavia Consulting company brokered a deal by Russia’s LUKoil to supply 20 percent of the jet fuel used at Prague’s international airport last year. No other companies bid for the deal, despite a promise by then-Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek to diversify energy supplies. LUKoil’s main promoter in the Czech Republic, Slouf also happens to be the right-hand man of popular former Prime Minister Milos Zeman, a social democrat who many believe to be eyeing the presidency…

    To conceal its designs, the Kremlin relies on a dizzying web of shell companies nominally owned and operated by Europeans but in reality controlled by Moscow to attack by stealth. Among them, a gas-trading company named Vemex has taken 12 percent of the Czech domestic market since its establishment in 2001 to sell Russian natural gas. Although there’s nothing on Vemex’s website to indicate it, the company is Czech in name only. It’s actually controlled by Gazprom through a series of companies based in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, including Centrex Europe Energy and Gas, which has helped spearhead the Russian drive to buy energy assets across Europe.

    Centrex is registered in Austria and, according to Gazprom’s website, founded by its own Gazprombank. But the company’s real ownership is impossible to trace. According to the European Commission, Centrex is owned by Centrex Group Holding Ltd., registered in Cyprus, a company controlled by Gazprom’s German subsidiary, and RN Privatstiftung, a Vienna foundation whose stockholders are unknown.

    Why go to the trouble of hiding the real owners of companies either already known or believed to be controlled by Gazprom? Vemex is just one of a large number of enterprises Gazprom has set up in countries across Central and Eastern Europe to jockey for stakes in European energy utilities. By disguising the real owners, Gazprom makes its actions more palatable to Europeans wary of expanding Russian influence.

    Investigative journalist Jaroslav Plesl points the finger at his own countrymen for enabling Moscow. Czechs are \willing to sell anything,\ he says of the staggering corruption in his country, something Russian companies have been able to exploit by taking advantage of nontransparent tenders. They also lobby to prevent the development of regulations that would prohibit those kinds of activities, with the effect of exporting the kind of corruption that dominates Russia.

    Former foreign-intelligence chief Karel Randak fears there’s little that can be done to counter those activities. \If the Russians want to gain control over some strategic assets in the Czech Republic,\ he says, \they will do it via companies in Switzerland or Western Europe, and no one’s able to say the Russians are behind this or that firm.\

    In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries. [Read the whole article.]

  18. 418
    Snapple says:

    Let me explain this quote.

    “In Western Europe, Moscow has operated by making lucrative arrangements with foreign energy companies that become de facto lobbyists for the Kremlin within their own countries.”

    “Lucrative arrangement” means the Russians pay thier partners more than the deal is worth because the Russians want their business partners to do double duty as lobbyists.

    In Soviet Studies this is called being an agent of influence.

    Attorney General Cuccinelli’s father is a career gas lobbyist with “European” clients.

    This is why I keep asking who the dad’s clients are and what services Cuccinelli provides them. Maybe the elder Cuccinelli has a “lucritive arrangement,” too. Maybe he gets paid extra to be a de facto lobbyist for the Kremlin.

    Cuccinelli could clear up my suspicions if I am wrong.

    Why doesn’t Cuccinelli answer my questions? I voted for him. I guess I didn’t buy him, however.

  19. 419
    Rod B says:

    Hank, I have little idea what you’re talking about in 415. I was simply commenting on the referenced provided from the reference provided. As Radge responded I might have misattributed some of the information (Berger instead of CANE) and possibly missed some of the nuances. But then Berger certainly did not go out of his way to explain the more tempered nuances — he clearly had no interest in readers picking up on them as opposed to accepting his (implied) hyperbole.

    Not too important; I just don’t think it helps your-all’s case by citing egregiously exaggerated (even if implied) stuff. A couple of unexaggerated examples — like this thread — ought to do.

  20. 420
    Snapple says:

    A lot of these Internet blogs that promote political causes have a Paypal. Perhaps people who have a popular and influential denialist blog that gets a lot of hits can get money on their paypal from God knows who.

    I used to post on a blog where the owner claimed he worked for NASA but didn’t believe in global warming. This confused me until I looked at NASA’s site. After that, I thought that his claim that he worked for NASA was very improbable.

    Here is this pretty influential blogger.

    The blogger defended Congressman Curt Weldon who promoted the Russian gas company ITERA and spread a conspiracy theory about the 9-11 hijackers called “Able Danger.” That conspiracy seemed funky to me, too.

    Weldon was all mixed up with the Russians, but he was trying to cast aspersions on a really smart, high-level CIA official. Not a politic move for someone with dubious associations with Russians, IMO.

    When I don’t know about a subject, I always check out what each side says about themselves. I don’t just read what their opponents claim they said. I know I can be fooled by effective propaganda.

    I try to notice if the different sides mischaracterize their opponent’s positions. The denialists do mischaracterize their opposition’s arguments. Denialists don’t argue honestly with the scientists. I noticed that when denialists took advantage of a BBC interview with Dr. Phil Jones that didn’t make the term “statistically significant” clear. I think I explained this with an analogy any ordinary person could understand.

    I have a very sincere Republican friend who swallows the Cuccinelli denialist line. She reads all those “conservative” news sites instead of major media and real scientific sites. She is always saying that there is so much misinformation on the Internet, but she doesn’t mean the blogs SHE reads.

    I think ordinary conservatives don’t really understand how they are being tricked by these political operatives–these radicals who call themselves “conservatives.”

    My friend was very confused to learn that the Pope says there is global warming. Cuccinelli says the scientists are basically greedy liars, so I asked her if the Pope was also a greedy liar.

    I have a background in Soviet Studies. You really have to understand that people really are really blinded by propaganda that cynically panders to their political orientation, religious, and national values.

    Cuccinelli gets a lot of good press with Catholics for his opposition to abortion, but global warming is also a “choose life” issue. Catholics often don’t know the Vatican’s position on global warming.

    If would be good if scientists would stress that the Vatican accepts global warming because the denialists try to turn denialism into a Christian position and pit conservative Christians against “atheist” scientists.

    The scientists are trying to show us how to conserve our planet and our civilizations. That’s really conservative, I think. Taking money from foreign companies and perhaps even the Russians is very radical and subversive. Those Europeans should butt out of our elections.

    Here is what the Vatican says:

    “The scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the IPCC findings are going to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socio-economic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk…Many of the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts.”—Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, H.E. MSGR. Celestino Migliore (5-10-07)

    I think this is what the great scientists are telling us, too.

  21. 421
    Snapple says:

    Has anyone noticed this little bit of fabricated citation in Cuccinelli’s brief against the EPA? The brief to the EPA mischaracterizes/fabricates/changes what their “cited” Russian source actually wrote.

    Cuccinelli’s brief against the EPA (penned by his credulous Deputy W. Russell) “cites” the economist Andrei Illarionov’s Institute for Economic Analysis (IEA) from the official Russian press agency RIA Novosti as evidence that the CRU is faking evidence because they failed to count all the Russian weather stations (See pages 14-15 and footnote 12).

    Let us overlook the fact that Illarionov may not be an independent or reliable source since he worked for Putin and Chernomyrdin, the former head of the Soviet Gas Ministry. Illarionov also works for the Koch-funded Cato Institute since he supposedly had a “falling out” with Putin (but still is quoted in Russia’s official press agency).

    Here is the document. Now try and follow this even tho’ I don’t have red and blue hilighters like Mashey.

    Cuccinelli’s joint motion mischaracterizes the Russian article about Climategate it “cited” which actually attacks the “Hadley Center” for ignoring Russian weather stations while the Cuccinelli brief identifies the culprits as the “CRU.”

    How authoritative can Cuccinelli’s brief be if his Russian source on Climategate blames the Hadley Center for ignoring weather stations and Cuccinelli blames the CRU for ignoring weather stations?

    The Russian article does not blame the CRU for allegedly ignoring weather stations.

    Compare Cuccinelli’s joint motion (p. 14-15 and FN #12) with what the “cited” Russian article actually says:

    “On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

    The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory.

    Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports.

    Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

    The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

    The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.”

    The RIA Novosti article had this disclaimer at the end:

    “RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.”

    I think lawyers call this “Caveat Emptor,” which is pig Latin for “don’t buy a pig in a poke.”

    If that W. Russell wrote that brief all by his lonesome, how did he ever manage to write CRU instead of Hadley Center?

  22. 422
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 413 Rod B – I tend not to pay as much attention to criticisms when it comes from people who really aren’t interested in making something better. What specifically is so bad about Waxman-Markey, and how would you fix it?

  23. 423
    Snapple says:

    RIA Novosti article Cuccinelli “cited” in his EPA brief never said this. Cuccinelli or a collaborator made this up. The author may be his Deputy W. Russell:

    “On December 15, 2009—the very day that EPA announced the Endangerment Finding—the Russian Institute of Economic Analysis (“IEA”) reported that CRU probably tampered with Russian climate data and that the Russian meteorological station data do not support human-caused global warming. It was well established that CRU had dropped many Russian stations in the colder regions of the country supposedly because these stations were no longer maintained. The IEA stated that, on the contrary, the stations still report temperatures but that CRU ignores the results.

    The Novosti article actually alleged that the Hadley Centre tampered with climate data from meteorological stations. However, this is strange because the Hadley is responsible for sea-surface temperatures. CRU is responsible for temperatures taken from meteorological stations on the land.

    Perhaps the authors mischaracterized what the RIA Novosti said because RIA Novosti got those basic facts wrong.

    I made a post about this fabrication. Attorney Generals shouldn’t be mischaracterizing their sources.

  24. 424
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod claims the article says outside money is $240,000 and tells us it’s not significant in election spending.

    Compare Rod’s number to the numbers cited by the article’s source:

    Fact-check Rod. It’s boring, tedious, and annoying.
    But he’s consistently making stuff up and handwaving and then arguing about definitions when challenged to cite sources for his claims.


    ReCaptcha offers: also evilli

    Well, that’s another opinion.

  25. 425
    Edward Greisch says:

    If the Republicans win the House, Joe McCarthy is back.

  26. 426
    Radge Havers says:

    Edward Greisch @ 425

    What the article says:

    “But the primary focus will be on the EPA’s determination last year that carbon dioxide and other emissions endanger public welfare by contributing to climate change. Armed with this finding, the EPA has moved to reduce greenhouse gases by mandating emissions reductions in vehicles and will soon move to regulate stationary sources like power plants and factories.”

    How it will be read:

    “…EPA…and other…s … endanger public welfare… .
    Armed with … gases… .”

    And then there’s:

    ” Several independent panels abroad and in the U.S. that reviewed the emails cleared the scientists of wrongdoing and found their research to be reliable.”

    Pinko seething, no doubt.

  27. 427
  28. 428
    Rod B says:

    Patrick 027, my opinion is the bill is too costly and ineffective. But that wasn’t my point which was that the reference was using much candidate fussing about Waxman-Markey — which they do — to get people to believe that the candidates are beating a firestorm against AGW — which they aren’t.

  29. 429
    Rod B says:

    Hank, why are you taking me to task for what someone else claimed and someone else again referenced as insightful? My only claim was that $240,000 out of $3.7B (the author’s figures) didn’t seem, er, quite enough to “hijack” (the author’s word) the election. Are you implying the referenced author misquoted his own sources and somehow I’m obligated to verify that???!!?

  30. 430
    Patrick 027 says:

    428 Rod B – “too costly and ineffective” – I’ll let somebody else challenge that…

    How would you rate a CO2eq net emissions tax, based on public cost (externality), with a proportional tariff/subsidy on imports/exports based on the differing policies among trade partners,

    with in the near term (due to present economic difficulties), much tax money going to a combination of temporary cuts to other taxes, paying for the deficit, and various economic aid, particularly to communities that would bear more of the tax burden, in the form of retraining (for coal miners, gas/oil drillers and ‘frackers’, etc) and projects (build wind farms and related business/industry to employ former coal-mining communities, for example),

    as well as R&D and government spending on clean energy, efficiency, sequestration, and land-use issues pertaining to climate change (based on good criteria) (some of these categories can overlap),

    with the longer term spending focused more on the later (until the various new climate-friendly industries have grown to the point of mass-market size and strength)

    in addition to funds to pay for the necesary climate adaptation costs, including doing right by other countries (in particular, countries without the history of similar or larger emissions per capita, hit by adverse effects, and the hosts of climate-change refugees), and including proactive investments in infrastructure (and land-use) and related R&D


    Public lo-ans with low interest rates reflecting the low risk of some renewable energy alternatives, where private lo-ans with such appropriate characteristics are not available


    in the near term, various targeted incentives (also a destination for tax revenue),

    Updates to building and power plant, infrastructure, land-use, and consumer goods, etc, codes/regulations, – not a one-size fits all code that would have expensive solar panels installed underneath trees, but rather, codes that are structured to direct actions based on relevant conditions, including economics and product availability/cost – and also, changes in existing policies to break through barriers to clean alternatives that only exist out of habit/inertia or otherwise not due to actual costs and benifits

    Proactive review of siting issues for possible clean energy projects, to provide a roadmap so that industries can know where they can and can’t site power plants, etc.

    Phase out subsidies for polluting activities; also not directly related to climate change: regulate coal mines, etc, force the industries to respect private property rights, stop mountaintop removal mining and fracking, other stuff…

    (this was thrown together quickly; I’ve done longer more carefully arranged versions before)

  31. 431
    Rod B says:

    Patrick 027, this is neither the time nor place to develop cap and trade or tax ideas. I can imagine being supportive of some carbon tax, but nowhere near what you imply and the boatload of goodies you have the carbon tax covering. The devil is in the details. Plus a tax has an endemic downside as the feds never see a tax that Congress and the Executive can’t get a ton of their own windfall benefits from once they get their mitts on it. Something like the temporary excise tax on telephone service to help finance WWI…… Plus no tax should be applied to any region or group that does not have a readily available alternative, even if somewhat more costly.

  32. 432
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod cherrypicked the smallest number he could calculate based on the text.
    That’s why people have to look carefully at the source, not rely on the spin.
    No, Rod, I’m not surprised. Just observing how you do it.

  33. 433
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS, yes, it took a few minutes to find the full text, and yes, I do blame the journalists who write stories without providing links to sources. People deserve all the help they and we can give them to look at where the info comes from.

    So with hat tips
    to Google, who found mention of it in this article

    here it is:
    the full Climate Action Network report

  34. 434
    dhogaza says:

    Plus a tax has an endemic downside as the feds never see a tax that Congress and the Executive can’t get a ton of their own windfall benefits from once they get their mitts on it. Something like the temporary excise tax on telephone service to help finance WWI……

    So you’re saying that this ton of windfall benefits makes telephone service some sort of incredible burden on the populace and that poor people can’t afford telephones because of it? Or they can’t afford spam and have to eat rats because of it?

    What’s the point here? That government doesn’t need funding, and everyone doing work for government should be an unpaid volunteer, and government should never buy anything tangible? (like, say, a notebook).

    You tax haters astound me.

    If you don’t want any government at all, hide your address, dude …

  35. 435
    matt says:

    This is how you spot a bad lawyer. Clearly he’s rushed to judgement, is sloppy with his evidence and is perhaps too captured by Fox news. Really with Ken, its about his ego and this mantle of crusader he’s given himself. I’m sure the next lawsuit will be aimed at NASA for having evidence the earth doesn’t orbit Ken Cuccinelli’s big head.

  36. 436
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod B, Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I like paying taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

    First, taxes are essential if we are to have a government at all. Second, taxes can serve to capture costs that would be difficult to capture otherwise–e.g. degradation of the environment. Shouldn’t it bother you that it is cheaper to buy perishable tropical fruits than locally produced apples and pears, Rod? What kind of chance do you think it gives US manufacturing when goods can be transported very cheaply around the world by countries that effectively use slave labor to produce them.

  37. 437
    Rod B says:

    Hank, it’s hard to comprehend why you keep beating my chops for something someone else said. Probably a total waste of time but since you clearly didn’t read it I will post direct quotes from the referenced article.

    “The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which tracks these figures on its website, predicts the current election’s campaigns will end up costing 3.7 billion dollars or more…..”

    “Nearly 80 percent of the $306,100 contributed by European corporations….. [and BTW 80% of $306,000 is $244,800]… has gone to those who oppose U.S. action on climate change, CANE says, amounting to what it calls a hijacking of U.S. elections….”

    The claim that $240K can hijack a $3.7B election seems atrocious to me. If you choose to buy into it, that’s O.K. by me.

    What other cherries are there in the article that I am passing up to pick this cherry (watermelon?)?

    I still have no idea why if A presents a referenced article by B to make a point, and that I point out some errors and exaggerations in B, I have to go verify A’s reference, B.

  38. 438
    Rod B says:

    Great! So, a 74% national sales tax, a flat 63% income tax, and a $10,000/ton carbon tax would be just dandy with you all — since taxes are just hunky-dory and our government boys are all altruistic. How long have y’all been living up there in those clouds?

    Retorts that y’all are clearly not that silly are not allowed until you retract the criticism that I am against all taxes, which you got from your rear, not from me.

    Some taxation is necessary or helpful, and good. Some taxation is burdensome, confiscatory, economy killing, and bad. It all depends. (I’m not going to fast here, am I?) My example of the telephone excise tax was not that it was terribly burdensome (though was quite noticeable in WWI times) but that it was a temporary tax that the pols soon figured out they could keep in (for another 80+ years now), get away with it without a lot of fuss, and dole out some vote-getting goodies from it after its original use was done. If you think a large bunch of that carbon tax will not be doled out for the benefit of Congresspeople and White House people, you need to get out more often.

  39. 439
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod, the “claim that $240K can hijack a $3.7B election” is your strawman.
    Well, one of them, along with your tax rates. Go with it, you’re on a roll.

  40. 440
    Hank Roberts says:

    Here, Rod, you can use this if you spin it the right way.
    The EPA has a most-wanted list.

  41. 441
  42. 442
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Rod, wipe the spittle from the corners of your mouth. It’s unbecoming.

    OK, Rod, my boy, perhaps you can tell us how YOU would bring petroleum, coal and other fossil fuels to reflect their true cost, including environmental degradation. Or is you libertarian borrow-and-spend philosophy of government so weak that you feel more comfortable challenging established science than proposing solutions to real problems?

    Your turn!

  43. 443
    matt camp says:

    It doesn’t matter if we tax or not tax. The reality is we need to beat oil and coal on the raw economics and practicality. Which is possible.

    If electricity markets are further deregulated and we get another “california power crisis” type fake emergency/heist. There would be a large market for people wanting to get off the grid.

  44. 444
    Rod B says:

    Ray, as I said, I think a carbon tax might be a potential help or partial help. It just has to be done very carefully and be acceptable to more than rabid AGWers. I haven’t thought those details through anywhere near as required.

    Libertarians have a borrow-and-spend philosophy of government?? Really?? I would not have guessed Obama is a libertarian!