But of course it is, all an independent observer had to do was look at the parties kvetching and the parties kvetched about, and weigh who had more credibility. Hint, not the Fox News team…
[Eagles sitting on an Alaskan glacier fragment]
Despite relentless noise from climate skeptics about the so-called “Climategate” email scandal, an independent review released today cleared the scientists involved of wrong-doing.
East Anglia University, home of the Climatic Research Unit whose servers were hacked to obtain the emails in question, commissioned an independent review council to look into whether there was any evidence of malfeasance among scientists involved in the email exchange. The panel concluded:
We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.
The panel did note that there is a need for greater collaboration between climate scientists, outside of just the small group at CRU. But the university called the conclusion “gratifying.”
Other independent analysis has also made it clear that skeptics are making a lot of noise out of nothing.
Still, the ExxonMobil sponsored Rethuglicans use the strategy of the Big Lie. By the time the truth emerges, half of the folks who only pay attention to the surface of the news will be repeating the Big Lie as if it were gospel.
So amazing that public opinion can be such at odds with scientific fact. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, people believe in witches and angels and so forth.
Elizabeth Kolbert, of the New Yorker, writes:
Joe Bastardi, who goes by the title “expert senior forecaster” at AccuWeather, has a modest proposal. Virtually every major scientific body in the world has concluded that the planet is warming, and that greenhouse-gas emissions are the main cause. Bastardi, who holds a bachelor’s degree in meteorology, disagrees. His theory, which mixes volcanism, sunspots, and a sea-temperature trend known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, is that the earth is actually cooling. Why don’t we just wait twenty or thirty years, he proposes, and see who’s right? This is “the greatest lab experiment ever,” he said recently on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show.
Bastardi’s position is ridiculous (which is no doubt why he’s often asked to air it on Fox News). Yet there it was on the front page of the Times last week. Among weathermen, it turns out, views like Bastardi’s are typical. A survey released by researchers at George Mason University found that more than a quarter of television weathercasters agree with the statement “Global warming is a scam,” and nearly two-thirds believe that, if warming is occurring, it is caused “mostly by natural changes.” (The survey also found that more than eighty per cent of weathercasters don’t trust “mainstream news media sources,” though they are presumably included in this category.)
Why, with global warming, is it always one step forward, two, maybe three steps back?
and on the crazy, oft-repeated assertion that somehow a mistake in a United Nations Report invalidated the entire evidence for global climate change:
The e-mail brouhaha was followed by—and immediately confused with—another overblown controversy, about a mistake in the second volume of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, from 2007. On page 493 of the nine-hundred-and-seventy-six-page document, it is asserted, incorrectly, that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. (The report cites as a source for this erroneous information a report by the World Wildlife Fund.) The screw-up, which was soon acknowledged by the I.P.C.C. and the W.W.F., was somehow transformed by commentators into a reason to doubt everything in the three-volume assessment, including, by implication, the basic laws of thermodynamics. The “new scandal (already awarded the unimaginative name of ‘Glaciergate’) raises further challenges for a scientific theory that is steadily losing credibility,” James Heiser wrote on the Web site of the right-wing magazine New American.
No one has ever offered a plausible account of why thousands of scientists at hundreds of universities in dozens of countries would bother to engineer a climate hoax. Nor has anyone been able to explain why Mother Nature would keep playing along; despite what it might have felt like in the Northeast these past few months, globally it was one of the warmest winters on record.
The message from scientists at this point couldn’t be clearer: the world’s emissions trajectory is extremely dangerous. Goofball weathermen, Climategate, conspiracy theories—these are all a distraction from what’s really happening. Which, apparently, is what we’re looking for.
Mind boggling, and why worry about the small stuff in our daily lives? We’re all going to drown soon as the morons yell down the scientists and influence the politicians to ignore the problem, and we pass the point of No Return.
One final point: I did not realize this schmuck Joe Bastardi1 worked for AccuWeather. I’m deleting their apps from my iPhone and iPad. Why support this asshole?
I’m not making the obvious joke about his name as I’m sure so many have before me [↩]
For your depressing global climate change news of the day:
WEST BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — It’s on the calendar. It’s widely advertised. This year, everybody knows about it but the trees. And they are the central characters in Vermont’s annual maple syrup open house this weekend, when tourists descend on the state to watch trees being tapped and sap being boiled
Sugaring season ended early for many syrup farmers in southern Vermont, sabotaged by unseasonably warm weather.
Lisa Hamilton has finished making her maple syrup. “We were done last week,” said Ms. Hamilton, who was able to boil out just over 100 gallons of syrup — about a third of what she produced last year.
Maple syrup season was always my favorite time of year as a kid: spring meant snow was beginning to melt, plus there was lot of opportunity to play in mud as I walked the mile home from where the school bus dropped me off. I didn’t participate much in the actual maple harvesting process, but it does have an evocative smell which I can still recall after all these intervening years.
A few interesting links collected January 10th through January 17th:
New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers — Daily Intel – The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that, Nisenholtz and others believed, would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. (The nytimes.com homepage, for example, has sold out on numerous occasions in the past year.) As other papers failed to survive the massive migration to the web, the Times would be the last man standing and emerge with even more readers. Going paid would capture more circulation revenue, but risk losing significant traffic and with it ad dollars.
The Climate Killers : Rolling Stone – The Climate Killers Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming: Warren Buffett
Jack Gerard, President, American Petroleum
Rex Tillerson, CEO, ExxonMobil
Sen. Mary Landrieu, Democrat, Louisiana
Marc Morano, Founder, Climate Depot
Sen. James Inhofe, Republican, Oklahoma
David Ratcliffe, CEO, Southern Company
Dick Gephardt, CEO, Gephardt Group
George Will, Commentator, ABC
Tom Donohue, President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Don Blankenship, CEO, Massey Energy
Hack Scientist, Fred Singer, Retired physicist, University of Virginia
Sen. John McCain, Republican, Arizona
Rep. Joe Barton, Republican, Texas
Charles and David Koch, CEO and Executive Vice President, Koch Industries
Hard on the heels of the health care protests, another citizen movement seems to have sprung up, this one to oppose Washington’s attempts to tackle climate change. But behind the scenes, an industry with much at stake — Big Oil — is pulling the strings.
The event on Tuesday was organized by a group called Energy Citizens, which is backed by the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s main trade group. Many of the people attending the demonstration were employees of oil companies who work in Houston and were bused from their workplaces.
This was the first of a series of about 20 rallies planned for Southern and oil-producing states to organize resistance to proposed legislation that would set a limit on emissions of heat-trapping gases, requiring many companies to buy emission permits. Participants described the system as an energy tax that would undermine the economy of Houston, the nation’s energy capital.
Opposing climate change legislation, how forward thinking!
One such group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity went as far as having their PR agency forge letters from non-profit groups and sending them to Congress. They’ve been caught, and are attempting to blame a “temporary worker”. Uhh, yeah, right.
A public relations firm hired by a pro-coal industry group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, recently sent at least 58 letters opposing new climate laws to members of Congress. An investigation by the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming found that a total of 13 letters sent by the firm, Bonner & Associates, were forgeries. The committee is currently investigating another 45 letters to determine whether they are fakes. The letters purported to be from groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Hispanic organizations.
Mother Jones has more:
Rep. Ed Markey’s Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has released a new batch of bogus letters sent to members of Congress by Bonner & Associates, including one the DC-based PR and lobbying firm previously told the committee was genuine but admitted on Monday was also a fake. The letters claim to be from representatives of local senior citizens groups concerned that climate change legislation will drive up energy costs for the elderly in an already “volatile economy.”
Founded in 1984 by Jack Bonner, a former GOP Senate aide and Republican National Committee staffer, the company specializes in Astroturf campaigns—efforts to create the illusion of grassroots support around the positions of its corporate clients. The firm accomplishes this by, among other things, convincing citizens, nonprofits, and others to sign letters to lawmakers in support or opposition to various issues.
Markey’s committee has been investigating the falsified letters since late July. According to a release issued by the committee on Monday:
The five letters revealed today brings the total number of fraudulent letters to 13, now representing 9 different community groups. The letters released today were staged to appear as if they were sent by groups representing senior citizen services like the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging. Previous letters already made public were from the Charlottesville NAACP chapter, Creciendo Juntos, a hispanic advocacy organization, the Jefferson Area Board on Aging, and the American Association of University Women.
In a statement, Markey drew parallels between advocacy efforts to derail health care reform and those opposing global warming legislation. “We’ve seen fear-mongering with our nation’s senior citizens with health care, and now we’re seeing fraud-mongering with senior citizens on clean energy,” he said. “Lately, democratic debate has been deceptively debased by fake facts and harsh rhetoric. We must return to an honest discussion of the issues, and ensure that this sort of campaign does not further poison the well of trustworthy debate.”
But a closer look suggests a culture at Bonner and Associates that makes such deception all but inevitable. As one former employee put it, at Bonner, distortion “was the norm rather than the exception.”
Internal Bonner documents obtained by TPMmuckraker, and interviews with former employees, shed light on the modus operandi of a firm that’s known as the pioneer of astroturf lobbying — that is, creating the illusion of grassroots support for corporate-backed positions, just as corporate-backed groups like Freedom Works are currently doing in their fight against health-care reform. Bonner’s business model involves using both carrots and sticks in spurring low-paid and poorly-trained employees to convince local groups or individual voters to agree to offer nominal expressions of support for the campaigns of the firm’s corporate clients, which have included Philip Morris, the health insurance industry, and the pharmaceutical industry, among others. Often the voters or local groups know little about the legislation at hand, which is typically obscure to all but the industries affected by it — medical liability reform, say. But the resulting form letters, faxes, or phone calls are then represented to a list of targeted lawmakers — generally drawn up by the client — as genuine expressions of grassroots concern. Bonner then satisfies its client by reporting back to it on the number of communications it’s generated.
and much more on Bonner and Associates if you’re interested.
You would think such transparently false campaigns would be ineffective once exposed, but apparently Senators and Members of Congress are easily fooled, and don’t have time in their busy schedules of lobbyist dinners and fund-raising luncheons to read much news.
Any-hoo, our building had to replace its roof a few years ago, and we opted for the off-white variant. This minor change has really altered our cooling bills in the summer. I haven’t noticed an increase of heating costs in the winter either.
[non-color corrected iPhone photo of our roof. To my eye, this photo is not quite white enough, but it’s pretty close]
Relying on the centuries-old principle that white objects absorb less heat than dark ones, homeowners like the Waldreps are in the vanguard of a movement embracing “cool roofs” as one of the most affordable weapons against climate change.
Studies show that white roofs reduce air-conditioning costs by 20 percent or more in hot, sunny weather. Lower energy consumption also means fewer of the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.
What is more, a white roof can cost as little as 15 percent more than its dark counterpart, depending on the materials used, while slashing electricity bills.
The scientist Mr. Chu calls his hero, Art Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission who has been campaigning for cool roofs since the 1980s, argues that turning all of the world’s roofs “light” over the next 20 years could save the equivalent of 24 billion metric tons in carbon dioxide emissions.
“That is what the whole world emitted last year,” Mr. Rosenfeld said.
This doesn’t bode well for my portable water slide business1
A combination of record-high heat and record-low rainfall has pushed south and central Texas into the region’s deepest drought in a half century, with $3.6 billion of crop and livestock losses piling up during the past nine months.
The heat wave has drastically reduced reservoirs and forced about 230 public water systems to declare mandatory water restrictions. Lower levels in lakes and rivers have been a blow to tourism, too, making summer boating, swimming and fishing activities impossible in some places.
Nearly 80 of Texas’ 254 counties are in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, the worst possible levels on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s index. Though other states are experiencing drought, no U.S. counties outside Texas currently register worse than “severe.” In late April, the USDA designated 70 Texas counties as primary natural-disaster areas because of drought, above-normal temperatures and associated wildfires.
[The Pedernales River running over limestone formations at Pedernales Falls State Park, west of Austin.]
and in the 21st century Water Wars we often joke about, these sorts of restrictions will only become more dire.
As Texas aquifers and reservoirs dip to record lows, threatening municipal water supplies, the biggest cities — Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio — and 230 others have implemented water restrictions on residents.
San Antonio’s water department is encouraging residents to report neighbors if they catch them violating restrictions, and since April more than 1,500 citations have been issued, said department spokesman Greg Flores.
In Central Texas, Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are down 55% and 49% in volume, respectively. They provide drinking water to more than a million people, including residents of Austin.
[Sunrise over Lake Michigan]
Does make me glad to be living so close to such a massive amount of fresh water in the Great Lakes, and not in Texas.
Sarah Palin knows more about energy policy than anyone else in America, or so claimed John McCain. Hmm, surprisingly1 Ms. Pal-Around Palin seems to have lost most of her knowledge since last fall.
Sarah Palin, the soon-to-be-ex-governor of Alaska, has an opinion piece (a screed, really) in Tuesday’s Washington Post in which she shrilly blasts away at “President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan,” calling it “an enormous threat” to the U.S. economy.
Palin’s thesis comes loaded with plenty of rhetoric and zero facts. It offers nothing more than assertions about the emissions reduction part of the bill, ignores the energy investment and green jobs provisions, blames “Washington bureaucrats” for hampering oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (not Congress, where elected lawmakers have repeatedly expressed the American public’s desire to keep ANWR off limits), and fails to even take note of the underlying issue—catastrophic climate change.
Couldn’t Palin’s ghostwriters have cribbed from any of the well-researched, highly technical criticisms produced by just about every conservative think tank in the land?
Amazingly, the Post has published an op-ed on climate change legislation by the governor of the state that is currently the most battered by climate change, without any discussion of climate change or its impacts on that state. Heck, even Alaska GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski pointed out in a May 2006 speech on climate change that the tremendous recent warming had opened the door to the “voracious spruce bark beetle,” which devastated over three million acres in Alaska, “providing dry fuel for outbreaks of enormous wild fires.”
In one of the most unintentionally humorous pieces of crap the Post has ever subjected on the public, Palin states:
Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges. So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind and where my focus will be:
I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy. It would undermine our recovery over the short term and would inflict permanent damage.
[Silver lining note: In a perverse way, perhaps we should be grateful to the Post. Probably the best thing that could happen to climate legislation is if Palin becomes the lead spokesperson attacking it.]
Moreover, even in 2012, the total value of the allowances will be under $50 billion (in a $15 trillion economy) and all that money is going to be returned to the economy, so again, like all economic models show, the bill will have no significant negative impact.
No, what’s so laughable about this piece is that Palin wouldn’t even be considered by the Post as a suitable candidate for an op-ed on the climate bill if it weren’t for the national media’s focus on personality-driven politics.
A few interesting links collected July 8th through July 9th:
The New York Times > Magazine > Second Gilded Age – “A picture essay in The Times Magazine on Sunday and an expanded slide show on NYTimes.com entitled “Ruins of the Second Gilded Age” showed large housing construction projects across the United States that came to a halt, often half-finished, when the housing market collapsed. The introduction said that the photographer, a freelancer based in Bedford, England, “creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.”A reader, however, discovered on close examination that one of the pictures was digitally altered, apparently for aesthetic reasons. Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from NYTimes.com.”
PDNPulse: New York Times Magazine Withdraws Altered Photo Essay – The New York Times Magazine has withdrawn a photo essay by Edgar Martins — described in print as having been produced “without digital manipulation” — because several of the photographs show signs of digital manipulation. The photo essay, which ran in the July 5 issue of the magazine, shows abandoned real estate projects.
Straight Dope Chicago: Followup: Is the late arrival of summer in Chicago proof of global warming? – “Here we begin to see a pattern. The long-term winter temperature trend is up, though not dramatically. Clearly the 1950s were an unusually warm time. Considered over a shorter period, however — from the bitterly cold winters of 1977-79 to the present — winter temperatures in Chicago have risen sharply. The past decade has been the warmest stretch in the past 60 years. That’s in line with the common observation among climate-change specialists that winters have warmed up more than summers.Now look again at the early fall chart. We see the same rising trend, although it started later. The average high temperature declined until 1993, but has risen markedly since then. Is this evidence of the seasonal shift some experts claim to have detected — an unmistakable sign of global warming? Eh, 15 years is too short a time to judge. But could “
A few interesting links collected February 17th through February 19th:
CBS Falsely Portrays Stanford as Democratic Scandal – But as Public Citizen, Huffington Post, ABC News and Talking Points Memo all reported, Stanford and his Stanford Financial Group PAC contributed to politicians and political action committees of both parties (including $448,000 in soft money contributions from 2000 to 2001 alone) to advance his agenda of banking and money-laundering deregulation. Many others journeyed on Stanford's junkets to Antigua and elsewhere, prompting TPM to brand his company "a travel agent for Congress." (TPM has a slide show of one of those of Stanford getaways.)
As it turns out, the list of Stanford beneficiaries is long – and bipartisan.
Remembering Gene – Roger Ebert's Journal – Gene died ten years ago on February 20, 1999. He is in my mind almost every day. I don't want to rehearse the old stories about how we had a love/hate relationship, and how we dealt with television, and how we were both so scared the first time we went on Johnny Carson that, backstage, we couldn't think of the name of a single movie, although that story is absolutely true. Those stories have been told. I want to write about our friendship. The public image was that we were in a state of permanent feud, but nothing we felt had anything to do with image. We both knew the buttons to push on the other one, and we both made little effort to hide our feelings, warm or cold. In 1977 we were on a talk show with Buddy Rogers, once Mary Pickford's husband, and he said, "You guys have a sibling rivalry, but you both think you're the older brother."
TidBITS iPod & iPhone: iPhone to Add Location Logging? – Could the iPhone soon be able to track your location in the background as you walk around? A hint that such a capability is in the works at Apple comes from a programmer friend who spent some time spelunking around inside iPhoto '09, which shows traces of being able to associate such GPS log data with photos.
Daily Kos: Chocolate Covered Cotton – billmon – The fatal innovation…was the rise of so-called collateralized obligations, in which the payment streams from supposedly uniform pools of assets (say, for example, 30-year fixed prime mortgages issued in the first six months of 2006 to California borrowers) could be sliced and diced into different securities (known as tranches) each with different payment characteristics.
This began as a tool for managing (or speculating on) changes in interest rates, which are a particular problem for mortgage lenders, since homeowners usually have the right to repay (i.e. refinance) their loan when rates fall, forcing lenders to put the money back out on the street at the new, lower rates. This means mortgage-backed securities can go down in value when rates fall as well as when they rise. By shielding some tranches from prepayments (in other words, by directing them to other tranches) the favored tranches are made less volatile and thus can be sold at a higher price and a lower yield.
An old habit dies… hard. « chuck.goolsbee.org – "I stumbled across a likely little application that seems to fit the bill: Gyazmail. It has a very flexible UI that allows me to make it behave very Eudora-like when I want it to. It has very good search, rules, and filters. It can import all my old mail(!)
I’m test driving it at the moment and liking it so far. Switched my work mail to it late last week, and my personal mail is still coming over one account at a time. So far so good. If you regularly contact me via email be patient while I work through this transition period."
I'm still using Eudora on three of our most used Macs (since 1995 probably -only 14 years), but the writing is on the wall. Have to check out Gyazmail.
Upon visiting Drop.io—pronounced as a seamless single word: "drop-ee-o"—the site presents a basic elevator pitch about its services and a short form with which to get started uploading files.
Fat Tire Ale Downed Near Load Of Burgers – A Good Beer Blog – Motorists on Interstate 15 were impeded by a piles of hamburgers after a truck spilled a load of the patties, blocking the northbound lanes for four hours. The driver of a tractor-trailer carrying 40,000 pounds of hamburger patties dozed off around 5 a.m., said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Cameron Roden. The truck driver's rig drifted to the left side of the freeway near 2300 North and crashed into a wall and an overhead sign, which ripped open his trailer, spilling hamburger over the north and southbound lanes of the interstate…A second truck spill east of Morgan caused minor delays. Before 7:30 a.m., a truck was heading westbound on Interstate 84 about a half-mile east of Morgan… The truck slipped off to the left, hit a guardrail, and flipped over on its side. The impact split the truck open, spilling Fat Tire Beer being shipped from Colorado, Roden said.
In humans, Xanax can cause memory loss, lack of coordination, reduced sex drive and other side effects. It can also lead to aggression in people who were unstable to begin with, said Dr. Emil Coccaro, chief of psychiatry at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
"Xanax could have made him worse," if human studies are any indication, Coccaro said.
If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
Big Tuna – Chicago — Anthony 'Big Tuna' Accardo, reputed crime syndicate figure, and his wife are shown as they arrive at the St. Vincent Ferrer Church in suburban River Forest to attend wedding of their son Anthony Jr, who was married to the former Janet Hawley, 1961 Miss Utah. Many top gangland bosses and other underworld figures attended the wedding under the watchful eye of law enforcement agencies
Home | Recovery.gov – Recovery.gov is a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going. There are going to be a few different ways to search for information. The money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you'll be able to see where it's going — to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors. As soon as we are able to, we'll display that information visually in maps, charts, and graphics.
We do not know where George Will is getting his information, but our data shows that on February 15, 1979, global sea ice area was 16.79 million sq. km and on February 15, 2009, global sea ice area was 15.45 million sq. km. Therefore, global sea ice levels are 1.34 million sq. km less in February 2009 than in February 1979. This decrease in sea ice area is roughly equal to the area of Texas, California, and Oklahoma combined.
It is disturbing that the Washington Post would publish such information without first checking the facts.
Wonk Room » George Will Believes In Recycling – Will’s numerous distortions and outright falsehoods have been well documented by Joe Romm, Nate Silver, Zachary Roth, Brad Plumer, Erza Klein, David Roberts, James Hrynyshyn, Rick Piltz, Steve Benen, Mark Kleiman, and others. They recognized that George Will is recycling already rebutted claims from the lunatic fringe, and offer the excellent suggestion that Washington Post editors should require some minimum level of fact-checking.
But I haven’t seen anyone comment that Will is also recycling his own work, republishing an extended passage from a 2006 column — which Think Progress debunked — almost word for word. Take a look: