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Mon, 2010-10-04 19:26Brendan DeMelle
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Cuccinelli Revives Witch Hunt Against Michael Mann and Climate Science

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has revived his witch hunt against prominent climate scientist Michael Mann, recycling pieces of his earlier botched subpoena into a new Civil Investigative Demand aimed at Mann and the University of Virginia. Cuccinelli’s previous witch hunt was blocked by Albemarle County Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross, who ruled that Cuccinelli lacked “an objective basis” for his subpoena, which The Washington Post editors noted “put a damper on a pernicious fishing expedition.”

But Cuccinelli has re-strung the same stale Climategate bait on his fishing pole, “extending his assault on academic freedom” as expected. Oh, and he’s going to appeal Judge Peatross’s ruling, in a remarkable display of hubris that is sure to embarrass Virginia yet again.

In his latest political attack on climate science, Cuccinelli demands seven years’ worth of Dr. Mann’s emails, documents and just about every other shred of paper and bytes related to one state grant Mann received during his tenure at UVA. Cuccinelli wants to see every email Mann exchanged with a list of 39 other scientists, as well as Mann’s communications with his secretaries and research associates, related to the state grant. Cuccinelli only stripped his inappropriate request for documents related to federal grants after Judge Peatross smacked down that trolling effort, although he vows to appeal to re-open that garbage can.

Fri, 2010-10-01 16:57Brendan DeMelle
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Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidate Ron Johnson Says Climate Change Unproven

Another day, another GOP candidate in denial about the scientific facts of climate change. This election season in the U.S. has been overrun with GOP and Tea Party-backed candidates who deny the existence of global warming, and therefore willingly ignore and denigrate science as a whole.

The latest example is Wisconsin GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, Ron Johnson, who calls climate change “unproven.”


“The science of global warming is unproven,” he said. “It just is,” Johnson told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“I’m not even sure if, if it were a fact, whether we could do anything about it anyway,” Johnson said.

This isn’t a major change of heart for Johnson, who called global warming “lunacy” earlier this summer.  He has labeled any and all who subscribe to the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and driven by human activity “crazy.” He has described legislative efforts to address global warming pollution as “a fool’s errand.”

Here’s a video of Johnson saying all that, plus this: “It’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity or something just in the geologic eons of time where we have changes in the climate.”  Note also his response at the end to the question about what he thinks CO2 does, “I think it’s sucked down by trees and helps trees grow.”

Wed, 2010-09-29 16:58Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Cover-Up Called "Superb" Book By Former TIME Editor

Charles Alexander, the former editor of TIME Magazine, has praised the book Climate Cover-Up by DeSmog co-founder Jim Hoggan and contributor Richard Littlemore as a “superb” resource documenting the political attacks on climate science.

Writing in the current issue of Conservation Magazine, Alexander highlights Climate Cover-Up as one of three books written this year “documenting the paid political attack on climatology, which is nothing less than a paid political attack on science itself.”  The other titles Alexander recommends include Eric Pooley’s The Climate War and Naomi Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt, both excellent and complimentary resources for anyone wishing to learn more about the ongoing attack on climate science and scientists.

Here is Alexander’s full review of Climate Cover-Up:

Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming (Greystone Books) was written by James Hoggan, owner of a successful Vancouver, B.C., public-relations firm, and his colleague Richard Littlemore. They are not radical environmentalists. They are businesspeople appalled at what other businesspeople have done to discredit global warming and help give the practice of public relations a bad name. With insider knowledge of PR tactics, the authors explain how deniers, funded directly or indirectly by industry, use their powers of persuasion in advertising and in factoids and viewpoints planted in the media. Hoggan and Littlemore reach a stark conclusion: “Reputable newspapers and magazines are today acting in a confused and confusing manner because a great number of people have worked very hard and spent a great deal of money in an effort to establish and spread that confusion … We have lost two decades – two critical decades – during which we could have taken action on climate change but didn’t.”


The Huffington Post featured Alexander’s review of the three books today on its website, generating an all-too-common flame war in the comments section, with climate deniers offering up plenty of misinformation and talking past everyone else, including Alexander, who tries in vain to steer them towards credible sources on the realities of climate change.  Some things never change, unfortunately.

Tue, 2010-09-14 16:13Brendan DeMelle
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U.S. EPA Coal Ash Hearings Intensify, Tennessee Hearing Added Following Controversy

Reversing its embarrassing oversight, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added one final public hearing on coal ash regulatory proposals, to be held fittingly in Tennessee, the state that suffered the worst coal ash disaster in U.S. history in December 2008.

An EPA spokesperson confirmed that the final public hearing will take place the week of October 25th in Knoxville, Tennessee, although the exact date and location have yet to be announced.

So far, the public hearings on proposed coal ash regulations have been well-attended. ENS reported that the Dallas hearing last Wednesday was “packed” with “hundreds of residents from four states… urging the agency to adopt the stronger of two plans to regulate the waste from coal-fired power plants.”

But the intensity of the hearings picked up significantly today in Charlotte, NC, where the comments kicked off with a standing-room-only crowd ready for a marathon 13-plus hour hearing that could possibly stretch until midnight as hundreds of concerned residents, and a handful of coal industry lobbyists, voice their opinions.

Fri, 2010-09-10 14:39Brendan DeMelle
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Deutsche Bank Debunks Skeptics, Focuses Investment on Global Warming Solutions

Deutsche Bank’s Climate Change Advisors released an excellent report this week drawing the “clear conclusion” that “the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat.” 

The report, “Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments,” deftly refutes each of the major conspiracy howlers often made by climate skeptics and deniers – that global warming is a hoax, that the globe has been cooling since 1998, that higher temperatures caused by CO2 emissions will be good for people and agriculture, and of course the Climategate nonsense alleging climate scientists are part of a grand conspiracy.

The claims of conspiracy are not borne out by the facts,” the report states.

The bank’s Climate Change Advisors, working with the Columbia University Climate Center at the Earth Institute, easily debunked each of the denier myths, and noted that extensive scientific studies have confirmed the world is facing a long-term climate threat.

“Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years. Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking,” the report states.

Thu, 2010-09-09 16:02Brendan DeMelle
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Nature Editorial Slams GOP For Anti-Science Tendencies

There is no getting around the fact that the U.S. Republican Party simply hates science.  It didn’t used to be that way.  But it is now, and the timing of a recent uptick in this phenomenon couldn’t be worse.  

The anti-science strain pervading the right wing in the United States is the last thing the country needs in a time of economic challenge.”

That is the subtitle of an excellent editorial today in the journal Nature, “Science Scorned,” which discusses how dangerous this trend is, pointing out that:

There is a growing anti-science streak on the American right that could have tangible societal and political impacts on many fronts — including regulation of environmental and other issues and stem-cell research.”

Nowhere is the right wing’s anti-science stance more starkly apparent than on the issue of climate change, as Nature notes:

Denialism over global warming has become a scientific cause célèbre within the movement. [Rush] Limbaugh, for instance, who has told his listeners that “science has become a home for displaced socialists and communists”, has called climate-change science “the biggest scam in the history of the world”.

Nature is a highly respected journal, and it is encouraging to see the editors take a strong stand against the GOP’s betrayal of science and reason. Science should never be confused with politics, but the recent antics of the Republican Party leave no alternative but to acknowledge that the Right’s attack on science must be addressed directly by the scientific community. 

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