Brendan DeMelle's blog

Sat, 2009-11-21 14:14Brendan DeMelle
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Climategate in Perspective, Featuring Isaac Newton

Climate conspriricists pounced at the opportunity yesterday to draw grandiose conclusions from the illegal hacking of private emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit. 

They wasted no time declaring global warming a vast science-wing conspiracy, orchestrated by a powerful handful of white-coats who, when not publishing in reputable peer-reviewed science journals, were (gasp) emailing each other to talk shop and vent about climate skeptic “idiots” (how un-PC).

The scandalistas say little about the fact that this breach of security and publishing of private communications is a crime, content to enjoy the opportunity to cherry-pick a few lines from these internal emails to push the skeptic theory of a sinister master plan by mainstream scientists to warn humanity that man has altered the climate in dangerous ways.

The Telegraph’s resident skeptic blogger, James Delingpole, immediately labeled this episode “Climategate,” pondering whether this is “the final nail in the coffin of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming.’”

Fri, 2009-11-20 20:01Brendan DeMelle
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Big Pharma Lobbyists Script Speeches In U.S. Congress, Industry Fights Against Generic Drugs

While our focus here at DeSmogBlog is to expose the public relations and lobbying antics that hinder effective responses to climate change, we are always on the lookout for other examples of how lobbying and PR impede progress on critical legislative efforts to protect people instead of profits.

The health care reform bill in front of the U.S. Congress provides several noteworthy examples, perhaps none so appalling as that described in a front-page New York Times article this week about the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to script the floor speeches delivered by members of the House of Representatives.

The article, “In House, Many Spoke With One Voice: Lobbyists’”, describes how lobbyists working on behalf of Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies, succeeded in having their ghostwritten talking points repeated, often verbatim, by over 40 lawmakers on the House floor - 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats.

Genentech also succeeded in getting many of its willing spokespeople in Congress to mention the issue of generic drugs, a critical item on the industry’s lobbying agenda in the health care reform debate.  Genentech no doubt hoped to drum up additional support for an amendment put forth by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA), in whose district Genentech is located.  Rep. Eshoo’s provision would have granted pharmaceutical companies up to 12 years of monopoly advantage – and perhaps longer – to sell their profitable cancer, diabetes and AIDS drugs without competition from cheaper generic forms.

Wed, 2009-11-18 17:29Brendan DeMelle
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Fred Singer, lacking nobility, still claims the Prize

Climate skeptics are, not surprisingly, hitting the European speaking circuit in the weeks leading up to the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. But what is surprising is that notorious global warming denier S. Fred Singer was described at a skeptic conference today as a Nobel prize winner, a flat out lie.

According to a Belgian journalist who alerted DeSmog to Singer’s appearance today at a skeptic conference in the European Parliament building, Singer was described in event materials as:

“a reviewer of IPCC reports, he shares the 2007 Nobel peace prize with Al Gore and 2000 others.”


The idea that Fred Singer shares any part in the IPCC/Gore Nobel prize is laughable, of course.  Other than Mr. Gore, the Nobel committee recognized only the IPCC authors, and they all received framed Nobel certificates.  If Singer can produce a framed Nobel, I’ll produce my Olympic gold medal (Singer must eat cereal too, I sure enjoy the prizes inside, although I’ve never seen a Nobel peace prize before).

Fri, 2009-11-06 11:55Brendan DeMelle
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U.S. Climate Envoy Slams Inhofe's Attempts To Influence Copenhagen

At the U.S. delegation press conference this afternoon on the final day of the Barcelona climate talks, I asked U.S. deputy climate change envoy Jonathan Pershing what effect, if any, Senator James Inhofe (R-Denial) might have on the process in Copenhagen, and whether GOP intransigence is hurting Obama’s ability to come up with a firm number on U.S. emissions reductions.

Wed, 2009-10-28 14:20Brendan DeMelle
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Monster List: Skeptics Have Touted "Global Cooling" Theory Anywhere They Could

As word spreads about the Associated Press blind test examining the global cooling theory, which I wrote about earlier this week, I began to wonder how many times skeptics have tried to push this global cooling myth recently on the Internets.

So I perused the first 10 pages of results on Google for the term “global cooling” and discovered plenty of examples of skeptics hawking their global cooling theory on the usual suspect blogs and media outlets (with a few exceptions like the much-ballyhooed BBC News article earlier this month). Here is a sampling of the results of the search:

[Editor’s note: this is just the beginning of the monster list. Our research team is adding a ton more over the next couple of hours]

Investor’s Business Daily | October 12, 2009
Title: “Three Decades Of Global Cooling”
“Earth’s climate is influenced by many things, the least of which is the internal combustion engine. We and reputable scientists have noted the earth has cooled during the last decade, a period in which the sun has grown very quiet with little or no sunspot activity.”

BBC News | October 9, 2009
Article title: What happened to global warming?
“This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998. But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.”

Christian Science Monitor | October 10, 2009
“The Earth isn’t warming right now, is why. It may even be cooling down somewhat. Five major climate centers around the world agree that average global temperatures have not risen in the past 11 years, according to the BBC. In fact, in eight of those years, global average temperatures dipped a tad.”


Mon, 2009-10-26 12:41Brendan DeMelle
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Statisticians Confirm: No Global Cooling Despite Skeptic Spin

In a massive blow to the climate skeptic movement, the Associated Press has conducted a blind test of statisticians that unequivocally confirms that no global cooling trend exists

Despite the best efforts of a small handful of climate skeptics, who argue that the globe has cooled rather than warmed since the record hot year of 1998, no such cooling trend has taken place.

The Associated Press conducted the blind test by sending global temperature data from NOAA and NASA to four independent statisticians who were not told what the data represented, but simply asked to perform a common statistical analysis to look for trends in the data.

The statisticians “found no true temperature declines over time,” and in fact identified “a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers,” the AP reports.

Several statisticians quoted in the AP piece slam the climate skeptics who “cherry-pick” data in a “particularly suspect” attempt to denounce global warming.  Efforts to portray a global cooling trend since the record hot year of 1998 are “not scientifically legitimate,” and are the result of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” according to David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor who analyzed the data for AP.

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.

“Ridiculous” indeed, but that has not stopped the handful of loud-mouthed climate skeptics from spreading this false claim.  Their efforts have proven successful at confusing the public, thanks in large part to the Drudge Report, FOX News and lazy journalists who fail to fact-check the skeptic arguments, providing oxygen to their baseless claims.

The Associated Press conducted a simple exercise that any self-respecting news outlet concerned with the facts rather than the confusionist spin could duplicate easily.  Don’t expect this news to silence the skeptics, but if you are a journalist, please let the skeptics talk amongst themselves, rather than polluting the public discourse any further.  And if you are a concerned news consumer, please do hold accountable any news outlet that continues to ignore this starkly obvious fact: there is no global cooling.  There definitely is global warming. 

It really is that simple.  Now can we talk about the critically important matter of how to address climate change with just a few weeks left until the Copenhagen Climate Summit?

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