James Hoggan's blog

ClimateSpin: Using the Stolen Emails to Cripple Policy

The stolen email narrative is beginning to take shape, in a way that is both disingenuous and damaging, and a prime example is attached and linked here.

This article, by Stephen Hayward in the Weekly Standard, is a mash of good information and bad analysis - a strident overstatement of the case “proven” by the emails that were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and released last month. It also seems to provide a case study for how the emails will be used to undermine action by people who are not well-informed about climate science and can be misled with a few sensible-sounding references.

It’s appropriate to acknowledge - on this and every occasion - that the emails in question, 13 years worth, contain some embarrassing excerpts. They show some of the quoted scientists to be frustrated, sometimes petty and, in a few unfortunate cases, prepared to hide data from critics.

An independent analysis of the emails, however, show that they did not, in any way, undermine the scientific foundation for our understanding of how and why the climate is changing. Even Hayward acknowledges that “Climate change is a genuine phenomenon, and there is a nontrivial risk of major consequences in the future.”

The Copenhagen Tea Party

The American Tea Party phenomenon unfortunately has a long arm, reaching all the way to the international climate negotiations currently underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.

With their outrageous signs and over-the-top rhetoric, the Tea Party claims can be easily dismissed as fringe players, but they are nevertheless playing a role in blocking action in Washington on the issue of climate change.

This is something the fossil fuel industry and their think tank network are very aware of and are using to their full advantage. One need not look any further than the notorious Americans for Prosperity, one of the leading groups organizing Tea Party attacks on healthcare reform, and now climate solutions.

The AFP is an organization that has recieved millions of dollars in funding over the years from the Koch Family Foundations - Koch Industries Inc., is the largest private energy company in the United States and a major Big Oil force. When it comes to funding the right-wing think tanks and the climate denial industry, Koch makes ExxonMobil look like a minor player.

AFP is a non-profit organization that will not disclose its donors when asked. However, Media Transparency shows that Americans for Prosperity, and their previous incarnation “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” have received over $13 million from the Koch foundations. 

Canadian Climate Plan: All Public Relations; No Policy

The Canadian government’s climate plan is pure politics - pure public relations. It’s all hot air, with no regulation or legislation to back it up. The government is not passing laws to limit greenhouse gas emissions. It is not setting science-based targets and it’s not financing renewable energy.

And now we learn that the governing Conservative Party has been contemplating a rollback in the inadequate emission regulations that they have advertised but never enforced. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Environment Minister Jim Prentice appear to be fiddling while their friends and political supporters in the tar sands capitals of Alberta set fire to Rome.

Canada has already earned international humiliation in Copenhagen as a country that is lobbying AGAINST a reasonable agreement. It is fighting to trash the Kyoto accord, regardless that no legally binding alternative is in place. It is one of only only two parties to the Protocol that is fighting against using a common base year (1990) that would make its stated emission limits transparent.

If only it was Canada making the Copenhagen announcement

Today at the Copenhagen climate talks there was a press conference held that unfortunately turned out to NOT be the new stance of the Canadian government.

Along with some great new COP-15, Environment Canada and Wall Street Journal sites, the spoofers conducted a press conference announcing Canada’s “Agenda 2020.”

Here’s their press release:

December 14, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CANADA ANNOUNCES NEW AGENDA FOR CLIMATE AND WORLD DEVELOPMENT
Plan includes stricter emissions reductions and immediate “climate debt” bailouts for most affected countries

Revisionist History and the CRU East Anglia stolen emails - the Baliunas example

One of the more egregious examples of the public relations spin on the East Anglia hacked email story involves a six-year-old research paper authored by Sallie Baliunas, an American astrophysicist affiliated with at least nine oil-industry-funded organizations.

In the stolen East Anglia emails, there is a conversation between scientists about and her paper, which argues that the current global warming trend is not unique and that an even more dramatic episode occurred centuries.

The conversation contained in the email is being made to appear like it was an attempt by climate scientists to “muzzle” the Baliunas research paper. Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), claimed last week that the exchange between academics amounts to a case of “scientific fascism.”

Climate Cover Up Book Salon on Fire Dog Lake

Just finished a great two-hour book salon conversation over on one of the best blogs around, Fire Dog Lake.

Jane Hamsher, who runs FDL, is a big fan of DeSmogBlog on our new book Climate Cover Up and she was kind enough to host the event along with FDL administrator Bev W and salon host Tim Lambert from Deltoid blog.

You can check out the conversation here, and add your own comments and thoughts if you would like.

Thanks to Jane, Tim and Bev for hosting such an interesting conversation!

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