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Fri, 2014-10-31 00:17John Mashey
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Richard Berman, Tobacco To Fossil Fuels

The NYTimes just ran “Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’ - Richard Berman Energy Industry Talk Secretly Taped”. Rick Berman has long been the architect of “public charities” for any client willing to pay. Berman's Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF, EIN 26-0006579) evolved from his Guest Choice Network,  but much of the tax-exempt “contribution” went to his own corporate PR firm.

Many cogs in the fossil fog machine have been funded by Big Tobacco, as per Fakery 2, Fostering the TEA PartyTobacco operative hired by KochsThink tanks fight for E-cigs.

Berman was paid well by Philip Morris (PM), which stays in business only by addicting people during vulnerable adolescent/young adult brain development, so they can be lifeshort customers. Berman has worked for companies that privatize the profits and socialize the costs. He attacked fine scientists like Steve Schneider (Stanford) and Stan Glantz (UCSF).

Following is a small sample from the instructive Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. Philip Morris was quite friendly to Berman, responding quickly with money, at least $600K + ($200K + $200K + $500K) + $350K + $300K = $21.5M in 4 years.

Thu, 2014-09-25 18:02John Mashey
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High-Techs Abandon ALEC, Fossil and Tobacco Wolf In Business Suit

As Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Yelp and other high-tech Silicon Valley companies abandon the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a few facts need more emphasis to understand this wolf in business clothes, bringing “sample bills” to legislatures.

ALEC is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “public charity,” as per its IRS Form 990s.  Donations to it get tax breaks. Common Cause filed complaints against ALEC in 2012 and 2013, but these take years, as do similar complaints related to Fakery 2: More Funny Finances, Free of Tax.

High-tech companies finally noticed problems with climate change policies at ALEC, unsurprising given the strong influence of fossil energy companies. But companies also were effectively side-by-side with Big Tobacco, whose continued existence requires nicotine addiction of adolescents, which only works by “rewiring” the brain during rapid development that ends by age 25 or usually earlier.

ALEC includes the usual think tanks that attack science and support both industries. Does ALEC have a monopoly on access to power? Can reasonable business people find no representation except through a group that is often anti-science, anti-environment and anti-health?

Mon, 2014-09-22 09:00John Mashey
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Cheshire Claim: Rupert Darwall Copies Satellite CO2 Nonsense From Murry Salby

Cheshire Claim: Rupert Darwall Copies Satellite CO2 Nonsense From Murry Salby

The world of climate dismissives often could be Wonderland, although with multiple Mad Hatters. Both have characters who can believe six impossible things before breakfast. Many wrong climate claims seem more like the Cheshire Cat, who could appear as just a floating grin or a bodiless face to avoid beheading.
Climate claims/myths might be called “Cheshire Claims” here. Like the Cat, they appear anywhere and get repeated without checking, no matter how absurd. As the Cat said, “We're all mad in here,” an apt description for attempts to disprove the well-established role of fossil fuels in CO2 rise, using misrepresented satellite data.

Many Cheshire Claims are found in Murry Salby's “CO2 rise is natural”, Skeptical Science (SkS) Myths #188/#189. Each page there summarizes the science and the myth (grin), examines any myth details (face), and then introduces credible, peer-reviewed science to refute the myth. 

An unsupported statement by Rupert Darwall led to re-examination of a Salby image that proved to be quite misleading. People with some expertise create claims that others just naively repeat. Darwall seems well-connected with the usual think tanks. On September 24, he will speak at a Heritage Foundation book event on his The Age of Global Warming: A History. Then he heads to Houston for Sept 25/26 conference hosted by Texas Public Policy Foundation.

Tue, 2014-05-20 12:09John Mashey
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Did Lennart Bengtsson Know Global Warming Policy Foundation And Heartland Institute?

Did Lennart Bengtsson Know About GWPF And Heartland?

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has recently gotten worldwide publicity. It proudly announced that well-published climate scientist Lennart Bengtsson had joined its Academic Advisory Council (AAC), finally adding someone with scientific credibilty.  A week later, he quit, and affairs went downhill, as per The Guardian, Huffpost, DeSmogBlog and many others.  Of course, the usual denial blogs and publications proclaimed awful behavior on the part of climate scientists.

Perhaps Dr. Bengtsson did not know that GWPF was the nearest UK equivalent to the Heartland Institute and the two were quite closely coupled.

FOIA Facts 5 - Finds Friends Of GWPF analyzed AAC Chairman David Henderson's email to a list that included 19 Heartland experts, speakers, employees or consultants. Then, another eight Heartland-related people were GWPF or AAC members, including Henderson himself.  The full To: list was quite instructive.

Two years after the infamous Heartland billboard and other exposures of Heartland activities, seven GWPF AAC members are still Heartland Experts:
Robert Carter, Freeman Dyson, Indur Goklany, Richard Lindzen, Ross McKitrick, Ian Plimer, Nir Shaviv

Both Heartland and GWPF are tax-exempt political “charities” that have little to do with science except to attack it.  Perhaps Dr. Bengtsson has now learned that one is known by the company they keep and a credible scientist had fallen into very bad company.  Hopefully he has indeed learned.

UPDATE 08/30/14: For more detail, see discussion at Ha ha: Lennart Bengtsson leaves advisory board of GWPF (Stoat), L'Affaire Bengtsson (Rabett Run) and  Wikipedia.  When a scientist starts doing silly things and lending his name to an anti-science group, calling colleague's displeasure McCarthysim shows ignorance of the term's meaning.

Thu, 2014-05-15 14:30John Mashey
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Pseudoskeptics Exposed In The SalbyStorm

Pseudoskeptics Exposed In The SalbyStorm

Pseudoskeptics Are Not Skeptics was inspired by last year's SalbyStorm,  which highlighted the stark divide between scientific skeptics and most (pseudoskeptic) climate dismissives, who reject the mainstream consensus.

Murry Salby's unsupported, internally-inconsistent story of dismissal by Macquarie University was broadcast via blogs, to excited discussion.  Contrary evidence mounted over the next few days, including here.  Reactions differed strongly.

Scientific skeptics
About 30 commenters accepted mainstream climate science and rejected Salby's wrong ideas from his lectures and 2012 book (see review). Given a one-sided employment dispute story, real skeptics were cautious or knowledgable enough to be more dubious.  In the hostile territory of these blogs, they were often insulted, sometimes for merely expressing caution. 

Real skeptics knew the science, weighed evidence, and avoided leaping to premature conclusions on Salby's story.  Some searched and found relevant history that cast doubt on Salby's credibility, but were ignored or insulted for providing unwanted facts.

Climate dismissives, pseudoskeptic behavior
By contrast, of the 400+ dismissive commenters (who reject mainstream consensus), about 40% explicitly supported Salby's erroneous CO2 ideas, seemingly desperate to believe the current rise in CO2 was natural.  That idea was rejected by a mere handful, of whom one apologized and said he expected to be downvoted for doing so, and indeed he was.
Dismissives reacted to Salby's Macquarie story in varying ways:

Fri, 2014-04-18 06:00John Mashey
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Pseudoskeptics Are Not Skeptics

Fake skeptiocism is not genuine

Genuine scientific skepticism is not just the unmoving rejection of evolution or climate change by fake skeptics, called pseudoskeptics.  The real thing avoids premature conclusions, recognizes uncertainty, motivates searches for good data and causes real skeptics to change their minds,  as put succinctly by John Maynard Keynes:

“When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

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