Denial-a-palooza or Yawn-fest 2008?

Tue, 2008-03-04 08:48Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Denial-a-palooza or Yawn-fest 2008?

Here on the ground for the Heartland Institute's Denial-a-palooza, which would more aptly be labeled Yawn-fest 2008.

With the conference winding down, there's yet to be anything new or groundbreaking to occur - just the same old tired lines (read: global cooling in the 70's and the medieval warming period), by the same group of people we've been writing about on DeSmogBlog for the last two years.

Of course, Heartland would have us all believe that this conference is an extravaganza of scientific inquiry, a “smashing success” they're calling it. But the media isn't buying that - most major outlets I talked to at the conference are not swallowing Heartland's talking points. Most are here to report on the dying days of the climate denial industry.

And dying days they are.

One reporter told me that if this conference was held two years ago, oil companies like ExxonMobil would have been all over it and would most likely have been the lead sponsor. But, even ExxonMobil wouldn't touch this circus  with a 100-foot pole. In fact, no company is, the entire conference is being sponsored by freemarket right-wing think tanks.

No doubt, Heartland will be disappointed with the outcome of their attempt at reinvigorating the appearance of major scientific debate about the effect human activity, our continued over-consumption of oil, gas and coal, has on our earth's climate.

Unfortunately, this conference will also force Heartland and their industry-friendly think tank friends to go back to the drawing board and develop the next generation of PR spin, which could,if we all sit back in the belief that this battle is over, continue to sow public confusion and delay government, corporate and individual action on global warming.

Comments

It was very good of you to attend, Kevin, to keep us informed -- given that it must have been something of an ordeal! As for the prospect that Heartland and their industry-friendly think tank friends [will] go back to the drawing board and develop the next generation of PR spin, we must certainly remain on our toes. However, I read Singer's paper and he's still lamely repeating the same old stuff practically verbatim. And the overall strategy hasn't varied much from the old tobacco campaigns going back decades. I don't know whether the woolly heads at Heartland are capable of generating a new spin.

Fern Mackenzie

This would increase the density of air. Thus absolute amount of the gases per unit volume of air becomes a complex fuction of these variables. If the above air is a 2000 ft, the amount of CO2 drops to about 313 ml which is about the level of the early 1900’s Belford University

They really believe themselves at this conference!! Here are a few quotes from Day One:

"Parallels were being drawn between this conference and the first meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in 1947--which led to... the intellectual defeat of socialism."

"It's difficult to imagine how this conference could have been more successful" said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute ... "We thought we were just bringing together some scientists and other experts to make a point; we may have ended up launching an intellectual movement."

end quotes -

Despite such grandiose statements about their achievements there, nothing that refutes human-induced global warming was said that was true.

Rhetoric can be defined as "the use of language to lead to conclusions that are not true". They are experts at that and not much else.

Whoever organized this event to end on the day of the March 4 primaries obviously needs their PR heads examined. Even if it is covered, it will be buried in the classified ads. Clinton and Obama will fill all news circles.

To be fair, at the time the event schedule was fixed (months ago) I don't think anyone thought March 4th would be significant. If you don't want to take my word for that, just ask Hillary's former campaign manager. :)

No March 4th was not significant from what I can remember. Hillary completely screwed up her campaign but hey, what can we do about that right?
correlation code | online computer repair | dentist hungary

More like an anti-intellectual backlash, if you ask me. "Legends in their own minds," as they say. Bob has a good point about the primaries being the story today, but maybe that was a deliberate strategy. If, as Kevin points out, the media isn't buying that - most major outlets . . . are not swallowing Heartland's talking points. Most are here to report on the dying days of the climate denial industry, they'd probably prefer to bypass the MSM and blow their own horns in op/ed pieces and around the blogs. Keep an eye on the Canadian Free Press editorials! For example: http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/2123

Fern Mackenzie

Hello Fern!

Too bad I didn't go to the conference. Here is short version of my presentaton.

Fatal Flaw in Gen. Circulation Models

The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere as determined by analysis of ambient air at Mauna Loa is reported for
“Standard Dry Air” which is air at 273.16 K and 1 atm pressure and is comprised of nitrogen, oxygen and the inert gases. These are the reference conditions always used for reporting the composition of the atmosphere based on analysis of ambient air at a particular site by various methods of analysis. The value is only valid for Mauna Loa and bear no relationship to the concentration of CO2 in “Real Air” at any other site. “Real Air” is term for ambient air at the intake ports of air seperation plants.

In general, the composition and physical properties of real air are quite site specfic, variable and depend primarily on elevation and fluctuating temperature, air pressure, and absolute humidity and to a lessor extent on the seasons and weather, site surface and geophysical features (e.g., ocean, mountains, desert, forests, cropland, urbanization, etc) and on biological and human activities. Clouds and the temprature of water bodies will also effect the concentration of CO2 in the air above them.

For example, if standard dry air is heated to 30 deg C the mole number declines by about 10% but the relative ratio of the gases in the real air will remain about the same. This is origin of the phase “well-mixed gases in the troposphere”

Standard air has 388 ml of pure CO2. At 30 deg C this value drops to 350 ml. If the air were to become saturated with water vapor (ca, 4% by volume), the amount of CO2 declines to about 336 ml.

Air pressure declines about 1 psi per 2000 ft increase in elevation. This would lower the density of the air and thus absolute amount of the gases per unit volume. However, air temperature drops about 6 deg C per 2000 ft increse in elevation. This would increase the density of air. Thus absolute amount of the gases per unit volume of air becomes a complex fuction of these variables. If the above air is a 2000 ft, the amount of CO2 drops to about 313 ml which is about the level of the early 1900's

Since clouds have a high surface area and CO2 is quite soluble in water, the amount of CO2 in the air will be altered and depend the cloud density, i.e, the amount of water per cubic meter. If the clouds move into warmer air and dissipate, the CO2 will be released to air. If the clouds move into cooler air and rain is formed, the CO2 will be transported to the surface and its fate will depend on that surface. Over the oceans the CO2 will mix in the water quickly. Over the land, however, the nature of the surface will effect whether the CO2 is retained in the water (e.g., porous soil) or released back to the air (e.g., hot concrete or rocks or plant leaves, etc).

Over open water the amount of CO2 in the air will be influnced by the temperature of the upper layers. The solubility of CO2 decline rapidly with increasing water temperature and can be about 60% lower in water at 30 deg C than water at 0 deg C. As warm tropical water moves to the poles, it’s temperature slowly drops and by the time it reaches the polar region the water temperaure can be about 0 deg C, and can hold about 2.5 times as much CO2 as the warm tropical warter. How much CO2 is absorb will depend air presssure, wind, wave action, salinity and biological activity, etc.

What all of the above boils down to is this: There is no uniform spatial and temporal distribution of CO2 in real or ambient air as expessed in absolute amount per unit volume of air. Climate models would probably give better results if the absolute amount of CO2 per unit volume is used (e.g., milligrams or millimoles/cubic meter) and some method for estimating the above mentioned spatial and temporal distribution(s).

"Climate models would probably give better results if . . ."

I have a lot of difficulty believing that climate scientists would neglect to take account of the variables that you list in creating their models and/or interpreting the results. What reason do you have for supposing that they did not?

Fern Mackenzie

Fern, what he is is saying is mostly goobly-gook and is really quite meaningless in the big picture. What is important is the average distribution of the various gases not what their concentrations in a small microcosm are.

HPJ is either very stupid or he is part of the AGW denier mob who are sowing confusion into the mix so that any measures to slow up the accumulation of GHG's will be delayed. On second thoughts he is probably both.

Ian Forrester

I have always found it kind of funny that armchair scientists come up with this sort of stuff -- Singer's paper is full of it, too -- claiming that the climate modellers didn't include this or that, or adjust for urban heat islands, or for clouds, etc etc etc. As if the guys who make their living "doing climate science" would overlook something "crucial" that Joe Blow happens to notice. ???

Fern Mackenzie

Hey, come on you guys! Urban heat islands! The sun! Grapes in England! Snow in Antarctica! Surely the climate scientists never noticed any of these! (I need the eyes-rolling smiley here.)

I'm still skeptical about the claim that ExxonMobil absolutely didn't fund this conference... after all, they pulled a fast one before:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/02/exxon_still_funding_misreprese.php

I'll be convinced if (and only if) I see their 2007 and 2008 contribution reports and find nothing connecting them to the Heartland Institute.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Frank Bi, http://tinyurl.com/2f63xd

Check out this video from the "Climate Change Conference" -- it's funny, informative, and um, afterwards, you can deny the believers or believe the deniers.
But don't ignore the planet just because you have a big oil company in your back pocket.

http://video.titantv.com/content/000B00PS/video.aspx

Enjoy!

Despite such grandiose statements about their achievements there, nothing that refutes human-induced global warming was said that was true. Rhetoric can be defined as "the use of language to lead to conclusions that are not true". They are experts at that and not much else.
http://www.club-penguin.org/

Sometimes, no news is good news! Especially in the PR world -- an exciting day for us, is usually a terrible, fear-filled day, for our clients! Especially when your client is a travel insurance company and their are flight cancellations all over the place, due to volcano eruptions! That was a long day!

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