junk science

Junk Science? Report Finds Shale Industry Cited 'Retracted and Discredited' Studies

Since the beginning of the shale gas rush, the drilling industry has insisted that the process is relatively benign, arguing that its critics are simply fear-mongering and that a sober scientific review of the data fails to prove, for instance, that fracking has ever contaminated water supplies.

In the wake of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to disallow fracking in that state, for example, one of the most active boosters of the shale drilling rush, the industry-funded Energy in Depth, issued a statement labeling the ban “'Junk Science' and 'Political Theater.”

In the wake of news reports, academic publications, or policy decisions that it opposes, Energy in Depth often circulates lists of sources that it describes as debunking “junk science.” But how reliable is the science that EID cites?

A report issued today by the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) reviews a list of over 130 studies cited by Energy in Depth (EID), testing its sources for markers of credibility.

How often was the research cited peer-reviewed? Was it accurately labeled? Was the research funded by the oil and gas industry, and if so, was that funding properly disclosed or was it concealed? Were any of the papers cited revoked or rescinded?

The answers, found in the report titled “Frackademia in Depth,” are striking.

“Of the 137 unique studies on EID's list that could be located, only 19 were peer-reviewed,” the PAI writes. “This suggests that there is a significant shortage of serious scholarly research supporting the case for fracking.”

"Doubt" Video On Fossil Fuel Industry's Tobacco PR Tactics To Undermine Science

Doubt is our product

In case you didn't manage to catch all 24 hours of the Climate Reality Project (I mean, what the heck else were you doing?), I wanted to flag this one video for you, as it's particularly germane to the ongoing coverage here at DeSmogBlog.

It's called “Doubt,” and it's about how the fossil fuel industry took the tobacco industry's playbook (didn't just borrow a play, but really the whole playbook) to confuse the public on the science of climate change. Not by disproving the facts – because that's impossible – but just by creating enough doubt to make a busy public dismiss it.

DOUBT from The Climate Reality Project on Vimeo.

David Legates Asked To Step Down As Delaware State Climatologist

David Legates, former Delaware State Climatologist

David Legates announced this week that he was asked to step down as Delaware State Climatologist, a position he held for seven years. A long-time denier of the human contribution to climate change, Legates’ tenure as State Climatologist has always been a controversial one.

Back in 2007, because of his stance on climate, then-governor Ruth Ann Minner insisted that Legates stop using the formal title in any public statements on climate change policy. Minner wrote to Legates:
“Your views on climate change, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my administration. In light of my position and due to the confusion surrounding your role with the state, I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware, and not as state climatologist.”
Legates maintained the title, however, which is designated by the Dean of the public university’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.
But this week, according to Legates himself, the Dean asked him to “step down.”
Legates sent the following note to his email list:

Tom Borelli: Hastening the End of the World

You have to wonder what happened to Tom Borelli. Here’s a guy who studied at the New York Medical College - who was smart enough and hard-working enough to get a PHD in biochemistry - and now he spends his time trying to hasten … not really the end of the world, but an end to human habitability.

Of course, poisoning humans, rather than saving them, appears to have been Borelli’s life work. He was a Philip Morris operative in the ’90s, proudly fighting for the rights of tobacco fans to blow smoke in the face of passing children - passing anybody, really. Now, as sometimes-DeSmogBlog contributor Kate Sheppard documents here, Borelli is gathering up oil money to finance an attack on any corporation that promotes responsible action on climate change.

Tom, we really hope you have a nice house. Because, according to Dante at least, in your next life, you will get a rather less fabulous choice of neighborhoods: either the Eighth and Ninth circle of hell (Fraud or Treachery).

Junk Science: Steve M'Lie Sticks to His Script

Regardless of the clear evidence that he had posted inaccurate information on his website (see next post), Junk Science purveyor Steven Milloy, has jumped straight over the “apology and correction” step, moving directly from inaccuracy to insult.

Indeed, rather than admitting that he had misinterpreted or misrepresented material printed by the American Physical Society, the self-described “Junkman” accused APS President Arthur Bienenstock of cowardice in the face of political controversy, and suggested that the APS is on the verge of a Nazi purge of those who disagree with the majority view (“Nacht der langen Messer,” in M'Lie's words).

JunkScience Lies: APS Offers Respectful Correction

Using methodology that Junkman Steve Milloy has refined over more than a decade, the pro-pollution website Junk Science today announced that the American Physical Society (APS) “has declared that there is no scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming.”

But a quick click on the APS website produces this:

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate.”

Isn't there a technical, legal and socially bruising word to describe when someone says something that is directly at variance with an observed, easily verifiable truth?

Debatable Science? The fallacy of Steve "the Junkman" Milloy

Many of the recent attempts to discredit the science of human-induced climate change have come in the form of challenging Vice-President Al Gore to a public debate. This, of course, is a big red herring when you consider that it is not “Al Gore's science,” but instead the conclusion drawn through years of research by thousands of experts.

However, by tagging the scientific evidence that human activity in the form of burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is causing global warming as “Al Gore's science,” right-wing think tanks and fossil fuel friendly front groups have effectively politicized an issue of science (at least in the United States).

The most recent is being mounted former tobacco company lobbyist Steve “the Junkman” Milloy and the fossil-fuel industry backed Business and Media Institute (BMI).

Is Fox News finally turning the Climate Change Corner?

Fox News has always been the sweetheart media source for the global warming denial industry, but this web-article published today on the Fox News site might just be a first step towards pulling their collective head out of the sand.

Yes, the story does quote the typical global warming skeptics like William Gray and Richard Lindzen, but the overall tone of the article is atypical for Fox.

Check it out. What do you think? Keeping in mind where they started, is Fox News slowly meandering down the right path?

Maybe it was this hugely popular video that finally shook their heads a bit.

DeSmog TV Episode 6: solar activity, Fox News, Rupert Murdoch and a bug!

A Video Response for ABC Australia

As we reported earlier today, ABC Australia will be airing Martin Durkin's “Great Global Warming Swindle” tonight.

ABC requested video responses to their decision to air the Swindle. DeSmogBlog replied.

Check out our video below. And check out our previous posts on the Swindle here


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