Climategate

Thu, 2010-01-28 07:02Kevin Grandia
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The Commonwealth Foundation's Favorite Strawman

When it comes to the art of political rhetoric there is nothing more effective then the straw man technique.

It’s simple: instead of using sound logic and evidence to discredit an idea or policy, just brand an individual as representative of the idea and then knock them down.

On the issue of climate change, you can see this technique in action with the right-wing Commonwealth Foundation trying to discredit the work of a single climate expert, Dr. Michael Mann, as a means of discrediting the entire body of climate change science.

The Commonwealth Foundation recently published a “policy brief” called Climategate & Penn State, a 12-page attack that tries to frame Dr. Mann as the orchestrator behind some grand conspiracy, which is the key to a good stick man attack.

Wed, 2010-01-27 16:30Jim Hoggan
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New Poll Results Reveal The Impact of Decades-Long Climate Confusion Campaign

A new report published jointly by Yale University and George Mason University finds that Americans are much less concerned about climate change than they were just a year ago.  Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled believe climate change is happening, compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008, a 14 point drop. 

The reason ought to be clear.  The climate confusion campaign - waged by the like of Americans for Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) - is alive and well, and obviously still inflicting damage.

Wed, 2010-01-20 12:51Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Denial Industry Blowing Hot Air On Himalayan Glaciers

The climate denial industry is once again trying to make a huge to-do about a tiny error by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

With the Climategate Swifthack episode fading from the limelight, after a thorough debunking of far-fetched accusations that scientists made up global warming, the climate science attack machine now wants the world to focus on one paragraph out of a 938-page, three-year-old report.

The contrarians are questioning a single reference to Himalayan glaciers included in a 2007 IPCC report that does not meet the IPCC’s well-established evidentiary standards.

Here is their alleged smoking gun: The second of three 2007 reports from the IPCC included a statement that the likelihood of Himalayan glaciers disappearing “by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”

But the reference to Himalayan glaciers melting at that early date didn’t originate from a peer-reviewed study, meaning it should not have appeared in the IPCC report. 

Sure, that’s slightly embarrassing.  But it isn’t grounds to declare the entire library of climate science a fraud. The IPCC’s findings have been validated and substantiated by assessments conducted by leading scientific institutions the world over. 

The real news here is that a single ‘error’ was discovered in just one of the IPCC’s reports, collectively reams of paper thick, and the ‘error’ isn’t an error at all.  The Himalayan glaciers are melting.  There is no debate about that in the scientific community.

Thu, 2010-01-14 10:03Mitchell Anderson
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The Real “Climategate” Story – Current Climate Satellites are Woefully Inadequate

The media missed the real story about the so-called “climate-gate” scandal.

After thousands of emails were mysteriously stolen from the University of East Anglia and distributed just before the climate conference in Copenhagen, many news outlets seemed content to report the story as it was presented to them rather than bothering to read the emails in the context they were written.

A closer look at these candid messages reveals a very different problem than the supposed scientific conspiracy theory that’s been in high rotation in the media. This previously unreported story also shows why launching the long-mothballed Deep Space Climate Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) is more urgent now than ever.

Lets start with perhaps the most widely distributed and misunderstood of the stolen emails, of October 12, 2009 from Dr. Keith Trenberth to Michael Mann, which reads:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

Tue, 2009-12-29 10:15Kevin Grandia
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The Daily Mail's Distracting ChinaHack Theory

The Daily Mail is reporting that it might be, “Chinese hackers linked to ‘Warmergate’ climate change leaked emails controversy.”

The Mail’s revelation came about after they tracked a convoluted trail of IP (internet Protocols) addresses, through to a, ” Chinese environmental institute, the Research Institute of Forest Ecology and Environment Protection, based near Beijing.”


“‘Because this is an open relay mail server, the emails could have been sent through it from anywhere in the world. It is just as likely to be someone outside Malaysia as someone within the country.”
Fri, 2009-12-11 02:25Brendan DeMelle
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Exec. Publisher of Science journal responds to Palin op-ed in Washington Post

Alan Leshner, the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the executive publisher of the journal Science, responded to Sarah Palin’s op-ed in the Washington Post, calling her out for her denial of climate science and her lack of basic understanding of the difference between climate vs. weather. 

Tue, 2009-12-08 20:59Kevin Grandia
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Stolen email shows scientist happily sharing climate research data

At least one of the scientists being accused by industry groups and right-wing think tanks of hiding their climate research data, appears in an email we found in the stolen files to be more than happy with sharing his data.

Not only does he share it, but he does so with a person he’s never even met before!

Now that our research team has completed a thorough analysis of the entire 1000+ email record, we’ll be publishing a lot of the information in the coming days that runs counter to the claims made by those using these leaked emails to further their own political agendas.

Here’s one we came across between East Anglia researcher, Dr. Keith Briffa and a Russian scientist, Leonid Klyashtorin, in which Briffa gladly sends along research data to Kylashotrin, a person he has never met:

Tue, 2009-12-08 13:07Kevin Grandia
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Katie Couric: melting ice caps are worth more than 1,000 emails [video]

In her Notebook on Copenhagen, CBS anchor Katie Couric makes a very strong case for why the hacked emails do not undermine the scientific realities of climate science:

“A picture is worth 1,000 emails and pictures of the polar ice caps show a 20% decrease since 1979. NASA images show a thinning of more than 7 inches a year since 2004. What the scientists did was wrong, but most experts agree that the science itself is not and the health of the earth should not be a political issue.”

Watch it:

Mon, 2009-12-07 12:30Jim Hoggan
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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.”

Thu, 2009-12-03 17:50Jim Hoggan
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The oily echo machine behind "climategate"

The most vocal organizations around the University of East Anglia hacked email story (aka. “climategate”) have been involved in a decade-plus campaign to delay action on climate change.

The goal of this campaign, which began around the time of the first Kyoto Protocol negotiations, was to assemble a group of like-minded “free-market” think tanks and pseudo-experts that would bring into question the scientific realities of climate change, create doubt with the public and politicians and effectively delay the introduction of clean energy policy in the United States.

It’s no coincidence that the groups pushing this story the hardest have a long history of taking money from oil and coal companies to attack the conclusions made by climate scientists.

What I wouldn’t do to have a few of these organizations private emails over the years!

Here’s a few of the groups I’m talking about and a very brief background on their previous activities, as well as funding sources:

Center for a Constructive Tomorrow: owns and operate ClimateDepot.com, which has been a main clearinghouse for the right-wing climategate echo chamber. ClimateDepot.com is managed by Marc Morano, former aide to Republican Senator James Inhofe. CFACT has received grants from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and well-known right-wing foundations like the Carthage Foundation and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.

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