Andy Revkin

Thu, 2012-11-01 09:43Steve Horn
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Merchants of Doubt Deny Climate Change Connection to Hurricane Sandy

Many serious, thought-provoking post-mortems have ensued in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which recently tore through the heart of the financial capital of the world. The disaster will cost the city roughly $60 billion to repair, according to an Associated Press report

Figures such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former President Bill Clinton, writer and activist Bill McKibben, environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, and numerous others all have connected the dots between the tragedy in New York City and its excerbation at the hands of climate change.  

On the other side of the spectrum, no matter how bad the tragedy, it seems, climate change denial will continue apace by the “merchants of doubt.” Hurricane Sandy was no exception this time around.

Patrick Michaels of the Koch-funded Cato Institute - who recently authored a report described by Greenpeace USA's Connor Gibson as a “Counterfeit Climate Report to Deceive Congress” - denied any connection between climate change and Sandy, going so far as to raise the specter of “global cooling.” 

Fri, 2011-12-16 13:22Brendan DeMelle
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Andy Revkin Interviews Franke James On Dot Earth: Canada's Approach To Inconvenient Art

Andy Revkin has a great interview with Canadian artist Franke James on his Dot Earth blog at The New York Times.

DeSmogBlog previously covered the harrasment and censorship that Franke James says she experienced at the hands of the Harper government, which worked in strangely aggressive ways to block the 20-city European tour of a climate change art exhibit that included her work. Apparently the Harper government does not appreciate the fact that Franke's artwork over the years has been highly critical of the Canadian government's failure to address climate change.

Revkin's piece, Canada's Approach to Inconvenient Art, includes an interview with Franke that is definitely worth reading. Franke provides some updates about the results from her Freedom of Information requests to the Harper government, including the news that:

This week, the Green Party of Canada submitted a formal order question to Parliament. See number 380. The Canadian Government has 45 days to respond in writing.

Franke James explains to Revkin that: 

Jeremy Wallace, Deputy Director of Climate Change at DFAIT, deemed my artwork “not be consistent with our interests and approach … and [that it] would in fact run counter to Canada’s interests more broadly.”

In new ATIP [Access to Information and Privacy Act] documents received this week, one email from an Ambassador’s office is particularly interesting as it singles out my Fat Cat Canada essay as the reason my art show should not get Canadian government support. (This is an infringement of my charter right to freedom of expression.)

Sat, 2010-11-13 13:17Jim Hoggan
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Andy Revkin Reviews Bjorn Lomborg's New Film 'Cool It'

Andy Revkin has posted an initial review on his Dot Earth blog about Bjorn Lomborg’s new film ‘Cool It.’

Head over to Dot Earth to read the whole thing, but here is an excerpt of important points and observations from Revkin about the film:

In “Cool It,” Lomborg breezily ticks down a laundry list of high-tech ways to engineer the atmosphere, for example, but punts on the tougher questions related to such planet-scale enterprises — such as the inevitable diplomatic dispute over who sets the planetary thermostat and how blocking the sun does nothing to stem the buildup of carbon dioxide, much of which will stay in the atmosphere for many centuries.

He proposes spending tens of billions of dollars (a bargain, he insists, compared to the hundreds of billions that would be spent on a cap-and-trade style approach), but he doesn’t say how he’d convince the United States or China to adopt the necessary carbon tax.

And he doesn’t deal with the full pipeline for innovation that is required to take a promising technology from idea to breakthrough. A greatly intensified research effort is a vital, but insufficient, facet of any plan to foster progress without disrupting the climate.

Its chiding tone in places is unlikely to build the sense of consensus and excitement around an energy quest that Lomborg seems to desire.

Mon, 2010-09-20 17:30Jim Hoggan
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Climate Scientists React to Bizarre Climate Commentary by Robert Laughlin

Andy Revkin has posted several reactions from climate scientists to Nobel physicist Robert Laughlin’s essay in The American Scholar in which he asserts that the climate system is “beyond our power to control,” and humanity cannot and should not do anything to respond to climate change.  

Needless to say, Laughlin’s piece - and George Will’s Newsweek commentary about it - have drawn swift and severe criticism from scientists who specialize in studying climate change.

For example, Matthew Huber of Purdue University’s Climate Dynamics Prediction Laboratory takes Laughlin to task, suggesting that:

He needs to take some courses in paleoclimate — I suggest he start at the undergraduate level. I hear there might be something appropriate being taught on his campus. His know-nothing approach hearkens back to the pre-scientific era of the flat earth, vapors and phlogiston.”

Huber points out that the fundamentals of climate change are sound:

…raise greenhouse gases and the climate will warm substantially. There is no great mystery here, other than perhaps why a Nobel prize winner is either ignorant of the major results of the field of paleoclimatology over the past two decades or simply chooses to ignore the science for the sake of some sound bytes.

“Our understanding of the climate system is still rudimentary but ultimately we know what the big knobs are that turn up the heat and those are the same knobs we are cranking on right now. We know this absolutely and have known at least since Arrhenius and he got the Nobel (in 1903)!”

Check out the rest of the scientists’ reactions over at Revkin’s Dot Earth blog.
Wed, 2010-07-14 21:18Jim Hoggan
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IPCC Fumbles Media Relations Strategy, Must Review Basic Principles of Public Relations

Andy Revkin’s revelations over the weekend about the botched media relations strategy deployed by the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, demonstrate that the IPCC has failed to learn from its recent missteps in managing public communications.

If you don’t have anything to hide, don’t act as if you do.

Being thrust into the media spotlight and subjected to sudden intense scrutiny can rattle any organization, and the IPCC is hardly the first institution to be accused of resorting to a “bunker mentality” and evading media inquiries. But, as Revkin points out correctly, sheltering yourself from the press is bound to backfire, creating more skepticism about your activities when you should really focus on explaining your work more clearly and operating with greater transparency.

For an organization like the IPCC - which has been accused of holding information too closely to its chest - to send an open letter advising its lead authors and editors to “keep a distance from the media” demonstrates PR mismanagement at its worst. It reinforces the perception that IPCC leadership doesn’t really know what it is doing.

That’s unfortunate because the IPCC has reportedly been spending a lot of time internally reviewing its operations to increase transparency. But this memo doesn’t help demonstrate that fact, by a long shot.

Tue, 2009-10-20 16:58Kevin Grandia
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UPDATE: Revkin repsonds to Rush Limbaugh's Ridiculous Comments

I posted a story earlier today about shock jock radio host Rush Limbaugh suggest that NY Times reporter Andy Revkin should “kill himself.”

Revkin has now responded. Here’s an excerpt:

“I’d like to think that  Rush Limbaugh was floating a thought experiment, and not seriously proposing something, when he told millions of listeners the following: “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself, and help the planet by dying.”

He had picked up on some commentary and  reports that have been bouncing around the  instanet ever since I spoke via Skype video at a symposium on media coverage of  the population part of the climate and energy challenge, put on by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

I had talked, in part, about recent studies concluding that programs offering family planning information and services to women seeking smaller families, in essence, had a  climate value by avoiding emissions of greenhouse gases that would come with more kids. Here’s a Worldwatch Institute blog post with some context. Here’s a different take from the National Catholic Reporter.”

Here’s the entire reponse from Revkin.

Tue, 2009-10-20 12:47Kevin Grandia
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Rush Limbaugh Out of Control, asks NY Times Reporter Andy Revkin to "just go kill yourself."

I’ve never been a fan of Rush Limbaugh, he’s always been someone who creates controversy by stoking hate and division.

For the most part I’ve ignored him over the years beacuse he’s just too far out there.

But today I will make an exception. On his radio show today Limbaugh spews the most vitriolic rant against environmentalists. He compares them to terrorists, wackos and “jihad guys” and  then says that NY Times environment reporter Andy Revkin should kill himself.

Seriously.

It’s so easy for someone like Limbaugh to say such things because he knows it plays to his audience and in turn he makes a mountain of cash. He’s playing people for his own financial gain, but the unfortunate consequence is that this type of shock radio does nothing to advance the interests of the American people. It only breeds hatred.

Pathetic.

Here’s the audio and below that is the full transcript provided by the amazing team at Media Matters for America:

Tue, 2007-01-02 12:03Richard Littlemore
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A Message for the New Year

What keeps me going is my belief that there is still a chance of avoiding catastrophe.”

John P. Holdren, an energy and environment expert at Harvard and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

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