climate change

EPA scientists drop bombshell in political-interference survey

Science around environmental matters has long been dismissed in the rough and tumble of U.S. politics, but many scientists contend things got markedly worse through two terms under President Bush, as incidents have shown how political appointees were involved in shaping government reports on everything from climate change to condoms.

Now, more than half the 1,600 Environmental Protection Agency scientists who responded to an online questionnaire complained of political pressure in interpreting and performing their work.

And four in 10 scientists who have worked at the agency for more than a decade said interference has been more prevalent in the last five years than previously.

Here's the full report, Interference at the EPA, by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A Short, Sweet Rebuttal to Newsbuster's Swedish Tree Nonsense

Yesterday I wrote a piece outlining the apparently illogical pseudo-science being sold by Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters as justification for doing nothing to solve the crisis of human-induced global warming. 

Shepard tries to make the claim that the discovery of the world's oldest tree by Dr. Leif Kullman, professor at Umeå University's department of ecology and environmental science in Sweden, somehow brought into question the entire theory of human-caused global warming. 

Presumably, Shepard did not attempt to contact Dr. Kullman before putting in front of his readership the misinformation that he did. I know this because I emailed Dr. Kullman last night to comment on Sheppard's piece and got this concise answer:

I find it quite strange how an old tree can be used in the climate change controversy.” 

So will Newsbusters be willing to correct their mistake? Will Sheppard do the responsible thing and print a correction? 

Newsbusters Makes Fantastical Leaps of Logic on Oldest Living Tree News

It didn't take long for Noel Shepard at Newsbusters to twist a new study on the discovery of the oldest living tree to fit his notion that the world' top scientists have it all wrong when it comes to human-induced climate change.

The study, carried out by a team led by Leif Kullman, professor at Umeå University's department of ecology and environmental science in Sweden, has found the world's oldest tree living in the mountains of Sweden.

Somehow Sheppard has got it in his head that this finding:

[results] in a total rewrite of climate history while bringing into serious question global warming theories espoused by Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his sycophant devotees.”

Nature throws one-two punch at global warming

Reducing greenhouse emissions won’t be enough to stop global warming.

Three respected climate experts made the troubling argument in Nature that changing light bulbs, carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems will have little impact because warming is already greater than anticipated and set to go much higher.

So much so, in fact, that we’re going to have to find new technology to bail us out.

Bush, Burning

Well, everyone is teeing off on Bush's latest global warming speech–and no wonder.

I mean, it's pretty staggering when you think about it: The campaigning George W. Bush in the year 2000 was more progressive on this increasingly pressing issue than the lame duck George W. Bush in 2008.

The major news from Bush's speech, policy-wise, is that he said we'll “stop the growth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2025”–or, just under two decades from now. But everybody who knows anything about this issue knows that would amount to running a completely unacceptable risk.

Strike three on climate change for the Bush White House?

President Bush is set to make an announcement on climate change today.

Will it be a third strike for Bush?

Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin thinks so:

Bush's trick on climate change is to wait until others are about to embrace mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, then make a major speech about goals and process, without any specifics on measures or penaltiesHis planned speech this afternoon recalls his two earlier attempts to muddy the debate and buy time.”DeSmog writer Chris Mooney is monitoring the announcement and will weigh in with his analysis later today.

UPDATE: And Strike Three, you're out Mr. President

Joe Romm at Climate Progress writes: Bush/Nero speech: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, let's fiddle until 2025

Dave Roberts at Grist writes: Same as it ever was

Andrew Revkin at the New York Times Dot Earth Blog marks up Bush's speech with his insights.

DeSmogBlog reader's comment prods thinking on World Bank coal-plant loan

My post about the World Bank loaning India $450 million to build a new coal-fired power plant prompted a DeSmog reader to ask if I’m “against the idea of a plant that has less pollution than previous ones?”

I’m not opposed to a less-polluting plant. As a committed opponent of global warming and greenhouse-gas emissions, I’m certainly in favor of reducing pollution.

But the plant in question is going to be burning coal.

Indigenous peoples seek key role in global climate talks

A climate conference in Brazil’s Amazon basin has drawn indigenous groups from 11 Latin American countries, Indonesia and Congo. In the largest gathering of its kind, they came to forge a plan whereby wealthier nations would compensate developing countries for saving tropical forests.

Scientists reckon tropical deforestation causes 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. An international carbon-trading plan was a central topic last December at a climate conference in Bali, Indonesia.

World Bank group loans India $450 million for massive coal-power project

A press release says funding the huge Tata Power project will help to expand electricity use across five states in western and northern India. This is in keeping with the “higher energy use” sought under “the development goals of the Bank Group and our client countries.”

While the release did say the bank group will try “to balance these energy needs with concerns about climate change,” it also cautioned that “fossil fuels are likely to remain a key contributor to the world’s electricity needs.”

Uh-oh!

Obama eyes Gore for a major climate-change post

The Democratic presidential hopeful says he would offer the former vice-president and Nobel prize winner a cabinet-level or higher role in tackling global warming.

The remark was sure to heighten competition between Obama and rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, as Gore is a coveted endorsement as a leading voice for combating greenhouse emissions.

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