climate science

Nature Editorial Slams GOP For Anti-Science Tendencies

There is no getting around the fact that the U.S. Republican Party simply hates science.  It didn’t used to be that way.  But it is now, and the timing of a recent uptick in this phenomenon couldn’t be worse.  

The anti-science strain pervading the right wing in the United States is the last thing the country needs in a time of economic challenge.”

That is the subtitle of an excellent editorial today in the journal Nature, “Science Scorned,” which discusses how dangerous this trend is, pointing out that:

There is a growing anti-science streak on the American right that could have tangible societal and political impacts on many fronts — including regulation of environmental and other issues and stem-cell research.”

Nowhere is the right wing’s anti-science stance more starkly apparent than on the issue of climate change, as Nature notes:

Denialism over global warming has become a scientific cause célèbre within the movement. [Rush] Limbaugh, for instance, who has told his listeners that “science has become a home for displaced socialists and communists”, has called climate-change science “the biggest scam in the history of the world”.

Nature is a highly respected journal, and it is encouraging to see the editors take a strong stand against the GOP’s betrayal of science and reason. Science should never be confused with politics, but the recent antics of the Republican Party leave no alternative but to acknowledge that the Right’s attack on science must be addressed directly by the scientific community. 

Washington Post Editorial Slams Ken Cuccinelli "Embarrassing" Witch Hunt Against Climate Scientist

The Washington Post penned an excellent editorial yesterday deriding Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s political attack against climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann, a former UVA professor whom Cuccinelli has targeted in a witch hunt.  

The Post editorial notes that “the overblown critique of climate science that emerged early this year continues to underwhelm,” citing several examples of the recent rash of politically-motivated attacks on climate science, including the much-ado-about-nothing ‘Climategate’ episode last winter, the repeated attacks against the integrity of the U.N. IPCC, and of course Mr. Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against UVA and Mike Mann. 

This week’s ruling by Circuit Court Judge Paul Peatross confirming that Cuccinelli lacked “an objective basis” for his witch hunt “put a damper on a pernicious fishing expedition,” the Post says.

But that hasn’t checked “Mr. Cuccinelli’s zeal,” since he immediately announced plans to re-rig his fishing pole and try again to smear Dr. Mann, “thereby extending his assault on academic freedom,” says the Post.

The editorial closes with sharp criticism for Cuccinelli’s attempt to “embarrass Virginia”:

“We hope he rethinks his course. At this point all he can do is waste more taxpayer money, force the university to waste more of its money and embarrass Virginia in a way that can only harm its higher education system.” 

Check out the full editorial, 
A judge puts a damper on Mr. Cuccinelli’s U-Va. witch hunt.” 

Regina Newspaper Calls on Skeptics to Put Their Money Where There Mouth Is

Local Regina publication, Prairie Dog Magazine, is laying down the gauntlet by asking climate change skeptics to record their doubts on paper.

The magazine has created a declaration that outlines various scenarios for rejecting scientific consensus and has mailed it to several public figures who have openly expressed skepticism on the issue of global warming, including Stephen Harper, Margaret Wente, Rex Murphy, Tim Ball and Ross McKitrick amongst others. 

The plan to check in with the skeptics in 10 years is all about “accountability” and the magazine states that should they be wrong they will give credit where credit is due. And if they’re right…..it’s a sad bet to win.

SolveClimate: EPA Rejects 10 Petitions Charging Climate Science is Flawed

SolveClimate’s David Sassoon reports on the EPA’s finding that climate deniers are full of hot air:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied 10 petitions challenging its 2009 endangerment finding which said that climate change is real, is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities, and threatens human health and the environment.

EPA found no evidence to support the claims of the petitions which assert that a conspiracy invalidates the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. On the contrary, EPA’s review of the petitions found that climate science is credible, compelling, and growing stronger.

The endangerment finding is based on years of science from the U.S. and around the world. These petitions – based as they are on selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy – provide no evidence to undermine our determination. Excess greenhouse gases are a threat to our health and welfare,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

Defenders of the status quo will try to slow our efforts to get America running on clean energy. A better solution would be to join the vast majority of the American people who want to see more green jobs, more clean energy innovation and an end to the oil addiction that pollutes our planet and jeopardizes our national security.”

Head over to SolveClimate for the rest of this story.

International Scientists Confirm Climate Change is "Undeniable"

An international team of climate scientists led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed that climate change is “undeniable” and clearly driven by the “human fingerprints” of greenhouse gas emissions.  The findings are based on new data that was not reviewed during the most recent 2007 report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Financial Times reported today that the NOAA study drew on 11 different indicators of climate, and “found that each one pointed to a world that was warming owing to the influence of greenhouse gases.”

The scientists confirmed that seven of the indicators are rising, including air temperature over land, sea-surface temperature, marine air temperature, sea level, ocean heat, humidity, and tropospheric temperature in the “active-weather” layer of the atmosphere closest to the earth’s surface. Four other indicators were declining: Arctic sea ice, glaciers, spring snow cover in the northern hemisphere, and stratospheric temperatures.

The Financial Times quotes Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the UK Met Office, stating:

“The whole of the climate system is acting in a way consistent with the effects of greenhouse gases. The fingerprints are clear. The glaringly obvious explanation for this is warming from greenhouse gases.”

Glaringly obvious, unless you are a climate skeptic who denies the facts in favor of touting manufactured scandals like “Climategate” - a mythical tale ginned up by the climate denial machine to further confuse the public about the real dangers of climate change. 

Climate Denial Crock of the Week/1998 Revisited

One of the enduring myths of climate denialism is that global warming stopped sometime in the last decade. I see it in the blaring headlines of pseudoscience websites, in comments on my videos, even some of our most “distinguished” journalists have been taken in.

Lord Monckton and Rep. John Shimkus Declare Global Warming Emissions "Plant Food"

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) shared a moment of sheer absurdity with Britain’s stuffiest global warming denier Lord Christopher Monckton in last week’s Energy & Commerce hearing on climate change adaptation.

Shimkus encouraged Lord Monckton - who has absolutely no background in climate science whatsoever - to talk about how Earth is a “carbon starved” planet, making it seem as though we desperately need to seek out new sources of CO2 emissions if we have any hope for survival as a species.  After all, the pair agreed, “carbon dioxide is plant food,” so why on Earth would we want to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources?

As a journalist, one might hope Lord Monckton would know better, but you wouldn’t get that impression from listening to his zany answers to Shimkus’s questions.

For example, Monckton cites the Cambrian period as evidence that plants love carbon dioxide. 

DesmogBlog Breaks DSCOVR Story in Nature

DesmogBlog was contacted this month by Nature – the most prestigious science journal in the world  – about our latest posting on the Deep Space Climate Observatory

It seems their editors were interested in the news we broke that the Air Force was considering launching this $100 million mothballed spacecraft – minus the Earth observing instruments.

Last week they published an 800 word article based on information we provided to them about this bizarre story.

Alas, our extensive research on the DSCOVR mission was not mentioned in the Nature article, but such is the lot of a blogger.

More importantly, the exposure provided by this piece in one of the premier journals in the world will hopefully light a fire under NASA to not to kill this vital mission.

Check out NASA's new science blog

When it comes to climate science, its usually best to talk to climate scientists. And a new blog set up by NASA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a welcomed voice in the social media arena.

While climate isn't the only focus of the new JPL blog, so far there has been a pretty heavy focus on the issue. So grab the JPL blog's RSS feed and keep up-to-date on the latest in climate change science through the eyes of an actual climate scientist. 

Palin denies climate change realities on first day as McCain's running mate

What are the ramifications of a US Vice President that is willing to shrug off the scientific realities of global warming?

Guess we'll find out if John McCain takes the White House. In an interview with Newsmax today, McCain's vice-presidential running mate Sarah Palin stated that:

“A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.

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