Richard Littlemore

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Co-author (with Jim Hoggan) of the award-winning Climate Cover-up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming, Richard has been Editor of the DeSmogBlog since its inception in 2005. Originally a newspaper reporter (the Ottawa Citizen, the Winnipeg Tribune, the Vancouver Sun), Richard has, since 1995, split his career between magazine journalism, activism and politics and corporate communications. On projects specific to climate change, he wrote the David Suzuki Foundation’s first public information package on global warming in 1996, was vice-chair of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's Air Quality Committee in 1996 and 1997 and sat as a delegate to the Canadian government's (failed) Kyoto Implementation Process from 1997 to 1999. Richard is a regular speech writer for many business and academic leaders.

"The silver lining to Arctic global warming" - Seriously?

Whenever I see a headline like the one quoted above, I always go searching for some hint of irony in the story. Woefully, London’s Telegraph doesn’t do irony.

Rather, Tele contributor Roger Howard asserts with grave conviction that while climate change is “unmistakable,” while its effects are “depressing and disturbing,” that it’s great to see the Arctic ice melting because now BP - that paragon of responsible environmental stewardship - can get into bed with the Russian oil giant, Rosneft.

It’s as though the resident of a burning house, madly in search of a fire extinguisher, stops to celebrate instead the discovery of another pack of matches. “Oh goody! Climate change is bad, but the ‘silver lining’ is that now two of the biggest climate culprits on the planet can work together to make it worse.”


Arctic Sea Ice Still at Lowest Extent Ever

The usual concern for Arctic sea ice crops up in the summertime, when the frightening ice decline results in more open water, and therefore a greater capacity for the dark Arctic Ocean to absorb the 24-hour sun’s heat - rather than reflect it back into space, as was the case when most of the Arctic surface was covered with bright, white ice.

But look at the state of Arctic ice now. Even as we approach the usual winter maximum, the ice extent is lower than at any time in recorded history, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. The Polar Science Center in Seattle reports that ice volume also continues its decline, or should I say, collapse - at unprecedented speed, to unprecedented lows.

Thus, despite the calls from d’oh-headed deniers like Art Horn for a global chill driven by a “super La Nina,” we have a year that wraps up tied as the warmest ever and a continuing trend that indicates the coming summer will feature the effects of redoubling climate feedbacks.

We stand in awe of the DenierGang’s ability to tie themselves up in logical knots and we await their next falacious analysis with unfailing interest.

Media Loses Interest In Climate Change

Updated research from Max Boykoff and Maria Mansfield suggests that the world’s media have lost interest in climate change, regardless that the evidence of potential catastrophe becomes more clear by the day - and that last year was tied as the hottest on record.

World news coverage spiked in late 2009, corresponding with the intense interest among politicians, bureaucrats and activists in the Copenhagen conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This study, however, is quantitative rather than qualitative. Boykoff and Mansfield have scoured the electronic sources and found how many stories appear in prominent global newspapers. But this graph doesn’t answer whether what was being published was stupid or wrong. And previous Boykoff studies - beginning with the landmark 2004 study that he conducted with his brother Jules - have demonstrated that a stunning amount of media coverage was presenting an imagined version of reality that was not reflected in actual climate science.

Weyburn Carbon Capture Project Springs a Leak

Canadian Press reports that carbon dioxide is fizzing out of the ground over the experimental Cenovus (Encana) carbon-capture-and-storage project in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

The evidence comes in a study financed by the farming couple who reported that they were finding an increasing number of dead small animals in a quary that also featured explosions and fizzy geysers.

"CIA Vet" Kent Clizbe Stalking Hockey Stick-Author Mike Mann

Spook’s antics would be creepy if they were competent

A self-proclaimed counter-terrorism expert and former CIA case worker is soliciting for “whistleblowers” who will make allegations of impropriety against Dr. Michael Mann, director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center and author of the apparently bulletproof Hockey Stick climate reconstruction.

Kent Clizbe has been sending letters, annually, to Mann’s colleagues promising them a big payout if they can offer any evidence that Mann has been misusing his federal research funds. In the first such letter that Clizbe sent, more than a year ago, he reported that the U.S. False Claims Act stipulates that whistleblowers can claim up to 30% of any recovered money and that Mann has received $50 million. Clizbe adds: “30% of $50 million is more than $12 million.”

In this single sentence, Clizbe reveals all you need to know about the man: he doesn’t care about the accuracy of his facts; and he can’t wrangle a calculator effectively enough to establish that 30% of 50 is 15. (Neither do his math skills improve over time, in this year’s version, he writes: “Up to 30% of $50 million (the total Dr Mann claims to have received for climate research) could net a whistleblower more than $10 million.”)

Carbon Tracker: NOAA Graphic Lays Out the Bad News

Joe Romm at ClimateProgress has turned up this amazing YouTube video, courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Carbon Tracker. The first section shows the rise of CO2 in the last 30 years (it starts to feel like a cockroach crawling up your leg). The second section uses climate reconstructions to back up 800,000 years, to put the current crisis into context. Fabulous, in a scary kind of way …

GMU still paralyzed; Wegman, Rapp still paranoid

WegmanGate, SkepticGate:

Isn’t it Time to Slam the Gate?

George Mason University continues to fritter away its reputation for academic integrity by failing to act on plagiarism charges against Dr. Edward Wegman - but the indefatigable John Mashey has not rested in the long interegnum since the complaint was filed.

Mashey’s latest update is attached below and with his first edition, here. John recommends particularly the paranoic rantings of Dr. Donald Rapp (in the new Section 3) as well as Wegman’s own unfolding commentary (Appendix A 3), which continues regardless of a GMU directive that he not comment on his investigation until the beleaguered braintrust at his university decides to recognize the obvious - or cover up.

Prescient Asimov offers warning from the grave

In two minutes and 39 seconds, the incomparable Isaac Asimov explains the greenhouse effect and tells why he has been warning about it for 20 years. Of course, Azimov has been dead almost 20 years (since April 6, 1992); this video (which we found courtesy of Peter Sinclair from Climate Denial Crock of the Week) was recorded in 1989.

How much has changed since. How much, woefully, has not.

Fred Singer: When Promoting Doubt, Make Stuff Up!

The reliably unreliable Dr. S. Fred Singer has gone from manipulating statistics for the purposes of disinformation to merely making stuff up - claiming, on the basis of no evidence whatever, that 40% of Scientists Doubt Manmade Global Warming.

Absent anything beyond Singer’s self-serving guess, this must be dismissed as hogwash. A University of Illinois survey conducted a year ago put the number of scientists convinced of humankind’s effect on global warming at between 82 and 90 per cent. A National Academy of Sciences survey reported last summer that it was closer to 97 per cent.

Singer’s egregious misrepresentation is made yet worse by being promoted by a libertarian front group called the National Association of Scholars. This name, by strange coincidence, results in the same acronym (NAS) as the National Academy of Sciences, raising the possibility that unsuspecting readers might mistake Singer’s latest craziness for an actual, credible scientific survey.

2010 Climate B.S. of the Year Award

A small, smart and increasingly annoyed group of climate scientists has found the perfect way to mark the end of a bad year - with the 2010 Climate B.S. of the Year awards. The copy, and the identity of the nominators, is below.

2010 saw widespread and growing evidence of rapidly warming global climate and strengthening scientific understanding of how humans are contributing to climate change. Yet on the policy front, little happened to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe negative climate impacts, including now unavoidable changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, sea-level rise, snowpack, glacial extent, Arctic sea ice, and more. These physical impacts will lead to sharply increased disease, military and economic instabilities, food and water shortages, and extreme weather events, among other things. Without appropriate risk management action, the United States will be hit hard. There is no safe haven. Yet confusion and uncertainty about climate change remain high in the minds of too many members of the public and Congress.