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.

Scientists throw mainstream media a lifeline

A group of scientists and communicators, led by John Abraham, Scott Mandia and Ray Weymann, have launched a rapid response function in an effort to make solid scientific information readily available to mainstream media reporters who are being spun by industry “experts” like Pat Michaels and Christopher Monckton.

The new website

Other details:


WHO & WHAT:           The CSRRT is a match-making service between top scientists and members of the media and office holders and their staffs from various levels of government. Our group consists of dozens of leading scientists who wish to improve communication about climate change. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials. Our members have expertise in virtually all areas of climate science and they are available to share their current understanding in a fairly rapid time frame.


HOW IT WORKS:        Inquirers will use the form on the Website to identify themselves and to send their questions along with the desired timeframe of the response.  That information will immediately be sent to three people: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Ray Weymann, and Prof. Scott Mandia.  These three “match-makers” will immediately notify up to three scientists with the most appropriate expertise.  One scientist or one of the three CSRRT match-makers will then respond directly to the inquirer with the correct science information.


WHY WE DO IT:          There is a sharp divide between what scientists know about climate change and what the public knows.  The scientists of the CSRRT understand that better communication can narrow this gap.  The media is in the best position to deliver accurate science information to the general public and to our elected leaders but only if  they are provided with that information. The CSRRT is committed to delivering that service   We are advocates for science education.

Tom Borelli: Hastening the End of the World

You have to wonder what happened to Tom Borelli. Here’s a guy who studied at the New York Medical College - who was smart enough and hard-working enough to get a PHD in biochemistry - and now he spends his time trying to hasten … not really the end of the world, but an end to human habitability.

Of course, poisoning humans, rather than saving them, appears to have been Borelli’s life work. He was a Philip Morris operative in the ’90s, proudly fighting for the rights of tobacco fans to blow smoke in the face of passing children - passing anybody, really. Now, as sometimes-DeSmogBlog contributor Kate Sheppard documents here, Borelli is gathering up oil money to finance an attack on any corporation that promotes responsible action on climate change.

Tom, we really hope you have a nice house. Because, according to Dante at least, in your next life, you will get a rather less fabulous choice of neighborhoods: either the Eighth and Ninth circle of hell (Fraud or Treachery).

ICSC Climate Scientists' Register: Usual suspects; usual tactics

The tired, old climate-change deniers who keep trying to get themselves taken seriously have launched another petition claiming that “having assessed the relevant scientific evidence, (they) do not find convincing support for the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing, or will in the foreseeable future cause, dangerous global warming.”

This new laundry list of paid skeptics and ideologues is yet another instalment in the periodic petition process that has confused the climate conversation since Dr. S. Fred Singer launched the first such stunt in 1992. In fact, usual suspects such as Singer, Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels and Sherwood Idso are on both lists.

Connoisseurs will recognize more names, perennial Canadian deniers like Tim Patterson and Tim Ball, both alumni of an evolving series of oil-backed astroturf groups including the Friends of Science and the Natural Resources Stewardship Project. The oily lobbyist and former APCO Worldwide PR guy Tom Harris, who was prominent in both of those organizations, is also the “brains” behind this effort.

Climate Progress documents a year of No progress

“Unrestricted emissions of greenhouse gases threaten multiple catastrophes, any one of which justifies action.  Together, they represent the gravest threat to humanity imaginable.  The fact that the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media ignored the overwhelming majority of these studies and devoted a large fraction of its climate ‘ink’ in the last 12 months to what was essentially a non-story is arguably the single greatest failing of the science media this year.”

Joe Romm in an excellent - and exceedingly distressing - wrap-up of the climate stories that mainstream media missed in the last year while concentrating - stupidly - on the purported scandal of the stolen East Anglia emails.

CMAJ whacks feds for going soft on tobacco

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has lashed out at the federal Conservative government for backing down on its long-standing commitment to toughen up the warning images on Canadian cigarette packages.

The Canadian government’s LONGSTANDING irresponsibility on climate change policy has left MANY in despair about the degree to which Prime Minister Stephen Harper will put corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of the citizens of Canada - and of the whole world.

Now, Harper’s minions are cuddling up to big tobacco, effecting a policy that has driven the CMAJ to say:
“In the absence of a logical explanation, Canadians should be forgiven for questioning the government’s motives.”

Is this not evidence of creepy consistency?

Mann: Climate has no political agenda

Michael Mann, Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, recently spoke to more than 600 writers and journalists at the combined meetings of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing at Yale University. has good coverage here.

Environment Minister Prentice Quits for CIBC Job

Jim Prentice, whose been kicked around on this blog for most of his term as federal Environment Minister, has announced he is quitting politics for a job at one of Canada’s big banks. I fear we’re going to miss him.

Prentice stepped into the Environment Minister’s job in 2008, just in time to offer up a disappointing performance at the Poznan climate change conference a couple of months later. That was a shame, because after the more-obnoxious turns of predecessors John Baird and Rona Ambrose, we’d been optimistic that Prentice might be an improvement.

Now, practicing hindsight, it’s clear that he was. Sure, he continued as Stephen Harper’s mouthpiece, inevitably having to take responsibility for the actions of a governing party that thinks climate change is a good thing (it gets makes it easier to get to Arctic gas and oil). But at least Prentice had the decency to look like he was embarrassed by the role. And, as the Globe and Mail reports in its parting feature, the last few decisions that Prentice has made were both surprising and reassuring from an environmental perspective.

Prentice has often been identified as a potential successor to the perennial minority Prime Minister Stephen Harper - a man who will never win the trust of enough Canadians to lead his government into majority territory. Maybe this is Prentice’s “John Turner moment,” a detour to Bay Street where he can wait in greater comfort and less humiliation for the PM’s job to open up.

We hope. We always hope.

Arctic Sea Ice Trends: Down, Down Down

Two graphs, inluding the brand new one to the left, show two (mutually affirming) analyses of the trajectory of Arctic sea ice over the last 30 years.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center graph (left) shows Average Monthly Sea Ice Extent. The figure below shows a Polar Science Center model-generated calculation of Sea Ice Volume. Notwithstanding that NSIDC reports Arctic temperatures in October were 4 to 6 degrees Celsius (7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal, there is something chilling in the similarity of the two graphs. 

PIOMAS Ice Volume Anomaly

Prop 23: Watch this while you wait for the vote

Check out this documentary by filmmaker and University of British Columbia journalism professor Dan McKinney:

UnScientific American: In Lionizing Curry, a Lion Loses its Way

Update: Curry Responds to SciAm article - Link below

An unreasonably puffy Scientific American profile of the climate confusionist Judith Curry is sowing fresh outrage in the climate science community - and creating sincere concern that new management is inserting a political slant into one of the bastions of serious science journalism.

The Curry piece, like Curry’s own position on this issue, is just silly. It falls into a complex on-the-one-hand/on-the-other hand narrative, promoting climate science as so full of uncertainty - and so badly reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that we could all reasonably throw up our hands in confusion.

At no point does the article appear to address actual science. Rather, it wallows in the politics that, on this issue especially, have infected the scientific conversation. It’s the kind of article that you might reasonably have expected in Newsweek.

That may be no surprise. SciAm’s new Executive Editor Fred Guterl is a Newsweek alumni with a history of promoting both Curry and climate confusion. (Joe Romm at Climate Progress has commented on his Newsweek work here and you can read for yourself the familiar looking Curry puffery in a Discover mag profile here).