Obama named SmogMaker of 2007

Prize honors those who sow confusion and delay on Climate Change

Update: DeSmogBlog withdraws Obama Award

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has captured the inaugural 2007 SmogMaker Award for blowing smoke on global warming, the DeSmogBlog announced today.

Global warming is an environmental problem, not a political one. And people who try to ‘solve’ it with political or public relations spin are just making the problem worse,” said James Hoggan, co-founder of the DeSmogBlog.

“Yet the spin campaign continues, and it’s becoming more insidious. Climate spin used to be all about denial – self-appointed experts took money from the energy industry and then denied that humans are affecting life on earth.

But the new spin is even more dangerous and sly. Now, it’s all about delay and distraction. Now, spindoctors in industry and government are acknowledging the science, but arguing that we shouldn’t or can’t act quickly to correct the problem.”

Barack Obama may not be the worst offender among the spinmeisters, but he’s the biggest disappointment.

An outspoken supporter of the U.S. coal industry, Obama has presented himself as someone who can overcome the Bush legacy of inaction on climate change. But he is campaigning on a greenhouse gas reduction ‘target’ that the U.S. won’t have to meet for 42 years and he has continued to promote the current administration’s plan to circumvent the Kyoto Protocol, the only international climate agreement currently in place.

The world has a right to expect more from a man who wants to be the Democratic candidate for President of the United States,” Hoggan said.

This is the first year for the SmogMaker Awards, honoring those who have subverted honest and forthright public conversation on global warming.

Judged by an expert panel of fraudbusters – the staff at the climate change watchdog DeSmogBlog.com – these awards recognize clever, deceptive or merely devious public relations campaigns.

The winners have distinguished themselves in five categories:


After nearly two full terms of a Republican President who sponsored climate-science censorship, the world has been looking forward to any successor as an improvement.

But on climate change, Barack Obama, is looking like George Bush lite.

While the world’s leading scientific bodies tell us we need to act immediately to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, Obama has set his own target date at 2050, long past any opportunity for voters to hold him accountable. His short-term strategy is the same as President Bush’s; Obama wants to create a new Global Energy Forum that doesn’t include the cleanest and most progressive (European) economies.

If Obama wants to be taken seriously on climate change, he has to stop promoting coal and start setting realistic, urgent strategies.

(Addendum: Joseph Romm at climateprogress.org has taken a convincing whack at us for this award, pointing out rightly that Obama has indeed called for at least one substantive early target - to reduce U.S. emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 - and that he includes Europe's biggest economies in some elements and some versions of his climate plan. That, however, leaves the issues of his support for coal and an ethanol plan that follows G. W. Bush in, mostly, pandering to the U.S. agriculture lobby. Romm criticizes the DeSmogBlog for singling out Obama, a relative good guy, rather than President Bush. We'd like to point out that our position - really, everyone's position - on the Bush performance is pretty much on the record. We were hoping to kickstart a discussion about the person currently advertising himself as the change agent. If Barack Obama offers any convincing counterpoint on his coal position, we'd be happy to “strip him” of this award. In the meantime, our position stands: he's spinning the American people on this issue.)


Toyota made itself the world’s No.1 carmaker by producing energy-efficient models, but nevertheless joined the car consortium that sued California – and 5 other state governments – for legislating lower emission levels. (Why give up the competitive advantage – or save the Earth – when profits are on the line?)


You can’t beat the Canadian government for environmental hypocrisy.

Having signed an international agreement that committed the country to reducing its CO2 emissions by 6 per cent from 1990 levels, Canada increased its annual output by 35 per cent. Now, the Canadian government has joined the world’s biggest polluters to block, divert, or minimize any new global warming agreements.

In fact, notwithstanding that it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and one of the top five per-capita polluters, Canada says it won’t lift a finger against climate change unless the big emitters in the developing world first commit to taking action.


News baron Rupert Murdoch startled the world in May of this year by announcing that he is worried about climate change and determined to bring his worldwide News Corp. into the international battle for better performance and better policy.

Yet his Fox News still employs the likes of climate quibbler Brit Hume and Steve Milloy, a PR guy who went from defending tobacco on behalf of Philip Morris to questioning climate change on behalf of the energy industry.

The idea that a man who created an entire right-of-centre network is now standing back in protection of journalistic independence is beyond quaint.


Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus offers the best example of how climate quibblers are now playing the public for fools.

By accepting the science behind climate change as early as 2004, Lomborg presented himself as a climate moderate. Then he launched an international campaign to distract public policy makers by understating the potential devastation of climate change, while setting up a false choice between spending money addressing global warming or spending instead on eradicating poverty or AIDS.

The SmogMaker Awards are sponsored by DeSmogBlog.com, a website dedicated to exposing the public relations spin that has so distorted the debate about global warming.

DeSmogBlog co-founder James Hoggan is the president of the award-winning public relations firm James Hoggan & Associates. He is also Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, a Trustee of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, and a board member of Future Generations. Mr. Hoggan also chairs a sustainable development project in the Four Great Rivers region, an environmentally pristine, but endangered corner of Eastern Tibet.

For further information, contact:

Kevin Grandia

Operations Manager

c: 778-240-6343

e: desmogblog [at] gmail [dot] com

If you like this story, please vote for it on Digg.com by clicking here.


You are entirely too, gullible, my friend. Did you look up anything about Mr. John Casey to see just how reliable his claims are? I did a quick Google search and discovered that most of the hits are copies of his recent press release on various denialist websites. I couldn’t find much else that looked like serious scientific research. He runs a company that sells advice to big firms about his pet theory that global cooling is just around the corner. That’s about it. He is not referenced in the IPCC report section on solar forcing of climate change. Thus, to the scientific world, he appears to be a nobody. But if you have any indication that he’s anything more than just another nut case, please provide it.

this comment from John Mashey in response to a similar post at Jennifer Marohasy’s blog:

SSRC: you have to be kidding me: http://spaceandscience.net/ looks impressive! until you realize that:

John L. Casey looks like a one-man-band apparently pushing consulting services based on some climate theory he has.

His address is 4700 Millenia Blvd #175 Orlando FL, and if you Google that, you will discover an amazing number of companies that seem to be located in that office suite.

That’s because the suite in this this impressive building isn’t even Casey’s own office, but is occupied by: http://www.intelligentoffice.com/list.html:

“Intelligent Office locates your business in one of the best buildings in town. You’ll have a prestigious business address for your mail, your stationery and your advertising, as well as an impressive place to meet your clients. Your address with us will have your company’s name, not ours, and if you work from home, this is a great way to protect your privacy.”

There is nothing obvious in Casey’s background to establish any particular expertise in climate science, no obvious presence in Google Scholar, and nothing before a recent press release. The info sounds like yet another “I’ve discovered cycles” thing, which happens all the time. (http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002658.html)

To this I can add (from the SSRC site at www.spaceandscience.net) that Mr Casey claims that the SSRC has on its staff of consulting scientists, some of the world’s best known experts in the field of solar physics pertaining to the research into the matter of the coming major solar minimum, but doesn’t bother to name them. His personal areas of expertise include a BSc in physics and mathematics, and an MA in management, with experience as a space shuttle engineer, military missile and computer systems officer, advanced rocketry and commercial space developer.

So when reading the above press release, do take a moment to consider the source, and perhaps check out what the original NASA source he cites to see what it really says.

Fern Mackenzie

But being naturally sceptical I investigated further to find out what else the SSRC had produced, what their background is and who this Mr Casey is who generated the press release. As there have been several recent peer-reviewed studies discussing solar forcing that concluded the opposite of the SSRC’s findings, I wanted to refer directly to the research paper that lays out the SSRC’s case – the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I do this for every study cited here, in order to make a critical assessment of how seriously to take whatever new information is being touted. In this case, I found no paper, peer-reviewed or otherwise, and nothing to suggest that Casey has any particular expertise or experience in climate science research that would warrant taking him very seriously.

Your post did not include any citation other than the SSRC web site, and the press release there does not give any further information, except to state that Casey has extrapolated his findings from a “recent web announcement by NASA” that was actually posted on May 10, 2006. Sorry, but neither the messenger nor his press release meet my standards for credibility.

Fern Mackenzie

Gary, it’s not a matter of attacking the messenger; it’s a matter of determining how authoritative he is. This man has no basis for claiming any authority whatsoever. He’s just another guy like you or me. He’s welcome to his opinions, but the fact that he wrote them down in a press release rather than a blog entry doesn’t make them any more noteworthy. This is just one man’s opinion, and one that is contradicted by many people who ARE authorities.

But still, if you want to discuss the ideas, let’s do so. Tell me, what is your own analysis of his claims regarding solar cycles?

Damn… I had really expected the usual name calling and ridicule, but you guys were almost polite.
So I guess I should actualy answer.

I have read many articles in the past few months that lead me to the same conclusion as this one. I did not (as usual) save them, but I was able find this one again.
It also illistrated what I believe really caused the warming that happened last century.
” Earth is now at the peak of one of its passing warm spells. It started in the 17th century when there was no industrial influence on the climate to speak of and no such thing as the hothouse effect. The current warming is evidently a natural process and utterly independent of hothouse gases. ”


But as you pointed out, none of these papers, or the IPCC Dogma show any actual proof of anything. As you said, they are opinions and should be viewed as such.
I just find them much more believable than the IPCC Opinions. Time will tell. Cheers;

I take issue with the statement by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, speaking about AGW, that “this theory is taken for granted to this day and has not undergone any serious check” since it was first proposed by Svante A. Arrhenius more than 100 years ago. This is quite blatantly untrue. If you look at the history of climate science research, it is clear that Arrhenius’ theories were found interesting but not particularly earth-shattering at the time. But over the past 40 years or so people within the science community have started to connect the dots, and have been carrying out all kinds of research. The gathering momentum of the accumulating evidence has caused real concern, which is why there have been international conventions taking place on the subject since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Dr. Sorokhtin’s notions about solar activity are not backed up by any original published research on his part (at least, none that I can find), and have been flatly contradicted by several recent studies published in peer reviewed journals.

The difference between Dr. Sorokhtin’s opinions and the IPCC scientists’ conclusions are primary research and constant re-evaluation under the microscope of peer critique. I don’t believe that they carry the same weight.

Fern Mackenzie

Fern writes:
Dr. Sorokhtin’s notions about solar activity are not backed up by any original published research on his part (at least, none that I can find), and have been flatly contradicted by several recent studies published in peer reviewed journals.

This is true, I’ve looked unsuccessfully for anything myself. He doesn’t have a single publication to his name about solar activity or a connection between the sun and climate. I suppose that is because Dr. Sorokhtin is a marine geologist.

Gary, why is it that you believe this one man but refuse to believe the many who wrote the IPCC reports? Did you just flip a coin? Is it because he’s telling you what you want to hear? I’m quite serious here: what on earth would cause you to reject the recommendations of our best scientists and embrace those of this one?

Next, let me try my two standard questions on you:

1. Have you read the IPCC reports? They’re the best possible source of the science. Failing to read them is like arguing politics when you haven’t read the Constitution. Have you read them?

2. Do you understand the basic physics? If so, please offer your criticisms of the IPCC reports. If not, why are you questioning scientific conclusions drawn by scientists?

Polar Bears are a myth.
They all died off during the last climate optimum when it was even warmer than now. Back in the MWP.
What you see now are nust computer animations of what they probably looked like.

Here are some links. The first, the original NASA story; the second, a recent update: the newest cycle has begun; the third, a wiki article on solar cycles

But bear in mind all serious climate activists have disregarded solar cycles as having any effect on climate. the science is in, and it is undebatable that CO2 is forcing the present warming. These links for research and entertainment only.


http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/000200801051652.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

“But bear in mind all serious climate activists have disregarded solar cycles as having any effect on climate.”

“Climate activists”? No. They’re called climate scientists, RA.

Obama is correct to tread lightly on this issue given the hysterical rhetoric eminating from the global warming camp.The science of climate change is not about consensus as to its causes. Skepticism is the well-spring of scientific thinking. When the outcomes from a field of scientific research are deemed by its supporters to be of such certainty that further debate or research is pointless, then it ceases to be science and enters the realm of propaganda.

Is our climate warming? As Professor Carter, at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, so ably points out; “It depends”. If the measure is the trend from the beginning of the last Ice Age to the present day, based on sampling of ice cores taken from Greenland, then yes, the climate is warming. If the measure is the temperature trend from the beginning of the Holocene period (10,000 years ago) until the present day, then the climate is cooling. If the measure is the temperature trend from say, 2000 years ago until the present day the cooling is even more dramatic. If the measure is the earth’s temperature over the last 700 years from the beginning of the “Little Ice Age” the temperature trend is stable. Over the last 100 years the climate shows a warming trend and over the last 10 years the temperature has been demonstrated to be stable.

Of course, advocates for anthropogenic warming in countering any questioning of their pet theory will point to climate models that show rising levels of man–made CO2 are indeed the cause. What they do not point to is that these same models, when applied to historic climate data, are unable to recreate past known conditions (also known as ‘hindsight forecasting’).

What we need is an honest assessment of the situation by scientists, politicians and the media, not sycophantic agreement with those who have a scientific, political or financial axe to grind, such as Al Gore, who now as a partner at venture capital giant, Kleiner Perkins, stands to make millions from his involvement with the science of climate change.

I do not have a problem with a concerted effort to encourage and establish new clean sustainable energy sources. I do have a problem with the effort being based on a theory that is now being slowly disproved and the spending of billions unnecessarily on carbon credits and other such nonsense. So before we go tilting at windmills, let’s pause and focus on the things that do matter, like bringing clean water to the billions of people who don’t have it.

Buster, I’d be happy to often refutations of your claims if I thought you’d stick around to reply, but most of the deniers that show up here are drive-by shooters and you’re probably long gone.

You should be embarrassed. I was a faithful reader until today. Obviously your more then informative site took a turn and became a slanderous political scene.

Anyone interested in the facts click here: http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/1/4/161528/7185

I think you’ve contradicted your mission statement with the Obama criticisms. Instead of taking the time to read his policies and his voting record, you’ve gone on to slander him.

How many of your other posts on the record are this poorly researched?

These guys are SO clever, don’t you think VJ? How dull it would be here without our beloved trolls. It must be getting pretty crowded under that bridge …

Fern Mackenzie

Loss of major credibility with numerous readers would be a best case scenario. To save face I would write a follow - up article apologizing for your…err..umm…miscalculations regarding Senator Obama.

Haven’t you checked out the top story? DeSmogBlog Apologizes to Barack Obama 7 Jan 08, at http://www.desmogblog.com/desmogblog-apologizes-to-barack-obama

Fern Mackenzie