This is a guest post by Mike Casey, cross-posted from ScalingGreen.com.
Despite overwhelming evidence that anthropogenic climate change is real, potentially catastrophic, and accelerating, the theft of the East Anglia emails a year ago was turned into “Climategate” by the dirty energy lobby. This non-scandal was nothing but a bunch of hot air, perpetrated by “deniers,” and to a large extend funded by the leading dirty energy (coal and oil) industries. (For more on this subject, see the superb book, “The Climate War,” by Eric Pooley.)
Congressman Joe “Apologize to BP” Barton of Texas was among those honking on the “Climategate” horn the loudest. The problem is that Barton lacks intellectual integrity of his own. As Salon reports:
The only problem, other than the fact that the report is overwhelmingly without merit, is that it was largely plagiarized.
It seems that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has lost his appetite for pursuing a ‘Climategate’ investigation, according to The Hill. Rep. Issa is the presumed chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for the 112th Congress starting in January.
Perhaps it was just GOP chest-thumping in the run-up to the midterm elections. Who knows?
But at least Rep. Issa has recognized the giant waste of time and taxpayer money another investigation into Climategate would represent. After all, every independent investigation into the so-called ‘Climategate’ scandal has exonerated the scientists, and nothing has undermined the scientific consensus on climate change. (Although it’s worth noting that nobody has bothered to investigate the actual theft of the climate scientists’ emails or probed the role of a small group of climate skeptics in blowing it out of proportion.)
Skeptics and deniers cried bloody murder, and everyone (except hard-headed skeptics and deniers) now knows that Climategate was a ginned-up nontroversy whose proponents failed to “prove” that global warming is a “hoax.”
There is no doubt that Rep. Issa and other incoming GOP committee chairmen will find plenty of other ways to waste time and taxpayer money “investigating” the baseless accusations lobbed at climate scientists in the climate denial machine’s long quest to confuse the public about global warming.
But with Rep. Issa seemingly bowing out of the race, who will be the first GOP climate zombie to dig Climategate up again from the depths of the right wing conspiracy graveyard?
Prominent climate scientist Michael Mann, who has endured a seemingly endless political attack on his work, has penned an excellent op-ed in today’s Washington Post, calling on fellow scientists to recognize and resist the efforts of anti-science politicians to distort their work.
Mann notes the danger of a GOP take-over of key climate change committees in Congress, pointing out the war on science and reason promised by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) if he takes over chairmanship of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and similar views expressed by Rep. James Sensenbrenner if he takes the helm of the committee on climate change and energy security. The denier duo plan to re-hash the wasteful investigation into the non-scandalous dead end known as Climategate, if propelled to leadership positions.
“We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. The same dynamics and many of the same players are still hard at work, questioning the reality of climate change.”
“Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.”
“the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science. How can I assure young researchers in climate science that if they make a breakthrough in our understanding about how human activity is altering our climate that they, too, will not be dragged through a show trial at a congressional hearing?”
Deutsche Bank’s Climate Change Advisors released an excellent report this week drawing the “clear conclusion” that “the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat.”
The report, “Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments,” deftly refutes each of the major conspiracy howlers often made by climate skeptics and deniers – that global warming is a hoax, that the globe has been cooling since 1998, that higher temperatures caused by CO2 emissions will be good for people and agriculture, and of course the Climategate nonsense alleging climate scientists are part of a grand conspiracy.
“The claims of conspiracy are not borne out by the facts,” the report states.
The bank’s Climate Change Advisors, working with the Columbia University Climate Center at the Earth Institute, easily debunked each of the denier myths, and noted that extensive scientific studies have confirmed the world is facing a long-term climate threat.
“Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years. Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking,” the report states.
University of Virginia faculty, students and alumni will gather Friday afternoon to protest against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against former UVA Professor and leading climate scientist Michael Mann. The protest is timed to coincide with the ruling of a Virginia Circuit Court judge who is set to rule on whether to allow Cuccinelli’s frivolous investigation to continue.
Cuccinelli’s political attack on climate science has two ongoing fronts right now, one targeting climate scientist Michael Mann, and another involving a lawsuit filed by Cuccinelli against the EPA attempting to block the agency’s efforts to regulate carbon dioxide pollution.
Charlottesville, Virginia ABC affiliate WHSV reports:
Students, faculty members and alumni of the University of Virginia will gather to protest Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s investigation of UVA and former UVA Professor Michael Mann Friday at 1 p.m. on the north (street) side of the University’s Rotunda at 1826 University Ave.
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.
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.
ExxonMobil gave $1.5 million to climate deniers and industry front groups known for working to create doubt about global warming, attacking the integrity of climate scientists, and protecting the status quo for polluters, according to a front-page story in the Times of London today.
Contrary to its stated commitment to stop funding climate denier groups, the Exxon funding spigot remained as open as the BP gusher, continuing to pollute the media landscape with oil-soaked misinformation designed to cripple international action on climate change.
Greenpeace’s ExxonSecrets project has documented the nearly $25 million spent by ExxonMobil since 1998 to fund climate denier groups.
Exxon-funded groups used their latest infusion of oil money to create a media frenzy over the “Climategate” non-scandal and other efforts to derail progress towards an international agreement to fight climate change at the COP-15 talks in Copenhagen last winter.
Andy Revkin’s revelations over the weekend about the botched media relations strategy deployed by the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, demonstrate that the IPCC has failed to learn from its recent missteps in managing public communications.
If you don’t have anything to hide, don’t act as if you do.
Being thrust into the media spotlight and subjected to sudden intense scrutiny can rattle any organization, and the IPCC is hardly the first institution to be accused of resorting to a “bunker mentality” and evading media inquiries. But, as Revkin points out correctly, sheltering yourself from the press is bound to backfire, creating more skepticism about your activities when you should really focus on explaining your work more clearly and operating with greater transparency.
For an organization like the IPCC - which has been accused of holding information too closely to its chest - to send an open letter advising its lead authors and editors to “keep a distance from the media” demonstrates PR mismanagement at its worst. It reinforces the perception that IPCC leadership doesn’t really know what it is doing.
That’s unfortunate because the IPCC has reportedly been spending a lot of time internally reviewing its operations to increase transparency. But this memo doesn’t help demonstrate that fact, by a long shot.