patrick michaels

News Not to Miss: Oil Train Spill, China Petrochemical Deal, Methane Leaks

Read time: 4 mins
Oil train cars

It's hard to keep up with the flood of news these days. Here's your weekly round-up of news not to miss from DeSmog.

Justin Mikulka has been on the oil train beat for years. He's documented how the oil boom and pipeline bottleneck in the Bakken Shale has led to more, longer, and heavier trains shuttling oil across North America and how various factors also have led to another type of boom: the literal “boom” of exploding oil trains. (In fact, train operators have given them the nickname “bomb trains.”)

This week, Mikulka writes about the latest oil train incident, this time involving a BNSF train carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, across northwestern Iowa.

New Hope Environmental Services

New Hope Environmental Services (NHES)

Background

Read time: 13 mins

World Climate Report

World Climate Report (WCR)

Background

Read time: 20 mins

Australian Climate Denial Think Tank Picks Cat Author and Moonman Ken Ring as Climate Expert

Read time: 6 mins

Do you love cats and want to know what makes them tick?  Do you think climate change is a hoax being pushed as part of a eugenics plot?  Do you like rubber band magic?

If your answers to these questions are “yes,” “hell yeah,” and “sometimes,” then have I got the book for you? Hell yeah, I do.

Australian “think tank,” the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has launched a fundraising drive for its 2017 edition of the book Climate Change: The Facts.

What Are The Chances Of Getting All These Record Hot Years Without The Extra Greenhouse Gases? The Answer...

Read time: 5 mins

From hot to fractionally less hot, here are the planet’s ten warmest years on record – 2015, 2014, 2010, 2005, 2007, 2013, 2009, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

These are the numbers according to NASA and include measurements taken on land and at sea in a record that goes back to the year 1880.

Now that’s a pretty remarkable run of hot years for an era when, according to the rusted-on professional climate science denialists, global warming was supposed to have stopped.

But what are the chances of getting a run of “hottest on record” years like that - 14 of the 16 hottest years all happening since 2000 - without all the extra greenhouse gases that humans have been judiciously stockpiling in the atmosphere and oceans?

The Climate Science Deniers And Free Market Activists Backing Bjorn Lomborg

Read time: 4 mins

STOP ACADEMIC CENSORSHIP” screamed the full caps headline on the half-page advert in the Murdoch-owned The Australian newspaper earlier this week.

Referring to the Danish climate change contrarian and US think tank boss Bjorn Lomborg, the advert claimed: “We stand for academic freedom. We stand with Dr Lomborg.”

How the Creation of Mann's Hockey Stick Led to a Climate Denier Counter-Attack

Read time: 4 mins

Our DeSmog UK epic history series continues with a look at the creation of Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph and the counter-attack launched by the climate deniers.

Michael Mann was “still relatively fresh” out of graduate school when his work demonstrating the rise in global temperatures caught the attention of senior climate scientists. He was quickly selected as lead author for a new report on climate change.

The paper by Mann, and Professor Raymond Bradley and Professor Malcolm Hughes was titled Global-Scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing Over the Past Six Centuries. It introduced into the scientific literature what would soon become known as the ‘hockey stick’ graph.

Can You Guess What Climate Deniers Said of the IPCC 20 Years Ago?

Read time: 5 mins

The DeSmog UK epic history series recalls how the war between the climate sceptics and the IPCC heated up as they tried to cast doubt over the science.

The climate sceptics were ever ready to attack the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following its second report, released in 1995. They well understood the political dangers that confronted them.

Frederick Seitz, (pictured) then chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) – which argues against the existence of climate change – demanded that IPCC chairman Bert Bolin draft a statement immediately saying that the IPCC had “not been able to quantify the magnitude of the greenhouse gas”; he even took the extra step of drafting the proposed letter, ready for Bolin to sign.

You'll Never Guess Who Attended Britain's First Major Climate Denial Conference

Read time: 7 mins

DeSmog UK’s epic history series looks back at the conference that marked the first major event where climate sceptic views were promoted in England.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Britain's first major climate denial conference. You'll never guess who attended – and who paid for it.

In October 1995, John Blundell – the newly appointed director of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) – opened his second major conference Environmental Risk: Perception and Reality at the four-star Stakis St Ermin's Hotel on Caxon Street in London.

The advertised speakers included Blundell’s old friend Fred Smith, the founder of the Koch-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), who had flown over from the United States along with the coal-funded sceptic scientist Dr Patrick Michaels.

The Campaigns That Tried To Break The Climate Science Consensus

Read time: 8 mins

So just in case anyone wasn’t sure, a major study of almost 12,000 scientific papers on global warming between 1991 and 2011 finds less than one per cent disagree that humans are the main cause.

Published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study led by John Cook, the Australia-based founder of Skeptical Science, confirms the debate about the causes of global warming had all but vanished in the scientific literature by the early 1990s. Almost all the research says it’s mostly caused by humans.

For any followers of climate science in journals (the place where it actually matters) the finding wasn’t really news at all.

Yet survey after survey finds the public still thinks scientists are arguing over the causes of global warming and the media continues to attempt to resuscitate long-dead ideas.

Does it matter that people have a clear understanding of the main thrust of the science? A 2012 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that people were more likely to accept human-caused global warming if they were informed that scientists were in broad agreement (which we know they are).

For decades, fossil fuel-funded groups, free market think tanks (some of which also qualify as fossil fuel funded groups) and the fossil fuel industry itself have known the importance of the public’s understanding of the state of climate science. A public that understands the state of the science is more likely to want something done about climate change. Doing something, means using a lot less fossil fuel.

But who wanted to tell the public that a consensus didn’t exist? Here are just some of the campaigns run over the years showing how breaking the consensus in the eyes of the public was a key strategy.

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