Jailed for scientific dissent?! 20 climate scientists call for RICO investigation of climate skeptics

Scared Straight?Scared Straight?Top UN scientist Dr. Kevin Trenberth and 19 other scientists have become so tired of debating global warming that they are now apparently seeking to jail those who disagree with them.

Warmist scientists including UN IPCC Lead Author Kevin Trenberth to Obama: ‘We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool ‚Äì recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse ‚Äì is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.’

Via Politico: ‘Twenty climate scientists called for RICO investigation in a letter to Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The scientists argue that the systemic efforts to prevent the public from understanding climate change resembles the investigation undertaken against tobacco. They draw inspiration from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse who said on the Senate floor that there might be a similar conspiracy here, and a civil trial could provide the tools of discovery needed to find out.’

Letter reproduced in full:

Letter to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren

September 1, 2015

Dear President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren,

As you know, an overwhelming majority of climate scientists are convinced about the potentially serious adverse effects of human-induced climate change on human health, agriculture, and biodiversity. We applaud your efforts to regulate emissions and the other steps you are taking. Nonetheless, as climate scientists we are exceedingly concerned that America’s response to climate change ‚Äì indeed, the world’s response to climate change ‚Äì is insufficient. The risks posed by climate change, including increasing extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and increasing ocean acidity ‚Äì and potential strategies for addressing them ‚Äì are detailed in the Third National Climate Assessment (2014), Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The stability of the Earth’s climate over the past ten thousand years contributed to the growth of agriculture and therefore, a thriving human civilization. We are now at high risk of seriously destabilizing the Earth’s climate and irreparably harming people around the world, especially the world’s poorest people.

We appreciate that you are making aggressive and imaginative use of the limited tools available to you in the face of a recalcitrant Congress. One additional tool ‚Äì recently proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse ‚Äì is a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) investigation of corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change, as a means to forestall America’s response to climate change. The actions of these organizations have been extensively documented in peerreviewed academic research (Brulle, 2013) and in recent books including: Doubt is their Product (Michaels, 2008), Climate Cover-Up (Hoggan & Littlemore, 2009), Merchants of Doubt (Oreskes & Conway, 2010), The Climate War (Pooley, 2010), and in The Climate Deception Dossiers (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2015). We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse’s call for a RICO investigation.

The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking. If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done.


Jagadish Shukla, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Edward Maibach, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Paul Dirmeyer, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Barry Klinger, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Paul Schopf, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

David Straus, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Edward Sarachik, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Michael Wallace, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Eugenia Kalnay, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

William Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO T.N.

Krishnamurti, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Vasu Misra, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Ben Kirtman, University of Miami, Miami, FL

Robert Dickinson, University of Texas, Austin, TX

Michela Biasutti, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY

Mark Cane, Columbia University, New York, NY

Lisa Goddard, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY

Alan Betts, Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, VT


End letter



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Low Oil Price Drives New Shale Revolution

cartoonEasy money, super-sized frack jobs, and desperate drillers offering deep discounts to oil producers ‚Äì all three have been credited for sustaining U.S. crude output during the worst price slump in six years. Now there appears to be a new factor in the mix: old vertical wells that can quickly be drilled, injected with water or fracked for a second time to increase production at low cost. The industry’s ability to find some workaround every time prices seem too low to keep pumping explains in part why 15 months into the downturn U.S. output stays near highs of around 9 million barrels a day and the government forecasts only modest declines through mid-2016. —Reuters, 15 September 2015

For Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world’s petrostates, facing off against upstart U.S. oil producers must feel like playing a game of whack-a-mole. The American oil industry’s ability to innovate has shocked the Saudis and stymied their strategy, and even now we’re seeing evidence of new techniques being employed to help keep the crude flowing in today’s bear market. This is far from the first creative U.S. solution to the problem of continuing to produce oil at sub-$50 per barrel prices, and you can be sure that it won’t be the last.  —The American Interest, 16 September 2015

Almost nine months have passed since the historic OPEC meeting when its swing producer role was abolished and its members were allowed to produce as much oil as they can in order to cause the oil prices to reduce so that US shale oil producers would be forced out of business. However, the opposite happened. Shale oil producers are still in business even though oil prices have dropped below $50 per barrel. In fact, USA oil production is at its peak with production of more than 9.5 million barrels a day, and is bound to increase further. So where did OPEC go wrong? Despite having all kinds of information regarding energy and being in daily contact with both sides of the market – consumers and producers, it still failed to estimate the power of the shale oil producers. In fact, it even failed to know the actual cost for producing one barrel of shale oil. —Arab Times, 30 August 2015

The flow of crude from what had been the country’s fastest-growing oil and gas regions, like Texas’ Eagle Ford shale, is declining rapidly, according to new data released by the federal government this week. The Energy Information Administration reports that across the country’s seven largest shale deposits oil production is expected to fall to 5.2 million barrels a day next month, the sixth consecutive month of decline and a six percent drop since April. Now drilling rigs are sitting idle and producers are actually opting not to turn on the wells they drill, letting the oil sit underground until prices improve. By and large, most forecasts predict U.S. oil production will continue declining through mid-2016. At that point, the theory goes, the decrease in supply should push up crude prices and get drilling rigs back in the fields. –James Osborne, The Dallas Morning News, 16 September 2015

SNP members are preparing to take on Nicola Sturgeon’s government over fracking in a highly unusual public show of rebellion within the nationalist party. In the most significant internal challenge to the controversial extraction practice, seven SNP activists, including a sitting councillor, have called on fellow members to back their bid for an outright ban. Holyrood has faced calls to clarify its policy on fracking from both sides of the debate ever since its moratorium was imposed in January. Jim Ratcliffe, the chief executive of the petrochemical firm Ineos, has claimed that he has received private assurances that the SNP is “not against” fracking, suggesting that the moratorium could eventually be lifted. Ministers were also criticised after it emerged that personal assurances were given to another firm, Cluff Natural Resources, over its proposals for an offshore operation in the Firth of Forth. –Paris Gourtsoyannis, The Times, 17 September 2015

The “Leap Manifesto” issued on Tuesday by an asylum full of celebrity victims of Harper Derangement Syndrome ‚Äì led by Naomi Klein and David Suzuki ‚Äì is certainly a thought-provoking platform. The main thoughts it provokes are: Does achieving celebrity cause a sharp drop in IQ and increase in hypocrisy, or does all-consuming artistic ego and/or power-hungry socialist inclination prevent all logical thought? –Peter Foster, Financial Post, 17 September 2015

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GOP candidates respond to climate change question at CNN debate

debateToward the end of the GOP presidential debate last night on CNN, moderator Jake Tapper pressed the Republican candidates on climate change, likening it to Reagan’s response to the ozone layer. Tapper asked Senator Marco Rubio, “Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz, says Ronald Reagan urged skeptics in industry to come up with a plan. He said, do it as an insurance policy in case the scientists are right. Secretary Shultz asks, why not take out an insurance policy and approach climate change the Reagan way?”

“We’re not going to destroy our economy the way the left-wing government that we are under now wants to do,” Rubio said. “I am not in favor of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families. Every proposal they [Obama administration] put forward are going to be proposals that will make it harder to do business in America, that will make it harder to create jobs in America.

“Single parents are already struggling across this country to provide for their families. Maybe a billionaire here in California can afford an increase in their utility rates, but a working family in Tampa, Florida, or anywhere across this country cannot afford it.”

Rubio went on to say, “So we are not going to destroy our economy. We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing, nothing to change our climate, to change our weather, because America is a lot of things — the greatest country in the world, absolutely — but America is not a planet.”

Christie followed up on Rubio’s comments. Christie in the past has said that he believed climate change is real and humans are to blame. But at the debate last night, Christie went full circle and said, “I don’t think Senator Rubio is a skeptic of climate change. I think what Senator Rubio said I agree with. That in fact we don’t need this massive government intervention to deal with the problem. … I agree with Marco. We shouldn’t be destroying our economy in order to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow us by ourselves is going to fix the climate. We can contribute to that and be economically sound.”

Rubio came back in and said “Here is what I’m skeptical of. I’m skeptical of the decisions that the left wants us to make, because I know the impact those are going to have and they’re all going to be on our economy. They will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. They will not do a thing to cure the drought here in California. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.

“And today with millions of people watching this broadcast that are struggling paycheck to paycheck that do not know how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of this month, I’m not in favor of anything that is going to make it harder for them to raise their family.”

This gave Walker an opportunity to get in on the conversation, pretty much mimicking Rubio and Christie’s answers. Walker told the viewers that the policies currently being put forth by the current administration to address climate change will tank the already fragile job market and ruin the manufacturing base that supports his state.

“So we’re going to put [at risk] thousands and thousands of jobs in my state,” Governor Walker said. “I think it’s something like 30,000 in Ohio, other states across this country, we’re going to put people — manufacturing jobs, the kind of jobs that are far greater than minimum wage, this administration is willing to put at risk for something its own EPA says is marginal.”

EPA head Gina McCarthy reluctantly admitted to a House Select Committee that Obama’s Clean Power Plan would only avert warming by .01 degrees. McCarthy said the primary goal of the Clean Power Plan was to show strong domestic action which can trigger strong global action, e.g., getting other countries to follow our lead.

CNN hosted last night’s debate in the Ronald Reagen Presidential Library in California, a state being devastated by a four-year-long drought. Scientists from NOAA as well as studies published in peer-reviewed journals have already stated that global warming has nothing to do with state’s water woes.

In fact, a study published in the American Meteorological Society journal said the drought was “not unprecedented” over the past 440 years and that nine other droughts were as bad or worse. Past dry periods have lasted for over 200 years and “researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years.”

Recently, California’s legislature rejected Governor Brown’s latest attempts to impose draconian measures to fight so-called global warming. In a major setback for Gov. Brown, “legislative leaders on [Sept 9] abandoned an effort to require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use in motor vehicles by 2030.”

The top reason for dropping the mandate was the inability of middle- and low-income families to afford higher gasoline prices, which increase the cost of food, disposables, traveling, and anything reliant on petroleum-based infrastructures. Other reasons stated by the legislature for killing the measure were to prevent job losses and help people maintain their standard of living.

As an aside, when Reagan said to take out an “insurance policy” in case the scientists are right about the depletion of the ozone layer from CFCs (chlorofluorocarbon), it was not a far-flung theory as Jake Tapper insinuated. As early as 1973, it was established that CFCs were the cause of ozone depletion and accepted fact in the late 1970s. You can read more about the history and regulation of CFCs here.


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Lawmakers Slam EPA Chief For Not Firing Anyone After Spilling Toxic Waste

animas riverRepublican lawmakers grilled EPA Chief Administrator Gina McCarthy for not firing any agency employees or contractors after workers accidentally unleashed millions of gallons of toxic wastewater in a Colorado river last month.

When pressed by Republican senators during a Wednesday hearing about which individuals were responsible for the spill, McCarthy said the agency as a whole was responsible. McCarthy said she was waiting for the Department of the Interior to release its external review of the Gold King Mine blowout before she held individuals accountable.

McCarthy said she would not “make a judgement based solely on our internal review.” She added “the agency itself has been held accountable and we’re responding robustly.”

Her answer, however, didn’t sit well with Republicans, especially Arizona Sen. John McCain. The former presidential candidate slammed the agency for its slow response to the spill and how long it took for them to get in touch with Navajo Nation.

“Has anyone been fired for almost taking two days to notify the Navajo about the disaster?” McCain asked McCarthy. “Has anyone been fired for the Navajo’s complaint that the emergency response was inadequate?”

“In other words, you’ve done nothing,” McCain said to McCarthy when she said no one had been fired for its handling of the spill. She reiterated the EPA itself was being held accountable.

“Isn’t the agency composed of people?” McCain retorted. “Don’t you think someone is responsible for an accident that happened?”

“Someone should be held responsible because it happened,” McCain said. “So far, no one has been held responsible, except ‘the agency.'”

In early August, EPA contractors working under direction of the agency accidentally breached a retaining wall and unleashed an estimated three million gallons of wastewater from the Gold King Mine. The spill sent a plume of orange-colored toxic waste into Colorado’s Animas River which eventually made its way through New Mexico, Navajo Nation and Utah.

The spill initially caused rivers to become contaminated with heavy metals, like lead and arsenic, but EPA now says that water tests show that river quality has returned to pre-spill levels. State and tribal officials have been furious with EPA over its response to the spill. Navajo Nation has even threatened to sue the federal government over the mine waste polluting its waters.

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China’s coal consumption higher than thought

coal 2China’s coal use this century has been significantly underestimated, according to analysis of new Chinese data by the US Energy Information Administration, adding to climate change negotiators’ problems ahead of December’s UN conference in Paris.

Based on revised data released by Beijing this summer, the EIA has concluded that the world’s largest polluter and consumer of coal burnt up to 14 per cent more of the fossil fuel between 2000 and 2013 than previously reported. It said this meant China’s energy consumption and production were also much higher.

he EIA’s analysis squares with the supercharged economic growth of the decade before 2013 and much slower growth now but throws into confusion the calculations on which climate change negotiators rely to determine the level of emissions produced by each nation. Talks this December in Paris will attempt to rein in those emissions, in the hopes of preventing dangerous global warming.

The fact that China has made GDP figures a political target has resulted in a remarkably smooth growth path, which critics say obscures the real cycles in the Chinese economy. Higher energy consumption from 2000-2013 would tally with other indicators of an economy that grew more quickly than official figures over that period suggest, including high commodity prices, a boom in coal mining and the proliferation of private mines and smelters.

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Naomi Klein Barks, The Caravan Moves On…

"<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Naomi_Klein_Occupy_Wall_Street_2011_Shankbone_2.JPG#/media/File:Naomi_Klein_Occupy_Wall_Street_2011_Shankbone_2.JPG">Naomi Klein Occupy Wall Street 2011 Shankbone 2</a>" by <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="http://blog.shankbone.org">David Shankbone</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>. Licensed under <a title="Creative Commons Attribution 3.0" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0">CC BY 3.0</a> via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/">Commons</a>.Naomi Klein Occupy Wall Street 2011 Shankbone 2” by David ShankboneOwn work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.Canadian activist Naomi Klein has given an interview ‚Äì yet another one ‚Äì to promote her latest turgid eco-project.

Purely by accident, she and her activist husband Avi Lewis are captured talking a lot of sense. Here’s how.

1. This is a war.

I was really struck that it’s a war. When you see the way it plays out when people try to stop a coal plant or a mine: The guns come out. That’s just true, and that’s hard for people to see. There are sides to this thing. And if you try to stop it, you’re going to see that there really are sides.

Dead right, Naomi. Too often this is presented as a debate between the consensus of the world’s greatest scientists on the one hand and the maverick views of a few Big-Oil funded denialists on the other. But it’s not, it’s an ideological war between those who believe in liberty, human progress and economic growth, and those who believe in constraint, bigger government, rationing, and doomsday messages of Malthusian despair.

2. This is Occupy, only instead of Watchmen-style Guy Fawkes masks, Naomi’s team are wearing native feathers, bleeding hearts, and green cloaks.

We had a meeting in Toronto in the spring that brought together First Nations activists, trade unions, environmentalists, migrant rights and economic justice organizers.

Yep. And First Nations activists, trade unions, migrant rights people and economic justice organizers are just famed for their intimate understanding of climate science, rationalism and cost benefit analyses. Almost as much as “environmentalists”, in fact.

3. Greenwashing is a waste of time.

You can see with the “Beyond Petroleum” campaign exactly what it means, since they abandoned it in relatively short order.

Thanks for that insight, Avi. And you know why BP abandoned that campaign? Because they’d diverted so many of their resources to loss-making renewable energy projects that they forget their core business, cut corners and ended up with disasters like the Gulf oil spill. Oh the irony!

4. Naomi’s and Avi’s eco-documentary built up a carbon footprint the size of China’s.

It’s very expensive to travel for a documentary, especially when you’re trying to do it with high production value and there’s 20 pelican cases every time you get on an airplane.

So what you’re telling us, Avi, is that on your mission to save the planet you had to help destroy it?

5. No serious US presidential contender gives a rat’s ass about “climate change” any more

There’s better candidates and worse candidates, but I actually think that the American political system has not produced the conditions for the kind of shift that’s required, that science tells us we need to make as a society.

Oh dear. No more Solyndras. Tragedy.

6. History is a nightmare from which the green movement is trying to awake

We need to outgrow this 400-year-old narrative that we can control nature, bend nature to our will, and that there will be no consequences for society based on that premise.

Hmm, Avi, here’s my problem with this. If the narrative has been going on successfully for 400 years ‚Äì with the good consequences (increased life expectancy; higher standards of living; greater literacy; cleaner ‚Äì yes cleaner ‚Äì rivers and air) far outweighing the bad (er, executive stress?) ‚Äì then isn’t that maybe a sign that most people believe it and want to believe in it. And that if anyone is on the wrong side of history it’s you guys?

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Moonbeam Science – And Then There’s Dr. Ben Carson’s Real Science

"<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JerryBrownByPhilKonstantin.jpg#/media/File:JerryBrownByPhilKonstantin.jpg">JerryBrownByPhilKonstantin</a>" by <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Philkon" title="User:Philkon">Phil Konstantin</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>. Licensed under <a title="Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a> via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/">Commons</a>.JerryBrownByPhilKonstantin” by Phil KonstantinOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.California Gov. Jerry Brown calls Dr. Ben Carson a science denier for not buying into his global warming agenda. Would that be the same Dr. Carson with a degree in neurosurgery and a science school named after him?

Horning in uninvited on Carson’s presidential campaign, Brown sent Carson a letter questioning the latter’s skeptical stance on global warming. The letter, complete with a thumb drive of a United Nations report, questioned Carson’s motives and condescendingly concluded:

“Please use your considerable intelligence to review this material. Climate change is much bigger than partisan politics.”

Then Brown called Carson a “climate-science denier” in a retweeted tweet from his press office.

Never mind that Carson calls himself a “climate science questioner.” Brown is such a green zealot he calls anyone who asks questions an anti-science yahoo.

That’s something else, given Carson’s stunning record of achievement in actual science. We aren’t talking about the dreamy theories of global warming that amount to Brown’s faith, but in actual mastery.

Carson, according to his Wikipedia page, was a professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics, and the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the most prestigious medical establishments in the world. He has done life-saving, ground-breaking surgery and won top professional awards in his field.

Science? The record also shows that he graduated from the University of Michigan’s medical school, one of the nation’s top five according to U.S. News and World Report. To get his degree, he had to acquire an expertise in subjects so difficult that only a few are conversant in them.

To dismiss someone with this kind of record as somehow anti-science is the height of frivolity and malice.

Such criticism is rich coming from Brown, given his own record of hostility to science. Science writer John Horgan, in a 2014 Scientific America essay called “My Weird ’96 Chat With Jerry Brown About The Evils Of Science,” wrote of how Brown hectored him on how science was the root of all the world’s evils.

“I found myself in the odd position of having to defend scientists,” Horgan wrote.

And this governor thinks he has a right to lecture Carson about science? Like so much else about Brown, it’s fantasyland stuff.

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Obama Snookered As Developing Nations Reject CO2 Emissions Diktat

India and other developing countries today signalled that they would resist any “obligatory review mechanism” intended to increase their individual efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet. Climate change negotiators from the so-called like-minded developing countries (LMDC), concluding a two-day meeting hosted by India, said any review of actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions should factor in the differential responsibilities of developed and developing countries. In a joint statement, the negotiators said the LMDCs have expressed “strong reservations” against any obligatory review mechanism to increase individual efforts of developing countries. —The Calcutta Telegraph, 15 September 2015

India on Monday hosted a meeting of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) on climate change to prepare strategies for negotiation for the Paris conference slated to be held later this year.India on Monday hosted a meeting of Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs) on climate change to prepare strategies for negotiation for the Paris conference slated to be held later this year.

India will negotiate together with a so-called group of like-minded developing countries (LMDCs) at the climate change summit in Paris at the year-end, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday. At the end of a two-day meeting of negotiators from 13 LMDCs in New Delhi, Javadekar asked rich nations to walk the talk in transferring funds to the poor to mitigate the effects of climate change. Javadekar said: “…if developed world doesn’t walk the talk on issue of finance, there will be a problem for the Paris outcome. I hope the developed world will consider it and rise to the occasion.” –Mayank Aggarwal, Live Mint, 16 September 2015 

Don’t look for the drama of an Amer­ic­an pres­id­ent bar­ging in on fel­low heads of state in a private meet­ing on the fi­nal night [of the Paris summit], be­cause—if all goes ac­cord­ing to plan—none of them will be there. In­stead of bring­ing in heads of state at the end of the two-week con­fer­ence, French of­fi­cials have flipped the script and in­vited them to the be­gin­ning. Not every­one is ex­cited about the early ap­pear­ance by heads of state. Former U.N. cli­mate chief Yvo de Bo­er said it it’s not clear what pur­pose it serves, and that it could even de­tract from dis­cus­sions on the hoped-for pact. And lead­ers may not want to fly to the City of Lights just to give a speech at the start of the meet­ing and then go back home. “My ex­per­i­ence is, politi­cians travel in or­der to cel­eb­rate suc­cess,” he said. “To fly to Par­is and just show a bit of leg at the be­gin­ning of a con­fer­ence is not really enough of a reas­on,” he said. –Ben Geman, National Journal, 15 September 2015

When the International Energy Agency reported in March that global carbon emissions had stayed flat in 2014, even as the world economy grew, the news was hailed as a turning point in the struggle to curb climate change. But more recent data about Chinese coal consumption, seen by Reuters, raise doubts about whether that historic decoupling of economic growth and carbon emissions from energy use actually occurred. One of the keys to keeping carbon emissions flat in 2014 was significantly lower coal consumption in China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter: a 2.9 per cent drop, reported in preliminary Chinese data in February. But in May, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a China Statistical Abstract, not available online but only on paper, showing that coal consumption edged up by 0.06 percent from 2013. –Alister Doyle and David Stanway, Reuters, 16 September 2015

Resource investors, take note: By 2025, just 10 years from now, energy consumption in Asia will increase a whopping 31 percent. A whole two-thirds of that demand, driven largely by China and India, will be for fossil fuels, most notably coal. That’s according to a new research piece by financial services group Macquarie, which writes that the estimated rise in fossil fuel demand is equivalent of “three times Saudi Arabia’s current (all-time-high) oil production.” Macquarie’s research is in line with BP’s “Energy Outlook 2035,” released earlier this year, which predicts that more than half of the world’s energy consumption will come from China and India by the year 2035. –Frank Holmes, Mineweb, 15 September 2015

Anyone hoping that Australia will do more to fight climate change after Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott to become prime minister may be disappointed. After beating Abbott in a late-night ballot of Liberal Party lawmakers, Turnbull described the nation’s current climate policy as “a very, very good piece of work.” Turnbull, speaking in parliament on Tuesday, called the auction earlier this year “a resounding success” and defended the climate change plan that Environment Minister Greg Hunt helped introduce. “The government policy on climate is right, and it is being proved right,” Turnbull said. –Angus Whitley and James Paton, Bloomberg, 15 September 2015

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UN and Oxfam caught bribing journalists to write climate change scare stories

totalitaria[disclosure: Ian Wishart is the author of climate change books Air Con and Totalitaria, but has not sought or accepted payment from lobbyists]

News journalists are being bribed by the United Nations and the Oxfam charity to write scare stories about climate change ahead of the global climate treaty negotiations in Paris later this year.

Details of the bribes ‚Äì which take the form of ego-boosting “awards”, global travel in CO2 generating airliners and financial payments ‚Äì are contained in a news release just published by the UNDP today, an organisation headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Journalists’ codes of ethics prohibit being induced to give favourable coverage, but those rules have increasingly been ignored in recent years by the use of backdoor mechanisms like funding journalism “awards” as a means of generating content and rewarding propaganda-writers.

New Zealand’s major media, like the TV3 network, have frequently covered climate stories in the Pacific with the financial “assistance” of lobby groups like Oxfam and Greenpeace.

The full text of the news release follows:

15 September 2015 ‚Äì Oxfam will support the Voice2Paris  global storytelling contest launched in August by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) by providing three additional fellowships for participating journalists to cover the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP21, in Paris in December. Oxfam’s contribution to the contest aims at encouraging journalists’ participation in climate change reporting and raising public awareness of climate actions.

“The contest is a fantastic opportunity to create awareness of the harmful impacts of climate change on communities, and of potential opportunities in climate-vulnerable developing countries. This is also a great opportunity for young journalists to strengthen their perception of climate change and to frame it not merely as an environmental issue but also as an issue of social justice and poverty alleviation” said Wang Binbin, Manager of the Climate Change and Poverty Team, Oxfam Hong Kong.

The storytelling contest targets writers 35 years and under from developing countries who want to contribute ­‚Äì locally and internationally ‚Äì towards greater public awareness of climate change.

The authors of the top five prize-winning stories will be invited to attend and cover the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris. UNDP will support the top two winners and Oxfam, as a special partner in the contest, will cover travel costs and per diem for writers of the next three best stories worldwide.

“We welcome the partnership with Oxfam, as it gives UNDP concrete support to expand the voices of vulnerable countries, helps depict the reality of climate change globally, and gives a new generation of journalists a chance to get heard during COP21” said Jo Scheuer, Director, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction at UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.

Stories can be submitted in English, and in Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish with an English translation, on a rolling basis until October 11th, 2015. Guidelines for participating are available on the UNDP Geneva website.

The stories, once screened and scored, will be published on UNDP’s website and disseminated through partners’ channels to ensure maximum outreach and to support the call for an ambitious agenda for climate action to be endorsed at COP21.

APO (The African Press Organization), Deutsche Welle and Oxfam Hong Kong are special partners of the contest.

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Trump: ‘We’re going to get rid of the regulations that are just destroying us’

trumpRepublican Presidential candidate Donald Trump concluded his sold-out speech in Dallas on Monday with a call for reduced government regulation. He said (1:08:14 on this video):

And I will tell you, we’re going to fight hard, we’re going to negotiate tough, and we’re going to do fantastically well. We’re going to put our people back to work. We’re going to get rid of all these ridiculous ‚Äì everything is so bad ‚Äì we’re going to get rid of the regulations that are just destroying us. You can’t breathe. You cannot breathe. You are going to be ‚Äì if I’m elected President ‚Äì so proud of your country again.

You’re going to remember this evening and you’re going to say to your children and everyone else, that you were part of a movement to take back this country. And we’re going to make America great again.

Earlier in the speech, after discussing President Obama’s incompetent nuclear weapon deal with Iran, he made fun of Obama’s claims about global warming (55:11 on video):

Obama thinks the biggest threat in the world today is global warming. Okay, can you believe it? Then they change it to “climate change,” cause the word “global warming” wasn’t working. Then they change it to “extreme weather.” You can’t get hurt with “extreme weather,” do you agree? There’s always going to be ‚Äì “There’s a tornado!” “There’s a little cold!” “There’s a wind!” ‚Äì there’s always extreme.

He said the biggest threat we have is “extreme weather.” And, I say, in terms of global warming. The biggest threat we have is nuclear global warming because we have incompetent politicians. That’s the biggest threat we have. Not global warming ‚Äì nuclear global warming. That’s the biggest threat we have, believe me.

In December, Obama will negotiate a worldwide climate change agreement. He will commit the United States to a huge reduction in carbon emissions of 26% -28% from 2005 levels, but will let China, already a much larger carbon emitter, continue to expand its carbon emissions until 2030. The increased regulation that would follow such an agreement would throttle U.S. economic growth.

The last two Republican candidates for President, McCain and Romney, believed that man-made global warming was a serious problem. Trump does not.

Howard Richman with his father and son co-authored the 2014 book Balanced Trade: Ending the Unbearable Costs of America’s Trade Deficits, published by Lexington Books and the 2008 book Trading Away Our Future, published by Ideal Taxes Association.


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Obama’s Alaska Global Warming Story Backfires

Alaska tempsAccording to Alaska Climate Research Center data, there has been no warming in Alaska since the 1970s.President Obama attempted to gin up concern about global warming during his recent high-profile trip to Alaska, but he inadvertently called attention to major flaws in alarmist global warming theory. If Obama wants to use Alaska as a poster child in the global warming debate, skeptics will be all too happy to oblige.

“I’m going because Alaskans are on the front lines” of global warming, Obama declared in a White House video. He also claimed Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

Obama listed a litany of alleged global warming harms occurring in Alaska. He claimed warming is destabilizing permafrost, threatening homes and infrastructure. He claimed rivers are becoming warmer and more acidic, threatening tourism. He claimed sea level is receding, causing shoreline erosion. He claimed wildfire season is longer and more intense. He claimed Arctic sea ice is shrinking.

Despite all the verbal posturing, objective facts show Obama is misrepresenting the facts regarding global warming and Alaska. Let’s start by examining his claim that Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet.

Obama made this claim by singling out a time period covering the past 60 years. Since 1955, our planet has undergone three separate and distinct temperature trends. From 1955 through the late 1970s, global temperatures cooled. From the late 1970s through the late 1990s, global temperatures warmed. From the late 1990s through the present, global temperatures have flat-lined.

In Alaska, according to the Alaska Climate Research Center (ACRC), temperatures cooled from 1955 through the 1973, warmed significantly between 1973 and 1980, and have been flat ever since. There has been no global warming in Alaska since the 1970s. Claiming Alaska has been warming at twice the global average during the past 60 years is a very imprecise (at best) and misleading (at worst) way of pointing out that Alaska warmed during a brief 7-year period more than three decades ago and did not experience any warming during the rest of the 60-year period, including the past 35 years.

Alaska’s lack of recent warming is most strikingly presented in another temperature chart published by the ACRC. The ACRC compiled temperature data for 19 locations in Alaska from 1977 through 2014. In 16 of the 19 locations, as well as Alaska as a whole, temperatures have cooled over the course of these past 37 years. By just about every measure, Alaska is cooling, not warming.

Obama also claims warming temperatures are destabilizing Alaska permafrost. Yet how can permafrost be destabilizing when its necessary prerequisite ‚Äì warming temperatures ‚Äì is not even happening? And even if permafrost were melting, why would this be a climate catastrophe? Permafrost, by definition, is soil that is frozen solid. Frozen soil supports very little life. Soil that is not frozen supports abundant life. Sure, there may be some short-term disruptions of the frozen soil while it undergoes transformation to non-frozen soil, but the long-term benefits of soil that supports abundant life far outweigh the long-term benefits of soil that does not support abundant life.

Obama claims rivers are becoming warmer and more acidic. Again, how are rivers becoming warmer when Alaska air temperatures have not risen during the past 35 years? Obama offered no scientific evidence to support his claim, and his claim defies the objective temperature record and common sense.

The president claims sea level is receding, causing all sorts of woes. Yet, haven’t we been told over and over again that global warming is causing sea level to rise, not recede? And if rising sea levels were supposed to be such a bad thing, then why is sea level recession all of a sudden such a bad thing?

Obama claims Alaska’s wildfire season is longer and more intense. How can wildfire season be longer when temperatures are colder? And regardless of such flaws in his logic, objective data show wildfires throughout the United States are becoming less frequent as our planet modestly warms. Indeed, the past few years have been some of the fewest numbers of wildfires on record.

Obama’s final claim, that Arctic sea ice is receding, is counterbalanced by expanding Southern Hemisphere sea ice. Global warming’s impact on polar sea ice appears to not be so global after all.

Tying these objective facts together, the inescapable conclusion is Alaskans are indeed “on the front lines” of global warming ‚Äì just not in the way Obama would lead us to believe.


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Government and media ratcheting up the global warming rhetoric ahead of climate talks

Believe it or not, this is the first storm-free peak hurricane season In nearly 40 years.Believe it or not, this is the first storm-free peak hurricane season In nearly 40 years.As government agencies gear up for the U.N.-sponsored climate talks in December, the alarmist rhetoric shifted into high gear on Monday, spurred along by a wobbly press release from the U.K.’s Met Office. From 2015 being the hottest year on record (it isn’t) to global warming causing California’s worst drought ever (it isn’t) to polar bears literally starving to death from lack of sea ice (they’re doing just fine), the only thing getting hotter are the headlines from a feckless and gullible media.

And now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are fueling the fire, predicting that 2015 will be the hottest year ever. One problem: the most precise method of measuring global temperatures, satellites (which are accurate to within .001 degrees Celsius), shows no statistical increase in temperatures since January 1997.

While it should be great news that the global warming pause reached a new record length of 18 years and 8 months, it doesn’t quite fit the catastrophic narrative and unscientific claims asserted by certain governments and a few rent-seeking scientists. That’s because this giant snowball started gaining momentum (and size) back in 1988 when Prof. James Hansen gave his controversial congressional testimony that man-made carbon dioxide would cook the Earth.* After that, it became an avalanche of misinformation fueled by speculation, computer models, and lots and lots of money.

Even so, the Met Office, which is the UK’s version of a less hysterical NOAA, inadvertently acknowledged that the global warming warming hiatus was real and happening in its latest press release. They even hinted that global warming may not return at all. But most media outlets missed it completely. That’s not surprising considering Sunday’s NY Times Op/Ed equated climate change skeptics as having an “intellectual stance that is uncomfortably close to Hitler’s.”

In the Met’s announcement, Professor Adam Scaife said, “Although we can’t say for sure that the slowdown in global warming is over, global temperatures are now rising again.” In other words, they admit that there has indeed been a slowdown in global warming, and 2015 and 2016 are “likely to be very warm globally.” Maybe. The word “likely” is an important qualifier in this context: for the first eight months of 2015 (September isn’t included for obvious reasons), the average temperature anomaly found since 1961 by the Met Office is 0.53 ¬±0.14 degrees Celsius.

Scaife goes on to say, “We can’t be sure this is the end of the slowdown but decadal warming rates are likely to reach late 20th century levels within two years.” All of which sounds frightening on the surface, which is entirely the point, but as with any bureaucratic agency, you only have to dig a little deeper to see the far grander picture. When the Met Office says within two years, they are basing that statement on computer models. The same computer models that said global warming would bring more desertification in Africa (it hasn’t), higher temperatures and sinking islands (still waiting), and stronger, more powerful hurricanes (another goose egg).

As reported here in June, scientists on both sides of the climate divide were stunned when NOAA announced in a new study it had eradicated the global warming pause by tweaking the data collected during much of the 20th century. By “readjusting” the sea surface dataset, NOAA all but erased the lack of warming since 1998. Except that since 1979, orbiting satellites have been measuring the atmosphere five miles up and are accurate to within .001 degrees Celsius.

This data shows that the upper atmosphere is warming far less then global surface temperatures, even though the computer models predicted the opposite would happen. Worse still, the satellite-derived measurements clearly show a global warming pause. The data is analyzed by both the U.S. firm Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and also by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

Both the RSS and UAH datasets are unaffected by the issues that plague land-based measurements and ship- and buoy-based biases in sea surface temperatures. NOAA’s re-adjustments to the climate’s temperature record doesn’t impact satellite measurements as they are not susceptible to such distortions. Put simply, these orbiting satellites are to traditional ‘thermometers’ what the Hubble telescope is to land-based telescopes.

Combine the Met’s statistically insignificant temperature anomaly announcement, the naturally occurring El Ni√±o** brewing in the tropical Pacific affecting weather globally, President Obama’s recent climate change campaign in Alaska (the Alaska Climate Research Center shows no trend in its state warming up), an upcoming UN-sponsored climate ‘treaty‘ in Paris that isn’t a treaty, fact-checking journalists that neither have the time nor the inclination to actually fact-check, and you have the perfect climate-change cocktail ready to serve the masses.

So as the headlines continue to gush from the usual geysers of misinformation, this column will do its best to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially with the life-altering Paris Climate Talks looming ahead. Because not only will the decisions our president make today (with his cohorts from the EPA) reverberate for years to come, it will take Congress and a willing next president to untangle us from the muck and mire we’re walking through blindfolded.

* James Hansen, who previously worked at NASA, told a select committee in Congress that over the next ten years, temperatures would increase .35 degrees Celsius. The actual increase was .11 degrees. Hansen overestimated his findings by 300 percent. Learn more here.

** El Ni√±os are not a man-made phenomenon and have been occurring for millennia. One of the first mentions of an El Ni√±o was by Captain Camilo Carrillo in 1892 when he addressed the geographical society congress in Lima. It was so named for the “warm north-flowing current, most noticeable around Christmas.”


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