DC appeals court rejects attacks on EPA's greenhouse gas Endangerment Finding

Part two of a series.

On June 26, 2012, a three judge panel of the DC Court of Appeals ruled against 26 legal petitions by states and industry groups that had sought to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. The Court’s Opinion (hereafter “the Opinion”) found that “the Endangerment Finding is consistent with the Massachusetts v. EPA and the text and structure of the CAA, and is adequately supported by the administrative record. [emphasis original]”

The Opinion focused on three main arguments made by the petitioners. The first, discussed below, was that the EPA erred when it found that GHGs were a “reasonable threat to public health and welfare” as defined by the Clean Air Act (CAA in quotes from the Opinion). In the Opinion, the appeals court found that the EPA had correctly interpreted the Clean Air Act, Continue reading

Heartland Institute billboard continues a long pattern of dishonesty

Update 5/15/2012: On either May 13th or 14th, The Heartland Institute moved the “Our Billboards” essay and an associated press release from the website associated with Heartland’s seventh International Climate Change Conference to the Press Releases portion of the main Heartland website. The essay was also renamed from “Our Billboards” to “‘Do You Still Believe in Global Warming?’ Billboards hit Chicago.” In addition, both documents have been backdated to May 3rd and 4th, the dates when they were published at their original home. The original link remains in the original post below, but the new links have been added here: “Our Billboards” essay and the billboard take-down press release.. In addition, Heartland president Joseph Bast has been identified as the author of the essay.

Part three of a series.

When The Heartland Institute launched their perverse billboard comparing climate realists to the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, they published an accompanying essay titled Our Billboards.” The essay continues their long history of dishonesty by repeating well-known errors as if they were true. In the process, Heartland demonstrates that they are being dishonest about Climategate, about the state of climate science and the IPCC, and even about Ted Kaczynski’s own views about human-driven climate disruption. Continue reading

Heartland Institute billboard continues a long pattern of hypocrisy (updated)

Update 5/15/2012: On either May 13th or 14th, The Heartland Institute moved the “Our Billboards” essay and an associated press release from the website associated with Heartland’s seventh International Climate Change Conference to the Press Releases portion of the main Heartland website. The essay was also renamed from “Our Billboards” to “‘Do You Still Believe in Global Warming?’ Billboards hit Chicago.” In addition, both documents have been backdated to May 3rd and 4th, the dates when they were published at their original home. The original link remains in the original post below, but the new links have been added here: “Our Billboards” essay and the billboard take-down press release.. In addition, Heartland president Joseph Bast has been identified as the author of the essay.

Part two of a series.

Since The Heartland Institute came to the attention of Scholars & Rogues in early 2010, S&R has documented a pattern of double standards and institutional hypocrisy in Heartland’s activities. While the Heartland’s billboard advertisement comparing climate realists to terrorist Ted Kaczynski is perverse on its own, an essay explaining Heartland’s rationale is worse, albeit less obvious. That essay, titled “Our Billboards”, continues Heartland’s long history of hypocrisy. Continue reading

Wind farms affect local nighttime temperatures, not global warming

On April 29, a paper about how wind farms affect surface temperatures was published online by the journal Nature Climate Change. The authors of the paper found that wind farms increase the nighttime surface temperature within and immediately downwind of the wind farm because the turbines mix up cold surface air with warmer air from up higher off the ground. What the authors did not find, however, was that wind farms were having any global effect on climate disruption. But if you only read articles and blogs from Forbes, Fox News, The Star Ledger, the UK’s Daily Mail, The National Review‘s Planet Gore blog, The Free Republic, etc., you’d never know that.

In fact, if those were your only sources of information, you’d believe that the paper was all about how wind farms were yet another cause of global warming, when in fact it says nothing of the sort. Continue reading

Climate scientist defense group and Peter Gleick illustrate Heartland's irony and hypocrisy

As of three days ago, The Heartland Institute began delivering letters/emails to bloggers and journalists who reported on the confidential Heartland documents that were published on Valentine’s Day. The letters demanded that any copies of Heartland’s internal documents be deleted, all comments on the contents of those emails be purged, and full retractions be issued, under threat of legal action.

Last night, Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, admitted on the Huffington Post that he was the anonymous source for those documents and that he’d claimed to be someone else to get them, in an attempt to verify information that was leaked to him from someone unknown via postal service mail. Gleick wrote that his behavior constituted a “serious lapse of [his] own professional judgment and ethics.”

The admission of responsibility by Gleick – taking responsibility for his actions and owning up to an ethical failure – draws a sharp contrast to Heartland’s own lack of ethics and history of misrepresentation, deception, and dishonesty. Continue reading

Climate science discussion between Burt Rutan and Brian Angliss

On January 27, I wrote an “open letter” to Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer and former CEO of Scaled Composites, expressing my disappointment that he would co-sign a commentary in the Wall Street Journal that contains incorrect and misleading information on climate science and economics. On January 28th, Rutan responded in the comments. He also CCed his response to Anthony Watts, who published Rutan’s response on Wattsupwiththat.com. What transpired is a huge number of comments that essentially drowned Rutan’s and my exchanges.

This post extracts from the original comment thread just Rutan’s and my responses, ignoring all the other comments, good, bad, or ugly.

Comments on this post are closed, and any further exchanges between Rutan and I from the original post will be posted here for clarity. If you have something to say about what we’re talking about, please comment in the original post’s comment thread instead – everything here is also there. Continue reading

Zombie climate emails rise again (updated)

See update at the end

If you follow climate news, you’re probably already aware that someone has illegally published another 5000 climate emails, probably from the original “Climategate” hack from two years ago. S&R is following the story and will publish a more in-depth analysis as we learn more. However, we feel it’s important to point out the following key facts about the original emails and their subsequent investigations:

Continue reading

Heartland Institute's latest climate-related media advisory filled with the usual distortions

The Heartland Institute has a history of distorting peer-reviewed papers, lying in newspaper editorials and Institute blogs, and claiming extensive scientific expertise where little actually exists with respect to climate science and the reality of human-driven climate disruption. Given this history, the distortions in the Heartland Institute’s latest media advisory regarding the results of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project are only to be expected.

BEST analyzed more surface temperature data than any other study had previously and concluded that the established global temperature records were accurate. In this way, BEST confirmed what every climate realist already knew from three surface datasets and two satellite datasets – that the globe is warming and that the best available science indicates that the urban heat island effect has a minimal impact upon the measurements. However, the Heartland Institute’s media advisory claims that “the paper is seriously flawed,” attributing that statement to James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute.

It’s at this point, the second sentence of the media advisory, that the distortions start. Continue reading

Mann's critics not appeased by NSF investigation, extend unfounded "whitewash" accusations to NSF itself

Third in a series.

When the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) cleared Michael Mann of multiple “Climategate”-related allegations made against him, Mann’s critics cried foul. Since a National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General (OIG) report cleared Mann of research misconduct and concluded that PSU had adequately investigated Mann itself, however, many of those critics have been publicly silent about how their attacks were misplaced. In other cases, critics have instead directed new criticisms at the NSF instead of accepting Mann’s innocence or retracting their misplaced condemnations of PSU’s investigation.

In an “exclusive” for Fox News back in April, 2010, Ed Barnes wrote that the illegally published CRU emails “cast fresh doubt on Mann’s methodology and integrity” and that the PSU inquiry which exonerated Mann of those doubts was criticized for failing to inquire. Continue reading

NSF clears Mann of misconduct implications made by Sen. Inhofe (updated)

Second in a series.

[See update to the conclusion below]

In February, 2010, Pennyslviania State University (PSU) cleared Michael Mann of three allegations of research misconduct (and cleared him of the fourth in July 2010). In response, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee wrote a letter in February, 2010, to the National Science Foundation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) asking them to conduct their own, independent investigation of Professor Michael Mann. Inhofe requested two specific things – that the OIG look into supposed research misconduct according to the NSF’s definition instead of PSU’s, and that the NSF determine whether or not Mann had violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), information quality guidelines, the Federal False Claims Act, and/or the Federal False Statements Act.

On August 15, 2011, the OIG closed the investigation after concluding that there was no specific evidence that Mann had violated any of the rules, regulations, or laws Inhofe asked about. Continue reading

NSF confirms results of Penn State investigation, exonerates Michael Mann of research misconduct

First in a series

As a result of the illegal publication of CRU climate emails, the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) conducted an inquiry and investigation into allegations of research misconduct by Professor Michael Mann. The University exonerated Mann of all four allegations in July 2010, but the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General (OIG) reviews such investigations for completeness and correctness. On August 15, 2011, the OIG released the results of their own review, agreeing with all of the conclusions of the PSU investigation and subsequently acquitting Mann of all the allegations of research misconduct made against him.

PSU published the results of an their internal investigation into alleged research misconduct by climatologist Michael Mann on July 1, 2010. As S&R reported, the university’s conclusions were that Mann did not falsify data over the course of his research, that he did not destroy any emails in possible breach of the Freedom of Information Act, that he did not misuse his position or abuse confidentiality agreements, and that he did not deviate from accepted practices of conduct for his field. Continue reading

Milloy proves he's either incompetent or a liar in latest op-ed

In his Washington Times op-ed titled 2012 GOP guide to the climate debate,” commentator Steve Milloy made a large number of claims that are demonstrably wrong – 18 at last count. But one of his claims relating to the illegal hack and release of climate scientists’ emails dubbed “Climategate” casts a shadow over all the others. Milloy wrote that “[n]o input from skeptics, even those mentioned in the emails, was included” in the “Climategate” investigations. However, Milloy’s own prior writings on the topic demonstrate that his statement in the Washington Times op-ed is false.

On July 14, 2010, Milloy wrote a commentary for The Daily Caller titled “Penn State’s integrity crisis.” In the commentary, Milloy wrote that “[o]f the five additional interviews conducted, four were of Mann’s fellow alarmists. The lone climate skeptic interviewed was MIT professor Richard Lindzen.” Continue reading

Milloy's latest climate op-ed riddled with errors

Today, the Washington Times ran an op-ed by science-denier-for-hire Steve Milloy titled “2012 GOP guide to the climate debate.” Based on the number of errors and irrelevancies masquerading as serious concerns I discovered while reading it, the Washington Times should have titled the op-ed “How to lie to voters about climate disruption.”

Here’s a brief rundown of all the problems I found. I’ll be dealing with a few of the worse errors in greater depth in a follow-up post.

Errors

  1. “Al Gore and his enviros duck debating so-called ‘climate skeptics.'” – So debates like Dessler vs. Lindzen or Lambert vs. Monckton don’t count? It’s true that debates like these are rare, but that’s because debating a climate disruption denier is about as effective as debating evolution with a young-earth creationist or a proponent of “intelligent design.”
  2. Continue reading

Latest hearing shows GOP is the Ministry of Magic to climate disruption's Death Eaters

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry, Dumbledore, and the Order of the Phoenix have to work against Voldmort’s Death Eaters in secret while the Ministry of Magic blinds itself to the needs of the wizarding world. Worse than simply doing nothing, however, the Ministry spreads anti-Potter propaganda in the newspapers, manipulates the law to target Potter and Dumbledore (who know Voldmort has returned), and in their refusal to acknowledge the problem, makes it just that much easier for Voldmort to secretly gain strength.

On March 31, the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on the topic of climate change. It’s clear from the hearing charter, the list of witnesses, and the large number of climate myths uttered that the GOP has become the Ministry of Magic to the Death Eaters of human-caused climate disruption. Continue reading

The 2010 Climate B.S.* of the Year Award

Welcome to the 2010 Climate B.S. of the Year Award.

2010 saw widespread and growing evidence of rapidly warming global climate and strengthening scientific understanding of how humans are contributing to climate change. Yet on the policy front, little happened to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe negative climate impacts, including now unavoidable changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, sea-level rise, snowpack, glacial extent, Arctic sea ice, and more. These physical impacts will lead to sharply increased disease, military and economic instabilities, food and water shortages, and extreme weather events, among other things. Without appropriate risk management action, the United States will be hit hard. There is no safe haven. Yet confusion and uncertainty about climate change remain high in the minds of too many members of the public and Congress.

Why? In large part because of a concerted, coordinated, aggressive campaign by a small group of well-funded climate change deniers and contrarians focused on intentionally misleading the public and policymakers with bad science about climate change. Much of this effort is based on intentional falsehoods, misrepresentations, inflated uncertainties, and pure and utter B.S. about climate science. These efforts have been successful in sowing confusion and delaying action – just as the same tactics were successful in delaying efforts to tackle tobacco’s health risks.

To counter this campaign of disinformation, we are issuing the first in what may become a series of awards for the most egregious Climate B.S.* of the Year. Continue reading

Final CRU email review considers, overwhelmingly rejects critics’ accusations of misconduct

As a result of the unauthorized publication of nearly 1100 private emails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in November, 2009, five separate inquiries were empaneled to look into whether or not the CRU researchers had committed research misconduct, broke Freedom of Information laws, or inappropriately biased the results of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) published in 2007. All four of the other reviews, two by Pennsylvania State University, one by the UK Parliament House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, and one by Lord Oxburgh of the Royal Society, concluded that the CRU scientists had not engaged in either scientific misconduct or the manipulation of the peer review process, although one inquiry found that the scientists hadn’t been as open with their data and methodologies as they should have been.

The last of the five reviews, the Independent Climate Change Email Review (ICCER), published its findings on July 7, 2010. In general terms, the ICCER found that the CRU scientists’ “rigor and honesty” were not in doubt and that there was no “evidence of behavior that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments.” However, the ICCER found that there was a “consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness” with respect to sharing data. These broad conclusions largely agree with the conclusions of all four of the other inquiries. Continue reading

Mainstream media joins Climategate whitewash

Brian noted last week that a Penn State investigation had cleared Dr. Michael Mann of any wrongdoing in the “Climategate” noise-up, which involved as-yet-unidentified criminals stealing private property and attempting to turn it into evidence of a vast climate disruption conspiracy on the part of greedy liberal scientists.

Apparently the conspiracy runs deeper than anyone could have imagined. Dozens, if not hundreds of presumably reputable news agencies have now joined in the whitewash. For example, there’s:

PSU investigation clears Michael Mann of final research misconduct charge

When the CRU emails were published, Pennsylvania State University (PSU) received many emails and letters accusing paleoclimate researcher Dr. Michael Mann of various types of research misconduct. PSU assembled the various informal accusations into a set of four allegations and began an internal investigation into Mann’s activities. Three of the four allegations were dismissed by the preliminary inquiry on February 3, but the inquiry concluded that the existing panel lacked the expertise to make a judgment on the last allegation and empaneled a faculty investigation. That investigation released its conclusions yesterday, finding unanimously that:

Dr. Michael Mann did not engage in, nor did he participate in, directly or indirectly, any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities.

Continue reading

Three of four misconduct allegations against Michael Mann found to be without merit (updated)

Update: I’ve added a few more examples of spin and accusations of bias against PSU as well as some good reporting examples that were not posted as of last night.

After the CRU emails were released in November, 2009, there was widespread accusations of misconduct against most of the scientists mentioned in the emails. Today, the Penn State University (PSU) inquiry committee investigating accusations made against Dr. Michael Mann publicly released its findings. The committee found that, with respect to the most serious three accusations out of four, “there exists no credible evidence” that Mann had committed research misconduct. The inquiry committee empaneled an investigation committee to look into the last accusation – that Mann had “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community” – because they could make a determination about this and because

Only with such a review will the academic community and other interested parties likely feel that Penn State has discharged its responsibility on this matter.

Continue reading

Sensenbrenner's hypocrisy and a SwiftHack science update

Allow me to present you with two quotes from Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one from March 2007 and one from December 2009:

[T]he Administration is allegedly curbing Federal scientists from presenting scientific findings that are at odds with its policies. Before we start screaming “McCarthyism,” we should examine how little merit these accusations actually have. (Source)

and

These e-mails betray the true thoughts and motives of many leading climate scientists. It shows a pattern that’s closer to scientific fascism than the scientific method.(Source)

The first was Sensenbrenner defending the Bush Administration from accusations (later proven) that scientists were being pressured and their work interfered with for political reasons. The second refers to the Swiftboating of CRU scientists (aka Swifthack – see here for the best roundup of links on this subject I’ve found on the Web).

Care to explain your apparent hypocrisy, Rep Sensenbrenner?

Also, two different journal publishers have publicly said that the contents of the emails are not sufficient justification to open an investigation into scientific misconduct. Continue reading