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Fri, 2010-03-26 10:01Jim Hoggan
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Greenpeace Releases 20-Year History of Climate Denial Industry

Greenpeace released a terrific report today on the 20-year campaign by polluters to mislead the public by creating the climate denial industry. 

The new report succinctly explains how fossil fuel interests used the tobacco industry’s playbook and an extensive arsenal of lobbyists and “experts” for hire in order to manufacture disinformation designed to confuse the public and stifle action to address climate change.

In the report, titled “Dealing in Doubt: The Climate Denial Industry and Climate Science,” Greenpeace provides a brief history of the attacks waged by polluting industries against climate science, the IPCC and individual scientists.

ExxonMobil deservedly gets special attention for its role as the ringleader of the “campaign of denial.”  As Greenpeace has documented meticulously over the years with its ExxonSecrets website, ExxonMobil is known to have invested over $23 million since 1998 to bankroll an entire movement of climate confusionists, including over 35 anti-science and right wing nonprofits, to divert attention away from the critical threat of climate disruption caused largely by the burning of fossil fuels.

The report, authored by Greenpeace climate campaigner Cindy Baxter, calls out by name a number of key climate skeptics and deniers who have worked with industry front groups to confuse the public, including S. Fred Singer, John Christy, Richard Lindzen, David Legates, Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, Tim Ball, Pat Michaels and many other figures familiar to DeSmog Blog readers.

Thu, 2010-03-25 17:02Brendan DeMelle
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Forest Scientist Simon Lewis Files Formal Complaint Against UK Sunday Times Over Dishonest Reporting On “Amazongate”

Simon Lewis, an expert on tropical forests at the University of Leeds in the UK, says the Sunday Times’ “inaccurate, misleading and distorted” story by Jonathan Leake in January left readers under the wrong impression that the 2007 IPCC AR4 report made a false claim by stating that reduced rainfall could wipe out up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest.  Lewis filed a formal complaint this week with the UK Press Complaints Commission.

Leake’s story helped to launch the “Amazongate” scandal that had the denialosphere all aflutter, and even made the rounds of many mainstream outlets.  Leake got his story idea and research from climate change denier Richard North, a blogger who has denied the link between secondhand smoke and cancer, among other ridiculous positions. The premise of “Amazongate” was ginned up by North, who alleged that the IPCC erred in its 2007 report by citing a World Wildlife Fund report that stated the impact of reduced rainfall on forest health.

Sat, 2010-03-13 15:06Leslie Berliant
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Partisanship and Disinformation Surrounding Global Warming Taking their Toll

A new Gallup poll shows that compared to three years ago, twice as many Americans believe that global warming’s consequences are exaggerated.

And in just the last year, there has been an increase in skepticism from 41% to 48%.

The chart below shows a number of trends. Skepticism about global warming was generally low in 1997, when the polling started, before climate change was getting regular news coverage, either fact or opinion based.

In fact, the level of skepticism did not change much with the increasing coverage of climate change in the wake of An Inconvenient Truth, increasingly publicized consensus among the vast majority of climate scientists that global warming was real, human caused and potentially devastating, the Third Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001, or even the Nobel prize winning Fourth IPCC Assessment Report in 2007. So, we could assume that roughly 30% of the skeptics are not going to be persuaded by science. They have their opinion and they are sticking to it.

Tue, 2010-03-09 14:49Richard Littlemore
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Lorne Gunther: Denial (and dumb analogies) are us

In a wonderfully silly update of the (Canadian newspaper the) National Post’s campaign of climate change denial, columnist Lorne Gunther (picked up here in the Edmonton Journal) argues that global warming has ended - and to prove it, he imagines the earth as an out-of-control Toyota which he decides has run out of gas.

What good fortune that might be (running out of gas in time to stop before you hit the cliff). But how can we think that our careering planetary heating system - which appears to have it its top speed and has been holding steady for more than a decade - is “out of gas” when we’re pumping the stuff into the atmosphere at an unprecedented rate?

Thu, 2010-02-25 11:18Kevin Grandia
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Common Sense and the Attack on the IPCC

When all logic leaves an argument, which is something that seems to happen on a daily basis in politics, it is good to step back and lay things out in black and white. Give some perspective to a situation to show just how ridiculous the situation has become.

The unprecedented attack on the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has reached new heights with Republican Senator James Inhofe now calling for criminal investigations into the work of prominent climate change scientists.

Inhofe makes some very broad claims, based on a very narrow band of evidence, saying that, “the Minority Staff believes the emails and accompanying documents seriously compromise the IPCC-based “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes.”

Inhofe is claiming that based on statements made in 3 emails, by a single person, he has enough evidence to now claim that decades of research by thousands of scientists is “seriously compromised.” Like I said, politics and logic rarely go had-in-hand.

To lay out in black and white, below I have compiled a list of the scientific references used in just two of the forty four chapters of the last IPCC report. There are thousands of papers, by thousands of scientists, over decades that make up this body of research.

Even if the so-called “climate gate” turned out to be the scandal Inhofe wants it to be, you could throw out that research and there would still remain thousands of papers, by thousands of scientists.

Take a quick look below at the list and you’ll see what I mean. That is, of course, if you’re willing to allow common sense back into the conversation on the subject of climate change.

Thu, 2010-02-18 13:12Emily Murgatroyd
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Selective Journalism

The echo chamber is alive and well and currently bouncing Phil Jones’ bastardized quote all over the global media. Recap - Phil Jones speaks to the BBC about climate change. The Daily Mail selects part of his response, stripping it of its context and using that selection to argue that Prof. Jones is backtracking on the likelihood of global warming.

Then every half-wit, oil company shill and agenda-driven journalist in the world picks up the Mail’s manipulation and uses it as if it’s real.

Here is the ACTUAL exchange:

BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present, there has been no statstically-significant global warming”

Prof Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995-2009. This trend (0.12 per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods and much less likely for shorter periods.

And here’s how the accuracy-challenged press is using the quote:

“… in a weekend BBC interview, he (Jones) dropped a bombshell. He acknowledged there’s been no statistically significant warming since 1995.

“Hello? When other people say that, they’re called deniers.”

Wed, 2010-01-27 16:30Jim Hoggan
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New Poll Results Reveal The Impact of Decades-Long Climate Confusion Campaign

A new report published jointly by Yale University and George Mason University finds that Americans are much less concerned about climate change than they were just a year ago.  Fifty-seven percent of Americans polled believe climate change is happening, compared with a figure of 71 percent in October 2008, a 14 point drop. 

The reason ought to be clear.  The climate confusion campaign - waged by the like of Americans for Prosperity, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Petroleum Institute and American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) - is alive and well, and obviously still inflicting damage.

Wed, 2010-01-20 12:51Brendan DeMelle
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Climate Denial Industry Blowing Hot Air On Himalayan Glaciers

The climate denial industry is once again trying to make a huge to-do about a tiny error by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

With the Climategate Swifthack episode fading from the limelight, after a thorough debunking of far-fetched accusations that scientists made up global warming, the climate science attack machine now wants the world to focus on one paragraph out of a 938-page, three-year-old report.

The contrarians are questioning a single reference to Himalayan glaciers included in a 2007 IPCC report that does not meet the IPCC’s well-established evidentiary standards.

Here is their alleged smoking gun: The second of three 2007 reports from the IPCC included a statement that the likelihood of Himalayan glaciers disappearing “by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high.”

But the reference to Himalayan glaciers melting at that early date didn’t originate from a peer-reviewed study, meaning it should not have appeared in the IPCC report. 

Sure, that’s slightly embarrassing.  But it isn’t grounds to declare the entire library of climate science a fraud. The IPCC’s findings have been validated and substantiated by assessments conducted by leading scientific institutions the world over. 

The real news here is that a single ‘error’ was discovered in just one of the IPCC’s reports, collectively reams of paper thick, and the ‘error’ isn’t an error at all.  The Himalayan glaciers are melting.  There is no debate about that in the scientific community.

Sat, 2009-12-12 08:42Richard Littlemore
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Pachauri: Email theft a "recreational distraction"

The theft and release of the University of East Anglia emails is nothing more than a “recreational distraction” to the Copenhagen climate summit, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Chair Dr. Rajendra Pachauri said at a news conference today.

Yet immediately after he said it, another senior IPCC member said he believed that his colleagues have, from the very beginning, underestimated the potential effect of the email story on public understanding of climate science - and public support for action in Copenhagen.

Pachauri (or “Pachy,” as he seems to be known  among his friends) had called a news conference on the “Scientific Basis” for climate change. It wound up being a review of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, a reiteration of news that “the warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

The question (which I posed and which Pachauri did not answer) was whether the UNFCCC or the IPCC would have felt such a conference was necessary had the emails not been used so effectively to call the science into question.

Sat, 2009-12-05 14:47Richard Littlemore
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Canadian Environment Minister Dismisses Stolen Emails

“It does not change the position of Canada”

Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice told the National Post that the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia would not change the position that Canada is taking to the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen this week.

“The science overall is relatively clear on all of this and as a conservationist and as a responsible environmental steward Canada wants to see carbon emissions reduced,” Prentice said.

Prentice and the Canadian government have been winning criticism lately for being neither preservationist nor environmentally responsible in the position that it brings to the climate conference. Canada has abrogated its Kyoto commitment, nominated an inadequate target for emission reductions and made no public plan to meet even that disappointing goal.

The minister also seems to show his hand in saying that the science behind climate change is only “relatively” clear - leaving the door ajar for those who continue to argue the contrary case.

But it has to be an optimistic sign that he would not choose, at this juncture, to use the emails as an excuse for Canada’s intransigence. You might even hope it presages a new and more responsible international position.

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