climate change

Did Bush’s Mars Plan Scuttle DSCOVR?

When the now-Nobel Laureate Al Gore proposed the DSCOVR mission way back in 1998, he was widely jeered by Republicans for interfering in the scientific business of NASA.

“Gore-sat”, “Gore-cam”, and “the multi-million dollar screen saver” were all quips trotted out on the floor of the Senate and Congress in opposition to the mission.

DSCOVR was a victim of such partisan politics. Even though it is fully completed at a cost of $100 million, this unique spacecraft remains in a storage box in Maryland, rather than providing critical data on the progress of climate change.
NASA quietly cancelled DSCOVR last year, citing “competing priorities”.

What could they be? Perhaps the biggest was George Bush’s edict NASA in January 2004 to put a human on the surface of Mars.

Whitehouse Stonewalls DSCOVR Information Request

If you're not interested in the issue of climate change, fine, but this story is as much about that as it is about a new ruling that further erodes your right to information from your government.
Digging up information on the cancellation of the DSCOVR climate satellite mission has been like pulling teeth. The dental work continued this week, this time with the Whitehouse.

Last month, I filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to the Office of Administration in Washington DC, asking for copies of any records “relating to the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission, formerly known as Triana, from the period January 1, 2000 to the present.” (documents attached to the end of this post).

Update: someone just sent this Washington Post article to us, seems we're pretty justified in our outrage.

ABC's John Stossel's Embarrassing Global Warming Rhetoric

No, Stossel shouldn't be embarrassed, he's well past that point. ABC News should be though, over Stossel's climate change denial piece set to air tonight. 

Stossel writes:

But is it a crisis? The globe is warming, but is it really all our fault? And is it true the debate is over? No. What you think you know may not be so.”

9 month waiting game for State Department FOIA request

In July, I wrote a piece about a major US climate report being stealthily released on a Friday afternoon by the State Department. You can find the report here, it was quite a scathing admission by the US government that very little was being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that they had very little planned to deal with it down the road.

I was not surprised that the report was released on a Friday afternoon, in the dog days of summer, without a mention in the State Department's daily press briefing - it's a common PR tactic when you have to release bad news.

Exxon attacked by polar bears!

U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC) has sent a letter (pdf) to the ExxonMobil Corporation requesting all records since 2002 related to their support for scientists working on polar bears and other Arctic animals.

This request comes in the wake of an “opinion” piece appearing in the journal Ecological Complexity by seven scientists claiming that there is no evidence of decline in the polar bear population of West Hudson Bay as a result of global warming.

Step it Up 2007 - Action on Climate Change

Probably readers will recall the Step It Up rallies that we organized in the spring–1,400 protests in each of the 50 states that helped make calls for 80% cuts in carbon emissions a standard part of the global warming debate.
 
We're at it again–on Nov. 3 we're holding demonstrations all across the country (well, except in North Dakota, at least so far).
 
This time we're trying to cut the number down a little bit (last time we had a bit of the cannibalization problem that Burger King must encounter when opening new sites) and instead concentrating on getting politicians to actually come address the issue, head-on no excuses, tell us what the hell you're going to do. (You can see the map of all the rallies so far at stepitup07.org, and it's not too late to organize one in your community.)

The Paradox of Al Gore

The Paradox of Al Gore When Al Gore won the Nobel Peace prize last Friday–along with the very deserving U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the fulminations predictably followed. Previous victims of what Paul Krugman calls “Gore Derangement Syndrome” had new flare-ups of the disease, often in the most embarrassing of places. There was a rash of bad science reporting, suggesting that Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (the film version) is somehow much more inaccurate than it actually is.

And then came the powerful defenses of Gore, the skewerings of the Gore deranged, and just general voicing of reason. Alas, the Gore defenders, while being broadly accurate about Gore's “broadly accurate” film, also seem to have missed some key matters that bear addressing.

So let's add some needed perspective here.

A DeSmogBlog exclusive weekly column by best-selling author and science writer, Chris Mooney.

Speak Up, David, Goliath Has A Hearing Problem

David Suzuki, Canada's best-known environmentalist, has spent a generation encouraging Canadians to look after the environment, but it seems they have not been listening.

While Canada ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the current, Conservative government says the standards cannot be met, reopening a debate he thought had been won.

“We've already been here before, and that's the thing that breaks my heart,” he told Reuters during one of his frequent trips to Toronto from his home in Vancouver. “If we had taken it seriously and done something, we would be so far past the Kyoto target today, and the problems would be infinitely simpler and cheaper.”

U.K. Court Coverage: A Clean Kill for Climate Confusion

Media Matters has a nice wrap on how the U.S. mainstream media covered the U.K. High Court decision that approved An Inconvenient Truth for continued broadcast in U.K. schools.

In a few cases, the news slipped through that the judge had actually rejected Stewart Dimmock's request to block the movie's broadcast or insist that it be accompanied by trashy “balancing” videos (The Great Global Warming Swindle, anyone?). But mostly, papers just reported that Al Gore had been caught out overstating the case.

You have to be impressed when a disppointed plaintiff can spin a court loss that successfully. But equally, you have to wonder, did any of those reporters actually read the judgment?

You're In Good Hands -- Until They Drop You!

In the last three years, more than three million homeowners have received letters of cancellation by insurance companies determined to avoid another $40 billion Katrina bill. They have essentially begun to redraw the outline of the eastern United States somewhere west of the Appalachian Trail.

Public officials in Southern states from Florida to Texas have been fighting insurance carriers for years over rising rates and withdrawal of services, but officials in the Northeast have only recently joined the fray.

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