The decline of Tim Ball: Denier champion reduced to railing at real scientists

Pity poor Tim Ball.

Despite having a short (eight years as a professor) and undistinguished (five peer-reviewed publications in his lifetime) career as a geography professor at the University of Winnipeg, Dr. Ball was able in the last 10 years to elevate himself to the level of self-appointed climate change expert. By working with energy industry lobby firms, he was able to insinuate himself as a would-be advisor to committees of the Canadian House of Commons and the the U.S. Senate. At one point, he presumed to send a letter directly to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, introducing himself as “one of the first climatology PhDs in the world,” - a claim so far from accurate as to be laughable.

By his activism, his constant and so-often ill-informed criticism of scientists who were actually working in the field of climate change, Ball had, by 2006, established himself as Canada’s pre-eminent global warming denier. The Globe and Mail called him “Mr. Cool,” although the accompanying feature was anything but complimentary.

Still, at least he was getting attention.

Alberta Lobbying Hard in Washington on Cap and Trade Bill

Posteriors are puckering throughout the Alberta oil patch as long-overdue climate and green economy legislation moves through the US Congress. The provincial government has responded by hiring Washington lobbyists at $500,000 per year to try and ensure whatever bill gets passed is so watered down that does not impact the dirtiest oil on Earth.

Premier Ed Stelmach of course frames it differently: “There’s so much at stake for Alberta, and we’ll be applying a full-court press not only on elected officials but also on the U. S. administration. It’s important that Alberta has a way of ensuring the right information gets to the policy-makers and the decision-makers.”

What he is worried about is that meaningful cap and trade legislation would further undermine the already marginal economics of the massive tar sands operation.

The foreign market for synthetic crude includes only one country: the United States. Who knew that one day America would move price carbon emissions? Apparently not the operators that have invested billions into the bitumen boondoggle only to see oil prices collapse and cap and trade legislation that will hit the tar sands like a two by four.

Saying this colossal capitial project is exposed on carbon pricing is a mild understatement. Synthetic crude produces at least three times the emissions as conventional oil. These emissions will increase as shallow deposits are exhausted and production moves to non-mining methods. Tar sands emissions already exceed those of 145 nations on Earth.

Any way you slice it, the cap and trade carbon pricing system moving its way through Washington may turn the tar sands into an investment quagmire.

Why Are Mitch McConnell and John Boehner Working Against the Interests of America?

Reasonable people can disagree about the particulars of an energy and climate bill.

Some might say that the bulk of renewable investments should go toward wind and others might say solar. Some can insist that money raised from making polluters pay should go toward investments in more renewables and others can insist that such money should go to offset any costs to tax payers.

What is unreasonable is to posit that we should do nothing at all about our reliance on energy from fossil fuels or catastrophic climate change. What is unreasonable is to lie about the effects of proposed solutions. What is unreasonable is to complain about the ideas offered, but offer no alternatives. What is unreasonable is to act as if doing nothing is good for the American people.

So either certain Republicans are unreasonable, playing politics with energy and security, or they don’t care about what’s good for the American people.

Let’s start with the economy.

If you are against clean energy, you are against economic recovery and American jobs. We simply can’t solve the current economic crisis without addressing energy, climate and security. Oil imports cost us as much as $700 billion a year. Add to that $49.1 billion a year spent protecting our interests in the Persian Gulf (not including the costs of the Iraq war or what we spend in South America) and the 830,000 high paying jobs our oil dependence sends abroad.

1,606 Ducks Died Landing On Toxic Waste Pond

Eleven hundred more ducks died after landing on a toxic waste pond in northern Alberta last year than was originally estimated, a Canadian oil sands official acknowledged earlier this week.

The carcasses of 1,606 ducks were collected from the oily waters, compared to the 500 originally counted, Syncrude Canada chief executive Tom Katinas said.

The deaths of the mallards last April drew widespread attention and prompted Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lament that Canada’s international reputation had been tarnished by it.

Here’s a video clip from the incident:

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) calls out the Republican $3,100 lie

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) went on the attack yesterday calling out a blatant falsehood being spread by Republican politicians about the proposed cap and trade legislation.

Earlier this week Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) incorrectly stated that the proposed green economy bill being considered by Congress will “cost every American family up to $3,100 per year in higher energy prices.”

The basis for his claim is a 2007 study performed by a group of researchers at the MIT. John Reilly, an MIT professor and one of the authors of the study, explained about this $3,100 claim:

It’s just wrong. It’s wrong in so many ways it’s hard to begin.”” […] “Someone from the House Republicans had called me (March 20) and asked about this,” Reilly said. “I had explained why the estimate they had was probably incorrect and what they should do to correct it, but I think this wrong number was already floating around by that time.”

The Republican spin machine has been in overdrive this week trying hard to shut down the bill drafted by Reps. Henry Waxman and Ed Markey. The $3,100 falsehood is doing its job bouncing around the internet and news outlets misinforming millions. No doubt that Sen. McConnell and his gang are employing the old adage, “If you repeat a lie often enough it just might come true.”

Here’s Rep. Blumenauer calling out the lie:

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