Science

Mon, 2011-04-18 04:45Farron Cousins
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Emails Reveal BP Attempted To Manipulate Oil Spill Studies

Emails obtained by Greenpeace last Friday have revealed that BP was actively trying to manipulate studies designed to assess the damage from last year’s oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. In the wake of the disaster, BP created a $500 million fund to study the effects of the oil on the environment, and the emails obtained by Greenpeace show that the company was trying to control which scientists worked on the project, attempting to cherry-pick those who would downplay the effects of the oil.

The Guardian reports:

Russell Putt, a BP environmental expert, wrote in an email to colleagues on 24 June 2010: “Can we ‘direct’ GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor’s offices trying to do)? What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?”.



The Guardian has the full emails available here.  But the new emails are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to BP’s efforts to manipulate science. Last summer, a report by the Mobile Press-Register revealed that BP was offering large sums of cash to any scientist willing to join their camp. The oil giant had been meeting with scientists from universities in the South since the early days of the oil leak, offering to pay $250 an hour to scientists in exchange for their silence on the oil disaster.

Fri, 2011-02-11 14:11Josh Nelson
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Memo to Fox News: Science and Politics Don’t Mix

This piece was co-written by Ryan Koronowski, Alliance for Climate Protection Research Director and Josh Nelson, Alliance for Climate Protection Director of Online Communications and New Media.

Former oil and energy trader Eric Bolling, a financial news personality on Fox News, often gets on television to talk about climate change. On Tuesday, Media Matters published research on Bolling’s program and uncovered a history of claims that are demonstrably false:

Bolling Hosted Skeptic To Claim “There Is No Global Warming.” Bolling hosted Brian Sussman, radio host and author of Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes The Global Warming Scam, who asserted that “there is no global warming.” Sussman claimed that the “hottest decade in history was the 1930s.”

Bolling: “I think We Warm And We Cool. It’s The Globe.” Discussing a Rasmussen poll asking respondents “how likely is it that some scientists have falsified research data,” Bolling stated: “Listen, you know where I stand on this. I’m not – I think we warm and we cool. It’s the globe.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/4/09]

Bolling Falsely Suggested Snow Disproves Global Warming. On Fox & Friends, referring to the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Bolling stated: “I think, a couple of years ago, they were in Washington. It was snowed out. The global warming issue wasn’t, I guess, a factor there. But they solved that problem going to Cancun.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 12/9/09]

Tue, 2009-04-28 14:04Jeremy Jacquot
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What Scientists Have to Say About Global Cooling

Scientists have been quietly gnashing their teeth in frustration over deniers’ latest attempts to pervert their research on global warming. Until now.

In an article published in the latest issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters (sub. required), David R. Easterling of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and Michael F. Wehner of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to refute the “global cooling” lies peddled by Fox News, The Washington Post, and the Republican Party once and for all.

Tue, 2009-04-07 15:28Leslie Berliant
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Peer Review and the Science Versus Opinion Smackdown

Peer Review - a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field. – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Over the weekend, Brian Angliss posted a piece over at Scholars and Rogues on why scientific peer review matters. He wrote it in response to climate change deniers who like to argue that peer review is useless and therefore, just because climate science is peer reviewed, it isn’t necessarily true.

Unfortunately for the denier community, it’s a little more complicated than that. As Angliss writes:

One major misconception about all varieties of peer review is that the reviews guarantee no errors in the final product.

What peer review does is start a process of finding and correcting errors, which generally continues upon and after publication, Angliss explains. It is another step in the scientific method of gathering data and testing hypotheses to solve a problem or understand an issue. Because of this method, scientific understanding often builds and deepens over time. That does not make the original assumptions or theories incorrect.

Sun, 2009-03-08 19:03Jeremy Jacquot
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Earth to Jacoby: I Got Your Global Warming Right Here

Not to let himself be outdone by his skeptic colleague in good standing, George Will, The Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby has penned an equally vacuous and misinformed column posing the thought-provoking question: “Where’s global warming?”

It’s hard to know where to start. From the outset, I was tempted to just rehash my previous post about “global cooling” and climate variability or to mine Mitchell’s George Will debunking posts for some good material. (This line, in particular, answers his question rather well: “In other words: if you want to see climate change, look out the window.”) In light of some of his other claims about global temperatures and Arctic sea ice, however, I thought I’d do some of my own snooping.

Thu, 2009-03-05 12:24Jeremy Jacquot
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Hot or Not? Making Sense of Climate Variability

To say that climate know-nothings like to pick and choose when it comes to interpreting the science is something of an understatement.

Prominent” – and I use the term loosely here – deniers like Dennis Avery, S. Fred Singer and Michael Asher have made a cottage industry of playing loose with the numbers and extrapolating short-term trends to make sweeping statements about global warming (see: one unusually cold month means global warming is over).

Which is why I have a feeling this study (sub. required), entitled “Has the climate recently shifted?” (which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters), will catch many a denier’s eye. The main takeaway from this study is that there is a significant degree of variability in our climate system, and that, even though we may be entering a period of warming “stasis,” long-term trends still point to significant warming due to anthropogenic forcing.

Fri, 2008-09-26 17:42Jeremy Jacquot
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Obama vs. McCain: Where Do the Candidates Stand on Science Issues?

Prying answers out of the candidates about science-related issues this electoral season has proven almost as challenging as prying interviews out of Sarah Palin, McCain's elusive running mate. Aside from an early focus on the candidates' respective energy policies (see: their positions on offshore drilling), the press has shown relatively little interest in scrutinizing Obama's and McCain's views on matters of science.

Even the once controversial issue of stem cell biology, which, alongside gay marriage, helped mobilize the conservative base for George W. Bush during the 2004 election, has received little shrift this time around.

 

Wed, 2008-08-13 10:51Richard Littlemore
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This is NOT a Hockey Stick

Deniers Obsess about Old Science, Hiding from Corroborative New Research

In a desperate effort to distract attention from the real issue, Steve McIntyre and one of his more loquacious acolytes have renewed their attack on the fabled hockey stick - cheering themselves hoarse over their one, small “victory” in climate science debate, even while the science itself continues to pass them by.

Appended below is a little background on that debate as well as eight other graphs (supported by eight other scholarly papers), all of which independently corroborate Mann's work - and all of which the deniers have ignored with their undivided attention.

Fri, 2008-03-07 10:48Bill Miller
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Population growth, increasing wealth join climate change as threat to food supplies

Rampant population growth and rising wealth in developing countries are driving up demand for food, a UK official says, while global warming also imperils food stores through decreased rainfall and crop failures.

The agriculture industry is going to have to double food production, but with less water than today. Another big threat to food supplies is biofuel production.

Mon, 2008-02-11 10:12Bill Miller
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Biofuels, once the 'silver bullet' of global warming, are causing more emissions than fossil fuels

Two comprehensive studies in Science magazine have concluded nearly all biofuels used today trigger more greenhouse emissions than conventional fuels if the emission costs of producing these so-called “green” fuels are calculated.

The studies take the first detailed look at the impact on emissions of converting natural land to cropland around the globe to support biofuels development – dashing hopes for the once-popular alternative energy source.

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