Primary tabs

Pages

Countertrend: Google, Economist Flee from Climate Reality

The once-authoritative Economist news magazine has set fire to its credibility, again, by reporting that global warming has slowed to the point where one columnist argues that we should wait “a decade or two” before instituting any policy measures to ameliorate the threat. At the same time, Google, a company that advertises its corporate philosophy as “Do No Evil,” has decided to snuggle up to the climate change denial community, splashing money at the likes of Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and the “think” tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

This kind of blithe disregard for fact or prudence was more in style a couple of years ago, when Denier-in-Chief George W. Bush was in the White House and Inhofe was Chair of the Republican-dominated Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. But how can you account for so irresponsible and reactionary a performance - from theoretically credible sources - in 2013?

One potential explanation is the loveable naivety of the scientific and environmental community - the kind of people who are always willing, in good faith, to join a conversation about a “climate-change slowdown.” The very phrase is like red meat to the Anthony Watts types who deny climate science as part of their business plan. Looking, for example, at the current state of Arctic sea ice and the predictions for the $60-trillion time bomb that will detonate as that ice disappears, any talk of such an actual slowdown is absurd.

Do the Math! A Surprisingly Optimistic Video

University of Lethbridge Prof Jim Byrnes weighs in with a short video with survey of numbers both frightening and reassuring. The conclusion is obvious. There's no question we can “afford” to fix the climate problem - only a more pressing question as to why we have not even begun …

Climate Change DO THE MATH! from Scientia Productions on Vimeo.

Enbridge Video Stunningly Misleading

For compulsive watchers of Enbridge Inc., the spill-crazy pipeline company that wants to pipe tar sands crude to the Canadian West Coast - or just for students of the barefaced lie - this video can't be beaten.

It purports to show the pipeline route, including an open sea exodus where tankers will pass from the proposed Kitimat, British Columbia oil port.

But as this video documents, the Enbridge auteurs airbrushed out 1,000 square kilometres of islands and rocks within the exit channel.

Given the criticism, the company has added a note saying, “The animation is for illustrative purposes only. It is meant to be broadly representational, not to scale.”

Broadly representing a completely false image.

Arctic Ice Decline Much Worse Than Expected

As the extent of Arctic sea ice declines to levels unrecorded since satellite monitoring began, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has released a new analysis that shows the situation to be worse by far than even the most pessimistic models predicted.

It's a perverse endorsement of one of the most popular denier memes - that you can't rely on climate models because the world is too complicated to be reduced to a compilation of computer data. But, thanks to the expertise (and conservative nature) of the scientists behind this work, the models have shown the direction with perfect accuracy: it's the terrifying extent that they have failed to anticipate.

In addition to the catastrophic conditions currently prevailing in the Arctic, the NSIDC has also drawn attention to the dramatic melting occurring this year in Greenland. And all this is supported and reinforced by the Polar Science Center's ongoing calculation of Arctic ice volume.

The trends are all down. Or as James Hansen put it in the Washington Post last week, “Climate change is here - and it's worse than we thought.”

Heartland's Joe Bast lashes out at Institute's own "friends"

The somewhat hysterical Heartland Institute President Joe Bast has lashed out at the lengthening list of “friends” who are trying to distance themselves from the institute's increasingly embarrassing anti-science antics.

In a letter to one of the “scholars” who have asked to be removed from the list of “Heartland experts” (BigCityLiberal is keeping a good headcount here), Bast complains that his institute has always tried to stay “above the fray,” and it's now being victimized “by ideological extremists as part of the ongoing attack on us and our donors.”

In that light, Bast scolds his former supporter:

So John, I’m disappointed that you would side with folks who would use such tactics. if you want to stand up for truth seeking and honesty, for taking an unpopular stand against prevailing wisdom, then you should be speaking up for me and The Heartland Institute, not abandoning us in this moment of need.

Diageo: Liquor giant backs away from science-dissembling Heartland Institute

The London-based liquor giant Diageo has joined the companies that are criticizing or cutting off the Heartland Institute in protest over its campaigns to confuse people about climate science and to cast prominent climate activists as “murderers, tyrants and madmen.”

As Leo Hickman reports in the Guardian, a Diageo spokester said: “Diageo vigorously opposes climate scepticism and our actions are proof of this. Diageo's only association with the Heartland Institute was limited to a small contribution made two years ago specifically related to an excise tax issue. Diageo has no plans to work with the Heartland Institute in the future.”

This news came a day after Microsoft also criticized Heartland, (although the world's second-richest computer company has not indicated that it will STOP supporting Heartland in the future). Auto giant General Motors cut off its funding of Heartland in March in apparent embarrassment over being associated with the Chicago-based “think” tank's anti-science activism. (Heartland is a big promoter of tobacco as well as a dissembler about climate science.

Look here for an excellent compilation of all the public corporations that have or continue to support Heartland (and hat's off to Brad Johnson and ForcastTheFacts.org.)

Microsoft Fail: Computer company criticizes Heartland but won't withhold future support

Microsoft is finally taking a clearer position denouncing the Heartland Institute's irresponsible position on climate science, but the computer megacorp still won't shut the door on providing Heartland with free software in the future.

In the wake of Heartland's highly offensive advertising campaign, in which Heartland said, flatly, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren't scientists; they are murderers, tyrants and madmen,” Microsoft''s Director of Corporate Citizenship Steve Lippman distanced his company from the Heartland position:

“The Heartland Institute does not speak for Microsoft on climate change. In fact, the Heartland Institute’s position on climate change is diametrically opposed to Microsoft’s position. And we completely disagree with the group’s inflammatory and distasteful advertising campaign.”

But he went on with this unconvincing dodge:

“Heartland did participate in our global software donation program in 2010, as did thousands of other nonprofit organizations.  It’s important to point out that hundreds of environmental and conservation groups also took advantage of the same program, and received over $13 million in free software to pursue their missions.”

Heartland Billboard: "the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists; they are murderers, tyrants, and madmen"

The Heartland Institute's current President, Joe Bast, has launched a billboard campaign denouncing science, scientists, conscientious political activists - and by association EVERYONE else who speaks with concern about climate change - as murderous, tyranical or insane.

Settling on that third descriptor, it's difficult to imagine what kind of crazy person thought this was an appropriate attack on the public dialogue about the most pressing environmental issue in the history of humankind.

This is a link to the 2012 Heartland Fundraising strategy, a document the institute was careless enough to email to a stranger, regardless that it includes the full list of Heartland funders. General Motors has already announced that it wants off this list - that it is embarrassed by any association with a disinformation organization of this nature.

But if you are concerned about climate change, if you are NOT a murderer, a tyrant or a crazy person, and you are a shareholder or customer of any of the organizations on this list (maybe we could start with Microsoft), please send an email, write a letter, make a phone call or sell your stock. Let's make it clear that Joe Bast needs a vacation, permanently.

Koch Brothers fund Fraser Institute

Hats off to Alexis Stoymenoff at the Vancouver Observer for turning up evidence that the Koch Brothers have been ladling money into Canada's own climate dissembling Fraser Institute since at least 2008.

It helps to answer why a so-called “think” tank - even one so ideologically hidebound as the Fraser Institute - would compromise its credibility by producing and promoting pathetic and manipulative minsinformation for children.

Now we understand that there is a good free enterprise answer: they're getting paid.

Heartland Double Standard: Institute Tried to Scam Greenpeace for Internal Documents

A Heartland Institute front man* phoned a Greenpeace activist and lied about his identity in an effort to get her to turn over UN climate conference documents to which he had no legitimate access. Heartland senior fellow James Taylor then boasted about the scam in a press release decrying what he described as Greenpeace's preferential access to UN information.

Now, in a belated act of optimism, Greenpeace's Cindy Baxter has written a letter to Heartland (attached below) requesting an explanation for the double standard. Baxter is asking, in effect, why Heartland thinks it's completely okay for them to misrepresent themselves, repeatedly, and to celebrate the misrepresentations of others who are attacking climate scientists, but then gets all righteous when someone suckers them into handing over their entire budget and fundraising policy for 2012.

The Heartland misrepresentation about which Baxter is now complaining occurred in 2007 at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bali. The Heartland caller phoned Baxter at four in the morning (Bali time), claiming to represent a U.S. environmental organization and asking if she would hand over the UNFCCC media list - which Heartland clearly had failed to secure through legitimate means.

Baxter demurred, after which Taylor sent out a press release, recounting the conversation, linking to a (possibly illegal) recording that Heartland had made of the phonecall, and “exposing” the fact that Greenpeace has a better working relationship than Heartland with just about everyone in the climate, diplomatic and scientific communities.

Pages