LCV’s “Flat Earth Five,” targets for election defeat – two named, who are the last three?

July 26, 2012

 

Naming one of their top five targets per week, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) will name three more Members of Congress to their “Flat Earth Five,” members who not only vote against LCV positions, but also seem to dwell among flat-Earth believers on science, generally.

First two of the Flat Earth Five:

  1. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.)
  2. Rep. Dan Benishek (Mich.)

Who will fill the three remaining slots — and will they survive election?

 


EU climate authority approved Britain’s plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions

July 11, 2012

It’s stunning to listen to radio, or read newspaper letters-to-the-editor sections in the U.S., and see people who argue we have no need to control carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the European Commission (EC) Climate Change Committee (CCC) approved Britain’s plan to auction pollution rights, part of the UK plan to control and limit carbon emissions.

You’d think we don’t share the same planet.

Here’s the news, from Britain’s Department of Environment and Climate Change:

EU Emissions Trading System: European Commission approves the UK’s national auction platform

Press Notice 2012/081

11 July 2012

Today the European Commission (EC) Climate Change Committee (CCC) voted to approve the UK’s national auction platform for phase III and aviation auctions under the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

Welcoming this important vote, Greg Barker said:

“This announcement is a further step towards ensuring that we can start auctioning phase III and aviation allowances as planned. The endorsement by the EU Climate Change Committee reflects the strength of the UK’s proposal and continued leading role in carbon auctioning.”

The CCC endorsement is the latest step in the UK’s preparations for auctioning phase III and aviation allowances. Under EU rules, the Commission and Member States in the form of the CCC must first approve the platform. This will be followed by a three month scrutiny period by the European Council and Parliament. The UK expects auctioning to start in November 2012, subject to successful completion of this scrutiny process.

Following a decision by the CCC last year, Member States are due to start auctioning some 120m phase III emissions allowances early before the end of this year. The UK’s share of these allowances is 12m. Subject to EU approval, it is expected that these allowances will be auctioned in November and December this year. In addition, the UK is expected to auction approximately 7m aviation allowances by the end of 2012.

Auctions of these allowances will be held separately during the same period.

Further detailed information on the UK’s phase III and aviation auctions, including the proposed auction calendar and how to access the auctions, will follow in due course.


Notes to editors

  • The European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS) is at the heart of UK Government policy to tackle climate change
  • The rules governing the system are set out in the EU ETS Directive; it covers sectors responsible for around half of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions
  • In 2008, the EU ETS Directive was revised to make auctioning the main method for allocating emissions allowances in Phase III of the EU ETS (2013-2020). In Phase III, at least 50% of general emissions allowances will be auctioned across the EU. In addition, EU member states will auction 15% of aviation allowances
  • Under the rules set out in the EU Auctioning Regulation, Member States have the option to either auction via a common EU platform, or set up their own, national platform. The UK, Germany and Poland have opted to set up national auction platforms.
  • In April DECC announced that ICE Futures Europe was its preferred supplier for the contract to conduct auctions of phase III and aviation EU ETS. This followed an EU-wide competitive tender process that launched in December 2011.
  • Before auctions can begin on the UK platform, the platform must first be approved by the Climate Change Committee and then be subject to a 3 month scrutiny period by the European Parliament and Council. These requirements are set out in the EU Auctioning Regulation.
  • Both Germany and the European Commission (auctioning on behalf of 24 Member States) have announced their intention to start auctioning after the summer.

Further information can be found on:


Odd site to defend Peter Gleick’s exposing of Heartlandgate, citing the law that will let him skate

March 18, 2012

Much angst among Heartlandgate perpetrators over the increasingly obvious fact that Peter Gleick not only shouldn’t be prosecuted, but can’t be prosecuted under federal law, for duping Heartland employees into revealing their true intentions, to lie about global warming so people won’t “believe” it and support solutions.

Peter Gleick - World Economic Forum Annual Mee...

Peter Gleick, lifetime of informing the public accurately at a researcher's greatly diminished salary; Heartland Institute is spending thousands of dollars to convince people he changed suddenly. Who to believe? Here's Gleick at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

But this odd site cut through the clutter and posted the words of the relevant law, establishing Peter Gleick’s lack of criminality:

18 U.S.C. 1343:
Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both….

Did you catch that, Dear Reader?  Gleick would be guilty of federal wire fraud had he asked the perpetrators of Heartlandgate to send him money or property.

But all Gleick asked for was a copy of their agenda for a meeting, and the supporting data.  No money, no property.  Nothing of value.  Nor did he intend to use, nor could he use, any of that information to get money or property.

You noted, of course, the site is one promulgated by the Heartland Institute itself.

(Did they really mean it that way?  Probably not.)

(By the way — you may want to read the actual law from an authoritative source like the Cornell University Law Library’s Legal Information Institute (LII), and not a version filtered by people who deny global warming, nor its severity, nor its causes, or who don’t work to hoodwink gullible politicians.)

Peter Gleick:  Deep Throat of the climate denial scandals.

How can you tell whether you should be concerned, Dear Reader?

For example, if you’re a teacher, should you be concerned that in Heartlandgate, the Heartland Institute reveals itself to be working to “dissuade” science teachers from teaching science?  Or, if you’re just a concerned citizen, should you be concerned that you’ve heard precious little about the analysis of the documents released, from major news outlets?

If you are in any degree confused about who to believe in this issue, or worse, if you are convinced that there is a pattern of skirting of the laws by scientists (contrary to the evidence), you should be concerned that you’re not getting the full story.

More, Resources, Further reading:


Annals of Global Warming: Dramatic Links Found Between Climate Change, Elk, Plants, and Birds

March 14, 2012

Understanding the physics of the Earth’s atmosphere poses great problems — it is an astonishingly dynamic, fluid environment.  Understanding the relationships between species in ecosystems is no less complex, and no less vexing.

Wise followers of science recognize that when findings in biology, chemistry and physics, point the same direction, something powerful creates the convergence, and is not to be ignored.

So it is with these findings from the University of Montana and the U.S. Geological Survey, demonstrating clear links between climate change and the changing life patterns of large animals like elk, small animals like birds, and the plants the animals live in and consume.  This study is so complex that climate denialists haven’t figured out which part to deny, yet.  (This press release came out in January.)

From the USGS, with no adornment from the Bathtub, a press release on a letter in Nature Climate Change:

Dramatic Links Found Between Climate Change, Elk, Plants, and Birds

Released: 1/9/2012 11:30:00 AM

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing

In partnership with the University of Montana

Missoula, MT – Climate change in the form of reduced snowfall in mountains is causing powerful and cascading shifts in mountainous plant and bird communities through the increased ability of elk to stay at high elevations over winter and consume plants, according to a groundbreaking study in Nature Climate Change.

Red-faced warbler in Arizona, photo by Tom Martin, USGS

Red-faced warblers are one of the species affected by climate change in the form of reduced snowpack in the Arizona Mountains, according to a USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit study. Photo by Tom Martin, USGS, May 1998, in the Coconino National Forest

The U.S. Geological Survey and University of Montana study not only showed that the abundance of deciduous trees and their associated songbirds in mountainous Arizona have declined over the last 22 years as snowpack has declined, but it also experimentally demonstrated that declining snowfall indirectly affects plants and birds by enabling more winter browsing by elk. Increased winter browsing by elk results in trickle-down ecological effects such as lowering the quality of habitat for songbirds.

The authors, USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit scientist Thomas Martin and University of Montana scientist John Maron, mimicked the effects of more snow on limiting the ability of elk to browse on plants by excluding the animals from large, fenced areas. They compared bird and plant communities in these exclusion areas with nearby similar areas where elk had access, and found that, over the six years of the study, multi-decadal declines in plant and songbird populations were reversed in the areas where elk were prohibited from browsing.

Hermit thrushes in the Coconino National Forest, Arizona - 2005 photo by Tom Martin, USGS

Hermit thrushes are a songbird species that was strongly affected by plant community changes in mountains because of reduced snowpack and cascading ecological effects, according to a USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit study. 2005 photo by Tom Martin, USGS, in the Coconino National Forest

“This study illustrates that profound impacts of climate change on ecosystems arise over a time span of but two decades through unexplored feedbacks,” explained USGS director Marcia McNutt. “The significance lies in the fact that humans and our economy are at the end of the same chain of cascading consequences.”

The study demonstrates  a classic ecological cascade, added Martin. For example, he said, from an elk’s perspective, less snow means an increased ability to freely browse on woody plants in winter in areas where they would not be inclined to forage in previous times due to high snowpack. Increased overwinter browsing led to a decline in deciduous trees, which reduced the number of birds that chose the habitat and increased predation on nests of those birds that did choose the habitat.

Elk excluded, aspen growth increases - photo by Tom Martin, USGS, Coconino National Forest

When elk are excluded, aspen growth dramatically increases - Climate change in the form of reduced snowfall in mountains is causing powerful and cascading shifts in montane plant and bird communities through the increased ability of elk to stay at high elevations over winter and consume plants. Here, you can see an example of the difference in aspen growth inside versus outside a fence that excludes elk. Photo by Tom Martin, USGS, in Coconino National Forest

“This study demonstrates that the indirect effects of climate on plant communities may be just as important as the effects of climate-change-induced mismatches between migrating birds and food abundance because plants, including trees, provide the habitat birds need to survive,” Martin said.

The study, Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal-plant interactions, was published online on Jan. 8 in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Elk in winter at Camp Creek Feed Ground, Northwestern Wyoming - USGS photo

Elk in winter at Camp Creek Feed Ground, Northwestern Wyoming - USGS photo

More:


Annals of Global Warming: NASA film, Piecing Together the Temperature Puzzle

March 5, 2012

NASA describes the film, “Piecing Together the Temperature Puzzle”:

The past decade has been the hottest ever recorded since global temperature records began 150 years ago. This video discusses the impacts of the sun’s energy, Earth’s reflectance and greenhouse gasses on global warming.
Credit: NASA
Vital Signs of the Planet: Global Climate Change and Global Warming. Current news and data streams about global warming and climate change from NASA.

Piecing Together the Temperature Puzzle, posted with vodpod

More NASA climate films, here, at Climate Reel.


Debunking claims of climate hoaxes, or evidence of the End of Civilization as We Know It

March 1, 2012

Found this on the Grist site today:

Grist infographic:  Idea of climate change hoax makes no sense

Grist infographic: Idea of climate change hoax makes no sense

The problem?  Far too many people not only don’t weigh ideas to see if they make sense, but instead they actively seek out ideas, no matter how crazy, just because they like the concept.

In short, the fact that such a chart is necessary at all suggests that it may not be useful.  Anyone who had the common sense to figure out that the globe is warming, and the scientists who say so are mostly honest as the day is long (and warm), won’t accept the judgment of Grist, either.

I mean, Peter Gleick exposed the immoral and perhaps illegal acts of the so-called Heartland Institute, virtually walking through the front door of the group’s offices and asking, “Will you show me all your dirty work?”  John Mashey’s painstaking work confirms Gleick’s blowing the whistle on Heartland, and Heartland’s fellow travelers.

What has Heartlandgate brought?  Heartland is spending thousands of dollars on a public relations campaign to impugn Gleick, and widely-read sites like the anti-science Watts Up get suckered in (well, Heartland was paying for Anthony Watts’ pet project . . . what should we expect?).  Even Andrew Revkin at his New York Times Blog can’t find his way to label actions as they should be labeled.

Will it make a difference to state the facts, the common sense version of reality?  My actual hope is that I am in error, and that such a graphic, if pasted around the internet, will make a difference.

Is my hope wholly misplaced?

Update:  At the Washington Post blogs, Stephen Stromberg wrote that Gleick erred by failing to follow the rule that climate scientists must be more than twice as morally straight as the “skeptics.”  I’m not convinced Gleick erred; he’s done yeoman service to exposing the truth.  I’m struggling to find any illegal act he committed.  Heartland claims there may be some fraud, but not all the elements of any crime of fraud are present.  If, as Heartland argues, the documents are fakes, there was no value lost.  If, as most of us suspect, the documents are not fakes, I still see no harm to Heartland in their having their feet held the fire on being honest with the IRS and the public.  Heartland claims an absolute right to fib to the public, and somehow Mr. Gleick interfered?  Where’s the harm to the public good?  Certainly not in exposing Heartland’s dark secrets.  No harm, no crime, in this case.


Climate change deniers in high dudgeon as leaked memos reveal their deceptions

February 21, 2012

Previously:  John Mashey finished another epic analysis of the climate denialist world showing clear wrong-doing and potential violations of federal tax law on the part of denialists.  But as it was going to press, someone hacked the executive board of the anti-science Heartland Institute, and dropped the notes exposing the group as a propaganda bunch working hard against science into a couple of blogs.

Contrary to the stonewalling of the denialists, when scientists figured out who might have had access to the documents, the fellow confessed and resigned from several positions (honor on the science side, but not on the denialist side, once again).

News takes two or three years to penetrate to Rick Santorum, however, and he continued his soulless presidential campaign through the weekend claiming, contrary to the facts, that global warming is not happening.

Funny how he accuses those he opposes of doing the things his side does, isn’t it?

Anthony Watts, the leader of the anti-science mau-mauing breathlessly covered the resignation of Peter Gleick, the conscience-striken whistle-blower, but tended to ignore the evidence Gleick revealed.  So much for talking about real science.

(Watts also makes much of the California Institute of Science changing its exhibit on climate change after three years, as if when museums change exhibits, it means the science behind the old exhibit is no longer valid.  Is it just me, or is Watts really stretching to find the propaganda angle since his own data let him down, and demonstrated that warming, and the “hockey stick,” are real problems?)

Here are a few places you should visit to get the news and the facts:

This post likely will be updated.  Watch.  (Already updated to fix my error above about Seitz and SEPP.)


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