Today Perry labeled evolution “a theory that’s out there” that has “got some gaps.” Almost immediately, fellow GOP hopeful — and geek wannabe – Jon Huntsman tweeted from his iPhone:
Snap! Of course, to the extent Huntsman thinks he has a chance at the nomination, they do call him crazy.
John Weaver, Huntsman’s chief strategist blasted Perry in a Wednesday WashPoststory:
“We’re not going to win a national election if we become the anti-science party.”
If? The GOP hopefuls can be divided into those who are anti-science and those who are merely anti-solution. From the perspective of future generations that is, as they say, a distinction without a difference.
Still, Weaver went after Romney, too:
“The American people are looking for someone who lives in reality and is a truth teller because that’s the only way that the significant problems this country faces can be solved,” Weaver said. “It appears that the only science that Mitt Romney believes in is the science of polling, and that science clearly was not a mandatory course for Governor Perry.”
That is a hypocritical criticism coming from the Huntsman campaign — see “GOP contender Jon Huntsman stuns right by embracing climate science, but still tries to appease them by flip-flopping to oppose any action.” I realize I am just a progressive with a physics degree, unskilled in the nuances of right-wing politics, but I can’t see any difference between Romney’s stance — somewhat pro-science, but fully anti-action — and Huntsman’s.
Getting back to Perry, here’s the Post‘s evisceration of his disinformation:
Fox News and Fox Business Network frequently host Joe Bastardi to comment on climate change. But Bastardi, who is a weather forecaster, not a climate researcher, has made inaccurate claims about climate science on multiple occasions and is not seen by experts as a credible source of climate information.
Bastardi Has Discussed Climate Change On Fox At Least 18 Times Over Past 2 Years. Bastardi often appears on Fox to report on weather events but he has also commented on the issue of longer-term global climate change at least 7 times on Fox News and at least 11 times on the Fox Business Network since September 2009:
New fuel efficiency standards set by the EPA to cut greenhouse gas pollution deliver stronger, cleaner technology for owners of pickup trucks used in outdoor and natural resource businesses and recreation, according to Trucks That Work, a new report released today by the National Wildlife Federation. Under the final standard, heavy duty pickup and van owners save over $6,000 over the life of the vehicle – even after accounting for the cost of new technology. “A driver who trades in an ’05 Ford F150 for an ’11 is effectively cutting 75 cents off the cost of every gallon at today’s prices and saving hundreds of dollars a year on gas, that now can be spent at home or in their business.”
Texas is reeling from its most severe and expensive drought in history, tipped to extremes by greenhouse pollution, the state’s climate scientists say. The $5.2 billion in losses estimated by the Texas Agrilife Extension Service already exceeds the previous record of $4.1 billion during the 2006 drought, and the drought is expected to continue for months. Furthermore, the “loss estimates do not include losses to fruit and vegetable producers, horticultural and nursery crops, or other grain and row crops.”
In a video presentation, Texas A&M University soil scientist Travis Miller, a member of Gov. Rick Perry’s (R-TX) Drought Preparedness Council, explained that the strong La Niña during the fall and winter is tied to drought in the southern U.S., and rejected a role for climate change, despite the record-shattering heat:
There’s a lot of speculation why we’re having this weather pattern we’re having. Some people attribute it to climate change. But in essence, if you go back and study weather records, We have 116 years of weather records in Texas. It’s been this variable all the way back to 1895 when we first started records. What we’re experiencing is climate variability instead of climate change. Over that 116 years we have seen a tiny trend towards less moisture. Maybe .11 inches per decade if you average all the peaks and valleys in rainfall.
Dr. Miller, although an expert on soils and agriculture, needs to talk more to the climate scientists in the state, including his colleagues at Texas A&M and on the Drought Preparedness Council.
“There’s no question that natural climate variability has a huge impact on Texas,” Dr. Kathanie Hayhoe, a climate scientists at Texas Tech University, told ThinkProgress Green, referring to the impacts of El Niño and La Niña conditions on the state. However, climate change cannot be ignored, she said:
Trying to pin any one event or season on either natural variability or climate change is a false dichotomy. It’s like trying to pin our health problems on either poor diet OR lack of exercise, but not both. Clearly, there can be multiple factors affecting our health at the same time. In the same way, there can be multiple factors affecting our climate at the same time.
This combination of natural cycles of climate variability on top of altered background conditions of climate change could be a one-two punch for locations that are already vulnerable to natural climate extremes. Identifying and studying those areas, in order to identify ways that we can increase our resilience in the face of an uncertain future, should be an important research priority.
Dr. Miller’s colleague at Texas A&M, climate scientist Andrew Dessler, emphasized the point that man-made climate change is “almost certainly” making the drought worse. He told ThinkProgress Green that “there is absolutely no way you can conclude that climate change is not playing a role here”:
While La Niña may be playing an important role, we also know that humans have warmed the climate, and that is almost certainly making this extreme event worse. Given that this last July was the warmest month in the entire observational record for Texas, and with the driest 12 month period that ends in July on record, there is absolutely no way you can conclude that climate change is not playing a role here. I’m quite surprised that anyone would even suggest that.
Dr. John Neilsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and the only climate scientist on the Texas Drought Preparedness Council, agreed that man-made warming is worsening the natural variability at work in the record drought. He explained to ThinkProgress Green that the “primary known influences” on the drought are oceanic patterns like La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which “have little to do with climate change.” However, because of global warming, “evaporation has been enhanced, soils and plants dried out faster, streamflow declined faster, and temperature records were easier to break.”
2011 marks the fifth billion-dollar drought for Texas since 1998. Although this year’s drought has “no end in sight” unless hurricanes come through, the real trouble for Texas looms in the future, as greenhouse concentrations from fossil fuel combustion continue to rise. “Looking forward, if global temperatures continue to rise but Texas precipitation stays the same,” Nielsen-Gammon warns, “Texas droughts would nonetheless become more severe because of the warmer temperatures.”
The Texas Drought Project is working to prepare the state for the coming perpetual drought it is now likely to face because of the burning of the world’s fossil fuels, much of which came from below the now-parched ground of Texas.
John Nielsen-Gammon’s e-mail to ThinkProgress Green, in full: Read more
NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has updated its analysis of billion-dollar weather disasters in the U.S. (here). As Reuters reports:
The United States has already tied its yearly record for billion-dollar weather disasters and the cumulative tab from floods, tornadoes and heat waves has hit $35 billion, the National Weather Service said on Wednesday.
And it’s only August, with the bulk of the hurricane season still ahead.
“I don’t think it takes a wizard to predict 2011 is likely to go down as one of the more extreme years for weather in history,” National Weather Service Director Jack Hayes told journalists on a conference call.
Nothing happens very quickly in the energy sector. That’s why the rapid economic change in solar PV is such a fascinating story – the downward cost curve for modules looks more like what we see in consumer electronics, not in energy technologies.
Given that trend, today’s news probably isn’t a huge surprise: The two companies responsible for the development of the world’s largest solar plant – the 1,000 MW Blythe Project in Southern California – said they would be using photovoltaics in place of concentrating solar power for the first 500 MW phase.
Solar Millennium and Solar Trust of America received a $2.1 billion loan guarantee for the first phase of the project earlier this year. It was originally going to utilize parabolic troughs, but will now be all PV.
GTM Research Senior Analyst Brett Prior estimates that the installed cost of 500 MW of parabolic troughs at the Blythe site is about $5.79 a watt. Today, with PV prices so low, the project could pencil out to $3.40 a watt with crystalline-silicon PV.
“My sense is that with the CSP version, even with subsidized debt, Solar Trust of America couldn’t get direct/sponsor equity investors to sign on, as the expected returns must have been too low,” explains Prior to Climate Progress.
This brings the total capacity of CSP-to-PV conversions to 2,999 in the U.S., according to GTM Research:
Some of the companies required to reduce their pollution have made exaggerated claims about the alleged economic impact of these new public health protections, as with nearly every public health safeguard EPA has issued over the past 40 years. The pending ozone standard is no exception, with Big Oil leading the charge against it by claiming the new protections would wreak economic havoc. Similar claims were made when the 1997 health standards were set. This Center for American Progress analysis of economic data found that industries’ predictions about the economic impact of the 1997 ozone standard did not occur. This suggests that their recent, similar attacks on the pending ozone standard also lack credibility.
CAP evaluated the economic growth and employment rates metropolitan areas experienced after they were put into “nonattainment” (or violation) for the first time due to the 1997 standard. Our analysis determined that contrary to industries’ predictions, the areas with smog levels exceeding the health standards for the first time experienced very similar economic growth to the nation as a whole. Employment rates were very similar to the national rate.
Average GDP per capita in the metropolitan areas in nonattainment grew by .07 percent from 2004-2008, while it grew by .87 percent nationwide—less than a 1 percent difference. Unemployment in those areas grew by 2.21 percent from 2004-2008, while unemployment nationwide grew by 2.3 percent. In other words, unemployment grew by slightly more across the nation than in the 54 areas affected by the 1997 ozone standard. This data makes it clear that the economic attacks on the 1997 ozone standard by Big Oil, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable were undeniably false. Read more
Our guest bloggers are Daniel J. Weiss, Arpita Bhattacharyya, and Raj Salhotra with the Center for American Progress.
Big Oil is leading the charge against science-based ozone standards by claiming the new protections would wreak economic havoc. Similar claims were made when the 1997 health standards were set. A Center for American Progress analysis of economic data found that industries’ predictions about the economic impact of the 1997 ozone standard did not occur. Average GDP per capita in the metropolitan areas in nonattainment grew by .07 percent from 2004-2008, while it grew by .87 percent nationwide — less than a 1 percent difference. Unemployment in those areas grew by 2.21 percent from 2004-2008, while unemployment nationwide grew by 2.3 percent. In other words, unemployment grew by slightly more across the nation than in the 54 areas affected by the 1997 ozone standard:
This suggests that their recent, similar attacks on the pending ozone standard also lack credibility. The polluter front groups — the American Petroleum Institute, Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Manufacturers — are recycling their old attacks, even though they’ve been disproved:
American Petroleum Institute
API’s 1996 study that concluded “It is clear that implementation of a one-exceedance form of either a 0.08 or 0.09 ppm eight-hour ozone standard will have significant socio-economic impacts on U.S. society.”
Comment to the EPA, March 12, 1997
“EPA has rushed to judgment a rulemaking that is unjustified on a scientific basis and is so far-reaching in its potential impact on every sector of the economy and every level of government that adequate time for review to consider the wisdom of taking such an action is of the utmost importance.”
Supporters of protection from air pollution for children, seniors, and asthmatics “won’t be satisfied until we’re in horses and buggies and have no industries in our state.” Spokesperson for Gov. John Engler (R-MI).
“If a company cannot meet the requirements, then it must either shelve its plans and the jobs the plans would create, or move to another part of the country where it will be in compliance,” said John Engler, former Michigan governor and now president of the Business Roundtable.
Chamber of Commerce
“Many of the new ‘nonattainment areas’ have no experience in dealing with such stringent regulations, thus many businesses will move to ‘cleaner’ districts or relocate to other states.” The California Chamber of Commerce.
Comment to the EPA, December 30, 1996. Growth rates for cities may not be sustainable if manufacturing jobs and other small business jobs are not created.
“By moving forward with raising the standards on ozone levels, the EPA is only adding economic turmoil to the nation’s struggling job market.”
“The proposed ozone standard could result in millions of lost jobs costs.” National Association of Manufacturers, or (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons.
As the United States warms, smog pollution grows more dangerous. A more protective smog standard has the overwhelming support of Americans. History shows that the new ozone health standard is unlikely to have much negative economic impact, but will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in lower health care costs. The Obama administration must ignore the tired, disproven pleadings of Big Oil and other special interests, and instead set an ozone health standard based on the science to provide additional protection to all Americans.
Bachmann is still skipping classes. At another rally in South Carolina, the Minnesota Congresswoman appeared oblivious to the laws of global supply and demand by claiming she will get gasoline below $2 a gallon, presumably by opening up the U.S. to more oil drilling.
“The day that the president became president gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today. Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.”
I’ve heard this one before — during my fifth grade student council election: “If I’m elected, I promise to get the lunch lady to serve more french fries with every meal in the cafeteria.”
Her “Drill, Baby, Drill,” strategy can’t lower prices more than a few pennies in 2030, as discussed below. But, there is another way, as Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, explained to the Chicago Tribune:
“We’re going to have to recognize the rest of the world has this increasing appetite for oil,“ he said. “If we go below $2 a gallon, it probably means there has been a lot of wealth loss and we are in a deflationary period.“
A lot of wealth loss and deflation – that pretty much sums up what a Bachmann presidency would mean. Here’s why.
Chevrolet Malibu aerodynamic engineers John Bednarchik and Suzy Cody helped make the 2013 Malibu ECO Chevrolet’s most fuel-efficient midsize car in 100 years. Aerodynamic improvements in the new Malibu give customers up to 2.5 miles per gallon more on the highway. (Photo by GM)
GM engineers have removed more than 60 counts—a count is 0.001 coefficient of drag—of wind drag from the 2013 Malibu as a result of the new Malibu’s shape and fine-tuning of the car’s exterior design. These aerodynamic improvements give customers up to 2.5 miles per gallon more on the highway, the company says.
Initial testing of pre-production Malibu vehicles in GM’s wind tunnel has recorded a low drag coefficient nearly as efficient as the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle of .28 Cd.
Some of the Malibu’s key aerodynamic features that help improve fuel economy include:
Welcome to Clean Start, ThinkProgress Green’s morning round-up of the latest in climate and clean energy. Here is what we’re reading. What are you?
Fast-melting Arctic sea ice appears to be pushing walruses to haul themselves out onto land, and many are moving around the area where oil leases have been sold, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. [Reuters]
China is researching implementation of an absolute carbon dioxide cap in a number of pilot regions, a National Development & Reform Commission official said on Thursday. [Reuters]
Oil major Royal Dutch Shell said a large volume of oil remained in its leaking pipeline, raising the possibility that Britain’s worse oil spill for a decade could worsen, but said the extra amount would only seep out in a worse case scenario. [Reuters]
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon increased by 15 percent during the past 12 months, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said Wednesday. [AFP]
Fort Collins-based Clean Water Action launched a campaign arguing that Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) brief voting record in Washington establishes him as perhaps the most anti-environmental member of Congress in the state’s history and therefore deeply out of step with the district he represents. [Washington Independent]
This summer’s heat wave is drying up the blood transfusion supply in Shreveport, LA. [Shreveport Times]
With hurricane season still ahead, a record-tying nine $1 billion weather disasters have already racked the nation this year, with a cumulative tab of $35 billion. [USA Today]
Houston has set its record for most 100-degree days in a row, with 17 and counting, breaking a streak of 14 recorded in 1980. [Houston Chronicle]
A combination of rising temperatures and changes in the timing of runoff and streamflows could reduce trout habitat in the western U.S. by about 50 percent during the next 70 years, with some populations disappearing completely within just a few decades. [Summit County Citizen's Voice]
Rick Perry gets four Pinocchios for his climate change conspiracy theories. [Washington Post]
On Monday the US Fish and Wildlife Service took the first step in granting increased federal protection to a relatively small, oil-rich region within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge known as the “1002 area” by nominating it for wilderness designation in a lengthy report on conservation plans. [Mother Jones]
Up to 60 per cent of the world’s coffee-growing regions will no longer be viable by 2050 thanks to climate change, according to a recent estimate from the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative. [Toronto Star]
Less than a fifth of U.S. homeowners have a flood insurance policy that protects their property and personal belongings, even though more than four out of every five natural disasters nationwide involve flooding. [Insurance Information Institute]
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.