Michael Mann, the lead author on the original Hockey Stick paper, is one of the nation’s top climatologists and a source of first-rate analysis.
We know these things because both the Hockey Stick and Mann have been independently investigated and vindicated more times than any other facet of climate science or any other climate scientist (see links below).
Climate science denial is one of the strongest anti-scientific currents running through today’s Republican Party. American conservatives, who tend to be most skeptical of the scientific consensus on greenhouse pollution, generally hold other politically relevant anti-science views, such as support for creationism and opposition to stem-cell research. As global warming touches all of our lives, people are having to reconcile the reality of a polluted world with their personal moral views.
However, climate science denial has a very different provenance from other conservative anti-scientific attitudes. The facts of climate science challenge the business model of the fossil fuel industry, whereas the facts of evolution and the like challenge religious fundamentalism. The oil industry and evangelicals form two pillars of American conservatism (see the work of Allen Lichtman and Kevin Phillips), but their networks and influence are not the same. Climate denial has traditionally been spread not through conservative churches but through the secular, oil-funded media networks — the Cato Institute, Heritage Foundation, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh.
The arguments made against natural selection are rooted in a century-old cultural conflict over the origin of man. However, the main line of attack against climate science has been taken recently from the tobacco industry playbook, raising doubts about the science and convincing business leaders that the expense of pollution reduction would be ruinous. Climate denial draws from the false conflict between economy versus environment rather than the false dichotomy of science and religion. Evangelical teachings don’t exclude the conclusion that being wasteful of the planet’s resources could be harmful. The conservative evangelical community has been split over climate change, with old-line partisan evangelicals like James Dobson supporting the oil companies, and next-generation evangelical conservatives like Rick Warren joining the Catholic Church in recognizing that fossil pollution is an issue of Christian suffering.
However, we are now entering a new era in climate change. Global warming is no longer a future threat, but an existing reality. Storms are stronger, droughts are more dangerous, oceans have risen and glaciers receded. The change in the global climate has led to changes in the weather that everyone can detect in their daily lives, not just scientists making careful measurements. This is transforming an issue primarily of concern to elites — the coal and oil barons whose economic well-being is directly threatened by changes in our energy infrastructure — to one all Americans must grapple with on a personal level. They must each answer the basic question of whether humans have responsibility for damaging the climate, threatening all they hold dear.
Meanwhile, the conservative climate denial machine has ramped up its efforts to make global warming conspiracy theories a matter of conservative dogma, with endless stories about dastardly climate scientists working with George Soros, Barack Obama, the United Nations and other leftist bugbears to take away basic American freedoms.
The upshot is a rise in grassroots climate denial, conservative parents accusing ungodly teachers of pushing the ideological “theory” of climate change to their children. The National Center for Science Education, the long-time leader in the fight to protect classroom biology from evangelical fundamentalism, is getting increasing reports of global warming flareups. Tea Party Republicans at the local and state level — elected on an economic platform but dominated by religious conservatives — are integrating climate-denial propaganda into their religious worldview.
Perry, even more than his fellow oil-evangelical conservatives like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sarah Palin, is openly willing to traffic in public repudiation of the scientific enterprise. As the ravages of climate change increase, there is likely to be a rising tide of grassroots American conservatives who will find comfort in his pseudoreligious denial of the harsh fact of a world diminished by pollution. Only time will tell whether those Christians who instead answer nature’s clarion call and fight climate pollution will win the battle for the soul of American conservatism.
Rising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report
Okay, I know you’re thinking this is one of those sensationalistic newspaper headlines that totally misrepresents what some academic study actually says. If only. In fact, the lead author states on his website that, other than the erroneous claim the article was “a report for NASA,” that “the rest of the Guardian article is very well written, capturing much of the nuance of the original journal paper”!
Here is the key quote from the conclusion of this paper, which must win the all-time prize for the most absurd use of the word “may” ever to appear in an academic paper:
All 52 of those arrested today have been released from jail.
Hurricane Irene Strengthens, Pounds Puerto Rico, Threatens Haiti And United States |
Irene reached hurricane strength early Monday — the first Atlantic hurricane this season — after “it began moving across Puerto Rico, pounding it with torrential rains and winds. Earlier, as a tropical storm, Irene downed trees and caused widespread power outages in the U.S. Virgin Islands as it churned just miles from St. Croix,” said Christine Lett, spokeswoman for the territory’s emergency management agency. “After moving over Puerto Rico, Irene was expected to approach Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Nearly 600,000 people in Haiti still live without shelter after last year’s earthquake.” Irene is expected to continue to strengthen as it moves over 90-degree waters toward the United States, either making landfall on Florida’s east coast or hitting the Carolinas as a Category 3 or stronger hurricane.
Last week, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said she could get gas prices below $2 a gallon. Experts said the only way that would happen is if we went back into a deep recession, which of course might well happen if the Tea Party extremist became president and enforced her slash and burn policies.
Yesterday, Jon Huntsman, who continues to play the role of truth teller in the race, mocked Bachmann for her voodoo economics on ABC’s This Week:
“I just don’t know what — what world that comment would come from, you know? We live in the real world. It’s grounded in reality. And gas prices just aren’t going to rebound like that.
“But just as we are in a static world, that is completely unrealistic. And, again, it’s talking about things that, you know, may pander to a particular group or sound good at the time, but it just simply is not founded in reality.”
Explaining that the Tea Party’s economics is not founded in reality wins Hunstman big points for honesty, but whether it is a winning political strategy in the hotly contested race remains to be seen.
Below are old comments from the earlier Facebook commenting system:
It’s unfortunate that this delusional guy actually thinks he has a chance. Eloquent, cultured and sensible are 3 adjectives that are not usually something that gets you elected in the Fascist Party. Those with those qualities are, as far as I can see, are looked upon with disdain in that Party. Adjectives that come to mind for a successful Fascist candidate are : Mono-Syllabic, brutish, racist, backward, stupid…you get the point.
Huntsman really doesn’t stand a chance – the teabaggers would never vote for him as the moderate GOP are overwhelmed by the etremists.
But, I enjoy hearing a GOP disparage his own party members for their ignorance, their record, their statements and their belligerence.
Wow! If Bachmann knows of a way to reduce the price of gas to $2/gallon, but refuses to reveal how unless she is elected President, she is costing the entire USA hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Most of those dollars go abroad – adding to our trade deficit.
Mike twotwo · Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)
A real pleasure to see that Huntsman isn’t following the script. Now Perry and Bachman will have to waste time defending their lunacies, Huntsman gets to lob more facts at them, and the reporters will love it. (btw, the log in here to comment is getting more and more difficult).
Research associate Lisa King isolates DNA at the Sangamo BioSciences lab in California – by Getty Images
I was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann last week and came up with the headline phrase, “If You Are Anti-Science, You Are Anti-Jobs.”
I think this is an important message to deliver. I would have said it’s important message for progressives to deliver, but the fact is it is an important message for everybody not in the extreme anti-science crowd to repeat. Indeed, “moderate” conservative GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said this weekend that being anti-science is as counterproductive for the nation as it and self-destructive it is for his party:
We raise up our young people we tell them to get a good education and tell them to move forward and solve the great challenges of today, find a cure for cancer, make the world a better place. We then get the results are willing to jettison it and to shun it? I just think that’s the wrong direction.
Now that Libya’s NATO-backed rebels have taken the capital of Tripoli, political gadfly Donald Trump wants the insurgents to repay the West for its help by turning over the country’s oil. “You know, in the old days, when you won a war, to the victor go the spoils,” Trump said, “why don’t we take the oil?” “All those rebels are going to be richer than the people of this country because they’re going to take all the oil!” Trump warned. Watch it:
Recall, earlier this year, Trump advocated a similar policy proposal for Iraq. “We should just stay there and take the oil,” he said bluntly, adding that if we didn’t, our soldiers “would have died in vain.”
Trump would be delighted to know that BP is already eyeing a return to Libya after it evacuated all of its expatriate personnel in February when the anti-Gaddafi upraising began. “We intend to resume our activities and return to the country when conditions allow,” a BP spokesman told AFP. Other foreign oil companies seem to be more cautious, saying they want to wait until a new government is formed to return and that it could take “years” to get oil fields back to full capacity.
BP struck a controversial deal with the Gaddafi regime in 2007 that allowed it to drill in the Gulf of Sirte. Many allege that BP leaned on the Scottish and U.K. governments to release Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahim to Libya in order help the company gain access the country’s offshore drilling rights. And as BP was privately lobbying for the terrorist’s release, it was also publicly trying to improve the country’s image and extolling the benefits to the U.K of a relationship between Libya and BP in its company magazine. It’s unclear whether the new regime with hold the company’s ties to Gaddafi against them.
Canada released long-awaited regulations Friday that analysts said could phase out most of the country’s coal by midcentury.
The new rules apply a stringent performance standard on new plants, requiring them to emit roughly the same greenhouse gases as natural gas generators. That means that new coal plants won’t be able to be built in Canada without carbon capture technology, since coal typically releases twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas does in the burning process.
Considering that carbon capture has never been proven at commercial scale to control coal’s emissions, the fate of the fuel in Canada is uncertain.
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) vetoed legislation to preserve New Jersey’s participation in a regional climate program on Friday. As he vetoed the bill (S. 2946) which would have blocked his decision to pull out of the successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Christie announced that he had been convinced by scientists that manmade climate change is a real threat. The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that he said “climate change is real“:
He added that “human activity plays a role in these changes” and that climate change is “impacting our state.”
“I can’t claim to fully understand all of this,” he said. “Certainly not after just a few months of study. But when you have over 90 percent of the world’s scientists who have studied this stating that climate change is occurring and that humans play a contributing role it’s time to defer to the experts.”
He added that climate science is complex and “we know enough to know that we are at least part of the problem.”
Christie’s position on climate science is essentially the same as that of GOP presidential candidates and former governors Mitt Romney (“I believe that humans contribute“) and Jon Huntsman Jr. (“90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring”). All of these Republicans have supported regional cap-and-trade programs to reduce greenhouse pollution in the past, then flipped to opposing them with the rise of the Tea Party.
Christie is still not actually willing to accept the facts — virtually every major scientific body in the world says that the threat of man-made climate change is real and merits urgent action. Like Romney and Huntsman, his words put him at odds with the anti-science zeal of the Tea Party but his actions keep him perfectly aligned with their fossil-fuel paymasters.
Driven by demand from countries like China, India and Brazil, the global market for automobiles is accelerating faster than ever. According to an analysis from the auto trade journal Ward’s, there are now over one billion cars, light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks on roads around the world, up from 980 million at the end of 2009.
In just half a year, the global auto fleet expanded by around 35 million vehicles. That’s the second-biggest increase ever.
The U.S. is still has the biggest population of cars and trucks – one for every 1.3 people in the country. But the American fleet is not growing much, only about 1% a year. The explosion in automobile deployments is coming from China, where registrations grew by 27.5%, bringing the country’s vehicle population to 78 million. That increase was more than half of the total global expansion, according to Ward’s.
The leap in registrations gave China the world’s second-largest vehicle population, pushing it ahead of Japan, with 73.9 million units, for the first time.
India’s vehicle population underwent the second-largest growth rate, up 8.9% to 20.8 million units, compared with 19.1 million in 2009.
Brazil experienced the second largest volume increase after China, with 2.5 million additional vehicle registrations in 2010.
China put 16.8 million vehicles on the road in 2010. Industry analysts were forecasting another 15% jump in sales in 2011, but the market slumped after the government stopped providing subsidies for car buyers in order to temper the market. Even so, China’s vehicle population could surpass America’s in just a few years.
According to the International Transport Forum, the global vehicle fleet could reach 2.5 billion by 2050. No doubt that those cars and trucks will be much more efficient than today’s vehicles, especially with China and America setting tighter fuel standards. And many of them will be electric-drive vehicles. But another doubling of the global market — even with an increase in efficiency — means massive increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
Auto industry executives everywhere are giddy with joy; meanwhile, those concerned about climate change wonder if we have the wisdom to take our foot off the fossil-fuel accelerator.
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?
Hurricane Irene strengthened as it barreled across the Caribbean toward Puerto Rico on Sunday on a course that could take it to Florida later in the week. [Reuters]
The New York Times editorial page joins the thousands of protesters coming to the White House — including 110 who have already gone to jail — in opposing the construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. [NYT]
The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, and “Greenland is experiencing some of the most severe environmental impacts,” social researcher Lene Kielsen Holm concludes in a preliminary report on a north-to-south survey of Greenlanders. [AP]
Floods have forced more than one million people from their homes and damaged crops in parts of southern Pakistan still recovering from last year’s worst ever monsoon inundations that devastated the region. [Bloomberg]
A powerful tornado swept through a southwestern Ontario town on Sunday, killing one person and causing severe devastation in the picturesque community on the shores of Lake Huron. [AP]
The number of New Yorkers buying flood insurance has shot up in the past decade, driven by changing flood maps, cautious banks and a series of high-profile storms that have homeowners worried. [WSJ]
Two women and two children died Friday afternoon in a flash flood in Pittsburgh, following torrential downpours of 2 inches of rain in 37 minutes. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Tropical storm Harvey hit the coast of Central America on Saturday, lashing Belize with strong winds and rain and threatening to dump more on sugar- and coffee-producing areas in the region. [Reuters]
“I’ve held numerous positions and public office in Washington but my current position feels like one of the most important.” — speaking from jail, Gus Speth, co-founder of NRDC, chair of President Carter’s CEQ, founder of WRI, administrator of the U.N. Development Programme, dean of Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
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.