Some videos simply need to be seen to be believed.
Yes, on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL), said oil and gas are pollution free:
Some videos simply need to be seen to be believed.
Yes, on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL), said oil and gas are pollution free:
As I have said many times “Obama can get a better climate bill in 2010” “” although that is true only if he and Congress have a coherent strategy to do just that (which at this point, they don’t, see below).
Since the CBO has made clear that health care reform is tougher than climate action (also see here) and since conservatives see blood in the water (see TP’s Inhofe: If GOP Can ‘Stall’ Or ‘Block’ Health Care Reform, It Will Be ‘A Huge Gain’ For The 2010 Elections) and since the Senate will try to do health care first and since tortoise-like Senate floor debates are a lot longer than hare-like House debates, it is all but impossible to imagine the Senate vote on a climate bill before November.
And I’d say it’s at least 50-50 the vote isn’t until December or January, which would put a final bill, conferenced and passed again by both House and Senate, on Obama’s desk maybe in March. That should not be a surprise to CP readers.
No hurry. Right now, the House bill starts its first cap in 2012, but in any case the cap doesn’t actually start to bite for several more years after that, so it is far more important that the one shot we get in the Senate is our best shot. And we need time for several reasons:
Don Blankenship, the A.T. Massey coal baron rebuked by the U.S. Supreme Court for buying West Virginia judges, believes that coal breeds freedom. On his personal Twitter account, Blankenship wrote today, “If you support democracy in developing countries, you must support coal“:
Blankenship has called opponents of his coalocratic worldview “communists,” “atheists,” and “greeniacs.” In reality, dependence on coal breeds the same kind of economic instability and injustice seen in petrodictatorships. Fossil fuels, requiring capital-intensive extraction and rewarding centralized control of distribution, reward oligarchic power structures that are profoundly anti-democratic. Furthermore, when the costs of pollution are borne by society instead of the coal and oil corporations, the divide between the economic costs and benefits grows wider.
The coal-dominated economy of West Virginia is a troubling example of the cruelty of coalocracy. Despite $118 million in coal-mining annual income, West Virginia has the nation’s lowest median household income, worst educational services, worst social assistance, the highest population with disabilities, and nearly a quarter of West Virginia children in poverty. A recent study by West Virginia University found that the “human cost of the Appalachian coal mining economy outweighs its economic benefits”:
The coal industry generates a little more than $8 billion a year in economic benefits for the Appalachian region. But, they put the value of premature deaths attributable to the mining industry across the Appalachian coalfields at — by a most conservative estimate — $42 billion.
If Blankenship, who sits on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also tweeted that a cap and trade system is a “Ponzi scheme.” If Blankenship truly believed in the power of the free market and cheap energy to lift up democracies, he would support closing coal pollution loopholes — putting a true value on the majesty and diversity of Appalachia’s mountains instead of blowing them up, and putting a price on the carbon pollution that is destabilizing our climate. Instead, he and his fellow right-wing coalocrats are the Charles Ponzis of the entire planet.
I was going to blog on this umpteenth attack on strong progressive women, but Matt Yglesias beat me to the punch here, so to speak. The illustration actually comes from the Politico. I’ll add my thoughts to Matt’s comments at the end:
I used to think that US Senate Barbara Boxer was an experienced legislator with a solid progressive record on the issues. But then I read this Politico article in which various anonymous people criticize her “abrasive personal style” and “outspoken partisan liberal” demeanor. Big trouble! And then I got to thinking, I recall having read similar critiques of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. And Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate and now as Secretary of State has been subjected to similar criticism. Nancy Pelosi, too.
You’ve really got to wonder what the deal is with the Democratic Party that every woman who comes forward into a position of power and influence is a shrill, castrating harridan. I mean, what are Democrats thinking? What poor judgment! Doesn’t everyone know that politics is a business in which the only people who get ahead are soft-spoken sweethearts like Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer? Somehow male politicians have managed to figure this out. What’s stopping the women?
Two excerpts from the Politico piece are particularly egregioius:
The radioactive disinformers of The Breakthrough Institute (TBI) have broken through to the MSM again. This time they got The San Francisco Chronicle to print their willfully misleading op-ed attacking “Obama and Democratic leaders” for supposedly failing to deliver on clean energy promises. As we’ll see, this TBI article sets a new record for phony “apples and oranges” comparisons — but I think it is worth looking at to fully understand the impressive nature of the clean energy investments that Obama and the Democratic leaders have done and plan to do.
The first thing to remember about TBI is that they have dedicated the resources of their organization to killing prospects for climate and clean energy action in this Congress and to spreading disinformation about Obama, Gore, Congressional leaders, Waxman and Markey, and anyone else trying to end our status quo energy policies (see “Memo to media: Don’t be suckered by bad analyses from TBI” and “The dynamic duo of disinformation and doubletalk return” and “”Shellenberger and Nordhaus smear Gore by making stuff up“)
Second, for all their supposed high-minded attacks on Obama and Congress for pushing a bill TBI claims is too weak, TBI has consistently proposed infinitely weaker climate legislation than Waxman-Markey — legislation so dreadful, it probably wouldn’t get a single vote in either house of Congress (as I discuss here). The only surefire way to kill the prospects for serious climate and clean energy action, the only way to kill any chance whatsoever of a global deal to avert catastrophic global warming, is if policymakers listen to The Breakthrough Institute.
Third, their current line of attack — on the clean energy efforts of “Obama and Democratic leaders” — is not just utterly false, it is intentionally and hypocritically misleading, as I demonstrate here: TBI is lying about Obama, misstating what CBO concluded about Waxman-Markey, and publishing deeply flawed analyses. The stimulus bill from “Obama and Democratic leaders” (plus Obama’s budget) increased clean energy funding more than every previous president combined in the past 3 decades (see “Progressives, Obama keep promise to jumpstart clean energy, economy“). Obama’s actions in the transportation sector alone represent the single biggest push toward greenhouse gas reductions and efficent vehicles in US history (see “Obama to raise new car fuel efficiency standard to 39 mpg by 2016 “” The biggest step the U.S. government has ever taken to cut CO2“).
But, for the umpteenth time, let me briefly dissect their willfully misleading nonsense. Here is how their op-ed, “Will America lose the clean-energy race?” begins:
If climate change means “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse,” then it only seems appropriate we wipe out one of the cradles of civilization. In the photo, drought plus Turkish dams combine to “reduce the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to a trickle.”
Is it the final curtain for the Fertile Crescent? This summer, as Turkish dams reduce the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to a trickle, farmers abandon their desiccated fields across Iraq and Syria, and efforts to revive the Mesopotamian marshes appear to be abandoned, climate modellers are warning that the current drought is likely to become permanent. The Mesopotamian cradle of civilisation seems to be returning to desert.
Last week, Iraqi ministers called for urgent talks with upstream neighbours Turkey and Syria, after the combination of a second year of drought and dams in those countries cut flow on the Euphrates as it enters Iraq to below 250 cubic metres a second. That is less than a quarter the flow needed to maintain Iraqi agriculture….
Drought has helped precipitate the crisis. The most detailed assessment of the Fertile Crescent’s future under climate change suggests flow on the Euphrates could fall by 73 per cent. “The ancient Fertile Crescent will disappear in this century,” forecasts Akio Kitoh of Japan’s Meteorological Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan. “The process has already begun.”
“Convoys of turbine parts for windmills slow traffic and attract attention in coastal towns like Searsport, Me., on their way to western Maine” — the caption from the absurd NYT piece, “Slow, Costly and Often Dangerous Road to Wind Power.”
So here’s the news.
The NYT, however, manages to find nothing but lemons in clean energy, while making the tastiest lemonade out of the dirtiest of fossil fuels:
Finally we have Kate Galbraith’s piece, which basically contradicts Krauss’s story and which in any other newspaper would be the lamest story they ever wrote on clean energy.
I learned something new or, rather, old from reading Fallows’ blog. The famous metaphor* — “the fatally slow human response to climate change makes us like a slowly boiling frog” — is not quite right. As Wikipedia puts it, German physiologist Friedrich Goltz “demonstrated that frogs will indeed remain in slowly heated water, but only if their brain is removed.”
“Goltz observed that a frog, when placed in water the temperature of which is slowly raised towards boiling, manifests uneasiness as soon as the temperature reaches 25° C., and becomes more and more agitated as the heat increases, vainly struggling to get out, and finally at 42° C., dies in a state of rigid tetanus. The evidence of feeling being thus manifested when the frog has its brain, what is the case with a brainless frog? It is absolutely the reverse. Quietly the animal sits through all successions of temperature, never once manifesting uneasiness or pain, never once attempting to escape the impending death.”
Even so, I am inclined to agree with Jones that this should not be fatal to the metaphor. It just needs to be tweaked.
A number of people asked me to reply to a blog post by Atlantic monthly columnist James Fallows in which he opines on a variety of climate-related subjects from Al Gore to the “Hockey Stick” graph.
Since I have known Fallows for a long time — we share mutual interests in rhetoric and the late Colonel John Boyd — I decided to zip him an e-mail, which he promptly turned into his first (of several) self-debunkings, “Climate pushback #1.” Let me expand on a few of those dashed off points:
2) The Hockey Stick. I wrote Fallows:
“The ‘hockey stick,’ was essentially vindicated by the National Academy of Sciences, and it is almost certainly correct.” Cite here.
Few things excite the deniers more than the Hockey Stick graph because it allows them to wade deep into the analytical woods and entirely miss the forest [or is that "entirely miss the deforestation"]. I was trying to answer two separate questions quickly. First, was the original analysis defensibly correct? Yes (see NAS Report and RealClimate.org). Second, were the conclusions correct [which could be true even if the analysis had flaws in it] — is the planet now as hot (or hotter) than it has been in a millenium? Try two millennia (see “Sorry deniers, hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years“). See also J. Bradford DeLong commenting on Fallows here.
Perhaps more to the point, the Hockey Stick analysis is just the tiniest piece of our overall understanding of climate science, which is getting increasingly dire by the day. In a few decades, not only will no one remember the Hockey-Stick controversy, many people won’t even be using hockey sticks anymore outdoors- it will just be too darn hot (see “Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!“).
3) Al Gore. OK, one guy does excite the deniers more than the Hockey Stick. I wrote Fallows:
Barbara Boxer, chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and John Kerry, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, write in “What Palin Got Wrong About Energy.”
Whether it was the debate over the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Superfund law or any other landmark environmental law, one pattern has always been clear: Time and again, pessimists — often affiliated with polluting industries — predicted job losses and great costs to taxpayers. Each time, our environmental laws have cleaned the water we drink, the air we breathe and the communities we live in at far lower cost than initially expected.
Recall that Palin, who is quitting her governorship Sunday, is so ignorant of energy, so practiced at repeating falsehoods, that in September, during the campaign, the Washington Post itself gave her its highest (which is to say lowest) rating of “Four Pinocchios” for continuing to “to peddle bogus [energy] statistics three days after the original error was pointed out by independent fact-checkers.”
But that didn’t stop editorial page editor Hiatt from running a piece by Palin filled with bogus information attacking climate action and clean energy action. And it didn’t stop Newt Gingrich from claiming in the clip above, “Her knowledge of the energy issue is very real.”
Boxer and Kerry respond to her rhetorical bomb-throwing and lack of knowledge of the issues:
The clean-energy economy holds the promise to combat global warming, reduce our dependence on volatile and expensive fossil fuels, and create millions of new high-quality jobs for Americans. But the fight to transition to this new economy will be a tough one. Some special interests are currently spending millions of dollars a day lobbying legislators in Washington to support the status quo.
To ensure we usher in a clean-energy future, the Center for American Progress has partnered with allies to compile the arguments, stories, and state-by-state data needed to show that the clean-energy economy will create good jobs, lower consumer costs, spur innovation and entrepreneurship, and position America as a global leader in the new low-carbon energy era.
The key sub-topics covered by The Hub are
Finally, today’s featured content is :
The best evidence is that the climate is now being driven by amplifying feedbacks (see Study: Water-vapor feedback is “strong and positive,” so we face “warming of several degrees Celsius”), most notably:
In spite of all evidence to the contrary, the deniers/delayers/inactivists, led by MIT’s Richard Lindzen, have argued that negative feedbacks dominate the climate system. In particular, they have asserted that clouds are a negative feedback. A major new study in Science from “Observational and Model Evidence for Positive Low-Level Cloud Feedback” (subs. req’d) is thus a potentially huge — and worrisome — piece of research.
I’m in an all-day meeting, so I’m mainly going to reprint the study abstract, the accompanying Science news story, “Clouds Appear to Be Big, Bad Player in Global Warming” (subs. req’d), and the press release from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, who led the study (with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, my old stomping ground snorkeling reef).
It is worth noting that the one climate model the researchers found was “particularly realistic” in modeling the cloud feedback, the Hadley Center’s HadGEM1, finds, “When carbon dioxide is doubled, the model warms the world by 4.4°C; the median of the models for a doubling is 3.1°C.” Considering that we are headed toward more than a tripling of CO2 concentrations this century, that is very, very worrisome.
FIGURE: “Leaky clouds. Decades-long records show that when sea surface temperature (SST) warms, cloud cover””especially from low clouds (bottom)””decreases (blues, top), letting in more sunlight.”
Let’s start with the PR:
Subtropical crops such as dates, figs and rice could become staples of British agriculture within 20 years, according to government forecasts.
The assessment, produced by officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), outlines future possibilities for British food production based on recent climate data.
The forecasts highlight some of the unexpected benefits of a warmer climate. It means the British diet will in future be able to include produce currently imported from as far away as China and the Philippines, without incurring massive food miles.
However, some existing crops such as potatoes will struggle, as temperatures are predicted to rise by about 2C within 20 years.
[This is Bill Becker's BS list. Feel free to add your own suggestions.]
If there is any doubt that Washington D.C. is where hyperbole, distortions and silly arguments come home to roost, that doubt disappears as we listen to congressional debate on climate and energy policy. Even some of the statements coming from the Obama team lately inspire a loud “Huh?”
Jon Stewart would win a Nobel Prize for Truth, if one were awarded for diligence in revealing how some members of Congress, not to mention the conservative chattering classes, regularly insult the American people’s intelligence. Unfortunately, he’s only on the air 30 minutes each day.
Also unfortunately – and here’s an inconvenient truth — not all of the American people are informed enough about climate change to know their intelligence has been insulted. It’s a complicated topic made even more complicated by bogus arguments [and by a status quo media more focused on celebrity funerals and celebrity comments (e.g. Sarah Palin) -- JR].
So, in the spirit of improving the quality of the debate and with unapologetic imitation of another political satirist on night-time TV, here are today’s Top 10 Bogus Statements (B.S.) in the climate debate, each followed by a reality check.
No. 10 BS: The United States can’t make a firm commitment to reduce greenhouse gases until China and India do.
“Daily sea ice extent as of July 21. The solid blue line indicates 2009 … the purple line shows 2008; and the solid gray line indicates average extent from 1979 to 2000.”
The blogosphere and scientific community are all abuzz as to whether 2009 will beat 2007 in minimum Arctic sea ice area. See, for instance, RealClimate’s “Sea ice minimum forecasts.” But while the Arctic ice’s two-dimensional measurements are easier to make, the more important record is the three-dimensional one, which looks to have been set in 2008 (see NSIDC stunner: Arctic ice at “Likely Record-Low Volume” and below).
Now the National Snow and Ice Data Center has a July 22 update, “Arctic sea ice extent tracking below 2008,” which notes:
h/t Schoolboy Heart
Washington Post columnist George Will attacked the “altar of climate change” and “climate confabulations” again today, the sixth such column this year. Post editors Fred Hiatt and Alan Shearer have refused to run corrections for any of these fact-challenged screeds, even as Post reporters, columnists, and cartoonists criticize Will. Without a reference, Will claims that “skepticism about the evidence that supposedly supports current alarmism about climate change is growing”:
Fortunately, skepticism about the evidence that supposedly supports current alarmism about climate change is growing, as is evidence that, whatever the truth about the problem turns out to be, U.S. actions cannot be significantly ameliorative. When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon “young Americans” to “get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon,” another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: “If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.”
Steyn, a Canadian right-winger who writes for the National Review blog, is not exactly a reliable source for climatological data. As Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization explains, global warming “has accelerated particularly in the past 20 years”:
Data collected over the past 150 years by the 188 members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) through observing networks of tens of thousands of stations on land, at sea, in the air and from constellations of weather and climate satellites lead to an unequivocal conclusion: The observed increase in global surface temperatures is a manifestation of global warming. Warming has accelerated particularly in the past 20 years.
It may be true that the “dead baby juice” conspiracy wing of the conservative movement is growing, but Fred Hiatt’s continued publication of George Will’s alternate-universe diatribes is a blot on the Washington Post’s reputation.
When New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called upon “young Americans” to “get a million people on the Washington Mall calling for a price on carbon,” another columnist, Mark Steyn, responded: “If you’re 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you’re graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade.”
There are lies, damn lies, Breakthrough Institute statistics, and then — at the very bottom, where you find the crap that is really hard to scrape off – George Will columns, like the one quoted above. Since the senior editors at the Washington Post continue to publish his long-debunked falsehoods with no caveat whatsoever, one can only assume that they mindlessly endorse every single word of bullshit he writes — and that they hold their readers and letter writers in utter disdain.
When we last left Will and the Post in April, they were once again repeating the disinformation that the globe hasn’t warmed in over a decade — even though they had just published a letter from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) blasting them for this very “misinterpretation of the data and of scientific knowledge” (see “The Washington Post, abandoning any journalistic standards, lets George Will publish a third time global warming lies debunked on its own pages“).
Will is not inaccurately quoting WMO this time — he is just accurately quoting disinformation from the National Review, repeating the long-debunked myth that “there has been no global warming” for 11 years. Yet the definitive global temperature record from U.S. climate experts would be that of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which says the warmest year on record was 2005 — not 1998 (see here). See also “Very warm 2008 makes this the hottest decade in recorded history by far.”
So by failing to put in any caveats or explanation, the Washington Post has managed to let George Will publish the same two outrageous lies in one sentence that two previous letters to the editor had already debunked (see “Washington Post publishes two strong debunkings of George Will’s double dose of disinformation“) — a journalistic first that editorial page editor Fred Hiatt can be proud of, if no one else. Perhaps Hiatt will now publish three letters debunking Will, and then let Will publish three versions of the falsehood.
Let me come back to the caveats. First, let’s note another falsehood that Will and the Post publish in the final paragraph: Read more
JR: This story is a follow up to “Siemens, Munich Re study $555 Billion, 100 GW concentrated solar project in the Sahara.” The map above comes from Desertec — and looks to me to be the inevitable future for the region in a carbon-constrained world.
For centuries, Mediterranean countries have found countless ways to disagree — over religion, ethnicity, colonialism and trade. But there are signs the region might yet unite in pursuit of a common goal: renewable energy.
European government and industry have been eyeing tracts of sun-drenched, vacant land in North Africa and the Middle East for some time. And now, officials and business executives are beginning to sweat out the details that could see renewable power sprouting in the desert.
Their vision is ambitious. By 2050, massive solar thermal plants, which concentrate the sun’s energy using mirrors to heat steam-generating media, would sprawl across the Sahara and Middle East, feeding most of their power to their host nations. Leftover energy, meanwhile, would travel north on a new ‚¬45 billion grid to meet 15 percent of Europe’s electricity needs….
All the Arab states attended the Paris meetings, and Egypt, in particular, has been a strong supporter. According to Egyptian officials, this is because for the first time, in a Mediterranean detente, Europeans are treating African and Middle Eastern countries as equal partners. This is best seen in the union’s co-presidency, which Sarkozy and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak share….
Costs for solar thermal could eventually come down to about 10 cents a kilowatt-hour as the technology scales up, said the Center for Global Development’s Wheeler, who has written an influential paper on the topic.