March 12 News: WashPost Slams VA Attorney General For ‘Waste’ And ‘Harrasment’ In Climate Change Witch Hunt

Other stories below: Climate Change And Food Pressures Adding Challenges to World Water Supply; Use of Public Transit Grew in 2011

Ken Cuccinelli’s climate-change witch hunt

If Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) needs examples of official waste and abuse as he runs for governor, he could cite the harassment that he conducted against climate scientist Michael E. Mann, a costly episode of government overreach that is finally over.

This month, after nearly two years of legal proceedings, the Virginia Supreme Court halted the attorney general’s investigation of Mr. Mann, who used to teach at the University of Virginia. Twisting a law designed to root out embezzlement of state funds and the like, the attorney general had demanded oceans of documents — including Mr. Mann’s e-mail correspondence — from U-Va. But, along with some technical legal problems with his demand, Mr. Cuccinelli didn’t offer any reasonable suspicion that Mr. Mann had committed anything resembling fraud — even as the attorney general proposed violating scientists’ sacrosanct freedom to conduct research without political pressure. Multiple independent reviews of Mr. Mann’s record have found that the professor did little more than participate in the normal push-and-pull of scientific inquiry.

World Water Supply: Climate Change And Food Pressures Adding Challenges, UN Study Says

The world’s water supply is being strained by climate change and the growing food, energy and sanitary needs of a fast-growing population, according to a United Nations study that calls for a radical rethink of policies to manage competing claims.

“Freshwater is not being used sustainably,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement. “Accurate information remains disparate, and management is fragmented … the future is increasingly uncertain and risks are set to deepen.”

It says that demand from agriculture, which already sucks up around 70 percent of freshwater used globally, is likely to rise by at least 19 percent by 2050 as the world’s population swells an estimated 2 billion people to 9 billion.

Farmers will need to grow 70 percent more food by that time as rising living standards mean individuals demand more food, and meat in particular.

School Standards Wade into Climate Debate

After many years in which evolution was the most contentious issue in science education, climate change is now the battle du jour in school districts across the country.

The fight could heat up further in April, when several national bodies are set to release a draft of new science standards that include detailed instruction on climate change.

The groups preparing the standards include the National Research Council, which is part of the congressionally chartered National Academies. They are working from a document they drew up last year that says climate change is caused in part by manmade events, such as the burning of fossil fuels. The document says rising temperatures could have “large consequences” for the planet.

Most climate experts accept those notions as settled science. But they are still debated by some scientists, helping to fuel conflicts between parents and teachers.

Energy Report: Obama Goes On Offense About Gas Prices, Reliance On Foreign Oil

At a time when Congressional Republicans are scrambling to find ways to blame him for rising gas prices, President Barack Obama plans to spotlight the progress his administration has made in saving people money at the pump and reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

The White House unveiled a new report early Monday that boasts of several successes by the administration in making America more energy independent over the past three years.

“During the last year alone, we established new incentives to increase safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production; proposed the toughest fuel economy standards for cars and trucks in history; provided millions of Americans with efficient and affordable transportation choices; launched new programs to improve energy efficiency in our homes, buildings, public transit, aviation and roadway systems; and took unprecedented steps to make the United States a leader in the clean energy race,” reads the cover letter to the report, titled “A Secure Energy Future: A Progress Report.” The letter is signed by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, among other Cabinet officials.

Use of Public Transit Grew in 2011, Report Indicates

In another indication that more people are getting back to work, Americans took 200 million more rides last year on subways, commuter trains, light-rail systems and public buses than they did the year before, according to a new report by a leading transit association.

Americans took 10.4 billion rides on public transportation in 2011 — a billion more than they took in 2000, and the second most since 1957, according to a report being released Monday by the American Public Transportation Association, a nonprofit organization that represents transit systems. The increase in ridership came after the recession contributed to declines in the previous two years.

Unions seek to mend Keystone XL rift

Unions may be united in working to re-elect President Barack Obama, but their leaders also are trying to repair bitter divisions over his rejection of an oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Trade unions representing workers who stand to benefit from thousands of new construction jobs from the Keystone XL pipeline are furious at other unions that joined environmentalists in opposing the project.

AFL-CIO leaders hope to smooth tensions at their executive council’s annual winter meeting, which starts Monday in Orlando, Fla.

The rift reflects a decades-old conflict between union leaders who believe creating jobs is paramount and others who are more strongly aligned with progressive groups on environmental and social causes.

UK wants 2030 renewable energy target scrapped

The UK government wants nuclear power to be given parity with renewables in Europe, in a move that would significantly boost atomic energy in Britain but downgrade investment in renewable generation, according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian.

The move would in effect remove the most important prop from the beleaguered renewable energy sector – the Europe-wide targets stipulating that a proportion of each member state’s energy must come from renewable sources.

That target should be scrapped when its current phase – requiring member states to generate 20% of energy from renewables – runs out in 2020, according to a secret submission to the European commission.

18 Responses to March 12 News: WashPost Slams VA Attorney General For ‘Waste’ And ‘Harrasment’ In Climate Change Witch Hunt

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    I’m glad that Mann is finally free of that grandstanding idiot Cuccinelli. Now all he has to worry about is diarrhea from Watts and McIntyre, who must be sounding weird by now even to some of their followers.

    The battle over school curricula, especially in high school, will present a good teaching opportunity. If teachers and administrators allow the oil funded deniers to try to actually make a case, their claims will be shown to be fraudulent. The deniers will still win over some Boards in places like Kentucky and Texas, but this could help lead to their gradual defeat.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    Ozone layer scientist who ‘saved the world’ dies
    F Sherwood Rowland won Nobel prize for raising the alarm over CFC gases destroying Earth’s ultraviolet shield

  3. prokaryotes says:

    His work on ozone depletion made Rowland a prominent voice for scientists concerned about global warming. “Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place?” Rowland said at a White House climate change roundtable in 1997.

    “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

  4. prokaryotes says:

    National Security Threats, with lasting implications

    Now, here’s your trivia question for the day: Who in our time revived that call to action with the challenge: “If not us, who? If not now, when?” Michael Moore? Barack Obama? Leaders of Occupy Wall Street?

  5. prokaryotes says:

    In 1974 Frank Sherwood Rowland, Chemistry Professor at the University of California at Irvine, and his postdoctoral associate Mario J. Molina suggested that long-lived organic halogen compounds, such as CFCs, might behave in a similar fashion as Crutzen had proposed for nitrous oxide. James Lovelock (most popularly known as the creator of the Gaia hypothesis) had recently discovered, during a cruise in the South Atlantic in 1971, that almost all of the CFC compounds manufactured since their invention in 1930 were still present in the atmosphere.

    Molina and Rowland concluded that, like N2O, the CFCs would reach the stratosphere where they would be dissociated by UV light, releasing Cl atoms. (A year earlier, Richard Stolarski and Ralph Cicerone at the University of Michigan had shown that Cl is even more efficient than NO at catalyzing the destruction of ozone. Similar conclusions were reached by Michael McElroy and Steven Wofsy at Harvard University. Neither group, however, had realized that CFCs were a potentially large source of stratospheric chlorine — instead, they had been investigating the possible effects of HCl emissions from the Space Shuttle, which are very much smaller.)

    The Rowland–Molina hypothesis was strongly disputed by representatives of the aerosol and halocarbon industries. The Chair of the Board of DuPont was quoted as saying that ozone depletion theory is “a science fiction tale…a load of rubbish…utter nonsense”.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public’s Expense
    Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform

  7. prokaryotes says:

    First Solar Inc will build a 26-megawatt solar power plant for power producer NRG Energy Inc in Arizona under the latest deal between two of the biggest players in the U.S. renewable energy sector.

  8. Brooks Bridges says:

    “Unions seek to mend Keystone XL rift”

    This one puzzles me. On a radio show someone said the main union benefitting from XL pipeline construction would be pipe fitters and they already had one of the lowest unemployment rates of any union.

    Further, the numbers required would be a few thousand and would last a couple of years. Just doesn’t sound like unions should care that much.

  9. Doug Bostrom says:

    Richard Lindzen tells us the role of C02 in climate change:

    “The argument often is presented that the natural part is in balance and our contribution is imbalancing, unbalancing the system and so that’s leading to a rise. Uh, that’s an arguably possible situation but in point of fact there’s limited evidence of that and the merest uh misunderstanding of the 97% could easily overbalance man’s contribution but to be honest that is not an issue that is known at present and I would argue it’s not even the central issue.”

    Teach the controversy!

  10. Climate Central’s coverage of the widespread warmth across the eastern half of the country that is very likely to break hundreds of high temperature records this week and even next week.

    Record Warm Week Ahead East of the Rockies

    “The warm winter season is giving way to an even warmer early spring, with record temps spreading throughout the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains this week. Records are likely to fall from Minneapolis to Maine and points southward starting today and lasting through at least the end of this week, possibly putting an end to the ski season in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.”

  11. prokaryotes says:

    March 2 – 3 tornado outbreak: 10th largest in recorded history?

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Amazing tornado footage..

  13. Jay Alt says:

    “Greenland Ice Sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming”
    Nature Climate Change . Andy Robinson et al, Potsdam
    Tipping points, Regional Climate Model suggests
    1/5th could be gone in 500 yrs, fully in 2 millennium

  14. Doug Bostrom says:

    Just wait for the collision between the warm weather you pointed out and the next bulge from the North. A setup for mayhem, but we can hope for the best. Sincere best wishes to people living in the weather combat zone.

  15. Chris Winter says:

    There’s the series of Nobel Prizes for scientific investigation, just as the Pulitzer Prizes honor journalistic investigation.

    But I wonder if there’s a prize for courage in science, analogous to the Ridenour Prize for journalistic courage.

    (The prize was named in honor of Ron Ridenour, who exposed the massacre at My Lai. Former Senator Russ Feingold was this year’s winner.)

  16. David B. Benson says:

    UK government has it close to correct. Around 20% from renewables is doable; more is not.

  17. Sasparilla says:

    This is an article on Trade Tensions with China but this quote regarding what the Obama administration is doing regarding the Chinese dumping in solar panels (putting our manufacturers out of business) is so classic it deserves to be highlighted:

    The United States…”postponed acting on the solar panel trade dispute until March to avoid colliding with the Chinese official’s Valentine’s Day visit to the White House.”

    Good show Obama administration you’ve got your priorities strait. ;-) The longer action is delayed the more US producers will be put at risk or out of business (which is what our Chinese competitors want).

  18. Solar Jim says:

    Your statement is pure fabrication, at odds with decades of research and implementation. Completely non-fossil, non-nuclear economics is viable and attractive from numerous security standpoints. In fact, it is now national policy in places such as Denmark, as it can be in any nation.