WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.
As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.
The Senate hearing on climate science this Wednesday, unsurprisingly enough, appears to have changed little with respect to the politics of climate change on Capitol Hill. Indeed, a significant portion of the discussion was dominated by debate over Dr. John Christy’s particular brand of denialism, a well-trod debate.
Nonetheless, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) was more than surprised when informed by Senator Barbara Boxer that roughly 98 percent of climate scientists, contra Christy, accepted that anthropogenic warming was real and serious — he was outraged:
Sessions: Madam Chairman, I am offended by that, I’m offended by that — I didn’t say anything about the scientists. I said the data shows [sic] it is not warming to the degree that a lot of people predicted, not close to that much…
Boxer: The conclusion that you’re coming to is shared by 1-2 percent of the scientists. You shouldn’t be offended by that. That’s the fact.
Sessions: I don’t believe that’s correct.
While these denialists debated the Committee’s Democrats on the role of climate change in fueling the current devastating drought, the best available science suggested that the current troubles are some of the earliest signs of a “dust-bowlification” of the United States as a consequence of global warming.
Republicans are offended by facts. It’s who they are.
CIA Rejects Freedom of Information Act Request for Climate Data
Via Secrecy News:
When the Central Intelligence Agency established a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009, it drew fierce opposition from congressional Republicans who disputed the need for an intelligence initiative on this topic. But now there is a different, and possibly better, reason to doubt the value of the Center: It has adopted an extreme view of classification policy which holds that everything the Center does is a national security secret.
Last week, the CIA categorically denied (pdf) a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of any Center studies or reports concerning the impacts of global warming.
“We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material that we determined is currently and properly classified and must be denied in its entirety…,” wrote CIA’s Susan Viscuso to requester Jeffrey Richelson, an intelligence historian affiliated with the National Security Archive.
With some effort, one can imagine records related to climate change that would be properly classified. Such records might, for example, include information that was derived from classified collection methods or sources that could be compromised by their disclosure. Or perhaps such records might present analysis reflecting imminent threats to national security that would be exacerbated rather than corrected by publicizing them.
But that’s not what CIA said. Rather, it said that all of the Center’s work is classified and there is not even a single study, or a single passage in a single study, that could be released without damage to national security. That’s a familiar song, and it became tiresome long ago.
Image: Global Temperature Trends via NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory.
Very interesting. Normally it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this data indicates global warming is a national security threat, but…oh wait, we probably can based on past statements:Interest in climate change as a national security issue developed even later. Although the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) did commission a study to look into the security implications of climate change in the late 1970s, the issue had little resonance until the late 1990s when the Senate Armed Services Committee declared that environmental destruction, including global warming, was “a growing national security threat.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1995 in part to allay fears. And then, in 2003, the rather notorious report commissioned by the Pentagon, “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and its Implications for United States National Security,” provided a worst-case scenario, which suggested that climate change might have a catastrophic impact, leading to rioting and nuclear war.
The question then becomes: is the CIA using technology/methodologies that our civilian Climate Scientists don’t have? Doubtful, in my view. More likely that they just want to classify everything possible so nobody knows what’s going on, even when the objects of classification are trivial.
“Hello, I’m Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. – The Environmental Children’s Organisation. We are a group of twelve and thirteen-year-olds from Canada trying to make a difference: Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg and me. We raised all the money ourselves to come five thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.
I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard.
I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go. We cannot afford to be not heard.
I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it.
I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants going extinct every day “” vanishing forever.
In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.
Did you have to worry about these little things when you were my age?
All this is happening before our eyes and yet we act as if we have all the time we want and all the solutions. I’m only a child and I don’t have all the solutions, but I want you to realise, neither do you!
1. You don’t know how to fix the holes in our ozone layer.
2. You don’t know how to bring salmon back up a dead stream.
3. You don’t know how to bring back an animal now extinct.
4. And you can’t bring back forests that once grew where there is now desert.
If you don’t know how to fix it, please stop breaking it!
Here, you may be delegates of your governments, business people, organisers, reporters or politicians – but really you are mothers and fathers, brothers and sister, aunts and uncles – and all of you are somebody’s child.
I’m only a child yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong, in fact, 30 million species strong and we all share the same air, water and soil “” borders and governments will never change that.
I’m only a child yet I know we are all in this together and should act as one single world towards one single goal.
In my anger, I am not blind, and in my fear, I am not afraid to tell the world how I feel.
In my country, we make so much waste, we buy and throw away, buy and throw away, and yet northern countries will not share with the needy. Even when we have more than enough, we are afraid to lose some of our wealth, afraid to share.
In Canada, we live the privileged life, with plenty of food, water and shelter “” we have watches, bicycles, computers and television sets.
Two days ago here in Brazil, we were shocked when we spent some time with some children living on the streets. And this is what one child told us: “I wish I was rich and if I were, I would give all the street children food, clothes, medicine, shelter and love and affection.”
If a child on the street who has nothing, is willing to share, why are we who have everything still so greedy?
I can’t stop thinking that these children are my age, that it makes a tremendous difference where you are born, that I could be one of those children living in the Favellas of Rio; I could be a child starving in Somalia; a victim of war in the Middle East or a beggar in India.
I’m only a child yet I know if all the money spent on war was spent on ending poverty and finding environmental answers, what a wonderful place this earth would be!
At school, even in kindergarten, you teach us to behave in the world. You teach us:
1. not to fight with others,
2. to work things out,
3. to respect others,
4. to clean up our mess,
5. not to hurt other creatures,
6. to share – not be greedy.
Then why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?
Do not forget why you’re attending these conferences, who you’re doing this for “” we are your own children. You are deciding what kind of world we will grow up in. Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying “everything going to be alright” , “we’re doing the best we can” and “it’s not the end of the world”
But I don’t think you can say that to us anymore. Are we even on your list of priorities? My father always says “You are what you do, not what you say.”
Well, what you do makes me cry at night. You grown ups say you love us. I challenge you, please make your actions reflect your words. Thank you.”
You can help spread this video around my writing posts about it and link them back to this post for the video and transcript.
Americans’ divide over global warming getting deeper
Tucked between treatises on algae and prehistoric turquoise beads, the study on page 460 of a long-ago issue of the U.S. journal Science drew little attention.
“I don’t think there were any newspaper articles about it or anything like that,” the author recalls.
But the headline on the 1975 report was bold: “Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” And this article that coined the term may have marked the last time a mention of “global warming” didn’t set off an instant outcry of angry denial.
In the paper, Columbia University geoscientist Wally Broecker calculated how much carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere in the coming 35 years, and how temperatures consequently would rise. His numbers have proven almost dead-on correct. Meanwhile, other powerful evidence poured in over those decades, showing the “greenhouse effect” is real and is happening. And yet resistance to the idea among many in the U.S. appears to have hardened.
What’s going on?
“The desire to disbelieve deepens as the scale of the threat grows,” concludes economist-ethicist Clive Hamilton.
He and others who track what they call “denialism” find that its nature is changing in America, last redoubt of climate naysayers. It has taken on a more partisan, ideological tone. Polls find a widening Republican-Democratic gap on climate. Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry even accuses climate scientists of lying for money. Global warming looms as a debatable question in yet another U.S. election campaign. […]
Arctic sea ice levels plummet
An analysis by the University of Bremen has show that extreme melting has pushed arctic sea ice levels to the lowest it has ever been in recorded history - and things could get worse. The record of 4.24 square kilometres could be pushed even further. There is a close link between arctic August air temperatures and sea ice melting. Temperatures this August were among the highest recorded, higher than the previous record year for arctic sea ice melting, 2007.
Polar sea ice ice plays a significant role in the world’s weather systems and such dramatic losses in sea ice will be felt globally.
And yes, these dramatic losses in sea ice will be felt globally even by the morons who deny climate change. Just because you deny something, doesn’t mean that it no longer exists.
“Jon Huntsman Jr, a former Utah governor and ambassador to China, isn’t a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination. And that’s too bad, because Mr Hunstman has been willing to say the unsayable about the Republican party in the United States, namely, that it is becoming the “anti-science party”. This is an enormously important development. And it should terrify us.
To see what Mr Huntsman means, consider recent statements by the two men who actually are serious contenders for the Republican nomination: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
Mr Perry, the governor of Texas, recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as “just a theory”, one that has “got some gaps in it”, an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got people’s attention was what he said about climate change: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”
That’s a remarkable statement – or maybe the right adjective is “vile”.
The second part of Mr Perry’s statement is, as it happens, just false: the scientific consensus about man-made global warming – which includes 97% to 98% of researchers in the field, according to the National Academy of Sciences – is getting stronger, not weaker, as the evidence for climate change just keeps mounting.”
Trust me, read the whole piece.
Will Hurricane Irene Be a Wake-Up Call About Climate Change?
Amy Goodmanm of Democracy NOW!:
“Hurricane Irene received a massive amount media coverage, but television reports made little or no reference to the role global warming played in the storm…
We speak with someone with his eye on climate change and its impact. ‘We’ve had not only this extraordinary flooding, but on the same day that Hurricane Irene was coming down, Houston set its all time temperature record, 109 degrees,’ says Bill McKibben, co-founder and director of 350.”
Fox & Friends anchor Clayton Morris, essentially saying that scientific facts and theories don’t matter - it’s what the VOTERS think that’s actually the truth.
And wait… Fox News has a brain room? WTF is that?!
A brain room, huh? Must be a very small room.