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Category — Climate Deniers

NOAA’s satellites are on the chopping block. Here’s why we need them.

Our eyes in the sky are facing budget cuts On Friday, The Washington Post reportedly obtained a memo from within the Trump administration about proposed funding for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The memo outlined steep cuts to several divisions, including the elimination of the $73 million Sea Grant research program, cuts to climate research… [Read more →]

March 7, 2017   No Comments

Climate warnings masked by propaganda

Paul Brown

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Leading scientists say most people remain unaware of the truth that climate change is a stark reality now and will continue to get worse without drastic action.

A rise in world temperatures of 1.5°C degrees can no longer be avoided, according to the world’s leading climate scientists, who say that the majority of people have yet to wake up to the stark realities and dangers of climate change.

In a devastating summary of the crisis the world faces, the seven scientists say that propaganda by the fossil fuel lobby and failure of politicians to take action in the last 10 years means changes in lifestyles and radical action is needed if catastrophe is to be avoided.

Sir Robert Watson, former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says: “Climate change is happening now and much faster than anticipated.”

A doubling or tripling of existing efforts is necessary, he says, to avoid exceeding the 2°C degree danger threshold on global temperature rise agreed by the world’s government at last year’s Paris climate conference.

In a paper titled The Truth About Climate Change, the scientists depart from the normal cautious assessment that has characterised IPCC reports. [Read more →]

September 30, 2016   No Comments

How Climate Change Became a Liberal Hoax

Linguist, philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky talks about the Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and other business lobbies enthusiastically carrying out campaigns “to try and convince the population that global warming is a liberal hoax.” According to Chomsky, this massive public relations campaign has succeeded in leading a good portion of the population into doubting the human causes of global warming.

Known for his criticism of the media, Chomsky doesn’t hold back in this clip, laying blame on mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, which will run frontpage articles on what meteorologists think about global warming. “Meteorologists are pretty faces reading scripts telling you whether it’s going to rain tomorrow,” Chomsky says. “What do they have to say any more than your barber?” All this is part of the media’s pursuit of “fabled objectivity.”

August 26, 2016   No Comments

US climate change debate heats up

Kieran Cooke

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Skiing tourism areas such as Colorado are being hit by warmer winters. Image: DebateLord at Wikimedia Commons

Groups for and against US government plans for new regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions have been slugging it out at a series of heated debates across America.

Achieving progress in cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions and preventing serious global warming is never easy. But just how difficult a task that is became clear at a series of recent meetings across the US held to discuss the Obama administration’s latest plans for tackling climate change.

Those plans, announced in early June by the government’s Environmental Protection Agency, call for substantial nationwide cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Power companies − in particular, those operating coal-fired plants − will have to make big adjustments, reducing overall CO2 emissions by 25% on 2005 levels by 2025 and by 30% by 2030.

The EPA-sponsored public meetings, held in four US cities, were packed. [Read more →]

August 13, 2014   No Comments

Data adds to confusion over polar sea ice

Tim Radford

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The expansion of Antarctic sea ice may have been overestimated. Image: Jason Auch via Wikimedia Commons

Possible errors in the interpretation of satellite data may help to explain scientists’ puzzlement over indications that sea ice cover is apparently increasing in the Antarctic, but is shrinking visibly in the Arctic.

Scientists believe they may have found explanations for two inconsistencies in their understanding of global warming.

One cause for head scratching is in the Antarctic, where the sea ice seems to be getting bigger when it ought to be shrinking, and another has been the apparent slowdown overall in the rate of global warming for the last decade.

Climate scientists around the world have been picking away at both puzzles, and not just because climate sceptics and energy industry lobbyists use them as ammunition to argue that global warming is not a problem at all. Scientists are naturally unhappy when data doesn’t match their predictions − and they want to know the reason why.

The Antarctic problem is hard to miss. The Arctic Ocean sea ice is shrinking visibly, and the entire sea could be ice-free most summers in a few decades. But even though there is clear evidence from separate sources that West Antarctica is responding to climate change, the southern hemisphere ice cover, overall, has been increasing. [Read more →]

July 29, 2014   No Comments

Oil companies take trillion-dollar gamble

 Paul Brown

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Wasteland: the unrehabilitated site of a former shale oil mine in Estonia. Image: Hannu via Wikimedia Commons

Financial experts warn investors that their money is being used by oil companies for high-risk extraction projects on the dubious assumption that oil prices will go on rising, and with little or no regard for climate change factors

Investors are being urged to warn oil companies that they are risking trillions of dollars in exploiting oil fields that will probably never be profitable − and to consider selling their shares if the companies fail to listen to them.

A report out today from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a not-for-profit organisation of specialists who assess climate risk in today’s financial markets, says it was surprised to find that many of the investments by oil companies were financially dubious − even without taking into account climate change factors.

To justify the high capital costs of extracting oil from shale deposits, oil sands, ultra-deep sea sites and Arctic regions, the companies are making assumptions that the price of oil of will rise and stay high. [Read more →]

May 9, 2014   No Comments

Flat denial rejects ‘very likely’ science

Tim Radford

Warnings, predictions and statements of probability all have their uses, but only if people heed them. Research tells one story, human behaviour seems to offer another version.

The odds that global warming of almost 1°C since 1880 is just a natural fluctuation are very low: less than one in a hundred and probably less than one in a thousand, according to a study in the journal Climate Dynamics.

Shaun Lovejoy of McGill University in Canada didn’t play with computer simulations: he simply looked at the climate data since 1500 and subjected it to statistical analysis. The message from the historical data – records, tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and so on – is that global warming is linked to fossil fuel-burning and to rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

“This study will be a blow to any remaining climate change deniers,” said the physicist. “Their two most convincing arguments – that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong – are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.”

Lovejoy’s finding is unlikely to be the end of the story, perhaps because there are problems with words like “probability”. David Budescu of Fordham University in the US reports in Nature Climate Change that when people hear the words “very likely” used to describe a 95% chance that something is the case, they are more likely to interpret that as around 50% probability.

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If anyone thinks it has, it hasn’t – but it’s a hard message to get across. Image: AgnosticPreachersKid via Wikimedia Commons

Budescu and his colleagues worked their way through the problems the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had in presenting its findings. The researchers settled on the terms very unlikely, unlikely, likely and very likely in 24 nations and 17 languages, and found that, on balance, while the IPCC intended “very likely” to mean a more than 90% chance, people tended to understand the phrase as “closer to 50%”. The researchers suggest that the IPCC puts the numbers in, or at least changes the way it presents uncertainty. [Read more →]

April 28, 2014   No Comments

‘Dark money’ funds US climate deniers

Tim Radford

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Now you see it… The ExxonMobil Foundation no longer publicly supports the climate change counter movement. Image: Billy Hathorn via Wikimedia Commons

Most of the many millions of dollars channelled each year to US organizations which deny that climate change is an urgent problem come from sources which cannot be identified.

Approximately three quarters of the hundreds of millions of dollars that go to US climate change denial organizations is from unidentifiable sources, according to new research in the journal Climatic Change.

Robert Brulle, a sociologist at Drexel University in the US, set himself the challenge of trying to identify the financial backers who bankrolled more than 100 US organizations that make up what he calls the “climate change counter movement”.

He did so, he reports, because in the US the level of understanding of climate change as a serious and imminent problem remains low, despite urgent pronouncements from national academies and international agencies.

“In response to a survey question in the fall of 2012: Do scientists believe that Earth is getting warmer because of human activity? 43% replied no, and another 12% didn’t know. Only 45% of the U.S. public accurately reported the near-unanimity of the scientific community about anthropogenic climate change. This result reflects a broad misunderstanding of climate science by the general public”, he writes.

One major factor driving this misunderstanding was what he calls a “deliberate and organised effort to misdirect the public discussion and distort the public’s understanding of climate change.” [Read more →]

January 6, 2014   No Comments