Archive for the ‘The Mythical Link Between Skeptics & 'Big Oil'’ Category

Energy Tribune – on the Myth that Sceptics are Stooges for Big Oil

January 12, 2011

“Climate Change Sceptics are Stooges for Big Oil”

As a meteorologist and climate change (what happened to global warming?) investigator I constantly hear the charge that we who do not kneel at the altar of Al Gore are simply hired hacks for “Big Oil.” We are clueless stooges who will say anything for money. This old and tired argument is used over and over again by people who don’t do any research to back up that claim, they simply “know it’s true” because they read it in the New York Times or Newsweek or saw it on some television program. I wonder how many of those making this charge drive a car, use plastics, fly on planes or use virtually any product that we in our hydrocarbon based society enjoy? I’d bet all of them.

But when it comes to climate change they insist that “Big Oil” is pouring billions and billions of dollars into skeptic’s bank accounts. They are not. I have not received one dime of money from any oil company nor do I know anyone who has. But the claim is Big Oil is essentially employing skeptics to do their dirty work for them. If it were true part of that dirty work would be defending the right to use fossil fuels to power the world today and tomorrow despite the UN’s assertion that the developed world has expropriated the future from the developing nations because they “used up all the carbon space in the air.” Part of that dirty work would involve liberating carbon dioxide from its label as pollution by the main stream media and carbon opportunists like Al Gore and large Wall Street investment firms. Part of the dirty work would be exposing hypocrites like film maker James Cameron and billionaire Ted Turner who want you to live with less to “save the planet” while they live with more. Part of the dirty work would be exposing the truth about the benefits of more carbon dioxide in the air, its enhancement of agriculture and all living things and its miniscule role in changing the future climate of the world. Part of that dirty work would be telling the truth about where the real money in climate change is. Here’s the result of some dirty work for you.

If you want to know who is getting the big bucks for climate change research one needs look no farther than our own government. Your government will spend in the neighborhood of 4 billion dollars this year to study climate change. And that’s just this year! You only need to look at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2011 budget request to get the answers. Go down to chapter 15, Climate Change in the FY 2011 Budget. Here you will find out how much money is going to be spent in just one year to save you from climate change. The numbers are staggering. In 2011 your government will spend $10.6 million dollars a day to study, combat and educate people about climate change.

The big winner in the climate change money train is the National Science Foundation. They are requesting $1.616 billion dollars. They want $766 million dollars for the Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability Program. This is a 15.9% increase from their last budget. They also need another $370 million for the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) an increase of 16%. The say they also need another $480 million for Atmospheric Sciences an increase of 8.1% and Earth Sciences up 8.7%. Oh, and not to be left out we need $955 million for the Geosciences Directorate, an increase of 7.4%. That’s a mighty hefty sum of money to dig into if you’re doing climate change research.

The second largest request for money in 2011 comes from the Department of Energy. They say they need $627 million dollars for things like funding for renewable energy. The request represents a whopping 37% increase from last year! They want a 12% increase for energy efficiency programs. They want to eliminate $2.7 billion dollars of subsidies for industries that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. A 37% increase? I thought we were broke.

Well apparently there’s plenty of money around! Let’s get NASA in on the parade of open hands. For 2011 NASA wants $438 million dollars to study climate change, an increase of 14%. NASA’s total Earth Sciences budget request is actually $1.8 billion dollars. Some $809 million of that is for satellites, some of which are specifically put in orbit to study climate change. It is difficult to separate out which ones are for climate monitoring and which ones are not so I won’t include this number in the over all climate change money train, but make no mistake about it, a significant percentage of the $809 million is exclusively for climate change satellites.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is looking for $437 million dollars for climate research. This is an increase of 21.4% from the previous budget. This includes funds for regional and national assessments of climate change including ocean acidification. Once again, another meaty bag of money to tap into for researchers who have nice cars and big houses and need to keep up the payments. All aboard the money train!

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is also interested in tapping into the climate change vault. They say they need $244 million in 2011. Of this total, $171 million is for the Climate Change Adaptation Initiative. This program identifies areas and species that are most vulnerable to climate change and implements coping strategies. Another $73 million is needed for The New Energy Frontier Initiative. The goal of this program is to increase solar, wind and geothermal energy capacity. Interesting that solar and wind power don’t actually make any money without this government funding.

Wow! This list just goes on and on, no wonder we have a $14 trillion dollar deficit!

But wait! as the say on TV there’s more. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants there share of the pot of gold. They need $169 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, an increase of 1%. Do you really believe that next year greenhouse gases will be reduced by EPA spending $169 million dollars? I would bet the ranch that greenhouse gases will continue to increase next year and the year after that and the year after that despite EPA spending millions of dollars. It’s a complete waste of $169 million dollars.

I’m beginning to wonder if there is any government agency that does not get some climate change funding! The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants $338 million dollars for climate change programs. They want $159 million dollars for climate change research, up a whopping 42%. They also want another $179 million for renewable energy, an increase of 41%! The USDA’s climate change efforts are supposed to help farmer and land owners adapt to the impacts of climate change.

We’ll there you have it. How much of the requested money these government agencies actually get is not yet known. The way they spend money in Washington you can rest assured they’ll get most of it.

So the next time someone says all those climate change deniers are being propped up with money from Big Oil you might want to bring up the nearly 4 billion dollars that is being hand fed to government agencies, Colleges and Universities and private research facilities.

Six Myths About Deniers

March 31, 2010

From Quadrant Online

“Six myths about “deniers”

by Bill DiPuccio

March 15, 2010

Global warming “deniers”: myth-conceptions abound

They’ve been compared to “flat earthers” and even “Holocaust deniers”. And, as the recent “Climategate” email scandal reveals, they have been blacklisted in certain professional circles. Scientists who disagree with the current consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) are dismissed by some colleagues and politicians as ignorant and irrelevant. Though there are certainly cranks out there who lend credence to this stereotype, not everyone who rejects the idea that global warming is a planetary crisis brought about by burning fossil fuels deserves to be vilified.

There are numerous myths surrounding those who are wrongly labeled “deniers”. Most of them can be distilled into six basic accusations:

1. “Deniers” believe the climate has not warmed.

No one questions that there has been a slight, but unmistakable increase in global temperature since the end of the “Little Ice Age” in the early nineteenth century. Global average surface temperature has risen approximately 0.9°C since 1850. But not all scientists attribute this change to the human addition of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the air. Those who oppose the prevailing view on AGW point out that since temperatures began to increase well before CO2 levels were considered significant (c. 1940), a considerable part of this warming is due to natural variations in the climate. Such variations in the past have brought about abrupt climate changes with large swings in temperature.

Numerous articles have appeared in scientific journals over the last several years documenting a warm bias in official temperature measurements. This bias, which may account for up to half of the reported warming, is due largely to changes in land cover—especially the geographic expansion of cities which creates “urban heat islands.” An ongoing survey of over 1000 climate reporting stations in the United States, shows that 69% are poorly sited resulting in errors of 2°C to 5°C or more ( Surface data has also been impaired from station dropout. Over two-thirds of the world’s stations were dropped from the climate network around 1990. Most of them were colder, high latitude and rural stations.

2. “Deniers” are not real scientists.

Some of the world’s foremost atmospheric scientists, physicists, astronomers, and geologists disagree with the current consensus on anthropogenic global warming. These include Richard Lindzen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Roger Pielke Sr. (University of Colorado), Roy Spencer and John Christy (University of Alabama), Willie Soon (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Robert Carter (James Cook University, Australia), Fred Singer (University of Virginia), Will Happer (Princeton University), and Nils-Axel Mörner (Stockholm University). In addition to these, there are hundreds of credentialed scientists at universities around the world who reject the hypothesis that CO2 induced warming dominates changes in earth’s climate system.

Though science is not based on authority, the inclusion of such high profile scientists should raise red flags when advocates claim that the “science is settled.”

3. “Deniers” are a tiny minority of scientists.

“Nay-sayers” are overshadowed by a vast majority of learned scientific bodies that support the consensus. But most scientific organizations, such as the American Meteorological Society, the American Physical Society, and the National Academies of Science, do not poll their members. Decisions and position statements are made by a small group of officials at the top of the organization. This has created sharp unrest within some professional societies.

The American Meteorological Society is a case in point. A recent survey of AMS broadcast meteorologists revealed that 50% of the respondents disagreed, and only 24% agreed, with the statement that, “Most of the warming since 1950 is very likely human-induced.” When asked if, “Global climate models are reliable in their projections for a warming of the planet,” only 19% agreed, while 62% disagreed (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Oct. 2009).

As the number of those who oppose the consensus grows, it appears that the “deniers” are not a tiny minority as is often claimed.

4. “Deniers” are anti-environmental shills of Big Oil.

Only a small number of scientists who challenge the current consensus have direct ties to the fossil fuel industry. Most are funded by university departments, governments, or private institutions. Many receive no funding at all. Unfortunately, no amount of evidence can unseat the deeply held belief among some, that opposition to the AGW hypothesis is part of a conspiracy funded by big oil. The underlying fear is that any scientific research subsidized by big corporate money will be compromised.

But the blade cuts both ways. Climate research among those who espouse the prevailing view is supported by billions of dollars from government grants and green industries that have a vested interest in global warming. Why should research conducted or funded by environmental organizations and green energy be regarded as more reliable? Whether science is bought and sold by deep pockets, or made subservient to a political or philosophical ideology, the result is the same: Truth is compromised.

5. “Deniers” think CO2 is irrelevant.

The issue is not whether CO2 is irrelevant, but, rather, how relevant is it? The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) maintains that CO2 induced warming dominates the climate system. They project that increasing emissions will result in a 2°C to 6°C rise in global average temperature by the year 2100.

This has been widely misunderstood by the public to mean that energy absorbed and reradiated by atmospheric CO2 is the direct cause of the warming. In reality, the IPCC claims that CO2, acting alone, will result in only a 1.2°C rise in temperature. The rest depends on whether the climate amplifies (positive feedback) or diminishes (negative feedback) CO2 forcing.

This is where the real dispute lies. Climate “sensitivity” is based on numerous interactions that are poorly understood. Scientists who disagree with the IPCC’s conclusions are not contesting the fact that CO2 can cause atmospheric warming (.3°C according to more conservative estimates). They disagree with the science behind the water vapor feedback mechanisms that are said to amplify this warming on a global scale. The complex and chaotic processes underlying these mechanisms, especially as they relate to cloud formation and precipitation, exceed the limits of our knowledge. As a result, climate feedback is not simply the product of numerical calculations (“straightforward physics”) as is often supposed, but depends extensively on large scale estimates (parameterizations) by computer modelers.

“Deniers” demand empirical proof and are quick to point out that the water vapor feedback hypothesis is poorly supported by hard evidence, and even contradicted by the absence of warming in both the oceans and the atmosphere over the last several years. In fact, some scientists (Lindzen, Spencer, etc.) theorize that water vapor and cloud cover act like a thermostat (negative feedback) to maintain the earth’s temperature in approximate equilibrium.

6. “Deniers” believe humans have no impact on climate.

Scientists who challenge the status quo point out that we live in regional and local climates with vast differences in temperature and precipitation—differences that far outweigh changing global averages. Given these differences, the idea of “average global temperature” seems rather meaningless. More importantly, the human impact on climate is far greater at regional and local scales than it is on a global scale. These impacts include land use and land cover changes (e.g., deforestation, agriculture, urbanization) and aerosol pollution (e.g., soot, sulfur, reactive nitrogen, dust). Any one of these modifications can significantly alter temperature, evaporation, cloud cover, precipitation, and wind over a region—and perhaps beyond.

Though the global surface area of agricultural land alone is greater than the size of South America, the IPCC has largely ignored the influence of land cover and aerosols on regional climates. Moreover, climate models have shown no skill in projecting regional climate changes decades in advance.

But a wave of new research is forcing scientists to reevaluate the impact of these factors. Some have already concluded that the effect of CO2 has been overstated while regional changes in land use and aerosol pollution have been grossly underestimated. One recent study of U.S. climate has concluded that land use changes alone may account for 50% of the warming since 1950 (Environmental Science and Technology, December, 2009).

“Deniers” vs. the “Consensus”

Though “deniers” unanimously agree that CO2 is not the main driver of climate change, they represent a diversity of scientific viewpoints on issues of climate change, green energy, and the environment—perhaps a greater diversity than scientists who are in lock-step with the consensus. The Climategate scandal has exposed a concerted effort on the part of some IPCC scientists to enforce this consensus by denying access to crucial data and marginalizing anyone who questions the scientific basis of their conclusions. Stealthy tactics like this undermine scientific progress which depends on a robust exchange of information and ideas.

Skepticism is at the heart of the scientific method. So it is ironic that those who have challenged the prevailing orthodoxy are regarded as outcasts. Fortunately, science is not settled by popular vote or authority, but by empirical evidence. History has not always vindicated the majority view or justified the assumed authority of “official science.” Consequently, it may be the “deniers”, rather than their opponents, who have the last word on global warming. ”

Climategate- Follow the Money

December 2, 2009

Wall Street Journal- Climategate, Follow the Money

Last year, ExxonMobil donated $7 million to a grab-bag of public policy institutes, including the Aspen Institute, the Asia Society and Transparency International. It also gave a combined $125,000 to the Heritage Institute and the National Center for Policy Analysis, two conservative think tanks that have offered dissenting views on what until recently was called—without irony—the climate change “consensus.”

To read some of the press accounts of these gifts—amounting to about 0.00027% of Exxon’s 2008 profits of $45 billion—you might think you’d hit upon the scandal of the age. But thanks to what now goes by the name of climategate, it turns out the real scandal lies elsewhere.

Climategate, as readers of these pages know, concerns some of the world’s leading climate scientists working in tandem to block freedom of information requests, blackball dissenting scientists, manipulate the peer-review process, and obscure, destroy or massage inconvenient temperature data—facts that were laid bare by last week’s disclosure of thousands of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, or CRU.

But the deeper question is why the scientists behaved this way to begin with, especially since the science behind man-made global warming is said to be firmly settled. To answer the question, it helps to turn the alarmists’ follow-the-money methods right back at them.

Consider the case of Phil Jones, the director of the CRU and the man at the heart of climategate. According to one of the documents hacked from his center, between 2000 and 2006 Mr. Jones was the recipient (or co-recipient) of some $19 million worth of research grants, a sixfold increase over what he’d been awarded in the 1990s.

Why did the money pour in so quickly? Because the climate alarm kept ringing so loudly: The louder the alarm, the greater the sums. And who better to ring it than people like Mr. Jones, one of its likeliest beneficiaries?

Thus, the European Commission’s most recent appropriation for climate research comes to nearly $3 billion, and that’s not counting funds from the EU’s member governments. In the U.S., the House intends to spend $1.3 billion on NASA’s climate efforts, $400 million on NOAA’s, and another $300 million for the National Science Foundation. The states also have a piece of the action, with California—apparently not feeling bankrupt enough—devoting $600 million to their own climate initiative. In Australia, alarmists have their own Department of Climate Change at their funding disposal.

And all this is only a fraction of the $94 billion that HSBC Bank estimates has been spent globally this year on what it calls “green stimulus”—largely ethanol and other alternative energy schemes—of the kind from which Al Gore and his partners at Kleiner Perkins hope to profit handsomely.

Supply, as we know, creates its own demand. So for every additional billion in government-funded grants (or the tens of millions supplied by foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts), universities, research institutes, advocacy groups and their various spin-offs and dependents have emerged from the woodwork to receive them.

Today these groups form a kind of ecosystem of their own. They include not just old standbys like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, but also Ozone Action, Clean Air Cool Planet, Americans for Equitable Climate Change Solutions, the Alternative Energy Resources Association, the California Climate Action Registry and so on and on. All of them have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.

None of these outfits is per se corrupt, in the sense that the monies they get are spent on something other than their intended purposes. But they depend on an inherently corrupting premise, namely that the hypothesis on which their livelihood depends has in fact been proved. Absent that proof, everything they represent—including the thousands of jobs they provide—vanishes. This is what’s known as a vested interest, and vested interests are an enemy of sound science.

Which brings us back to the climategate scientists, the keepers of the keys to the global warming cathedral. In one of the more telling disclosures from last week, a computer programmer writes of the CRU’s temperature database: “I am very sorry to report that the rest of the databases seems to be in nearly as poor a state as Australia was. . . . Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight. . . . We can have a proper result, but only by including a load of garbage!”

This is not the sound of settled science, but of a cracking empirical foundation. And however many billion-dollar edifices may be built on it, sooner or later it is bound to crumble.

Oil Companies Support Global Warming Alarmists, Not Skeptics

November 3, 2009

Oil Companies Support Global Warming Alarmists, Not Skeptics

Climate Money- Big Government Outspends Big Oil

November 3, 2009

Jo Nova – Climate Money- Big Government Outspends Big Oil

Massive Climate Funding Exposed

Climate Money – Bigger Money Moves In