Saturday, April 25, 2009

Corporate Scientists Lie?

I found this too interesting and wanted to reprint in its entirety:

Industries Buried Internal Findings
Climate Wording Cut From Public Report

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 25, 2009
A group funded by fossil-fuel-dependent companies that argued for years that human-generated greenhouse gases were not driving global warming was advised by its own scientists that this was the case, according to documents submitted as part of an ongoing lawsuit between auto manufacturers and states seeking to regulate vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions.
The Global Climate Coalition, a group of representatives of the oil, auto and coal industries, spent years telling the public that the link between human activity and climate change was too uncertain to justify U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 treaty aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. In 1995, however, a "primer" on the issue produced by the organization's own scientific experts concluded that "the scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied."
This language was deleted from the primer when the group released it to the public.
Existence of the deleted material was first reported yesterday by the New York Times, which received it from a lawyer involved in a suit between the state of California and automakers; The Washington Post obtained a copy from the Sierra Club, which is also involved in the case.
William O'Keefe, who chaired the group before it folded in 2002, denied that the organization made an effort to suppress science suggesting a link between carbon-based emissions and climate change. He said the Times article "creates the impression the companies within the GCC intentionally tried to mislead the public on the human impact on the climate. That is absolute fiction. What we said then is there was enough uncertainty about the extent of human influence that it would not justify the Kyoto Protocol."
David Bookbinder, the Sierra Club's chief climate counsel, said it was notable that three of the parties in the case -- the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, General Motors and Chrysler -- had earlier dropped one of their legal claims that would have compelled them to hand over documents related to climate change science. Another party, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, turned over the primer.
"The only conceivable reason they would drop their claim is they were afraid to share their documents on climate change with the public or the courts," Bookbinder said.
Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the Senate's most vocal proponents of climate legislation, said the revelation of the deleted material "underscores the need to be wary of some of the industry studies and analyses that will come out" in the coming months as Congress debates whether to impose a mandatory limit on greenhouse gas emissions.
Former vice president Al Gore also attacked the Global Climate Coalition yesterday in a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, comparing it to disgraced financier Bernard Madoff. "They have committed a fraud larger than Madoff's fraud," Gore said. "They lied to people who trusted them, in order to make money."
In a sign of how much has changed over the past dozen years, former members of the defunct industry group now endorse a cap-and-trade bill to curb emissions.
"The utility industry doesn't dispute the science or the need for federal legislation," said Dan Riedinger of the Edison Electric Institute. "Our focus is on urging lawmakers to enact a climate bill that cuts emissions but also protects our customers from sharply higher costs."

Friday, April 24, 2009

What Does Climate Change Look Like?

As we come closer to the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December, the debate in the media rages on as to whether or not the environmental disasters seen worldwide are caused by humans. A new book, Climate Change: Picturing the Science chronicles the effects seen all over the world, from fires in Greece to the non-existent glaciers in Alaska, through pictures.

You can see a brief slideshow on Scientific American's website by clicking here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Absurd Quote of the Day!

"The dumping of toxic sludge into the Potomac River actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite and get eaten by humans but they go ahead with the upstream movement."

Army Corps of Engineers, 2002

"People Can't Put Their Interests Above the Earth"

Yesterday, Bolivian President Evo Morales addressed the United Nations in honor of Earth Day:
"Not just human beings have rights, but the planet has rights," he said. "What's happening with climate change is that the rights of Mother Earth are not being respected."
He told the U.N. delegates that "we have the challenge to agree on a universal declaration for the rights of Mother Earth." Morales outlined four principles that he asked them to consider:
  • The right to life: "The right for no ecosystem to be eliminated by the irresponsible acts of human beings."
  • The right of biosystems to regenerate themselves: "Development cannot be infinite. There's a limit on everything."
  • The right to a clean life: "The right for Mother Earth to live without contamination, pollution. Fish and animals and trees have rights."
  • The right to harmony and balance between everyone and everything: "We are all interdependent."
Morales pointed out how indigenous people in Bolivia have rites and rituals to honor the Earth.  "We now must begin to realize that the Earth does not belong to us," he said. "It's the other way around. We belong to the Earth."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

This pretty much sums up my feeling on today:
Click here to send the card to your friends and family!
I'm so happy to see how Earth Day has hit mainstream media in every direction.  Better yet is all the criticism coming from the side!  You know you are starting to get somewhere when all the crazies (aka Rush, et al) are clamoring for attention.
Hopefully this momentum will continue and we will have 365 days of Earth Day!

Absurd Quote of the Day!

"We don’t know what those other [climate change] cycles were caused by in the past. It could be dinosaur flatulence. Who knows?"

February 12, 2007 - Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California), during a congressional hearing on the global warming and climate change report, which concluded for the first time that there was an “unequivocal” link between human behavior and rising temperatures.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Climate Change in the Media; A Bit of Realism Please!

With Friday's EPA ruling that CO2 should be regulated under the Clean Air Act, every media outlet in the country has been talking about the impacts this will have from legislation/regulation to economics. Most of the articles I've read including The Wall Street Journal have been quoting dire consequences from both coal and electric producers. They claim that passing such legislation will be an "atomic bomb... to the U.S. economy".

From the WSJ article, "American Electric Power, a utility giant with 5.2 million customers in states from Texas to Michigan to Virginia, is already considering what coal plants would have to be shuttered and how high rates would have to go to comply with either a regulatory or legislative mandates to curb carbon dioxide. AEP spokesman Pat Hemlepp said rate increases stretch from 25% to 50% and beyond, depending on the climate change strategy that finally emerges from Washington." Talk about scare tactics!

No one believes that whatever legislation or regulation that gets passed is going to be enacted overnight. Coal-fired plants are not going to be running one day and shut down the next. As much as these spokepeople will try to have you believe, it's just not going to happen.

It's going to be an ongoing process - limits are going to achieved over time. What will happen is that jobs will be created here in this country not lost. We need further research on how we can still use existing plants and reduce emissions. There is already a great site, U.S. Climate Change Technology Program, that outlines ongoing research and technologies being considered led by The Department of Energy.

This administration also has already pledged further funding for research on renewable energy. We already have commercial operations for wind, solar, and fuel cell technologies. With the recent collaboration of FERC and MMS, we should be seeing more research and testing in offshore wind and wave energy. The result - more jobs created and less CO2 released in the atmosphere.

Sherman's Lagoon is Now a Musical!

Sherman's Lagoon, the Musical is a hilarious adventure back in time to when Kapupu Lagoon was a kinder, gentler place; while introducing the audience to the strip's already well-loved characters (e.g. Sherman, Hawthorne, Fillmore, and Ernest,) it highlights the dating trials and tribulations of Sherman and Megan.

Listen to the soundtrack on iTunes or Rhapsody.

The audience also meets some new characters: Ernest's smarter little sister, Bentley, a doo-wop chorus called "The Shallow Soles," and the Musical's two antagonists: the hoary ol' fisherman, Cap'n Quigley, and his new accomplice, the Nifty Fish Niblets Queen, Mrs. Gorton. Together, these two dastardly villains plot to vacuum up the oceans of the world - until not a single fish remains!

Complications ensue as Fillmore decides to head off to the Annual Ascension Island Sea Turtle Jamboree, the Big Kahuna's dating advice is cryptic and no help (as usual,) Ernest thinks he has the solution - but doesn't, and Hawthorne is, well, Hawthorne. By the end of the show, Sherman finds himself having to actually save the Lagoon!