The Atlantic: Michael Mann cleared (Again).

James Fallows

UPDATE:  See Peter Sinclair’s insightful on the phony case made by the denialists and their inability to accept the results of the NSF inquiry:  “Climategate” Debunked Again. Climate Deniers: Mike Mann born in Kenya“.

JAMES FALLOWS – Aug 24 2011 – James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States, and once worked as President Carter’s chief speechwriter

In my article a few months ago about the importance of China-US efforts to find cleaner ways to use coal — because both countries, like it or not, are going to keep using coal, and because if they don’t find ways to reduce its carbon emissions, nothing else done about climate change will count — I quoted the Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann(right).

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REPORT: Koch Fueling Far Right Academic Centers At Universities Across The Country

An interesting post at Think Progress By Lee Fang on May 11th, 2011.

Corporate takeover of academic freedom!  You would have to conclude that Florida State University President Eric J. Barron needs to do a little deep thinking about what his institute stands for. He wouldn’t want to end up as the president of Florida State University of Petroleum Products (FSUPP) would he?

Yesterday, ThinkProgress highlighted reports from the St. Petersburg Times and the Tallahassee Democrat regarding a Koch-funded economics department at Florida State University (FSU). FSU had accepted a $1.5 million grant from a foundation controlled by petrochemical billionaire Charles Koch on the condition that Koch’s people would have a free hand in selecting professors and approving publications. The simmering controversy sheds light on the vast influence of the Koch political machine, which spans from the top conservative think tanks, Republican politicians, a small army of contracted lobbyists, and Tea Party front groups in nearly every state. Continue reading

Hoodwinking the public with faulty information

By Hans Hoegh-Guldberg, Economic Strategies, Australia.

A few months ago on this blog I reviewed the current alarming state of climate change denial pushed by big business interests,  which scientists need to debate vigorously beyond uttering the evident truth that climate change is real. The Australian government, supported by the Greens and independent members, has “committed” itself to a carbon tax, or what Treasurer Wayne Swan now calls an interim price on carbon as a step towards a future emissions trading scheme. Scientists need to help support, explain and strengthen this initiative.

The proposal is good news but there is still a long way to go, with the opposition promising to fight “the great big tax on everything” all the way. The Coalition fails to mention that the proposed price on carbon will be combined with measures to support lower-income groups, small businesses, and renewable energy.  Voters need to understand that structural change in the taxation and subsidy system is part and parcel of what must happen. Estimates of a $300 electricity price hike, petrol  costs rising by 6.5 cents a litre, and $150 increases in the annual gas bill that have been canvassed by Coalition members such as Greg Hunt are premature when nothing has yet been decided on the carbon price, or the associated reforms. An extensive consultative process will follow, in which scientists have an evident role.

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Fox News staff ordered to cast doubt on climate science

Given all the debunking we have done here on CS of the biased reporting on climate change and coral reef health coming from another Murdoch-owned rag, AKA The Australian, e.g., see here, here, here, and here, this isn’t surprising.  And people continue to say that the publics misperceptions about climate change is due to the poor communications skills of scientists.  BS. No matter how media savvy you are, a biased anti-science global news outlet is an overwhelmingly tough opponent.

from Media Matters:

December 15, 2010 8:08 am ET by Ben Dimiero

In the midst of global climate change talks last December, a top Fox News official sent an email questioning the “veracity of climate change data” and ordering the network’s journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”

The directive, sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was “on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.”

This latest revelation comes after Media Matters uncovered an email sent by Sammon to Fox journalists at the peak of the health care reform debate, ordering them to avoid using the term “public option” and instead use variations of “government option.” That email echoed advice from a prominent Republican pollster on how to help turn public opinion against health care reform.

Sources familiar with the situation in Fox’s Washington bureau have expressed concern about Sammon using his position to “slant” Fox’s supposedly neutral news coverage to the right.

Sammon’s orders for Fox journalists to cast doubt on climate science came amid the network’s relentless promotion of the fabricated “Climategate” scandal, which revolved around misrepresentations of emails sent to and from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

At the time of Sammon’s directive, it was clear the “scandal” did not undermine the scientific basis for global warming and that the emails were being grossly distorted by conservative media and politicians. Scientists, independent fact-checkers, and several investigations have since confirmed that the CRU emails do not undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet.

Contrary to Sammon’s email, the increase in global temperatures over the last half-century is an established fact. As the National Climatic Data Center explains, the warming trend “is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change” and “is also confirmed by other independent observations.”

*     *     *

On the December 8 edition of Happening Now, one of Fox News’ daytime straight news shows, Fox White House correspondent Wendell Goler delivered a live report from Copenhagen and was asked by host Jon Scott about “U.N. scientists issuing a new report today saying this decade is on track to be the warmest on record.”

Goler accurately reported that, indeed, 2000-2009 was “expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record,” following a “trend that has scientists concerned because 2000-2009 [was] warmer than the 1990s, which were warmer than the 1980s.” Goler went on to explain that “ironically 2009 was a cooler than average year in the U.S. and Canada,” which, he said, was “politically troubling because Americans are among the most skeptical about global warming.”

When Scott brought up the “Climategate” emails, Goler explained that although people had raised questions about the CRU data, “the data also comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and from NASA. And scientists say the data of course across all three sources is pretty consistent.”

Read the whole story here on Media Matters

Assisted colonization: Home on the range, or not?

Our rapidly changing climate is shrinking ecological ranges of many species to the point where extinction is a real likelihood within the next couple of decades.  One option is to move these species to new habitats where the future might be rosier.  A number of us discussed this during a workshop in 2008 and produced an article in Science’s Policy Forum section.  The issue is again in the news.  Richard Stone from Science magazine has written a thoughtful piece which exposes the latest thinking.

Science Magazine, Richard Stone

One of the hottest debates in conservation biology these days is to what extent scientists should help embattled species cope with climate change. All life forms, including our own, must adapt to climate change or dwindle and possibly perish. Scientists generally agree that first they should protect or shore up ecosystems, especially fragile ones such as cloud forests and coral reefs. Consensus breaks down, however, on what to do when a species can’t keep pace with a changing world. One camp insists that desperate times call for desperate measures. Habitat fragmentation caused by human activity has made it difficult or impossible for many species to migrate on their own to more suitable environments. Thus, a growing number of researchers argue that assisted colonization, also called managed relocation, is a vital conservation tool. Other scientists worry that momentum for translocations is building too fast.  For the full article, read it in Science magazine.

Massive Coral Mortality Following Bleaching in Indonesia

Coral bleaching in Indonesia takes a turn for the worst:

The Wildlife Conservation Society has released initial field observations that indicate that a dramatic rise in the surface temperature in Indonesian waters has resulted in a large-scale bleaching event that has devastated coral populations. The initial survey carried out by the team revealed that over 60 percent of corals were bleached.

“Bleaching” — a whitening of corals that occurs when algae living within coral tissues are expelled — is an indication of stress caused by environmental triggers such as sea surface temperature fluctuations. Depending on many factors, bleached coral may recover over time or die.

The event is the result of a rise in sea surface temperatures in the Andaman Sea — an area that includes the coasts of Myanmar, Thailand, the Andaman and Nicobar Island, and northwestern Indonesia. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Hotspots website, temperatures in the region peaked in late May of 2010, when the temperature reached 34 degrees Celsius — 4 degrees Celsius higher than long term averages for the area.

“This is a tragedy not only for some of the world’s most biodiverse coral reefs, but also for people in the region, many of whom are extremely impoverished and depend on these reefs for their food and livelihoods,” said WCS-Marine Program Director Dr. Caleb McClennen. “It is another unfortunate reminder that international efforts to curb the causes and effects of climate change must be made if these sensitive ecosystems and the vulnerable human communities around the world that depend on them are to adapt and endure.”

(read more over at Science Daily and the Wildlife Conservation Society)

The lies of Bob Carter and Anthony Watts

Denier disciples Bob Carter and Anthony Watts are giving a talk in Brisbane tonight at The Irish Club (175 Elizabeth Street, 7:00 pm).

The Climate Shifts crew and other scientists will be there en masse to record and debunk the lies that will be told.

But as a primer, we thought a simple compilation of the lies these two fools have been spreading would be valuable background information for any media planning to cover the event.

Bob Carter: Bob is a geologist associated with James Cook Uni.  Bob was a key player in one of the most recent denier scandals, aka “Cartergate” (see here and here).  The CS collection of articles on Bob’s falsehoods and shoddy science is here.  Also see Deltoid’s impressive collection here.

Anthony Watts: Tonight’s headliner is a former TV weatherman, known for his claims that the earth is cooling and is really square.  Well see here and here and  watch the videos:



The human fingerprint in global warming

The new indispensable climate change blogger John Cook of Skeptical Science (sorry Joe, but John is blowing your doors off) just released a nice new pamphlet that simply explains some of the science behind climate change.  See his new related post here and a low-rez PDF (1.7Mb) of his awesome talk last month at the University of Queensland.

On the question of human caused global warming, there’s not just a consensus of scientists – there’s a consensus of evidence. Our understanding of climate doesn’t come from a single line of evidence. We use multiple sets of measurements, using independent methods, to further our understanding. – John Cook

Also see other wonderful resources at skeptical science including the huge list of global warming links and skeptic arguments.  The current number one argument is “It’s the sun”.

Climate Shifts Round-up for 2009

As 2010 begins, we figured it was an apt time to do a round-up of 2009 here it at Climate Shifts. It has been an exciting year – we enlisted several new bloggers, created 327 posts and greatly expanded our readership. With thirteen scientists and experts in the field of coral reefs and climate change writing commentaries, the blog is expanding to a considerable expertise.

Since we moved to more reliable servers (carbon-netural green hosting!) at the end of September we’ve had 10,539 unique visitors with over 35,572 page views (excluding bots). We’ve had people from 152 countries/territories from from 2,628 cities reading our posts:

In other news, the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland officially commenced on January 1st 2010 under the guidance of Ove, and John is heading down under to Brisbane with his family for a sabbatical at UQ. Onwards to 2010! We are planning some changes for next year and would really appreciate hearing from you what type of content you want us to provide.

See below for a few stats from our plugins (again since September) – seems that the notorious Andrew Bolt post drew a few deniers out of the woodwork with 2578 views and 48 comments.

most rated posts

  1. COP15: Cold and grey but buzzing with excitement and hope. 472 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5472 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5472 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5472 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5472 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  2. “Macro-algal dominated coral reefs: shake that ASS” 4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 54 votes, average: 5.00 out of 54 votes, average: 5.00 out of 54 votes, average: 5.00 out of 54 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  3. More climate delusionism and questionable science 3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  4. Humpty dumpty and the ghosts 3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 53 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  5. Testing the ‘macroalgal dominated coral reefs’ paradigm 2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  6. Local stressors act to reduce the resilience of corals to bleaching events 2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  7. Maldives President Calls Underwater Meeting 2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  8. Hot Pink Beasties of the Deep 2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  9. Preservation of coral reefs: why isn’t the majority heard? 2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5 (5.00 out of 5)
  10. Corals likely to starve in a high CO2 world 2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 52 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5(5.00 out of 5)

most viewed posts

  1. Happy Birthday to… Andrew Bolt! – 2,578 views
  2. “Macro-algal dominated coral reefs: shake that ASS” – 1,593 views
  3. The never-ending jellyfish joyride – 1,511 views
  4. “Great Barrier Reef could adapt to climate change, scientists say” – Facts, fallacies and fanciful thinking. – 1,126 views
  5. Why the existence of ‘heat tolerant’ corals does not mean that coral reefs will be able to resist climate change. – 1,096 views
  6. PLoS One: an open access venue for coral reef science – 955 views
  7. ExxonMobil still funding climate change sceptics – 893 views
  8. The coral reef crisis: The critical importance of <350 ppm CO2 – 843 views
  9. Catch of the day: invasive lionfish – 814 views
  10. Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery – 784 views

There is so much great science being done in the oceans, on coral reefs and on climate change and so many important policy debates, it can be overwhelming trying to keep up and cover it all.  Luckily there are a number of awesome online resources, at least regarding climate change.  Below is a list of our favorites, in no particular order:

  • RealClimate: An amazing resource from real climate scientists.  The comments can be very educational too.
  • Skeptical Science: The webs best debunker of denier myths.
  • All the Peter Sinclair videos (which can be seen here and on YouTube)
  • ClimateProgress (a very thorough coverage of climate change policy and science, even though Joe verges on hysteria at times)
  • Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets:  Always interesting and informative commentary from a boots on the ground coral reef conservation scientist.
  • Deltoid: Tim Lambert tells it how it is
  • David Horton: David blogs about the environment and social justice here and on the Huff Post here
  • A collection of George Monbiot’s provocative essays