Sunday, February 28, 2010

Carrie Hutchens bullies experts

In glancing about for Dakotas region voices who might be making the mistake of jumping on the bandwagon of trying to use recent prominent snowstorms to dispute climate change, I did come across a post by Carrie K Hutchens alluding to snow as "global warming powder".

It is not the garden variety denial of climate change by Hutchens that I found notable in the post, it was the admission of personal ignorance about climate change. Hutchens says, "I'm not a scientist..., nor have I studied up intensely on the global warming ... issues."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snowstorms are not evidence against global warming

A completely unsurprising result of the recent major snowstorms sweeping through the mid-Atlantic including Washington DC was some people foolishly trying to cast the massive snowfall as proof that anthropogenic climate change is not real. Perhaps I have just not quite plumbed the depths of this region's corner of the blogosphere enough, but in colder climes like North Dakota it is I think widely recognized as a fallacy to simply equate snow and "cold".

"Global warming" does not mean "end to all winter everywhere". As long as it is still cold enough to snow, warmer in winter is actually rather consistent with more snow. Just as an example take the days at Grand Forks NWS observation site from Dec-Feb this winter with at least an inch of measured snowfall and examine the temperatures of those days there. On average those ten days with >=1" of snow were about 13F warmer than the climatic normal for the date at the location.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Who is politicizing the science?

Recently it was Utah trying to use the political arena to bludgeon climate science using the same old debunked denialist nonsense. Now South Dakota has upped the ante. Besides the expected idiocy as in Utah's resolution, the South Dakota House passed a resolution that included (presumably, though that may be giving too much credit) basic errors in wording - even simply being wrong they got wrong!

Plenty of people are getting good laughs about the use of "astrological" when "astronomical" may have been meant, and "thermological" when, uh, not sure what they meant. It is funny to see someone who gets the science quite wrong, trumpets errors that are trivial in the big picture, and declares, "[g]lobal warming alarmism is politics, not science" turn around and defend the SD legislature's action.

Naming names in the SD House:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Ignorant and the Enablers

The latest ignorance platter served up by the Grand Forks Herald is a letter from one Lynn Hoghaug.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flooding vs climate change: Disputing the explanations

The easy answer that could be thrown out to counter many of the previously raised questions drawing parallels between flooding and climate change is that we know about flooding. We have seen it occur here. The above may even make some people mad as seeming dismissive of events that have caused great suffering. I even hope it spurs some such emotional response, because then perhaps those people so bothered can turn the other way and see my pained feelings at the dismissiveness many have to the suffering climate change will bring.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Flooding vs climate change: Where are the flooding skeptics?

Another day, another misinformation-packed op-ed column from George Will. I suspect the debunkings of Will again will occur, though because this time he re-hashes so much and he utterly ignores facts maybe there will not be as much activity.

What is interesting to me today in the Herald is that just below Will's column is an editorial from Mike Jacobs that says, "Flooding is imminent. Something must be done long-term." Replace "flooding" with "global warming", and the statement is just as true. People who deny climate change is occurring at all or that it is currently mostly a result of human activities or claim we cannot afford to take action because of costs - why do they not dispute flooding or try to derail action against flooding by calling it too costly? Where are the flooding skeptics?

Here is a twirl through the sorts of bad logic supposed "climate change skeptics" use but applying them to flooding.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Take that, CEI

I got a good laugh this morning from the headline attached to an op-ed column in today's Herald. Headline writing is not an easy task as it is impossible to always understand what articles are saying and to briefly summarize them accurately in the required space. But I hope the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is stewing after seeing the headline Let Congress regulate greenhouse gases attached to their typically truth-deficient column. CEI does not want the EPA regulating greenhouse gases (a common refrain these days), but they do not want Congress or anyone else to regulate greenhouse gases either.

Not to try to make it so murky that people cannot understand my point, but the CEI is continually lying and distorting regarding climate science and policy. It is quite fitting that the headline for the column turns out to not accurately portray the stance of CEI on the issue.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Who's Afraid of the EPA?

Today in the Herald Dr. Dexter Perkins added to his contributions explaining the need for and urging action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. This time he was countering an argument that regulating greenhouse gases will harm the national economy and especially North Dakota as pushed by Kevin Cramer (at least for now pending a run for Congress, another North Dakota Public Service Commissioner - notice a pattern here?). Not surprisingly though on the same page with the column by Perkins is a letter by Jerry Grosz taking a contrary position.

The particular facet of the issue at hand today is EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act. Though Grosz calls this action "backdoor", Perkins points out how this has been about three years in the making so far beginning with the 2007 ruling by the Supreme Court that greenhouse gases are air pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Setting the story straight

This morning in the Grand Forks Herald you only got into the op-ed section if you were a Morris from East Grand Forks writing critically of Herald coverage related to recent caucuses across the River in Minnesota. That still included three contributors. Pretty good, I guess. What does this indicate about how the Herald may respond to criticisms like mine on their handling of the issue of climate change?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Kalk feels victimized

I am not sure exactly what the job description is for Public Service Commisioner in North Dakota, but in the case of Brian Kalk it seems to be to make sure enormous amounts of CO2 from fossil fuel use continue to be dumped into the environment, regardless of the consequences.

As previously noted, this past Sunday the Grand Forks Herald published one column from Bismarck teacher Jim Kambeitz advocating more push toward a clean energy economy and another column with economic fearmongering advocating sticking our heads in the ground so we do not have to face the problem of carbon pollution. In today's Herald Commissioner Kalk has a letter to the editor criticizing the former. It is a safe assumption that Kalk did not also have a letter critical of the latter column that just did not get published.

Kambeitz's letter cited the Czech Republic and Denmark as having examples of efforts to shift toward clean energy, and Kalk misses the point of the letter in favor of simply tattling on those countries for not magically having eliminated carbon emissions from energy use. But mom, Denmark exports 100k barrels of oil per day! (which is what the US imports every 10 minutes or so) The only time it seems Kalk considers carbon emissions bad is when saying someone else has set the bar low and that us doing no better can supposedly be justified by that.

Denmark has indeed not completely left behind carbon-based energy. But they have been for years making a concerted effort to become more efficient and decrease reliance on fossil fuels. Even with government-led initiatives, incentive programs, and regulations Denmark is the 2-time defending Forbes #1 Best Country for Business. Are Americans not also innovative or smart enough to handle using energy more efficiently and decreasing carbon intensity without crippling the economy? Many people like Kalk seem to think so.

Why exactly does Kalk call it "noteworthy" that the Czech president Vaclav Klaus is a most prominent crank who thinks anthropogenic climate change is a myth and poses the same false choice of economy and freedom versus protecting the environment? Does Kalk think the same thing? In spite of such obtuseness at the top of the government, the country is still in the EU emissions trading program. Kambeitz did not call it a "model for green energy", but noted a business willing to build a solar farm there, likely much more thanks to cap-and-trade mechanisms rather than in spite of them.

Kalk cites a supposedly "balanced" approach to energy development in North Dakota. Balanced? We are not talking about a diet. It is not like we need vitamin C from coal, vitamin A from from oil, and potassium from wind. What we need is to shift away from polluting sources. Pandering winks toward various groups does not accomplish that. A portfolio with voluntary 10% renewable energy by 2015 is not exactly ambitious. Is '10% clean energy, unless you do not want to do that much' what Kalk considers balanced? Perhaps he thinks any clean energy is enough because I have not seen any indication Kalk even takes carbon pollution seriously.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Do-Nothingism from NFIB

Previously I gave an overview of how the Grand Forks Herald handles the issue of climate change. Overall, there is a decent supply of good information which is unfortunately roughly equaled by grasping-at-straws denial of science and fearmongering advocating of ignoring climate change. The January 31, 2010 Op-Ed section had a very typical example of the latter with a column by Bonnie Staiger, North Dakota state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

At least there was also a column on the same page by Bismarck teacher Jim Kambeitz that gives a substantial argument for moving toward clean energy that counters the do-nothing pushed by Staiger. That really frees me up here to just point out how weak and vacuous the very commonly pushed case made by Staiger is.