Saturday, February 18, 2012

And in other news

An article appeared today in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, which is pretty much the German New York Times, with the Frankfurter Allgemeine playing the role of the Wall Street Journal pre-Murdoch. The article pretty well sums up the release by deSmogBlog of the Heartland Papers. The translation is by Eli.

Climate Skeptics’ Funding Sources

By Christopher Schrader

Bloggers have posted documents from a conservative US think tank that is deceptive about climate change. Among its donors are famous companies and tea party sympathizers.

It is customary for work to be properly compensated. If, for example, someone publishes a book, which traces climate change back to natural causes as well as praising the increase carbon dioxide in the air as a boon to mankind, he can do well and enjoy earning $ 11,600 a month - even as renowned scientists tear the book to shreds.

Now, thanks to an indiscretion, it is known that Craig Idso, head of an organization of climate change deniers in Arizona, was paid such a fee by the Heartland Institute in Chicago. That think tank advocates for free markets and against government interference and in this includes denial of manmade climate change.

Payments to Idso were found in Heartland's internal documents which bloggers have published on the web. The organization confirmed that documents had been stolen from them by a trick, but does not directly confirm the authenticity of the published documents. Heartland apologized to the now publicly identified donors, because their promised confidentiality had been broken. These include Microsoft, the tobacco giant Altria ("Marlboro"), the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as well as the General Motors Foundation.

A number of companies have confirmed the donations. In the case of GSK a spokeswomen told the British Guardian, they were for health care. Microsoft officials said the company had only provided nearly $ 60,000 of software free of charge. In fact, many of the companies have distanced themselves from Heartland’s position on climate. The New York Times quoted a spokesman."Microsoft believes that climate change is a serious problem which requires immediate, worldwide attention."

Oil companies were missing in the list of donors. Still, recently the donors again include one of the Koch brothers; the business empire of the Tea Party sympathizers spans petroleum refineries and pipelines as well as paper and fertilizer factories.

Conferences full of "wild allegations and political propaganda"

The lobbying against established climate research according to the documents have been funded mainly by two unnamed foundations and an "anonymous donor". If the latter holds to his pledges for 2012, he will have provided the Heartland Institute $ 14.3 million in six years, ten million for climate related projects. With money from this donor, the organization has hosted six international conferences since 2008. There the speakers propound their theories about the IPCC reports on climate change and why these are totally wrong. Nature characterized the events as ones "in which science is secondary to accusations and political propaganda

Many bloggers and journalists have searched in the documents for revealing formulations. The strongest are in a memorandum that Heartland representatives labeled a forgery. It says that Idso's book was to "undermine" the work of the IPCC. Further, school teachers should be discouraged from teaching climate science.

However, apart from the specific wording, other documents confirm the two-page document. What is new in the Heartland program is development of a school curriculum that represents the findings of science as "controversial,". This is needed because "teachers and principals are biased toward the perspective of the alarmists' – a description that climate skeptics use for scientists who point out the possible drastic consequences of climate change


ADDENDA: The Nature Editorial from July 2011 characterized the Heartland meetings as

It would be easy for scientists to ignore the Heartland Institute's climate conferences. They are curious affairs designed to gather and share contrarian views, in which science is secondary to wild accusations and political propaganda. They are easy to lampoon — delegates at the latest meeting of the Chicago-based institute in Washington DC earlier this month could pick up primers on the libertarian writings of Russian–American novelist Ayn Rand, who developed the philosophical theory of objectivism, and postcards depicting former US vice-president Al Gore as a fire-breathing demon. And they are predictable, with environmentalists often portrayed as the latest incarnation of a persistent communist plot. “Green on the outside, red on the inside,” said one display. “Smash the watermelons!”


John Mashey said...

Good find! I used to read the SZ in those years when I went to Germany often enough to stay in practice.

"Fakery" pp. 63-64 noted the likely relationship with Jo Nova for her Skeptic's Handbook, Lines H57a-e and H57f, "Translation/Pub."

It turns out that the *first* translation was into German, May 21st, 2009 (at bottom):
Das Skeptiker-Handbuch has arrived!.

John Mashey said...

Google: Das Skeptiker-Handbuch

Who knew that tax-exempt funds from Heartland that might have gotten to an Australian ex-science presenter would create something so popular in German-speaking countries?

It's a small world.

Neven said...

According to Jo Nova Heartland has sent a 'first legal notice about stolen and faked documents':

Furthermore, Heartland views the malicious and fraudulent manner in which the documents were obtained and/or thereafter disseminated, as well as the repeated blogs about them, as providing the basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and blogged about them. Heartland fully intends to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law.

Therefore, we respectfully demand: (1) that you remove both the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents from your web site; (2) that you remove from your web site all posts that refer or relate in any manner to the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents; (3) that you remove from your web site any and all quotations from the Fake Memo and the Alleged Heartland Documents; (4) that you publish retractions on your web site of prior postings; and (5) that you remove all such documents from your server.

The plot thickens.

Anonymous said...

I love these stolen doc's. They show that climate denialism actually is rather poorly funded. Where are all of the billions of big oil sourced climate denial dollars anyway? Lol!

It's been 5 days since they were leaked and the so-called scandal has garnered no traction with the MSM or the public, even the blogosphere has already forgotten about it. This a non-starter.

I would not be surprised if Desmogblog issues an apology before the end of the month.

I love these stolen doc's.


J Bowers said...

"I love these stolen doc's. They show that climate denialism actually is rather poorly funded."

Yeah, sure. $6.4m for 40 staff and zero original research or field work. Times that by how many front groups? Oh, and Heartland's one of the lowest funded.

"I would not be surprised if Desmogblog issues an apology before the end of the month."

They've said they'll apologise and retract. All HI have to do is show the emails. Easy, really.

Anonymous said...

Ah, good old JoNova, not one to provide full disclosure of accurate and reliable information 99.9985% of the time. Interestingly, she never did condemn outright her stupid supporters vanity of ignorance attacks and petty vandalism on many research scientists, either.

John Cook, at SkS provided some handy reference material to read prior to reading her "Ersatz Skeptics Handbook", which was published using funds supplied by Heartland Institute.

After using a variety of known reliable sources from the Internet. It was child's play, to find all the basic errors in her dysfunctional "Alchemy Science Book" of complete and utter nonsense!

I always found it both sad and amusing, a majority of her supporters continue to over inflate her and husbands academic qualifications to the point of total idiocracy!

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." Abraham Lincoln ...

As for the other problem, she blowing much hot air about...............

“Killing the dog does not cure the bite.” Abraham Lincoln...........

Jo Nova said...

If you explain a significant error in The Skeptics Handbook I'll fix it. Cook tried with the help of 4 or 5 profs, but it took him two years and I took it apart in 4 days.

Lars Karlsson said...

Jo Nova,

This part about the "hotspot" being a greenhouse signature is obviously wrong.

"The greenhouse signature is missing.
Weather balloons have scanned the skies for years but can find no sign of the telltale "hot-spot" warming pattern that greenhouse gases would leave. There's not even a hint. Something else caused the warming."

J Bowers said...

How Jo Nova Doesn't Get the Tropospheric Hotspot

Lars Karlsson said...

In the link Joanne Nova gives above, she instead claims:

"The hot spot is the fingerprint of positive feedback, which causes the vast bulk of the warming in the climate models."

I can only see that as an admission that her statement in the Handbook was wrong. Yet, I have not found any version of the Handbook where this is corrected. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

Tickets, much, Codling?

Forget tropical tropospheric hot spots, Codling has a climate science blind spot. The trouble is, by very definition she is as unable to perceive it as she is unable to listen to folk who are trying to tell her that it exists in the first place.

Whether these conditions are willful, or simply a consequence of an intellectual deficiency, I can't say...

Bernard J.

Jo Nova said...

Lars, yes you are missing something. If you went to the sources I quote in the Skeptics Handbook (see you'd see I represent them accurately. The CCSP Chapter 5, mentions "fingerprint" or variant (effectively a signature), 74 times. If you think that is deceptive, no doubt you'll be anxious to email the authors (that would be Santer, Thorne, Hansen, Wigley et al...). The IPCC BTW mentions "signature" in the text leading up to the hot spot page, AR4 Chapter 9, page 674.

The graph with the predicted hot spot I quote is listed as "simulations of the vertical profile change due to ... wait for it... "Well mixed Greenhouse gases". The solar one, and others according to the models produce different profiles.

So the part about me being obviously wrong, is obviously wrong.

The Climate modelers told us the hot spot pattern (if it occurred) would be due to greenhouse gases. Then after they couldn't find it, they pretend it wouldn't have mattered if they had found it.

All forms of warming will "in their theory" under extreme circumstances, cause a hot spot, but the models you hold in high regard all agree that right now, if that pattern occurred on this planet, it would be due to "greenhouse gases", not to solar or volcanic or ozone...

I don't usually read this site, so if you find a significant error in the Handbook (that's after doing your research) please let me know on my site OK? But I have already answered questions like that one, many times before. Cook and others don't seem in a hurry to correct their posts.

A handy tip for believers in man-made global warming is to try to avoid the Hot Spot argument as much as possible. Either the hot spot is missing because the models (the theory of AGW) is completely exaggerated, or the hot spot is there, but we can't see it because the world hasn't warmed as much as those thermometers near carparks are claiming it has. You can't win either way.

Lars Karlsson said...

Jo Nova,
The figure in your link shows the simulated warming according to the estimated forcings 1958-1999. The only significant positive forcing in this period are the well-mixed green-house gasses, and that's why the hotspot is visible there. (Although there is a cold-spot in the surface aerosols figures). Actually, it should be obvious by just looking at that figure that the amounts of forcing from the different factors are not the same!

So your claim that the hotspot is only for GHGs is unfounded.

Lars Karlsson said...

A 2% increase in solar forcing would also give a hot-spot according to simulations. The difference is that GHGs also give stratospheric cooling, as observed.

And this is what the CCSP report says:

"Increases in well-mixed greenhouse gases (which are primarily due to fossil fuel burning) result in largescale warming of the Earth’s surface and troposphere, and cooling of the stratosphere."

Lotharsson said...

"The Climate modelers told us the hot spot pattern (if it occurred) would be due to greenhouse gases."

It is amazing how many people have pointed out this false claim to Jo Nova over the years (myself included), and yet she still hasn't corrected it.

"The difference is that GHGs also give stratospheric cooling, as observed."

Speaking of which, I also pointed this out to Ms Nova a couple of years ago - and to the fact that it was visible on the very graphs she used in that post she linked to. I'm sure I wasn't the first.

(And you can see how much difference it made.)

Lotharsson said...

"A handy tip for believers in man-made global warming is to try to avoid the Hot Spot argument as much as possible. Either the hot spot is missing because the models (the theory of AGW) is completely exaggerated, or the hot spot is there, but we can't see it because the world hasn't warmed as much as those thermometers near carparks are claiming it has."

A handy tip for "skeptics" is to avoid the fallacy of false dichotomy (especially when premised on a false premise and/or the lack of personal imagination).

One should also avoid arguments predicated on assumptions that have been soundly refuted - especially when one published refutation bears the name of Watts himself, as it does in this case.

Lotharsson said...

"The IPCC BTW mentions "signature" in the text leading up to the hot spot page, AR4 Chapter 9, page 674."

Why, indeed it does! But do those mentions and those pages support your claims? Let's take a look, shall we?

"These Figures [9.1 & 9.2] indicate that the modelled vertical and zonal average signature of the temperature response should depend on the forcings."

Well, so far no definition of a GHG signature. Shortly afterwards they say:

"Greenhouse gas forcing is expected to produce warming in the troposphere, cooling in the stratosphere..."

A careless reader could be forgiven for thinking tropospheric warming is considered part of a signature. Others would note that nearby it says:

"The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings described above. Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere ..."

Most readers would presume that "throughout the atmosphere" would include the troposphere. Primary school logic would then lead one to conclude that "warming in the troposphere" is not a signature of GHG forcing, because it can be due to other causes. And they might also conclude that since "throughout the atmosphere" includes the stratosphere, that stratospheric cooling distinguishes some forcings (such as GHG) from others (such as solar). One might almost be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that stratospheric cooling is a signature!

But wait, there's more:

"A number of independent analyses have identified tropospheric changes that appear to be associated with the solar cycle (...), suggesting an overall warmer and moister troposphere during solar maximum."

Hmmm, apparently we have evidence that "solar forcing causes tropospheric warming" - which rather seems to rule it out as a "signature" that can only be due to GHGs, no?

What about the other use of "signature" on that cited page?

"The spatial signature of a climate model’s response is seldom very similar to that of the forcing, due in part to the strength of the feedbacks relative to the initial forcing. This comes about because climate system feedbacks vary spatially and because the atmospheric and ocean circulation cause a redistribution of energy over the globe."

Nope, not talking about the tropospheric hotspot here either. This discusses variations across the surface of the earth - as does the only other use of "signature" in Chapter 9 on p. 676.

I don't see where the IPCC says what you imply it says - just as I didn't when I pointed these things out to you before.

Lars Karlsson said...

When Nova uses as argument the number of times the word "fingerprint" turns up in a chapter that covers fingerprint pattern studies, it is clear that she is just dissembling.

"Skeptics Handbook" - what a misnomer!

Anonymous said...

Joanne Codling.

I have a question for you.

Do you believe that a tropical tropospheric hot spot is a signature only of human-caused global warming?

A 'yes' or a 'no' will suffice for an initial response.

Bernard J.

Lotharsson said...

Looks like it might take Jo Nova four or more days to answer a simple yes/no question about a topic she claims to understand well enough to instruct others on.

That's if she can and will - my bet is no answer will be forthcoming.

Lotharsson said...

Still radio silence from Ms. Nova.

One would be forgiven for speculating whether the questions were too difficult or the answers too unpalatable...

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

I find that when I interpret Jo's surname in Spanish, the paucity of intellectual rigor and honesty become much easier to understand.

(Look it up.)

J Bowers said...

@ Lotharsson

Codling's been busy defending her handbook funders, cherry picking hashtags on Twitter ;)

Lotharsson said...

The ongoing lack of a response by Ms. Nova to inconvenient questions is - unfortunately - entirely as expected.

Lotharsson said...

Ms Nova should probably also peruse It's Not Nova for some posts that appear to point out significant errors in The Skeptics Handbook.

But given that she seems to have great difficulty fixing the very first error pointed out to her, that's probably too much to ask.

Anonymous said...

I'd have thought that someone who knows better than thousands of the world's professional scientists, as Codling seems to think herself to be, would have had no difficulty in answering that question. It seems that she is not in fact as confident in her understanding as she pretends.

And it's not a trick question. Really...

Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.