Patterico's Pontifications


More Deception from the L.A. Times on Global Warming

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Environment,General — Patterico @ 6:48 pm


During a four-day period earlier this month, 47% of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet melted, bringing the total melted area to 97% of the surface, according to NASA.

The melting is the worst that has been observed since researchers have been monitoring the ice sheet, the agency said in a statement posted on its website. According to records from ice cores, it is the worst melt since 1889.

Holy crap! And there’s this SCARY picture to go with it:

It’s MELTING!!!!!!!!

So what’s the source for this? Well, the good folks at the L.A. Times, where this fine article appears, have placed the useful link to the NASA statement right there in the article! See there, where it says “website“? Look how convenient that is! Just click on that!

. . . and you get:

. . . the NASA website. Yup, that’s it all right.

Is there a reason they didn’t provide the direct link to the press release? Well, the cynic in me says: yeah there is. And here’s the reason: if you went and found the actual link to the actual press release (hint: I did and it’s here), you might see this:

“Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.

So: it’s the worst melt since 150 years ago . . . but what they don’t tell you is, a really bad melt happens every 150 years or so.

Does that mean we’re totally in the clear? Not necessarily. She goes on to say: “But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”

Well, yeah. If Halley’s Comet returned one year after its next appearance, I guess that would be worrisome. But it would be kind of irresponsible for journalists around 2060 to suggest that we needed to be SUPER WORRIED ABOUT THIS BIG BALL OF FIRE IN THE SKY because nothing like this had appeared in the sky for 75 years . . . without telling you that this particular ball of fire in the sky appears every 75 years or so — and thus, is “right on time.”

If anyone knows how the editors of this rag could possibly justify such rank deception, let me know.

Thanks to Gary H.


Los Angeles Times Distorts Evidence on Public Opinion Regarding Global Warming

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Environment,General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The Los Angeles Times recently opened a story on climate change opinion in the following manner:

After several years of finding that fewer and fewer Americans believed in man-made climate change, pollsters are now finding that belief is on the uptick.

The newest study from the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, which is a biannual survey taken since fall 2008 and organized by the Brookings Institute, shows that 62% of Americans now believe that man-made climate change is occurring, and 26% do not. The others are unsure.

There’s one slight problem with those opening paragraphs: they are absolutely 100% false. The survey in question reported on public opinion regarding global warming . . . not man-made global warming.

Click on the link above to the word “study.” It goes to a short description of the survey. The description is titled “Belief in Global Warming on the Rebound: National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change.” There is a link to a .pdf of the report on the survey. I have gone ahead and uploaded it to my site, so you can read it here.

Feel free to search for any evidence that the survey deals with man-made global warming. You won’t find it. The opening paragraph of the report states:

After a period of declining levels of belief in global warming there appears to be a modest rebound in the percentage of Americans that believe temperatures on the planet are increasing. . . . The survey, which was fielded in December of 2011, found 62% of Americans agreeing that there is solid evidence that average temperatures on earth have been getting warmer over the past four decades, with 26% of U.S. residents maintaining an opposing view on the matter.

These statistics are the same ones mentioned in the opening paragraphs of the L.A. Times article. The problem is that there is no reference to the concept that the survey relates to man-made global warming — the claim made by the L.A. Times. The questions asked in the survey included questions like: “Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on Earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?” and “What is the primary factor that has caused you to believe that temperatures on earth are increasing?” (The latter question does not address what people thought was the cause of warmer temperatures, but what was the cause of their change in beliefs. Answers included factors like melting ice caps, Al Gore’s documentary, and the like.)

The difference is huge. The evidence that the planet has been warming, while disputed by some, seems to me be quite strong. Whether that warming is man-made; whether humans significantly contribute to the warming trend; whether the evidence backs up the scientists’ contentions . . . these are questions that are far more subject to dispute.

Ironically, the study observes:

While Americans who think the planet is warming largely disagree with the premise that the media and climate scientists are overstating evidence about global warming, most citizens who do not see evidence of increasing temperatures on Earth believe that the scientists and the press are distorting evidence about the matter.

And they’re right . . . as evidenced by the distortions in this article regarding their opinions!

This comes to us via reader G.H., who says he has brought the matter to the attention of the Readers’ Representative. Apparently in vain, since there is no correction appended to the article.

I believe this is a black-and-white factual error. The article claims that the survey measures changes in beliefs on man-made global warming, and it just doesn’t. So I’ll make this another of my quixotic battles. This post is the opening salvo. It would be nice if it were the only shot I have to fire, as my time and energy are short. If any of you want to take up the next step and write a letter to the Readers’ Rep, that would be fantastic. I will publish every single one you write, together with any response you receive.


Proposition 23 and AGW; UPDATED with Harold Lewis Resignation Letter

Filed under: Environment — Patterico @ 2:19 pm

Tell me why I should support Proposition 23.

Which gets us into a bigger question: tell me why I should be skeptical of the concept of man-made global warming. Because it’s my impression that the scientific consensus supports it.

I hate it when scientific questions become political issues — because I think politics causes people to lose rationality. And i think this has become a virtual religion for both sides.

So I am looking for evidence.

This thread will employ the rule of excessive politeness. Nothing even remotely disparaging will be permitted. And I’m not keeping any part of a comment that violates the rule. Your comment that opens: “I’m surprised you would fall for AGW” followed by 10 paragraphs of polite and well researched material gets nuked, entirely. I could end up deleting 90-99 percent of all the comments, leaving only comments by Bradley J. Fikes. I don’t care. This is such a hot-button issue that I’m not putting up with even a milligram of B.S. or invective.

I will probably play devil’s advocate in the threads. The goal is to hash out the issues and put the religious faith aside.

So: why should I doubt what appears to be a scientific consensus?

UPDATE: Looks like the timing of this post is lucky given this letter of resignation linked by commenters below, written by Hal Lewis, which became public just today.

I never heard of him before and it’s one guy, but it’s timely . . .

UPDATE x2: To clarify: I consider myself agnostic on this subject, but I interested in learning the arguments on both sides. I consider myself an “AGW skepticism skeptic” — meaning that I am not willing to simply accept AGW skepticism because it is conservative dogma, any more than I will accept AGW because it is liberal dogma.

I believe we pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and that doing so contributes to warming. How much, I have no idea. That’s about as much as I feel I “know.” But I’m willing to play devil’s advocate to tease out the arguments.


BP Caps Leaking Macondo Well

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 12:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

BP announced it successfully stopped the oil leak, which is good news. You can watch a live ROV feeds here. I’m also curious about the status of the bottom kill. However they did it, I’m sure there are lots of happy engineers in Houston and even more happy Gulf Coast residents.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reports BP may conclude as early as next week its all-cash sale of assets to Apache, including half of BP’s interest in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.



NRC: Obama Can’t Close Yucca Mountain

Filed under: Environment,Government,Obama — DRJ @ 4:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A 3-judge Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel has ruled the Obama Administration can’t unilaterally close the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste depository site:

“Unless Congress directs otherwise, DOE may not single-handedly derail the legislated decision-making process by withdrawing the (Yucca repository) application. DOE’s motion must therefore be denied,” the judges wrote, adding that the DOE had weakened its arguments by “conceding that the application is not flawed nor the (Yucca) site unsafe.”

I doubt this will help Senator Harry Reid’s re-election chances unless the appeal lasts past November.



Day 74: Waiting on the A-Whale

Filed under: Environment,Government,Obama — DRJ @ 1:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Day 74 after the Oil Spill and the A-Whale is still waiting in the Gulf for the Coast Guard to give it permission to start skimming oil:

My partial transcript (emphasis supplied):

“Right now the crew of this ship is waiting on final permission from the Unified Command to start skimming oil in the Gulf of Mexico. There’s a couple of issues that are being looked at right now. First of all, one of them is a safety issue. A ship this big out on the Gulf of Mexico needs about a half mile radius all the way around to operate safely, so they are trying to figure out if that’s possible.

There’s also some environmental concerns. Part of the way this ship works is that it brings in oil and water. It separates that and the water gets thrown back out into the Gulf of Mexico and they keep the oil. They’re also looking into whether or not that water that’s going to be discharged, what are the environmental impact of that. So that’s one of the things slowing it down.

But everyone aboard here thinks that it’s just a matter of time before this vessel is put in to fight the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and the crew told us that they were being dispatched out into the Gulf of Mexico last night. They are waiting to see if they can at least do some tests for the Coast Guard to show them what that ship can do. Admiral Thad Allen said that he’s not quite ready to put this into play, that there are still some more questions that they want to look into. But he says he is hopeful that this will be a valuable tool in the fight to clean up this oil.”

This is beyond ridiculous. That the ship may be too big to easily turn or that it may not get 100% of the oil are clearly frivolous reasons to prevent it from deploying. The Obama Administration may be Hopeful things will Change but it isn’t doing much to make that happen.

Meanwhile, the newest models say there is a high chance oil will reach South Florida.


UPDATE: The U.S. also missed its June 30th 90% containment goal. Also, the skimmers returned to the Gulf after a 48-hour downtime for Hurricane Alex. Will the A Whale return with them?


The Hockey Stick Icon

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 5:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Michael Mann says hockey stick should not have become ‘climate change icon':”

“I always thought it was somewhat misplaced to make it a central icon of the climate change debate,” he said.”

He thought it. He just didn’t mention it anywhere except the East Anglia emails.



Obama Administration Kills Undesirable Jobs

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 5:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Enoch Root at POWIP, a mining company planning to hire more people in Wisconsin lost loan guarantees because of Obama Administration environmental concerns:

“Local concern, Bucyrus, has victory snatched from the jaws of … erm.. victory.

Inside sources report that having been centimeters away from receiving a loan from bank in the amount of 350 Million Dollar (citation needed), bank (having received Federal money) is pressured to kill off loan by Obama Administration (opposed to any carbon-based jobs) – bank capitulates – deal falls through.

The government never gives our money away for free – unless it’s to its own government employee or unions’ base.”

It appears there is confirmation from Rep. Paul Ryan at POWIP’s link, and this:

“Up to 1,000 jobs at Bucyrus International Inc. and its suppliers could be in jeopardy as the result of a decision by the U.S. Export-Import Bank, funded by Congress, to deny several hundred million dollars in loan guarantees to a coal-fired power plant and mine in India.
The fossil fuel project was the first to come before the government-run bank since it adopted a climate-change policy to settle a lawsuit and to meet Obama administration directives.

“President Obama has made clear his administration’s commitment to transition away from high-carbon investments and toward a cleaner-energy future,” Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg said in a statement. “After careful deliberation, the Export-Import Bank board voted not to proceed with this project because of the projected adverse environmental impact.”

The bank’s decision is puzzling, Sullivan said, because the power plant will meet international standards and the bank’s environmental criteria.”

Congratulations, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. You’ve been Obamaed.



What Happened to the MMS? (Updated)

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 2:19 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Byron York looks at what went wrong at the scandal-plagued Minerals Management Service. York says that instead of continuing a clean-up begun late in the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration focused on renewable or green energy:

“It started early in the new administration. Salazar’s first department-wide order, issued March 11, 2009, was to declare “facilitating the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy top priorities for the Department.”

Salazar chose Elizabeth Birnbaum to head the MMS in large part because of her record of environmental and green-energy advocacy. “We have changed the direction of MMS,” Salazar told the Senate last month, “by balancing its ocean energy portfolio to include offshore wind and renewable energy production.” Given the considerable size of the existing offshore oil industry, “balancing” the MMS portfolio meant putting a heavy emphasis on new offshore wind projects. “They were more into renewables offshore than they were into oil and gas,” says a GOP Senate aide who works in the area.

Birnbaum, who is so far the only Obama administration official to lose a job over the Gulf oil spill, spent an enormous amount of time working on the controversial Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. After years of regulatory wrangling, it was approved April 29 — nine days after the oil-rig explosion that set off the Gulf spill.”

Every Administration wants to sweep aside what happened before and concentrate on its agenda, but neither life nor politics works that way. Presidents and their appointees must deal with everything, not just what interests them.

President Obama has long advocated renewable energy and the BP spill has given him a second chance to convince Americans to forgo traditional energy sources like oil and gas. If so, this spill will cost our economy far more than the clean-up costs.


UPDATE — How do you fix a broken Minerals Management Service? Bring in another attorney:

“The White House announced Tuesday that Michael R. Bromwich, a former assistant U.S. attorney and Justice Department inspector general, will lead a reorganization of the Minerals Management Service. The administration plans to break the MMS into three separate entities to eliminate conflicts of interest.”


Troublesome BP Well Prediction

Filed under: Environment — DRJ @ 11:23 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

President Obama flew to the Gulf Coast today to begin a 2-day visit to Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. However, his spokesman’s talking points weren’t on how to stop the oil but instead on how to force BP to escrow funds to pay for damages:

“The White House said Monday BP appears willing to set up a massive victims compensation fund, as President Barack Obama set out on a fact-finding tour in the stricken Gulf Coast that he said would help him get tough with the oil company’s leaders.

Spokesman Bill Burton, speaking to reporters traveling with Obama aboard Air Force One to the Gulf, said the White House and BP were “working out the particulars,” such as the amount of the fund and how it will be administered. The account would be run by an independent third-party entity, Burton said, and would run into “the billions of dollars,” although he wouldn’t give a specific amount.

“We’re confident that this is a critical way in which we’re going to be able to help individuals and businesses in the Gulf area become whole again,” the spokesman said.”

The change in tone is not a surprise because, increasingly, it appears the only hope to stop the oil is a relief well that won’t be completed until sometime in August. Why can’t something be done sooner to stop the spill? Via Doug Ross:

“I took some time to go into a bit of detail concerning the failure of Top Kill because this was a significant event… the system below the sea floor has serious failures of varying magnitude in the complicated chain, and it is breaking down and it will continue to.

What does this mean?

It means they will never cap the gusher after the wellhead. They cannot…the more they try and restrict the oil gushing out the bop?…the more it will transfer to the leaks below. Just like a leaky garden hose with a nozzle on it. When you open up the nozzle?…it doesn’t leak so bad, you close the nozzle?…it leaks real bad…

…Contrary to what most of us would think as logical to stop the oil mess, actually opening up the gushing well and making it gush more became direction BP took after confirming that there was a leak. In fact if you note their actions, that should become clear. They have shifted from stopping or restricting the gusher to opening it up and catching it. This only makes sense if they want to relieve pressure at the leak hidden down below the seabed…..and that sort of leak is one of the most dangerous and potentially damaging kind of leak there could be. It is also inaccessible which compounds our problems. There is no way to stop that leak from above, all they can do is relieve the pressure on it and the only way to do that right now is to open up the nozzle above and gush more oil into the gulf and hopefully catch it, which they have done, they just neglected to tell us why, gee thanks.”

There’s more at the link. As I understand it, the well casing was defective so cracks developed in the well bore. As noted above, this would explain why the top kill procedure was not successful — because the heavy drilling mud dissipated rather than pushed the oil/gas down the well bore — and why the recent goal was to capture the oil rather than try to seal off the hole.

It would also be consistent with claims that BP’s well had a cementing design flaw and/or because BP failed to adequately test the cement bond.

If so, this makes the relief wells the best hope to cap the well. According to BP’s website, Relief well #1 has almost reached 14,000 feet, with a planned intersection at 18,000 feet.


UPDATECongress is waiting for BP:

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) wrote to Hayward yesterday in advance of his scheduled testimony on Thursday before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“The committee’s investigation is raising serious questions about the decisions made by BP in the days and hours before the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon,” the lawmakers wrote.

They cite company documents obtained during their investigation, including an e–mail from a BP engineer that refers to the doomed Macondo well as “a nightmare well” five days before the explosion that killed 11 workers and set off a massive oil leak that is still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico nearly two months later.

“In spite of the well’s difficulties,” Waxman and Stupak write, “BP appears to have made multiple decisions for economic reasons that increased the danger of a catastrophic well failure. In several instances, these decisions appear to violate industry guidelines and were made despite warnings from BP’s own personnel and its contractors. In effect, it appears that BP repeatedly chose risky procedures in order to reduce costs and save time and made minimal efforts to contain the added risk.”

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