Year 3, Month 2, Day 6: Hats Back On, Gentlemen.

Behold! An idiot. Meet James “Smokey” Shott:

— — More bad news for environmental alarmists came last week when 16 more well-known and well-respected scientists signed on to a Wall Street Journal article titled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming: There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy,” adding their names to a large and growing list of scientists opposing manmade climate change dogma.

This one was fun. Sent January 31:

“Smokey” Shott tells us that the established scientific foundation of global climate change has been dealt a terrible blow — a double blow, at that. How? First, he notes a piece just published in the Wall Street Journal criticizing the broad scientific consensus on climate change — and written by 16 (sixteen! count ’em!) scientists and engineers (almost none with actual climate science backgrounds). Omitted from his report is the fact that six of the Journal’s signatories have been linked to fossil-fuel interests, or that when 225 (two hundred and twenty-five! count ’em!) genuine climatologists submitted a paper providing scientific facts and analysis of the question, they were rejected out of hand by the WSJ (the paper was eventually published in Science Magazine).

And then Mr. Shott delivers what he clearly believes to be the coup de grace: an article from the UK’s Daily Mail, a paper notorious for its sensationalist, factually-challenged journalism. Quoting “fringe” scientists propounding a thoroughly-debunked “global cooling” hypothesis, the article has already attracted widespread derision in scientific circles.

Getting science from the WSJ is as silly as getting investment advice from a climatology journal. Getting science from the Daily Mail, on the other hand, is as silly as looking for celebrity gossip in the pages of “Global Biogeochemical Cycles.”

Warren Senders

Year 3, Month 1, Day 4: Nattering Nabobs? Pointy-Headed Professors? Experts? We Don’t Need No Steeeeeenkin’ Experts!

The NYT has a year’s-end editorial noting the GOP’s reality problem:

Is there a connection between last year’s extreme weather events and global warming? The answers might be a lot clearer if the Republicans in Congress were less hostile to climate change research.

A typical year in the United States features three or four weather disasters costing more than $1 billion. In 2009 there were nine. Last year brought a dozen, at a cost of $52 billion, making it the most extreme year for weather since accurate record keeping began in the 19th century. There was drought in the Southwest while Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee destroyed homes and rerouted rivers in the Northeast. The most severe tornado ever recorded, and the most tornadoes recorded in a single month, flailed the Southeast. Floods drowned the Midwest.

Climate researchers have been cautious about linking individual events to rising global temperatures. Yet the evidence tells us the earth is warming, largely as a result of the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity. And many of last year’s extreme weather events were consistent with the effects of climate change. A warming atmosphere will hold more water, supplying the fuel for storms; steadily rising temperatures are likely to promote droughts. Climate is a complex subject, and definitive answers will require more study. But as Justin Gillis recently noted in The Times, the political climate for that is not favorable. House Republicans, many of whom reject the scientific consensus about the human causes of global warming, took aim at almost every program that had to do with global warming. Senate negotiators managed to protect most in the 2012 budget, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — the hub of much of the government’s research into the effects of climate change on weather — took a big hit.

If we can’t disprove the evidence, let’s attack the experts! This letter is the first time I’ve specifically linked the China purges to climate denial, which I think is rather clever. Sent December 31:

Just as it’s impossible to link individual weather events to global climate change, we cannot establish direct connections between specific conservative denials of factual evidence and the GOP’s multi-decade crusade against science education. This reluctance to make promiscuous causal links is a feature of rational thought.

Irrational thought, by contrast, finds its political expression in Reaganesque government-by-anecdote, in pandering to religious zealotry, and in the dismissal of expertise as “elitist” (their desperate rejection of climate science has parallels throughout the GOP’s history, as witness the McCarthy-era purges of China experts from the State Department).

Just as climatologists have predicted for years that the world’s climate will be gravely affected by an escalating greenhouse effect, sociologists and political scientists have long suggested that increasing irrationality in American education, media and public discourse will ultimately destroy the Jeffersonian ideal of a “well-educated citizenry.” Unsurprisingly, those elitist experts have been proved correct. Again.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 4, Day 12: Listen To The Expert. Please?

Climate scientist Ray Johnson writes a regular column for the Plattsburgh (NY) Press-Republican. This month he reviews the facts of AGW and makes the case yet again that the clever apes are the guilty parties:

When scientists measure the different isotopes of carbon in the atmosphere today, they find that the relative amount of carbon-14 compared to carbon-12 is decreasing. Since fossil fuels have been buried in the earth for millions of years, all of the carbon-14 isotope has decayed. Thus when these fuels are combusted they release the stable form of carbon (carbon-12) into the air. These emissions dilute the levels of carbon-14 normally present, which tells us that the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is coming from human activities.

Climate science and science in general, is not like a house of cards and is not based on a single line of evidence. There are many, many lines of evidence and data that collectively point to a single, consistent answer: namely, that rising carbon dioxide levels from fossil fuel burning is the main driver behind global warming.

The data continue to come in. The graph here of “Arctic Sea Ice Extent” is current through March 22, 2011. Sea ice extent normally reaches its maximum in the period from Feb. 18 to March 31. This year the maximum extent, so far, was reached on March 7 and at 5,650,000 square miles is 463,000 square miles below the 1979-2000 average. This reduction in ice extent equates to an area larger than the states of California and Texas combined. That is a lot less ice.

Sent April 4:

In a country with fully functioning news media, Ray Johnson’s column on climate science would be old news. The facts about anthropogenic global warming have been known and widely accepted in the scientific community for years; Arctic ice melt caused by the greenhouse effect was discussed in the pages of a 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics! America’s problem is not that the facts are unavailable; it’s that in order to avoid surrendering one penny of their quarterly profit margins, the fossil fuel industry is willing to spend remarkable sums of money to sow confusion and delay meaningful action. As a result, remarkable and bizarre theories abound. Occam’s Razor exposes these paranoid visions; is it more likely that thousands of climate scientists all over the world are conspiring to promote Al Gore’s “New World Order” — or that the world’s most powerful economic actors don’t want to give up their enormous profits?

Warren Senders