By Peter Galuszka

…The Fourth of July. Sorry that I have to spell it out, but there are a number of climate change deniers at this blog, including the Big Blogger himself, so it may be necessary to make things simple.

In case, you haven’t noticed, this Independence Day marks a period of some extreme weather. Record setting heat since last week touched off an exceptionally strong series of thunderstorms that left several dead and one million people in the Washington area without power. Some still don’t have power. When some had emergencies and tried to call 911, their Verizon service didn’t work because the power outages had fried some software.

Still don’t “get it?”  According to Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, quoting NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. The level of heat-trapping carbon dioxide is now more than 35 percent greater than it was since 1880, with most of it happening since 1960.

Quick quiz, students. What kind of activity has happened since 1880? No, not the death of the dinosaurs. Not an asteroid. But yes, intensive human activity and lots of burning of fossil fuel such as oil and coal. In orders words, the heyday of the Industrial Age.

Many scientists accept this. In fact, most believe that human activity has spiked the level of carbon dioxide and that was the basis of the 1997 Kyoto Accords to cut down on carbon-based emissions.

For those of you looking for summer reading, you might explore this very topic.

One book, by former Post managing editor and correspondent Steve Coll is “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power” in which he details the amazing clout of this money machine so dynamic it makes about $5 million every hour. And guess who has funded research to attack the scientific basis of those researchers who explore the relationship among mankind, carbon emissions and climate change? Oil and coal firms, that’s who.

As Coll said in an interview: “ . . ExxonMobil took a really radical approach to the challenge of Kyoto, in my judgment. They funded, sometimes surreptitiously, free market groups and communications firms to challenge the science of global warming itself – not the economic bargain or the political bargain of Kyoto, but the science, to raise doubt about whether global warming was occurring at all, and if it was, whether it was a serious risk. They really polluted the public atmosphere in Washington through this funding campaign.”

Don’t like Coll? Well, here’s another summer reading book that really cuts to the chase. It is “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Dispatches from the Front Lines,” by Michael E. Mann, our favorite climatologist.

Mann, now at Penn State, was a climatologist at the University of Virginia who supported, as many scientists, the “hockey stick” data of temperature change, linking industrial activity with the greater emissions and warming. Mann got tangled in the tempest-in-a-teapot storm of the University of East Anglia emails (of which he was cleared of any wrongdoing) and then endured two years of harassment by Virginia’s hard right wing attorney general, Kenneth Cuccinelli, who tried and failed to get all of Mann’s emails while he was at U.Va. It was such a brazen witch hunt, just about every reputable scientific group in the advanced world denounced Cuccinelli’s assault on academic freedom.

Mann describes the entire, awful experience of being the victim of a smear campaign that is linked to the same conservative groups with Big Fossil money who tried to discredit him and others. The supposed fraud never was quite revealed involving the emails purloined from East Anglia, a British university that had long been a leader in climatology and had been associated with the late Hubert Lamb, a research pioneer in the area.

The controversy was touched off, Mann writes, when RealClimate, a website and blog started by climatologists, was hacked on Nov. 17, 2009 by someone using an anonymous server located in Turkey. Many of the emails were re-pieced together to make them particularly damning and then released to sympathetic members of the global media. Just about every right wing outfit, including some on this blog, there is started waving the emails as evidence of a new Watergate.

In the end, the character assassination went nowhere. Cuccinelli’s “civil investigative demands” for the U.Va. emails were thrown out of court. Even Virginia’s traditional right wing media weren’t biting. As Mann writes: “Numerous editorial boards across Virginia, including some of the state’s most conservative papers that had endorsed Cuccinelli’s run for office, also denounced Cuccinelli’s attack.”

Well, you get the idea. If you are looking for good summer reads, consider these books. That is, if you can stand the heat.

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  1. larryg Avatar

    the only logical and plausible way that one can legitimately believe that GW is a scam/myth is to believe that most of the world’s scientists, most of the worlds governments and most of the world’s mainstream media and peer-reviewed scientific journals are engaged in a massive global conspiracy.

    They start off with Mann then the East Anglia folks then start expand out the list of people who are “in on the scam” and it gets truly comical.

    Here you have perfectly sane people who essentially believe in a global conspiracy but will never admit it because then they put themselves in the same groups that believe in Agenda 21 and other “global conspiracies”.

    The hell of it is that as the realities of weather and climate start to sink in, the “deniers” will disappear into the woodwork to emerge later to say ” see I told you it was real all along”.

    these are, of course, the same folks who are so incapable of dealing with current realities much less what actually happened in the past – have to re-write history to keep their stories straight.

    The most amazing thing is how the right wing propaganda machine funded and promoted by the likes of the American Petroleum Institute, the Koch Boys, Heritage and Cato have been so successful at the “it’s a global conspiracy but don’t say those words cuz you’ll sound like a kook” narrative.

  2. Ay yi yi, The Big Blogger is not a GW “denier,” as Peter would have readers believe. I am a GW agnostic. I don’t think fears of anthropogenic climate change are a “hoax.” I do believe there is a scientific basis for the fears. However, I do not believe that the science is “settled,” nor do I believe that the climate change models upon which the worst fears are predicated have incorporated all relevant climatological variables. I also maintain there is no scientific case for leaping from the proposition that man-made global warming is occurring (a scientific issue) to the proposition that the best way to deal with it is to re-engineer the global economy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions (an ideological issue).

    To see what I think about the global warming controversy, as opposed to what Peter says I think, read “From Rising Temperatures to Big Government in Six Easy Steps.”

    The surest sign that someone (be it Peter or the entire GW movement) is running out of arguments is when they so distort the arguments of the other side as to render them unintelligible. They set up straw men to knock down.

    Peter suggests to readers, “If you are looking for good summer reads, consider these books. That is, if you can stand the heat.” The same applies to Peter. Perhaps he should read something by Fred Singer or Patrick Michaels to find out what informed GW skeptics believe rather than depend upon Michael Man to tell him what they say.

  3. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka


    Your comment is hysterically funny! You are a GW “agnostic?”

    Try “snake handler.”

  4. DJRippert Avatar

    It won’t matter whether GW is proven or not. The corrupt Imperial Clown Show in Richmond is bought and paid for by the coal mining, coal processing and coal burning industries:

    Alpha / Massey has contributed over $2M alone. There are many other high amount donors.

    Since 1997, Richmond-based Dominion has contributed a staggering $7.219M plus another $598K under “Dominion Resources”.

    Of course, these donations may not include the many largely untraceable contributions made to PACs like the Dominion Leadership Fund (not specifically about Dominion Resources).

    Only four states allow unlimited political campaign donations. Virginia, needless to say, is one of those four (where isn’t Virginia a leader in political corruption?).

    You people are arguing about what books to read when your state legislature is a wholly owned subsidiary of the carbon emissions industry.

    Even progressive boy toys Webb and Warner recently crossed over to join the Republicans in voting against the Clean Air Act.

  5. larryg Avatar

    so… we are reduced to blaming PEPCO and Dominion for the derechos?

    the most vocal and prolific of the “informed” skeptics that I’ve read claim a de-facto Global Conspiracy.

    The fact that lay people would claim that ANY kind of science is “unsettled” is nothing short of comical.

    It would be like saying that Cancer science or genetic science is “unsettled” and infested with folks who “doctor” the results to make their theories sound better.

    except, we’re essentially saying that most all of the Cancer or genetic scientists are in on the conspiracy because we can find some papers that are clearly wrong and discredited even as the larger body of knowledge is consistent and agreed.

    Every climate skeptic, the vast majority without even a degree in science much less actual working roles have become “experts” in deciding the scientific basis of the work done by thousands of scientists over decades of time using millions of observations and trend data.

    No matter.. the science is “bogus” because a conspiracy of world scientists whose sole motivation is to get more govt grant money … have foisted a hoax of global dimensions on the entire population of earth.

    saying the science is “not settled” is basically supporting the conspiracy folks or at least considering them on equal footing with most of the world scientists.

    I would say that it won’t take more than 3 more “rare” derechos to take down the electric grid in NoVa or Henrico/Richmond to re-think the “settled science” doubters.

    Unfortunately for us – we have to see the damage before we believe. The science that tells us that it is happening is not to be trusted.

    1. DJRippert Avatar

      I blame Dominion for having too much ariel (vs buried) plant. It doesn’t take a “land hurricane” to knock out Dominion’s crappy Northern Virginia grid. A steady breeze will do the trick.

      Meanwhile, the de-facto electrical monopoly that is supposed to be regulated by the Imperial Clown Show is the largest contributor to the Clowns. You’ve got to be kidding me with that one.

  6. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I went back and read your earlier post. I don’t think “agnostic” fits the description, it is more of the same “show me” denial stuff. You seem to draw very little lines between being a “denier” and no, between considering science and just finding anything you can wrong with everything, even if it is not scientifically based,. Unfortunately, I do not find your six points very convincing any more than I find a Wall Street Journal on the to topic convicning.

    I do suggest you are least read the Mann book because you will realize that many of the measurements used have little or nothing to do with being skewed by urban sprawl (your “conservative” view of such notwithstanding). Much has to do with changes in glaciers, ocean temperatures and in differences in isotopes involving tropical coral reefs. Hard to see a strip mall or cul de sac affecitng matters in those remote areas. If, in fact, they ARE affecting these baselines, then you have just concluded the case in favor of the “GW crowd” you so disdain.
    Also, you pull out the old bugaboog about “government” being suspect, but since most of the scientific work is coming from universities, I fail to see a constant and direction connection, at least as big as the one between Big Fossil money and research of a certain bias.
    The problem is that as you sit back and tut tut, we all could see some dramatic and harmful effects of all this. As LarryG says, it is as if there’s a cancer breakthrough and someone with malignant tumors says “I’ll wait a decade to see how it plays out. I am an agnostic.”

    Lots of luck,. but while you dither, we all suffer.

  7. How do we know that these temperatures are not closer to average than they are to highs? The world is a helluva lot older than are human-kept records. GW controls will enrich Wall Street and make the middle class poorer.

  8. larryg Avatar

    not sure I understand the question. What I’ve heard is that the spate of triple digits temperatures are the hottest on record.

    derechos are said to be rare especially in the East but they spawn from temperature differentials.

    We have been told that a warmer earth will bring more hurricanes and more vicious hurricanes but that warning also included other types of wind storms such as tornados and other related – now to include derechos.

    Let’s assume for the moment that because of the warming of the earth, derechos will become more common.

    How many times will more frequent derechos take down the NoVa grid before people start noticing even if they don’t believe the scientists?

  9. larryg Avatar

    re: Dominions “crappy” system. Fairfax can require buried cable but the reading I’ve done indicates that burying cable will cost about 3K per taxpayer.

    is this now a “cost” associated with global warming?

  10. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Dominion notwithstanding, it seems Pepco is far worse, according tothe news media.

  11. larryg Avatar

    Well DJ was singing Pepcos’ praises in Md compared to Dominion in NoVa.

    I wonder if Md suburbs have the same unburied cable tree problems as NoVa?

    who would have thought in a gazillion years that a storm could decimate about 1/2 of the NoVa grid?

    If a storm similar to that happens again to NoVa, does it have just as devastating effect the second time?

    Are NoVa residents willing to pay $3000 per capita (not per household) to retro bury electric cable?

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