The Manufactured Doubt industry and the hacked email controversy

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:07 PM GMT on November 25, 2009

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In 1954, the tobacco industry realized it had a serious problem. Thirteen scientific studies had been published over the preceding five years linking smoking to lung cancer. With the public growing increasingly alarmed about the health effects of smoking, the tobacco industry had to move quickly to protect profits and stem the tide of increasingly worrisome scientific news. Big Tobacco turned to one the world's five largest public relations firms, Hill and Knowlton, to help out. Hill and Knowlton designed a brilliant Public Relations (PR) campaign to convince the public that smoking is not dangerous. They encouraged the tobacco industry to set up their own research organization, the Council for Tobacco Research (CTR), which would produce science favorable to the industry, emphasize doubt in all the science linking smoking to lung cancer, and question all independent research unfavorable to the tobacco industry. The CTR did a masterful job at this for decades, significantly delaying and reducing regulation of tobacco products. George Washington University epidemiologist David Michaels, who is President Obama's nominee to head the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), wrote a meticulously researched 2008 book called, Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. In the book, he wrote: "the industry understood that the public is in no position to distinguish good science from bad. Create doubt, uncertainty, and confusion. Throw mud at the anti-smoking research under the assumption that some of it is bound to stick. And buy time, lots of it, in the bargain". The title of Michaels' book comes from a 1969 memo from a tobacco company executive: "Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the 'body of fact' that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy". Hill and Knowlton, on behalf of the tobacco industry, had founded the "Manufactured Doubt" industry.

The Manufactured Doubt industry grows up
As the success of Hill and Knowlton's brilliant Manufactured Doubt campaign became apparent, other industries manufacturing dangerous products hired the firm to design similar PR campaigns. In 1967, Hill and Knowlton helped asbestos industry giant Johns-Manville set up the Asbestos Information Association (AIA). The official-sounding AIA produced "sound science" that questioned the link between asbestos and lung diseases (asbestos currently kills 90,000 people per year, according to the World Health Organization). Manufacturers of lead, vinyl chloride, beryllium, and dioxin products also hired Hill and Knowlton to devise product defense strategies to combat the numerous scientific studies showing that their products were harmful to human health.

By the 1980s, the Manufactured Doubt industry gradually began to be dominated by more specialized "product defense" firms and free enterprise "think tanks". Michaels wrote in Doubt is Their Product about the specialized "product defense" firms: "Having cut their teeth manufacturing uncertainty for Big Tobacco, scientists at ChemRisk, the Weinberg Group, Exponent, Inc., and other consulting firms now battle the regulatory agencies on behalf of the manufacturers of benzene, beryllium, chromium, MTBE, perchlorates, phthalates, and virtually every other toxic chemical in the news today....Public health interests are beside the point. This is science for hire, period, and it is extremely lucrative".

Joining the specialized "product defense" firms were the so-called "think tanks". These front groups received funding from manufacturers of dangerous products and produced "sound science" in support of their funders' products, in the name of free enterprise and free markets. Think tanks such as the George C. Marshall Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute, and Dr. Fred Singer's SEPP (Science and Environmental Policy Project) have all been active for decades in the Manufactured Doubt business, generating misleading science and false controversy to protect the profits of their clients who manufacture dangerous products.

The ozone hole battle
In 1975, the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) industry realized it had a serious problem. The previous year, Sherry Rowland and Mario Molina, chemists at the University of California, Irvine, had published a scientific paper warning that human-generated CFCs could cause serious harm to Earth's protective ozone layer. They warned that the loss of ozone would significantly increase the amount of skin-damaging ultraviolet UV-B light reaching the surface, greatly increasing skin cancer and cataracts. The loss of stratospheric ozone could also significantly cool the stratosphere, potentially causing destructive climate change. Although no stratospheric ozone loss had been observed yet, CFCs should be banned, they said. The CFC industry hired Hill and Knowlton to fight back. As is essential in any Manufactured Doubt campaign, Hill and Knowlton found a respected scientist to lead the effort--noted British scientist Richard Scorer, a former editor of the International Journal of Air Pollution and author of several books on pollution. In 1975, Scorer went on a month-long PR tour, blasting Molina and Rowland, calling them "doomsayers", and remarking, "The only thing that has been accumulated so far is a number of theories." To complement Scorer's efforts, Hill and Knowlton unleashed their standard package of tricks learned from decades of serving the tobacco industry:

- Launch a public relations campaign disputing the evidence.

- Predict dire economic consequences, and ignore the cost benefits.

- Use non-peer reviewed scientific publications or industry-funded scientists who don't publish original peer-reviewed scientific work to support your point of view.

- Trumpet discredited scientific studies and myths supporting your point of view as scientific fact.

- Point to the substantial scientific uncertainty, and the certainty of economic loss if immediate action is taken.

- Use data from a local area to support your views, and ignore the global evidence.

- Disparage scientists, saying they are playing up uncertain predictions of doom in order to get research funding.

- Disparage environmentalists, claiming they are hyping environmental problems in order to further their ideological goals.

- Complain that it is unfair to require regulatory action in the U.S., as it would put the nation at an economic disadvantage compared to the rest of the world.

- Claim that more research is needed before action should be taken.

- Argue that it is less expensive to live with the effects.

The campaign worked, and CFC regulations were delayed many years, as Hill and Knowlton boasted in internal documents. The PR firm also took credit for keeping public opinion against buying CFC aerosols to a minimum, and helping change the editorial positions of many newspapers.

In the end, Hill and Knowlton's PR campaign casting doubt on the science of ozone depletion by CFCs turned out to have no merit. Molina and Rowland were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995. The citation from the Nobel committee credited them with helping to deliver the Earth from a potential environmental disaster.

The battle over global warming
In 1988, the fossil fuel industry realized it had a serious problem. The summer of 1988 had shattered century-old records for heat and drought in the U.S., and NASA's Dr. James Hansen, one of the foremost climate scientists in the world, testified before Congress that human-caused global warming was partially to blame. A swelling number of scientific studies were warning of the threat posed by human-cause climate change, and that consumption of fossil fuels needed to slow down. Naturally, the fossil fuel industry fought back. They launched a massive PR campaign that continues to this day, led by the same think tanks that worked to discredit the ozone depletion theory. The George C. Marshall Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute, and Dr. Fred Singer's SEPP (Science and Environmental Policy Project) have all been key players in both fights, and there are numerous other think tanks involved. Many of the same experts who had worked hard to discredit the science of the well-established link between cigarette smoke and cancer, the danger the CFCs posed to the ozone layer, and the dangers to health posed by a whole host of toxic chemicals, were now hard at work to discredit the peer-reviewed science supporting human-caused climate change.

As is the case with any Manufactured Doubt campaign, a respected scientist was needed to lead the battle. One such scientist was Dr. Frederick Seitz, a physicist who in the 1960s chaired the organization many feel to be the most prestigious science organization in the world--the National Academy of Sciences. Seitz took a position as a paid consultant for R.J. Reynolds tobacco company beginning in 1978, so was well-versed in the art of Manufactured Doubt. According to the excellent new book, Climate Cover-up, written by desmogblog.com co-founder James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore, over a 10-year period Seitz was responsible for handing out $45 million in tobacco company money to researchers who overwhelmingly failed to link tobacco to anything the least bit negative. Seitz received over $900,000 in compensation for his efforts. He later became a founder of the George C. Marshall Institute, and used his old National Academy of Sciences affiliation to lend credibility to his attacks on global warming science until his death in 2008 at the age of ninety-six. It was Seitz who launched the "Oregon Petition", which contains the signatures of more than 34,000 scientists saying global warming is probably natural and not a crisis. The petition is a regular feature of the Manufactured Doubt campaign against human-caused global warming. The petition lists the "Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine" as its parent organization. According to Climate Cover-up, the Institute is a farm shed situated a couple of miles outside of Cave Junction, OR (population 17,000). The Institute lists seven faculty members, two of whom are dead, and has no ongoing research and no students. It publishes creationist-friendly homeschooler curriculums books on surviving nuclear war. The petition was sent to scientists and was accompanied by a 12-page review printed in exactly the same style used for the prestigious journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A letter from Seitz, who is prominently identified as a former National Academy of Sciences president, accompanied the petition and review. Naturally, many recipients took this to be an official National Academy of Sciences communication, and signed the petition as a result. The National Academy issued a statement in April 2008, clarifying that it had not issued the petition, and that its position on global warming was the opposite. The petition contains no contact information for the signers, making it impossible to verify. In its August 2006 issue, Scientific American presented its attempt to verify the petition. They found that the scientists were almost all people with undergraduate degrees, with no record of research and no expertise in climatology. Scientific American contacted a random sample of 26 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to have a Ph.D. in a climate related science. Eleven said they agreed with the petition, six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember the petition, one had died, and five did not respond.

I could say much more about the Manufactured Doubt campaign being waged against the science of climate change and global warming, but it would fill an entire book. In fact, it has, and I recommend reading Climate Cover-up to learn more. The main author, James Hoggan, owns a Canadian public relations firm, and is intimately familiar with how public relations campaigns work. Suffice to say, the Manufactured Doubt campaign against global warming--funded by the richest corporations in world history--is probably the most extensive and expensive such effort ever. We don't really know how much money the fossil fuel industry has pumped into its Manufactured Doubt campaign, since they don't have to tell us. The website exxonsecrets.org estimates that ExxonMobil alone spent $20 million between 1998 - 2007 on the effort. An analysis done by Desmogblog's Kevin Grandia done in January 2009 found that skeptical global warming content on the web had doubled over the past year. Someone is paying for all that content.

Lobbyists, not skeptical scientists
The history of the Manufactured Doubt industry provides clear lessons in evaluating the validity of their attacks on the published peer-reviewed climate change science. One should trust that the think tanks and allied "skeptic" bloggers such as Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit and Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That will give information designed to protect the profits of the fossil fuel industry. Yes, there are respected scientists with impressive credentials that these think tanks use to voice their views, but these scientists have given up their objectivity and are now working as lobbyists. I don't like to call them skeptics, because all good scientists should be skeptics. Rather, the think tanks scientists are contrarians, bent on discrediting an accepted body of published scientific research for the benefit of the richest and most powerful corporations in history. Virtually none of the "sound science" they are pushing would ever get published in a serious peer-reviewed scientific journal, and indeed the contrarians are not scientific researchers. They are lobbyists. Many of them seem to believe their tactics are justified, since they are fighting a righteous war against eco-freaks determined to trash the economy.

I will give a small amount of credit to some of their work, however. I have at times picked up some useful information from the contrarians, and have used it to temper my blogs to make them more balanced. For example, I no longer rely just on the National Climatic Data Center for my monthly climate summaries, but instead look at data from NASA and the UK HADCRU source as well. When the Hurricane Season of 2005 brought unfounded claims that global warming was to blame for Hurricane Katrina, and a rather flawed paper by researchers at Georgia Tech showing a large increase in global Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, I found myself agreeing with the contrarians' analysis of the matter, and my blogs at the time reflected this.

The contrarians and the hacked CRU emails
A hacker broke into an email server at the Climate Research Unit of the UK's University of East Anglia last week and posted ten years worth of private email exchanges between leading scientists who've published research linking humans to climate change. Naturally, the contrarians have seized upon this golden opportunity, and are working hard to discredit several of these scientists. You'll hear claims by some contrarians that the emails discovered invalidate the whole theory of human-caused global warming. Well, all I can say is, consider the source. We can trust the contrarians to say whatever is in the best interests of the fossil fuel industry. What I see when I read the various stolen emails and explanations posted at Realclimate.org is scientists acting as scientists--pursuing the truth. I can see no clear evidence that calls into question the scientific validity of the research done by the scientists victimized by the stolen emails. There is no sign of a conspiracy to alter data to fit a pre-conceived ideological view. Rather, I see dedicated scientists attempting to make the truth known in face of what is probably the world's most pervasive and best-funded disinformation campaign against science in history. Even if every bit of mud slung at these scientists were true, the body of scientific work supporting the theory of human-caused climate change--which spans hundreds of thousands of scientific papers written by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different scientific disciplines--is too vast to be budged by the flaws in the works of the three or four scientists being subject to the fiercest attacks.

Exaggerated claims by environmentalists
Climate change contrarians regularly complain about false and misleading claims made by ideologically-driven environmental groups regarding climate change, and the heavy lobbying these groups do to influence public opinion. Such efforts confuse the real science and make climate change seem more dangerous than it really is, the contrarians argue. To some extent, these concerns are valid. In particular, environmentalists are too quick to blame any perceived increase in hurricane activity on climate change, when such a link has yet to be proven. While Al Gore's movie mostly had good science, I thought he botched the treatment of hurricanes as well, and the movie looked too much like a campaign ad. In general, environmental groups present better science than the think tanks do, but you're still better off getting your climate information directly from the scientists doing the research, via the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Another good source is Bob Henson's Rough Guide to Climate Change, aimed at people with high-school level science backgrounds.

Let's look at the amount of money being spent on lobbying efforts by the fossil fuel industry compared to environmental groups to see their relative influence. According to Center for Public Integrity, there are currently 2,663 climate change lobbyists working on Capitol Hill. That's five lobbyists for every member of Congress. Climate lobbyists working for major industries outnumber those working for environmental, health, and alternative energy groups by more than seven to one. For the second quarter of 2009, here is a list compiled by the Center for Public Integrity of all the oil, gas, and coal mining groups that spent more than $100,000 on lobbying (this includes all lobbying, not just climate change lobbying):

Chevron $6,485,000
Exxon Mobil $4,657,000
BP America $4,270,000
ConocoPhillips $3,300,000
American Petroleum Institute $2,120,000
Marathon Oil Corporation $2,110,000
Peabody Investments Corp $1,110,000
Bituminous Coal Operators Association $980,000
Shell Oil Company $950,000
Arch Coal, Inc $940,000
Williams Companies $920,000
Flint Hills Resources $820,000
Occidental Petroleum Corporation $794,000
National Mining Association $770,000
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity $714,000
Devon Energy $695,000
Sunoco $585,000
Independent Petroleum Association of America $434,000
Murphy Oil USA, Inc $430,000
Peabody Energy $420,000
Rio Tinto Services, Inc $394,000
America's Natural Gas Alliance $300,000
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America $290,000
El Paso Corporation $261,000
Spectra Energy $279,000
National Propane Gas Association $242,000
National Petrochemical & Refiners Association $240,000
Nexen, Inc $230,000
Denbury Resources $200,000
Nisource, Inc $180,000
Petroleum Marketers Association of America $170,000
Valero Energy Corporation $160,000
Bituminous Coal Operators Association $131,000
Natural Gas Supply Association $114,000
Tesoro Companies $119,000

Here are the environmental groups that spent more than $100,000:

Environmental Defense Action Fund $937,500
Nature Conservancy $650,000
Natural Resources Defense Council $277,000
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund $243,000
National Parks and Conservation Association $175,000
Sierra Club $120,000
Defenders of Wildlife $120,000
Environmental Defense Fund $100,000

If you add it all up, the fossil fuel industry outspent the environmental groups by $36.8 million to $2.6 million in the second quarter, a factor of 14 to 1. To be fair, not all of that lobbying is climate change lobbying, but that affects both sets of numbers. The numbers don't even include lobbying money from other industries lobbying against climate change, such as the auto industry, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.

Corporate profits vs. corporate social responsibility
I'm sure I've left the impression that I disapprove of what the Manufactured Doubt industry is doing. On the contrary, I believe that for the most part, the corporations involved have little choice under the law but to protect their profits by pursuing Manufactured Doubt campaigns, as long as they are legal. The law in all 50 U.S. states has a provision similar to Maine's section 716, "The directors and officers of a corporation shall exercise their powers and discharge their duties with a view to the interest of the corporation and of the shareholders". There is no clause at the end that adds, "...but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of employees". The law makes a company's board of directors legally liable for "breach of fiduciary responsibility" if they knowingly manage a company in a way that reduces profits. Shareholders can and have sued companies for being overly socially responsible, and not paying enough attention to the bottom line. We can reward corporations that are managed in a socially responsible way with our business and give them incentives to act thusly, but there are limits to how far Corporate Socially Responsibility (CSR) can go. For example, car manufacturer Henry Ford was successfully sued by stockholders in 1919 for raising the minimum wage of his workers to $5 per day. The courts declared that, while Ford's humanitarian sentiments about his employees were nice, his business existed to make profits for its stockholders.

So, what is needed is a fundamental change to the laws regarding the purpose of a corporation, or new regulations forcing corporations to limit Manufactured Doubt campaigns. Legislation has been introduced in Minnesota to create a new section of law for an alternative kind of corporation, the SR (Socially Responsible) corporation, but it would be a long uphill battle to get such legislation passed in all 50 states. Increased regulation limiting Manufactured Doubt campaigns is possible to do for drugs and hazardous chemicals--Doubt is Their Product has some excellent suggestions on that, with the first principle being, "use the best science available; do not demand certainty where it does not and cannot exist". However, I think such legislation would be difficult to implement for environmental crises such as global warming. In the end, we're stuck with the current system, forced to make critical decisions affecting all of humanity in the face of the Frankenstein monster our corporate system of law has created--the most vigorous and well-funded disinformation campaign against science ever conducted.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone, and I'll be back Monday--the last day of hurricane season--with a review of the hurricane season of 2009.

Jeff Masters

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Excellent Blog -more of an essay really - on what is really going on in the climate debate. Many of us in the rest of the world dispair over the parochial, narrow view held by many US citizens that global warming is not happening or is some sort of conspiracy. Your article should be widely circulated.
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Where are those models that talk about the rainy season for South Florida. Would like to see them.
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miajrz, here is a link to another blogger here on WU. She lives near Lake Okeechobee. Scroll down past her pics, and you will find two of the Florida Drought index maps in her header.

Hope that helps.

Link
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27410
TY, aquak9, too!
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TY, Bordonaro! The NWS post said that the Keetch Byram Drought Index is (apparently) high for Glades, Hendry and PB counties. Am wiki'ing now and always am grateful for the kindness and willingness to teach I find here.
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hiya Bord! ya got to it just a coupla minutes before I did.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27410
Quoting miajrz:
Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel to all!

Does anyone know how fire watches work? The Miami NWS has posted one for Friday am for all of SoFla, due to more than 4 hours of less than 35% humidity, but since we here s/o Miami got 2.5 ins of rain yesterday thru this am, I'm perplexed. Is it something they have to post when the criteria are met, no matter what the ground's like?


yes, you are right. As humidity drops, it's not just the ground to worry about- dead/dying vegetation, older wood homes, etc. Lower humidities and increased winds will often lead to a "red flag warning" which is worse than a fire warning.

add that to any cool spells, and many folks use poor (unsafe) sources for heating; that too can lead to increased fire danger, but not a matter that is addressed by NWS.
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27410
Quoting miajrz:
Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel to all!

Does anyone know how fire watches work? The Miami NWS has posted one for Friday am for all of SoFla, due to more than 4 hours of less than 35% humidity, but since we here s/o Miami got 2.5 ins of rain yesterday thru this am, I'm perplexed. Is it something they have to post when the criteria are met, no matter what the ground's like?

Red Flag Watches or Warnings are issued when there is an elevated fire danger. Although 2.5 inches or rain might have fallen near Miami, the surrounding area may have not received that much rain. And I understand that your area has been quite dry as of late. Just use common-sense with "fire". Put your cigarettes out in an ashtry, not out the car window, if you smoke. Refrain from any outdoor burning of leaves/wood/trash. Be careful when you have a family BBQ. As long as everyone is careful, you all should be just fine.

I live in Arlington, TX. We receive 36inches of rain, mainly from Feb-May each year. We regularly have Red Flag Warnings issued, mainly in late fall-ealy spring. Careless people, downed power lines, uncontrolled outdoor burns, during a burn ban have caused many wildfires in N TX last year, burning over 25,000 acres and causing fatalities.
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Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm thankful for Dr. Masters and his extraordinarily thoughtful and well researched blogs!
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Temp here has dropped 5 degrees in the last 2 hours. Front's a'comin.
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Quoting calusakat:


Were you aware that each leaf on a tree falls at some point in time...usually in the fall. When that leaf hits the ground, it begins the process (decay) of releasing carbon back into the atmosphere.

Are you suggesting that all trees be destroyed so that no more carbon will be released? Of course not.

Study a few books on the environment and you will discover that we live in an environment where everything is buffered. When things get a wee bit warm, moisture rises into the air, forming clouds and producing rain.

Doubt me? Ask someone who lives near the beach how things go during the summer. The rain often follows the heating pattern of the land. Squalls offshore are pulled onshore because as the land heats up during the day, heat rises, causing updrafts. Naturally, the air surrounding the updraft moves in to replace it. If that updraft occurs near the shore, the offshore water laden air moves in, it also rises and in a short while the rain begins to fall, cooling the earth. What happens to cooler air? It sinks back down and the process begins once again. I like to call it buffering mathematics.

On this earth, there are so many variables to consider that it is impossible to develop a mathematical formula which accurately predicts the weather except in a range of two or three days. Once we move beyond those predictions we enter into the world of Wishcasting.

The AGW crowd foolishly believes that the computer simulations are infallible and nothing could be further from the truth. Ever notice that no matter what the weather any be, if it seems to be out of the range predicted by them, they always have an explanation that suggests it is proof of their postulations. Too cold? AGW Too hot? AGW

Let us all issue a challenge to the AGW crowd.

Give us unlimited and immediate access to ALL of the raw data and let us do the math for ourselves. Unless you are hiding something, what have you got to lose? If you are right, it will be there for all to see.

Or are you chicken because you are afraid you might be wrong?

This topic of GW is "hotter than the white-hot embers" of my fireplace! I am aware that "nature" balances things in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Mankind is "messing" with something that I believe will create real big problems.

What happens IF we add so much CO2 into the atmosphere that the Artic Ice melts and messes with the North Atlantic Conveyor that circulates warm Gulf Stream waters from the Eastern Seaboard towards the UK, Norway & Finland? What happens to the 250+ million Europeans have a winter like Siberia each year and a climate like Labrador in Canada? How do they grow food and survive?

The World Leaders need to get their "heads out of the sand" and get together and use technology to develop solar, wind, tidal and hydro-electric energy to meet the world's electric needs. This will put people all around the world to work, producing goods/services that will help, rather than destroy the environment.
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Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel to all!

Does anyone know how fire watches work? The Miami NWS has posted one for Friday am for all of SoFla, due to more than 4 hours of less than 35% humidity, but since we here s/o Miami got 2.5 ins of rain yesterday thru this am, I'm perplexed. Is it something they have to post when the criteria are met, no matter what the ground's like?
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588. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Japan Meteorological Agency
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #37
TYPHOON NIDA (T0922)
3:00 AM JST November 27 2009
===========================================

SUBJECT: Category Five Typhoon In Sea East Of The Philippines

At 18:00 PM UTC, Typhoon Nida (915 hPa) located at 16.3N 139.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 105 knot with gusts of 150 knots. The typhoon is reported as moving northwest at 6 knots

RSMC Dvorak Intensity: T7.0

Storm Force Winds
===================
80 NM from the center

Gale Force Winds
================
220 NM from the center

Forecast and Intensity
=====================
24 HRS: 17.9N 138.5E - 90 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
48 HRS: 18.9N 138.4E - 85 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)
72 HRS: 19.6N 138.4E - 85 kts (CAT 4/Very Strong Typhoon)



PAGASA Infrared radar showing Typhoon Nida
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Jed...most of mankind believes in some God. But over half of them have never even heard of Jesus or they have their own different God. Does your premise allow for the world to survive while still allowing billions of Hindus to worship their God?
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top o the globe view

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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Re:565

My power bill is already averaging $350 a month. i can't afford your "socialistic redistributive" crap.
I will have completed my fusion power plant very soon, limitless, pollution free, dollar per megawatt. To the utter dismay of all fossil fuel companies. I going to have them constructed all over the world like Wal-Marts & fast food restaurants. Short ones, tall ones, big ones and small ones....Happy Thankgiving.
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Global warming or climate change, however you want to call it does not even have any valid evidence to support it. Its strikingly similar to the same lies associated with the belief in Darwinist macro-eveloution. Like the Darwinist beliefs, the so called "crisis" associated with global warming is just another attempt by arrogant men who are in rebillion against their Creator claiming that man controls his destiny.

The fact is, whether you believe in an all powerful God or not, the entire universe and us included, scream out overwhelmingly as evidence in the exsistence that He is there. God will not cease to exist if you don't believe. God is not Santa Clause. He holds are very atoms together, and you can deny what happened on the Cross, and the need of a Savior all you want, but it won't make the truth go away. Theres no running from a God who owns all things in existence, no escaping his judgment.


Yes I know your gonna say "don't bring religion into this" but the fact is, as I said God exists whether you want Him to or not, God is not religion rather reality.

Additionally, God is valid to the discussion of global warming, cause the fact is. What we see around us is being caused by man. However its because of our sin. I believe we should do our best to take care of the world while we have it, but God is coming to judge this world because of our unending wickedness as the human race. Of course their is an escape from this judgement, Christ is our espace he offered. But for those who deny Chorist, their will be no escape, they shall fall with the destruction of this world, because God is perfect and just, and will destroy because He is righteous.

That being said, the idea of Global warming is based on that mabcontrols his own destiny, and that somehow he can save himself. When in reality, when man tries to save himself, he is only bringing upon himself eternal damnation, because he cannot save himself. Therefore, some men, the ones supporting the falicy of the so called "science" of global warming believe this is a way to actually fix this planet and the problems we cause. However we can't fix global warming until we fix our souls. The earth is dying because man is rebelling against God, plain and simple, and theres no way to espace this judgment accept through the Savior, Christ, that God sent.



Go ahead and attack me, or threaten to ban me, whatever you want. But know this, for all those who appose me, you know deep in your conscience, that what I speak is the only truth, not because I said it, I am flawed, but because it is the truth of God.
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583. srlee
These are good points about the Manufactured Doubt industry. However, there is also a Manufactured Crisis industry that is also alive and well. These two industries together make it difficult for lay people to make good judgments in critical and deeply technical topics. The arguments all become emotionally-based as opposed to scientifically-based. On that we can all likely agree.

This is true in many areas too, not just climate change. It think the reason for this is that there is profit to be made from the arguments themselves: polarizing the populace is a money maker. So the third industry at work here is the Polarization Industry, which makes money from the food fights started over various topics.

However, back to the climate arguments.

The Al Gore movie is a good example, in my opinion, of taking some scientific facts and distorting them to fit a particular agenda. To deny that, and deny that there is a huge "green" industry at work to make money out of hyping global warming is to shut ones eyes to facts as well.

Having said this, it is also true that we should be moving toward innovative methods to produce energy. It is a fact that energy production and use is a critical indicator of economic power and vitality, and the U.S. has the knowledge and ability to produce energy from nuclear now, and come up with innovative technologies to advance the use of solar, wind, tidal, figure out how to do cost-effective carbon sequestration, energy storage technologies, and so on. We can and should be working on these technologies to make energy as available and affordable as it is now. It would be good for the country and the world. I would put these in the "moon shot" category and get the best scientific minds working on these issues in a focused manner. Some of this is happening now, but it is somewhat piecemeal. Whether the globe warms a degree C or not due to all of this, it really does not matter in this context. This is a smart thing to do for our future as we know we can't use fossil fuels for all our energy forever (if for no other reason, we will eventually run out).

What I object to is those that favor a particular political agenda over standards of living, economics, and our nation's health -- regardless of what political party to which they claim affiliation. The fact is that if the climate is going down the tubes as fast as some claim, there is nothing we can do about it: even if the US immediately stopped burning coal and driving cars today. They are defeated by their own hyping of the problem.

If we focused on the economics and science, it would fall out naturally that we need to be more energy efficient and figure out new ways of creating and storing energy on a time scale consistent with what can reasonably be accomplished and what we have to assume about how bad the problem is (because if it is far worse, it is game over already).

That is where we should be spending our intellectual capital.

- Stephen
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Looks like a major winter storm could be developing just north of the Gulf Coast and sliding onto the EAst Coast.....This could be very large event...if things come together as it appears....Would not be surprised to have some form of solid precep near the Panhandle of Florida.
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Hope the people in the SE love cold weather cause it is coming big time......


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Quoting barryweather:
567. So is mine bud, so is mine. Aren't you ready for a cheaper alternative that is sustainable. If you aren't willing to give a little what are we left with?


The problem is, if that is what is desired, it should be approached as such, as opposed to the current cap and trade proposals. Fossil fuels won't last forever, so there probably should be a lot of research into developing other forms of energy. But this should be done with a long-term approach of 50-60 years to gradually impact the economy and allow consumers to adjust their behavior over time. In the meantime, this country should also work to expand drilling instead of restricting it to make us less dependent upon other, often hostile countries, and as part of a larger energy transition plan.
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For us in florida even in solid El Ni?ears, it all depends on exactly where the jet stream and storm track sets up. Small changes can affect our weather from warm and dry to cool and wet. In 2006-2007, a moderate El Ni?we ended up with a warm and dry winter for the most part. Going with the long-term trends, it's hard to go against the cooler and wetter scenario. For now consensus is emerging on next weeks low diving into the gulf of Mexico, missing the first northern stream short wave and then getting picked up by a second trough but the timing and track of this is still uncertain. Regardless it looks like a predominantly cloudy winter for the southeast.

Happy Thanksgiving! adrian

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Hey everyone, thanks for reading my philosopolitical rantings and posting yours. I'm going to eat some turkey now. Take care and Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!
567. So is mine bud, so is mine. Aren't you ready for a cheaper alternative that is sustainable. If you aren't willing to give a little what are we left with? We either adapt of fail and the ecomomy is struggling without the change. Maybe a new basis for economy, one built on a strong foundation of sustainable energy sources will prevail. We could just keep going the way we are and another country will patent the nest big leap and we will be left in the dust. Maybe you'd prefer that for the future of our nation? I love the free market, some will definately be better as socialist programs though. We already have plenty that work great. Don't worry, no one is planning to scrap the constitution, and I personally love the freedom we have in this country. I'd only go totally socialist if I was the leader. lol
Re: 574


Wow! You make several very good points.
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Dr. Masters, I've read your tropical weather blog for years, and when you chose to also include global warming commentary from time to time, I found it reasonably balanced, even if I often disagreed with it. However, you have gone all in with this ill-advised essay.

"Virtually none of the "sound science" they are pushing would ever get published in a serious peer-reviewed scientific journal, "

Please don't tell me you can write such a sentence with a straight face, given the emails that document how the AGW movement has actively worked to exclude skeptical articles from the peer review process - to the point of successfully working to get an editor removed.

"We can trust the contrarians to say whatever is in the best interests of the fossil fuel industry. "


Really. I have utterly no connection to the fossil fuel industry and would like better regulation of commodities trading so we don't get an oil spike again like we saw in 2008 - something contrary to the interests of the fossil fuel industry. Yet you lump all contrarians together in your attempt to deflect from the serious problems among AGW promoters that these emails reveal. That's just pure slime.

"Even if every bit of mud slung at these scientists were true, the body of scientific work supporting the theory of human-caused climate change--which spans hundreds of thousands of scientific papers written by tens of thousands of scientists in dozens of different scientific disciplines--is too vast to be budged by the flaws in the works of the three or four scientists being subject to the fiercest attacks. "

Except that those 3 or 4 scientists are among the leaders in the AGW field - and their efforts to hide data rose to the level of possible criminality with their efforts to delete emails subject to an FOIA request. And the emails are from a leading climate research facility - so just how far does their influence spread? Just today, a blogger documented that New Zealand climate data was manipulated to show a warming trend that was not there - manipulation done by a former CRU employee (http://briefingroom.typepad.com/the_briefing_room/2009/11/breaking-nzs-niwa-accused-of-cru-style-te mperature-faking.html)

AGW proponents have a long history of refusing to release data and code - so how many other dirty secrets lurk on servers around the world? This could well be just the tip of the iceberg, and given the historical lack of transparency among the AGW movement, we simply don't know - but the impetus is on the AGW movement to come completely clean if they wish to restore credibility.

"If you add it all up, the fossil fuel industry outspent the environmental groups by $36.8 million to $2.6 million in the second quarter, a factor of 14 to 1"


Now, add in the amount governments spent on global warming research to give a true apples-to-apples comparison. It would dwarf corporate inputs here.

I actually am in favor of environmental legislation that addresses clearly and openly documented issues such as nutrient pollution, sewage system overflows and overfishing. But the AGW movement has not risen their science to the level where human-caused warming is proven, and is infested with spokesmen with ulterior motives, such as James Hansen and his many comments about a carbon tax being a method of wealth redistribution. If Hansen desires such, he needs to separate such views from any underlying science, not concoct science to drive his views.

You have taken exactly the wrong path here, Dr. Masters. AGW proponents largely advocate carbon regulations that will massively impact the global economy. You therefore have an extraordinary burden to ensure that your science is transparent, replicatible, and accessible to any scientist who wishes to evaluate it. You need to address these emails head-on instead of trying to spin them away.

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Happy Thanksgiving To All My Friends On Weather Underground
Wish I Could Share Some Of This Food
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Quoting Bordonaro:
We all know smoking or using tobacco products can cause cancer. Driving drunk/under the influence of drugs can lead to an accident or your incarceration. If you use and abuse your body, you may suffer from health problems leading to an early death.

We have 1 Earth and 1 atmosphere. I am not real smart, I have 2 yrs of community college, and I am not a meteorologist. But, I believe if we keep "using and abusing" our natural resources, they will soon doisapppear. If we keep dumping CO2 and other pollutants into the air/sea, we will soon find out "what happens next"!


Were you aware that each leaf on a tree falls at some point in time...usually in the fall. When that leaf hits the ground, it begins the process (decay) of releasing carbon back into the atmosphere.

Are you suggesting that all trees be destroyed so that no more carbon will be released? Of course not.

Study a few books on the environment and you will discover that we live in an environment where everything is buffered. When things get a wee bit warm, moisture rises into the air, forming clouds and producing rain.

Doubt me? Ask someone who lives near the beach how things go during the summer. The rain often follows the heating pattern of the land. Squalls offshore are pulled onshore because as the land heats up during the day, heat rises, causing updrafts. Naturally, the air surrounding the updraft moves in to replace it. If that updraft occurs near the shore, the offshore water laden air moves in, it also rises and in a short while the rain begins to fall, cooling the earth. What happens to cooler air? It sinks back down and the process begins once again. I like to call it buffering mathematics.

On this earth, there are so many variables to consider that it is impossible to develop a mathematical formula which accurately predicts the weather except in a range of two or three days. Once we move beyond those predictions we enter into the world of Wishcasting.

The AGW crowd foolishly believes that the computer simulations are infallible and nothing could be further from the truth. Ever notice that no matter what the weather any be, if it seems to be out of the range predicted by them, they always have an explanation that suggests it is proof of their postulations. Too cold? AGW Too hot? AGW

Let us all issue a challenge to the AGW crowd.

Give us unlimited and immediate access to ALL of the raw data and let us do the math for ourselves. Unless you are hiding something, what have you got to lose? If you are right, it will be there for all to see.

Or are you chicken because you are afraid you might be wrong?
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Sadly those who are most invested, whether monetarily, emotionally, scientifically or psychologically in AGW will never be convinced of the falsity of the belief, even when caught in an avalanche of perfidy or snow. Whichever comes first.
AGW is the engine driving the world into a poverty of wealth, science and intellect and I am saddened though not particularly surprised that its apologists continue to defend the theory.
But shame on you.
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566. I certainly agree with the heavily taxed part, simply for the fact that he has plenty of money. If he really makes billions then 90 percent would be perfectly fair. If he does actually become a billionare based on the new technologies he has invested in, then capitalism has obviously prevailed. So far the legislation isn't even there to support him and already the free market has allowed him to reach this level. How can any American deny that is perfectly fair game? Apparently he has used the same tactics of other rich industries to reap benefits, he just advocates for less pollution and GHG emission. No wonder he won the Nobel, I guess he's pretty smart after all, at least financially.
When was the last time we had a strong El Nino?

Happy Thanksgiving
Patrick
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Quoting Jeff9641:
If the models are correct we could have record monthly rainfall for much of the Florida penisula for December. A very stormy pattern is underway for Florida. I wouldn't be surprised if many areas by mid December are approaching 10 inches especially central Florida north. Maybe 3 to 5 for south Florida. I called this last system and no one believed me it looks as if I could be right on again.



El Nino is beggining, that means another wet season for Florida. When El nino is strong enough, it can bring even more rain then the summer wet season.

We are finally getting out of the extended 4 to 6 year drought period, and heading into a wet phase. That neans lots of swamp and masquitos haha
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Re:565

My power bill is already averaging $350 a month. i can't afford your "socialistic redistributive" crap.
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Quoting barryweather:
554. I have yet to see how this cap and trade deal will make anyone wealthy. Yesterday someone posted that Al gore has made Billions on the GW debate. I think if he was that rich he would have enough pull worldwide to have legislation created by now. Please show me with real data how these people will become any richer thatn they are now. If anything I have seen only the data that it will help the free market economy as it creates incentives for the development of new technologies that have so far been suppressed.

Come on??!!...Your not that Naive are you?...Al Gore has been & expects to be silver Spoon fed from Cradle to Birth. I say he has been Spewing Propoganda & should be fined or heavily taxed on any money made by his GW histeria..I would do worse to him..
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560. Perhaps it may also force the hand of many of the wealthiest companies and people to relinquish their collective hoarded wealth in order to create more sustainable and efficient forms of energy. Necessity is the mother of invention. It is obvious that no economic model will be able to predict the true outcome of the legislation, just as climate models can not predict the true extent of global warming. No economist is capable of predicting the future after cap and trade, or whatever regulations are created to stem the flow of GHG's and other pollutants. One thing that is true, previous "sky is falling/alarmist" economic predictions did not come true with regards to the other environmental hurdles that we have overcome. The worst economic damage in recent history has been brought about by poor economic modeling and lack of regulation. If the only tactic left is to raise prices so that we conserve then so be it. We'll all find out the meaning of true conservatism.
Quoting reedzone:
00Z GFS still showing a massive squall line cutting through Florida. This is something to eye on the next few days, with el nino, you add in strong jet dipping south, warm air and cold air colliding, you got a major problem.

Reed...you think we have a chance here for the Perfect Squall Line?
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We have 1 Earth and 1 atmosphere. I am not real smart, I have 2 yrs of community college, and I am not a meteorologist. But, I believe if we keep "using and abusing" our natural resources, they will soon doisapppear. If we keep dumping CO2 and other pollutants into the air/sea, we will soon find out "what happens next"!


You have to get the whole world to go along with reducing emissions, otherwise its pointless. Two chances of that...slim and none.
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We all know smoking or using tobacco products can cause cancer. Driving drunk/under the influence of drugs can lead to an accident or your incarceration. If you use and abuse your body, you may suffer from health problems leading to an early death.

We have 1 Earth and 1 atmosphere. I am not real smart, I have 2 yrs of community college, and I am not a meteorologist. But, I believe if we keep "using and abusing" our natural resources, they will soon doisapppear. If we keep dumping CO2 and other pollutants into the air/sea, we will soon find out "what happens next"!
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Quoting Grothar:


Is there an American expression, "Let's talk Turkey". Does anyone know what that means exactly?
How about let's get down to brass tacks? Anyone care for some brass tacks with their turkey today?
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Obama himself has said that "under his plan, energy cost would neccesarily skyrocket."
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Quoting barryweather:
554. I have yet to see how this cap and trade deal will make anyone wealthy. Yesterday someone posted that Al gore has made Billions on the GW debate. I think if he was that rich he would have enough pull worldwide to have legislation created by now. Please show me with real data how these people will become any richer thatn they are now. If anything I have seen only the data that it will help the free market economy as it creates incentives for the development of new technologies that have so far been suppressed.


Go to Google...

type in 'Al Gore Billionaire'

Read both sides for yourself.

Will he become a billionaire?...depends on how he reports his income.
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To all those Americans out there on WU have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving! To everybody else online from around the world, have a blessed day & I'll eat a slice of turkey for you all!
Sincerely, Bob Bordonaro & family!
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557. bwi
One problem going forward for scientists and the public alike is the increasing tendency of peer-reviewed journals themselves to embrace sensational (and often wrong) results and theories.

Some journals are now funded by corporate foundations, ideological think tanks (right and left) and so on. They depend on this funding, and, as a result, sometimes publish inferior research that happens to be favored by their donors.

In other cases, they will publish articles likely to be sensational, because they will draw attention to the journal, raise subscriptions etc.

Here's an example from my research field: health care. The highest-grossing "reprint" from a prominent the peer-reviewed journal (for which I am an occassional referee) is an article that claimed the 50 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. were "medical bankruptcies." Sounds terrible, right? A moving indictment of the U.S. health system. And, indeed, the article was a sensation and a best seller. But the research itself was essentially wrong. It didn't consult prior research. It didn't compare with other countries that have different health insurance systems. The definitions of medical bankruptcy were set very low -- so that someone who was overextended in many areas (mortgage, car loans, medical bills) was automatically termed a "medical bankruptcy" even if the medical bills were a small share of debt. The authors even defined "gambling addiction" as a medical indication, and thereby defined gambling debts as medical bankruptcies. It turns out the authors also made a math (or classification) error, which was pointed out a few months later by other scholars in the same journal, and which exaggerated the already suspect results by 100 percent.

Yet there was no Harvard press release on these subsequent corrections. And, to be fair, many health researchers are sympathetic in general to the authors' view that that the U.S. health insurance system is very flawed and needs much improvement (myself included). So no one wants to be the person that discredited the original research, shoddy as it was.

And, as a result, most people still think the original article was accurate -- politicians repeat the conclusion all the time. Ironically, some industry research in my field is more balanced and fairminded than some academic research, especially if the researchers in academia are also policy activists (which was the case in this example).

For my part, I have asked the journal to review and strengthen its peer review procedures, and they have agreed. How that original article slipped through the cracks is probably an indication of excellent PR, time pressure, hype, fear of competition from other journals for a "scoop," and also, hate to say it, financial considerations. Keeping science and the scientific journals, well, scientific, and free of undisclosed bias as well as old-fashioned hype and sensationalism is a real challenge.
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Quoting Floodman:
catfish, he was dead on the mionery...the tobacco industry lied then, the Climate Change denialists are lying now, and for what, an extra $20?

Only the extremists on either side of the argument are driving the arguments here; the sky is falling or it isn't; I for one beleive somewhere in the middle, but what harm does it do to be better stewards of our planet?

Catfish, whose koolaid have you been drinking?


Gosh. Have I missed something? Are there different play books based on whether or not you support AGW?

I find it curious that no one has called you names, yet you let the word 'denialist' just leap from your keyboard as well as accusing the opposing side of lying. How would you feel if we called you a 'bedwetter' as Lord Monkton has suggested?

Asking for the raw data so that we can do our own math is somehow lying and deceitful? How can that be? Are you so afraid of the truth being revealed that letting it out into the light of day frightens you?

Funny that you accuse those, who have a different view from you, of doing it for $20 dollars.

Yet, in your blind rage, you refuse to admit that the AGW (Anthropogenic Climate Wishcasters) crowd are doing the same thing, the only difference being that they are doing it for trillions of dollars instead. They have admitted that the average electricity bill be double once the Cap and Trade bill is passed.

And you whimper about $20 ???
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554. I have yet to see how this cap and trade deal will make anyone wealthy. Yesterday someone posted that Al gore has made Billions on the GW debate. I think if he was that rich he would have enough pull worldwide to have legislation created by now. Please show me with real data how these people will become any richer thatn they are now. If anything I have seen only the data that it will help the free market economy as it creates incentives for the development of new technologies that have so far been suppressed.
Regardless of whether AGW is truly occuring, "Cap and Trade" will further shackle our economy while doing virtually nothing to slow carbon emissions. It will make Gore and Gen Electric and a few others much wealthier.
The developing countries of the world will keep spewing increasing amounts while we hamstring ourselves. Vote no.
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
FYI, everyone,

I just sent a WU mail to Dr. Masters to ask him if he and Admin. will graciously allow us to post off-topic greetings and funny stuff on holidays and the Friday after Thanksgiving --

Awake.....thanks for sending that e-mail. He listened.
.
Happy Thanksgiving to all here, and Dr. Masters and the administrators...from my family to yours.
Have a great day.
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55O. I don't see AGW as any of the issues that this money was spent on. Most of the issues had nothing to do with environment. Most were budget approprations, defense, and taxes.
I see that Dr. Masters takes pleasure in pointing out the amount of money that corporations spend in their own research, and to buy their favorable results...

However, Dr. Masters has conveniently forgotton to list the biggest of financial contributors to the AGW cause...

General Electric (GE) to the tune of $19,661,000 in 2009 alone!!!

$19.3 million in 2008, and on and on for the last decade!
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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