Obama’s New Coal Regulations

I’ve been holding off commenting on the new coal regulations announced by the EPA this past Monday. The reason is because the regulation has nothing to do with the reality of global warming. The science remains the same with, or without the proposed regulations.

However, I also like to discuss actions we can take to address the problems we are facing and the emission of greenhouse gases is certainly a problem that needs to be addressed. So, the question is, does the new proposed regulations address the problem? I have been reviewing what is being said and, to no surprise, both sides of the argument are making extreme predictions, neither of which seems to be holding up to the light of day.

First, I really see no evidence this will make a significant change in our greenhouse emissions. Headlines are saying it will reduce our emissions by 30%, but that isn’t true. What it will do is cut emissions from new construction power plants by 30% compared to the 2005 levels. Power plants have already reduced emissions by about 13% compared to 2005 levels, so we are talking about an additional 17% reduction. These regulations apply only to new power plants and not to any existing power plants or other sources of greenhouse gas emissions, such as cars. In the total picture, that comes out to about a 6% cut. And, that is over a 15-year period. Notice that the 17% reduction occurred without any new EPA regulations. They occurred because of market forces, so it is reasonable to assume that further reductions would occur without these new regulations.

Also, it isn’t even necessary to actually make the cuts. States can make their own plans and combine the power plants with something else. So, if some industry is making reductions anyway it is possible to combine them with the power plants and the power plants can then go their merry way. To make it even worse, states are allowed to join together in one big plan. So, the reduction could be taking place in one state and the coal-fired plant could be in another.

Based on that, I have to say this is getting a lot more attention than it deserves.

But, what about the draconian predictions of the groups opposed to the proposed regulations?

Again, I just don’t see it. They are saying this will make electricity more expensive and cause a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. The US Chamber of Commerce is predicting a loss of 224,000 jobs PER YEAR for the next 15 years. That comes out to 3,360,000 total jobs and that number is just not credible on the surface. I would want to see some serious estimates before I accept a figure like that.

Why am I so critical of that estimate? Simple. The demand for electricity is sky-rocketing in this country. If we are not building coal-fired plants, we will build something else. The electrical utilities will find a way to supply the electricity demanded because that is what they are in business to do. Supplying electricity means profit. They are not going to sit back and allow potential profits to go away without doing something about it.

And, as it turns out, we are developing better ways to generate electricity than burning coal. Natural gas is not great, but it is much better than coal and we have a very serious boom in natural gas production going on in this country. We have the ability to replace all of the coal-fired plants with natural gas alone.

But, that isn’t all. It now turns out that photo cells are becoming competitive with other forms of power production. A report by Barclays investment bank shows that photocells are already cost-competitive in Hawaii, and will be competitive in California by 2017 and New York and Arizona by 2018. By 2024, they say photocells will be cheaper than grid power in all but a handful of states.

Specifically, the report is looking at the issue of cells and storage on private homes – people going off the grid. But, if photocells are becoming that competitive, how long will it be before the utilities realize they can make efficient, competitive power plants using photocells?

In other words, we will be making electricity and I don’t see the cost sky rocketing. As for the jobs, there will likely be some job displacement, but losses will probably be minor if in fact, we don’t see an increase in jobs due to new technologies. Coal miners might see their jobs suffer, but I’m betting it won’t be as much as is claimed. Coal is something of a miracle power source, other than the fact that it is a terrible polluter. You just dig it out of the ground and use it. You don’t have to process it and it even comes in an easy to transport form. If we are not burning coal here in this country, there are world markets where it will still be cost effective to ship our coal. China alone is planning on opening a new power plant every week between now and 2050.

So, the way I view the regulation is that its pretty close to being much ado about nothing. The cost to the economy is not going to be anything like the dire forecasts being made. At the same time, the benefits to the environment are not going to be anything like the optimistic forecasts being made.

However, we must do something about the emissions. If this will help, then we should do it. And, it gives us the moral high ground to put pressure on other countries to take action on their emissions.

But, there is one dark side to this that needs to be addressed. As much as I, as a scientist, want to see politics stay out of a scientific issue, we all know that is not realistic. Politics is the driving force behind much of the debate. I really don’t believe the Republicans would deny global warming evidence so strongly if it was being proposed by a Republican. And, what Obama has done with his actions is to stir the pot and alienate Republicans even more. By his failure as President to work with the representatives of the People, including members of his own party, he is making future progress even harder to attain. By acting as an Imperial President, Obama is making it increasingly difficult to convince skeptics that this is a problem that needs to be addressed now.

In summary, I think the regulation is good one, even though it is over-hyped. But, I denounce the way it is being done.

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Can We Trust Climate Scientists?

One of the claims deniers are now making is that we can’t trust the climate scientist that are involved with global warming research. Their line of reasoning is that their grants and positions depend on finding evidence of global warming and they risk losing either, or both, if they ever find anything else. This, of course, is so ridiculous as to be funny, except there are people that believe this. So, let’s examine this and see if there is any truth to the claim.

The basis, and motivation, for the claim comes from the fact that deniers are paid by the fossil fuel industry to discredit climate research. The funding is dependent on finding the results the fossil fuel industry wants. In other words, it is directed funding. This funding source greatly damages the credibility of the deniers, much to their chagrin. They can’t get funding from any other source and are stuck with it. So, they respond by trying to paint authentic climate researchers with the same brush. If they are getting funding to find evidence of global warming, then we can’t trust them, either. The irony of this argument is that they are themselves saying they can’t be trusted. By making the claim that directed funding discredits you, they are admitting their own directed funding must discredit them. But, this posting is about the credibility of climate scientists, not the lack of credibility of the deniers.

The claim of the deniers depends on one thing – are the climate scientists being directed in their research? Do they receive funding to find evidence of global warming? Or, are they simply receiving funding to do research and let the chips fall where they may?  If this claim they are being directed is not true then we should be able to find research results that do not support climate change. This is actually pretty easy to do. Climate and weather are very complicated and not everything is going to lead to global warming.

A recent announcement from the National Science Foundation (NSF)  illustrates this. A researcher at the University of Michigan studied the effects of pollen on the climate and found something interesting. It had been thought pollen had little effect because it was such a large particle it would settle out. But, Dr. Allison Steiner and her team found that pollen particles actually break apart and become many small particles. These small particles lift water vapor up into the atmosphere where they assist in cloud formation. It this way, pollen actually works against global warming by providing a cooling effect.

By the way, Dr. Steiner gets her funding from the NSF. So much for being paid to find only proof of global warming.

Another example is some work done by scientists at Princeton University, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and the Australian University. They studied the way droughts are measured and they state there is an issue with the way droughts are measured. One of the beliefs about global warming is that the amount and severity of droughts worldwide will increase as the climate warms. The most common measure of drought, the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), has shown that this is actually happening. However, this team of scientists studied the PDSI and their conclusion (released in November 2012) is that this measure is in error because it was dependent on climatic conditions off the past. When they adjusted the measure to account for climatic changes due to global warming they found little change in the amount of drought over the last 60 years.

Again, credible scientists at reputable institutions finding results that do not support global warming.

This is the way science works. Researchers do the work and discover what the science says. If the science does not support what they believe, then they will change what they believe. The science is irrefutable.

The deniers fail in this manner. When the science does not support what they want to sell the public, they simply discard it and find a new false argument to try and persuade people to believe in what they want them to believe.

The claim that climate scientists are getting paid to prove global warming doesn’t pass the credibility test. Climate scientists are paid to do climate research. There will be a climate with, or without, global warming. Their jobs do not depend on global warming and anyone thinking about this for even a few seconds will see that is true. If nothing else, we need a much more robust understanding of climate science for weather forecasting. That, by itself, is enough to justify all of the climate research being done and that would be true even if there were no such thing as global warming. The issue of global warming simply makes it that much more important.

Scientists are not motivated to find a specified result. They are motivated to find the correct result and to find it first. Honors go to the first, not the second. They do not give the Nobel Prize to runners-up. But, at the same time, by the scientific method, any scientific finding must be repeatable by anyone else. Scientists are not magicians and do not have special powers. They have special training and experience, but anyone with similar training and experience must be able to replicate their results. If only one person can do it, it isn’t valid. If some scientist was to announce some kind of result and it couldn’t be validated by other scientists the damage to that person’s career can be devastating. Consider what happened to Pons and Fleishmann after their cold fusion announcement.

Finally, consider this. Much of the research on climate change was done during the administration of George W. Bush between 2001 and 2009. The Bush administration was openly hostile to climate change research and worked to suppress it. The irony is that, contrary to claims by the deniers, climate scientist were actually risking their careers by finding evidence of global warming, not the other way around.

What can we conclude? Can we trust climate scientists? The answer is that we can trust climate scientists to do valid scientific research in climate change and the science they produce is not directed by the funding source.

If only the deniers could make the same claim.

What about that expanded harvest?

So, to recap, deniers first said there was no global warming. Then, they said any warming was so small that we didn’t need to worry about it. Then, they said it was all just a natural cycle. Now, they are saying it is actually good for us. Do you see a trend here?

One of the things they are now claiming is that global warming will increase the zone where we can grow crops and increase the length of the growing season. In this way, it is actually  good for us. So, how is this turning out?

I have always been very skeptical of this claim, mainly because I grew up in agricultural areas and have always followed agriculture. I do some work in the local vineyards with some friends in this area. Growing a crop is about a lot more than planting seeds and then kicking back until harvest time. You have to worry about weeds, disease, insects, watering and weather – just to name a few things.

Droughts and heat waves have a devastating effect on crops. Just take a look at what is happening to the farms in California right now. They are having to plow their crops under because they don’t have enough water. On the other hand, too much water can be just as bad. A flooding rain can wash a whole farm out in a matter of a few hours. The evidence shows that overall, droughts and floods have been about the same so far, but dry areas are getting drier and wet areas are getting wetter. So, areas with droughts are getting worse and areas with floods are also getting worse.

Another weather event that farmers fear is the hail storm. A severe hail storm can pound a crop into the dirt in just minutes.

Of course, the obvious point is it doesn’t matter how long the growing season is if you don’t have a crop.

And, a warmer climate will also result in better conditions for insects and diseases that destroy crops.

None of this takes into account the fact that grain crops such as corn and wheat are very sensitive to heat. The yield goes down once the temperature gets higher than a certain point.

I had all of this in mind when I read an article in the May 13 issue of Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical UnionClimate change, water rights, and agriculture: A case study in Idaho reports on an investigation into the effects of climate change on agriculture. Their findings?

“They found that if climate change increases the volatility of the temperature and the water supply, irrigated agriculture in the region could face significant damages. In fact, crop revenue losses could be up to 32%.”

This is just one study for one particular region, but the point is pretty clear. Just because more land is available for growing crops and the length of the growing season is longer, it doesn’t mean there will be a larger harvest. Climate change will make certain things better for crops, but it will also make a lot of things worse at the same time.

Again, we see that all of us at the bottom will have to foot the bill for all of this. This time, in the form of higher food prices.

Denier Funding

Climate change deniers like to say that the science behind climate change is not ‘settled science’ and that there is no consensus among scientists. These, of course, are false statements. The fact is, 97% of all climate scientists agree that climate change is real and is due to manmade emissions.  Here is an excellent report on the very subject. The science is very real and scientist who work in this field of study are in overwhelming agreement.

Deniers also reject the claim that they are funded by the fossil fuel industry to undermine the valid science and to inject doubt into the minds of the public. Below is a list of some of the denier sources and individuals receiving those funds. The challenge to me was to produce documents that could used in the event I received a subpoena in a slander/libel lawsuit. I have indicated my sources of information and they satisfy that requirement. The information provided here has been gleaned from tax documents, SEC filings, statements by the individuals themselves, court papers and articles vetted by major news media (also one of the standards demanded by the denier).

So, I’ll say it to be perfectly clear:  

Some organizations in the fossil fuel industry are funding climate change deniers for the purpose of undermining climate change science. 

If someone would like to sue me for slander/libel, then the documents below would be enough to get the case thrown out of court. Of course, the deniers will claim otherwise, but they live in a fantasy world that does not accept reality.

The denier disinformation campaign is very well funded and very well organized. A study done at Drexel University found 140 foundations provided $558 million to nearly 100 climate change organizations between 2003 and 2010. That comes out to an average of almost $70 million per year. That is some serious money and you don’t provide that kind of funding just to have a tax-write off. This funding is done for a purpose. What I find very telling is the fact that traceable donations have disappeared and been replaced with untraceable donations to third-party proxies. In fact, one climate change denial proxy, Donors Trust (along with the associated Donors Capital) accounts for fully 25% of all climate change denier funding. Why are they hiding their donations? Are they afraid that people would question their motives?

Many of the organizations providing funding for climate change denial are among the world’s worst emitters of greenhouse gases. The original paper on sources of greenhouse gases can be found here. This list represents who stands to lose the most if we do something about the problem. In other words, people making a bunch of money hurting the rest of us are convincing millions of people that we shouldn’t do anything about the problem. And, millions of people simply take out their checkbook and agree with them.

Here are some of the funding organizations and funding receivers. This list is not even close to being exhaustive, it is here merely to illustrate the debt of the problem.

Funding Organizations

ChevronTexaco – Provides funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Think Progress

ExxonMobil – Exxon reports show donations to the Heartland Institute between 1998 and 2007 of $676,500. Exxon donated more than $28 million to the American Enterprise Institute (see below). Along with the Marshall Institute and Fred Singer’s group, they proposed a $5 million campaign, according to a leaked eight-page memo, to convince the public that the science of global warming is riddled with controversy and uncertainty. Exxon was called out by a number of senators for giving over $19 million to fund groups “producing very questionable data” on climate change. Studies have found Exxon to have been “heavily involved” in denier funding between 2003 and 2008 and donated more than $16 million during that time. Exxon has since changed and says it no longer gives to climate denier organizations and there has been no publicly traceable denier funding from Exxon since 2008.  There are reports it continued to provide denier funding through at least 2011. However, there are still proxies that Exxon donates to, so it is not possible to verify it has stopped all funding.
Source: Greenpeace USA, Newsweek, Scientific American, The Guardian , Huffington Post

BP – Provides funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Think Progress

Shell – Provides funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Source: Think Progress

Koch Brothers – The Koch brothers and their interrelated corporations and foundations have been responsible for millions of dollars in donations to denial organizations, including the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Heartland Institute and Heritage Foundation. They have also had to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines and hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up costs as a result of violating environmental safety guards. They have been very critical of environmental safety laws, both on the books and proposed. Between 2005 and 2011 the Kochs would provide over $43 million to denier organizations, more than three times what Exxon provided during the same time period. The Kochs have become the largest single source of funds for denier organizations. They provide funding to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Source: Huffington Post, Think Progress

Peabody Energy -Peabody is the world’s largest private-sector supplier of coal and sold more than 246 million tons of coal in 2010. Peabody supports American Legislative Exchange Council and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, both very active climate change denial organizations.
Source: Polluter Watch, SourceWatch

Chrysler – Chrysler donated $105,000 to the Heartland Institute between 2004 and 2006.
Source: Huffington Post

General Motors – GM donated $165,000 to the Heartland Institute between 2004 and 2010. They donated $95,000 to the Cato Institute between 2003 and 2009. 
Source: Huffington Post

Western Fuels Association – Supports the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a major climate change denier organization.
Source: The Nation

And, take a look at who is getting the funding. The people and institutes here are among the most notorious of the climate change deniers or proxies.

Funding Receivers

Donors Trust –  According to IRS tax returns, between 2002 and 2010, Donors Trust provided over $90 million in funding ($90,989,710 to be exact) to 84 groups that deny the scientific realities of climate change. Between 2004 and 2010, the partner group Donors Capital Fund, provided more than $28 million in funding ($28,490,862) to 75 groups that deny the scientific realities of climate change. They receive their funds from conservative sources, including the Koch Brothers, Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. Charles Koch donated $2 million in 2010 alone.
Source: DeSmogBlog, Mother Jones, Huffington Post,

The Heartland Institute – Possibly the organization most guilty of false-science and efforts to undermine valid climate science. The Heartland Institute once compared climate scientists to terrorists, including the Unabomber, Charles Manson, Osama bin Laden and Fidel Castro. They stated, “the most prominent advocates of global warming aren’t scientists. They are murderers, tyrants, and madmen.” Heartland’s president, Joseph Bast, has called Heartland “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made global warming.” Several internal documents were obtained by Peter Gleick and posted online. These documents revealed they were receiving funding from the fossil fuel industry and were engaged in campaigns to undermine climate science with school-based programs. Heartland demanded Gleick be charged and threatened lawsuits against anyone reposting the documents or even discussing them (I guess I’m in trouble). They are one of the organizations involved in the intimidation campaign against climate researcher Michael Mann. Heartland was involved in the ClimateGate campaign where the computer servers at East Anglia were illegally hacked and selected emails were stolen. These emails were then cherry-picked to take quotes out of context in an effort to make it look as if the scientists were faking their research. The scientists were all cleared of any wrong-doing by several independent panels, but Heartland continues to cite the emails in a continuing effort to discredit the scientists. They have engaged in other campaigns to attack, intimidate and discredit climate scientists (when you can’t refute the science, destroy the scientists). they host an annual conference of climate change contrarians. Heartland has also been involved with efforts to convince people there is no danger in second-hand smoke. In addition to their internal documents showing they receive funding from the fossil fuel industry, Exxon documents show they donated $676,500 to Heartland since 1998. See the above entry about Donors Trust, which has donated money to Heartland.
According to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: American Petroleum Institute ($25,000, 2008), Chrysler Foundation ($105,000, 2004-06), Donors Capital Fund ($25.6 million, 2005-11), Donors Trust ($554,000, 2008-10), ExxonMobil ($531,500, 2001-06), General Motors Foundation ($165,000, 2004-10) and Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($25,000, 2011).
Source: Washington Post, The Heartland Institute, Forbes, The Guardian, Forbes again, Watching the Deniers, More Forbes , ExxonSecrets, Huffington Post, More Huffington Post, Union of Concerned Scientists

The American Petroleum Institute (API) – The API has long held the position that any effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions is a ‘tax on our industry’ and has fought behind the scenes to undermine any effort to enact legislation that might hurt the fossil fuel industry. Internal memos have shown that it funds and provides staffing for campaigns against legislation, then denies any involvement. API says that it does not consider climate change legislation to be an energy tax, but then runs numerous ads calling any such legislation an ‘energy tax.’ Along with other groups, API funded reports for Congress “whose entire purpose was to confuse people on the science of global warming.” Among other contributors, AEI received more than $1.9 million from Exxon.
Source: DeSmogBlog, Newsweek

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) – Among other things, it offered $10,000 cash plus travel expenses for any scientist that would write papers undermining climate change research. It has been reported that AEI received over $28 million from ExxonMobil over a 10 year period, although that funding level has dropped significantly in recent years. Besides Exxon, AEI has received $60,000 from the American Petroleum Institute $1.1 million from the three main Koch family foundations between 2001 and 2011. AEI denies it rejects climate change science, even though they have been active in the business. Among other things they have been involved with, they helped underwrite a $53,000 project for a denier’s presentation to Congress claiming there was no warming over the last 1000 years. Therefore, it was claimed, there was no scientific consensus. According to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: American Petroleum Institute ($145,000, 2008-11), Donors Capital Fund ($15.16 million, 2002 -11), Donors Trust ($187,000, 2002-11), ExxonMobil ($3.04 million, 2001-11), Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($350,000, 2004-11) and Charles Koch’s Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation ($750,000, 2005-07).

Source: Newsweek, Wikipedia, SourceWatch, The Guardian, Union of Concerned Scientists

Americans For ProsperityAccording to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: American Petroleum Institute ($124,000, 2008-11), Donors Capital Fund ($1.32million, 2005-11), Donors Trust ($6.33million, 2005-11), Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, $67,500, 2009), David H. Koch Charitable Foundation ($1 million, 2008) and Charles Koch’s Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation ($4.69 million, 2005-10).

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – ALEC is an extremist organization that, among other things, promotes climate change denial and is funded by the oil and gas industry. It is extremely weird – and dangerous. Read the first-hand account from Chris Taylor, a state representative from Wisconsin. ALEC denies that global warming is causing glaciers to retreat or sea level to rise. Not only does ALEC deny the threat of climate change, they even argue that “substantial global warming is likely to be of benefit to the United States”.
Source: The Progressive, Climate Progress

Richard Lindzen – He always claimed to not take any funding from the fossil fuel industry, but finally admitted to taking over $10,000 per year from the fossil fuel industry plus consulting fees and travel expenses. He receives $2,500 per day in consulting fees. He was a court expert witness for the Western Fuels Association.
Source: DeSmogBlog, SourceWatch, Weather Underground

Patrick Michaels – Michaels served as an expert court witness on behalf of the Western Fuels Association. This, and other actions, led the Minnesota Star to write about him in an editorial stating he was a fossil-fuel industry funded scientist. He won a court case against them, but then he admitted in 1995 that he had received over $165,000 from the fossil fuel industry. He now refuses to reveal any of his source of funds. ABC reported he had received $100,000 from the Intermountain Rural Electric Association. He also acknowledged on CNN that 40 percent of his funding comes from the oil industry. He was a witness in a lawsuit but withdrew when it became apparent he would have to reveal his funding sources. He was paid by the coal industry to write the World Climate Report, in which he regularly attempted to discredit climate science.
Source: ThinkProgress, Wikipedia, Mother Jones, DeSmogBlog, Newsweek, Huffington Post

The Cato Institute: A long-time climate denial organization, Patrick Michaels (see above) heads their Center for the Study of Science. He admitted that he receives 40% of his funding from the fossil fuel industry. The Cato Institute received $110,000 from ExxonMobil between 2001and 2006, $95,000 from General Motors from 2003 to 2009, and $2.79 million from the three main Koch family funds from 2001 to 2010.

According to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: Donors Capital Fund ($1.08 million, 2002-11), DonorsTrust ($348,670, 2002-11), ExxonMobil ($110,000, 2001-06), Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($18,400, 2006-08), David H. Koch Charitable Foundation ($500,000, 2001) and Charles Koch’s Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation ($2.27 million, 2001-10).

Source: Huffington Post, Union of Concerned Scientists

Competitive Enterprise Institute – According to various data bases and their tax documents, some of their funding includes: American Petroleum Institute ($25,000, 2009), Donors Capital Fund ($607,280, 2007-11), Donors Trust ($581,000, 2002-11), ExxonMobil ($1.69 million, 2001-05), General Motors Foundation ($245,000, 2003-08), Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($24,100, 2009) and Charles Koch’s Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation ($222,620, 2002-11).
Source:  Union of Concerned Scientists

James Inhofe – The senior senator from Oklahoma, Senator Inhofe is a die-hard critic of climate change science. He has called global warming the ‘greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” At the same time, the senator is one of the largest receivers of fossil fuel industry campaign funds. Over his career, he has received over $3,250,000 from the energy sector, including $1,600,000 from the oil and gas industry. That total included over $95,000 from the Koch Brothers. He famously used outdated data, even though it had been proven false, to make the claim that there was no scientific evidence of global warming.
Source: OpenSecrets, The Guardian, Newsweek

Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) – The NIPCC is a project funded by the Heartland Institute with the objective of presenting alternative science. The NIPCC differs from the UN’s IPCC in several important ways, including (thanks to Skeptical Science):

  • Its purpose is not to give clarity on climate science, as the IPCC does, but to critique the IPCC, according to the Heartland leaked documents
  • The scientists working for the NIPCC get paid; the IPCC scientists don’t
  • The NIPCC report only critiques papers published by deniers, whereas the IPCC critiques all papers, including those published by deniers. 

The Heartland Institute pays its scientists to disregard most climate science research and focus exclusively on the few “skeptic” studies which support their very narrow focus on poking holes in the IPCC report. One document in the Heartland leaks outlined the list of deniers being paid for their work on the NIPCC, including Craig Idso and Fred Singer.
Source: Greenpeace, Skeptical Science

S. Fred Singer – A long time climate change denier, Singer has been very active as a lobbyist for the oil and gas industry. He makes frequent appearances before government panels at the state and federal level with testimony contrary to the prevailing science. Singer is famous for claiming global warming was not real, then, when he was caught in the lie, changed his claim to saying that climate science community was a cabal that was silencing any scientist that disagreed with the ‘alarmist’ reports.  Singer receives $5000 per month plus expenses from the Heartland Institute.
Source: Newsweek, The Heartland Institute

Craig Idso -Idso heads the denial organization known as the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. He is also associated with the Heartland Institute, which pays him $11,600 per month.
Source: The Heartland Institute, More Heartland Institute

The Heritage Foundation – Heritage has received $535,000 from ExxonMobil (2001-11), $100,000 from General Motors (2003-07), and $3.69 million from Charles Koch’s Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation (2001-10). They have also received funds from Donors Capital Fund ($41,000, 2002-10) and Donors Trust ($307,765, 2002-11).

Source: Huffington Post, Union of Concerned Scientists

Where are we going with the environment?

Climate change is not the only thing affecting the environment. Some of the other issues we have been forced to address in the past are acid rain, ozone depletion, pesticides and even over-fishing. We humans have managed to make a mess of the environment and its is going to take some real effort to make things better.

Earth Day is one of those things we do to help bring attention to the situation. Earth Day this year falls on April 22 and events are planned worldwide.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has 25 sites in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network for the purpose of in-depth studying of various ecologies around the world. The ecologies include diverse regions to provide a picture of the planet. Places located within the U.S. include such places as acid rain lakes in the Adirondacks, the Arctic in northern Alaska, the Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast, the desert region around Phoenix, Arizona and river basins in Wisconsin. NSF held an annual mini-symposium on February 21 of this year to discuss where these ecologies are going.

Off course, there is bad news. Things are changing and not many of the changes are for the better. Some of these environments will take hundreds of years to recover from the damage done to them. The good news is that some of them are recovering. We are making a difference in some areas. Acid rain is a good example. We have managed to make some significant improvement here since the 1990s.

This is something we need to focus on when we discuss climate change. The climate is changing due to our actions. But, we can change the way we do business and maybe reverse some of the damage. At least, we can work to slow down the rate of change.