Heartland relying on more non-experts with vested interests to spin garbage

Normally I couldn’t care less what the privately funded (fossil fuels, pharmaceutical, tobacco etc) loony right-wing Heartland Institute have to say, but there’s only tennis on the television and I’m a little bored. Anyway, their blog, ironically called Somewhat Reasonable has a post entitled “There is no denying mother nature” written by some bloke by the name of Paul Crovo. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a larger pile of crap.

So, before we begin looking at this no doubt informative article about mother nature (biology, ecology, physics, chemistry etc) let’s check the credentials of the author.

Heartland describe Paul Crovo as “an energy analyst [working] for a major financial institution in Philadelphia. He has followed crovothe energy industry for 27 years in his line of work and over the last five years has expanded his research to include the area of climate change science. Early in his career he became an active member in the National Association of Petroleum Analysts (NAPIA) and remains part of the organization today. He is an active participant in many local Tea Party events and has written extensively for local media on issues of energy policy and climate change.”

Allow me to paraphrase…Paul Crovo is a loony tea party capitalist petroleum analyst whose job it is to make money for his bank out of fossil fuels. He has no actual climate science expertise but publishes a lot in a local paper on the subject anyway. Sounds great. This should be a blast.

He begins…

A retrospective analysis of the year 2013 reveals one humiliating defeat after another for contemporary ecotheologians as various climatic and political events served to further undermine their case for man-made climate change.

Wait! What? Political events? I thought this was about mother nature? Oh well, I’ll examine them anyway but first, let’s look at this series of defeats. From what I can make out in the whole article Mr Crovo only discusses 5 or 6 for the year. Is that it? Really? A search of scientific literature databases reveals that globally, there were more than 55000 peer-reviewed papers published on the subject of climate change covering hundreds of  different topics including atmospheric physics, ocean chemistry, cryosphere, species range shifts, hydrology, economics, disease, tropical storms, soil carbon sequestration, plant physiology. The list is extensive. For the 5 or 6 examples of these alleged defeats, Mr Crovo offers no credible references to any scientific (or political science) journals. The only credible reference he does give is to the IPCC AR5 report and I’m guessing he hasn’t actually read it. If he had, he wouldn’t be trying to use it as a discreditory tool. Instead he cites Anthony Watts, Heartland and Wikipedia. Never a good sign. Finally, the term “ecotheologians”. To be honest, I haven’t seen the word before but I have seen the pathetic attempts to paint science acceptors as religious zealots before. The irony here is that we who accept the science have overwhelming evidence that Anthropogenic Climate Change is occurring but are always hopeful that it isn’t. Deniers on the other hand, believe that it isn’t happening without any evidence to support their position, much like people who choose to believe in a deity and of those, the ones who choose not to accept the Theory of Evolution.

For starters, a number of Western governments rejected United Nations climate change protocols. Australia (Tony Abbott, whose platform featured a rejection of climate change hokum, was elected prime minister), Japan (the country dramatically scaled back its 2009 carbon emissions pledges) and Poland (which fired its environmental minister just days into the COP-19/Conference of Parties climate change forum) all sent a clear message that they would not be bound to any economically destructive international agreements based on fraudulent science.

Ignoring Mr Crovo’s shift away from science (what the blog post was supposed to be about) to politics, let’s have close look at this claim. Firstly, the claim that the science is “fraudulent”. All Mr Crovo has done here is demonstrate just how ignorant he is of science. Science is an extremely competitive pursuit and there is nothing good scientists like more than to demonstrate where other scientists have erred or not completely explained some natural phenomena. It is what they do. They like to get to the bottom of things. One thing every scientist I know hates, is sloppy scientific exploration, methods or conclusions and they certainly don’t tolerate scientific fraud. The scientific literature in various fields is filled with papers that question the findings of other scientists. Some of the discussion sections can become quite heated and animated (in the usually polite and reserved manner of scientists) but those contradictory papers DO GET PUBLISHED. If climate science was filled with fraudulent papers, the climate science journals would be reporting it. Climate science is also a large umbrella term for many many scientific disciplines that deal with global systems. As such, the number of different journals involved is staggering. You would think Mr Crovo would be able to provide at least one credible example from the scientific literature to demonstrate that it is “fraudulent science”. Perhaps he can’t find one? I tried looking for papers that debunk the flat Earth hypothesis. Apart from those using flat Earth simulations to  calibrate various Earth science models and for use in mathematical theorems, there were very few that actually discuss the hypothesis. Why is that I wonder? Perhaps because we know the Earth is an obloid sphere?  Just as we know ACC is real.

Now, Mr Crovo mentions “a number of Western governments” allegedly rejecting United Nations protocols and then provides us with 3 examples, 2 of which were not actually examples of protocol rejection.

First, he mentions the Australian election. Yes, Australians elected a conservative government. Yes, that political party had removal of the carbon “tax” as one of its election commitments. Does that mean Australian voters are rejecting UN protocols? In short, no. Tony Abbott was elected by default by an electorate that had grown tired of the progressives. Most of the sentiment had to do with issues of party stability. Tony Abbott ran a negative campaign for three years, aided completely by a print media dominated by right-wing Murdoch owned newspapers and a compliant mainstream television media and right-wing shock jocks on radio. Interestingly, Abbott didn’t actually secure a majority with most of the disaffected shifting their vote not to Abbott, but to new parties and independents, with preferences getting Abbott over the line in marginal seats. In the end, it was only 30000 votes in marginal seats that decided it. He also didn’t secure a majority in the upper house of parliament either. Hardly a convincing win and definitely no mandate as he claims.

Second, he mentions Japan. Has Japan dramatically altered its emission target? Yes. does this mean they have some ideological opposition to the UN protocol as inferred by the Crovo article? No. In wake of the devastating tsunami and consequent meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, all Japan’s nuclear reactors have closed down for safety reasons and until they can be recommissioned or renewables established, the country has had to revert to thermal power production. It is unfortunate but necessary.

Finally, Poland sacked their environment minister. Ummmm, so?

In terms of COP-19 “accomplishments,” the Obama administration pledged to have U.S. carbon reduction targets in place by the 2015 Paris conference and there was a loose agreement on a “loss and damage” (a wealth redistribution scheme compensating developing countries for damages from greenhouse gas emissions with funds from developed countries) plan. Such “commitments” are best to be taken with a grain of salt, however, given the poor record of nations keeping such promises.

Wow! What  a devastating blow to the science! You show those pesky greenies Mother Nature…..oh wait. We’re still dealing with politics? *sigh* The US made a commitment and  an agreement to have something in place by 2015. Mr Crovo might be jumping the gun a bit here. He must have been hard up searching for these “humiliating defeats”. Next?

One 2013 event that held out hope for man-made climate change advocates was Typhoon Haiyan, a category 4 storm that struck the Philippines in early November. Having recast their focus on “extreme weather events” (instead of rising temperatures) as the litmus test for the existence of man-made climate change, the alarmists viewed Haiyan as a godsend.

In the wake of the storm, the main stream media and climate change alarmists trumpeted their message of linkage between climate change and the storm’s intensity. Following the hyperbole emanating from these messengers of doom, however, a number of scientific analyses and historical hurricane records were published that conclusively debunked any such linkage. In fact, claims of causality between purported climate change and Haiyan’s intensity carried about as much water as similar calls linking “super storm” Sandy and climate change the year before.

The typhoon was the highlight of a normally active Pacific hurricane season, but the Atlantic Basin was quite tranquil with the region experiencing the fewest number of hurricanes in 30 years. Of thirteen named storms, only two became hurricanes and only one of these made landfall in the U.S. Mexico experienced a total of eight storms, with three making landfall as hurricanes. Of greater significance, however is the long-term record that shows no trend of increase in the number or severity of U.S. hurricanes since 1990 (2013: Slowest Hurricane Season in 30 Years, Anthony Watts, November 25, 2013).

Hooray! Finally something to do with Mother Nature albeit cheapened with a citing of Anthony Watts.

The first paragraph is so offensive I have only repeated it here, to show just how shallow deniers like Mr Crovo can be. To suggest that science acceptors would view a hurricane that took many lives and displaced hundreds of thousands as a “Godsend” is even more offensive (not to mention childishly stupid) as the Unabomber billboard that even Heartland’s major sponsors thought was offensive enough to withdraw funding.

Leo-blog-The-Heartland-I-007-480x330

So, was rising temperatures the “litmus test” for ACC and did scientists switch to extreme events? No and no. I’m going to sound like a broken record here but climate science is made up of many disciplines. All of these disciplines contribute to the understanding of ACC in varying amounts. I have to wonder if the deniers’ own obsession with temperature (the ‘pause’) has led them to believe that that is all there is to climate science or that it is the most important? Perhaps keeping it simple is all they can handle?

Now I am more than happy to concede that the mainstream media and the untrained blogosphere may have “trumpeted their message of linkage between climate change and the storm’s intensity” to some degree, but I can’t seem to recall reading any scientific papers that made the link. Perhaps it’s too soon. I’m sure I did hear (and read) a number of scientists saying that they are starting to see trends in many different types of extreme weather events but that no single event (as yet) can be attributed directly to ACC although the damage caused by the storm surge associated with Hurricane Sandy was exacerbated by higher sea levels, which is a result of ACC.  Crovo however, fails to provide any links to the “scientific analyses” he mentions. Shame.

Finally, and this is another example of narrow thinking, Crovo focuses in on hurricanes as though they are the only type of weather extreme and worse, he focuses only on the US record. Given he has cited Watts, I’m not even going to bother checking the source. It’s late and facepalming hurts. The reason for focusing only on hurricanes is because deniers like Mr Crovo knows this category is one that says what he wants to say. From what I have seen, tropical cyclone numbers around the world have been fairly steady. North Atlantic hurricanes are up. But of course, this is just one type of extreme event. What about droughts, bushfires, tornadoes, floods, single day rain events, maximum hot temperatures and numerous others? A good indicator of frequency of extreme events in the USA is the number of disaster declarations for natural events.

Federal-Disaster-Declarations-1953-2011

And what about those global sea ice trends? Perhaps one should ask those aboard the MV Akademik Scholkalskiy, the misfit bunch of researchers and tourists who went venturing off to the Antarctic to see how climate change was affecting sea ice. Well, to paraphrase a famous play, a funny thing happened on the way to the Douglas Mawson base camp (the researchers mission was to recreate the 1912 exploits of the Australian scientist).

The latest news was that the ship was stuck in ice 15-feet thick with attempts by several other ships to rescue the crew members rendered unsuccessful due to similarly poor seafaring conditions. In fact, the latest satellite data shows that Antarctic sea ice is at record highs while Arctic sea ice is up 35% or more from last year’s low levels. Translation: global sea ice is now well above the historical average.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Like all the denier bloggers, Crovo here wants to try to paint a picture first, that this was some sort of important scientific expedition. It wasn’t and in fact, any of the “research” done on the vessel wasn’t going to contribute a great deal to what is already known about Antarctic ice and that is that it is declining.

Second, he tries to suggest that the boat became stuck because of “record highs” of Antarctic sea ice. Wrong again. For a start, and I know this can be very confusing for some Americans, it is Summer down here in the southern hemisphere and at the moment, much of the sea ice is melting. The boat became stuck when it was pinned in by windblown pack ice that had broken off as a 20km chunk from an ice shelf.

Third, Arctic sea ice is not currently “up 35%” from the equivalent time last year. In fact it is close to a record low for this time. If Crovo is suggesting that the September minimum was up 35% from last year’s September minimum, well two years does not a trend make. If he is saying that the ice now in January is higher than in September 2012 or 2013 levels well, no shit Sherlock. I’ll chuck a few graphs in shortly.

Finally, global sea ice is well above the historical average?Ummm, without mentioning a baseline average, this statement is utterly pointless and further demonstrates the scientific illiteracy of Crovo. But for the record, global sea ice is on a downward trend.

arctic extent BPIOMASIceVolumeAprSepCurrentBIG03-sea-ice--north-and-south.gif

Perhaps the crowning achievement of the alarmist community in 2013 was the IPCC’s release of its Fifth Assessment Report, or AR5, another IPCC publication that came up well short in the credibility column.  Most laughable among the report’s conclusions was the statement claiming improved confidence in projections of rising temperatures despite the increasingly yawning disconnect between actual global temperatures and rising CO2 levels. Thus is the logic of the IPCC. Welcome to the global warming “pause,” 17 years and counting.

In an effort to refute this widening decoupling, the “true believers” like Heidi Cullen continued to grasp for straws, claiming that the earth’s warming is taking place in the deep ocean with the effects to become more profound in the future. The problem with people like Heidi Cullen, Al Gore and NOAA’s James Hansen, is that their predicted apocalyptic events are always in the future, thus in order to avoid accountability.

Oh dear! There it is…the ‘pause’ in global land surface temperatures followed by a complete dismissal of well-documented and published evidence. First, the ‘pause’. This has been so well explained just about everywhere I feel a little embarrassed to be hashing it out here again. The global land surface temperature record is not representative of global temperatures. There is no easier way to put it. The globe is a 3 dimensional object made up of land surface, water surface, water depth and atmosphere about 100km high. The land surface temperature measurements represent less than 5% of the system. All other parts must be taken into consideration and so that does mean the ocean. This is the one that always makes me mad because even a five-year old understands it. Crovo here, disputes that the ocean is warming. Well,check out this graph.

sealevel csiroIf the ocean is NOT rising due to thermal expansion, what the hell is causing it to rise? HINT: it isn’t subsidence or underwater volcanoes or lizard men from outerspace.

In the end, what we have here is a paid shill writing garbage for more paid shills whose only goal is to misrepresent facts, lie and distort so the people who write their paycheques can continue to make money by polluting the Earth. They are unconscionable and don’t care about anyone but themselves. Well, all I can say is the title of Mr Crovo’s dodgy article is the only thing he got right. There is no denying Mother Nature and she is starting to let her fury be known. Eventually, the vast majority will know the Paul Crovo’s and his ilk for what they are and future historians will not be kind. What a legacy to leave.

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