Fear and Loathing, Irony and Deception

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 12:11 AM GMT on êواêر 10, 2017

Fear and Loathing, Irony and Deception

Surely, some will think that I will sound like an apologist in this blog. Oh, well.

Several colleagues have told me that my last blog / editorial was a struggle to find optimism. After finishing that blog, I had no sense of optimism. (I expect an updated version of the editorial will be published in the February print edition of EOS.)

A common emotion among my climate friends is a feeling of loss, much like the death of someone close. I feel threat to my livelihood, my health insurance, and my retirement. I feel threat to the practice of science and the use of science-based knowledge. I feel threat to the country – to the stubborn checks and balances built into our government to support a participatory democracy.

However, we have what we have.

During the presidential transition, a number of statements hostile to climate science and climate scientists have risen and, perhaps, fallen. There was the request for names of climate scientists in the Department of Energy. There were the statements about NASA’s Earth observations being cut or eliminated – some sort of merger with NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. There is the ongoing anxiety, in some cases panic, about the collection, management, and provision of climate data by the U.S. government. There are the many concerns about the future of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Climate change is a political issue. It may be motivated and informed by scientific investigation, but it is a political issue. It is a political issue that is intertwined with energy policy. By extension, it is intertwined with the economy. Climate change is entangled with beliefs, self-identification, and power structures.

The responses to the Trump election by the climate community are not monolithic or simple. The responses that seem to dominate in public are panic and simplistic, speculative fear. These responses play into the political strategy of those who dismiss or oppose climate change as an important environmental and societal issue. Panic and fear-based speculation about the damage that will be wrought by hostile actors increase the likelihood that those fears will come true. I believe that is the classic definition of irony. A response that limits itself to outrage at political appointees, and in some cases, dismissal of those appointees as laughable, uninformed individuals, virtually assures the success of those appointees in their new jobs.

A point of my previous editorial was that there is opportunity in what, on the surface, appears as an absolute disaster for climate policy, climate science, and climate professionals. To take advantage of those opportunities requires leadership, organization, presence, and recognition that there are points of negotiation and possibility.

I have been called by colleagues and journalists to get my comments on, for example, the efforts by some scientists and activists to archive and preserve climate data. Whenever I get a call on a subject like this, it seems that they want an answer that either substantiates or amplifies the narrative of war and peace, good and bad, evil and virtue. Usually, however, I find such amplification to be less than useful and, sincerely, not justified. Often my comments end up on the cutting room floor.

When I am asked about Rick Perry, the nominee for Energy Secretary, having said that he wants to shut down the Department of Energy or, more generally, about Trump’s transition team’s hostility towards the EPA, my first response is that there is precedence. This is not new. Spencer Abraham was an Energy Secretary who rather famously, as an elected politician, wanted to eliminate the Department.

The same is true with NASA. Through most of my career at NASA, there were some politicians who wanted to eliminate the Earth observing parts of NASA. There were budget markups with potentially devastating consequences. There were proposals to combine NASA, NOAA, and the U.S. Geological Survey. Some of these proposals made sense. At the same time, they could be construed as an analogue to corporate mergers, which are used as an opportunity to eliminate those functions and those people that are unwanted by the corporate leaders. The contrast between sensible reforms and existential threat is a frequent characteristic of political back and forth.

We are a country often based on conflicting points of views, presented with prejudice, and resolved with some sort of balance of the points of view or adjudication. We do not rely, primarily, on evidence-based, deliberative, decision making.

We do, in fact, have some models of what we might expect to happen. Several states, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida, have tried to suppress and control the language of climate change. Most recently there is the example of Wisconsin (link1, link2, link3). As carefully documented with before and after examples of the words, the human influence on climate change was purged from the web pages of the Department of Natural Resources. Our changing climate is framed as a child, going through a mysterious change. Rather than having an evidence-based foundation for rational planning, we leave climate change to Providence and a response based on reaction and whim. By leaving the causes of climate change out of the language, they are left out of public policy, and there is an unnecessary increase in risk.

This sort of political messaging, which I always view as a sin of omission or information hiding, is deceptive. It is, however, standard behavior in politics and business. In fact, in Wisconsin it is not new. In 2015, I wrote a blog on Wisconsin’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands not allowing its employees to discuss how climate change affects the lands that it oversees. (A collection of Wisconsin articles.)

This type of message management should be expected as a tactic. Indeed, if I were in the government, I could think of a host of ways to disrupt the federal provision and interpretation of climate data. There are easy ways to take down servers. I expect that much of the excellent analysis placed in the public domain during the Obama administration to sink far below the surface. I expect the hard-earned improvements of climate services to stagnate.

I do not think that observational data will be destroyed; I suspect that would break the law, and presently, I think that we will remain a country of law.

I expect that there will be attempts to weaken many environmental laws. I worry that participation in the panic and fear-based speculation will divert attention from the important issues.

I worry that exaggeration and amplification of anxiety in social media will fuel ineffective fury.

Though I pointed out examples, above, of similar attacks on climate science in the past, I do not mean to suggest, hence, all will be all right. We are in the situation when the executive vigor and legislative wherewithal are in position to do considerable damage. There is the ability to appoint and confirm judges sympathetic to environmental regulation as damaging to business and economic growth. However, there is also the fact that President-elect Trump has proved to be difficult to characterize, resistant to traditional partisan classification, and prone to swift changes of position. Hence, there should be moments of opportunity, which requires leadership, organization, presence, and recognition that there are points of negotiation and possibility.

However, we have what we have. Climate change is a political issue, and it is a political issue that will require political tactics until it is settled policy on a foundation of the settled science.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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160. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
10:00 PM GMT on لبراêر 03, 2017
RickyRood has created a new entry.
159. FLwolverine
04:39 PM GMT on لبراêر 03, 2017
Quoting 157. BaltimoreBrian:

Thanks CaneFreeCR--you'd think I'd never linked an article before. Odd. It did the same thing on the Cat6 blog where it links back to Cat6, and on my blog, linking back to my blog. Hmmmm. Be interesting to see where the link links to this time. Better paste it below. Mind the gap in 'scientists'.

A Scientists' March on Washington Is a Bad Idea

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/opinion/a-scie ntists-march-on-washington-is-a-bad-idea.html?_r=0
The link worked for me.

About the opinion: it's written by a scientist who seems credible to me. I don't think I agree with him, but I find myself much more in favor of public protest that I have been in the past.

What does anyone else think?

Or as Brian would say: Discuss.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
157. BaltimoreBrian
08:09 PM GMT on لبراêر 02, 2017
Quoting 156. CaneFreeCR:

The link takes me to the master page for Ricky's blog, not to the NYT. But I guess climate change protests are an endless loop, so ......
Thanks CaneFreeCR--you'd think I'd never linked an article before. Odd. It did the same thing on the Cat6 blog where it links back to Cat6, and on my blog, linking back to my blog. Hmmmm. Be interesting to see where the link links to this time. Better paste it below. Mind the gap in 'scientists'.

A Scientists' March on Washington Is a Bad Idea

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/31/opinion/a-scie ntists-march-on-washington-is-a-bad-idea.html?_r=0
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
156. CaneFreeCR
01:13 PM GMT on لبراêر 02, 2017
Quoting 155. BaltimoreBrian:

A Scientists' March on Washington Is a Bad Idea Op-Ed column for the New York Times by Robert S. Young.
The link takes me to the master page for Ricky's blog, not to the NYT. But I guess climate change protests are an endless loop, so ......
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
154. Xandra
11:21 PM GMT on لبراêر 01, 2017
March for Science:

The March for Science will take place on April 22, 2017. We hope to see you in D.C. and around the world!

March for Science new website: https://www.marchforscience.com/

Need to find a March for Science near you? Check out this #ScienceMarch list from @sciencemarchpdx!

Here's a member list for #solidarity marches in Europe https://twitter.com/Scientists4EU/lists/european- science-marches/members

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
153. PedleyCA
12:34 AM GMT on لبراêر 01, 2017
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
152. daddyjames
08:49 PM GMT on êواêر 31, 2017
Is this one working?
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
149. Xandra
08:26 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
Regarding Trump’s attacks on science:

In a tweet Former National Park Service Director John Jarvis give us his thoughts on climate change and "national policy".

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
148. Xandra
04:17 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
From The Psychonomic Society:

The norms of science and Presidential Executive Orders

Posted by: Stephan Lewandowsky

Last Friday was Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on the day of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp by Soviet troops in 1945. U.S. President Trump marked the occasion with a statement, although it omitted any specific mention of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

On the same day, Trump also signed an executive order that banned citizens of 7 mainly Islamic countries from entering the United States.


Under the headline “Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Already Harming American Science”, The Atlantic reported on a number of researchers who were barred from taking up posts in the U.S. as a consequence. There has been a growing number of responses from academic institutions to the President’s actions. For example, the Association of American Universities issued a statement noting that “the administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible.”

Because of these clear implications for science, and because of the emerging responses from the scientific community, I asked the current Chair of the Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Valerie Reyna, for her views on the President’s actions. She replied as follows:

“By now many of you have heard about U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order barring all immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations for 120 days, which the president signed Friday evening. Iran has responded by banning U.S. visitors. As Chair of the Diversity Committee, I must express my alarm at the potential implications for scientific progress and the basic freedoms on which that progress depends. I encourage everyone to think about ways in which research on stereotypes, bias, and fear can be brought to bear for the betterment of the U.S. and the nations around the world. Using the democratic institutions at our disposal, I encourage everyone to respond responsibly to any attempt to curtail basic freedoms of thought, speech, and travel. Today it is ‘them’; tomorrow it is us.”

The former Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Janet Metcalfe, wrote to me to pass on a press release from "Academics Against Immigration Executive Order” concerning a letter that currently includes the signatures of over 7,000 academics including 40 Nobel Laureates. (And the list is growing: https://notoimmigrationban.com/.)


It is worth remembering the most well known and influential analysis of the norms of science provided by sociologist Robert Merton in 1942. Merton argued that the results of research should be the common property of the scientific community (‘‘communism’’); that knowledge should transcend racial, class, national, or political barriers (‘‘universalism’’); that scientists conduct research for the benefit of the scientific enterprise rather than for personal gain (‘‘disinterestedness’’); and that scientific claims must be exposed to critical scrutiny before being accepted (‘‘organized skepticism’’).

Recent research has confirmed that these norms are still internalized by the scientific community, and any attempt to impair the universalism of science therefore goes to the heart of who we are, what we stand for, and what we do. It is unsurprising that we now hear calls that "In the face of Trump’s Muslim ban, all academics have a responsibility to act."


Click here to read full article
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
147. Patrap
04:03 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
# 146

We call it,@ #DAPLVeterans, ..The "Steve Bannon effect."
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
146. ILwthrfan
03:41 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
I would think Mr. Trump would not underestimate those that are against his ideas. It seems that in his first week in office he has taken the 5 or 6 of the most controversial and divided ideas we face as a nation and flipped the script on all them across the board under one extreme view.

In what world would any individual ever think that the type of implementation of such a radical change in ideas in such a short time frame would be a safe way of transitioning your country away from its previous path. Especially when the previous path was supported by at the very least half the majority.

His Ego will be his ultimate undoing.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
145. Patrap
03:26 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
Quoting 143. Xandra:

It's a visualization of 1.500 individuals and organizations connected directly and indirectly to Donald Trump, where organizations like multinational oil and gas corporations like Exxon Mobil is included.

I think my comment is relevant for this blog.

More about Donald Trump here and here.

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
144. Xandra
03:23 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
From Reuters:

U.S. will change course on climate policy, Trump official says

The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration.

"(Trump) could do it by executive order tomorrow or he could do it as part of a larger package," Ebell told a conference in London on Monday. "I have no idea of the timing."

Trump, a climate change doubter, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by slashing regulation. He also promised to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement aimed at curbing global warming.

Trump's administration has asked the EPA to temporarily halt all contracts, grants and interagency agreements pending a review, according to sources.

Ebell, who helped guide the EPA's transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20, said it was difficult to predict the timing of any action because government departments are still in transition.

Ebell is Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Trump appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has led 14 lawsuits against the EPA, as the agency's administrator, although a vote on his nomination has not been scheduled.

Trump also has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks to build its landing team for the EPA, according to a list of the newly introduced 10-member team seen by Reuters on Monday.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Louise Heavens/Ruth Pitchford)
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
143. Xandra
01:08 PM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
Quoting 141. BaltimoreBrian:

Xandra, #140 could be off topic on a featured blog--better take it down. Patrap got a ban for posting a political Trump comment yesterday on the Cat6 blog and his ban is still ongoing.

It's a visualization of 1.500 individuals and organizations connected directly and indirectly to Donald Trump, where organizations like multinational oil and gas corporations like Exxon Mobil is included.

I think my comment is relevant for this blog.

More about Donald Trump here and here.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
142. CaneFreeCR
02:43 AM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
It would not surprise me to learn tomorrow that the big berg on the edge of the Larsen C ice shelf has broken free -- there was a Mag 5.4 earthquake today in the Drake Passage which would probably have generated a modest tsunami that would have been felt by the ice shelf. It wouldn't take much movement to finish that crack.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
141. BaltimoreBrian
02:13 AM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
Xandra, #140 could be off topic on a featured blog--better take it down. Patrap got a ban for posting a political Trump comment yesterday on the Cat6 blog and his ban is still ongoing.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
140. Xandra
01:43 AM GMT on êواêر 30, 2017
Astoundingly Complex Visualization Untangles Trump’s Business Ties


An interactive version of the data viz lets you click on a name or business to view an expanded list of connections.

[...] The man who promised to “drain the swamp” is himself a hub of potential corruption—as Albrecht’s visualizations so vividly illustrate.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
138. Xandra
11:08 PM GMT on êواêر 29, 2017
Michael E. Mann:

Couldn't be prouder of @Penn_State and our President Eric Barron on this day: http://news.psu.edu/story/447807/2017/01/29/admin istration/penn-state-president-shares-message-foll owing-executive-order

Excerpt from the message:

Reports suggest that enforcement of the executive order is already stranding students and affecting U.S. institutions of higher education. We are monitoring developments closely to ensure that we fully understand how this executive order and any future orders may affect Penn State, including the implications for our many students, researchers and faculty who are citizens of other countries.

Fortunately, to the best of our knowledge, none of our students or scholars who are from the named countries are currently traveling abroad. But the problems that are surfacing with the order are clear, and we join the Association of American Universities and universities all across the country in asking that the order be ended as soon as possible. You can access the AAU statement here: http://www.aau.edu/news/article.aspx?id=18366
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
137. Xandra
02:27 PM GMT on êواêر 29, 2017
March for Science:

A message from the organizers #ScienceMarch

Also - no official date set. Don't believe rumors! NO DATE YET!

Statement by @UCSUSA #ScienceMarch stands in solidarity with our fellow scientists who are detained & unable to work

"The pursuit of truth in science transcends national boundaries. It takes us beyond hatred and anger and fear."

- Arthur Eddington

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
136. BaltimoreBrian
04:45 AM GMT on êواêر 28, 2017
134. Daisyworld
01:55 AM GMT on êواêر 28, 2017
Covered in Cat 6, but not here:

'A Nightmare Without An End': Wildfires Burn Out Of Control In Chile

Rebecca Hersher | NPR | January 27, 2017

Firefighters work to put out a forest fire in Constitucion, Chile, on Thursday.
Credit: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

The government of Chile says wildfires that have killed at least 10 people are the worst blazes in the country's history.

Several firefighters are among the dead.

"We have never seen anything on this scale, never in the history of Chile," President Michelle Bachelet said earlier this week, after her administration declared a state of emergency. "The truth is that the forces are doing everything humanly possible and will continue until they can contain and control the fires."

Reporting from Rio de Janeiro, NPR's Philip Reeves said Thursday that hundreds of thousands of acres have been destroyed in the southern and central parts of the country and that an entire town was incinerated. "Reports say flames ripped through a place called Santa Olga, burning down its kindergarten, post office and about 1,000 homes," he said.

At least one body was recovered from the ashes in Santa Olga, according to Deutsche Welle, and about 6,000 residents fled the city as the flames moved in.

"This is an extremely serious situation — of horror, a nightmare without an end," the mayor of the coastal city of Constitucion told the German broadcaster. "Everything burned."

The fast-spreading flames have laid waste to forests and vineyards, Phil reported. Chile is a major exporter of wine and grapes and has a growing timber market.

While fires are common in Chile at this time of year, "these have taken on disastrous proportions, thanks to prolonged drought, strong winds and unusually hot weather," Phil said.

In addition to local weather patterns, which themselves are shaped by global climate change, a review of Chile's wildfires published in November in the journal Global and Planetary Change warned the "pattern, frequency and intensity" of wildfires in the country "has grown at an alarming rate" in recent years, in part because of intensive forest management practices that led to a large amount of flammable fuel in the country's forests.

As of Thursday morning, Chile's National Emergency Bureau was tracking 100 active fires covering about 920 square miles, 30 of which have been contained, according to The New York Times.

The newspaper reported: "In total, 4,000 people — including firefighters, troops and national forestry bureau officers — and 46 aircraft have been deployed to combat the fires, according to the National Emergency Bureau.

"Some residents, lacking any training or protective gear, have used tree branches and bottles of water to try to douse the flames."

The Chilean government has appealed for international help. The U.S. Embassy in Santiago said earlier this week that the U.S. government was donating $100,000 "for the local procurement and delivery of firefighting equipment, such as chainsaws and weather monitoring tools requested by the National Forestry Corporation."

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Forest Service sent four people to "assess the situation and advise local authorities."

On Wednesday, a privately owned Boeing 747 "supertanker" plane arrived in Santiago to help control the fires from the air. Such planes are capable of dumping 20,000 gallons of flame retardant, Wired magazine reported.

The aircraft is owned by Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Global SuperTanker Services, according to The Gazette newspaper.

The paper reported that the mission, including a 12-person crew, was paid for by Fundación Viento Sur, which is part of the Walton Family Foundation and run by Ben Walton and his Chilean-native wife, Lucy Ana Walton de Avilés. The New York Times reported the price tag for the supertanker was $2 million.

The plane is being deployed in the Maule region, north of the destroyed town of Santa Olga, according to Deutsche Welle.

© 2017 npr
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
133. BaltimoreBrian
11:56 PM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
132. georgevandenberghe
03:58 PM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command." George Orwell, 1984
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
131. BaltimoreBrian
05:18 AM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
130. BaltimoreBrian
05:04 AM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
By Nate Silver: There's a big difference between citing numbers (which everybody does) and being empirical (which is where the real work comes in).
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
128. BaltimoreBrian
03:16 AM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
127. JohnLonergan
02:31 AM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
Quoting 126. BaltimoreBrian:

Lessons from history: deal with a troll by replacing his tongue with a flat stone, and burying him face down.

I prefer to use the TROLLHAMMEREN
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
126. BaltimoreBrian
02:20 AM GMT on êواêر 27, 2017
125. BaltimoreBrian
10:41 PM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
Federal workers' Twitter brushfire burns Trump
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
124. 999Ai2016
09:50 PM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
Comment: Crazy times in the Arctic by Mark C. Serreze.
Earth Magazine - January 23, 2017.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
123. 999Ai2016
05:53 PM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
Climate change effects, solutions to be discussed on WPSU's 'Conversations LIVE'
Penn State faculty Richard Alley, Jonathan Brockopp and Michael Mann
to take viewers' questions during Jan. 26 broadcast.
Penn State News - January 20, 2017.
The live broadcast, which encourages community input and interaction between viewers and guests, will air at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, on WPSU-TV, WPSU-FM and online at wpsu.org/live.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
122. 999Ai2016
05:37 PM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
NASA-GISS on Twitter: "Free/open access is available for dozens of science datasets (#climate, #planetary, others) & derived material."

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
121. Patrap
05:19 PM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
From The Weather Channel to Breitbart News

Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans

Dec 6 2016 02:15 PM EST

Global warming is not expected to end anytime soon, despite what Breitbart.com wrote in an article published last week.

Though we would prefer to focus on our usual coverage of weather and climate science, in this case we felt it important to add our two cents — especially because a video clip from weather.com (La Niña in Pacific Affects Weather in New England) was prominently featured at the top of the Breitbart article. Breitbart had the legal right to use this clip as part of a content-sharing agreement with another company, but there should be no assumption that The Weather Company endorses the article associated with it.

The Breitbart article – a prime example of cherry picking, or pulling a single item out of context to build a misleading case – includes this statement: "The last three years may eventually come to be seen as the final death rattle of the global warming scare."

In fact, thousands of researchers and scientific societies are in agreement that greenhouse gases produced by human activity are warming the planet’s climate and will keep doing so.

Along with its presence on the high-profile Breitbart site, the article drew even more attention after a link to it was retweeted by the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The Breitbart article heavily references a piece that first appeared on U.K. Daily Mail’s site.

Here’s where both articles went wrong:

CLAIM: "Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record."

TRUTH: This number comes from one satellite-based estimate of temperatures above land areas in the lower atmosphere. Data from the other two groups that regularly publish satellite-based temperature estimates show smaller drops, more typical of the decline one would expect after a strong El Niño event.

Temperatures over land give an incomplete picture of global-scale temperature. Most of the planet – about 70 percent – is covered by water, and the land surface warms and cools more quickly than the ocean. Land-plus-ocean data from the other two satellite groups, released after the Breitbart article, show that Earth’s lower atmosphere actually set a record high in November 2016.

CLAIM: "It can be argued that without the El Niño (and the so-called "Pacific Blob") 2014-2016 would not have been record warm years." (David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Foundation, quoted by Breitbart)

TRUTH: NOAA data show that the 2014-16 El Niño did not even begin until October 2014. It was a borderline event until mid-2015, barely above the El Niño threshold. El Niño clearly added to the strength of the record global warmth observed since late 2015. However, if the El Niño spike is removed, 2016 is still the warmest year on record and 2015 the second warmest, according to climate scientist Zeke Hausfather (Berkeley Earth).

Global surface temperature trends for the period 1966-2015 analyzed for El Niño years (red boxes), La Niña years (blue boxes), and neutral years (black boxes), along with volcanic years (gold triangles). The three trend lines show that global temperature has been rising at a fairly consistent rate of about 0.15 - 0.17°C (0.27 - 0.31°F) once La Niña and El Niño departures are factored out. (Berkeley Earth)
CLAIM: "Many think that 2017 will be cooler than previous years. Myles Allen of Oxford University says that by the time of the next big United Nations climate conference, global temperatures are likely to be no warmer than the Paris COP in 2015. This would be a strange thing to happen if, as some climate scientists have claimed, recent years would have been a record even without the El Niño." (David Rose, U.K. Daily Mail, quoted by Breitbart)

TRUTH: There is nothing unusual about a drop in global surface temperatures when going from El Niño to La Nina. These ups and downs occur on top of the long-term warming trend that remains when the El Niño and La Niña signals are removed. If there were no long-term trend, then we would see global record lows occurring during the strongest La Niña events. However, the last year to see global temperatures hit a record low was 1911, and the most recent year that fell below the 20th-century average was 1976.

For an even deeper dive on the science, we recommend the blog by our experts.

Finally, to our friends at Breitbart: The next time you write a climate change article and need fact checking help, please call. We're here for you. I'm sure we both agree this topic is too important to get wrong.

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
119. Patrap
03:39 AM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
Quoting 127. no1der:

Truth is always gonna Trump the ignorant. NASA is brililant,..and the rest of the Federal Resistance to "Duh".

We are leaning forward,together.

Fascism won't last long .

We Veterans have a much larger plan than #DAPL.

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
118. BaltimoreBrian
03:24 AM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
From the Abingdon manuscript copy of Beowulf, 1057 AD

Fela sceal gebidan
leofes ond laþes se þe longe her
on ðyssum windagum worolde bruceð.

Much must he endure
of love and hate, who long here
in these days of strife enjoys the world.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
117. LAbonbon
03:04 AM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
From the Cat 6 blog

Quoting 144. LAbonbon:

Looks like anyone and everyone is calling this Scientific American guest blog a 'must read':

The War on Facts is a War on Democracy
In a time when facts don’t matter, and science is being muzzled, American democracy is the real victim

By Jonathan Foley on January 25, 2017


So, to Mr. Trump, I would say this:

If this is all just a series of missteps, caused by over-zealous mid-level managers during a confusing presidential transition, so be it. Say so. Fix it. Get out on the public stage and affirm your commitment to facts, to truth, and to the independent pursuit of science without political interference. The vast majority of your fellow Americans would applaud you for this. It would be brave. It would be wise. And it would show some class.

But if this is actually part of your governing philosophy, I would give you a warning on behalf of my fellow scientists: Do not mess with us. Do not try to bury the truth. Do not interfere with the free and open pursuit of science. You do so at your peril.

Americans don’t look kindly on bullies, people who try to suppress the truth, or people who try to intimidate scientists and the press. In the long run, this always backfires. The dustbin of history is full of people who have tried, and failed. You will too.

The next time you visit the CIA headquarters, I hope you will take a moment to notice their unofficial motto, etched in the walls of the lobby. It says, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John VIII-XXXII.)

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
116. LAbonbon
02:14 AM GMT on êواêر 26, 2017
From the Cat 6 blog

Quoting 137. LAbonbon:

Columbia Law School, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law:

Climate Deregulation Tracker

President-elect Donald Trump has stated that he intends to undo most or all of the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change. The Sabin Center has launched this tracker to identify and explain steps taken by the incoming administration to scale back or wholly eliminate federal climate mitigation and adaptation measures. The tracker will also monitor congressional efforts to repeal statutory provisions, regulations, and guidance pertaining to climate change, and to otherwise undermine climate action.

Our Center has also compiled a database of existing U.S. climate change regulations, which will be updated in tandem with the deregulation tracker. The database is organized by agency and topic, and includes links to archived versions of proposed and final regulations as well as technical support documents, regulatory impact analyses, agency guidance, and other relevant resources.
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
115. Patrap
07:30 PM GMT on êواêر 25, 2017
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
114. Patrap
05:08 PM GMT on êواêر 25, 2017
Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Planning to Run For Office
And they’ve got help.

Darren Hauck / Getty


For American science, the next four years look to be challenging. The newly inaugurated President Trump, and many of his Cabinet picks, have repeatedly cast doubt upon the reality of human-made climate change, questioned the repeatedly proven safety of vaccines. Since the inauguration, the administration has already frozen grants and contracts by the Environmental Protection Agency and gagged researchers at the US Department of Agriculture. Many scientists are asking themselves: What can I do?

And the answer from a newly formed group called 314 Action is: Get elected.

The organization, named after the first three digits of pi, is a political action committee that was created to support scientists in running for office. It’s the science version of Emily’s List, which focuses on pro-choice female candidates, or VoteVets, which backs war veterans. “A lot of scientists traditionally feel that science is above politics but we’re seeing that politics is not above getting involved in science,” says founder Shaughnessy Naughton. “We’re losing, and the only way to stop that is to get more people with scientific backgrounds at the table.”

Naughton, a chemist by training and a former breast cancer researcher, ran for Congress herself in 2014 and 2016, but lost both times in Pennsylvania’s Democratic primaries. She puts those losses down to her inexperience with politics and her outsider status, which locked her out of traditional donor circles. In creating 314 Action, she hopes to provide other scientists with the money and mentorship that would have helped her. “Partly, we’re making the case for why they should run—and Donald Trump is really helping us with that,” she says. “Then, we’re showing them how to run, and introducing them to our donor network.”

Early signs are promising. In just two weeks, more than 400 people have signed up to the recruitment form on the organization’s site. They include Jacquelyn Gill from the University of Maine, who studies how prehistoric climate change shaped life on the planet. “If you’d told me a year ago that I would consider running for office, I would have laughed,” she says. “I always fantasized about serving an administration in an advisory capacity, but we now have explicitly anti-science people in office and in the Cabinet. Waiting passively for people to tap me for my expertise won’t be enough.”

“What I really want to know is: Can I do this without abandoning my career in science?”
Since the election, many scientists have made forays into politics, from signing open letters to marching in open protest. “I think most scientists view their work as pure and noble, and politics as a dirty game. It’s almost like selling out or going to the dark side,” says Frances Colón, who until recently was Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State. But, since Trump’s victory, “many more scientists are realizing why their voices are needed. I’ve had numerous coffees with people who are considering ways to run.”

Even if only a few are successful, they would significantly bolster the limited numbers of Congressional representatives with scientific backgrounds. A few have undergraduate degrees in science, including Seth Moulton (D-MA; physics), Jacky Rosen (D-NV; computer science), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY; microbiology). Others have doctoral degrees: mathematician Jerry McNerney (D-CA), psychologist Timothy Murphy (R-PA), and physicist Bill Foster (D-Il), who once said that he “inherited the family's recessive gene for adult-onset political activism.”

“I think government works better when we have people with lots of professional backgrounds,” says Kate Knuth, who trained in environmental science and served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives between 2006 and 2012. “Scientists bring a unique perspective in how they look at data and think about problems. They’re trained to value evidence, and to change their minds in the face of evidence. Right now, in a lot of our governance, we have people who just say this is the way it is, in the face of huge evidence to the contrary. That makes it hard to make good policy.”

“If you believe that the scientific method alone is going to solve the world’s problems, I don’t think you’re going to be a good politician.”
It is perhaps unsurprising that scientists are so poorly represented in government. Younger researchers—perhaps the demographic most eager to leave the ivory tower for the halls of congress—also face the steepest costs for abandoning academia. Scientific careers are built on continuity and perseverance: Years as a graduate student give way to years in postdoctoral positions, which bleed into professorships. If you step away, it can be hard to step back.

“My role models did good science, rose up the ranks, and then went to serve our country,” says Gill, referring to people like Jane Lubchenco, who was Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Barack Obama. “In an ideal world, I’d do this from the comfort of being a full professor. And yet, it’s not something I feel can wait. What I really want to know is: Can I do this without abandoning my career in science?”

Even if scientists do decide to run, they face an intense culture-shock. “In science, your colleagues want to know you have expertise and approach problems through legitimate methods,” says Knuth. “In politics, people first want to know that you care about them and their problems before they care about whether or not you have realistic answers. Those are very different values.”

“They seem to be some of the least likely people to be thinking about running for office,” adds Joe Trippi, a political strategist and campaign manager. “They haven’t been spending the last 16 years planning their run for Congress. You have to help them understand how you run a campaign, get seed money, find a campaign manager, put a team together.”

That’s where 314 Action comes in. With over 80,000 donors and mentors including Trippi and climate scientist Michael Mann, Naughton hopes that it will help scientists to make good on any newfound political ambitions. To start, they are scheduling a webinar for March 14th—Pi Day, naturally—to go over the basics of successful campaigning. Following that, they’ll focus on boosting particular strong candidates.

“In my interactions with them, I’ve had my eyes opened,” says Gill. “There’s all this insider knowledge. And to be told that if you decide to run, you’d have support and financial backing, is tremendously empowering.”

For now, 314 Action will only back Democratic candidates. I wonder if that risks turning science into yet another partisan issue, but Naughton argues that it is already on that road. “When we’re talking about climate change, there’s a clear distinction between the two parties,” she says. Knuth agrees. “It’s hard to say if it would politicize science even more than it already has been,” she says. And at the very least, if 314 Action succeeds, it would expose congressional representatives from both parties to a scientific mindset.

Knuth also argues that this shouldn’t just be about shoving science into government, as if the former will save the latter. It works in reverse too. “When I ran, I spent two to four hours a day, five to six days a week, knocking on doors and listening to people,” she says. “I never felt like I knew more about how people were thinking about the problems in their community, what they wanted from government, and their hopes and dreams for the future. Is that scientific information? No. Is it vetted through peer review? No. But it was invaluable. Scientists need to learn and appreciate the value of other ways of knowing about how the world works.”

“If you believe that the scientific method alone is going to solve the world’s problems, I don’t think you’re going to be a good politician,” she adds. “A politician’s job is to understand how the world works and then make hard decisions about how we should move forward together. Evidence can make those decisions better and it helps us to understand the consequences of different decisions. But it doesn’t tell us what the right decision is.”

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
113. Patrap
05:04 PM GMT on êواêر 25, 2017
# 112

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
112. Patrap
05:02 PM GMT on êواêر 25, 2017
President Trump institutes media blackout at EPA

By Michael Biesecker and John Flesher ASSOCIATED PRESS JANUARY 24, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants, part of a broader communications clampdown within the executive branch.

The prohibitions came to light Tuesday as the agency moved to delay implementation of at least 30 environmental rules finalized in the closing months of President Obama’s term, a potential first step to seeking to kill the regulations.

A summary of the actions posted in the Federal Register includes a long list of regulations that include updated air pollution rulings for several states, renewable fuel standards and limits on the amount of formaldehyde that can leach from wood products. President Trump signed a directive shortly after his inauguration on Friday ordering a ‘‘regulatory freeze pending review’’ for all federal agency rules that had been finalized that have not yet taken effect.

E-mails sent to EPA staff and reviewed by the Associated Press also detailed specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates, or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.

The administration has also ordered what it called a temporary suspension of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders were expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide. EPA contracts with outside vendors for a wide array of services, from engineering and research science to janitorial supplies.

Similar orders barring external communications have been issued in recent days by the Trump administration at other federal agencies, including the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Interior.

Staffers in EPA’s public affairs office are instructed to forward all inquiries from reporters to the Office of Administration and Resources Management.

‘‘Incoming media requests will be carefully screened,’’ one directive said. ‘‘Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.’’

A review of EPA websites and social media accounts, which typically include numerous new posts each day, showed no new activity since Friday.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday he had no specific information on the blackout.

‘‘I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover, that we’re going to review the policies,’’ Spicer said.

Doug Ericksen, the communications director for Trump’s transition team at EPA, said he expects the communications ban to be lifted by the end of this week.

‘‘We’re just trying to get a handle on everything and make sure what goes out reflects the priorities of the new administration,’’ Ericksen said.

Beyond what was stated in the internal email, Ericksen clarified that the freeze on EPA contracts and grants won’t apply to pollution cleanup efforts or infrastructure construction activities. The agency later said it would also seek to complete that review by Friday.

State agencies that rely on EPA for funding were left in the dark, with both Democratic and Republican officials saying they had received no information from EPA about the freeze.

‘‘We are actively seeking additional information so we can understand the impact of this action on our ability to administer critical programs,’’ said Alan Matheson, executive director of Utah Department of Environmental Quality.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the Trump administration should immediately reverse the media blackout and contracting freeze.

‘‘This decision could have damaging implications? for communities across New York state and the country, from delaying testing for lead in schools to restricting efforts to keep drinking water clean to holding up much-needed funding to revitalize toxic brownfield sites,’’ Schumer said.

The executive director for the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Jeff Ruch, said the orders go beyond what has occurred in prior presidential transitions.

‘‘We’re watching the dark cloud of Mordor extend over federal service,’’ Ruch said Tuesday, referring to the evil kingdom in the epic fantasy ‘‘The Lord of the Rings.’’

Ruch noted that key posts at EPA have not yet been filled with Republican appointees, including Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. That means there are not yet the new senior personnel in place to make decisions.

Environmentalists said the orders were having a chilling effect on EPA staff already suffering from low morale. Trump and Pruitt have both been frequent critics of the agency and have questioned the validity of climate science showing that the Earth is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

Staff at the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Research Service also received orders not to issue any news releases, photos, fact sheets and social media posts. After an email of the order leaked to the media, the agency said it would rescind the memo.

At the Transportation Department, employees received an e-mail message Monday morning that was ‘‘broadly worded and hard to interpret,’’ but which appeared to be a directive not to issue any news releases or post to social media, according to a DOT employee who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

‘‘Everybody’s being very cautious,’’ the employee said.

The AP reported over the weekend that staff employees at the Interior Department were temporarily ordered to stop making posts to its Twitter account after the official account of the National Park Service retweeted a pair of photos that compared those gathered for Trump’s inauguration with the much larger crowd that attended Obama’s swearing-in.

Trump later falsely claimed that more than 1 million people attended his inauguration, which Spicer insisted was the most watched in history.

In a test of what the new administration will tolerate, the official Twitter account of the Badlands National Park published a series of posts Tuesday accurately quoting climate science data that included the current record-setting high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The tweets were soon deleted.

Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
111. CaneFreeCR
02:33 PM GMT on êواêر 25, 2017
It seems to me that websites and groups such as this one will become even more important in the future as collecting points for citizen scientists and citizen science. Distributed science, on the model of the distributed computing projects like SETI, can make an enormous contribution possible by knowledgeable and dedicated citizen scientists, whose observations and records of events in Nature can support the professionals whose funds and staffing will suffer under the budget cuts and shift in focus of the government. Science Underground!
Member Since: دسمبر 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
110. LAbonbon
05:12 AM GMT on êواêر 25, 2017
This tweet and replies pertain to suggestions for archiving govt info, as well as some information on stuff that has already been grabbed. Not sure if this is anything useful for you, but maybe?

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