Thursday, January 25, 2007

The one world theory

It's barely anything, but corporate CEOs are people too who may occasionally realize that they and their children have to live on the same planet they are desolating in the pursuit of money. The US Climate Action Partnership was launched this week by officers from a collection of dodgy corporations. Unfortunately, there is little sign they are getting it, because there is in fact no way to "slow, stop and reverse the growth of U.S. emissions while expanding the U.S. economy." The U.S. economy is almost precisely a measure of its emissions. The only answer is Contraction and Convergence with a 90% reduction of fossil carbon useage immediately.

Meanwhile Myron Ebell, who does not belong on a living planet, has been sounding off at length on the Cybercast News Service, a deceptively crap webpage which is one of the few sources who still print his BS frequently and far more often than anyone else. The CNS has been a recipient of Exxon money as part of their disinformation campaign; this rattled their founder Brent Bozwell enough for him to come out on his own webpage and complain that "ExxonMobil's total contribution to the MRC represents two-tenths of one percent of our operating budget during this study period. If that influences us, we're cheap ... how is that influencing anything that we do?"

Well, Brent, it's simple. A taxi driver hires out his car to all kinds of customers, none of whom amount to a significant percentage of his income, although each one determins his destination completely, rather like the content of your publication. You need money. You know Exxon's position. Not necessary to sign a contract with "strings attached", because the strings are actually on the next dollar which you want to reel in from their bank account when you behave in a way that they like. It is already an empirical fact that any media source who publishes quotes from Myron Ebell without at the same time informing their readership that he is a paid liar none of whose words should ever be trusted is junk.

So when we get the usual lame attempts to counter-attack the Union of Concerned Scientists, which begins with Myron whinging that:
The name suggests everyone involved is some kind of objective scientist, but they tend to be leftist political activists... Facts mean very little to them.
By using the phrase "extreme leftist", they're trying to reanimate the dead spectre of Russian Communism. We've already raked over the facts presented in the UCS report, including authentic documents with Myron's name on them, about how they were plotting to train a cadre of fake scientists to back up their false information, knowing this would mislead the public, but they don't mention it. Instead, what follows is an irrelevant horse-hair sandwich from Tobacco lobbyist and peer review process denier Bonner Cohen about how the UCS had a:
remarkably benign view of the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 1980s and undertook extraordinary efforts to discourage the U.S. from countering whatever moves the Soviet Union was making to enhance its own nuclear arsenal.
added to the usual crap about how President Reagan single-handedly defeated the Soviet empire by outspending it on an expanded a nuclear missile stockpile far beyond that which would guarentee the total annihilation of life as we know it on the planet many times over, as well as investing in a missile shield that couldn't possibly work. The UCS quite reasonably pointed out that, since we only have one planet, it only needs destroying once in order to defeat the enemy as well as ourselves, and stockpiling nukes beyond this threshold was psychotic.

We were then, as now, ruled by provably ignorant psychopaths, including The Committee on the Present Danger and Team B, staffed by the exact same nuts who lead us into the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, through a blend of opportunism and lies about WMD.

The Soviet Union's demise in fact had nothing to do with the massive appropriation of the U.S. public's wealth into the private pockets of missile manufacturers, such as Boeing, Raytheon and McDonnell Douglas, and everything to do with the democratic reforms established by Gorbachev, systemic economic crises, and the military fatigue over their decade long occupation of Afghanistan. What other empire beginning with the initials U.S. could possibly be facing the same trifecta today? This time we can add to the mix an insoluble and life-threatening environmental catastrophe. So it's curtains for sure. Not that anyone in the Green Zone is capable of noticing.

It's all lies, with attempts to set us back to the middle ages by discarding the scientific method. As Bonner Cohen says in the same articles, side-by-side Myron:
the so-called "peer review process" is too narrowly focused, because it does not allow for input from geologists who are better positioned to gauge the question of global warming than climatologists.
Oh yeah? That would come as a news to geophysicist Michael E. Mann, geochemist Eric Steig, Professor in the Department of Geosciences Raymond S. Bradley, and Louis Block Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, all of whom have published scores of actual fact-checked, peer-reviewed, content-rich, related-to-the-data scientific papers, unlike anyone on Myron's team of sock-puppets. There's a difference. Myron's fake scientist friends write on used toilet paper, and shouldn't complain when everyone can tell that it stinks.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The 1998 smoking Memo

At the bottom of the Union of Concerned Scientists "rubbish" report, they reproduce the April 1998 "Global Climate Science Team" memo containing an Action Plan produced by an American Petroleum Institute workshop at which Myron Ebell participated (See Appendic C Part 1). The other participants were: John Adams, Candace Crandall, David Rothbard, Jeffrey Salmon, Lee Garrigan, Lynn Bouchey, Peter Cleary, Randy Randol (Exxon corp), Robert Gehri, Sharon Kneiss (Chevron corp) Steve Milloy, and Joseph Walker.

The preamble to the plan admits that
[W]hile Americans currently perceive climate change to be a great threat, public opinion is open enough to change on climate science. When lied to informed that "some scientists believe there is not enough evidence to suggest that (what is called global climate change) is a long-term change due to human behavoir and activities," 58 percent of those surveyed said they were more likely to oppose the Kyoto treaty.
Read that again. This means they had checked out whether lying to people worked. On the back of this, they designed their plan, which began with the paragraph (quotation marks used as they appear):

Victory Will Be Achieved When
  • Average citizens "understand" (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the "conventional wisdom"

  • Media "understands" (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science

  • Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current "conventional wisdom"

  • Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to theose who shape climate policy

  • Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extant science appears to be out of touch with reality.
"Tactics: These tactics will be undertaken between now and the next climate meeting in Buenos Aires, in November 1998, and will be continued thereafter, as appropriate. Activities will be launched as soon as the plan is approved, funding obtained, and the necessary resources (eg, public relations counsel) arranged and deployed."

The tactics include:
  • Identify, recruit and train a team of five independent scientists to participate in media outreach. These will be individuals who do not have a long history of visibility and/or participation in the climate change debate. Rather, this team will consist of new faces who will add their voices to those recognized scientsts who are already vocal.

  • Develop a global climate science information kit for media including peer-reviewed papers that undercut the "conventional wisdom" on climate science. This kit will also include understandable communications including simple fact sheets that present scientiic uncertainties in language that the media and public can understand.

  • Conduct briefings by media-trained scientists for science writers in the top 20 media markets, using the information kits. Distribute the information kits to daily newspapers nationwide with offer of scientists to brief reporters at each paper. Develop, disseminate radio news releases featuring scientists nationwide, and offer scientists to appear on radio talk shows across the country.

  • Produce, distribute a steady stream of climate science information via facsimile and e-mail to science writers around the country.

  • Produce, distribute via syndicate and directly to newspapers nationwide a stead stream of op-ed columns and letters to the editor authored by scientsts.

  • Convince one of the major news national TV journalists (eg John Stossel) to produce a report examining the scientific underpinnings of the Kyoto treaty.

  • Organize, promote and conduct through grassroots organizations a series of campus/community workshops/debates on climate science in 10 most important states during the period mid-August through October, 1998

  • Consider advertising the scientific uncertainties in select markets to support national, regional and local (eg workshops/debates), as appropriate.
The budget for this disinformation campaign, broken down into phases, rounds off at over five million bucks.

Included also is an outline of a database to track baseline opinion surveys and follow-up surveys on the percentage of Americans and government officials who recognize significant uncertainties in climate science. It would also contain:
  • Tracking the percent of media articles that raise questions about climate science.
  • Number of Members of Congress exposed to our materials on climate sciene
  • Number of communications on climate science received by Members of Congress from their constituents.
  • Number of radio talk show appearances by scientists questioning the "prevailing wisdom" on climate science.
  • Number of school teachers/students reached with our information on climate science.
  • Number of science writers briefed and who report upon climate science uncertainties.
  • Total audience exposed to newspaper, radio, television coverage of science uncertainties.
Of course, it's too much to ask our esteemed media to maintain a database of disinformation merchants with whom doing reports and taking interviews would be a dereliction of duty to the public. No, they're far too fecking useless that it takes a mere five million dollars and a cadre of multiply unmasked and malicious individuals, like Myron Ebell, to completely derail progress and send our world careering into the chasm of runaway environmental degradation.

This is where we are now. The intent behind the Exxon-Ebell campaign, regardless of its effectiveness, proves where the corporations are coming from. In future, when they try and pin the blame on the public for their flawed human nature of having unrealistic expectations which they had no choice but to honour or risk going out of business, we can point directly to the source of those expectations.

That's where the guilt lies. However, the real responsibility is with the press, with their access to phone books, science citation indexes and university switchboards, who were too lazy to phone up a single actual publishing scientist for comment and fact-checking when some petroleum-funded charlatan came knocking on their door with a pack of lies that looked as suspicious as a lemon in a briefcase. If there had been a streak of prefessionalism running through the media, the plan would have bombed. Who knows, there could have been a story there about a conspiracy. The public loves to read about conspiracies. They don't buy newspapers because they think they are a tissue of lies designed to them and their children long lasting harm.

Thank you, tossers.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Mostly Rubbish"

On 3 January, Myron Ebell wrote:
"Unfortunately, some environmental pressure groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, and some politicians are trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them... Nearly everything in the Union's report is recycled uncritically from other sources. It's mostly rubbish. The report even mistakenly labels me an economist."
Indeed, it is always a mistake to say that Myron is qualified for anything except lying. To be fair, there is no qualification for being a respected economist, aside from supporting big business, and being wrong about nearly everything. Now, what about the other "rubbish" in the report? Do you think if there were any more significant errors, he would have mentioned them? It reads:
The network ExxonMobil created masqueraded as a credible scientific alternative, but it publicized discredited studies and cherry-picked information to present misleading conclusions...

A close look at the work of these [Exxon-funded] organizations exposes ExxonMobil’s strategy. Virtually all of them publish and publicize the work of a nearly identical group of spokespeople, including scientists who misrepresent peer-reviewed climate findings and confuse the public’s understanding of global warming. Most of these organizations also include these same individuals as board members or scientific advisers.

Begun in 1996 by former [Republican] Senator Malcolm Wallop, Frontiers of Freedom was founded to promote property rights and critique environmental regulations like the Endangered Species Act. One of the group’s staff members, an economist named Myron Ebell, later served as a member of the Global Climate Science Team, the small task force that laid out ExxonMobil’s 1998 message strategy on global warming. Following the outline of the task force’s plan in 1998, ExxonMobil began funding Frontiers of Freedom...

A more prominent organization funded by ExxonMobil is the Washington, DC-based Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). Founded in 1984 to fight government regulation on business, CEI started to attract significant ExxonMobil funding when Myron Ebell moved there from Frontiers of Freedom in 1999. Since then, CEI has not only produced a steady flow of vituperative articles and commentaries attacking global warming science often using the same set of global warming contrarians. CEI has also sued the federal government to stop the dissemination of a National Assessment Synthesis Team report extensively documenting the region-by-region impacts of climate change in the United States...

Not surprisingly, ExxonMobil vociferously objected to the conclusion of the multiagency "Climate Action Report" that climate change posed a significant risk and was caused by humanmade emissions. Concerned about the matter, Cooney contacted Myron Ebell at the Exxon-Mobil-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute. "Thanks for calling and asking for our help," Ebell responded in a June 3, 2002, email to Cooney that surfaced as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request. Ebell urged that the President distance himself from the report. Within days, President Bush did exactly that, denigrating the report in question as having been "put out by the bureaucracy." In the June 3 email, Ebell explicitly suggests the ouster of then-EPA head Christine Todd Whitman. "It seems to me that the folks at the EPA are the obvious fall guys and we would only hope that the fall guy (or gal) should be as high up as possible," Ebell wrote. "Perhaps tomorrow we will call for Whitman to be fired." Sure enough, Whitman would last for less than a year in her post, resigning in May 2003. Finally, Ebell pledged he would do what he could to respond to the White House"s request to "clean up this mess."

A major piece of Ebell's "clean-up" effort presumably came on August 6, 2003, when the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed the second of two lawsuits calling for the Bush administration to invalidate the National Assessment (a peer-reviewed synthesis report upon which the U.S. Climate Action Report was based). The CEI lawsuit called for it to be withdrawn because it was not based upon "sound science."

Given the close, conspiratorial communication between Ebell and Cooney that had come to light, the lawsuit prompted the attorneys general of Maine and Connecticut to call upon the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the matter.

However, the Bush administration Justice Department, then led by John Ashcroft, refused to launch such an investigation, despite the fact that the Maine and Connecticut attorneys general stated forcefully that the evidence suggested that Cooney had conspired with Ebell to cause the Competitive Enterprise Institute to sue the federal government. As Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe noted: "The idea that the Bush administration may have invited a lawsuit from a special interest group in order to undermine the federal government’s own work under an international treaty is very troubling."
Myron Ebell's name also appears as an author in the American Petroleum Institute's Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan (Appendic C Part 1) which will be written up in the next blog post.

This is not rubbish. It's damning.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

One of Myron's pals

... is Daniel Johnson, one of the world's worst newspaper columnists, son of Paul Johnson, an extreme right-wing columnist who has just received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. What's that? You know, it's the award Bush doles out to big celebrites, disastrous administrators, and useful idiots like Tony Blair, who is not even stupid enough to pick it up.

The article by this son-of-writer "journalist" who mentioned Myron Ebell as a friend attained such an "acme of sycophancy" that it has been deleted from the website. Fortunately View From the Right has preserved it for posterity:
Whenever I visit America, I come back aglow with the munificent hospitality and friendly curiosity I encounter everywhere. It began at the entrance to the White House, where we were reacquainted with the Aquinas of our day, Michael Novak. Bob Tyrrell, editor in chief of the American Spectator, gave me a royal—sorry, presidential—welcome at his fine old Alexandria house, replete with ante-bellum artifacts and courtesy to match. Charles Krauthammer, peerless polemicist of the Washington Post, invited me to celebrate my first-ever Chanukah with his family and guests, including the great Irving and Bea Kristol. Finally, I was entertained by my old college friend Myron Ebell, fearless campaigner against environmental hysteria at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and his family, who reminded me of how civilized America still is compared to Europe.
I'm afraid this is politics of the Green Zone How civilized everything is in the elite enclaves while outside there is war, terror and starvation. It's a safe place to nurture your children so that they too can become the next President, isn't it?

In researching this posting, I read as much Daniel Johnson as I could handle. This piece about Bush's proposal to bomb the Al-Jazeera headquarters (never mind their reporters) took the biscuit.
[H]ow far can the West tolerate the dissemination of Islamist propaganda intended to poison the minds of Muslims against Jews and "Crusaders"?"...

[N]o government is obliged to reveal anything at all about operational decisions in wartime.

Wartime? Aye, there's the rub. Most Americans believe they are fighting a war against terror. Most Europeans don't. Most Americans are determined to win this war. Most Europeans have already given up.

Do you want proof? It was reported yesterday that a successful production of Christopher Marlowe's "Tamburlaine the Great" at the Barbican Theater in London deliberately censored the play in order not to offend Muslims.
Now I know these nuts have rather light standards of proof, but this is truly ridiculous. If your proof that we are at war is some dispute over a stage play in a theatre in London, then Mr Ebell can continue to deny Global Warming by the existance of an ice tray in his refridgerator.