Monthly Archives: March 2009

Dear Mr. President — You're Full of It


“We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now. After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events. The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior. Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.”

— Draft text of newspaper ad by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, DC. (Thanks to Real Climate for surfacing this ad)


Cato is circulating this draft newspaper ad text to find scientists willing to sign on. It will be interesting to see how many they get and who they are.

In the meantime, let’s see if we can help Cato untangle the facts.

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Major Climate Policy Coverage From Major News Sources

Mainstream media is delving into the details of climate policy at a level we just didn’t see a couple years ago. Here’s a sampling from this week:

Newsweek asked whether we can still afford to invest in an environmentally-friendly economy, and to find out, they talked with our president, Fred Krupp. He gave this example of how green investments make sense all around:

When we make the energy high-efficiency, low-carbon, we can create all types of jobs—jobs that weatherize homes that create dollars that stay here instead of going overseas to pay for imported oil. We can create jobs that produce the materials for weatherization, we can create jobs to make wind turbines and install them. It’s not only high-tech jobs we’re creating, it’s a tremendous number of jobs in existing, familiar businesses. (Read the two-page interview.)

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Fred Krupp yesterday. He starts by observing:

When Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson says he favors a carbon tax over a cap-and-trade system, it’s worth asking why the energy giant would want to put a government levy on its own product.

Why, indeed? A tax would not set a legal limit on the pollution created by Exxon’s products. A cap would.

And finally, this line from a Los Angeles Times editorial calls out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business lobbying group:

There will be winners and losers in the clean-energy economy, and those who stand to lose have the loudest voices in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The winners won’t just be green-technology innovators; they include everybody on Earth.

Posted in What Others are Saying / Comments are closed

Obama to Energy Entrepreneurs: “Your Country Needs You”

From an address at the White House yesterday:

We can remain the world’s leading importer of foreign oil, or become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy. We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs preventing its worst effects.

It’s definitely worth reading the news summary and full remarks.

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Now's Not the Time


“If anything, there is a case to be made that Congress is kind of rushing on the whole cap and trade legislation. Henry Waxman has said that he wants a bill out by Memorial Day. Barbara Boxer says she wants a bill out of the Senate by a similar time…

“Not surprisingly, people are fixated on the economy. Obama is fixated on the economy. This seems like a low level thing, even though scientists are saying we really need to cut emissions quickly. I think there’s a real case to be made for splitting this up and waiting until later this year or early next year on cap and trade until Obama can really focus his full attention on it and do what’s possible in the meantime.”

— Bradford Plumer, Assistant Editor at The New Republic, March 19, 2009


While Bradford Plummer isn’t an opponent of global warming action, the question “Why rush this?” is one we hear a lot from many of those who are.

But it’s a very thin reed to stand on. We’ve debated and debated and debated the need for global warming for more than a generation.

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Global Warming Action = Global Conspiracy


“Why all of a sudden is there so much money for, like, global warming? Why is that so high on the president’s agenda? Why are they trying to shut down every coal plant? Have you checked the temperature lately? The new budget contains a cap-and-trade program that is supposed to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Oh, the trees will love it. But if it performs anywhere near as well as the one in Europe — because that one’s great — it will likely limit nothing except corporate profits and economic growth.

“…So, if we’re worried about the economy, why is that there? Remember one thing: The problem is the solution. The answer to why we’re talking about global warming is contained right there in the name — global. Global warming fits perfectly with a global New Deal, because they’re both focused on solving everyone’s problems all at once — controlling your life globally — while ensuring that America takes on the majority of the world’s burden.”

— Glenn Beck, the Glenn Beck show on Fox News, March 3, 2009


The conspiracy theorists are out in force when it comes to global warming action, and Glenn Beck’s quote captures the sentiment perfectly.

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We are cooling. We are not warming.


“We are cooling. We are not warming. The warming you see out there, the supposed warming, and I am using my finger quotation marks here, is part of the cooling process. Greenland, which is now covered in ice, it was once called Greenland for a reason, right? Iceland, which is now green. Oh I love this. Like we know what this planet is all about. How long have we been here? How long? Not very long.”

– RNC Chairman Michael Steele, guest-hosting Bill Bennett’s Morning in America radio show, March 6, 2009


If you looked up “Train Wreck” in the dictionary, do you think this quote would appear?

Hard to know where to begin with this.

As we’ve posted before, the planet is not cooling. Yes, 2008 was cooler than 2007, but it was still one of the top ten warmest years on record. And, the warmest decade on record is the last ten years.

Here is a graphic from our Climate 411 blog that shows the extent of the current warming trend:

global warming trends chart graphic

Folks who claim that the planet is cooling simply don’t know what they’re talking about.

Oh, and as for why Greenland is called Greenland when it’s mostly covered in ice, it’s an interesting historical story. It turns out that Viking settlers used the inviting name to entice more settlers to join them. In reality, Greenland’s ice cap is hundreds of thousands of years old and covers more than 4/5 of the land.

The rest of Steele’s quote kind of loses, um, focus. Not sure how to politely respond.

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