International conference on Climate Change aka Deny-A-Palooza
I’ve never attended any of the annual Heartland Institute gatherings on climate denial, but every year they catch my attention—pretty much in the same way that we all slow down to ogle the wreck at the side of the highway.
Heartland’s 10th International Conference on Climate Change wrapped up last week in Washington, D.C. Senator Jim Inhofe, the alpha dog of congressional climate denial, keynoted, as did Lamar Smith, the Chair of the House Science Committee. Good times, distinguished guests.
The rest of the agenda was populated with what Captain Renault in “Casablanca” would have called “the usual suspects.” Willie Soon, apparently unabashed from revelations of his seven-figure windfall for climate research funded by ExxonMobil and Southern Company, talked climate science, accompanied by two former state climatologists who left in a cloud of controversy, Pat Michaels of Virginia and David Legates of America’s lowest-lying state, Delaware.
Mark Steyn, defendant in a defamation lawsuit from Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, also delivered a keynote. The suit is a result of online columns from Steyn and others likening Mann to convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach.
Other luminaries at Deny-a-Palooza 2015 (my name for the festivities) include Roy Spencer, the Alabama scientist whose 1990’s work on global temperatures as measured by satellite underwent multiple corrections and revisions; Anthony Watts, the small-market TV/radio weatherman with no college degree whose data on land-station temperatures also has been rebuked; and John Coleman, the avuncular, retired ABC News and Weather Channel luminary who has for several years wielded a threat of a fraud lawsuit against Al Gore as a sure-fire measure to resolve this whole thing.
Obviously, Deny-a-Palooza brings a strong bench. But to use a completely tacky sports analogy, they have a lot of superstars who haven’t brought home the Big Trophy. The world has yet to embrace Heartland’s deep conviction that climate change is a Trojan horse bid by scientists, hippies, and journalists to take over the world.
The theme for this year’s conference was “A Fresh Start,” with a logo featuring a silhouette of an exuberant man clicking his heels while multiple parts of his body emit a strange glow. Interesting choice, but here’s another “Fresh Start” for next year’s gathering. I suggest a new slate of Heartland speakers for 2016:
|Mayor Larry Vaughn|
Politics: Hon. Larry Vaughn, Mayor of Amity Island
In the epic movie “Jaws,” released 40 years ago, virtually everyone in the fictional seaside resort of Amity Island is terrified in the wake of an apparent shark attack. But hizzoner is terrified of something different: Taking a tourism beating due to shark fear. After the first fatality, Mayor Vaughn muscles the medical examiner into declaring that a boat propeller had cut the poor woman in half, and in the movie he blocks the sheriff from closing the beaches as a safety precaution. Surely the Heartlanders could benefit from a character who practiced shark denial 40 years before climate denial peaked.
|Lt. Hiroo Onoda|
Military: Lt. Hiroo Onoda, Imperial Japanese Army
Few in history could stick to a plan in spite of overwhelming evidence like Lt. Onoda. Dropped into the Philippine jungle in 1944, Onoda and a handful of colleagues staged guerilla raids for a quarter century, until Onoda was the last man standing. He rejected multiple efforts by leaflet and bullhorn to surrender, reasoning that this surrender stuff was part of a massive hoax. In 1974, he came out only when his elderly, retired commanding officer went into the jungle to order him out.
|Professor Irwin Corey|
Academia: Professor Irwin Corey, the World’s Foremost Authority
Now 101 years old but going strong, Professor Corey has had an 80-year career in show business, perfecting a special brand of surrealistic comedy under the soubriquet “The World’s Foremost Authority.” His stand-up routine—he still performs—is based on spouting scientific-sounding gibberish, often improvised. I’m pretty sure he does not accept grants from fossil fuel companies. He’d be a good catch for Heartland, but for a counterintuitive reason: The Professor is a deep devotee of Leftist politics, which could make the conference more fair-and-balanced. But as a believer that 9/11 was staged by the U.S. Government, he shares Heartland’s fondness for conspiracy.
International leadership: Monty Python’s Black Knight
|Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd.|
In the midst of his quest for the Holy Grail, King Arthur (played by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman) encounters a fierce Black Knight blocking his path. When the Knight refuses to yield, Arthur slices off one arm, then the other. The Black Knight refuses to give up, denying he’s been injured while kicking at the King. Arthur removes the Black Knight’s final two limbs, and rides off, while the Black Knight’s torso claims victory. He’s a good match for Heartland’s relentless self-congratulation, most recently on display when they sent a delegation to Rome to “advise” Pope Francis on climate change. They didn’t exactly get an audience, and Heartland’s hotel-room press conference didn’t get much of one, either.
Religion: The Rev. Ernest Angley
The venerable faith healer hasn’t had much to say about climate as far as I know, but his hands-on cures for the lame, the deaf, and the sexually deviate have drawn decades’ worth of attention from the faithful and district attorneys alike. As a prominent man of faith, Rev. Ernest could provide a powerful Papal pushback. He’s got a massive global audience, and his approach to medicine is in the same league as Heartland’s take on science.
Finally, I don’t mean to stereotype, but the man’s audiences seem a tad gullible. One more reason he’d be a good one to round out the 2016 speakers’ list at the Deny-a-Palooza.
By Peter Dykstra
Environmental Health News
2015 is likely to beat 2014 as the warmest year on record
The Earth just had its warmest May on record, hottest spring and mildest year-to-date, according to new data released Thursday. The climate statistics indicate the year is on course to set another milestone for the warmest year on record, surpassing the previous warmest year, set in 2014.
The data, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also bolsters the clarion call for climate action released by Pope Francis, since they are a sign of longterm warming caused by human activities, scientists said.
According to NOAA, May was not only the warmest such month on record, globally, coming at 1.57 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, but it also blew away the old record by 0.14 degrees Fahrenheit. The old record was set just last year, indicating that 2015 is running hotter than 2014. (Typically, these records are exceeded by smaller margins of 0.1 or 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit.)
In fact, May had the fourth-largest temperature departure from average of any month on record, NOAA said.
The spring months of March through May also set a record for the warmest such period on record since 1880, surpassing the previous warmest spring, set in 2010.
The year so far is running a temperature departure from average of 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, which is the highest for the January through May period on record, beating 2010 by 0.16 degrees Fahrenheit.
‘Like standing on an escalator as it goes up’
The warmth is largely coming from the oceans, according to NOAA scientists. This, in part, is due to a strengthening El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which features milder-than-average ocean temperatures that also raise air temperatures in that region.
But the warm oceans haven’t been limited to the tropical Pacific, notes Deke Arndt, head of climate monitoring at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Education (NCEI).
“The oceans have been what’s really been driving the warmth that we’ve seen in the last year and a half to two years,” he said on a press conference call. “We’ve seen really large warmth in all of the major ocean basins. So, if there’s anything unusual or weird, I guess, about what we’re seeing, it’s the fact that the entire global ocean is participating in this really extreme warmth that we’ve seen in the last couple years.”
Arndt would not predict that 2015 will definitely be warmer than 2014, but he said there is an increasing chance of this, considering that we’re five months into the year and running significantly ahead of where the climate was at this time last year.
‘We don’t do predictions here, but I would not be surprised if 2015 ends up the warmest year on record,” he said. El Niño serves to raise the odds of a warmest year, particularly when an event is moderate to strong, as the current one is projected to be by many forecast models.
Arndt likens the relationship between man made climate change and El Niño to standing on an escalator. “Climate change is a long-term driver, so that’s like standing on an escalator as it goes up,” he said. El Niño, on the other hand, “is like jumping up and down while you’re on that escalator.”
“So, the longer that we go into history, we’re riding up the escalator. And now that we’re getting an El Niño event, we happen to be jumping up at the same time, and so they play together to produce outcomes like what is likely to be the warmest year on record,” Arndt said.
The NOAA climate findings are based on an updated dataset that takes into account many more land surface weather stations as well as ocean buoys than previous versions did. The dataset was used in a recent paper published in the journal Science, which showed a smaller global warming “pause” since 1997 than other climate studies had.
The transition to the new data set, which NOAA says is more accurate, may shift some historical rankings.
Other data maintained by NASA shows that May was the second-warmest such month, behind May 2014. Spring was the second-warmest such period, behind the spring of 2010, and the year-to-date, are running warmer than 2014.
The Japan Meteorological Agency also keeps surface temperature data, which shows that May was the warmest such month on record, and spring was the warmest on record as well.
Each data center shows similar numbers but differ in their analysis methods, causing rankings to be slightly off when comparing them.
Mashable’s Miriam Kramer contributed reporting.