Climate Change loonies

Oh God, where to start?

Our esteemed Legislature, on Thursday, approved in committee, by 10-1, a bill dissing on climate change, basing the reason for the need for this resolution the certainty among members of the committee, led by Rep. Mike Noel, (R-nuclear industry) that climate change is really part of a global conspiracy to control and limit the population of the world.

Yes, you read that right. Bills in the Legislature are now based on world control paranoia. Condemnations of the Illuminati and discourses on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion will, no doubt, be next.

This sort of anti-intellectual BS is just too obscene to tolerate, and yet Utahns do. My column Sunday deals with this and other things, not the least of which the outrage by climate scientists at Brigham Young University, not to mention the dangers we face when our Legislators get all huffy with the federal government.

Why just BYU? Because scientists at state funded universities know that anti-intellectualism is so rampant at the Legislature that lawmakers would very likely, based on past performance, cut funding out of sheer spite. Anyone out there doubt this?

I know, I know, climate change and global warming are matters of belief, not science. 

Still, the letters from those same BYU scientists, one last year, one this week, are public and worth reading, if only for the novelty value. What are facts in the face of determined ignorance, after all?

Here’s links to them both: The letter last year, regarding anti-climate  hearings (click)

The letter they wrote this week about the resolution containing conspiracy theories. (click) .

The SL Trib had a story here (click)

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21 Responses to Climate Change loonies

  1. Dovie says:

    I saw this story. A parallel story in the media right now is of Andrew Wakefield, who authored the original “vaccines cause autism” paper. While there is new publicity, it has been clear for years that Wakefield was employed by a group that planned to sue the government over MMR vaccination and his data was fabricated.

    A great number of subsequent studies have shown no link – the FDA, Dept of HHS, Institute of Medicine (every legitimate scientific body in the world) has said so.

    Yet, in 2006 Congress passed legislation – the combat autism act, I think – that many considered a “mandate” to find causality. The floor speeches involved a personal testimonial from Congressmen about how they were convinced that their grandchild was autistic because of vaccines. (I have the text of this somewhere at home).

    There is no scientific basis for this belief. It is all testimonials and media hype. It’s been conclusively disproven by very reputable data. Most of all, nobody has any incentive for a cover up.

    This, too, illustrates the disconnect between our “believer” Congress and scientific data.

  2. dan s. says:

    I just discovered an excellent online book on energy issues called Sustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air. It’s written in a concise yet delightful style that many readers will thoroughly enjoy. And the first chapter includes an excellent brief overview of what we do and don’t know about climate change. That overview starts here:

    http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/withouthotair/c1/page_5.shtml

    The book’s author is British so many of the examples are specific to Britain, but U.S. readers might actually find that perspective refreshing.

  3. Jim Hutchins says:

    There aren’t words. I keep wanting to make a comment, but I can’t.

  4. Charles Trentelman says:

    Well, jim, you could try YOU THUNDERING IDIOTS!!!!!!! and go on from there.

    Also, “Dumber’n a bag of hammers,” (from Oh Brother, Where Art Thou) has always struck me as a term screaming for wider use.

    just a couple of suggestions ….. do you need the Legislators’ postal address?

  5. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Hurray for the BYU profs who signed the letter exposing HJR 12 as a crude political hack job. I’d love to hear what Rep. Gibson has to say about the profs and their letter. How about withdrawing the resolution? Not likely in this era of witch hunting scientists.

  6. Barry Bickmore says:

    I am one of the BYU profs who wrote the letter. Here is the text of an e-mail I sent to the committee after they voted to recommend the resolution.

    Dear Representatives,

    I listened to the audio file of today’s committee meeting, and I wanted to send you a personal note (independent of my colleagues at BYU) to explain why I am disappointed that you recommended HJR 12 with only one dissenting vote.

    I happen to agree with most of you that the EPA should not be regulating carbon dioxide emissions based on the Clean Air Act. And yet, I participated with my colleagues in urging you to table HJR 12. I did this because I believe something Henry B. Eyring told a group of BYU scholars. He said that “few things could harm truth more than to defend it with a bad argument.” (See http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=29). What you have effectively done by recommending HJR 12 is to take a serious policy issue that will be difficult to solve, and make a farce out of your (and my) position on the question. In our letter to you, my colleagues and I pointed out that there were not only errors of fact in HJR 12, but that some of the positions taken appear to be mutually contradictory. Recent climate change cannot have been dominantly driven both by CFCs and natural factors, for instance. When you put forward arguments like these, it gives those on the other side of the question license to dismiss all of the reasonable points you make.

    I also noted that both the representative from the Farm Bureau and Rep. Noel called on the last group of BYU professors (which included me) to apologize for our personal attacks on both Roy Spencer and Rep. Noel. The fact is that we did no such thing. We carefully avoided personal attacks and only spoke about Roy Spencer’s “fringe” positions. Clearly, if his positions diverge from 97% of his scientific community, they are not “mainstream.”

    However, I do have something to say personally to Rep. Noel. In the hearing today, he claimed that carbon dioxide cannot be classified as a pollutant because it is necessary to sustain plant life. I was shocked when I heard him say this, because Rep. Noel apparently has a M.S. degree in an ecology-related field. The fact is that we use phosphates and nitrates in fertilizers for plants–they are essential for plant life. And yet, it is well known that if too much nitrate and/or phosphate washes into lakes and oceans, large areas can become clogged with algae blooms that die and deplete the water of oxygen, killing other aquatic life. Therefore, the EPA regulates these chemicals, and nearly everyone agrees that this should be the case. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Rep. Noel’s comment about carbon dioxide is another example of an argument the proponents of HJR 12 are using that lacks any validity, and harms their cause in the long run.

    As I said, I do not support EPA regulation of carbon dioxide. But even though I support that view, I have decided that I will not be silent when my elected representatives make demonstrably bad arguments for it, because that would be dishonest.

    Sincerely,

    Barry Bickmore
    Associate Professor of Geological Sciences
    Brigham Young University

  7. Jim Hutchins says:

    Bravo, Dr. Bickmore.

  8. ctrentelman says:

    Dr. Bickmore, I am flattered you chose my blog to post this response. Your note is vastly more intelligent than my own blog post which is, sadly, vastly more intelligent and responsible than the actions of our legislators.

    They are, as you correctly note, hurting their own cause through ignorant short-sighted cheap shots aimed, I suspect, at making points with their acolytes, not forming good law for Utah. This makes me very sad.

    Thank you.
    Charles Trentelman

  9. FLASH!!

    This Brand New Video Blows a Huge Gaping Hole in Obama’s Cap and Tax Scheme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVm5-6H_sH4

  10. Al says:

    Wow, CommieBlaster, that’s quite a web site you have there. And by “quite a web site” I mean “massive pile of freakout.”

    Nice video, too. There are a few jarring jump cut edits that might make a skeptical viewer think it wasn’t entirely Truthy, though, but I see from the youtube comments that the intended audience has no such trouble.

  11. Annakin says:

    Look what we have here

    http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/81583352.html

    No conspiracy eh

    Trentleman you really should look at the evidence that the IPCC is government and corrupt

    Climategate Glaciergate Amazongate etc

  12. ctrentelman says:

    Annakin — I give you a raft of Ph.D.s, people who spent multiple years just getting their degrees and more multiple years studying climate, going through peer-review (which pretty much defines the word \rigor\) and who spend their lives pondering data,

    and you give me .. a … TV WEATHERMAN???????? Someone with a JOURNALISM DEGREE??????

    if u bothered to read those papers by those byu scientists you’d see a section where they discuss how science is rarely 100 percent but works on the consensus system — when MOST agree, they tend to lean that way, and MOST climate scientists agree that the data they are seeing shows climate change is real and a danger and man-caused.

    Some TV weatherman coming up with a different view hardly cuts it. You gonna let Mark Eubanks sit in on your next medical exam?

  13. Jim Hutchins says:

    Wow, I’d give about as much credence to a TV talking head’s views on global warming as I would to a Utah State Representative’s views on embryology… oh wait.

  14. Annakin says:

    What TV weatherman, oblivious to the experts that he has in those clips are we.

    I still don’t see how you can claim a bunch “scientists” who make their money from the government as being credible

    Climategate proved the IPCC as frauds

  15. Pingback: Fun with conspiracies, Part Deux « Standard Examiner Blogs

  16. Annakin says:

    This is called investigative journalism, something trentelman seems to know nothing about.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7177230/New-errors-in-IPCC-climate-change-report.html

  17. Al says:

    Annakin, care to describe exactly what “climategate” exposed? Not what some weatherman tells you it exposed?

    Here’s an interesting comparison of the climate change consensus versus deniers arguments: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

  18. Jinx says:

    This is the kind of story you get when a guy with a camera that rambles around ends up thinking of himself as a real reporter.
    This entire climate change hoax ( or whatever they are calling it today ) is coming apart at the seams and the wackos and higher learning puppets are doing everything they can top keep the last remnants alive.
    Wake up! THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!

  19. Re: “This Brand New Video Blows a Huge Gaping Hole in Obama’s Cap and Tax Scheme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVm5-6H_sH4

    After I did some examination on how Monckton cherry-picks his statistics, I wouldn’t trust _anything_ he says – on global warming or otherwise.

    http://jhubert.livejournal.com/181274.html

  20. Joe B. says:

    I woke this morning listening the KUER and heard another voice
    of reason stating that we should tell the Utah Legislature to
    keep their opinions about science and particularly climate change
    to themselves. That no one with a brain could possibly disagree
    with the currently popular opinion that the world is heating up
    because of human activity.

    So I ended up here while looking for real information. Did not really find any facts.

    One of the reasons advanced for public support of education is
    that there is societal good of having a public capable to understanding
    complex issues and of making good judgement regarding the course
    of the society. The goal of a good liberal education was once
    to produce people capable are reading anything including the occasional
    scientific paper.

    In my case, I once believed in the theory of man caused global warming.
    However, in the course of my reading and study, I came across the
    statement of scientists wherein it was alleged that the historical
    record showed that higher CO2 levels lagged the temperature rises.
    This fact in and of itself was enough to decide the matter but it did
    open up the possibility of reasonable disagreement on the subject.

    Last year when the ZIP file from East Angelica because available, I
    downloaded a copy just to see if I could. I unzipped it and glanced
    over the contents. The emails were interesting enough but what really
    caught my attention was a log file which purported to be that of a
    graduate student or low level professional who had been given the task
    of reproducing the published results showing the alarming “hockey stick”
    temperature rise from the current data sets.

    Now I have a college degree in computer science and 30 year working
    background dealing with designing and building computer systems. So
    I have a reasonably good feel for the problems of data analysis. One
    should also know that it is considered good and common practice to
    keep a log file when working on long term projects because it is all
    too easy to lose track of the thinking and decisions affecting the
    results.

    So as I read this log file, it seemed to be a credible piece of work,
    a day to day record of an attempt to take data and come up with a chart
    showing the alarming temperature rise.

    But what the file revealed is that data had not received proper care
    and that there was no defensible chain of operations or reasoning that
    could connect the original station data to the aggregated and manipulated
    working data set that supposedly proved the point. If this is true, the whole case for global warming just is no good. And these fact do seem to be admitted by Phil Jones where he states that his project management skills were not of the best quaility.

    So what is alarming about the public debate about climate change is that
    the arguments in most cases seem to devolve to this, “scientists agree that
    the earth is warming”. This is a simple case of appeal to authority, one
    of the weakest forms of reasoning. From there, things usually get worse
    and involve sarcasm and other forms of low-class name calling and insults
    that make for entertainment of the lowest level.

    Having had to examine program code coming from a university context, I
    am under no spell of infallibility of the university. In fact, that is
    the last place I would look to for a good programming project. The level
    of personnel is almost always of lower quality than would be found in a
    professional setting and the projects suffer from frequent turnover and
    a lack of continuity of thought and understanding. Mistakes enter the
    project and the commitment of the workers is not there to really fix
    these inevitable problems because of the short time frames imposed by
    the school semester system.

    So I think that there is a chance that the popular meme of climate
    change might be just a fad of thinking. I think that our legislature
    is correct in not committing the public support of this matter. I
    think that sarcasm is much overused in this debate.

    I would like to see studies done of Utah temperature that don’t involve
    aggregation of station data which seems to be the flaw in most of the
    current work. Instead, for each station, compute the temperature history
    for that station alone. Then compute a slope for this data. The question
    is, “How many individual stations in Utah show a positive slope”? Over
    ten years, twenty years, etc. What is the total amount of temperature
    increase for Utah over these time periods on a per station basis?

    I would like to wake up to facts like this on the radio rather than name
    calling and sarcasm and appeals to authority.

  21. Theresa says:

    Any idea where you can find out the value of old comic books 1960′s or sell them locally.
    Love your column in the Standard.

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