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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Nearly 100 'Climate Education Programs' funded by NASA, NOAA, NSF & EPA

Four Federal agencies are funding at least 95 ‘Climate education programs’. These programs are specifically designed to influence students, teachers, and the public in general about climate change. Based on their summaries (which I will share) these programs are not intended to present information and let the public decide for themselves. Instead, they are designed for two goals. One, to influence the public to accept and take action on climate change. Two, to increase the future workforce involved in climate change fields. I will take each agency in turn, look at their stated goals, then look through some of the programs they have funded.

To be very clear, these programs do not further climate research. They are not studying the atmosphere or oceans. They are not studying clouds or albedo. We know nothing more about the state of our climate from these programs. Their sole purpose is education.

I’m going to explain my own view shortly. I do believe that the climate is changing, and that humans have had a minor role in this occurring. I do not believe that the future of the planet is in jeopardy. I object to these programs for multiple reasons, but one main contention is the fact that they all make the assumption that future climate change is overwhelmingly negative and that we absolutely must take serious action now. These programs all appear to assume catastrophic warming will occur unless action is taken. Enough of what I think. Look at the programs yourselves and see what you conclude.
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Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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A Day of Climate Blog Mourning for The Air Vent

That title might be a bit dramatic. However, Jeff Id at The Air Vent announced today that he isn’t going to blog anymore. He did state that he may resume in a few months, which I certainly hope is true. Here is his reason:

On the SOP thread we got into too heated a discussion. I’ve had more than my fair share of the public lately and don’t know when tAV will be back.

Of all the elements of the periodic table stupididium is the most abundant. The idiots pushed me over the edge tonight. I’ve had well enough of people who think they know — well anything — yet don’t have a clue. The blog has been very much entertaining and I’ve appreciated the technical contributors very thoroughly. I may continue someday in coming years but at this point… I’m done.

I’ve spent two years of my life in climate science, digging fairly deeply – I think you’ll agree. My conclusion is that those who believe they know believe for unknowable reasons. This includes BOTH sides. In what I believe is the rarest of cases, the middle ground is the correct ground and that is where the climate battle lies.

I don’t know if I will post again here, it has been fun though. Thanks to all who have been supportive and thanks to the guests.

Jeff Condon

Jeff’s blog delved deep into some very technical issues and found many interesting results. Apparently he got sick of both sides inability to concede any point to the other.

Blogs like The Air Vent are few and far between. If we truly want to advance the discussion on the science climate change and what action needs (or doesn’t need) to be taken, we need to examine why we are in this debate. If we ‘believe for unknowable reasons’ then no progress is made. Let’s not lose another valuable contributor like Jeff because both sides are so entrenched that anyone attempting to make progress gets fed up and quits.

If you want to bone up on your beliefs about CO2 and physics, check out this post by Jeff back in August. He is attempting to explain how CO2 does have a warming effect. Don’t knock it till you’ve read it.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

NASA Targets Children with 'Climate Kids' Website

The climate is changing as it always has. Most climate scientists are unable to conceive of any natural cause for this change, and they claim that human emissions of CO2 are the cause. The evidence of increasing temperature is abundant, the evidence that human emissions are causing this increase is weak. Climate scientists rely on modeling to support their claims. These models are incomplete and inaccurate, but they claim that if you take the average of these incomplete and inaccurate models you will get the correct climate sensitivity. Even then, when you apply this sensitivity to the past it does not work. Unless of course, you factor in aerosols, which is essentially guesswork. Bottom line is this: the reasons behind the changing climate are not well understood (by anyone).

You don’t get that impression from NASA’s ‘Climate Kids‘ website. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Haunting the Library – a great idea

Update 01/23/11

Matthew left a comment with this link. It highlights the errors of the claim that the Queensland forecast didn’t mention flooding. In fact the report did mention flooding multiple times, just not in the chapter that the post highlighted. HauntingTheLibrary made a mistake, and I believed them. I still think the concept behind the blog is a good idea, but I will certainly double check any more of their claims in the future. Thanks to Matthew for straightening me out.

A new blog started last month called Haunting the Library. It seems to be dedicated to looking back at past claims of environmentalists and judging their accuracy. As you might guess, they are practically always wrong, and reading about their errors is fascinating.

Some are not so very long ago, such as a recent post about how the “Queensland Gov Global Warming Forecast Didn’t Even Mention Floods” although it mentioned drought 24 times. Or going a bit further back, in 1982 the UN warned that:

by the turn of the century, an ecological catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust

I must have missed that. Anyways, it’s a great blog with lots of good content so go check it out.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Taxpayer's funding NSF program to teach meteorologists about climate change

The National Science Foundation (NSF) launched a program in 2010 called Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP). In this program they funded different opportunities to educate about climate change by giving funds (awards) to colleges who drafted proposals on how they would spend the money. One such proposal caught my eye. The program is entitled “Making the Global Local – Unusual Weather Events as Climate Change Educational Opportunities” and it is taking place at George Mason University (GMU). Here is the program description:

This project will focus on establishing a national network of on-air broadcast meteorologists, climate scientists, university research programs, and key climate and weather science organizations, to engage, train, and empower local broadcast meteorologists to educate and inform the American public about climate.

Training meteorologists to educate the American public about climate change? That sounds strange, but I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they simply want meteorologists to give the facts without any pre-conceived position on the subject. However, I dug a little further and found a job description for this program. I’ve taken a screen capture, take note of the highlighted area (click if needed):

Did they really just say that? Let’s look again:

The project will integrate informal learning, mass communication, and experiential learning theories to develop and test new pedagogical approaches to informal science education through frequent mass media exposure, linked to realworld experience (i.e., the local weather). It will also adapt and test conflict resolution theory and practice to engage meteorologists who reject the scientific consensus and climate scientists in constructive dialogue.

Adapt and test conflict resolution theory? Practice to engage meteorologists who reject the scientific consensus?

This is taxpayer’s money funding this stuff. Taxpayers are funding a program to “practice to engage meteorologists who reject the scientific consensus”. I contacted Anthony Watts and he wrote this post about it. I also contacted Joe Bastardi for his opinion. To paraphrase, he stated that the he believes that the data will prove the research correct and worrying about funding is only a distraction from forecasting. John Coleman has not yet responded.

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Posted by on January 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Recovery Act spent over 600 million dollars on climate change research; billions on GHG mitigation

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), better known as the stimulus act or stimulus package, was passed with the stated goal of helping our economy. It was meant to create jobs and boost consumer spending. Opponents of the nearly $1 trillion act pointed out that many of the provisions had nothing to do with helping the economy.

Looking back at a few different documents, I’ve found that the stimulus act spent over $600 million dollars on climate change research among three Federal agencies. In addition, there was $25 billion spent on researching different greenhouse gas emissions mitigation options.
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Politicians, Uncategorized

 

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How can climate scientists spend so much money?

US Federal government spending on climate change research in 2011

Until a few days ago I knew that the US government spent an excessive amount of taxpayer money on climate change research. It was just a general notion; I had read occasional articles showing the funding of certain agencies like NASA but I didn’t know many specifics. Then on New Years Day, I wrote a very quick article where I randomly picked a document from a Google search showing funding for climate change. The numbers astonished me. I decided to take a closer look.

The document is the The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s report:

AAAS REPORT XXXV

RESEARCH AND
DEVELOPMENT
FY 2011

The entire report is here, but I am only looking at chapter 15 which is here. The report is basically a snapshot of US Federal spending on research, including budgets for 2011 and how these numbers compare to previous years. The chapter on climate change is short and easy to read. It shows that all US agencies that conduct climate change research are expected to have larger budgets for 2011. Remember, these numbers are not set in stone, but they will not be drastically different from the actual numbers. I also need to make a caveat. Just because this funding has been labeled ‘climate change research’ does not mean it is necessarily not linked to another field as well. For example, some of the costs associated are for satellites, which are important in more than just climate research. This is not entirely frivolous spending. Even so, the numbers are staggering. Let’s look at some agencies and their budgets.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NOAA’s total budget request is $5.6 billion, which would be an increase of 17.0 percent. Of this, $437 million would be for climate research funding, which is an increase of $77 million.

$437 million spent on climate change research in one year, in one agency. Here’s another:

National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF would receive $7.4 billion in FY 2011, an increase of 8 percent relative to the FY 2010 appropriation. The request includes $370 million under the USGCRP framework, which is an increase of 16.0 percent. The Geosciences Directorate would receive $955 million (a 7.4 percent increase) in FY 2011 with $480 million going to Atmospheric and Earth Sciences. NSF’s Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) program would receive $765.5 million. This is intended to promote discoveries and capability needed to inform societal actions in ways that contribute to environmental and economic sustainability. NSF’s request also includes $19 million for RE-ENERGYSE, a joint program with the Department of Energy intended to promote education in clean energy research. An additional $10 million would fund Climate Change Education, which seeks to increase understanding of climate among the next generation of Americans.

$480 million here, $765.5 million there, throw in another $10 million for climate education and you’ve got $1.25 billion dollars spent on climate change research just at the NSF, just in ONE YEAR! Next is NASA:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA’s FY 2011 budget request is $19.0 billion. NASA Earth Science is a relatively small fraction of this total, $1.8 billion or 9.5 percent, but would increase substantially relative to the FY 2010 appropriation (up 26.8 percent). NASA Earth Science funds climate change R&D through several programs. Two of particular note are Earth Science Research, which would receive $438.1 million (an increase of 14 percent)

It seems like the $450 million mark is a common budget for climate research among these agencies. NOAA’s funding, the NSF’s atmospheric science funding, and NASA’s Earth Science research are all around $450 million. It may be an interesting coincidence. Next is the Department of Energy:

Department of Energy (DOE).

The President’s budget request for DOE in FY 2011 is $28.4 billion. This includes $4.6 billion for R&D in the Office of Science (an increase of 3.8 percent), and $2.4 billion for energy R&D (an increase of 6.8 percent). Within the Office of Science, the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER), which supports basic research in atmospheric sciences, terrestrial ecosystems and climate modeling, would receive $627 million (an increase of 3.8 percent). BER’s request includes $28.6 million for the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) program, which examines the impact of climate change on biological systems and land-surface carbon cycle feedbacks to climate change.

$627 million taken from a taxpayer or borrowed from a future taxpayer, spent in one year. Next the Department of the Interior:

Department of the Interior (DOI).

DOI requests $171 million (an increase of 26.0 percent) for its Climate Change Adaptation initiative, which seeks to identify areas and species most vulnerable to climate change and implement coping strategies. Of this, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) would receive $77.9 million for climate science (an increase of 15.5 percent).

How many jobs could be created in 2011 if $171 million were still in the hands of US taxpayers, instead of being spent on climate studies which have been done many times before? Studying areas vulnerable to climate change? That’s already been done by every agency, twice. Next is the EPA:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

EPA requests $169 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (an increase of 1 percent). Of this, $43.5 million is new funding for regulatory efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act. EPA requests $22 million for its Global Change Research Program, which assesses the impacts of global change on air and water quality, ecosystems, human health, and socioeconomic systems in the United States with a primary goal of promoting adaptation efforts.

I don’t even understand what this means. How does giving the EPA $169 million reduce emissions? Also, does it really cost $43.5 million a year (more) to regulate greenhouse gases? Lastly, the USDA:

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA requests $159 million for climate change research, an increase of 42.0 percent, and $179 million for renewable energy, an increase of 41.0 percent. USDA’s climate change efforts (and those of the U.S. Forest Service which is part of USDA) center on helping farmers and land owners adapt to climate change impacts (e.g., enhanced fire stress, insect outbreaks, droughts, floods, and heat stress) and promoting carbon storage in soils and forests.

A 42% increase in climate change research? $159 million spent in a single year, by the USDA? Crop yields are up! CO2 helps crops! Imagine spending $159 million in 2011 to research things that actually help people.

The amount of money being spent on climate change research this year is astounding. I urge you to read the document yourself. Here is the question to take away: what are we getting for the billions of dollars we’ve spent? When 2011 is over will we look back at the published research and be satisfied with how our billions have been spent? This type of spending has occurred for some time, and what do we have to show for it? Multiple federal agencies having multi-hundred million dollar budgets in the same (controversial) field is wasteful. Let’s make sure 2011 is the last year these budgets increase.

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Posted by on January 8, 2011 in Uncategorized