Climate Realists Fight AGs’ Fishing Expedition
These subpoenas are a fishing expedition with no hope of finding anything remotely illegal since it is not illegal to fund climate research or debate climate science or policy.
Climate Change Weekly #211
In the Climate Change Weekly released April 5 (CCW 209), I discussed the press conference held by a group of state attorneys general (AG), led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, threatening investigations and possible prosecutions of climate skeptics for speaking their mind. Just days after I wrote that article, on April 7, a subpoena was served on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) by Claude Walker, attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The subpoena demands CEI produce emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding its work on climate change and energy policy, including private donor information, from 1997 through 2007. Walker gave CEI until April 30, 2016 to produce this decades’ worth of material.
CEI responded swiftly and forcefully to the subpoena. CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman issued a statement saying, “CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena. It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group. If Walker and his allies succeed, the real victims will be all Americans, whose access to affordable energy will be hit by one costly regulation after another, while scientific and policy debates are wiped out one subpoena at a time.”
Shortly after CEI received its subpoena, DCI Group, a Washington, DC-based public relations and lobbying firm that has had fossil fuel industry clients, became the third organization to receive subpoenas from the Virgin Islands’ AG, joining CEI and Exxon, which previously had been served subpoenas from Schneiderman and Walker.
These subpoenas are a fishing expedition with no hope of finding anything remotely illegal since it is not illegal to fund climate research or debate climate science or policy. This harassment is an attempt to silence critics of climate alarmism and the policies of the Obama administration and various states.
Interestingly, using Vermont’s public records law, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (EELI) has discovered evidence the state AGs had been collaborating with radical anti-fossil-fuel groups who provided information and strategy advice to the AGs while urging them to pursue litigation against their political opponents. The documents also show the AGs actively sought to hide the anti-fossil-fuel groups’ involvement. EELI’s executive director, Craig Richardson, said in a press release, “These emails strongly suggest the financial motive for AGs to pursue their political opponents, not content with merely silencing and scaring away support for those who dare disagree with their extreme global warming agenda. Alarmingly, government officials are actively trying to cover up their coordination by using a Common Interest Agreement, even to claw back records already circulated, which another attorney general properly objected to as violating state law.”
The Heartland Institute, like CEI, has long been a champion of sound climate science and is a leader in the fight against flawed, dangerous, climate policies. Although I don’t’ relish the thought of Heartland being entangled in misguided and ultimately costly litigation, I have been surprised Heartland has yet to be served with a similar subpoena. It brings to mind the situation of Henry David Thoreau when jailed for the act of civil disobedience for failing to pay poll taxes. Thoreau felt the poll tax was unjust and used to support unjust policies and causes. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a fellow writer, mentor, and friend, reportedly visited Thoreau in jail asking, “Henry, what are you doing in there?” Thoreau replied, “Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?”
While I’m glad we are not party to a lawsuit, I’m left asking, “Why not us?”
-- H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
Pioneering hurricane researcher William Gray, Ph.D., died on April 16, 2016 at the age of 86. Gray was a good friend of The Heartland Institute, speaking at five of our International Conferences on Climate Change and attending most others. He was emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University (CSU) and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences.
Gray helped develop satellite-based studies of tropical weather systems, with his research examining tropical cyclone structure, movement, and intensity change resulting in pioneering seasonal hurricane predictions for the Atlantic basin for the past 23 years of his life. As The New York Times noted, Gray’s pioneering hurricane predictions allowed “the East Coast and the Caribbean to gird for their [hurricanes’] fury.”
Gray rejected the idea human fossil fuel use was having an impact on hurricane frequency or intensity. His research indicated the frequency of hurricanes was cyclical, with their intensity and likelihood of reaching the East Coast of the United States depending on a number of natural factors including the amount of rainfall in the African Sahel and the impact of El Niño.
The Times noted, “In an interview with Westword, a Denver online newsletter, in 2006, Dr. Gray said, ‘When I am pushing up daisies, I am very sure that we will find that humans have warmed the globe slightly, but that it’s nothing like what they’re saying.’”
Bill Gray displayed courage and kindness in the face of harsh criticism for his climate realism. We at Heartland will miss him.
A recent paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research reports over the past 20 years there has been a steady decline in activity on the sun’s surface and interplanetary magnetic fields, indicated by a dramatic decline in the number of sun spots. Scientists and astronomers from Physical Research Laboratory in India and counterparts in China and Japan write the decline in solar activity could indicate Earth is heading for another “little ice age” or even a more extended period of low solar activity, a Maunder Minimum, by 2020. During the last Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715 AD, the sun was almost completely spotless and Europe and much of Earth witnessed extremely harsh winters.
SOURCE: Times of India
In a recent interview in the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, Mathias Binswanger, professor of economics at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland in Olten, says young researchers are being forced to remain silent concerning doubts they may have about dominant scientific theories like the theory humans are causing catastrophic climate change, for fear of losing their ability to publish and ultimately obtain tenure. Binswanger says:
The principle is ultimately always the same: Foremost one has to be an often published and often cited figure in his/her scientific field in order to be able to contribute to the ranking of a university. But how does one often publish or become often cited in respected journals of his own field? The most important principles are: Adaptation to the mainstream and do not question any established theories or models. All submitted articles first must go through a peer-review process where champions of the scientific discipline evaluate it. Under these circumstances a young researcher has no option but to go along with the mainstream theories represented in the top journals and to use the empirical processes that are currently in trend. Only in this way does he/she have any chance of having enough publications to make him/herself eligible to be a professor. Through this very kind of pressure to conform applied by top journals is science obstructed rather than promoted.
This forced conformity does nothing to expand our understanding of the world and is a disservice to science and society.
SOURCE: No Tricks Zone
New research from scientists at universities and research institutes in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Scotland, and the United States published in Nature Geoscience shows to better understand why Greenland’s glaciers are melting, one must understand the heat trapped deep beneath Greenland’s ice. An anomaly zone crosses Greenland from west to east where the flow of heat from Earth’s interior is elevated. This anomaly explains observations from radar and ice core drilling data indicating a widespread melting beneath the ice sheet and increased sliding at the base of the ice driving rapid ice flow 750 kilometres from the summit area of the Greenland ice sheet to the North Atlantic Ocean.
The ancient subglacial anomaly is responsible for Iceland’s volcanic activity and has created a region where subglacial meltwater is abundant, lubricating the base of the ice and making it flow rapidly. This previously poorly understood link between the subsurface heat source and ice sheet behavior shows influences on ice sheets span a huge range of timescales, from the month-by-month changes of the ice cover to the multi-million-year epochs over which Earth’s mantle and tectonic plates evolve.
SOURCE: Watts Up With That
A new study in the journal Ecology and Evolution indicates polar bears are much better adapted to changing environmental conditions than climate alarmists have argued. Scientists at Lakehead University in Canada found despite low ice levels in the arctic 12 of Canada’s polar bear populations were stable or increasing, while only one Canadian polar bear subpopulation was declining. The authors wrote, “We do not find support for the perspective that polar bears within or shared with Canada are currently in any sort of climate crisis.”
The scientists found much of the scientific evidence claiming to show polar bear populations are declining is flawed due to poor sampling methods. The Lakehead researchers conclude, “We … find no reliable evidence to support the contention that polar bears are currently experiencing a climate crisis. We suggest that the qualitative projections for dramatic reductions in population numbers and range are overly pessimistic given the response of polar bears, climate, and sea ice to the present.”
SOURCES: Patriot Post