5 Quick Political Facts for Today (2/21/15)

  • Prominent climate change-denying scientist has been outed as a fossil fuel-funded hackWei-Hock Soon, who has testified to Congress and state governments and been a guest on conservative news programs, has been destroyed in an article today that contains the following tidbits:

He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work…

Dr. Soon also received at least $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation…

Though often described on conservative news programs as a “Harvard astrophysicist,” Dr. Soon is not an astrophysicist and has never been employed by Harvard.

But hey, he has a fancy title and says things certain rich people want to hear so he is believed by those that don’t realize what he says amounts to a steaming pile of horse manure.  Sorta like the vast majority of conservative politicians.

  • War on Terror is killing more innocents in Somalia, but with economics instead of military weapons.  In an effort to make sure no money makes its way to terrorist groups, banks have closed off any way for immigrants to send money back to their families in Somalia.  “Over 40 percent of Somalis rely on money sent from family living abroad to cover needs like food, housing and education, according to a report released Thursday”.  This comes after the ugly reality that 260,000 Somalis died during the famine that lasted from October 2010 to April 2012, half of which were children under the age of 5.  A surefire way to make even more people hate the West enough to join a terrorist group will be to cut off their lifelines and push them to the brink of starvation in the name of fighting extremists.
  • More children in South Sudan have been abducted from school to be soldiers89 boys (possibly more) have been added to the 12,000 other children that have been used as soldiers in the country.  It’s a sad irony they are taken so young from school when expanded education would likely lead to a quicker and lasting peace.  It’s an awful cycle of violence that actions like this will likely help continue for a long time to come.

    I see London, I see France, I see Satan in that Yoga stance!
  • According to a Catholic priest, Yoga will lead you to having good posture and a healthy and loving relationship…with SATAN!!!  No, that was not a line from an SNL “Church Lady” skit (although it kind of sounds like it).  This was actually stated and is apparently believed by the church at the highest levels.  Just when you think the church is starting to evolve a little…
  • Giuliani now implying President Obama is a Communist.  And he is totally correct.  I mean, after six years of his heavy-handed rule, the United States is a Communist country in every way imaginable.  Just look at how afraid people are to speak out against him and his policies and denounce him with outright lies in the media.  He is such a vicious dictator!

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin.

…radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today…

Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign of a “clean energy” or “renewable energy” group in the rankings.  Yet, they are one of the “most influential” because Stephen Moore says so and not because any facts back it up.

…we could end up seeing “rolling brownouts and even blackouts in the years ahead.”

Kind of like the blackouts induced by the infallible private sector giant, Enron, in California over a decade ago?  Remember kids, always let the fossil-fuel guys have their way and nothing will ever go wrong.

America gets about 40 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants.

Correct.  And one day, whether it’s because climate change has erased mankind off the face of the earth or because we run out of coal, that percentage will be zero, which is the whole point of finding renewable sources and getting them in use as fast as possible.  This ignores other ugly realities of coal, such as the destruction caused by mountain top removal.  Moore might want to look into that some time.

But the environmentalists are…raising unsupported objections to fracking.

Unsupported?  If they are so unsupported Mr. Moore, please allow a fracking operation to begin close to your home, just like the CEO of Exxon refused to do.  And what about the growing research showing the relationship between fracking and increased earthquakes?  Unsupported?  Not really.

Sorry, for the foreseeable future, we aren’t going to get our power for our $18 trillion economy from wind turbines and solar panels. And if we begin to try, prices are going to skyrocket.

This ignores the reality that the cost has been falling for things like solar.  As noted in this piece from the Guardian:

Panels now sell for less than a quarter of their 2008 price…Bloomberg estimates that the world will have 600GW of photovoltaic solar worldwide by 2020 (an increase from about 150GW today) and 1,900GW by 2030; making up 5-7% of the global electricity mix. These positive predictions are based on the falling prices of renewables.

And one last absurd quote from Moore:

the Greens think oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming.

Let me fix that statement for you.  Scientists know oil is a “dirty” fuel that causes global warming. There you go, Mr. Moore.  You’re welcome for the assistance.

Climate change: Scientists now 95 percent certain we are mostly to blame – CSMonitor.com

Climate change: Scientists now 95 percent certain we are mostly to blame – CSMonitor.com.

A few key points from the piece:

Certainty over the human role has increase from “very likely” to “extremely likely,” a verbal shift representing 90 percent certainly in 2007 to 95 percent for this round of reports.

Another factor that should be kept in mind is the caution climate scientists typically have when reporting their findings.  It should always be noted and those of us who aren’t climate scientists should realize the findings they do release are more scrutinized than we probably think:

For instance, when the first working group’s volume was released in 2007, researchers criticized it for failing to include in its sea-level projections the contributions from melting ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland. The working group didn’t include those because they weren’t well understood. Yet research published after the deadline for that report indicated that the melting appeared to be increasing.

And one last point of interest relating to the sun and ongoing research:

Solar physicists have been looking at trends in sun-spot behavior and characteristics over the past decade and have raised the possibility that when the current sun-spot cycle peaks in the next few months, the sun could enter an unusually long period where it generates few, if any sunspots.

Some climate scientists have looked at the potential impact of such an event and concluded that it likely would delay additional global warming – but only until the sun returned to more-normal swings in sun-spot activity.

 

American Still Not Listening to Experts on Climate Change

A new study of over four thousand academic papers taking a position on climate change found the same results that were published in a similar study nearly ten years ago: over 97% of academic climate researchers believe climate change is man-made.  Only 0.7% disputed the idea.  Yet, as noted in the article, a recent Pew poll found only %42 of Americans agree with the science.

Yes, you are, big guy…

The reasons for this disparity are numerous but one of the obvious parties due blame is the media and its attempt to be objective on the subject.  If they put on one of the 97% of scientists believing the truth, they feel the need to put on one of the 0.7% in an effort to show no favoritism.  The time has come for this to stop.  The most glaring problem with this action is how dangerous the situation is and how much its worsening, as the Earth reached its recent carbon dioxide milestone which hasn’t been seen in 3 million years.

This begs the question: if over 97% of experts in a field told you something where your life was at stake and less than 1% told you something different, who would you believe?  Let’s take some random examples:

  • If you were jumping out of a plane and 97% of sky diving instructors told you your chute was not packed right and wouldn’t open on the way down, would you jump?
  • If you were riding down a winding mountain road and 97% of mechanics told you your brakes would fail halfway down, would you drive?
  • If you were running from a giant boulder after stealing an ancient artifact from a temple in Peru and 97% of boulder dodgers told you to keep running instead of trying to use a whip to split the boulder in half, would you keep running?
  • If you were trying to kick a football being held by a “friend” when 97% of your real friends told you the ball would be taken away as you tried to kick it and you would land on your head, would you still try to boot it?
  • If you were interacting with a doctor about a rash of stomach viruses and 97% of people informed you his name was not Shirley, surely you would not call him by that name, right?

The point being rational people pretty much never go against these types of percentages when it comes to their personal health yet we seem to be doing it when it comes to the long-term health of everyone.  It’s time to change our collective tune on climate change and accept the consensus of the 97% over the seemingly wild ramblings of the less than 1%.