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Friday, March 3, 2017

Bias at The New York Times? ‘The Truth is Hard’ when reporting on bees and neonicotinoid pesticides

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The line between deliberately manipulating a story and poorly reporting the facts is perilously thin.

At Sunday’s Oscars, the United States’ ‘paper of record’ launched an advertising blitz positioning itself as the highbrow ethical responder to the spate of so-called ‘fake news.’ “The truth is hard…to find…to know,” the add, widely circulated on YouTube, proclaimed, somberly.

It’s a powerful message, one that the public and the media should reflect upon—including the leadership at the Times

itself. Whether a journalist presents a story in good faith but wrongly can be a matter of healthy debate. But increasingly, a more troubling ethical line is being crossed: some writers choose to arrange facts, or even invent them, in ways that grey out nuances to advance a storyline arrived at before independent reporting even commences.



That leaves the editor as the public’s final integrity life-line. But to fulfill their responsibility, editors need to be aware of their own biases, or they risk crossing over from being guardians of the truth to creators of biased or even fake news.

Which brings us to the New York Times’ coverage of food and farming issues, most recently its coverage of what has come to be known in recent years as “beemageddon”— concerns about the health of one of nature’s most important pollinators, the bee.

Are bees facing extinction as many environmental advocacy groups and some scientists claim; and are neonicotinoid pesticides the key reason behind their health problems, as many activists, and the Times, suggest?

Times’ Michael Pollan on presenting only one side of complex issues

Covering food and modern farming has not been the Times strong point. Journalist and foodie MIchael Pollan’s articles on the virtues of organic food and the dangers of ‘industrialized agriculture’ have been a Times’ staple since the early 2000s. In 2013, he bragged in a video interview with a fellow activist that he long has exploited the willingness of his editors to forego traditional vetting because they share his reflexive anti-industry perspective. View the video here:



[From the video]:
The media has really been on our side for the most part. I know this from writing for the New York Times…. [W]hen I wrote about food I never had to give equal time to the other side. I could say whatever I thought and offer my own conclusions. Say you should buy grass fed beef and organic is better, and these editors in New York didn’t realize there is anyone who disagrees with that point of view. So, I felt like I got a free ride for a long time.
It’s startling that a reputable journalist would boast about manipulating editors who shared a reflexively and uncritical anti-industry—and in this case, an anti-science—worldview. Pollan went on to bemoan that because of pushback from the science community, he now finds it increasingly difficult to present only his biased side of the story:
There is something called the Food Dialogues presented in various places to talk about how food is produced and greater transparency. … So, I think they have kind of spooked the newspapers into realizing they need to give equal time on this issue and it is an issue with two sides.
NY Times frames simplistic narrative on bee health controversy

Two recent Times articles on the swirling farm controversy about bee health and food—one two years ago and another last week—raise serious questions about whether the paper’s editors are still wearing ideological blinders on stories involving ‘villainous’ agri-businesses.


In 1994, the Times wrote an editorial about “The Bee Crisis,” in which it noted an alarming 50% crash in feral bees in New York state. It blamed that primarily on pesticides. The next year, the phase out began of the most common pesticides—pyrethroids and organophosphates—used to protect crops pollinated by bees. While effective, these chemicals were known to kill beneficial insects and pose serious human health hazards.

They were replaced by what then and now were considered by most entomologists to be a far safer alternative—neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides whose introduction in the mid-1990s coincided with a stabilization of the global bee population. While sometimes sprayed for particular fruit, vegetable or landscape applications, the most overwhelmingly prevalent use of neonics is as a coating for seeds, which then grow into plants that systemically fight pests.

The bee health and pesticide issue faded from the headlines until the winter of 2006-2007, when some US beekeepers began discovering that many of their bees had mysteriously abandoned their colonies. The bees left behind the queen bee, attended by too few, immature worker bees to sustain the colony, yet with ample viable brood and stored food. This was dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

CCD is a periodic but still inexplicable ecological phenomenon that’s been around since at least the 1800s, predating the modern, post-World War II use of synthetic pesticides, says University of Maryland entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who along with agricultural department researcher Jeff Pettis coined the term a decade ago. vanEngelsdorp, now head of the Bee Informed Partnership, has told me and other reporters, repeatedly, that there have been no instances of CCD over the past five years except cases linked to the Nosema fungus.

Times’ Michael Wines misframes the ‘neonic’ crisis?

But you wouldn’t know that if you depend on the Times as your paper of record. Since 2013, Michael Wines has reported on rising concerns about ongoing bee health issues–an issue he had been highlighting in increasingly alarming opinion-filled stories. His theme, hammered home in numerous reports, such as this article in 2015, fingered one culprit above all others: pesticides, particularly neonics. In what amounts to an editorial, Wines headlined the story: “Research Suggests Pesticide Is Alluring and Harmful to Bees.” His sources beyond two highly contested studies?–unidentified “other experts,” whose views stood in contrast to industry scientists and the overwhelming majority of mainstream entomologists who see the issue as complex, with pesticides playing a real but relatively minor role in bee health issues.

Researchers from Oregon State University
testing bees last August for the effects of pesticides.
 via NYTimes
Wines was back at it again later in 2015 after a temporary increase in over summer honey bee deaths. In this story, he incorrectly wrote that they were an extension of the long-since passed CCD phenomenon. He compounded this misreporting by playing up what has become known as the beepocalypse myth thesis, writing in Wines-like fashion that “some experts have focused on neonicotinoids” as the driving culprit.

So, who were these mysterious “experts” who appear like clockwork in his pieces that Wines claimed pointed to neonics as the Darth Vader of the bee world? Wines again never tells us.

That’s particularly odd, because he appears not to have consulted the primary source for the rest of his story, Dennis vanEngelsdorp.

If he had, he would have found that the University of Maryland entomologist doesn’t believe neonics are driving current bee health problems. They are way down the list of likely causes, he’s said, with number one being the Varroa mites that feed on the bodily fluids of

 bees. Varroa mites first surfaced as a problem in the US in the 1980s and began infesting beehives in California in 1993
. That crisis stabilized after the introduction of neonics later in the 1990s, then spiked with CCD, with sporadic problems since.
On average, about 10 to 15 percent of honey bees die each winter. In recent years, that percentage jumped to as high as 35 percent before dropping down to levels in the low 20s. There was a more recent rise in bee deaths during the summer, normally a period of hive replenishment, that has everyone spooked. Highly charged words like “beepocalypse” or “beemageddon” are now everywhere on the Internet. But what was causing the die-offs?

Like the fictional parents in the edgy comedy show South Park who blame Canada for all their woes, activists often coalesce around an issue and then come up with a simple and usually simplistic narrative to frame it. Strident opponents of modern agricultural technology initially blamed GMOs for bee deaths, and some still make that claim, although there is zero evidence to back it up. When that meme didn’t get traction, their campaign focus switched to neonics.

But mainstream entomologists never saw it that way. Noting the complexity of the emerging controversy, the US Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have taken a cautious, science-based approach, producing a broad-based assessment of the evidence. The independent researchers concluded that bees are facing unique stressors but neonics, and pesticides in general, were unlikely to be the major drivers of bee deaths.

Along with Varroa, the blue ribbon panel pointed to Nosema, a common parasite that invades their intestinal tracts and the use and perhaps misuse of miticides to control them; climate change; lack of genetic diversity in the bee population; loss of habitat; and an often-unmentioned factor that many entomologists believe may be the key factor—the stress put on bees by large commercial beekeepers, particularly to service the agri-business demand for bees needed for the California almond crop in late winter before bees normally repopulate.

Times’ Stephanie Strom: Bee health perpetrator profiled as victim?

While Wines never named the “some experts” who support the claim that neonics are at the center of the bee health issue, fellow Times reporter Stephanie Strom found two with that view. Her front business page story, “A Bee Mogul Confronts the Crisis in His Field,” on February 19, sympathetically profiled two of the country’s largest industrial bee moguls, Bret and Kelvin Adee.

Like the Wines’ story, Strom’s article shows no signs of conscious bias. I’ve long been a fan of both of their journalism, and I know Strom, who I’ve talked to on multiple occasions, is dedicated to reporting on complex issues fairly. But she botched this story. Most notably, the piece is infused with the popular activist-driven belief, rejected as simplistic by top entomologists, that neonics is the common thread linking the 2006-2007 CCD crisis to current bee health issues.

Strom cites the European Commission’s 2013 decision to ban neonics, and tees up Bret Adee to defend it:

“The more you study it, the more obvious it becomes: the relationship between the pesticides that have been sprayed everywhere over the last 10 years and what’s happening to bees,” she quotes Adee as saying.

Strom doesn’t mention that the ban was passed over the objections of many scientists. It’s led to new costs and pest pressures; a sharp increase in the use of the dangerous chemicals, pyrethroids and organophosphates, phased out years ago, and lower farm yields. She neglects to mention that European courts have issued rulings challenging the science behind the ban, and moves are underway to overturn it. 

Here is the Orwellian twist: Large-scale beekeepers like the Adees who see their pollinator hordes as traveling livestock, and are widely viewed by entomologists as a key driver of bee health problems, are now profiled by the New York Times as a credible source for diagnosing bee health—and as victims?

Strom sees no irony in this. And she apparently does not know enough about how pesticides are used to pick up on the fact that Adee’s comments undermine the contention that spraying neonics is at the root of bee health problems.

The vast majority of neonics, by volume, are applied as seed treatments—not sprayed—and can only come into contact with bees through dust drift (an initially unanticipated complication now being increasingly effectively controlled) and residues in plant nectar and pollen, which have been consistently shown (and recently confirmed by EPA) to be well below thresholds that could harm bees all of the large-scale grain crops.

Strom and the Times also never mention that her “crisis in the California fields” thesis has reversed itself, at least for this winter. The Adees are having a pretty good year—bee deaths are down dramatically from the winter before, they told her. That inconvenient fact is all but missing from the story, and is not reflected in the ‘crisis’ headline. More than likely, Strom and the Times had formulated their narrative—bees and beekeepers in California almond fields are in crisis—and then did not adjust when the facts on the ground contradicted it.

Are bees facing a neonic-caused global health crisis?

There are other strange turns in the Strom account, most notably her central thesis that bees and beekeepers are in the midst of an escalating catastrophic crisis, with neonics at its center. Bee health is a serious issue. Everyone is perplexed about a mysterious jump in summer bee deaths. Wild bees are also being monitored, but there is no way to monitor their overall health and there are no clear signs of a crisis.

Moreover, neonics and pesticides in general rank near the bottom of the list as potential challenges facing bees, according to vanEngelsdorp, Pettis, University of Illinois entomologist Mae Berenbaum and other top scientists. In one of many such surveys, the USDA-funded New York Bee Wellness non-profit polled its members last fall as to what they saw as causing bee health problems. Varroa mite was the major culprit, with 42.6%. That was followed by small hive beetles (26.8%); queen failure (24.9%); wax moth (19.2%); and deformed wing virus (6.9%). Pesticides? Less than 1% (0.6% to be exact).

“If we took pesticides out of the equation tomorrow, I think there’s no doubt we would have reduced colony losses,” vanEngelsdorp told me. “But even without pesticides, we’d still be seeing significant losses—losses that are unsustainable.”
Their conclusions are underscored by more than 20 field analyses and studies of neonic usage, recently posted on the Genetic Literacy Project, which as a whole find no evidence that neonics are a major bee health concern.

Taking the big picture view, North American, European and global bee hive numbers have risen steadily since the introduction of neonics, to record levels. Outside of a few states in the United States (most notably California) and sections of some countries in Europe, there is no crisis. And in places where neonic usage is highest—western Canada and Australia—bee health has never been better. Here are the number of bee colonies in key regions since the introduction of neonics in 1995:


What will The Times do?

When it comes to corralling support, activist environmentalists often focus on simple villains and frame issues in catastrophic terms. From Greenpeace’s campaign to force Shell to deep six the Brent Spar North Sea oil platform in the 1990s to the efforts by the Natural Resources Defense Council to replace harmless BPA in plastics with substitutes that are demonstrably harmful (BPS) to the ongoing but misplaced hysteria against DDT that the World Health Organization has said may have cost a billion lives, the ‘simple’ enemy-of-the-people target is sometimes benign, and its banning or removal often leads to far worse consequences.

The world’s top scientists cringe at the hyperbolic framing of environmental issues. When it comes to bees, National Medal of Science and Goldman Environmental Prize-winning bee expert Mae Berenbaum has called such scare claims unhelpful. “The rhetoric has gotten ridiculous. It is hyperbolic to talk about the apocalypse,” she said.

Faced with a slew of missteps in its coverage of the “beeapocalypse”, the Times might be well served to reflect on its neonics and bee crisis narrative. Next up for its editors: reporter Danny Hakim, who has faced sharp criticism from independent scientists for his reporting on the GMO debate, is taking on the bees and pesticides. The Times was unresponsive when scientists and science journalists challenged his prior reporting as biased (and in some cases factually inaccurate).

Is the Times willing to devote the time and resources to report on nuanced stories outside of its traditional fields of expertise? That would require a level of oversight at the vetting stage and after an article is written but before publication—which now appears to be lacking, at least on the issue of pollinators and pesticides.

Bees shouldn’t become the next ‘fake news’ victim.

Jon Entine, executive director of the independent foundation funded 501c3 Science Literacy Project (Genetic Literacy Project and Epigenetics Literacy Project), has been writing on biotechnology, chemicals, food and farming for more than 15 years, and recently hosted a Reddit Science discussion on bees and pesticides.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Green Notes



Featured White Paper
Featured Video of Lord Monkton Speech
My Commentaries
  1. Observations From the Back Row: Projection From the Left
  2. Observations From the Back Row: NATO and Tomorrow Land
  3. Observations From the Back Row: Framing the Issue
  4. Observations From the Back Row: Media Outrage and Hypocrisy
Agriculture
All Natural
Beemageddon
Bureaucracies
Endangered Species Act
EPA
Global Warming, Scientific Integrity, Junk Science and the "Glassy Eyed Cult"
Judiciary
Media

Yellow fever kills 600 monkeys in Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest

Reuters

An outbreak of yellow fever has claimed the lives of more than 600 monkeys in Brazil’s Atlantic rain forest region, threatening the survival of rare South American primates, a zoologist said.  The monkeys, mostly brown howlers and masked titis, are falling out of trees and dying on the ground in the forests of Espirito Santo state in Brazil’s southeast.  “The number of dead monkeys increases every day,” said the zoologist, Sergio Lucena. “We now know that the rare buffy-headed marmoset is also threatened by the yellow fever virus and dying.”......To Read More.....

My TakeExtinction happens when a species becomes biologically incompetent.  Extinction has occured to over 95% of all the species that's ever lived.  Extinction is the rule - not the exception.

Being anti-energy is being anti-humanity

The IPCC wants the world to stop using coal, oil and natural gas -- and a dramatically lower world population

by , 15 Comments 

Editor's Note:  Alan Caruba was one of the first writers to allow me to publish his work, and was a constant encouragment for me to do what I'm doing now.  My friend Alan Caruba passed away in June of 2015.  I miss his insights.  Alan's work was timeless, and  this appeared on Jon Ray's site, Greenie Watch.
 
Everything you need to know about how perverse and dangerous the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is, is summed up in its latest report. Released on November 2, it issued the same tired, old and untrue claims of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

The IPCC wants the world to stop using coal, oil and natural gas, saying that they must be “phased out almost entirely” by the end of the century. The report reeks of their contempt for humanity.
Losing electricity, no matter where you live, is losing every technology that enhances and preserves your life. You lose the ability to cool or warm your home, apartment, or workplace. You lose the ability to keep food safe in your refrigerator and freezer. You most certainly lose the lighting. You lose the ability to turn on your computer or television. Indeed, to use everything you take for granted.
Since the discovery and generation of energy with coal, oil, and natural gas, generations have lived lives not only different from all who preceded them, but better in so many ways, not the least of which is extended life expectancy. Nations with energy are places where people live longer, healthier lives. They are also wealthier nations where the energy translates into industry, jobs, transportation, and all the other attributes of modern life.

Although we usually don’t associate energy with morality, Alex Epstein has. His book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels ($27.95, Portfolio, an imprint of the Penguin Group), is the finest case for the role coal, oil and natural gas has played in our lives and the positive, emancipating impact they have had on humanity. Everyone should read it.

“I hold human life as the standard of value,” says Epstein. “I think that our fossil fuel use so far has been a moral choice because it has enabled billions of people to live longer and more fulfilling lives, and I think the cuts proposed by the environmentalists in the 1970s were wrong because of all the death and suffering they would have inflicted on human beings.”

Cover - Moral Case for Fossil Fuels“Eighty-seven percent of the energy mankind uses every second comes from burning one of the fossil fuels: coal, oil or natural gas.” That has not stopped environmentalists from denouncing coal and oil as “dirty” or because their use generates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. What they never tell you is how small those emissions are and that they play an infinitesimal role to influence the Earth’s weather or climate. They never tell you that the Earth has centuries more of untapped reserves. The modern world could not exist without them.
“In the last 80 years, as CO2 emissions have most rapidly escalated, the annual rate of climate-related deaths worldwide fell by an incredible rate of 98%. That means the incidence of death from climate is 50 times lower than it was 80 years ago.” 
 
Epstein points to “the power of fossil-fueled machines to build a durable civilization that is highly resilient to extreme heat, extreme cold, floods, storms, and so on” to demonstrate the foolishness of those who oppose their use. Primary among them is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As part of its 40th session, in early November the IPCC adopted the final “synthesis” report of its Fifth Assessment Report.  This full-scale update calls for the reduction of energy worldwide. They base this on the claim that “human influence on the climate system is clear.”

 

CFACT NY air banner no global warming 17 years yIt is not clear. Despite the CO2 emissions, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for the last 19 years, during the same time the IPCC’s “climate experts” and others were telling us the Earth was going to become dangerously warm.
Epstein reminds us that, “In 1972, the international think tank, the Club of Rome, released a multimillion-copy-selling book, The Limits of Growth, which declared that its state of the art computer models had demonstrated that we would run out of oil by 1992 and natural gas by 1993 (and, for good measure, gold, mercury, silver, tin, zinc, and lead by 1993 at the latest.)
It is essential to understand that every one of the “global warming” predictions made in the 1980s and the decades since then has been WRONG. Every one of the computer models on which those predictions were based was WRONG.
A younger generation graduating from high school this year has never spent a day when the overall temperature of the Earth was warming. The Earth’s natural cooling cycle is based on a natural low cycle of solar radiation. The Sun is generating less heat. Indeed, the Earth is nearing the end of the Holocene cycle, one of warmth for the past ten thousand or more years that has given rise to human civilization.
EhrlichEpstein’s book is more than just philosophical opinion. It is based on documented facts regarding fossil fuel use. At one point he quotes Paul Ehrlich who, in his 1968 book, The Population Bomb, declared that “the battle to feed humanity is over.”  Epstein notes that in 1968 the world’s population was 3.6 billion people. “Since then it has doubled, yet the average person is better fed than he was in 1968. This seeming miracle was due to a combination of the fossil fuel industry and genetic science…” Farming today is mechanized and that requires fuel!
The claims that Epstein debunks are accompanied by the fundamental truths about fossil fuel use and science. His book, comprehensible to anyone whether they have any knowledge of science or not, should be on everyone’s reading list.
At the heart of environmentalism and its “save the Earth” agenda is the reduction, if not the elimination, of humans from planet Earth.

 

Fake News: Global Warming Edition

Brian C. Joondeph

Fake news has become part of the daily lexicon due to efforts of once respected news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN to destroy the candidacy and now the presidency of Donald Trump.  Fake news is produced with the singular goal of advancing a political agenda – the agenda of the left. Fake news has also permeated another cause near and dear to the left: climate change, formerly known as global warming

The Daily Mail reported on a high-level whistleblower at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealing fake news from the government agency. Specifically, NOAA "[r]ushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change."......More

How to Spot a Fake Science News Story

By Alex Berezow — January 31, 2017 @ The American Council on Science and Health

After more than six years in science journalism, I have reached two very disturbing conclusions about the craft.

First, too many science journalists don't actually possess a well-rounded knowledge of science. In many cases, regular reporters are asked to cover complex science and health stories. What we end up with is entirely predictable: Articles that are nothing more than rehashed press releases, topped with click-bait headlines based on exaggerations and misunderstandings of the original research. That's how a nonsensical story like Nutella causing cancer goes viral.

Second, science journalists are every bit as biased as their more traditional counterparts, perhaps even more so. They routinely hold double standards in regard to analyzing science policies. They conflate scientific evidence with science policy, immediately labeling anyone "anti-science" if he or she disagrees with their cultural beliefs. Worse, science journalists feel no inhibition whatsoever to cheerlead openly for their favorite politicians and to heap scorn upon those they dislike. Just read Twitter.

Both cultural bias and thoughtless reportage severely erode the integrity of science journalism. While the former is bad enough, the latter is particularly troubling because it also undermines public health.

How to Detect a Fake Science News Story

Often, I have been asked, "How can you tell if a science story isn't legitimate?" Here are some red flags:
  • 1) The article is very similar to the press release on which it was based. This indicates whether the article is science journalism or just public relations.
  • 2) The article makes no attempt to explain methodology or avoids using any technical terminology. (This indicates the author may be incapable of understanding the original paper.)
  • 3) The article does not indicate any limitations on the conclusions of the research. (For example, a study conducted entirely in mice cannot be used to draw firm conclusions about humans.)
  • 4) The article treats established scientific facts and fringe ideas on equal terms.
  • 5) The article is sensationalized; i.e., it draws huge, sweeping conclusions from a single study. (This is particularly common in stories on scary chemicals and miracle vegetables.)
  • 6) The article fails to separate scientific evidence from science policy. Reasonable people should be able to agree on the former while debating the latter. (This arises from the fact that people ascribe to different values and priorities.)
  • 7) The article ties the research to something only tangentially related. (For example, stories on infectious disease often try to highlight the application to bioterrorism.)
  • 8) The article is based on research from a journal that nobody has heard of.
  • 9) The article is about.
  • 10) The article is from the Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Natural News, or any number of environmentalist, health activist, or food fad websites.
Separating real news from fake news is one of the bigger challenges facing our society in 2017. A recent poll reveals that 84% of Americans think fake news may be hurting the country. We must figure out a solution before it gets any worse.

Environment & Climate News

House Acts to Rein in Regulatory Agencies

The March issue of Environment & Climate News reports on passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017, known as the REINS Act. It's time Congress reasserts its constitutional authority to legislate, said sponsor Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), rather than letting unelected bureaucrats institute rules that impact the economy to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also in this issue:
  • Michigan enacted a law prohibiting local governments from banning, regulating, or imposing fees on the use of plastic bags.

The full text of the issue is available online in Adobe Acrobat's PDF format: March 2017 Environment & Climate News.

All issues of Environment & Climate News are archived here: Environment & Climate News Issue Archive.

If you were sent this email by a friend or colleague, subscribe to be sure you don't miss an issue!

Met Office vs NOAA

The Battle For Truth And Credibility
 Brought to you by Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Forum

A story in the Sunday Times confirms that the UK Met Office does not accept Karl et al.’s denial of the global warming hiatus and acknowledges that, ‘the slowdown hasn’t gone away.’ Writing in this week’s New Scientist, Michael Mann claimed that the pause is an ‘utterly debunked idea’ and ‘in the final analysis was much ado about nothing,’ and a ‘favourite climate contrarian talking point.’ The pause is real and it contains lots of interesting science, there are over 50 explanations proffered for it. But is also has another effect in that is shows the diversity of opinion in climate science, which on this important topic is certainly not settled. Who can deny that climate science is divided over this crucial issue? –- David Whitehouse, GWPF Observatory, 6 February 2017 

A scientific controversy over the impact of climate change on oceans has taken a new twist with research suggesting they are warming more slowly than thought. Scientists have analysed millions of readings from across Earth’s oceans between 2000 and 2015, finding that sea surface temperature is rising at 1.17C per century compared with the 1.34C per century of previous estimates. The difference is tiny in everyday terms but is important because the oceans are so large that even a warming by a tenth of a degree represents a big increase in the energy they store — and the potential impact on climate. It is also politically potent, especially in America where an increasingly climate-sceptic Republican party will see it as confirmation of a suspected slowdown in global warming and evidence that previous warnings were exaggerated. --Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, 12 February 2017

The changes made by Karl et al. were influential but small and temporary and are turning out to be irrelevant anyway because of what the data is actually doing. Should anyone still think that the higher trends that include the years 2015 and 2016 are due to long-term global warming take a look at HadCRUT4, Fig 3, where you can see the deviation caused by the recent strong El Nino. One can see the decline to 2014 temperatures and the return of the “pause.” -- David Whitehouse, GWPF Observatory, 6 February 2017

Yet perhaps more damaging is the claim from some in the green lobby that our disclosures are small beer. In fact, their importance cannot be overstated. They strike at the heart of climate science because they question the integrity of the global climate datasets on which pretty much everything else depends. The only ‘fake news’ in our revelations is the claim that they don’t matter. In truth, they are hugely damaging, for they suggest an agreement made by figures such as Barack Obama and David Cameron rested in part on research that had not been published with integrity. This is an age where many have come to question the role of experts. Restoring trust demands transparency. Al Gore famously said: ‘The science is settled.’ It is not. We cannot allow such a vital issue for our future to be mired in half truths and deceptions. --David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 12 February 2017

Once this scandal has been properly brought out into the open, it will raise the most disturbing question mark yet over the promotion of the greatest and costliest scare story the world has ever known. --Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 12 February 2017

A new analysis shows that censorship has steadily increased at universities, with 94 per cent of campuses having some restrictions on freedom of expression, up from 90 per cent last year and 80 per cent in 2015. A university free speech ranking compiled by the radical online magazine Spiked found nine instances of campus bans on fancy dress costumes, 21 bans on visiting speakers, 16 bans on student societies, 17 bans on advertisements and 21 bans on tabloid newspapers in the past three years. --Greg Hurst, The Times, 11 February 2017 

A Shocking Twist in Bundy Ranch Case, New Video Proves BLM Aggression!

By Anthony Dephue February 13, 2017

The first of three Bundy Ranch Trials is finally underway and testimony from Government witnesses has begun but already a shocking development has occurred.   A video surfaced online showing previously unseen footage from the Bundy Ranch protest in 2014. Defendants have always insisted that the Government escalated tension in the Tuquop Wash on Saturday, April 12th 2014. Leaked video shows federal agents being instructed to sling or put their long guns out of view. Instead, Special Agent in Charge Daniel P. Love deployed militarized BLM and US Park Police agents who subsequently pointed their weapons at protesters. Body cam footage records agents laughing about shooting animals and speaking as if they wanted an armed confrontation.....More Here

To help bees and farmers, EU should roll back ‘fear-based’ ban on neonicotinoid pesticides



[Editor’s note: The following is a letter by David Zaruk, Belgian-based environmental-health journalist specializing in science and public policy, to Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU commissioner in charge of Health and Food Safety.]

I understand that you belong to a Commission whose chief strategy seems to be expedience (the art of making issues go away). That is not leadership and in the case of the previous Commission’s 
decision to ban three essential and benign insecticides (known as neonicotinoids or neonics), this problem will not go away.

You have clear grounds to [retract the 2013 draft Bee Guidance Document] It was never approved by the European Council (for good reason); [the European Food Safety Authority] has learnt that their expert advisory working group had conflicts of interest which they had hidden from the authority; and the previous DG Sanco had several directors that had been found to be too close to anti-pesticide activist campaigners........To Read More.....

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito: ‘Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant’

By: - Climate DepotFebruary 14, 2017 10:23 AM with 0 comments

Alito: 'A pollutant is a subject that is harmful to human beings or to animals or to plants. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to ordinary things, to human beings, or to animals, or to plants. It’s actually needed for plant growth. All of us are exhaling carbon dioxide right now. So, if it’s a pollutant, we’re all polluting.' .......... OK, then what is the EPA to do? Well, no problem. They took out their pen and crossed out the numbers that Congress enacted, and they wrote in their own numbers. Amazingly, four of my colleagues said this is a reasonable interpretation of the statute. And therefore, it is OK.

Now, if the administrative agency can do that, I don’t know what an administrative agency cannot do. Lawmaking power has been transferred from Congress to the executive......To Read More.....

What fun! John Cook rides again!

By Jon Ray @ Greenie Watch

 He is the author of the famous 97% claim and a most energetic defender of Warmism.  And he certainly is a crook Cook.  He makes a great pretence of science by reporting known facts but ignoring or leaving some things out. He then pretends that he has proven global warming.

But his latest is a superb example of psychological projection. He takes some well-known examples of psychological defence mechanisms and purports to find examples of them among climate skeptics.  But exactly those same mechanisms are common among Warmists.  An excerpt:

I’m a cognitive psychologist interested in better understanding and countering the techniques used to distort the science of climate change. I’ve found that understanding why some people reject climate science offers insight into how they deny science. By better understanding the techniques employed, you can counter misinformation more effectively.

Every movement that has rejected a scientific consensus, whether it be on evolution, climate change or the link between smoking and cancer, exhibits the same five characteristics of science denial (concisely summarized by the acronym FLICC). These are fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking and conspiracy theories. When someone wants to cast doubt on a scientific finding, FLICC is an integral part of the misinformation toolbox.

He points to no specific examples of each fallacy among skeptics so, very briefly, let me point out how those fallacies apply to Warmists:

* Fake experts:  Al Gore

* Logical fallacies:  Some extreme weather events imply a general increase in extreme weather events

* Impossible expectations:  No change is too small to be worth noticing.  Even temperature changes in the hundredths of one degree mean something.  No change is small enough to prove temperature stasis

* Cherry picking:  Looking at only a short run of temperature records.  The Central England Temperature record goes back to 1659 and shows no trend

* Conspiracy theories:  Big oil is behind climate skepticism

Perhaps most amazing in Cook's latest screed is the way he refers to his own 97% paper.  He accurately describes it as showing that:

"Among the papers stating a position, 97 percent agreed that humans are causing global warming"

He completely skates over the fact that two thirds of the papers he examined took no position on global warming.  So only ONE THIRD of all scientists, and not 97%, agreed with global warming.  It's typical Cook.  He quotes facts but ignores their full implications.

And, as far as I can see,  that goes for all of the other claims in his paper.  For instance:  He wades in to the uproar generated by the David Rose article which questioned a paper by NOAA's Tom Karl.  He implies that Rose is wrong and the Karl paper is right.  So there has been no C21 temperature "pause".  He "forgets" to mention that, in the Fyfe et al. paper, some prominient Warmist scientists also distanced themselves from the Karl paper.  Cook is so unbalanced it is a wonder he doesn't fall over.

Observations From the Back Row: Projection From the Left

Truth is the sublime convergence of history and reality.

By Rich Kozlovich

With the new administration taking charge more rapidly than anyone thought possibly - me too - especially so since Senate Democrats are doing everything in their power to stop or slow down the process of confirmation - I'm constantly seeing a lava flow of logical fallacies pouring out from the left. 

This has been the pattern every time a Republican is elected President of the United States, or they take control of the Congress.  That gives opportunity to expand on the membership for the Club For the Galacticly Stupid, of which Maxine Waters is a shining example. 

One of the tools used by these people is to accuse their opponents of possessing and acting on the very flaws, faults and weaknesses they themselves possess.   That's called "psychological projection [which] is a defense mechanism people subconsciously employ in order to cope with difficult feelings or emotions. Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings."

It may or may not be all that "subconscious" since it happens so often from the same people over years of political conflict.  I say in these cases it's a deliberate pattern to discredit their opponents, which means they're deliberately dishonest and corrupt in their thinking and actions.  By framing the discussion in this way this forces their opponents to defend themselves against unfounded accusations regarding their character and integrity.  Once they've managed to do that it keeps their opponents off balance, and ineffective.  Especially with the help of the media.

Only this time they've found someone who doesn't play by their rules - Trump and his team, and his supporters, are attacking back - and they don't care what the left thinks or the media.  They've now framed the left and the main stream media as corrupt, incompetent and totally unconcerned about what's really good for the nation.  And they're winning at it.  In short - they've framed all this discussion in the same way I've done for years while being involved in my industry's affairs - "it's not about me, it's about the mission" - so take your best shot.

Actually, I think they want the left to attack them.  Why?  Because if the left doesn't attack them they can't defeat them!

As the next four years roll out these attacks will become even more intense because what will happen is the left will continue to see their control and power erode.  The insanity will only increase, because the left has no moral foundation other than the need and desire to acquire and hold power over everyone's life.  There can be no compromise with them because they believe nothing, and destroy everything.  Accusations filled with righteous indignation will fill the propaganda machine of the left - the main stream media - especially the electronic media because print media can't capture emotion as well as television or even radio.  As those old enough to remember the Kennedy - Nixon debates.  Those who watched it on TV thought Kennedy won.  Those who heard it on the radio thought Nixon won. 

All this concern about the poor in our nation, the starving people of the world, the suffering immigrants, the disenfranchised - these are all emotional cat's paws to elicit strong feelings in the general public to justify allowing them to control the laws, the Constitution, the government and our lives. 

Once they get that control they'll deliver equality alright.  Everyone will be poor, suffering, and miserable - except them!  As in all socialist societies the ruling elite live like Russian Czars and the people live like Russian peasants.  In North Korea they have a little 300 pound "monarch", they call their president, living on the finest foods imported from all over the world telling his people they're going to have to eat roots to keep the "revolution" alive.  

We need to get past the rhetoric, hand wringing and what looks like a torment of their souls and remember - it's all a big emotional tear jerking show filled with logical fallacies and projection.

That's history and reality and both are incontestable.  Get over it!

Observations From the Back Row: NATO and Tomorrow Land

By Rich Kozlovich

I'm convinced NATO and the U.S. will part company by 2025 if not by 2020, and it may cease to exist entirely.  According to Stratfor news "U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Feb. 15 that the United States may moderate its commitment to NATO unless all of its member states boost their defense spending".

It appears there's only a few who are meeting that commitment - a "2% threshold" -including the U.S. United Kingdom, Poland, Estonia.....and believe it or not.....Greece.  The article, which I didn't link because it's a subscription site, and expensive, claims Trump is already calling for less funding for all these international organizations.  We're going to see all these NGOs start whining and wailing soon - with the help of their leftist friends in the main stream media - for being cut off the federal udder. 

And just as we've seen how Planned Parenthood falsely claimed this would hurt the care they supply to women - care they didn't offer - we're going to see these NGOs start trying to claim the world can't survive without their support, because they believe the only support the world needs is for them to destroy capitalism, especially American style capitalism, the Constitution and their ultimate goal - Destruction of the United States as an independent entity, unbending, unrelenting in defense of individual liberty and unconquerable. 

Unconquerable except by the rot and corruption from within by the media, academia, government agencies, politicians and most importantly - the judiciary.  The rot has even extended to the military.....at least the military elite.  The men have a different perspective.  Expect to see all those PC generals and admirals looking to retire soon, as I suspect the Trump crowd will not ask them to stay and play any longer.

Trump has called NATO "an obsolete bloc", and I agree.  It was formed to stop Soviet aggression against Eastern Europe.  Now it's been used to impose policy that has nothing to do with defence of Europe as was done in Serbia and even in Libya......all under the guise of "protecting" the Libyan people.

The NATO mission has been corrupted and needs to be dumped by the U.S. and if Europe thinks it's still necessary - let them fund it - but with the coming disorder that might not be possible, especially since I think Europe and Russia, which are both breeding themselves out of existence, will be facing a massive civil war between the ethnic Europeans with a nationalist bent, Muslim invaders, and multiculturalists.  That will bankrupt Europe and Russia.  They will survive, but they will never recover the economic security of the past under Bretton Woods, and Western Europe will have to appeal to their old colonies for trade agreements.  Trade agreements the old colonies may find much more favorable than in the past.

Let's try and understand what's going on in the world and why.  All we see today geo-politically was a direct result of the Bretton Woods agreement in the 1944,  What emerged was an unique U.S. imposed hegemony with the United States pretty much agreeing to defend the world after Germany and Japan were defeated, and in order to rebuild the allies economy they would open American markets to them.  The first hegemony imposed on anyone where those it was imposed upon benefited at the expense of the one doing the imposing. 

This began the Bretton Woods era, even if the official agreement was over, the umbrella continued to exist as did the concept. China was allowed under the Bretton Woods economic umbrella because it was thought this would help stand against the Soviet Union.  We don't need China any longer, and forget their sabre rattling.  That's all show and little go.   They may perform some "object lesson" aggression as they did with India in the 60's, but China isn't capable of doing anything really big outside their immediate sphere, and that's mostly in their own land.

We're not able to continue this arrangement any longer financially - and quite frankly - we don't need any of them any longer.  Russia isn't in an economic position to attack anyone, although if they did advance into Eastern Europe they would win without the U.S. involvement, but they would ultimately destroy themselves because it would be the final stake in the heart of their economy.  And it's my belief Putin would face an open revolution in Russia because even if he defeated the west he would have to occupy it against underground resistance movements.  He can't sustain that.   Russia would be gone within ten years of that happening.

China is a corrupt economic basket that may collapse soon. That's why capital is flowing out of China - which is largely illegal in China - at a rate that clearly shows the elite in China don't believe it can last much longer. 

And where are they taking all that money?  The United States!  It won't be long before we will see the world come begging to the U.S., the only country that's going to be able to stand against the coming disorder on it's own.  And the more successfully we stand against the world's coming disorder, the wail from all these leftist loons will reach a banshee pitch.  Make no mistake about it - we're going to take some bumps, but it will be nothing like the rest of the world  because we don't need them!!!!  We need to get that!!!!

With all the current and historical failures of the left you would think leftists - Democrats, socialists, radicals (I'm repeating myself) - would see the light and abandon their irrational views.  The more untenable their position becomes the more they scream and yell, violently demanding everyone to pay attention to them and bend to their will. 

For leftists to continue to hold all their views against the disastrous history of leftism worldwide, and all the disastrous reality we seen going on right in front of us,  must mean they're insane.

Update:  Here's an excerpt from a speech by Nigel Farage warming the European Parliament: "You're In For A Bigger Shock In 2017"
I feel like I am attending a meeting of a religious sect here this morning. It’s as if the global revolution of 2016, Brexit, Trump, the Italian rejection of the referendum, has completely bypassed you.

You can’t face up to the fact that this bandwagon is going to roll across Europe in these elections in 2017. A lot of citizens now recognize this form of centralized government simply doesn’t work. … At the heart of it is a fundamental point: Mr. [name not recognized] this morning said, the people want more Europe.

They don’t. The people want less Europe. We see this again and again when people have referendums and they reject aspects of EU membership. But something more fundamental is going on out there. …. No doubt, many of you here will probably despise your own voters for what I am about to say because just last week, Chatham House, the reputable group, published a massive survey from 10 Europen states, and only 20% of people want immigration from Muslim countries to continue. Just 20%. … Which means your voters have a harder line position on this than Donald Trump, or myself, or frankly any party sitting in this Parliament. I simply cannot believe you are blind to the fact that even Mrs. Merkel has now made a u-turn and wants to send people back. Even Mr. Schulz thinks it is a good idea.

And the fact is, the Europen Union has no future at all in its current form. And I suspect you are in for as big a shock in 2017 as you were in 2016.

Europe’s Green Madness: Dieselgate Was A Political Disaster


Britain’s Energy Policy In Disarray As Toshiba Faces Bankruptcy
 
Brought to you by Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Forum
 
Madness is rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule — Friedrich Nietzsche

 Starting after the Kyoto treaty in the late 1990s ... Europe’s entire auto industry was led down the primrose lane of adopting a technology that now appears to be a commercial and regulatory dead-end. More than 70% of BMW and Daimler cars made for the European market last year were diesel. When honestly tested, one study shows the latest “Euro 6 Standard” vehicles miss their pollution targets by a whopping 400%. Virtually everyone agrees Europe’s “dash for diesel” was a monstrous policy error, not to mention the proximate cause of the emissions-cheating scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen and other auto makers. --Holman W Jenkins Jr., The Wall Street Journal, 15 February 2017
 
Britain’s nuclear power plans were thrown into chaos last night as problems escalated at Japanese company Toshiba.  The crisis has cast doubt over its plans for the £10billion plant in Moorside near Sellafield which is supposed to provide up to 8 per cent of the country’s energy. It marks the latest setback to the Government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions and keep the lights on. --Rachel Millard, Daily Mail, 15 February 2017
 
U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Acting Administrator Benjamin Friedman requesting information on the Karl study following reports the study ignored NOAA standards, was rushed to publication, and was not free from political bias. “Allegations of politicization of government funded scientific research cannot be ignored. The Committee has a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight in instances of alleged fraud, abuse, and misconduct especially where the government’s scientific integrity is called into question. Dr. Bates’ revelations raise additional questions as to whether the science at NOAA is objective and free from political interference. In light of this new information, the Committee requests the below information to better understand the depth and scope of internal debate at NOAA related to the Karl study,” the letter states. --U.S. Congress, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, 14 February 2017 
 
As this week's Oroville, California dam crisis illustrates, hydroelectric energy technology comes with a major yet infrequent risk: Catastrophic collapse and flooding. According to a March 2011 data analysis by reporter Phil McKenna at New Scientist, dams may be among the riskier power sources in the world. The analysis calculated the immediate and later deaths that occurred for every 10 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of power generated globally - as a point of contrast, the world makes about 20,000 TWh of electrical power a year. The data give a range of deaths for each type of power, but the ranking consistently places hydroelectric power as more deadly than nuclear energy and natural gas. --David Mosher, Business Insider, 13 February 2017
 
South Australia was warned of the electricity-shortage crisis – and consequent blackouts – yet ignored the warnings, according to Business SA executive Anthony Penney. “The most frustrating aspect of this most recent event is that it was anticipated by many businesses and other energy industry experts well in advance but, like the frog in boiling water, nothing happened in time,” he says. This week the SA frog boiled. About 100,000 customers were blacked out because of the reliance on unreliable wind and solar power in our network – more than a third of SA’s generation capacity.  Ben Heard says the SA blackouts caused by unreliable solar and wind were predicted two years ago in the journal Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, and every MP in the Parliament was told. --Miles Kemp, Sunday Mail (South Australia), 12 February 2017
 
Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way,” Barack Obama declared after Democrats’ disastrous losses in the 2010 midterm elections. That shellacking finally killed off the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. From it was born the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and the Obama administration’s war on coal, in turn a contributory factor to Donald Trump’s election and Republicans’ retaining control of the Senate. Now the grandees of the Old Republican Establishment, led by former secretaries of state George Shultz and James Baker, are calling for President Trump to put the new Republican majority at risk by enacting an escalating $40-per-ton carbon tax. The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends produced by the Climate Leadership Council is disingenuous and dishonest. An American receiving as much in carbon dividends as he pays in carbon taxes would end up worse off because the economy would be smaller and his consumer preferences suppressed. So a carbon tax would not contribute to economic growth but detract from it. --Rupert Darwall, National Review Online, 13 February 2017