RICHMOND — U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse frequently takes to the Senate floor to warn against climate change, having done so, by his count, at least two dozen times in the past year. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before the Rhode Island Democrat got around to calling out Virginia’s most prominent global-warming skeptic by name.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor, got a backhanded shout-out in a Whitehouse floor speech last week for his unsuccessful legal battle against a University of Virginia climate scientist.
The battle went something like this:
“In 2010, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli used his powers of office to harass former University of Virginia climatologist Michael Mann and 39 other climate scientists and staff,” Whitehouse said in a speech Thursday, which was posted on YouTube. “As a U-Va. grad, I am proud that the university fought back against this political attack on science and on academic freedom.”
The winter of 2012-13 in the USA was both warmer and wetter than average, according to data released Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Meteorological winter is considered to be the three months of December, January and February.
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during the winter season was 34.3 degrees, which is 1.9 degrees above the 20th-century average, marking the 20th-warmest winter on record, NOAA reported.
As for precipitation, while the Southeast and upper Midwest were wetter than average, much of the West was quite dry, especially in January and February, contributing to below-average snowpack in the Sierra and Rockies.
“Drought conditions continued to plague much of the Great Plains and West,” according to the NOAA report.
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To a climate change denier
Humanity, are you grieving, over global ice retreating? This summer, the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean shrunk to just 1.3 million square miles, a record low. Worse, as ocean temperatures rise, the Arctic’s summer ice covering will continue to contract- more “record lows” can be expected to follow in quick succession. If this trend continues, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer before the end of the decade.
An Arctic Ocean devoid of summer sea ice would be a catastrophe for humanity. Ice reflects solar radiation back into space; open water absorbs it. As a result, without summer sea ice, the Arctic’s water temperature will rise, further fueling global warming in a vicious feedback cycle and playing havoc with existing weather patterns.
And it’s not just Arctic ice that’s melting. Glaciers are retreating across the planet- a phenomenon poignantly documented by the Glacier Research Imaging Project, the Extreme Ice Survey, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Repeat Photography Project at Glacier National Park in Montana. Indeed, scientists predict the latter will be glacierless by 2030.
Ken Cuccinelli’s witch hunt against climate scientist Michael Mann was stopped by the Supreme Court. Good for UVA for failing to roll over and play dead. However, in the wake of this law suit are a lot of unpaid bills. UVA had to raise about $600,000 to cover its legal costs . Then there are the bills generated from the State Attorney General’s office. Let’s hear Cuccinelli try to tell us to ‘stop the spending.’ He has lost his fiscally conservative street cred.
This witch hunt was motivated by Cuccinelli’s own personal political agenda rather than from anything real that happened or any reasonable suspicion of wrong-doing while Dr. Mann was in residence at UVA. The newly elected attorney general had a bug and he rashly wasted the taxpayers’ money pursuing his own silly paranoid anti-scientific endeavors.
Mr. Cuccinelli’s inspiration appears to have been the conspiracy theorizing that emerged from the so-called Climategate scandal, in which global-warming opponents stole scientists’ e-mails — including a few of Mr. Mann’s — and then misinterpreted them to justify their activism.
Now that the Supreme Court has shut Mr. Cuccinelli down, what’s left is a range of consequences that can only hurt the commonwealth. The university had to raise nearly $600,000 for legal fees — money the cash-strapped university should have been able to use for something productive. On top of that are the public resources of the attorney general’s office that Mr. Cuccinelli wasted. Scientists in Virginia now have reason to wonder whether they will suffer similar pressure if they publish research government officials don’t like. And, because of some of the Supreme Court’s legal findings, the powers of the attorney general to pursue actual fraud have been clipped.
How many scientists will not want to work at UVA because of the climate of fear inspired by Cuccinelli? Virginia has a long history of enlightenment that goes back to the time of Jefferson, Washington, and even further. To have Cuccinelli try to ride his wave of anti-intellectual hocus pocus through the state at our expensive is simply unacceptable. Mr. Jefferson would not like his school under attack and Virginians are tired of this administration causing them continual embarrassment.
Is global warming a real reason for concern? Sixth District Democratic congressional candidate Andy Schmookler doesn’t pretend to be an expert in climate science. He is smart enough to look at what those who are have to say.
“There are people who have been told that the way science works is that we have essentially a conspiracy of scientists from all over the world who are drumming up this hoax in order to frighten people so that they can get more research grants. That isn’t the world as it operates,” Schmookler said.
Read more. I also am smart enough to go to people who know more answers than I do.
According to the New York Times, data sharing between the C.I.A. and leading scientists has resumed.
The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. They seek insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests.
Basically speaking, US top scientists are receiving top security clearances to have access to C.I.A. reconnaisance material. This program was shut down by the Bush administration. It has the strong approval of the director of the C.I.A. and of leading scientists.
In the last year, as part of the effort, the collaborators have scrutinized images of Arctic sea ice from reconnaissance satellites in an effort to distinguish things like summer melts from climate trends, and they have had images of the ice pack declassified to speed the scientific analysis.
Scientists, Dr. Untersteiner said, “have no way to send out 500 people” across the top of the world to match the intelligence gains, adding that the new understandings might one day result in ice forecasts.
“That will be very important economically and logistically,” Dr. Untersteiner said, arguing that Arctic thaws will open new fisheries and sea lanes for shipping and spur the hunt for undersea oil and gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Apple, the tech behemoth, has resigned its membership in the US Chamber of Commerce, effective immediately because of the position taken on climate change by the organization. Apple follows on the heels of Nike who also just resigned.
According to the New York Times:
The New York Times reports that Apple’s resignation is effective immediately. Catherine Novelli, vice president of worldwide government affairs at Apple, called the chamber’s stance on climate change issues “frustrating” in aletter addressed to its president and CEO.
“We strongly object to the chamber’s recent comments opposing the E.P.A.’s effort to limit greenhouse gases. … We would prefer that the chamber take a more progressive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis
Several energy companies have also left the Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, Bill Maher spoke explicitly and irreverently , as usual, on Friday night over the climate change issue:
Beyond a Reaonable Drought
According to Huffington Post, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), mentioned by Maher and known as the King of Global Warming Deniers, announced on C-Span over the weekend that he will go to Copenhagen later this fall to enlighten the scientists and he will present:
another view.” “I think somebody has to be there — a one-man truth squad,” he said. Throughout the program, Inhofe went through his tattered global warming denier claims: that climate change is a “hoax,” that CO2 is not a pollutant, and — latching on to the latest false right-wing talking point — that clean energy legislation will cost American families $1,700 a year
Bill Maher might be on to something. Forget science. Has anyone else noticed that the flowers and plants now last well in to November. Our 5 senses should be telling us something is different. When I was a kid, the growing season ended much earlier. Forget being a kid, when I was right out of college the growing season was shorter than it is now. Forget politics. Are there differences? Even if you don’t believe most of the scientists, are you willing to take the chance?