How about another cup of coffee? (Global Warming Conspiracy and Starbucks Cup #289)

June 19, 2013

Encore post from September 17, 2007, and August 2009 — maybe more appropriate today than ever before.

Found this on my coffee cup today (links added here):

The Way I See It #289

So-called “global warming” is just

a secret ploy by wacko tree-

huggers to make America energy

independent, clean our air and

water, improve the fuel efficiency

of our vehicles, kick-start

21st-century industries, and make

our cities safer and more livable.

Don’t let them get away with it!

Chip Giller
Founder of, where
environmentally-minded people
gather online.

Starbucks Coffee Cup, The Way I See It #289 (global warming)

Look! Someone found the same cup I found!

I miss those old Starbucks cups — but then, they killed the Starbucks in our town.  I don’t buy the 100 cups of Starbucks coffee I used to get in a year.



Ethics in climate science: How do we know what we know?

August 12, 2011

It’s almost an arcane fight, but it’s an important one — if you’re going to discuss climate science and the policies required to clean up pollution that causes destruction of our planet, can we at least agree to stick to the facts, the real facts?

John Mashey is a computer smart guy who jumped into the fray to point out that most opponents to doing anything to stop the destruction have a social or economic interest in stopping the action and continuing the destruction, something Mashey determined from looking at the networks linking the people involved.  There’s a lot of howling about Mashey’s pointing out that the emperor is a crook.  So far he’s been proved correct.

An academic group you probably never heard of, the National Association of Scholars, has an elected leader who decided to take after Mashey, rather than clean up the house.  Peter Wood writes a column for the  Chronicle of Higher Education, and sadly, their editorial mavens appear not to have fact checked it.  To their credit, they allowed Mashey’s response.

Comments are brutal.

Here’s how Tim Lambert described it at Deltoid:

John Mashey and Rob Coleman have a guest post at The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s blog replying to Peter Wood’s hit piece.

Wood’s article misused the platform of CHE. Its relevance to the concerns of CHE was minimal. It had little purpose but to damage the reputation of one of us, John Mashey, and the climate scientist Michael Mann, whom Wood has often denigrated elsewhere. The political false-association tactics were obvious. Climate scientists are under incessant attack, a fact strongly decried the day before Wood’s article by the AAAS Board. The muddy battlefield of blogs and media has now arrived on the CHE premises, easily seen in the comments.

If one tells the truth in climate science, one needs thick skin.  Go read Mashey’s piece before you read the comments.  More background from Lambert, here.

And the context you need:  Only one study on climate change has actually been retracted over the past couple of years — no, not any of those noting that warming occurs, not any of those that use the graph famously described as “a hockey stick,” but the piece that pulled together all the criticism of the science, at the behest of Republicans on the environment committees in the U.S. Congress, called the Wegman Report.  And it was John Mashey who assembled the extensive and sometimes elegant case that the Wegman Report was plagiarized and wrong.

This is, indeed, a case of trying to kill the messenger’s reputation.

Am I the only one suspicious that the National Association of Scholars may have been named to foster confusion about the authority of reports, say from the National Academy of Sciences, the long-time science advisory group to presidents whose reports urge action to stop climate change?  Notice their acronyms are the same.

Wind power, more than just talk

July 30, 2011

I missed Global Wind Day on June 15 — too much static from the ironically long-winded anti-winders.

Voice of America claims wind power offers great potential.  Climate denialists, used to denying all facts especially if they are hopeful, will deny it any way they think they can.*

These posts are for examples only, and should not be interpreted to mean that the blogs sampled are composed entirely of denials, or that the blog authors and editors are themselves pure denialists — certainly they will deny that.  We will gladly post links to posts at those blogs that promote benefits of harnassing wind energy, if anyone can find them.

History and economics of energy use and conservation – a more accurate version

July 30, 2011

Our memorial to George Washington neared completion in the 1880s.  For an obelisk more than 550 feet tall to honor the Father of Our Country, planners decided to top it with a “capstone” made of the what was, then the most precious metal known on Earth.  The top is a pyramid, and the top of the pyramid is a one-pound block of this precious metal.

What was the most precious metal known to humans in 1880?  Gold?  Platinum?  Tungsten, perhaps, not yet chosen to be filaments in the yet-to-be-perfected Edison “A” lightbulb?

Washington’s Monument is topped with aluminum.

Yeah, aluminum.

“But,” you begin to sputter in protest, “aluminum is almost ubiquitous in soils, and it’s cheap — we use it in soda cans because it’s cheaper than steel or glass, for FSM’s sake!”

Today, yes.  In 1880, no.  Aluminum requires massive amounts of energy to refine the stuff from ore.  Aluminum is common in soils and rocks, but it couldn’t be refined out easily for use.

That problem’s solution was electricity, generated from coal or especially falling water.  For a while, our nation’s biggest aluminum refining plants resided in the state of Washington, not because they were close to aluminum ore deposits, but because there was a lot of cheap electricity available from the Grand Coulee and other dams on the mighty Columbia River.  It was cheaper to transport the ore long distances for refining than to transport the electricity.

This history reveals a lot about science, history, energy use, resource conservation and economics — areas in which most climate denialists appear to me to lack knowledge and productive experience.

Peter Sinclair more often explains why climate denialists get things wrong.  In this video, the first of what could be a significant series, Sinclair explains how we got to where we are today in energy use and conservation — or energy overuse and lack of conservation, if the Tea Party and Rand Paul get their way.  (Notice the ingots of aluminum shown in the historic film footage.)

This is history which has been largely covered up, partly because so much critical stuff happened in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, a time the internet doesn’t cover well.


Slowpoke Comics on the light bulb wars

July 24, 2011

Oh, while we’re looking at the genius of Jen Sorensen, let’s see what she’s got to cartoon about light bulbs:

Jen Sorensen's Slowpoke Comics, "Bulb Wars"

Jen Sorensen's Slowpoke Comics, "Bulb Wars" - for a larger image at Jen's website, click the image

This strip appears Wednesdays at Daily Kos, and I understand some newspapers around the country have picked it up.  Does it appear in a paper in your city?

Republican bid to turn out the lights failed

July 12, 2011

Dan Weiss reports at Climate Progress that the attempt to kill energy conservation standards failed tonight.  It required a two-thirds vote from the House to suspend the rules to consider it (the bill did not go through normal legislative channels) — the bill failed.

You may want to read Steve Lacey’s earlier explanation of the bill there, too.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Tony Sidaway and his tweets.

More wisdom: From Burlington, Vermont, grassroots ideas on fighting global warming

April 10, 2011

Another local newspaper op-ed, this time from Burlington, Vermont (yeah, I know — a Gannett paper — still, smaller than Dallas). This comes from the March 4 edition of the Burlington Free Press’s “I Believe” series:

I Believe: ‘We have a responsibility to learn about climate change

by Joan Knight

“If politicians remain at loggerheads, citizens must lead.”
— Dr. James E. Hansen, physicist, director of NASA Goddard Institute

I was impressed when I attended a recent meeting with a group of volunteer activists forming a Vermont chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby. This group is different, I thought. It might actually work. As a newly retired 72-year-old, I was looking for a new focus, and found it.

Religious groups use the word “creation.” Most people say “nature.” Academics speak of global ecology. Deep ecologists who view Earth as one living being say “Gaia,” in reverential tones, meaning our planet and its atmosphere is a living “body.” Its “cells” include us humans, plants, forests, microbes. All life is tied together by dynamic, interdependent relationships. Most native peoples sense that all beings are like sisters and brothers — members of the same family.

I understand. It started for me as a young child with what Rachel Carlson called a sense of wonder. Grasses back-lit by the setting sun; starfish in tide pools crawling about among colorful mats of living plants and fungi. It was a more spiritual experience than was going to church under parental orders. Nature really mattered.

Growing older, I revered the writing of Rachel Carson, David Brower, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry and so many more. I still feel abiding love for it all. I believe in Earth as a planetary living being.

It is clear that our family of All Beings is suffering.

Climate change. Global warming. Is it real? Is it a problem? Why are the changes happening? There is controversy about the answers to these questions. The collapse of climate and energy legislation last year in Congress was a relief to some in big business.

Natural laws or physics and chemistry are in action. The climate is warming faster than it ever has. Weather patterns are strange and tragic. Species are becoming extinct. Predictions of the end of nature (Bill McKibben’s 1984 book title) are common now. What if the scientists are right? We don’t need all the answers to figure out that something awful is going on.

Can we slow down the rate of change? Yes. Can we stop the climate from warming too much? It’s not likely, but I believe we must try. Should we let it happen while we enjoy our greenhouse-gas-producing lifestyles? Some family members deny the reality that their loved one has a serious illness and is likely to die prematurely. We humans have an interesting default to denial. This does happen. Might some of us, similarly, deny that our planet is critically ill?

Most of us agree that conservation of energy and resources is good for us and for the environment. We are changing our personal lifestyles. We have changed our light bulbs to compact fluorescents; we vacation closer to home; we’re working to improve the efficiency of our buildings.

Many of us also become members of environmental organizations. We read their magazines, put in bird feeders to enjoy nature, donate money and sign petitions in the attempt to show our legislators how we would like them to vote. Here in Vermont, we even talk with state legislators and are proud we are the “green state” — cherishing our remaining cows in pastoral landscapes and our forests for both wildlife and recreation. We’re thankful our delegation to the Congress “gets it.”

There are many grassroots activists successfully influencing lawmakers on a town and state level. But we know that states tend to make changes in laws and budgets in response to constraints brought on by federal legislation and financing. Are there ways to really influence federal representatives and senators? Paid lobbyists do it on a massive scale. Money speaks. But what about us?

The Citizens Climate Lobby believes in an approach by which ordinary people influence the federal “deciders” enough to sometimes change their votes. The influential people take the trouble to learn about and appreciate some things an individual legislator has done, seek to discover common ground, listen respectfully and talk in a collaborative way. After discovering what information would be relevant, they come back to provide it. In this comfortable way of relating, ordinary people do make a difference.

As citizens of this country we have a responsibility to learn about climate change, solutions and how to take part in the democratic process. We can sit down for a conversation and tell our legislators what we care about and why. We can write letters. It’s really our job as citizens to share these thoughts with our legislators, if we ever hope to be truly represented by them.

That’s where the new Citizens’ Climate Lobby comes in. The group gives us the tools we need. There is a monthly conference call with a leading thinker who will help keep us informed of the latest issues, and an opportunity to practice speaking with each other about those issues. We work together to help our legislators hear the non-confrontational message: We want a healthy planet for our kids and grandkids.

If I dare to step forward to lobby my representative, I want to learn how, to practice, to feel supported by kindred spirits, to know it’s OK to make mistakes and keep on gaining new knowledge and skills. I’m up for it. And I hope many of you will consider joining us as we begin making our voices heard where it matters most.

Check out the Citizens Climate Lobby website, and get information about how to join in on the next national conference call. This one will be focused on messaging — the importance of context and delivery. This organization seeks to empower each of us to have breakthroughs in our personal power, to be heard and to be counted. It feels good to be a part of a supportive web of passionate citizens.

Join us. Talk with an active member on the phone, go to the website (, find the lobby on Facebook.

It’s not too late to make a difference. We have been lazy in hoping someone else would do the right thing, that sending a check to an organization and signing an online petition was enough. It’s time for folks, including myself, to step up and be heard.

Real grass roots politics, from a woman concerned enough about the issue to think historically, and to read broadly about it.

Citizenship is wonderful to behold, when it is practiced so nobly and elegantly.

What else might we learn, if we really listened to the people?

Citizens Climate Lobby masthead

Masthead for the home page of Citizens Climate Lobby - click to see

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