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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 17 declined, 19 accepted (36 total, 52.78% accepted)

+ - "Founder" of Greenpeace says pesticides are safe to drink.-> 1

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: "Founder of Greenpeace" Patrick Moore, who was reported here last week denying the physics of anthropogenic climate change on behalf of the Heartland Institute, is now claiming that the pesticide glysophate is safe for Argentinians to drink. "You can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you" he stated. "It is not dangerous to humans". Although when pressed he refused to take a sip, he did state "I know it wouldn't hurt me".
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+ - Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: A leading Canadian climate scientist has been awarded $50,000 in a defamation suit against The National Post newspaper. Andrew Weaver sued the Post over four articles published between December 2009 and February 2010. The articles contain “grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet,” and they “poison” the debate over climate change, Weaver asserted in a statement at the time the suit was filed.

The judge agreed, concluding “the defendants have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts. As evident from the testimony of the defendants, they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts.”

This is the first of several law suits launched by climate scientists against journalists who have published alleged libels and falsehoods. Climate scientist Ben Santer suggests the following explanation for these types of defamations: "if you can’t attack the underlying science, you go after the scientist.”

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+ - How a Founder of Modern Biology Got Suckered by Flat-Earthers-> 1

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: In January of 1870, John Hampden proposed a wager that challenged "all the philosophers, divines and scientific professors in the United Kingdom to prove the rotundity and revolution of the world from Scripture, from reason, or from fact. He will acknowledge that he has forfeited his deposit, if his opponent can exhibit, to the satisfaction of any intelligent referee, a convex railway, river, canal, or lake."

To Alfred Russel Wallace this sounded like easy money. Poor Wallace thought that Hampden only needed to be shown some proof in order to accept the plain fact that the earth is round. He knew nothing of Hampden and his ilk, or he may never have accepted the wager. But in addition to wanting to win a cool £500, he believed “that a practical demonstration would be more convincing than the ridicule with which such views are usually met.” He was about to find out that practical demonstrations have absolutely no effect on these truest of true believers.

Scientific American describes the events that followed. In the end Wallace and his family were subjected to death threats, and the wager cost him several hundred pounds and no end of trouble.

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+ - 2014 - Hottest Year on Record->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: Data from three major climate-tracking groups agree: The combined land and ocean surface temperatures hit new highs this year, according to the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United Kingdom's Met Office and the World Meteorological Association.

If December's figures are at least 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit (0.42 degrees Celsius) higher than the 20th century average, 2014 will beat the warmest years on record, NOAA said this month. The January-through-November period has already been noted as the warmest 11-month period in the past 135 years, according to NOAA's November Global Climate Report. Scientific American reports on five places that will help push 2014 into the global warming record books.

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+ - Republican lawmaker takes stand in favor of teaching "most up-to-date science"->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: The National Journal reports: Republican state Rep. John Patton will introduce legislation early this week to overturn a statewide ban on a set of K-12 science-education standards that teach the scientific consensus on global warming. The standards were finalized last year by a coalition of scientists and educators. But the guidelines have faced fierce political pushback in states such as Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming. In March, Wyoming Republican Gov. Matt Mead signed legislation blocking the state Board of Education from approving the standards amid uproar over their climate content. Now Rep. Patton is hoping to undo the ban.

Patton is not a climate-change crusader. He believes the climate is changing but says that he does not know how much human activity contributes to that. But Patton says that his personal opinions are irrelevant. "What I believe about global warming doesn't matter. We want students to have access to the most up-to-date science. Kids should have a chance to learn the science," Patton said.

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+ - Skeptics would like media to stop calling science deniers "skeptics"->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, are calling on the news media to stop using the word “skeptic” when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers. “Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry.”
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+ - Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: A new paper shows that global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is that the weather station network covers only about 85% of the planet. Satellite data shows that the parts of the Earth that are not covered by the surface station network, especially the arctic, have warmed exceptionally fast over the last 15 years. Most temperature reconstructions simply omit any region not covered. A temperature reconstruction developed by NASA somewhat addresses the gaps by filling in missing data using temperatures from the nearest available observations. Now Kevin Cowtan (University of York) and Robert Way (University of Ottawa) have developed a new method to fill the data gaps using satellite data.

The researchers describe their methods and findings in this youtube video. "The most important part of our work was testing the skill of each of these approaches in reconstructing unobserved temperatures. To do this we took the observed data and further reduced the coverage by setting aside some of the observations. We then reconstructed the global temperatures using each method in turn. Finally, we compared the reconstructed temperatures to the observed temperatures where they are available... While infilling works well over the oceans, the hybrid model works particularly well at restoring temperatures in the vicinity of the unobserved regions."

The authors note that "While short term trends are generally treated with a suitable level of caution by specialists in the field, they feature significantly in the public discourse on climate change."

+ - Global warming forcasts prove accurate-> 1

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: A recent Slashdot story noted a 1981 paper that predicted a rise in global mean temperatures and turned out to be surprisingly accurate — if a bit conservative. The guardian reports on a new paper that explores the performance of a forecast published in 1999. The new study predicted that the decade ending in December 2012 would be a quarter of degree warmer than the decade ending in August 1996 – and this proved correct to within a few hundredths of a degree. Compared to the forecast, the early years of the new millennium were somewhat warmer than expected. More recently the temperature has matched the level forecasted very closely" This relative slowdown has caused some journalists to speculate that global warming may have stopped. This paper shows that this is not the case. The author of the paper, Myles Allen, notes: "Of course, we should expect fluctuations around the overall warming trend in global mean temperatures (and even more so in British weather!), but the success of these early forecasts suggests the basic understanding of human-induced climate change on which they were based is supported by subsequent observations."
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+ - Paper on conspiratorial thinking invokes conspiratorial thinking-> 1

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: Last summer a paper investigating the link between conspiratorial thinking and the rejection of climate science provoked a response on blogs skeptical of the scientific consensus that appeared to illustrate the very cognitive processes at the center of the research. This generated data for a new paper titled "Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation" The researchers reviewed the reactions for evidence of conspirational thinking including the presumption of nefarious intent, perception of persecution, the tendency to detect meaning in random events, and the ability to interpret contrary evidence as evidence that the conspiracy is even greater in scope that was originally believed. Some of the hypotheses promoted to dismiss the findings of the original paper ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. It is not clear whether the response to this paper will itself provide data for further research, or how far down this recursion could progress. I fear the answer may be "all the way"
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+ - 2012 another record-setter, fits climate forecasts-> 1

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: Fox News reports: In 2012 many of the warnings scientists have made about global warming went from dry studies in scientific journals to real-life video played before our eyes. As 2012 began, winter in the U.S. went AWOL. Spring and summer arrived early with wildfires, blistering heat and drought. And fall hit the eastern third of the country with the ferocity of Superstorm Sandy. Globally, five countries this year set heat records, but none set cold records. 2012 is on track to be the warmest year on record in the United States. Worldwide, the average through November suggests it will be the eighth warmest since global record-keeping began in 1880 and will likely beat 2011 as the hottest La Nina year on record. America's heartland lurched from one extreme to the other without stopping at "normal." Historic flooding in 2011 gave way to devastating drought in 2012. But the most troubling climate development this year was the melting at the top of the world. Summer sea ice in the Arctic shrank to 18 percent below the previous record low.
These are "clearly not freak events," but "systemic changes," said climate scientist Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute in Germany. "With all the extremes that, really, every year in the last 10 years have struck different parts of the globe, more and more people absolutely realize that climate change is here and already hitting us."

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Science

+ - Report: Climate change behind rise in weather disasters->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: A new report by reinsurance company Munich Re finds that North America has been most affected by weather-related extreme events in recent decades. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America. Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways. Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity. Even after adjusting for population spread and increased property values, Munich Re still says there were significant increases in the costs of weather disasters. At the same time non-climatic events (earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis) have hardly changed. Some have cautioned that thirty years is not an appropriate length of time for a climate analysis, however the findings are consistent with expectations set out in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as in the special report on weather extremes and disasters (SREX).
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+ - The Motivated Rejection of Science->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: New research to be published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science has found that that those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from climate science as well as other sciences. The researchers, led by UWA School of Psychology Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, found that free-market ideology was an overwhelmingly strong determinant of the rejection of climate science. It also predicted the rejection of the link between tobacco and lung cancer and between HIV and AIDS. Conspiratorial thinking was a lesser but still significant determinant of the rejection of all scientific propositions examined, from climate to lung cancer. Curiously, public response to the paper has provided a perfect real-life illustration of the very cognitive processes at the center of the research.
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+ - A Conservative's Approach to Combating Climate Change-> 2

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: Law professor Jonathan H. Adler writes that even if the contrarians are right, and global warming ends up on the lower end of the projections, it will still produce property rights violations — an idea that is antithetical to Libertarian philosophy. Critical of the current EPA regulations and of cap and trade legislation, Adler proposes four conservative approaches to combating climate change including technology inducement prizes, reducing procedural barriers to the development and deployment of alternative technologies, and adopting a revenue-neutral carbon tax. This last point is gaining traction among republican thought leaders who feel that we have a fundamentally backward system in the United States that imposes taxes on things people want more of: income and jobs. At the same time, the U.S. allows something we want less of — carbon dioxide pollution — to be emitted without penalty.
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Politics

+ - Canadian scientists muzzled by government->

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: Prior to the International Polar Year 2012 conference in Montreal, Canadian government scientists were warned not to talk to the media without governmental supervision. The message sent to scientists was clear: Big Brother is watching you. This is one of several recent examples where the Canadian government attempted to intimidate scientists into not saying anything that might be considered “off-message”. But worrying about what might or might not be off-message is not the responsibility of a scientist. Scientists should only worry about being honest about their data and how to best communicate their findings. If those findings happen to go against government policy, that should never be a scientist’s problem.
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Last bastion for climate dissenters crumbling.-> 1

Submitted by Layzej
Layzej writes: The New York Times reports: "For decades, a small group of scientific dissenters has been trying to shoot holes in the prevailing science of climate change, offering one reason after another why the outlook simply must be wrong." Initially they claimed that weather stations exaggerated the warming trend. This was disproven by satellite data which shows a similar warming trend. Next solar activity was blamed for much of the warming. This looked like a promising theory until the 80's when solar output started to diverge from global temperatures. Now, climate contrarians are convinced that changes in cloud cover will largely mitigate the warming caused by increased CO2. The New York Times examines how even this last bastion for dissenters is crumbling. Over the past few years, Several papers have shown that rather than being a mitigating factor, changes in cloud cover due to warming may actually enhance further warming.
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