Energy/Environment Media Bullet Points

by William Yeatman on March 3, 2015

in Blog

The Emptiness of EPA’s “Scientific Integrity” Program Is Laid Bare; Silly Story on Alleged AGW Roots of Syrian Civil War; Yet Again Climate Change Gets No Questions on Sunday Political Talkies, and Much More

  • EPA’s Scientific Integrity Officer Francesca Grifo yesterday took to EPA Connect (“The Official Blog of EPA Leadership”) in order to announce the rollout of EPA’s Fiscal Year 2014 Scientific Integrity Annual Report. By my cursory count, there are 22 sentences in the blog, and 21 total mentions of the phrase “scientific integrity.” And yet, despite this prevalence of the term in the blog, I was as ignorant of what “scientific integrity” means after reading Grifo’s piece as I was before having read her post. To my eyes, this suggests that “scientific integrity” is an empty shibboleth (akin to “environmental justice”), for which an office is maintained for no purpose other than the cause of appealing optics.  My intuition was confirmed when I read the first sentence of the Fiscal Year 2014 Scientific Integrity Annual Report, which states that “this report is part of the Agency’s ongoing commitment to transparency.” In reality, of course, EPA has demonstrated antipathy for the principles of transparency. It follows that “scientific integrity”—a function of the agency’s supposed commitment to transparency—is a sham.
  • Yesterday the media went nuts [see screenshot immediately below] with a study linking climate change to civil war in Syria, by way of AGW-induced drought. Of the scores of articles on the subject, I read only one, by Slate’s Eric Holthaus, and it was as ridiculous as one might think. It featured a George Washington professor Marcus King, who reportedly said that climate change was the “dominant factor” leading to the 4 million emigrants fleeing the conflict—a.k.a., “climate refugees” in the mumbo jumbo jargon of the academic. Imagine that! Climate change, rather than humankind’s unfortunate nature, is the “dominant” cause of the Syrian civil war. Incredibly, that wasn’t even the silliest thing in the article. That dubious honor goes to Colin Kelley, a climate scientist at the University of California–Santa Barbara and the study’s lead author, who reportedly suggested that the U.S. should be “proactive” about this issue because a western U.S. State is at risk of suffering Syria’s fate (i.e., climate change induced civil war).



  • Speaking of drought in the U.S. west, consider the following headlines:

Study: Human-caused global warming behind California drought,” USA Today, 2 March 2015

NOAA: Climate change did not cause California drought,” Climate Central, 8 December 2014

  • Last weekend, there were again no questions about climate change on any of the four Sunday morning political talk shows (i.e., NBC Meet the Press, ABC This Week, CBS Face the Nation, and Fox News Sunday). In the sive weeks since the SOTU–during which President Obama announced that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change”–these shows collectively have fielded exactly one question about AGW. And the purpose of that lone query, asked three weekends ago by ABC This Week’s Jon Karl, was to second-guess the President’s belief that AGW is no less a threat than *violent extremism* or Russian aggression. As I’ve previously explained, the absence of climate questions “is notable insofar as these shows are the embodiment of the political establishment. By ignoring the putative AGW threat to national security, they suggest that conventional wisdom on the issue rests well to the right of the President.”
  • Reuters’s Jeff Mason had the tweet of the week yesterday, regarding President Obama’s commitment to a timely decision on Keystone XL:

tweet of the week


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