Russell Cook: The Curious History of ‘Global Climate Disruption’

Posted: September 27, 2012 by tallbloke in climate, government, Incompetence, Politics, weather
My thanks to Russell Cook for permission to reproduce this article first published on the ‘American Thinker’ website in 2010. This is well timed given Al Gore’s upcoming ‘Dirty Weather’ 24 hour special broadcast. ‘Weather Weirding’, ‘Climate Disruption’, ‘Dirty Weather’, these are all phrases designed to conjure up worry and fear in the minds of ordinary people. They are promulgated by pseudoscientists who want to link ‘carbon emissions’ with disruptive weather events. That they have no scientific basis to do so is demonstrated in a recent editorial in ‘Nature’, as well as by numerous articles over the years by meteorologists such as Ryan Maue. -TB

With thanks to ‘Minnesotans for Global Warming’

The Curious History of ‘Global Climate Disruption’
By Russell Cook
Global warming alarmists are seriously considering rebranding their fear campaign in the face of public skepticism.

September 16 Fox News report analyzed the suggestion by Science Czar John Holdren to rename global warming “global climate disruption,” while also offering this tidbit:

In a 2007 presentation, Holdren suggested a similar phrase change — “global climatic disruption.”

The newest suggestion prompted many satirical alternatives, however, his own 2007 variant actually goes back to 1997, revealing a far more serious association with an eco-advocacy group.

According to a May 14, 1997 endorsement request to scientists made by directors of Ozone Action, “The enclosed statement was initiated and written by six of your colleagues who hope you will join them in raising awareness about the threat of climate change.”

As I detailed in my July American Thinker article, Ozone Action seems to be the epicenter of a successful campaign to portray skeptic scientists as tools of Big Coal and Oil executives. The Statement the directors refer to is seen here: Scientists Statement on Global Climatic Disruption. One of the other six was Jane Lubchenco, current head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and founder of the Leopold Leadership Program, which she and another Statement signer, Hal Mooney, created in 1998 to “train mid-career academic environmental researchers to communicate effectively to non-scientific audiences.” While she was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997, the AAAS website had a direct link to Ozone Action’s page for the Statement. Arguably, the Leopold group, given Lubchenco’s association with Ozone Action, would perhaps be good at communicating the IPCC version of global warming, while not speaking highly of skeptic scientists.

While the Scientists Statement was said to be “initiated and written” by the six scientists and promoted by Ozone Action, an alert by the Union of Concerned Scientists in March 1998 about an unpublished Wall Street Journal op-ed letter suggests that the origin of the effort wasn’t necessarily arranged by the scientists: “In an effort organized by Ozone Action in response to the Petition Project, this letter has been endorsed and circulated by a prominent group of scientists.”

The associations take a turn for the worse upon mention of the Oregon Petition Project, a list of scientists questioning the idea that human-induced CO2 disrupts the climate. Condemnations of the Petition having fake names are viral across the internet, apparently tracing back to a May 1, 1998 Seattle Times article by AP writer H. Josef Hebert:

Several environmental groups questioned dozens of the names: “Perry S. Mason” (the fictitious lawyer?), “Michael J. Fox” (the actor?), “Robert C. Byrd” (the senator?), “John C. Grisham” (the lawyer-author?). And then there’s the Spice Girl, a k a. Geraldine Halliwell: The petition listed “Dr. Geri Halliwell” and “Dr. Halliwell.”

Sounds initially damaging, until you read the same AP writer’s long version written on the same day:

John Passacantando, executive director of the environmental group Ozone Action, scoffed at any claim that Robinson’s petition represents the widespread views of scientists. He said his group scoured the list and found dozens of names unlikely to be scientists: “Perry S. Mason” (the fictitious lawyer?), “Michael J. Fox” (the actor?), “Robert C. Byrd” (the senator?), “John C. Grisham” (the lawyer-author?).  There also were Drs. “Frank Burns” “Honeycutt” and “Pierce” (Remember the trio from M A S H?), not to mention the Spice Girl, a.k.a. Geraldine Halliwell, who was on the petition as “Dr. Geri Halliwel” and again as simply “Dr. Halliwell.”

Several groups, or just Ozone Action? In his May 20, 1998 letter to the NY Times, Passacantando actually names “Hawkeye Pierce and BJ Honeycutt,” but he fails to mention any other groups spotting those. Ozone Action’s Brandon MacGillis’ April 24, 1998 letter to the Washington Times (pg. 7 here) said:

Several members of the scientific community have looked over the signatories listed on the petition’s web site, and they did not recognize a single scientist known for work on climate change. … I did recognize one name: Geri Halliwell, a k a Ginger Spice.

It’s possible to view 1998 archive web pages of the Petition (oldest link here, which may be for a page dating from June 1998 or earlier) and see if names matching the M*A*S*H doctors really are there, or if Richard Lindzen, S. Fred Singer, and Sherwood B. Idso — scientists Holdren and Lubchenco should have been familiar with — are there. If it’s troubling to find the Mason and Grisham names on the list, does that imply that an example like the current Arizona state government is equally troubling because of Hollywood celebrities on its elected officials list, like Dean MartinPaul Newman, and Linda Gray?

The trouble for Holdren lies in the Greenpeace archive scan page following MacGillis’ letter; a scan of a letter by Holdren and George Woodwell to the International Herald Tribune, November 14-15, 1998, mimicking the Passacantando and MacGillis letters; and the H. Josef Hebert article.

Or was Holdren’s/Woodwell’s letter ghostwritten by Ozone Action? That was an assertion posed to the ombudsman at the now-defunct media watchdog magazine Brill’s Content, as described in hisMay 1999 analysis of the IHT letter and protests by Candace Crandall (an associate at Fred Singer’s Science & Environmental Policy Project), Passacantando, and IHT editor Michael Getler (the same Getler who is now ombudsman for PBS). Ombudsman Kovach’s analysis is marvelous to read, with a powerful ending about the importance of fact versus opinion. Two troubling statements about Ozone Action’s association with science speakers are made, the first here:

“… complicating this is Ozone Action’s acknowledgement in its own letter that the group helped Woodwell with research for the op-ed.”

And second, about Holdren/Woodwell:

“They also said that they had used Ozone Action, with whom they have worked frequently on global warming issues, to place articles in newspapers which had carried an earlier article they wanted to dispute.”

Scientists certainly are glad to accept good research help on other matters and assistance to broaden public understanding of their work. But Holdren, Lubchenco, and other scientists allied with Ozone Action, a group that was the epicenter of Ross Gelbspan’s campaign initiated in 1996 to portray skeptic scientists as tools of Big Coal and Oil executives, and Holdren himself became entangled in highly questionable allegations about the Petition Project.

Each set of accusations starts to crumble under simple fact-checking and leads only to more questions about the motivations and actions of all involved. When the mainstream media failed to notice these red flags over a decade ago, they essentially became part of the orthodoxy of man-caused global warming believers, telling everyone to ignore, ridicule, ostracize, and — in regard to the latest horrific video — strongly suggest in ironic fashion that nonbelievers are under “no pressure” to change their ways.

This cumulative effort prompts an unavoidable question: Do the believers ultimately have no confidence that the underlying science can be defended on its own?
Comments
  1. Gogs says:

    “The Phenomenon formerly known as Global Warming” does it for me . . .

  2. The interconnectedness of this whole mess is amazing, my computer notes file on this is very lengthy. I didn’t think to do a name search for “Stephan Lewandowsky” in my file when that guy’s current controversy blew up in the last month, and still didn’t think to do that even after I wrote my guest post at Anthony Watts’ WUWT ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/11/the-other-problem-with-the-lewandowsky-paper-and-similar-skeptic-motivation-analysis-core-premise-off-the-rails-about-fossil-fuel-industry-corruption-accusation/#more-70817 ), but it turns out I ALREADY had the guy in my file, regarding his repetition of the “Oregon Petition Project fake names’ accusation that I detailed in the article above.

    See “A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate change denial”, 22 June 2011, Authors Stephan Lewandowsky, Michael Ashley, 6th paragraph before the end: ” … There’s a laughable list circulating on the internet of 31,000 “scientists” — including at one point Dr. Pierce and Dr. Hunnicutt of M*A*S*H fame — who allegedly oppose the consensus on climate change. …” http://theconversation.edu.au/a-journey-into-the-weird-and-wacky-world-of-climate-change-denial-1554

    Small world. These guys all get their smears of skeptics from one source, Ross Gelbspan and his associates at the old Ozone Action group.

  3. Doug Proctor says:

    Do the believers ultimately have no confidence that the underlying science can be defended on its own?

    This statement is one that only a technically-oriented person would ask (such as myself and others who peruse this and other skeptic sites). The non-technical, the political, the activist and the demagogue all understand that technical issues are non-starters. The emotional content of the narrative is what drives people to the polls (rarely a SmartCar, by the way: the emotional, testosterone aspect of an SUV remains inviolate in a war mist’s mind).

    Morano understands this well. Climate Depot is an immediate, in-your-face response to any claim to the faint-but-sensitive-hearted. To counter emotion one must immediately respond with a counter emotion – doubt is emotion, facts are that which engenders doubt. This war, like any war, is won or lost by hearts, not minds: the troops get motivated or discouraged, and this is what determines the outcome of battles.

    Over the years I have been befuddled (a Big Bang Theory word) because I failed to understand this fact of human behaviour. It is perhaps the most important aspect of our lives, that all of us do or do not because we feel the desire. The desire can be fear-based or pleasure-based, but it is always some emotion-based. CAGW obviously is a mixture of fear, altruism and selfishness. We don’t want to die, we don’t want the biosphere to die and we want a world in good shape for our children (and our genes, Mr. Dawkins?). All these are emotions. We arrive at this state because of the narrative, giving credence to the narrative because of a belief in authority coupled with a hazy common sense agreement that the “facts” we are told are believable. The problem that the skeptical position has is that, since we cannot really change one’s perception facto-a-facto, and our narrative is not compelling (everything will be fine/as it will be regardless of what we do/changed but not noticeably to the worst/perhaps better), the only emotion we can counter with is doubt.

    This is what the war mists understand: the only weapon in our arsenal we have is doubt. This is why they call us “deniers”, linking us to the abomination that those who deny millions of people died during Hitler’s reign. The emotion of disgust beats doubt.

    Doubt is not significant when the facts are clear. For the CAGW narrative, however, the facts are not clear: the seas are not drowning islands or flooding the Indian deltas. There are no cascading Mississippis draining Greenland. Droughts are not so widespread and longterm as to be beyond that experienced by the living thoughtful (try the ’80s in North America not just the ’30s). We aren’t putting snowsuits and skis in a Museum of Sorrows. So doubt is still significant.

    Billboards that use emotion – what a great idea badly handled by the Heartland Institute! Perhaps billboards that have smiling faces on the beach of Tuvalu would be better designed.

    And have bikini-clad beauties: marketing reps say sex sells everything. Maybe it can sell sense.

  4. vukcevic says:

    Global warming to climate change, next climate inconsistency?

  5. @ Doug Proctor, ” … This statement is one that only a technically-oriented person would ask …”

    Guilty as charged. Unlike “TallBloke” or others with oodles of science knowledge, there’s no way I can authoritatively say one side is right and another is wrong, but if there is one thing I or any other ordinary citizen can spot, it is science assessments that contradict each other.

    The true ‘deniers’, it would appear in this issue, are those in denial of the contradictory positions. The skeptic side is dismissed out-of-hand, thus ‘no contradictions exist in valid form’. But when an idiot like me asks for proof that skeptics aren’t worthy of consideration, I’m either given shell game answers, or I’m met with stony silence. Doesn’t exactly bolster faith in AGW, does it?

    One can compare this kind of life-support tactic to other situations that survive on faith and suppression of tough questioning: “The Great Global Warming Ponzi Scheme – how the mainstream media keeps it alive” http://www.redstate.com/russellc/2011/08/17/the-great-global-warming-ponzi-scheme-how-the-mainstream-media-keeps-it-alive/

  6. ntesdorf says:

    I was more impressed by “Climate Weirding” than by “Global Climate Disruption” . There is precious little Clinate Disruption to be seen, but Global Weirding has tremendous poetic promise.

  7. Brian H says:

    Doug Proctor says:
    September 27, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Do the believers ultimately have no confidence that the underlying science can be defended on its own?

    This statement is one that only a technically-oriented person would ask (such as myself and others who peruse this and other skeptic sites). The non-technical, the political, the activist and the demagogue all understand that technical issues are non-starters. The emotional content of the narrative is what drives people to the polls (rarely a SmartCar, by the way: the emotional, testosterone aspect of an SUV remains inviolate in a war mist’s mind).

    Morano understands this well. Climate Depot is an immediate, in-your-face response to any claim to the faint-but-sensitive-hearted. To counter emotion one must immediately respond with a counter emotion

    Important post. But as I have asserted for a long time, all human thought and decisions are driven by emotion. The rigidly objective person feels safe and validated in his reliance on observations — and fearful, reluctant, and repelled by strong emotional expression from and to others. And vindicated when data supports an assertion, and challenged and perhaps hostile when a contradiction is indicated. Etc.

    As far as “available” emotions to arouse and deploy in the contest, how about rage and resentment at being manipulated by data fudging and the death-grip on preferential funding, plus the leveraging of public fear to obtain unwarranted power? Joe Public really dislikes being conned or treated like livestock.