Archive for December 17th, 2009

The Continuing, Unfortunate Effectiveness of Marc Morano

By Chris Mooney | December 17, 2009 2:11 pm

Here’s a bloggy profile hailing the tough-to-dispute successes of a leading nemesis climate progress, Marc Morano of

With “Climategate”—the release last month of thousands of hacked e-mails showing debate about climate change may have been stifled—[Morano] is now getting more attention than ever before. As of last Friday, according to one the many e-mails this—and probably most—reporters get, he’s currently stationed at ground zero of the climate-change debate, Copenhagen, which he points out in e-mails, “is extremely cold.” (Several independent reviews of the hacked e-mails conclude that some scientists were engaging in embarrassing and at times unethical discussions, but the scientific consensus showing anthropogenic global warming was neither compromised nor fabricated).

He has been on countless news shows lately, including the BBC and CNN where he’s engaged in what he described to me as “lively and hostile debates.” He’s also appeared on the national radio shows of Sean Hannity, Fred Thomspon, and Lars Larsen. One of his fans (and a former boss of Morano’s) is Rush Limbaugh, who last month inadvertently shut down Morano’s site by urging listeners to follow his coverage of Climategate. The race to Morano’s site came after Rush gave this blessing: “Morano’s probably single-handedly, in a civilian sense, the guy─other than me, of course─doing a better job of ringing the bells alarming people of what’s going on here.”

Rush is absolutely right. The two of them are driving waves of outrage against climate scientists that are significantly influencing the media and thus, probably, public opinion. And there is, in my mind, little effective counter.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Energy, Environment, Global Warming

Marsha Blackburn Takes Over for Inhofe on the Climate Issue

By Chris Mooney | December 17, 2009 1:06 pm

It is clear that the GOP now has a new denial spokesperson–Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. I already blogged her misleading radio address on “ClimateGate” and Copenhagen; now, watch her in this CNN debate with Ed Markey:

It’s all here, folks: We’ve got the massive over-interpretation of “ClimateGate”, global cooling claims (both about the 1970s and about the present), the assertion that “climate change is cyclical,” that it is “unsettled science” and “it depends on whose science you’re looking at,” and so forth. It’s bad, bad news.

Blackburn is quickly becoming the new James Inhofe….

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Energy, Environment, Global Warming

Will Avatar Be This Generation's Star Wars?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | December 17, 2009 11:24 am

A few days ago I changed my facebook photo to feature Neytiri, a central character from James Cameron’s much anticipated new film Avatar. Displaying an ‘avatar‘ as my avatar seemed funny, but to my surprise, several ‘friends’ emailed puzzled over the switch. And while a simple facebook pic requires no explanation, it’s good reason to bring up the movie, which looks visuallyPicture 4 spectacular with an intriguing story to boot. Over at The New Yorker:

James Cameron’s “Avatar” is the most beautiful film I’ve seen in years. Amid the hoopla over the new power of 3-D as a narrative form, and the excitement about the complicated mix of digital animation and live action that made the movie possible, no one should ignore how lovely “Avatar” looks, how luscious yet freewheeling, bounteous yet strange. As Cameron surges through the picture plane, brushing past tree branches, coursing alongside foaming-mouthed creatures, we may be overcome by an uncanny sense of emerging, becoming, transcending—a sustained mood of elation produced by vaulting into space.

I’m very much looking forward to the premiere and extremely curious to see how Cameron and his team imagined this other world called ‘Pandora’ and its Na’vi inhabitants. What can I say… the science geek in me just loves the possibilities! There’s already a community blog and lots of enticing reviews around the interwebs.

While I don’t catch many films this days, you bet I’ll be buying tickets for Avatar in 3D. Who’s with me?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Media and Science

Where Are All You Climate "Skeptics" Coming From?

By Chris Mooney | December 17, 2009 10:09 am

Discover is a science magazine. DiscoverBlogs is a science blogging site. And as far as I can see, pretty much everybody here accepts the well established scientific consensus on global warming, which is that it is real and human caused.

Whenever I blog about the matter, though, there is always a cascade of denialist/skeptic comments, frequently of enough magnitude to overwhelm the pro-science commenters. That cascade has been particularly pronounced as I’ve blogged more and more about “ClimateGate,” but it has been a smouldering fire for a long time. And as far as I can tell, although we have gotten some anti-climate science links, such as from Morano, they are not sufficient to explain the phenomenon.

So here’s my somewhat befuddled and honestly, generally curious question–and I really don’t have an answer to it–do a lot of regular online readers of Discover doubt the science of global warming? Or, alternatively, are a lot of the “skeptics” that we’re getting here non-regular readers who are coming from elsewhere for some reason?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Global Warming, Media and Science

John Kerry to the Deniers: "Amateur Hour is Over"

By Chris Mooney | December 17, 2009 7:58 am

I love this quote from my Massachusetts senator who is here in Copenhagen (hat tip to the WWF Climate Blog):

There isn’t a nation on the planet where the evidence of the impacts of climate change isn’t mounting. Frankly, those who look for any excuse to continue challenging the science have a fundamental responsibility which they have never fulfilled:  Prove us wrong or stand down.   Prove that the pollution we put in the atmosphere is not having the harmful effect we know it is. Tell us where the gases go and what they do.  Pony up one single, cogent, legitimate, scholarly analysis.  Prove that the ocean isn’t actually rising; prove that the ice caps aren’t melting, that deserts aren’t expanding. And prove that human beings have nothing to do with any of it. And by the way — good luck!

Ladies and Gentlemen: Here in Copenhagen, now and forever, amateur hour is over. It’s time for science fact to trump science fiction.

Amen. These tough words are totally justified, especially in light of the new extremes that climate denialism has reached lately.


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