Posted 7/14/11

Doubt Merchants Busy in Seattle

Dear Friends,


I’d like to say I’ve been enjoying my “vacation” but it hasn’t been much of a vacation.  I’m working nonstop on the learning curves and changes needed to get Pirate TV ready for the new Public Access administrator next month.  And I haven’t stopped taping events.  One of the shows I’m working on is Naomi Oreskes’s presentation about her book “Merchants of Doubt” exposing the history of the climate change denial industry.  Not surprisingly, the Doubt Merchants are busy at work right here in Seattle as evidenced by an article published last week in the Seattle Times [7/7/11].  Here’s what staff writer Jack Broom wrote and below is what I wrote.  As you can tell, I’m pretty angry about this.  If this crap makes you see red like it does me, I think the Seattle Times can use a swift kick in the face by as many people as possible.  Please feel free to add your two cents [by sending them a message] and forward this far and wide.  The email addresses can be found below [in the message header].  Note: Kate Riley is Associate Editorial Page Editor/Online.


In Solidarity,


Ed Mays

Producer/Director, Pirate TV Seattle


-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Mays [mailto:edmaysdrums@gmail.com]
Wednesday, July 13, 2011 5:22 PM
To: 'jbroom@seattletimes.com'
Cc: 'kriley@seattletimes.com'
Subject: Merchants of Doubt


Hello Jack,


I’m following through on my promise to get back about our phone conversation yesterday.   By the way, thanks for returning my phone call.  That was righteous of you.  I looked over some of the comments posted on your article page.  I get what you were saying.  As Bill Clinton said, “I feel your pain”.  A lot of idiots read the Times –no big surprise there.  At one point a year or two ago I actually stooped to participate in one of these “debates” in the comment section after the article over the brouhaha about the Federal Way School Dist. banning An Inconvenient Truth.   This was a pointless waste of time.  As I told you there is no “debate” in science about climate change so why should I debate?  It’s been settled science for 20 years.  You either accept it or you don’t.  If you are still having problems with this, you may want to break down and do some research of your own -like talk to an actual climate scientist or two?  A good place to start could be with David Battisti, Tamaki Endowed Chair of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington.  That would be getting close to the horse’s mouth.  I’m sure he could lay it all out for you.  Here’s his number: (206) 543-2019.  There are hundreds of other climate scientists right here at the UW who will tell you the same thing I told you.  There are no “climate change skeptics” who are actual climate scientists.  -None, zero, nada.  There is no peer reviewed science to back up the position of the climate change denial industry.  -None, zero, nada.  The only place there is “debate” is in the corporate media.


About this hack Tim Ball you quoted in your article: First off, I wonder if it occurs to you that to write an article about the “new normal” and then cap it off with a quote from a climate change denier is a contradiction in terms right there?  I highlighted the “Natural Resources Stewardship Project”, right clicked and chose Google.   Yesterday morning the Wiki page came up followed by Source Watch.  I chose Source Watch.  The NRSP is a defunct Astroturf outfit funded by the oil industry and thus Tim Ball is a discredited tool.  By the way, that’s what the Wiki page said also.  This took three mouse clicks, Jack.


Let’s say the internet didn’t exist.  The argument is ludicrous on the face of it.  So the discredited tool says:”[H]e considers the half-degree rise in the normal U.S. temperature ‘essentially insignificant.’"  As I was saying yesterday, when I look out my window, I see non-stop unprecedented unusual and extreme weather events galore.  I see the South West on fire like never seen before.  It’s been getting worse and worse every summer (because the SW is turning into a desert just like the climate models predict) –a few months ago it was Siberia that was on fire, before that unprecedented massive fires in Australia.  I see country sized floods in Australia and Pakistan.  I see that the NW passage has now been discovered.  I see killer storms, blizzards, mile wide tornados and hurricanes of size, number, and ferocity like never seen before.  I see increasing drought causing famine and population migrations like never seen before.  Entire countries are being flooded.  Entire cities are being wiped out, etc., and it’s all escalating faster than even the worst case scenarios of the most pessimistic IPCC assessments…a half degree did all this?  Yeah, that’s insignificant alright, but only if you compare it to what’s coming.


Let’s dispense with the words Global Warming or Climate Change.  Simple minded people are too easily confused and easy prey for right wing propaganda operations like Fox “News”: “Gee, if global warming was really happening why is there the worst blizzard in history out there?”  Let’s call it by the scientific name: Anthropogenic Climate Destabilization.  I.e. Human caused climate chaos.  We’re already there Jack.  What’s there to debate?  Whether or not to look out the window?  You and your ilk will still be propagating this “debate” ruse when we are all floating in Puget Sound.


I’d be a little embarrassed if I were you Jack.  Not just because you put your byline on this tripe but because you quoted a paid liar from the climate change denial industry and from what I gathered from our conversation, apparently you are so naive that you don’t even know there is such a thing.  I’m shocked, I tell you, shocked!  But not really, maybe that’s why they picked you to write this?  This propaganda/PR operation has been going on for 20 years, by no small coincidence, ever since the science has been settled.  It’s been widely exposed and it’s funded by entities like Exxon, The Petroleum Institute, and Fascist billionaire oil magnates like the Koch Bros.  If their position had any credibility they wouldn’t need a propaganda campaign.  They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars (chump change for them), and it works.  Virtually all the birds on the corporate media wire have the exact same editorial position.  It’s either not mentioned at all or it’s couched in terms of the phony debate (a timid “Could this be evidence of…?; Some scientists say…; It’s all too complex;  The polarizing ‘debate’”…)  Just like you, Jack.  That’s why I don’t believe you when you say it’s because you’d be clobbered by the denier sect.  This has been going on since long before the industry had cultivated this cadre of pre-programmed useful idiots.  That’s why I kept pressing you to tell me if you wrote this article in this way because your editors told you to or if you dreamed it up all by yourself.  You wanted me to send you a web page.  You are the ace reporter, Google it yourself: “Climate Change Denial Industry”.  Read all about it.


One last thing: I want to tell you about my friend Peter Ward.  Another thing that became settled science just in the past few years is over what caused the mass extinction events that make up the boundaries that delineate the various periods in geologic time.   The scientific debate was between those scientists who believed most of them were caused by asteroids and those who believed most of them were caused by rapid climate change.  That issue is now settled.  All the mass extinction events except the one that killed the dinosaurs were brought on by rapid climate change.  One of the key people who unearthed the evidence (literally) for this was the famous paleontologist Peter Ward.  Note: When paleontologists and geologists talk about “rapid” climate change they’re talking geologic time i.e., over a period of thousands of years.  What we are experiencing now [the one us humans instigated] is occurring within the time frame of a century or even decades.  I’m told this has never happened before.  That’s why what you are doing is so irresponsible and dangerous. –But I digress.  This may be a good thing for you to follow up on but if you do, it’s going to appear that Peter is a little hard to reach.  You may get a message on his phone line or email that says he no longer uses that number or address.  That’s because he’s being harassed by “true believers” from the Discovery Institute.  I was astonished to learn that the dialogue in this country has deteriorated to the point where these people are actually harassing scientists for doing their jobs.  I have since learned that Peter is not the only one.  What do they want him to do?   Maybe go public and admit that he is a heretic and that the universe actually was created (intelligently) by a cloud dwelling sky being 5000 years ago?  Insert that there is a “debate” about this into his next book or scientific paper?  Commit seppuku?  So far he hasn’t done any of this.  Is suspect it’s because he has professional integrity.


If you had the same kind of standards, you wouldn’t allow yourself to be pushed around by either corrupt corporations or weak minded suckers and you would write a retraction and if the Seattle Times was a newspaper worthy of the name, they would print it.


P.S. don’t forget to read Merchants of Doubt.


Yours Truly,


Ed Mays

Producer/Director, Pirate TV Seattle

Member, Citizen’s Climate Lobby

PCO, 36th District Democrats


Posted 1/30/09

From David Wasdell. Director of the Meridian Programme, Sat 1/24/2009

Dear Ed,
Powerful stuff - keep up the pressure!
Have completed a major revision of my work on Radiative Forcing, Climate Sensivity and Boundary Conditions of Runaway Climate Change.  The latest edition is attached.  It includes most recent evaluation of strong water vapour feedback and a new section on the Boundary Conditions of Runaway Climate Change.  Conclusions are presented in the Executive Summary. You will see that I am now certain we have passed the threshold of runaway behaviour in the climate system with only a narrow window left to restabilise it.  You will also see the conclusion that attempting to maintain a concentration level of 440 ppm of CO2 equivalent does not lead to an eventual equilibrium of 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperature, or at any other level!  The threshold of runaway behaviour is already activated at this concentration.
The current economic crisis should be seen as the canary in the coalmine of climate dynamics.  The tragedy is that all investment is geared to find ways to resuscitate dead canaries rather than paying attention to the iminent danger at the coalface!
Keep up the good work,

Radiative Forcing, Climate Sensitivity & Boundary Conditions of Runaway Climate Change