Obama to Set Emissions Goals, the Right Wing Lies About the Contents of Leaked Scientist E-mails, and more
The last few days have seen two major stories in climate news: a rare policy pronouncement (or hint therefore of) from the White House and conservative distortion of some leaked British e-mails. Two smaller stories below the fold include continued negative fallout over the announcement that Copenhagen will not produce a legally binding treaty and two articles about Jewish action on climate change and the environment.
Administration to Set Emissions Goal
Although President Obama has yet to decide whether or not he will attend next month's Copenhagen climate conference, the White House did announce today that whomever it sends to Copenhagen will come armed with policy specifics. They weren't specific about just what those specifics will be, however. From the Washington Post:
The United States, under pressure from other nations as one of the world's largest greenhouse-gas polluters, will present a target for reducing carbon dioxide emissions at next month's climate conference in Copenhagen, Obama administration officials said Monday.
The development came as the European Union urged the United States and China to deliver greenhouse gas emissions targets at the long-anticipated summit, saying their delays were hindering global efforts to curb climate change...
The Obama administration has resisted talking specific numbers without the backing of Congress, which is not expected to pass climate legislation until next year at the soonest. The official would not offer details about the U.S. targets but said any U.S. goal will reflect the unfinished state of legislation on Capitol Hill and would not seek to get ahead of it.
A House-passed bill would slash heat-trapping pollution by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. A Senate bill seeks a 20 percent reduction over the next decade, but that number is likely to come down to win the votes of moderate Democrats.
The CRU Hack
Receiving perhaps the most attention is the story coming to be known as "the CRU hack." In short, the computers of the (British) University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU) were hacked and 13 years' worth of e-mails from climate scientists were illegally leaked. Some of these e-mails use juvenile language to attack fellow scientists, and others illustrate ways that some climatologists use to gussy up their PR and make the presentation of dry data, shall we say, more pretty. The e-mails are embarrassing on the personal level, but meaningless when it comes to actual science.
But as usual, the right-wing doesn't care about actual science, and are doing their best to distort both the content and the context of the stolen messages. The Australia Herald-Sun called the e-mails"proof of a conspiracy which is one of the largest, most extraordinary and most disgraceful in moderrn [sic] science." A staffer to Repub john David Vitter wrote in an e-mail, "This could well be the greatest act of scientific fraud in history... Nearly all of the international data and models supporting the theory of global warming would have been influenced by data corruption and fraud."
But what are the scientists themselves saying? Hardly the same thing as the Republican and tea party spinmeisters, that's for sure. From Real Climate, a leading science blog by climatologists from NASA, other government agencies, and several universities:
(The Real Climate excerpt, the rest of this story, and two more stories are all below the fold.)