Open Thread, June 2012

This blog supported the “Black Out Speak Out” campaign, along with many other organizations and individuals. That campaign fights back against the Conservative government’s outrageous budget “omnibus” bill C-38. From a climate policy perspective, the bill can be seen as part of the Conservative ongoing effort to 1) gut environmental assessments and scientific research; 2) attack ENGOs that disagree with government policy to promote unfettered development of the oil sands; and 3) to sideline and even eliminate inconvenient advisory bodies like the National Roundtable on Energy and the Environment.

But I’m sure other topics will come to mind as well …


24 responses to “Open Thread, June 2012


    The Pacific Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Gleick back to his position as president of the Institute. An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute. This independent investigation has further confirmed and the Pacific Institute is satisfied that none of its staff knew of or was involved in any way.

  2. Thanks for this news! I hope that’s the end of it.

  3. According to Watts, PI told him they will not be releasing the study because it is a confidential personnel issue. Not a bad bit of sleuthing in an other wise really bizarre post. The comment section is precious.

    • “So, there is no way to confirm the investigation even took place. Since they even refuse to name the firm, it could be entirely made up for all we know.”

      ROFL! If only they applied so much scepticism to Piers Corbyn’s methodology. He could be rolling dice for all we know.

  4. CBC is reporting that George Mason Univ has a course on lying.
    I suppose they have faculty with the required skills.
    Mills Kelly on Lying About the Past

    Acutally the course makes sense I think, but the short news sound-bite amused me. George Mason and lying???? Never!

    • Apparently one of the simulated historical hoaxes created by the GMU students was “President Lincoln was Canadian” (gasp)! A creative dig at the birthers, methinks.

    • You think that ugly summabitch could actually be *american*? Meh ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Request for information.

    Anyone know if there is a blended mean temperature for various cities in Canada.

    Over at the Sixth Estate the owner was graphing the mean annual temperatures for Ottawa and I though it might be interesting to do the same for a couple of other places.

    However I find that just for Kingston there are 11 stations with varing time frames etc. I could patch together a set of temperatures but I am not at all confident that they would be at all reasonable. Has anyone seen some temps put to gether that make sense?


    • Environment Canada has a good homogenized country-wide record since 1948, and also gives regional trends and snapshots. Here’s a look at the latest annual and seasonal reports, along with a little commentary I worked up in a different context.

      2011 was more than 1C cooler than 2010 although it still ranks as a warm year, #8 according to EC.

      Here are the *regional trends* since 1948.

      That shows more warming in the north ( > 2C) and the least in Atlantic Canada and St Lawrence/Great Lakes.

      The winter of 2011-2012 saw a return to very warm temperatures, but the prairies and tundra, not the high arctic, were the real hot spot (up to 8 C above normal). Also note that the trend from 1948 is much higher in winter (3.2 C rise since 1948) than overall (1.5C to end of 2011).

    • Also you can get homogenized station data (used to build the above reports) here.

      In the station list, I only see one entry for Kingston, so this may well be close to what you are looking for. I haven’t read the doc to see how these records were constructed however.

    • Thanks DC.
      I had a look at the homogenized data. For other readers the link is

      The Kingston data appears to be the data from one of the 11 stations, specifically 6104142 (Kingston Climate”), at least that is the Id number reported in the file and corresponds to the Kingston Climate ID

      Strangely enough Kingston Climate on the National Climate Data and Information Archive site ( only shows data for 2009 : 2012.

      The homogenized data (mm6104142.txt)in the data set shows data from 1872 to 2011 but with what looks like some very significant gaps in the data (data coded -9999.9). There appear to have been some disruption between April 1939 and October 1945. and again between Sept 1972 and February 1978.

      Unfortunately the paper accompanying the data does deal with issues like systematic missing data issues etc. It is a very sort introduction and basic code book. A more complete description is found however in (Vincent, 1999) but nothing address the missing Kingston data directly.

      If you are interested the graph is available at

    • It’s a merged record, presumably incorporating station moves and so forth (note the “Stn joined” flag). The doc does have Vincent’s email, so you could always ask for info or pointers to more complete doc.

    • Not so interested that I want to bother her about it. It just looks strange but the data is complete enough for what I want at the moment and after poking around a bit more it seems like most reasonably sized cities have much more complete records.

  6. Oh look! Funny university funding at Carleton:

    “Carleton University is withholding key information about a $15-million donation that created a school backed by Preston Manning โ€” and an adjudicator has ordered an explanation by Tuesday…”

  7. If you have not already done so, please show your support for Dr. Phil Jones at SkepticalScience. Thanks.

  8. Bill C-38 will also cripple our monitoring capabilities. Harper has already had a head start on that with closing down PEARL, the world class Experimental Lakes Area, and DFO offices out on the west coast that monitor pollution. As well our species at risk legislation is in danger of being removed. It is frightening what the big picture entails–removal and/or silencing of any agency that could tell the government bad news about the environment (from air and water to species declines).

    And it is all being done without any real debate. That is the part that angers me. No experts, no public consultation, just ramming the bill through and Conservative MPs rejecting the amendments brought up by other parties who based their proposed amendments on input by Canadians and by various experts they consulted.

  9. Just found this link in regards to my previous comment. For Canadians there is a ‘funeral’ march in Ottawa. The funeral is for the death of scientific evidence. Even if you’re not Canadian, please read the brief description of what is happening in our country and why people are rallying and marching.

  10. A huge branch plunged right through our kitchen roof during the recent derecho, and we have a huge mess in the yard. Fortunately, it’s fixable; and as nobody was home, nobody was hurt when it came through the roof above the kitchen table. This is just a little example of the cost of more severe weather. We and the insurance company will have to pay thousands. That is nothing compared to the cost in lives. I think more than 20 people were killed by this huge derecho, and people are dying of the heat. Some old people were crushed to death in their beds. Our emergency 911 didn’t work for two days!

    Bad weather happens, and Virginians are surrounded by huge trees; but the derecho is an example of climate change making bad weather more severe. I wonder if any of the politicians or political operatives who deny global warming had a log come through the ceiling where their children sleep, eat, and play?

    I often watch CNN, and they always have commercials for the coal and gas interests. Probably FOX does too, but I won’t watch them any more. I guess the cable news won’t say much about climate change because their sponsors would drop them. MSNBC tells more about climate change, and the Washington Post was saying right on the front page that the extreme heat and the ferocity of this derecho is an example of climate change. It was like a hurricane with no warning. Repairs are slow because there was no chance to contract and prestate repair crews, and many states were affected.

  11. Here is an excellent article in the Washington Post about the derecho, and it states that a factor was climate change.

    I used to be a Republican, but when Climategate happened, I saw that they were just lying. I saw that the Republicans are persecuting the great scientists who are trying to protect us and show us how to move to renewables.

    Did you all see that Virginia’s Attorney General Cuccinelli and his crew were all trashed by a Federal Court? Here is my link to some sources on that. Be sure and read the Court’s ruling. They were very contemptuous of Cuccinelli.

    Whom does this Tea Party freak cite in his petition to the EPA for his “science”? The Kremlin’s official news agency RIA Novosti recycling the propaganda of Kommersant, which is owned by the Gazprom operative Alisher Usmanov. He is also big into mining nickel–like that Steve McIntyre. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I do wonder.

    Cuccinelli lives in Virginia. This man endangers his own children’s futures with his denialism. When I see pictures of him with all his innocent children, I am reminded of the pictures of the propagandist Joseph Goebbels with his innocent children.

    If Mr. Cuccinelli would listen to the scientist Michael Mann and tell Virginians the truth, all our children would have a safer future. Cuccinelli is not some elderly politician who was educated before they knew about climate change. He gets money from the fossil fuel interests. He gets money for his campaigns from his father, who was a career lobbyist for the natural gas industry. He should think of the kind of world he is leaving his children. He should be a leader, not a liar.