An interesting story is developing around documents putatively from the Heartland Institute that outline a campaign against the science of climate change and the IPCC.  

Feb 15 2012, Graham Readfearn

Leaked financial reports and documents from a US-based think tank that denies the risks of human-caused climate change show links to an Australian academic and detail a strategy to pursue funds from corporations affected by climate policies.

The documents from the Chicago-based Heartland Institute — leaked online by climate news site DeSmogBlog — also reveal the think tank has been moulding its messages to fit the requirements of funders, contrary to its own public claims.

According to a “proposed budget” statement for 2012, Australian scientist Bob Carter will receive $1667 per month for his work on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change — a rebuttal written by Heartland-paid scientists to question the well-regarded UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Carter’s affiliation is listed in the document as “James Cook University & Institute for Public Affairs”.

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Peter Gleick

I thought this summary of the latest climate facts at the end of 2011 is useful.  Peter Gleick is a specialist in water and climate change, and is a MacArthur fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in the US. He reminds us here of the key facts of the climate issue, which is useful in the face of having to listen to the endless ideological banter of non-experts with dodgy datasets.

Peter Gleick, CEO Pacific Institute, MacArthur Fellow, National Academy of Sciences

Published in Forbes magazine, Jan 21, 2012

For readers of Forbes, the debate over climate change often takes the form of “tit-for-tat” blogs, conflicting commentary, and dogmatic ideological statements. Lost in this verbal debate are often the simple facts and data of climate change and the immense and definitive global observations of the ways in which our climate is actually changing around us.

So, without much commentary, here are just a few simple and clear pictures (and links) showing how the planet continued to warm and change around us in 2011. And these facts are just part of why all national academies of science on the planet and every major geophysical scientific society agree that humans are fundamentally changing the climate.

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Dr Selina Ward, University of Queensland, Jan 20, 2012

The literature on the effects of ocean acidification on the biology of marine organisms continues to grow and now covers a wide range of taxa, regions and ecosystems and is reaching the consciousness of the larger community.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Matthew Ridley suggesting that ocean acidification isn’t a big problem has elicited a strong response from many scientists, especially those discovering the many ways that OA will negatively affect our future oceans.

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Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick, Contributor

CEO Pacific Institute, MacArthur Fellow, National Academy of Sciences

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[*B.S. means “Bad Science.” What did you think it meant?]

The Earth’s climate continued to change during 2011 – a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world. The scientific evidence for the accelerating human influence on climate further strengthened, as it has for decades now. Yet on the policy front, once again, national leaders did little to stem the growing emissions of greenhouse gases or to help societies prepare for increasingly severe consequences of climate changes, including rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea-levels, loss of snowpack and glaciers, disappearance of Arctic sea ice, and much more.

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If one elects to pontificate about scientific evidence, they owe it to their readers to survey the full body of evidence to ensure they're not disseminating misinformation.John Cook, ABC Religion and Ethics, Nov 17 2011

In a much publicised recent speech, Cardinal George Pell strongly endorsed the importance of evidence in public debate. He argues that “the debates about anthropogenic global warming can only be conducted by the accurate recognition and interpretation of scientific evidence.”

It would be hard to find anyone who would disagree with his sentiment – a proper understanding of climate must be built on a foundation of empirical observations. There’s just one problem: Cardinal Pell fails to practise what he preaches.

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While some ecologists worry about whether or not life can evolve fast enough to keep up with the current rate of rapid anthropogenic climate change, another ‘evolutionary’ event is in progress.  Prof John Abraham has updated a graph from a few years ago which shows an upward trend in climate skeptic Dr John Christy‘s published conclusions about the rate of climate change.  Like global temperature itself, the rate of change in average global temperature that Dr Christy has been reporting appears to be increasing.

‘Evolution’ or just a slow learner?

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, Huffington Post, 11/1/11

A hearing today has implications for academic freedom across the country. A Virginia judge grantedclimate scientist Michael Mann the right to intervene on his own behalf in a lawsuit filed by a climate change denial group seeking to get his private papers and emails from the University of Virginia. While this is an important victory for American-style freedom and privacy, its background is a story of just the opposite – attempts at authoritarian repression of science for political purposes.

In 2010 newly-elected Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a climate change denier, sued the University of Virginia to get Mann’s private papers. Cuccinelli wanted to sift through them in the wake of “climategate” to see if he could find anything he could spin into a case under the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, arguing that while an employee of UVA, Mann’s work on climate change may have used public money to perpetrate a fraud.

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I thought these responses to the BEST study from the leading experts are worth posting (comments collected by our friends at the UK Science Media Centre).  A far cry from the response of ideologues such as Anthony Watts and Andrew Bolt:

Prof Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government, said:

“Clearly this study needs peer review, but if correct it is pleasing to hear that this new analysis conforms with US work at NASA and NOAA and that of Phil Jones and his colleagues at the UK Hadley Center-UEA Climatic Research Unit. This work adds to the evidence about how climate change is

Others have also commented:  

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Richard MullerGlobal warming is real, according to a major study released today. Despite a issues raised by climate denialists, the Berkeley Earth’s Surface Temperatures study finds reliable evidence of a rise in the average world temperature of approximately 1°C since 1950.

Professor Richard A Muller, who led the study, is UC Berkeley physicist, and long-time climate skeptic has publicly admitted that he was wrong about the IPCC and the evidence for global warming.  See press release here.  One wonders why Muller was motivated to repeat what the IPCC has been doing that much greater scales of rigor.   Whatever the reasons, the conclusions that Muller has come to has thrown a ‘cat among the pigeons’ with respect to climate deniers like Anthony Watts and Fred Singer.

UPDATE:  Here is Kelly Rigg in the Huffington Post - is climate denial unraveling?

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As a result of an extensive research and monitoring program funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments over the last 5 years  a greatly better understanding of the risks to Great Barrier Reef ecosystems from pesticide residues is now available and in the process of being published in the scientific literature. Most of the papers are or will be published in special issues of Marine Pollution Bulletin and Agriculture Ecosystems and the Environment. Some of the MPB papers are already published online and the rest from both issues will follow over the next few months. While the complete set is still uncertain (due to reviewing still in progress) the following are already out:

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