We received this note from David Shelley in January 2014. It's a good reminder to always check your sources.
“I just wanted to touch base and let you know about a disturbingly slick climate change denialist piece that just came across my desk. I am teaching at the University of South Carolina this semester, and in my campus mailbox I received a nice, professional, glossy, full color report titled "Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, Summary for Policy Makers." (There is a pdf online, too)
Turns out it is a serious anti-climate change piece produced by the Heartland Institute (among others). I knew that this propaganda was out there and even remembered a Skeptical Science blog post related to this one in October 2013 (which I hadn't read in detail at the time but just looked up again: http://www.skepticalscience.com/us-schools-heartland-nipcc-report.html). I knew that these things were well done, but the "apparent" quality and slick presentation here frankly caught me completely off guard. Of course, looking through it there are at least five billion things wrong with it (where to start...all of their "figures" are bulleted lists - because the graphs would clearly show their cherry-picking). They also include blatant mis-information (as in "Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a mild greenhouse gas that exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentration increases"), in with a seductive presentation and philosophical arguments about the nature of scientific "truth." I could totally see this as intimidating and think of it as "authoritative" if I didn't know better.
In any event, I am not trying to get on a soap box here, but just wanted to share it as a testimonial/example of how this misinformation is really out there. Of course this also doubles as a concise summary of misconceptions and denialist claims that can be addressed in communications efforts. It just amazes me that these arguments are still out there in such force.
I won't say "Enjoy," exactly, but have a great day and thanks for the work you all do.”
In this Earth Observatory blog the authors explore the cause for the recent (Jan 24. 2014) enormous avalanche that blocked the Richardson Highway (Alaska Route 4), the only land link between the ice-free oil port of Valdez and the rest of Alaska. What does this have to do with the rest of us, you may wonder. In essence, Alaska’s warmth is the “flip side of the coin” to the Midwest and Northeast’s frigidity, and the drought in the Southwest. Read about it and see some impressive images of the avalanche, here.