Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

An Asteroid is Approaching Earth: What is Your Politician Doing to Prevent the Worst Impacts?

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Humans have been sending space probes to the farthest reaches of our solar system for many years now. Unfortunately, doing so has caused a large asteroid to be nudged out of its orbit. 97% of the world’s astronomy experts and 100% of all astronomical organizations agree that humans have caused this asteroid to be nudged out of orbit and that asteroid is going to impact planet Earth. In fact, smaller pieces of this asteroid are already affecting us in negative ways and will continue to worsen.

asteroid-impactSource: Science News (2017)

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Written by Scott Mandia

October 30, 2018 at 6:40 am

Letter to Congressman from 18 Yr Old about Guns

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Dear Sir/Madame,

I am 18 years old now and have registered to vote for the very first time. I believe the primary goal of government is to protect me, my family, my friends, and all Americans. Government has passed laws to make road and air travel safer, our air and water cleaner, our work places and food safer and healthier, among many others. However, it is clear there is one area where government is failing to keep us safe – guns.

To honor the 17 victims of the horrific Florida shooting, my teacher took 17 minutes of class time (one per victim) to show us how to reach out to you and other elected officials and how to check your voting records on any issue such as gun control, immigration, abortion, climate change, etc.

If you want my vote you need to support:

  • Mandatory universal background checks for any gun sale.
  • Making it illegal to allow citizens to possess military weapons such as the assault and semi-automatic rifles that are specifically designed to kill many people at once.
  • An electronic, searchable database of all gun owners and purchases.
  • Allowing federal funds to support research that will show us why there is so much gun violence and what are the best methods to avoid it.

If you do so, you will have my vote. If you do not, then your opponent will get my vote. I intend to spread this message far and wide via social media so kids my age become more politically active also.

This is not an actual letter. This is the letter I hope all young people send to their elected officials as another part of their national protest. I came up with this option when I heard that on March 14 at 10 am there will be a 17 minute school walkout.

I am a strong advocate for common sense gun laws but I do not advocate walking out of classes as a means to demonstrate. Instead, why not use those 17 minutes INSIDE the classrooms showing students how they can exercise their power to communicate with their elected officials about various issues such as gun control. Use those 17 minutes to develop some strategies for meaningful dialogue for people on both sides of the issue. Use those 17 minutes to see the voting records of our officials on this subject. Kids need to be in school as much as possible and “skipping” to demonstrate sends a bad message, IMHO.

I find that few of my college students know how to reach their elected officials and after I show them, they are shocked how easy it is to do so today with the various electronic means.

Written by Scott Mandia

February 21, 2018 at 7:19 am

Trump Did NOT “Put Good People Around Him”

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I am friends with quite a few politically conservative people even though I am a liberal. One of the most common claims I heard from these friends during the primaries and after Trump was elected was that “Trump will put good people around him.” Let us take a look at several key appointments:

Stephen K. Bannon is Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist and was recently elevated to a permanent seat on the Security Council by an Executive Order. The same Executive Order also demoted the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff because these two security experts would only attend meetings when “issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.” Bannon, on the other hand, will have a seat at ALL security meetings. Do some research on Bannon and you will quickly see that he is a neo-Nazi and is not a qualified security expert.

Betsy DeVos was just confirmed (VP Pence had to break the tie) as Secretary of Education. She has NO EXPERIENCE in the public education system that she now heads. Her Congressional testimony was embarrassing. So much so, that even a few Republicans voted against her! FYI: Her family donated more than $200 million to the Republican Party over the years but that could not possibly have mattered, right? /sarcasm

Scott Pruitt will be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt has sued the EPA 14 times and has been a fossil fuel and chemical company front man for years. He is a well-known climate change denier although now he has moved his goal post by stating that the climate is warming but scientists are unsure how much is due to humans. Hint: humans are responsible for ALL of the global warming since 1950 and will continue to be for a few centuries. Having Pruitt head the EPA is like hiring a fox to guard the hen house. I could find no evidence that he has ever been an advocate for the environment nor for public health.

Rick Perry will be Secretary of Department of Energy (DOE). In a 2011 Presidential debate he forgot the name of this department and also said he would abolish it if he were President! Numerous sources also reported that Perry was unaware that the DOE was responsible for our nuclear weapons program. Obviously a bad choice.

Ben Carson will be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He has no experience in government, period. He is a surgeon.

I am not asking for Trump to appoint progressives but I do expect the country to be led by competent, qualified people. My conservative friends should also hold Trump and the GOP to this same standard. There are qualified Republicans for each of these important positions. Choose some of them instead. Right now, it looks like it is Party before Country and Big Oil before People.

Written by Scott Mandia

February 8, 2017 at 7:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Amicus Groups File Brief to Protect Climate Scientists

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For Immediate Release

Amicus Groups File Brief to Protect Climate Scientists

New York, N.Y. — The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) has asked the District of Columbia federal District Court to safeguard roughly 8,000 pages of privileged correspondence between nine climate scientists.

Under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Judicial Watch, a conservative group, has sued for emails of scientists employed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who authored a June 2015 study published in Science.

The study, which has since been replicated by other researchers, found that global temperatures are increasing faster than previously thought. The paper addresses and refutes prior claims about a so-called slowdown in global warming since the late 1990s.

Judicial Watch’s lawsuit is not the first attempt to obtain these researchers’ emails. In October 2015, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who disputes the scientific consensus on climate change, tried to use congressional subpoena powers to obtain the NOAA emails. At that time, NOAA released hundreds of pages of documents to Rep. Smith, but steadfastly refused to produce the scientists’ email correspondence.

CSLDF filed the new brief on Friday, January 27 in partnership with the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The brief urges the court to protect scientific correspondence and preliminary drafts of publications from indiscriminate disclosure.

“Now more than ever, it is critical that we defend climate scientists and their research,” Lauren Kurtz, Executive Director of CSLDF, said. “Forcing the disclosure of scientists’ private emails is invasive, unnecessary, and hugely detrimental to the scientific method.”

Organizations across the political spectrum increasingly use public records laws to attack research findings and fields of study they dislike. As in this case, the records requests typically do not seek the data, methodology, or funding sources of completed studies. The requests instead seek privileged prepublication materials, such as preliminary drafts, private critiques from other scientists, and researchers’ personal documents and correspondence.

These types of records are generally protected from disclosure by the deliberative process privilege — as courts have repeatedly recognized in cases similar to this one. Government scientists’ correspondence, preliminary drafts, and peer review materials are quintessential deliberative, pre-decisional records safeguarded by Exemption 5 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5).

“Providing free and open access to all data and methodologies used to conduct scientific research is central to science and to scientific advancement,” Keith Seitter, Executive Director of AMS, said. “However, internal communications leading up to publication in the peer-reviewed literature should remain confidential so scientists can feel free to debate and resolve issues candidly without fear of their remarks being taken out of context.”

The brief explains that releasing privileged prepublication materials — generally treated as confidential within the scientific community — could significantly damage government scientists’ ability and willingness to conduct research into vitally important but politically charged subjects like climate change.

“Scientists, whether in government or academia, need to freely exchange and discuss ideas without constantly looking over their shoulders or worrying about legal action,” said Andrew Rosenberg, Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the UCS.

###

About CSLDF: The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund was founded in 2011 in response to the increasing incidence of legal attacks against climate scientists. Its mission is to protect the scientific endeavor in general — and climate science and climate scientists in particular — from assaults being launched through the legal system, including intrusive public records requests.

About AMS: American Meteorological Society was founded in 1919 and is dedicated to advancing the atmospheric and related sciences for the benefit of society. AMS is committed to strengthening scientific work across the public, private, and academic sectors, and believes that collaboration and information sharing are critical to ensuring that society benefits from the best, most current scientific knowledge and understanding available.

About UCS: Union of Concerned Scientists was founded in 1969 and combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative and practical solutions to pressing environmental and security problems. UCS believes that a crucial ingredient in achieving these goals is maintaining research institutions within the federal government that foster an environment of independent and rigorous scientific inquiry free from political interference.

Media Contacts:

Rebecca Fowler, CSLDF

503-347-4727

rfowler@climatesciencedefensefund.org

Rachel Thomas-Medwid, AMS

617-226-3955

rthomas@ametsoc.org

Seth Michaels, UCS

202-331-5662

smichaels@ucsusa.org

Written by Scott Mandia

February 1, 2017 at 11:57 am

Posted in Uncategorized

375 World’s Top Scientists: Trump is Dangerous

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On September 20, 2016, 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel laureates, published an open letter to draw attention to the serious risks of climate change. The letter warns that the consequences of opting out of the Paris agreement would be severe and long-lasting for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.

The problem of human-caused climate change is real, serious, and immediate, and that this problem poses significant risks: to our ability to thrive and build a better future, to national security, to human health and food production, and to the interconnected web of living systems.

The letter also calls out Trump:

The political system also has tipping points. Thus it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. A “Parexit” would send a clear signal to the rest of the world: “The United States does not care about the global problem of human-caused climate change. You are on your own.” Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change. The consequences of opting out of the global community would be severe and long-lasting – for our planet’s climate and for the international credibility of the United States.

It is important that the public understands that it is not just our scientific experts who accept human-caused climate change and the associated risks. Military experts, health officials, and major insurance companies also agree. One would certainly not consider these groups as liberal. They are data-driven groups and the data is overwhelming.

Most people who claim that the world is not warming or that it is not due to humans or that it will not be bad are subconsciously worried about the proposed solutions (I write about this here) so they advocate doing nothing. Delay works against their own self-interest because delay means it is more likely things will get bad enough that Big Brother will have to step in and impose increased taxes and regulations. If we act sooner than later then WE make the choices and the free market can provide the solutions.

So consider the importance of climate change (it affects EVERYTHING) when you decide whom to vote for. Trump is advocating digging up more and more coal, oil, and gas which endangers our national security, economy, and health. Why would you vote for a more dangerous world? I understand the reluctance of my Republican friends to vote for Clinton, but a vote for Trump is a vote against the future of humanity. Maybe just stay home November 8th…..

Written by Scott Mandia

September 20, 2016 at 9:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund Hires New Executive Director

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“After years of attacks, I am thrilled that there is a world class litigator whose full time job is to stand up for scientists.” –Dr. Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State

Lauren Kurtz

Lauren Kurtz

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund is excited to announce the hiring of Lauren Kurtz as its first Executive Director. Lauren Kurtz is joining CSLDF from Dechert LLP, a top tier law firm where she was a litigator. There she served as project manager on a high-profile $3 billion litigation initiative and she represented commercial and individual clients on cases involving FOIA requests and litigation over FOIA requests, discovery disputes, and defamation claims. Prior to working at Dechert, she held legal and policy positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  She has a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a master’s in Environmental Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Kurtz was hired by the board of directors after a widely publicized summer fundraising campaign to grow CSLDF from an all-volunteer organization to one with a full time professional staff. CSLDF was started to help scientists cope with the barrage of politically motivated attacks. Early successes included a victory for Dr. Michael Mann at the Virginia Supreme Court, legal clinics at major scientific conferences and a legal education campaign.

Ms. Kurtz will be based in NYC working in an office generously provided by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at the Columbia Law School.

For Press Inquiries:

Lauren Kurtz

(646) 801-0853

lkurtz@climatesciencedefensefund.org


 

Also see:

This Lawyer’s New Job Is Defending Climate Scientists From Political Attacks by Emily Atkin at Think Progress

The Weekend Wonk: Lauren Kurtz of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, and Why Good Scientists Sometimes Need a Good Lawyer by Peter Sinclair of Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Written by Scott Mandia

November 10, 2014 at 7:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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WSJ’s Message is Always Deny or Delay: Koonin Just the Latest Misinformer

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The Wall Street Journal’s Saturday Essay by Steven E. Koonin, titled Climate Science is Not Settled follows WSJ’s standard playbook. Have a so-called expert either deny the science or advocate for delay on action to address the issue.

I spoke to my liberal arts classes about this essay and focused on four simple points:

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Written by Scott Mandia

September 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

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