Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

It's official.  It's Spring in December.  But don't forget!  GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX.
This forsythia is blooming across the street from the Raritan Valley Community College campus.
After I took pictures of it, I had to turn around so I pulled into one of the College driveways, which leads to an isolated plot far northwest of the main campus.
The first thing I saw was this springhouse crushed by a dead tree, so naturally I decided to leave the car and hike stealthily up the hill with my camera, to see what other destruction was to be found.
The tree trunks have the usual peeling, splitting bark.
There is quite a charming old farmhouse at the top of the hill.  Later when I got home, I looked it up and found this article in the Record, which has the following anecdotes about the property:

Forty-one years ago this month, the Somerset County Freeholders officially founded the college, although it would be almost two years before a faculty would be hired and a place to build the actual school would be found.

Finding the site would turn out to be an adventure in itself. Everyone thought a two-year college would be a great asset for Somerset County, but no residents wanted it built in their backyard.

In 1967, the committee prepared to use eminent domain to seize a section of Duke Estates in Hillsborough, home of millionaire Doris Duke. According to former senator and longtime college trustee Ray Bateman, Duke had other ideas. “She told me, ‘You put it somewhere else, and I’ll pay for it,’ ” he said.

Eventually, the Wilson farm in North Branch — right across the street from Bateman’s own property — was mentioned as a possible site, and Duke was supportive of the new location and gave the college board enough money to buy the land and have some left over. Bateman said that not only would taking part of Duke Estates have been unfair, but the current location has actually been better for the school. “You know,” he said, “she was right.”

Duke’s quiet contribution to the birth of Somerset County College was typical of her very private philanthropy. According to Bateman, she tended to keep her involvement in local affairs private, but she was always supportive of Somerset County.

“She gave a lot to the local area, but she never wanted to talk about it,” he said. In spite of the awkward beginning of the college’s relationship with Duke, Bateman said that he enjoyed dealing with her over the years, “I found her right to the point, easy to deal with, and she always did what she said she would do.”

The Wilsons chose to sell all but the last dozen acres of their farm to the college, and they continued to live on those acres quietly for several more years. In 1980, the Wilsons sold the college the last of their land, along with the nearly 200-year-old farmhouse. For a time this farmhouse was the home of the college president, but in recent years it has become the seminar center. 

A sign on the road still says "Seminar Center", but it soon became apparent the building has been abandoned, and the grounds neglected.  There was no sign of any recent human activity, let alone seminars, so I continued to explore unimpeded.
Bark everywhere looks blistered, fractured and coarsened.
In the very highest branches, it is peeling off.
Many more trees have streaks on their trunks from bleeding sap.  Often they are white, but I have seen yellow, green, brown and black.  It may depend on what fungus colonizes in the ooze.
Lichens and lesions like this incipient crack are common.
As I approached the house, I passed evidence of the very oldest trees, perhaps original to the farm, having died and been removed already.  My keys are on this stump.
Even more have been left to rot as no work has been done here of late.
The house was once sheltered from view and wind by many large white pines, but those that remain are thin.
There is a big maple in front of the pines on the right.
The branches high in the crown are breaking off and losing bark.
At the base of the trunk, the bark is falling, and turning black, as well as encrusted with lichens.
I call this BALDing - Bark Atrophy Lichen Decline, a condition for which I do not understand the mechanical cause, whether it is from genetic damage from ozone, or a disruption in the flow of water from dwindling roots, or something altogether different.  I do know, it has become nigh universal, and is indicative of the imminent death of the tree.
The pines that surround the maple are thin - you can see through their needles to the sky, and their bark is breaking off in scaly patches.
This is a younger conifer, closer to the house.
At the base of it's trunk there is colossal damage.
This ornamental tree might be a dogwood.
It's base is hollow.
I loved the colors and patterns of the rusting cover for the basement stairs.
Decay has it's charms!
I toured the circumference of the house and every corner I turned revealed more examples of decline.
The treeline that marks the border to fields beyond is lined with fallen trees.
It's almost like a silent, forgotten tree graveyard.
Most homeowners and businesses are continually removing debris and dead branches.
Either the college doesn't have the money, or just doesn't care...or maybe forgot all about it.
And so the trees keep dying, and falling, and lying on the ground in broken heaps.  It's quite heartbreaking to see the accumulated carnage.  I tried to picture what it must have looked like 10 or so years ago, with all the trees full and healthy, and couldn't - so it's no surprise most people don't even notice that trees are dying and disappearing, or realize how abnormal that is.  I grew up in a house that was built in 1720, and so having this classic example of historic architecture wasted is very sad to me.
Ooh!  But I had my very own concern troll this week, who left several comments on this post, trying to "cheer me up" by telling me CO2 is food for plants, and even mitigates the toxic effects of ozone!  Of course, no spurious "scientific research" can convince me that I don't see what I do see.
Finally, he tipped his hand by recommending information from this site - the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.  As soon as I looked at it, I recognized it as a professional denier's enterprise, even though they've got this sweet little hummingbird flittering across the top of the homepage...just so happy to have all those plants growing faster thanks to all that extra CO2...

here was my response:

Sherlock, it doesn't take a detective to tell where you are coming from. All those papers come from one source, which also has this to say:

"Where do you get your funding?" This is a common inquiry we frequently receive. Our typical response is that we never discuss our funding...

That we tell a far different story from the one espoused by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is true; and that may be why ExxonMobil made some donations to us a few times in the past; they probably liked what we typically had to say about the issue....

Just as beauty resides in the eye of the beholder, however, so too does the misrepresentation of climate change science live there; and with people on both sides of the debate often saying the same negative things about those on the other side..."

NO. There aren't two sides because there isn't any debate. There is the truth and the scientists who tell the truth - and then there are lies and the pusillanimous liars who spread them for profit.

'nuff said. You need not leave comments here anymore - I will not waste my time posting them ever again.

Besides hey, if I want to get depressed I don't need to confine myself to ozone destroying vegetation, causing the ecosystem to collapse...

I can read a story like this one, over at Desdemona Despair, about how the entire sea is going to become anoxic...or, I can watch the latest Greenman video about methane escaping from the Russian permafrost, and how it's TOO LATE to deter...then again, I could just scroll through the open thread at Climate Progress and ruminate on apocalyptic warnings like this one:

#62 Roger says:
Climate change mitigation is decades too late and will never happen. The availability of easy energy has thrust much of the world into living conditions the population can’t escape, and attempting to reduce energy consumption to meaningful levels would drastically upheave people’s very existence. They can’t change their way of life, and they won’t even try. A nation’s success relies on its perpetual economic expansion, and perpetual economic expansion relies on ever increasing consumption of fossil fuels and raw materials. What country would try to downsize and risk ruining its economy?

It’s time to face the sad reality that climate change cannot be stopped. Accepting this, activists can focus their creative energy on preparing for the worst. In concert with the devastating consequences of global warming will be “peak everything.” World population will continue to expand, and that expansion will drive increasing demand for dwindling fossil fuel and raw material reserves. Wars will erupt, and the once mighty industrialized nations, most on the verge of bankruptcy, may be in for some very rude awakenings. Future military “strength” may lie only in the threat of using nuclear weapons. But pushing nuclear buttons would surely represent acts of suicide, because retaliation would be assured.

Industrialized nations around the world must realize that economic expansion cannot go on forever; contraction is inevitable. It would be in the best interest of all nations to plan for downsizing. It is time to accept the possible devastating consequences of global warming and start determining what realistically can and should be done.

Preparing for the inevitable makes more sense than chasing after impossible dreams.

Never mind.

It's so rare for my little inconsequential blog to attract a genuine troll (who followed from a comment I left at the NYT Greenblog) that I became more curious about the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, especially when I saw this description of the Vice President:

In 1999, Dr. Idso was appointed by the Arizona Speaker of the House of Representatives to serve on the Arizona Advisory Council on Environmental Education, which ensures that state funds will only be given to support environmental education programs in Arizona's K-12 public schools that offer balanced viewpoints on environmental issues based on current peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Now that is truly grotesque, along the lines of teaching creationism alongside evolution, which prompted me to google around, whereupon I swiftly wound up right back at my usual haunt Climate Progress!   The following is an illuminating treatise from the ever-prescient Leland Palmer, written in the wake of the climate email hack almost exactly a year ago...including a truly staggering list of professional, industry-funded denier organizations, which explains A LOT.

Leland Palmer says:
Even Hansen is over-reacting to these e-mails, in my opinion.

This is deliberate output of a paid network of climate deniers, deliberately out to screw up the Copenhagen talks.

The real story here is that this cherry picked information from years of correspondence probably did not come from an unassisted private hacker.

A private hacker would have had to comb through years worth of email files to find these apparently damning quotes. The software that the intelligence agencies use to monitor email traffic could have done this in a few minutes, maybe in a few seconds.

So, this appears to me to likely be information from an intelligence service, likely leaked in collusion with the paid denier network funded ultimately by the fossil fuel industries.

The size of this network is much larger than direct funding from ExxonMobil would suggest.
From the Union of Concerned Scientists report from 2007:

Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air
How ExxonMobil uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science
In 2005, the end use combustion of ExxonMobil’s products—gasoline, heating oil, kerosene, diesel products, aviation fuels, and heavy fuels—resulted in 1,047 million
metric tons of carbon dioxide–equivalent emissions. 
If it was a country, ExxonMobil would rank sixth in emissions...
For example, the George C. Marshall Institute, a leading paid climate denier think tank, has received six hundred thousand dollars directly from ExxonMobil.

But they have received something over six million dollars from a network of conservative foundations including the Scaife and Bradley foundations. This network of conservative foundations often funds the same organizations that ExxonMobil does, including the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, and other leading denier organizations:

Funding for the George C. Marshall Institute:
Exxon Mobil Corporation $640,000
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $3,590,303
Sarah Scaife Foundation $2,785,000

Funding for the American Enterprise Institute:
Exxon Mobil Corporation $1,625,000
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $~17,000,000
Scaife Foundations $~8,000,000

Funding for the Heritage Foundation:
Exxon Mobil Corporation $460,000
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $~14,000,000
Scaife Foundations $~24,000,000

To see that this network of conservative “charitable” foundations often fund climate denier think tanks in an apparently coordinated manner, go to the Media Matters Action Network, and do a few searches on this list of ExxonMobil funded think tanks in the Union of Concerned Scientists report:

American Council for Capital Formation, Center for Policy Research
American Council on Science and Health
American Enterprise Institute
American Friends of the Institute of Economic Affairs
American Legislative Exchange Council
Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy
Arizona State University, Office of Climatology
Atlantic Legal Foundation
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Cato Institute
Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise
Centre for the New Europe
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change
Citizens for a Sound Economy Educational Foundation [became FreedomWorks]
Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
Consumer Alert, Inc.
Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies
Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment
Fraser Institute
Free Enterprise Action Institute
Frontiers of Freedom Institute
George C. Marshall Institute
Heartland Institute
Heritage Foundation
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University
Independent Institute
Institute for Energy Research
International Policy Network
Lindenwood University
Media Research Center
Mercatus Center, George Mason University
National Association of Neighborhoods
National Center for Policy Analysis
National Center for Public Policy Research
National Environmental Policy Institute
Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy
Science and Environmental Policy Project
The Advancement of Sound Science Center, Inc.
Tech Central Station
Weidenbaum Center, Washington University (formerly Center for the Study
of American Business)

In essentially all of their public statements, ExxonMobil is lying, in my opinion.

They are funding a network of information laundering sites, and are doing so in concert with a much larger network of “charitable” foundations that support conservative causes including the opposition of climate change.

This conservative “charitable: foundation network is a much larger, and much better funded network, as a few searches on Media Action Network shows – and it funds global warming denier information laundering sites in concert with ExxonMobil.


  1. The CIA are scum, pure and simple. However, that's not saying much I suppose, since there's so much scum these days. Maybe there always was, and I'm just increasingly sensitive to it. Either way, it's still a lot of scum.

    I can read a story like this one, over at Desdemona Despair, about how the entire sea is going to become anoxic...or, I can watch the latest Greenman video about methane escaping from the Russian permafrost, and how it's TOO LATE to deter...then again, I could just scroll through the open thread at Climate Progress and ruminate on apocalyptic warnings like this one:

    Or this:

    So many possible ways for this all to end badly. I considered starting a betting pool, but then I remembered that I'm not a gambler, and it's a bet that you can never collect on. It's nice to have options, though, isn't it? It's a smorgasbord of delightfully horrific ways to perish.

  2. MO,

    It's not too late! We DO have an active wager, at the very end of this post.

    I encourage you and any other readers to place bets, it's not expensive!

    But it will keep us all engaged in the debate.

  3. Those links don't work for me, Morocco Bama.

    I can go to the website, but not exactly the posts you linked to.

    Not sure why? But I would like to real them!

  4. Here you go, Gail, try this one. It's the second and third article on that page. I stay away from the 911's a never-ending rabbit hole that goes nowhere, so if you feel the same, ignore the first article.

  5. Thank you all, and please go to Catman's youtube list when you need a little song...I do!


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