Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The SideTrack's Annual "Who's Who" of Sutherland's "Earth" Week Event (Day One)

Today is Earth Day, and second time around, Sutherland Institute is kicking off it's reaction to environmental stewardship with their own "Earth" Week.

I like to think Mero and boys dumped the Heartland Institute lackeys this year due to my flawless reporting on their guest speakers last year. I like to think that, mainly, because it pisses them off. And apparently Roy Innis is much too busy exploiting the poor in the name of defending the poor to shill for the energy industry in exchange for donations for nearly defunct CORE. So who do we have for the 2009 "Earth" Week?

Opening day speakers are ex-weatherman turned TV channel founder John Coleman, and Alabama state climatologist John Christy.

John Coleman

It goes without saying that asking a weatherman (since his freshman year in college) turned television exec about global climate change is like consulting your local pharmacist for information on global pandemics. But that aside, who is John Coleman? A San Diego meteorologist who founded The Weather Channel, and was forced out. (He now refers to his own channel as "the premiere propaganda outlet for the global warming scam.") He has a blog. He wants to sue Al Gore for fraud. He was one of Sen. Inhofe's supposed "400 Scientists." His biggest argument against the very idea of man made climate change hinges on the archetype used by so many confused deniers: the confusion of weather with climate. It snowed in May once, thus, no overall warming trend. TaDa! Science thwarted! Coleman himself admits his only experience is with weather, not climatology. I guess Sutherland was simply looking to fill a time spot? My dog was free, and he can predict rain... they needed only to ask.

John Christy

To Alabama State Climatologist Christy's credit, he has a PhD and does acknowledge that global warming is real, and that the human contribution could have a great effect. To his discredit, he has a habit of citing data rejected by climatologists at large to assert that warming will be a good thing, and rising CO2 concentrations will benefit the planet. A direct quote: "I don't see danger. I see, in some cases, adaptation, and in others something like restrained glee, at the thought of longer growing seasons, warmer winters, and a more fertile atmosphere." Desertification. Inland flooding. Extinction. What glee! Oh, and he brings a little bit of Heartland Institute to this years "Earth Week" after all. Christy was a primary contributor to Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths published by Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is funded by (wait for it...) ExxonMobil.

So, two John's today. John #1 thinks climate change is complete fabrication, not happening at all. John #2 thinks climate change is real, and possibly man-made, but a super duper good thing, like Christmas. Makes... sense?

That's all for now. Tomorrow's speakers will be Frank Conte of Beacon Hill Institute, and John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute. We'll have the dirt on them as well.


  1. I have heard Christy speak before. He says CO2 is good because plants like C02. An attendee of the event asked a question at the end: "Plants like dirty too, but what happens if we bury them in dirt?" Christy's reponse: "Well, they die. But this is different. Next question?"

    We had a good laugh.

  2. Thanks for trying to keep us honest. A few thoughts:

    1. I agree that a weatherman probably doesn't have the same ability to analyze climatology as does a climatologist, but I assume that in "weather school" he learned quite a bit about the climate, or that his education and experience helped prepare him to understand climatology, at least a lot better than I can. So, of course, I'll take what he says with a grain of salt, but I wouldn't discount it just because he doesn't have a PhD in climatology, just like I won't discount everything you write just because you don't have a PhD in every subject you address. His thoughts today addressed the politics of climate change as much as the science of it, and I found his observations of the politics to be quite interesting.

    2. I hear you on the weather vs. climate issue. I hear people make that mistake all the time.

    3. Christy sure seemed to me like he knew what he was talking about today, but I'm no scientist. Too bad you couldn't make it down to challenge his assertions. That would've been very interesting. I'd also love to see him debate Al Gore, but people say he won't debate anybody.

    4. A CEI study was funded by what's your point? One could assume that funding from such an organization could bias the report, or maybe it just means that Exxon generally supports CEI's views. I'm trying to say that just because some person or organization funds something doesn't necessarily mean anything. Your insinuation sounds like a possible case of "post hoc ergo propter hoc."

    5. All of this "dirt" is mostly "ad hominem" rather than disputing their actual arguments. I'd love to have you come down and challenge these guys' messages rather than just question their credentials, but I assume you work mornings.

    Happy Earth Day!

  3. JHP, thanks for stopping by to stick up for the guys.

    Yes, I work mornings, otherwise I would LOVE to be there in person. That said, a person need not see Britney Spears live in concert to know she sucks...

    And if I were working with Christy's questionable numbers, I wouldn't debate anyone either.

    And the importance of ExxonMobil funding behind all of these "think tanks" (wait till I get to your Beacon Hill guy!) is that ExxonMobil has a well documented history of attempting to shut down scientific reporting in order to feed the "denier" movement. It's dishonest to not disclose the information, or to present a meteorologist as an expert on climate studies. Again, my dog smells rain... you want him for next year?

  4. One clarification: Al Gore, not John Christy, is the one who apparently refuses to debate anyone.

  5. Derek Monson4/23/2009 2:51 PM


    If you're trying to attack John Christy's credibility as a scientific voice on climate change, you're biting off a bit more than you can chew. The climate science community itself accepts this guy as a credible voice (if not an expert) in his field. Let me enlighten you with a few extra tidbits of background information that failed to make it into your blog:

    -Since 2000 he has published over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed climate journals, including the Journal of Climate, Science, and Geophysical Research Letters (

    -In 2002, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and in 1991 received a medal from NASA for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (

    -If that isn't enough, he has also been a contributor or lead author in the IPCC since 1992 (

    His background and credentials are impeccable. Your suggesting otherwise comes across as little more than grasping at straws to find a justification for blowing off a climate expert who disagrees with you on global warming.

    For example, your criticism of his opinion that global warming has some positives disregards the fact that he doesn't think global warming is primarily human driven. If he is right then the catastrophes you mention aren't going to occur, and hence your comment comes across as little more than demonizing a credible source you disagree with.

    It may be intellectually difficult to deal with the reality that a credible climate expert, who is also a real human being that cares about his fellow man, disagrees with you on an issue which he knows infinitely more about. However, once you do you'll probably realize why so many reasonable, thinking people in the state (and this country) take the position that man-made global warming is not the calamity that some make it out to be.

  6. Dereck, the man argues that high concentrations of C02 are a good thing. That is not credible, never will be credible, nor ever should be something that implies credibility. What it is is stupid. Plants enjoy water too... if you submerge them in it, they die. The man is an idiot. Maybe an impeccable idiot, but still an idiot.

  7. Is it not possible for these "think tanks" to have an honest debate about a single issue? Does everything have to be a propped up public relations campaign that depends on our stupidity and inability to use Google to remain credible? What's sad is they may have something to offer the discussions, but they always seem to choose the lowest hanging fruit to represent rather than instigate an honest debate of opposing viewpoints. It's almost like they know that the truth is working against them.

  8. Jason, your problem seems to be you can't distinguish between drinking a glass a water and drowning in a pool of water. I wonder why that is so hard to see? Oh yeah, unless your opinion is biased (or even blinded) by ideology.

    Again, the real point of this debate is whether or not we should pursue draconian environmental laws to try to manipulate human behavior based on a set of "facts." I say no. The "facts" aren't in. Lots of them are out there...but nothing is settled enough to justify one new "global warming law."

  9. Paul, you fall back on that "you're an ideologue" meme far too often. It's old hat. And ironic, considering your frequent defenses of Utah's most prominent ideologues (most of whom speak just as frequently at Sutherland events).

    My mind is not made up on what causes climate change, but I tend to find outright denials of it's existence, and the idea that increasing concentrations of C02 is a good thing, and think tanks spinning weathermen as climatologists a bit ridiculous.

    Calling a turd a turd isn't ideology, it's common sense.

  10. I do declare, Pauley, it almost seems as if your comment is meant to imply that these speakers were not ideologues nor biased sources.

    Such a claim could be labeled by Jason "Pulling a Christy." Yes I think I'm borrowing that phrase often.

  11. Paul - If nothing is settled enough yet then shouldn't we be fostering the debate from both sides? That's clearly not sutherland's goal with earth week though, for the past two years you've managed to bring out speakers from the woodworks of one side of this debate, and not a peep from the other side. That certainly isn't biased or blinded by ideology.

  12. Jason...Clifford...Craig41: ideology, basically, is trying to make the physical world or human nature into something it isn't naturally...and using the force of government to do it.

    (Now, I'm sure your brains are racing to think of examples where I've taken positions that you can try to argue are ideological...have at it.)

    In this case, most modern liberals are ideologues...always trying to fit a square peg into a round hole...and, when it won't, they put a gun to the peg's head and order it to fit.

    John Christy is not an ideologue. Al Gore is.

    BTW, the climate changes all of the time. My point, again (for the millionth time), is that the question centers on the effects of man on climate change.

    Another BTW, we try to debate the Hintsman team constantly about the WCI and they refuse to talk. We try to debate environmentalists all of the time and they won't. It seems questioning the catastrophic predictions of the global warming alarmists is tantamount to denying the Holocaust. IOW, it is not us who refuse to's your friends who are the cowards and/or the snobby elites.

  13. Paul, oversimplifications are convenient in an argument, but simply declaring something repeatedly does not make it a truth.

    John Christy is either an ideologue or a moron. Take your pick.

    And your definition of ideology is (again convenient to your argument) very lacking. Princeton's "wordnet" online dictionary defines ideology as: an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group; imaginary or visionary theorization.I can think of nothing that better fits an example of imaginary or visionary theorization than saying that WCI will hurt the economy of western states and basing that on a model that is not 1) based on western states or 2) based on what WCI proposes in the first place. Or for better example, consider a person so convinced that man-made climate change is a manufactured issue they are willing to argue that increased levels of C02 is a good thing, as it leads to longer growing seasons, while not addressing the fact that longer growing seasons also leads to shorter snow pack seasons.

    Or consider even further a think tank with such a pre-conceived ideological "rightness" to their own thinking, that it's president will comment on a blog that no one will debate them, shortly after hosting a forum filled with some of the most "out there" hackery I have seen in quite some time.

    Your generalization of what we liberals believe, and what our intents are is an even better example of a statement from one blinded by ideology. You are so convinced in your understanding of the shape of the whole that you believe your opposition is simply trying to "fit a square peg into it."

    Someone free of ideology and demagoguery can see that no objective debate is going to fit your bill of goods. Only a debate the promotes what you have decided upon as truth (through theorized conclusion... which is, again, ideology) would be valuable.

    If anything, your comment here serves as an example of the opposite of such a blanket statement as "liberals are ideologues."

    If I accept that notion that all liberals are ideologues, and all conservatives are not, I must also then conclude that you are a liberal, what with all the ideology in your words. And if you are a liberal, I must conclude that you are a poor source of information and judgment, as you a liberal serving as president of a conservative think tank. What self respecting liberal would do such a thing?!

    Paul Mero is an ideologue. Jason Williams is not. I said it, it must be true.

  14. HA. "All Liberals are Ideologues" is an ideology. Probably one that would blind a person to truly understanding liberals. What irony!