Friday, January 19, 2007

"Follow the Bird, Follow the Money"...

Today there was much coverage of how a well known meteorologist has called for all American Meteorological Society (AMS) certified meteorologist that deny Global Warming is caused by humans, have their credentials revoked…

Now we can, and will, debate this for sometime and it is a key topic of the “Pelosi 100 hour agenda” but here is the interesting part that few of the scientific community will discuss. Another well known meteorologist responded with this: “*Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at “The Weather Channel” probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab.”
Follow the crisis, find the money…

Back when I lived in the Florida Keys I worked on a Sportfishing boat that took daily charters both offshore and into the Gulf looking for gamefish. There are many “Tricks & Tactics” to finding game fish and one of the most common and reliable is finding and following birds. The Great Frigate bird is very good at following large individual game fish as well as schools of fish to locate the baitfish they feed on. Once the game fish locate abd begin to feed on the baitfish it is common to find several Frigate Birds feeding on wounded baitfish and scraps. Follow the bird, find the fish…

While living in the Keys I took several Marine biology courses at the local college and spent some extra discussion time with the department head talking about the local fishing industry and conditions. Many times during class breaks we would talk about the days fishing and what the conditions were that day. After awhile the Professor suggested that I apply for a grant to study a fishing related topic for there was a considerable amount of grant money not being utilized. At first I was surprised that he suggested that I should apply for a grant and I questioned what I could do a study on. He advised me that it was not hard to receive a grant as long as the paperwork was written correctly and supported. He told me that there were grants for thousands of dollars available and that many were not being used at that time and I should take advantage of this money.
At first I did not take this offer seriously and threw out some odd ideas for grants just to keep the conversations going. The Professor played along but yet continued that I look at the idea and give it some thought. Now living and working in the Florida Keys is a unique opportunity and I am grateful for the time I spent there but it is expensive to live in “Paradise”. When the tourism season slowed so did my charters and income. I came up with a proposal to identify, track, and record the Great Frigate birds I saw during our Sportfishing charters for we encountered them most every trip. This idea was accepted and encouraged by the Professor, which I admired and enjoyed his classes, as a very possible grant topic.

I later decided that I could not justify receiving money for something as simple as “Watching Birds” to get grant money. This was nothing new or secret and there are many articles written by senior fishermen about this subject. In fact the Captain that I worked with at the time was very well known in the Sportfishing community for his knowledge of identifying birds and what game fish they were following at the time.

I doubt very seriously that I would have discovered any additional secret to the habits of the Frigate birds and my research would have been filed away with other grant topics. But it did show me that with many studies or research projects, one must look for the money to find the true reason for a “Research topic”…


zen said...

I'll take you statement in the previous post's comments for face value...that you'd prefer we spend more time discussing issues instead of being partisans. I summerized, perhaps correctly. But you tell me.

So, in the spirit of civil, issue-focused conversation, let me address some parts of this post that are not so clear to me.
Global warming. In what way does it matter if it is man-made or not, in realtion to the potential costs to deal with it's consequences?
I think it's much more accurate to suggest that man is significantly contributing to global warming—not the sole cause. But regardless, it is real, that shouldn't be in dispute, and is not being disputed by James Spann in his opinion piece.
Within the quote you cite Spann claims a few of what he calls "basic facts." Yet he relies instead on terms like "bandwagon" and "probably." This is not fact.
So I guess I'm not clear on your point, or that of Spann. Yet the bottom line is still this: If global warming is not man-made, will it cost any less to deal with it's reality? I think no.

Your following anecdote would seem not too applicable in this case. You didn't attempt to obtain a grant. And you didn't take the idea of research seriously. You consider it somehow dishonest and of no value. The devaluation of science and research, is a means to denying scientific evidence. It's self-fulfilling.

RightsideVA said...

Going to work, will get to this one later. Gotta follow the money myself now...

RightsideVA said...


Lets say Global warming is caused by man in some part or in no part at all. Like you said it is apparently happening and how do we deal with it? There is no doubt that man contributes CO2 to the environment but in what form, amount, origin, and how does this figure into the recent temperature climb?
There is actually more tree cover and foliage in the United States as compared to the 1930’s so I have read. No source but can be found if needed. Different type of CO2 produced now and probably mostly from petroleum as compared to the CO2 from wood burning back when. How much more or less from the man made effect? More population more CO2... Makes sense to me…

What about the increased sun spot activity as well as the temperature increase on other planets such as Mars which do not have SUV’s driving all over the surface there? And temperature cycles that say we went thru a warming period back in the early 1930’s and prior to that?

I remember being in elementary school back in the 1970’s when the fear, and front page of Time, had reports of the impending Ice-age we were then looking at. I remember talking with friends about how we would be living in snow and Ice and would not be able to play baseball. That was about 33 years ago. Now we are looking at catastrophic heating? If we can go from one extreme to the other in 33 years how much can we change with 0.04 degrees?

And what can we do about it?
Kyoto would cut temp by 0.04 degrees if that is possible. They project increase of 2 degrees by 2010 as per an article today in the Investors Business Daily.

And at what cost? They say Trillions of dollars and not even sure if the temperature would actually be lowered. Better forms of energy and less pollution? Yes there are many but problems and agendas there also. I would like to see more nuclear electricity here but look at the environmental problems(?).. But yet France is 70% nuclear and nobody is worried about what they are going to do with their waste. What about the security of that nuke waste or will it be recycled into a dirty bomb?

The link provided in the original post about the Weather channel babe calling for revoking any weather scientist credentials that does not agree with global warming caused by man, also goes into the effort of suppressing other opinions. That is the meat of the subject. Where is the outrage of this scientist who calls for the squelching of others that do not agree with her group?…
My “anecdote” shows my example of how I can see that some of these scientist are probably influenced by the money out there to study the “Warming” problem, and the need for that problem. No problem, no grant money… Follow the money.

I did not take the grant the Professor was pushing for I did not feel it right to do so. I believe the data would have probably never really been used for anything and I suspect the Professor may have gotten some of the grant money as a “Sponsor”. There was already much data known about the bird\fish relationship and interviewing local lifelong fishermen would have provided that. I used that as an example of obtaining “Grant” money the same way I suspect many weather scientist may be obtaining grant money with little regard to actual data. Just make sure there is a crisis out there to be studied…

zen said...

I really don't get what your point is.
The numerous example you give to say that we cannot be certain the impact man has had is exactly supportive of the idea that we should be studying the issue more. You layout a perfect case that there are reasons to gather more data, but then you turn right around and criticize climate change as a scam. It's as if you simply refuse to believe the science purely out of suspicion.
Can you see the contridiction of your arguement?

I don't agree that someone should be stripped of their earned credentials for a position they hold. Nor do I think a big deal must be made over the single person to say it.
However, I think it is completely irresponsible for any person of science to deny solid data for purely ideological reasons. The evidence is in that climate change is occuring, and that man is significantly contributing to it. Regardless, further study is exactly what we should be doing. What's the problem?

RightsideVA said...


Maybe I can say it in an easier way…

1. Man produces CO2... CO2 has always been produced byproduct of fire, wood burning, volcanos, increased industrial growth, etc.

2. Some scientist claim the earths warming is the result of man made CO2. Possible this has change the temperature but do we know this is the main reason, ¾ of the reason, ½ of the reason, ¼. 1/10th, etc?

3. 33 years or so ago we worried of impending ice age. Now in that very short period we are worried that the global temp is rising and will not stop.

4. If this drastic change in such a short has happened we are then screwed are we not? Especially if we can only influence it by 0.04 as the article stated…

5. Kyoto was voted down by 95 Senators but yet it appears only the Republicans are the evil ones here to question the validity of restrictive limits only to some countries but not ones like China, etc?

6. Since I am one of the evil Republicans does that then mean that I do not care about the environment? If so please advise and I will get rid of those annoying fluorescent light bulbs I have all over my house… I am not saying you would accuse me of that for you are not like “Dignan” who in the other post claims I do not sacrafice anything when I say I support the Troops…

7. We must study the effects of global warming more but we should not also jump off the cliff also when there are so many other influences that can be responsible. What happened to the droughts this year? Why is the temp on Mars also increasing? Are we in an increased period of sunspots, etc? We hardly knew about the el nino and el nina effects two decades ago. Know we know these influence the weather very much. Cycles. Like 33 years ago?

8. Has this become a political issue and weapon between the parties?

zen said...

1. CO2…yes so man’s activities (burning fossil fuels) is contributing to greenhouse gasses that trap heat. As well deforestation reduces the earth’s ability to naturally recycle CO2.
2. Determining the actual percent of man’s contribution is probably quite difficult. All the reason for more study. But knowing that human activity does have some sort of impact, it seems the responsible course of action is to reduce our CO2 emissions. And at the very least conduct more research.
3. I believe the change in forecast comes from more understanding, more data, better models. Realize the meteorologists of 33 years ago had a fraction of the technology and data that current scientists use to predict weather patterns.
4. I did not read anywhere in the article that man influences only 0.04 (percent?). And how would anyone possibly be able to say that? See #2 above.
5. As noted I’ve not called anyone “evil.” Other than that I think it’s a valid point. We all share a responsibility in good stewardship of our environment. It’s much too important to be considered a partisan issue.
6. Irrelevant.
7. We must also not have a passive approach to global warming because there are other factors at play. Again, all of the questions you raise are valid, but do not negate anything. Because there are more than man-made contributors to CO2 and rising global temperatures, does not mean that we should ignore man’s contribution. As was my original point…the implications on humanity are far too great to ignore the significance of the rising global temperatures.
8. I do not understand why there is division over this issue between parties? Why are ideologues on the right typically resistant to science? But it all seems to come down to money. Just as you try to frame this as a scam to give money to research. I think the big polluters (oil) don’t like the idea of “their” government money going to efforts that show that their business is harming our environment. So the larger question might be: Why are our parties split on energy policy? Why is oil such a factor, and should we take steps to decrease our dependence? Why is the Republican party so tied to the oil industry, at the very highest levels?
Why do Republicans not understand and view a shift away from burning fossil fuels will have enormous benefits to the nation? Less dependence on foreign oil, less contribution to global climate change, cleaner air and water, increased health, new technological economic sectors, new jobs, less waste and pollution….It seems the benefits are plentiful, and greatly dwarf the intentional attempts to confuse the issue, rather than better understand it.

This can be supported by the fact that big oil companies have actually backed groups that put up ads spinning CO2 as a very good thing for the environment. The more of it, the better right? (

zen said...

Also, I'm curious if you've watched An Inconevient Truth. If so, what did you think? If not, why not. Suerly if you're aim is to understand the issue, then understanding a leading positon first is essential before criticizing it. Gore lays out a very compelling case. So if you have not seen it, I recommend you put aside your ideological bias and view it with an open mind. Then if you disagree, then perhaps you'll know what it is you're opposing.

zen said...

CEOs seek tough global-warming laws
Leaders from GE to Lehman Bros. suggest lawmakers adopt a mandatory, market-driven legislative solution.

RightsideVA said...


1. I have also heard that there is a large amount of CO2 produced from the decaying dead wood & foliage in our country. Now “deforestation” as you note may eliminate that or are you talking about rainforest deforestation? Remember the enviro-Kick back 10 years ago that said the rainforests would be gone by now? Watch “The Medicine Man” with Sean Connery, “Sean is the man”, movie for the VCR tape I have has a trailer that says Rainforest the size of Delaware is burned every day. That was 10-15 years ago and seems like there would be little Rainforest left if it was burning at that rate? The trailer did say that if I sent $$$, and I did, they would save a piece of the Rainforest for me!!! What ever happened to that Crisis? If the Rainforest produces a high rate of oxygen for the planet why is this not a main factor in the Global Warming war?

3. Better science will produce better computer models. I agree with that and in fact I agree we need more science and efforts put on research. It is my understanding that the scientist on one side “Cherry Pick” the models they want to prove their claims. I also understand that the other side of the debate Cherry picks their models used and they will prove otherwise. Where are the major hurricanes that were predicted this past hurricane season? Maybe a model in the middle next time?

4. The 0.04 temp reduction came from an article in the Investor Business Daily and I will look for the link again. If not, lets pick a number that we can agree on if the Kyoto protocol is engaged. The numbers I have heard has been about 0.01 to maybe 1 whole degree in reduction. Lets say even 2 degrees over the next 10 years how much will that do if the environment has already gone from Ice age in 1973 to Heat wave in 2006? If the swing has gone that far in just a short time are we not screwed no matter what we do?
Should we dump CO2 into the air if we do not need to? No. But at what cost do we halt production and yet allow China and other countries to run free?

5. I called myself “Evil” and the Republican party for that is the way we are portrayed in the media most of the time. Think back over the last 10-15 years of all the “evil” things the GOP has been accused of. Welfare reform, taking food from babies mouths. Want to put all children in orphanages, etc… Take a walk over to out favorite local newspaper blog and see how the GOP are represented. The Harrisonburg paper up in your area is better for it prints both sides in it’s letters and their editorials are closer to being in the middle of issues but it also in not completely “Un-biased”. Calling myself “evil” was done to show that I can take a joke and still hang in there talking issues. If you notice Rightside stayed out of all the name calling recently in the local blogs for I see little use of that time wasted. Also responding to “Dignan” comments is of little use for he is just looking for a reaction. When he does not get the reaction he is looking for the “Anonymous” comments start to appear.

8. There will always be the division between parties and that is the beauty of the system. Extreme views and factions are the problems. Far Right “Rightside” talking with Far-Left “Zen”. imagine that???

RightsideVA said...

No I have not gone to the "Al Gore matinee" to hear his views of what must be done to save the planet. Wonder why he did not do any of that while he was the 2nd most powerful man in the world?

I have seen clips discussed on other programs both pros & cons... There are also numerous articles written about his powerpoint presentation and yes I read those from both sides...

Just don't see much sense in watching him babble on about being the the "Former next President of the United States". Political agenda? A while back when it came out I picked up a copy of Michael Moores Farenheit 911 so to see what everybody was talking about and got it for $2.00 !!! Watched it and wish I had my $2.00 back...

For Sale $0.50 or best offer...

zen said...

1. Deforestation is the elimination of large growth areas of plant life, primarily tress. This is not restricted to tropical rainforests. Trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Less trees, less recycling of carbon dioxide from the planet’s atmosphere. So as we are adding more carbon dioxide into the air, we are also reducing the natural ability of the earth to keep up. The system is out of balance.

2. I agree that “cherry picking” information is dangerous. In fact, you and I have come to disagreements based upon this, and the nation went to war based on the manipulation of data. Hell even the escalation of troops is not even based upon our NIE. But that’s neither here nor there…

The EPA breaks down the issue into three main categories: What’s certain. What’s likely. What’s not clear. This is what scientists are certain of:
• Human activities are changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times are well-documented and understood.
• The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
•A warming trend of about 0.7 to 1.5°F occurred during the 20th century. Warming occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and over the oceans (NRC, 2001).
• The major greenhouse gases emitted by human activities remain in the atmosphere for periods ranging from decades to centuries. It is therefore virtually certain that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will continue to rise over the next few decades.
Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations tend to warm the planet.

3. (Your list numbers are off, or you skipped some) As far as I know the Kyoto protocol, or any other reform cannot target a number for temperature desired, but rather focus on the amounts of pollutants released.
It is completely misleading to say, “the environment has already gone from Ice age in 1973 to Heat wave in 2006.” That’s not what has happened. That may have been the projections based upon the science at the time. But more knowledge has shown to alter the equation in such a way that the prediction was determined to be way off. For you to characterize it as a huge shift in the way that you do is inaccurate.

As for what we “allow” other countries to do, I think you’ll find this a double-edged sword. First we should are responsible for only one nation, ours. If we would lead, then we’d have some pull. Right now though, for many unfortunate reasons, our credibility and esteem in the world is shot. We need to focus on righting ourselves before demanding anything from anyone else.
Also, if you were to compare consumption of fossil fuels, you’ll find that the US consumes 25%, one full quarter of the planet’s energy, while having a small fraction of the world’s population. Look at how far we are behind in fuel mileage standards compared to the rest of the world. So lets see what we can do here at home, what we can do to model good practices for the rest of the world. Before we demand, and point fingers, we have a lot of work to do here.

(again skipped numbers)
5 & 8. First, I’m in Staunton, and don’t consider myself “far left.” I’m thinking of working up a post about the spectrum as I see it.
I’m always dismayed that you continue to use a preconceived prejudice of bias in the media as a crutch to every angle of every discussion we engage in. Doing so, you assume a “victimhood” mentality, which is be nature reactionary.

An Inconvenient Truth: I am of the opinion that one should watch, or listen to a source before prejudging it.

I also want to recommend a book to you that may help break the bonds of feeling powerless, and threatened by other ideas, and even the actions of others. The Four Agreements

RightsideVA said...


Good post up to the point where you decide I am of the "Victimhood" mentality.

Unfortunate for I felt we had a good conversation going until you decided to call me a "Media Bias" whinner and I fall back to using it as a "crutch" when needed. Like I have said in the past, if you cant see the obvious bias, no matter at what amount, of the NewsLeader we are then wasting time there.

"Inconveinent truth". I should not comment on what I have read about it or seen reported, from both sides, about it? I chose not to watch the "Blowhard" and that is my choice. Why didnt he do something about it when he was vice-President? It was not a problem worth the same media attention then?

"may help break the bonds of feeling powerless, and threatened by other ideas, and even the actions of others." ?

zen said...

I agree that we seem to be having a good discussion but you cannot seem to have a discussion of anything without, at some point, getting in some reference to how the media is keeping you down. I did not say that bias does not exist. Only that you seem so subjective to it. I guess what I'm asking you, is do you think it is possible to have a discussion without resorting to blaming the media for something? This is what I mean about being "powerless" and "threatened." You'd probably be taken much more seriously if you didn't blame the media for every resistance to your positions...regardless of the media's responsibility.

As for the film...I'm suggesting that some of your assumptions and criticisms about it would likely be addressed at the source. Do you really want to know what Gore feels about his personal responsibility in the issue of global warming, especially considering he was VP? Then watch the film, he address that specifically.

zen said...


Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist and study co-author, went even further: "This isn't a smoking gun; climate is a batallion of intergalactic smoking missiles."