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Six Most Embarrassing Moments in Environmentalism

Photo courtesy Akuppa.

Every so often it’s fun to take a step back and poke a little fun at the global warming alarmists here at Skeptics Global Warming. Many incriminate themselves with sheer hypocrisy and arrogance that does little to further their cause: to stop global temperatures from rising by reducing man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Every time one of these supposed friends of the planet hops into a private jet and flies to a different corner of the world, it gives us skeptics just one more reason to point our collective fingers and laugh at just how brash and assuming they really are. And while jet-setting and other wasteful carbon-emitting lifestyles are run-of-the-mill activities for these environmentalists, there are some things they’d like to keep locked in the closet, never to be shown publicly. In this week’s opinion piece, I’m going to expose the biggest and most embarrassing moments in environmental history and you can judge the poor decisions made by these alarmists.

#6: Global Warming Gives Way to Global Cooling

It’s hard to take a topic like global warming so seriously when any momentum is lost due to, well, the planet’s temperature dropping. In fact, temperatures haven’t really gone up at all in a decade. For a planet that continues to have carbon emissions pumped into the atmosphere every single year, they sure don’t appear to be doing a whole lot of warming. Temperatures in 2008 mirror those of 1983. An El Nino-induced heat wave from 1998 hasn’t been matched since. And snow continues to fall in places that haven’t seen snow in decades or longer. Low temperature records continue to be broken in cities and towns across the globe. The ice age mantra not heard since the 1970s is slowly making its way back into the mainstream. Plus, it’s awfully coincidental that the sun had no spots for over 200 days this year, even though scientists have ruled out any connection between the sun and climate yet Arctic sea ice is at levels from when the instruments first started recording the data. And no one knows why Antarctic ice continues to grow. Luckily we’ve been spared the drama of an explanation by the global-warmer-in-chief. Other than a stint at one of the many inaugural balls celebrating the arrival of a new administration in the United States, Al Gore continues to be elusive. Maybe someone should chart Al Gore sightings with global temperatures and see if there’s a correlation.

#5: Environmentalists Don’t Know How to Use Public Transportation

On July 17, 2008, Al Gore gave a speech on global warming at Constitution Hall in Washington DC in which he presented a 10-year plan for the United States to produce all of its electricity from renewable energy sources. In his speech, Gore said, “The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.” Gore advocates using alternative fuel sources to force the price of gasoline to drop to $1 per gallon. However, many of those that attended his speech on that July day apparently didn’t grasp the concept of reducing our dependence on oil, and took private transportation to the event, even with a bus stop and train station within blocks of the venue. Here’s what the Americans for Prosperity organization found on the day of Al Gore’s speech:

Maybe Gore should go back to the basics and speak on government-subsidized mass transit. After all, these people are paying for it regardless of whether or not they use it.

#4: Followers of Environmentalism Sign Petition to Ban Water

Environmentalists are a very smart bunch of individuals. After all, they have climatologists, astrophysicists, meteorologists, geologists and politicians out in full force to explain to us, the backwards-thinking Neanderthal skeptics, why global warming is real. While we’re busy clutching our guns and our Bibles, the progressive elite have embarked on a campaign to tell us just how stupid we are. Certainly anyone with the proper credentials and published papers in peer-reviewed, and global warming approved, science journals would never be dumb enough to be a climate change skeptic. And then there are these people:

Is passion supposed to replace common sense? It does for the “intellectuals” signing the petition to ban dihydrogen monoxide in the video above. If it’s good enough for them, then certainly there is some rampant and overblown passion going on in the higher ranks of those responsible for the climate change hysteria.

#3: Al Gore’s Excesses and Hypocrisy

This isn’t really a moment as it is a series of moments that make up the life of our former Vice President. With many of us cutting back on spending to make ends meet during this crippled economy, it’s comforting to know that there are still people out there that can live lavishly. Take Al Gore for instance. Since he’s the mouthpiece for the movement to stop global warming, he’s certainly going to take his share of criticism. Today is no exception. Oh, sure, his film An Inconvenient Truth may have had a few errors and he did cast the tie-breaking vote for ethanol in 1994, an alternative food-based fuel (of which he has investments) blamed for riots and skyrocketing food prices. But I digress. Life has been good to Gore, allowing him to buy a house boat, increase his home electricity use by 10% since last year, which could power 232 American homes, without buying it from green sources and all the while remaining less green than former President George W. Bush. Oh, and he eats meat too, which is a no-no when you’re trying to cut back on those dangerous levels of methane produced by livestock. Lastly, let’s not forget the zinc mine on Gore’s property, where Al asked those extracting the minerals to try and “limit” their pollution. Maybe his 2009 resolutions haven’t quite kicked in yet.

#2: The Hockey Stick Graph shown in An Inconvenient Truth Debunked

Sure, Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph added drama to Al Gore’s film and having Gore stand on a scissor lift just added to the intensity. But was the hockey stick showing us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Earlier this year, it was revealed that the Medieval Warm Period, time between 700-1300 AD, was eliminated from Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph shown in Gore’s film. Not only was that period of time eliminated, but more research indicated that tree ring samples were cherry-picked to make the most dramatic example of how the planet is warming. Even more interesting is the fact that tree rings are only laid during the growing season and only during the day when photosynthesis occurs. So using tree rings to look at historical climate is inaccurate. Tree rings that record an unusually hot summer only take into account the summer temperatures and leave out any information about extreme cooling events in other months outside the growing season. Even more embarrassing is the radiocarbon dating of marine organisms in sea bed sediment that showed temperatures were about two degrees F cooler 400 years ago than today and two degrees F warmer 1,000 years ago compared to today (source: John Daly; Keigwin L.D., “The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea”, Science, v.274 pp.1504-1508, 1996). Inconvenient? Yes. Truth? Absolutely.

#1: Not in My Back Yard

Ted Kennedy, United States Senator from Massachusetts, secretly protested a wind farm to be built off the coast of Nantucket back in 2006, a project that would have produced 75% of Cape Cod’s energy needs without burning any fossil fuels. The Kennedys have a compound in Hyannisport. Usually a stickler for the rules in the Senate, Kennedy broke the rules by privately interfering with plans to build the wind farm array off the coast of Nantucket even though he was quoted as an advocate for alternative energy. In the August 8, 2003 edition of the Cape Cod Times, Kennedy’s editorial commentary remarked, “I strongly support renewable energy, including wind energy, as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and protecting the environment.“ Unless, of course, it’s in his own back yard. Even Greenpeace got in on the action with a television ad featuring an animated Kennedy hammering new offshore windmills:

A true self-serving liberal Senator whose own interests come before those of others.

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About the Author

has written 2022 stories on this site.

A social and fiscal conservative, I scour the news for information that disputes the current man-made global warming indoctrination that takes place around the world. I take a rather sarcastic approach to reporting on the nonsense being spewed by the talking heads in the media and the governments around the world.

20 Comments on “Six Most Embarrassing Moments in Environmentalism”

  • Jeremy wrote on 26 January, 2009, 14:19

    There we go again with the claim that the world hasn’t warmed since 1998. That’s because 98 was the hottest year on record.

    Under exactly the same logic, I can say that the earth hasn’t cooled since 1862, which is the coldest year on record.

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 26 January, 2009, 14:40

    Hi Jeremy,

    I’m glad you like my blog so much that you come back day after day to learn about being a skeptic of global warming.

    You missed the point, though. Thousands of tons of carbon dioxide are pumped into the air annually, and it hasn’t gotten any warmer in 10 years. No matter how you spin it, it’s true. And your straw man argument isn’t good spin.

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 26 January, 2009, 14:40

    But I do like the fact that I get under all of the environmentalists’ skin. I guess the truth hurts.

  • Larry Sheldon wrote on 26 January, 2009, 16:36

    Google for “hottest year on record” (without the quote-marks).

    Sorry Jeremy.

  • James Mayeau wrote on 26 January, 2009, 17:38

    Could I nominate a 7th?
    Sometime back in the wake of the first earth day, the ecolobby insisted on NASA studying the amount of vegetative growth occuring over the entire planet. They were hoping to point at nasty brown patches of dead earth where humans have devestated the ecology with pesticides and pollution.

    Instead the satellites found that the world is getting greener on the whole due to that cursed co2.

    For some reason the greenpeace crowd didn’t find this scientific news worth celebrating. instead we get the occasional stories (more like toad croaks) about “co2 makes poson oak more robust’ .
    Really shot themselves in the foot with that one.

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 26 January, 2009, 18:12

    Thanks, James!

  • Eve wrote on 26 January, 2009, 19:27

    I would count every cause by the environmental movement as an embarrassing moment.

    Start with the banning of DDT which has killed at least 50 Million and counting and which is the safest and best insecticide we have. We need it here for bedbugs. Luckily it is still being made in India and China.
    The ban was because it made birds egg shells thinner. They didn’t bother to read that eggs exposed to DDT hatched 100% of the time compared to less when not exposed.

    Then the banning of saccharin because it may cause bladder cancer. 30 years later some bright scientist realized that mice and humans have different urinary systems and no it did not cause cancer.

    Then the banning of asbestos which is only harmful when air borne. However that caused the tearing down of homes, schools and the banning of the fire retardant that was being sprayed on the steel columns in the Trade Center. If only the builders had been able to continue, the towers would have stood for the 4 hours they should have and everyone who died could have been saved.

    Then the banning of freon because it caused the ozone hole. Years later in the middle of a solar minimum with the biggest ozone hole ever seen, it is found that it was not freon, it is the cosmic rays which abound in a solar minimum. And then the refusal to allow the US engineers to build the dam which would have saved New Orleans because it might interfere with fish sex. And the refusal to allow the FAA to kill a group of resident geese in New York that were too close to the airport. Those geese just brought down a jet. Companies are now making biofuel from grains, that has caused the price of grains to go up and has starved at least 5 million and counting. Plus this year schools had to be canceled in northern US because the fuel froze in the lines and the buses could not run. I am sure I have missed lots but the bottom line is that these people do not care about humans, they care only about animals, fish, birds, etc. The joke is the animals, etc do not care about them. I think it is high time to invite these people to leave the planet or to get off the power grid.

  • DashRIPROCK III wrote on 26 January, 2009, 20:28

    Peter Schweizer’s book – Do As I Say (Not as I Do) Contains some good dirt on Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, and Michael Moore. Three environmental supporters who don’t always practice what they preach.

    Good list Mr. Duvinak, thanks for providing it. Eve, you made a lot of great comments. I’ve heard that Al Gore is heavily invested in beach front properties. He must be building all of his homes 20 feet off of the ground.

  • Jeremy wrote on 27 January, 2009, 8:25

    I come back day after day because I’m still interested in the debate around climate change. I’m trying to keep an open mind and read both sides of the argument. Unfortunately I have yet to find a skeptic site that isn’t preoccupied with mocking environmentalists and scoring cheap points. If you know of one, let me know.

    I agree by the way, the people in the video are making idiots of themselves. I agree, Al Gore is doing the movement no favours by failing to practice what he preaches. But these are cheap and shallow points that kill debate rather than foster it.

    One of the biggest objections to the climate change movement is that certain people declared the debate to be over, and were too quick to dismiss those who disagreed with them. Fair point, but if all we can reply with is playground tactics, then we can hardly complain that nobody wants to talk to the other side any more.

    And the 1998 thing? It is technically true, but it requires such a selective and simplistic reading of the data that endlessly quoting it says one of three things:
    1- you haven’t looked at the data and are just repeating something you read on the internet
    2 – you have looked at the data, but don’t know how to read a trend line
    3- you have looked at the data and do know how to read a trend line, but you’ve already decided what you want to see.

    Anyway, I expect sooner or later I’ll get bored or angry enough to stop visiting this site, but not just yet.

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 27 January, 2009, 8:31

    I wouldn’t assume ignorance on my part. I have looked at the data and I understand it. Did I mention a trend line? No. I said temperatures haven’t gotten warmer since 1998, which is a true statement with data to back me up. And trends can show anything, depending on the start and end points. If we were to trend from 1998, the planet would show either a flat line or slight cooling trend.

    There’s no point in getting angry. Like I have said before, I laugh at the global warming nonsense. Temperature down? Blame natural disasters. No natural disasters? Blame cold temperatures and snow. No cold temperatures and snow? Must be a heat wave. It’s ridiculous.

  • Jeremy wrote on 27 January, 2009, 8:43

    That’s pretty much my point – you don’t mention the trend line, and it is the overall trend that matters. There’s a huge variation from one year to the next, and always has been. The important thing is what the trend is doing.

    Yes, you can pick any year as your starting year, but the worst one to pick is 1998, because it’s such a huge anomaly. The only reason you’d do that is because you want to make it look like there is no warming trend.

    As I’ve said before, plenty of AGW skeptics agree there is a warming trend, they just don’t attribute it to human activity. Denying warming altogether is a pretty lonely position to take.

    And it’s not your posts that make me angry, it’s more the crazy people who want asbestos and DDT back!

  • Eve wrote on 27 January, 2009, 19:20

    Jeremy, what I did when I started looking at this subject was to graph the temperatures myself. When my graph looked a lot different than the GISS graphs even though we used the same data, I had to wonder.
    Go to http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot. This is a site where you can graph temperature charts, starting and ending at different times and you have a choice of GISS, Hadcrut, UAH and RSS data. GISS and Hadcrut are land based and are the only ones that go back to 1850. Satelliete data, UAH and RSS started 1979.
    What I found interesting was to do the graph at different intervals because I knew there was warming in the 20′s, 30′s and 40′s and the cooling in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. And so on. I remember doing this on Noaa’s site so I know you can graph there also.

  • Eve wrote on 27 January, 2009, 19:25

    Jeremy, my point about DDT and asbestos is the death toll that the banning of both of them have taken. You are free not to use either, in fact you cannot as they are banned in this country. But to tell Third world counties that they cannot use the safest, cheapest and most effective insecticide on the planet is murder.

  • Jeremy wrote on 28 January, 2009, 4:58

    DDT causes thinning of birds eggs, but that’s not why it was banned. DDT is toxic, carcinogenic, and causes asthma, but mainly it kills birds, and run-off into rivers pollutes the water and kills fish. It is a nuclear weapon in biodiversity terms. Because of this, it is banned for agricultural purposes. Because the human health risks are lower, it’s not currently banned for social health interventions and it is still sprayed in Africa and India to beat Malaria.

    As for asbestos, as buildings age the asbestos in the insulation does go airborne. The US government estimates it will have killed 5.4 million Americans by the time it finally disappears from our built environment.

  • Eve wrote on 28 January, 2009, 12:59

    African countries have started spraying with DDT again but their sponsors will not pay for it. The US State Department made U.S. aid contingent on countries not using any pesticide that was banned in the United States. The U.S. Agency for International Development discontinued its support for DDT spraying programs, and instead increased funding for birth control programs. Other Western nations—Sweden and Norway, for example—also pressured recipient nations to stop the use of DDT. Belize abandoned DDT in 1999, because Mexico, under pressure from the United States and NAFTA, had stopped the manufacture of DDT, which was Belize’s source. Purchases of replacement insecticides would take up nearly 90 percent of Belize’s malaria control budget. Mozambique stopped the use of DDT, “because 80 percent of the country’s health budget came from donor funds, and donors refused to allow the use of DDT,” reported the British Medical Journal (March 11, 2000).

    The World Bank and the World Health Organization, meanwhile, responded to the rise in malaria incidence with a well-publicized “Roll Back Malaria” program, begun in 1989, which involves no insect control measures, only bed nets, personnel training, and drug therapies—a prescription for failure. The United Nations Environment Program began an effort to make the ban on DDT worldwide. UNEP proposed to institute “legally binding” international controls banning what are called “persistent organic pollutants” or POPs, including DDT. Why was DDT banned, 30 years after its World War II introduction and spectacular success in saving lives? The reason was stated bluntly by Alexander King, founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome, who wrote in a biographical essay in 1990, “My chief quarrel with DDT in hindsight is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” King was particularly concerned that DDT had dramatically cut the death rates in the developing sector, and thus increased population growth.

  • moronpolitics wrote on 29 January, 2009, 13:09

    Sorry, but “Silent Spring” was another of that wonderful group of textbooks beloved of the left with a little problem. It was just made up. Fiction. Like “Coming of Age in Samoa” which was required reading when I went to college. In fact, I was required to read it in two different classes. Unfortunately not a word of it was true. (If you haven’t read it she claims that in their innocence the islanders don’t even know what causes pregnancy. All young girls just share their love with all and the children were raised communally in Edenlike joy devoid of guilt. Researchers 5 and 10 years later could find no trace, no memory of this culture, so quickly did contact with us destroy it.) “Silent Spring” is also full of made up statistics. BTW, the leading cause of death among married women is NOT being beaten to death by their husbands and the number one reason women go to emergency rooms in L.A. is NOT assault by their husbands/boyfriends either. Here’s a simple rule of thumb, MOST of the harebrained statistics you hear from the left are garbage.

  • Stan wrote on 1 February, 2009, 17:44

    Eve, I enjoyed your post on asbestos and freon. If I remember correctly, Dupont was a key figure in getting freon banned, they had the patent on it and it was about to expire, after it was banned, they just happened to have a new patent on its replacement, absolutely amazing isn’t it. As far as asbestos goes, I think we have done more harm by trying to remove it, that by just letting it stay in the walls, but I know that many made lots of money removing it. Its funny, because asbestos is just one of many fibrous silicates that are out there, but you don’t here much about the others. Do you have any information on PCBs, I have heard that they were also harmless?

  • Jeremy wrote on 2 February, 2009, 5:10

    Are you suggesting environmentalists have campaigned to have DDT banned because they wanted people in Africa to die and keep the population down?

  • Michael Duvinak wrote on 7 February, 2009, 5:35

    No, they just didn’t care :)

  • gofer wrote on 21 February, 2009, 21:04

    Does anybody seriously believe the temp. can be measured within 1 degree over a 100 years using many different methods and instruments and locations? 85% of the earth isn’t included and just what does a 1 degree AVERAGE mean or matter, even if it were accurate? THe PEAK temp of any given day only stays there for a short time AND in the early days there was NO accurate means of measuring HIGH and LOW temps.

    The HUGE question, just what is the ideal temp? To an Islander…to a Eskimo?? The whole debate is so absurd and only keeps going because of big money grants.

    I’ve read the earth’s atmosphere weights something like 44.3 Million Billion Tons. Now, you try and figure if all man’s little puffy smokestakes can produce enough CO2 to have an effect.

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