Facebook's new Fact-Checking policies have carved out an exemption for climate deniers

The CO2 Coalition is a non-profit climate denial organization with deep pockets supported by the Mercers, the Kochs, and other conservative fossil fuel financial interests. Despite the demonstrable unreality of its mission, the CO2 Coalition has already found favor in the White House.

In August 2019, they posted an op-ed on Facebook from the Washington Examiner that was written by a known climate denier and disguised itself as legitimate and factual reporting about climate change. As Judd Legum's Popular Information Newsletter explained:

The article claimed computer models used by climate scientists to predict warming have proved overblown, and thus shouldn’t be trusted. To prove it, Michaels compared “actual temperatures since 1979 with what the 32 families of climate models used in the latest U.N. report on climate science predicted they would be.”

The comparison was flawed. Michaels compared the earth’s present temperature with past climate models that predicted more carbon pollution than actually occurred. If we had polluted as much as the models predicted, the world would have warmed as much as the models predicted.

We know this because actual climate scientists have published research assessing the accuracy of climate models. […] Michaels’ analysis, on the other hand, didn’t go through any peer-review process, nor is Michaels climate scientist himself. What Michaels did was amateur Google sleuthing. What the scientists did was science.

Regardless, the post was shared more than 2,000 times before it was removed by Facebook's Independent Fact-checkers.

Then, according to E&E News:

A "conservative" Facebook employee quietly intervened, overturning the fact check, and the misinformation was no longer labeled as false, according to the CO2 Coalition.

Read the rest

Horrific mudslide in Norway dragging houses into the sea

This video of farmhouses and land sliding into the ocean is like a nightmare that keeps getting worse.

Image: Twitter Read the rest

Brazil's Bolsonaro deploys military to Amazon region

Brazil's Trump, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, formally authorized deployment of military forces in the Amazon rainforest region, purportedly to fight deforestation and fires. Surely the massive influx of armed troops to the region populated by indigenous people won't result in coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths. The decree was published in the government gazette today. Read the rest

Examining the impact of coronavirus on climate change

Professor Katharine Hayhoe is one of the leading voices on climate action in North America. In the most recent episode of her Global Weirding webseries — the second in a two-part series — she discusses the impact on and relationship between global warming and human action in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While she's undoubtedly an advocate for climate action, Hayhoe's great appeal lies in her ability to discuss such issues with nuance, looking at both the ways that the changing climate can affect viruses, and the grand scheme macro-view of how a short-term reduction in factory production does and does not affect the trajectory of our climate.

Here's part one, if you're interested:

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Greenland and Antarctica melting 6x faster than in 1990s: NASA

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena today reports new evidence of accelerating glacier melt in Antarctica.

“Observations from 11 satellite missions monitoring the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have revealed that the regions are losing ice six times faster than they were in the 1990s,” reads the NASA JPL announcement.

“If the current melting trend continues, the regions will be on track to match the "worst-case" scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of an extra 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) of sea level rise by 2100.”

The two regions have lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice in three decades; unabated, this rate of melting could cause flooding that affects hundreds of millions of people by 2100.

More from the news announcement:

The findings, published online March 12 in the journal Nature from an international team of 89 polar scientists from 50 organizations, are the most comprehensive assessment to date of the changing ice sheets. The Ice Sheet Mass Balance Intercomparison Exercise team combined 26 surveys to calculate changes in the mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets between 1992 and 2018.

The assessment was supported by NASA and the European Space Agency. The surveys used measurements from satellites including NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite and the joint NASA-German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds in England and Erik Ivins at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California led the study.

The team calculated that the two ice sheets together lost 81 billion tons per year in the 1990s, compared with 475 billion tons of ice per year in the 2010's - a sixfold increase.

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How coronavirus impacts climate change and the US housing market

I'm a big fan of Spotify's Daily Drive playlist, which is basically just Algorithmic Radio that delivers a custom mix of news and music based on my listening habits. That's how I ended listening to a podcast briefing from MarketWatch, warning about the negative impact that coronavirus is having on the luxury real estate market in the United States.

Local realtors in big cities like New York and San Francisco depend heavily on foreign investors (20 percent of whom are Chinese nationals) to buy up their inventory of recently-constructed overpriced luxury condos. And then those apartments just … kind of … sit there vacant, increasing the demand for housing and causing property values to rise, forcing out working-class families who can't afford to live in that (again, largely unoccupied) area, which spreads out the range of the greater metro areas, increasing commuter congestion and creating more opportunities for real estate investors to build more luxury condos in more remote areas to accommodate this artificially-inflated demand, which continues to be good for people who work in real estate and for foreign investors but for absolutely nobody else.

Except now, those foreign investors aren’t buying up properties as quickly as they used to, because they can't travel to the States to close the deal. And that's bad. For the economy, I mean. Or at least, for the handful of people who have been fortunate enough to profit while everyone else is slapped with higher rents and longer commutes.

But this information was of course presented with no sympathy for those who are affected by coronavirus, or by the housing crisis. Read the rest

Dating site OKCupid lets you filter out climate change deniers

OKCupid recently announced it's letting its users avoid dating people who are in denial about the science of climate change.

From Gizmodo:

On some level, it makes sense that people feel a sense of connection over shared interests. But it’s telling that climate change is becoming one of those things in addition to the standard walks on the beach and all that.

“In my experience, people are finding that it’s really difficult to have an intimate relationship unless there’s a really deep alignment on how we’re relating to the issue,” Renee Lertzman, a psychologist who specializes in the melancholic psychological responses to environmental crises, told Earther. “That doesn’t mean you have to feel exactly the same way or engage on exactly the same level, but what really matters is that how you feel about it is actually okay with your partner.”

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Antarctica reaches 20º C (68º F), highest recorded temp ever on icy continent

Scientists say 20.75º C logged at Seymour Island is ‘incredible and abnormal’

Antarctica: Hottest temperature ever recorded, 65º F / 18.3º C

Antarctica's hottest temperature ever was recorded this past Thursday: 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18.3 degrees Celsius.

That is not good.

Not good at all. Read the rest

Bumblebee population is declining so fast they could become extinct

Global warming is to blame for a "drastic decline" in the bumblebee population in North America and Europe, reports The Guardian, citing a new that "suggests the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in any given place has declined by 30% in the course of a single human generation. The researchers [ at the University of Ottawa] say the rates of decline appear to be 'consistent with a mass extinction.'"

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash Read the rest

Republicans get billions of dollars in public funding to fight climate change by pretending that it isn't real

The US government provides federal funds to states to help with disaster relief. This much hasn't changed under the Trump administration. In fact, in 2018, Ben Carson's Department of Housing and Urban Development launched a new program rewarding $28 billion dollars in financial support relating to natural disasters.

Curiously, that press release was taken down a few days after the New York Times reported on it — specifically, on its favoritism towards red states that still won't formally admit that climate change exists:

The money is distributed according to a formula benefiting states most affected by disasters in 2015, 2016 and 2017. That formula favors Republican-leaning states along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, which were hit particularly hard during that period.

Texas is in line for more than $4 billion, the most of any state. The next largest sums go to Louisiana ($1.2 billion), Florida ($633 million), North Carolina ($168 million) and South Carolina ($158 million), all of which voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election.

The other states getting funding are West Virginia, Missouri, Georgia and California, the only state getting money that voted Democratic in the presidential race of 2016.

Of course, these states have to submit proposals explaining why they need these funds. According to the Times, the proposal from Texas refers to things like “changing coastal conditions,” while South Carolina says that three major storms in four years have caused “destabilizing effects and unpredictability.” But none of them actually, explicitly mention climate change — except for Louisiana, in an appendix reference on the final page. Read the rest

Congress to Google's Sundar Pichai: Deal with climate change disinfo on YouTube

Congress is urging Google to take long-overdue action to stamp out ‘dangerous climate misinformation’ on YouTube. Read the rest

RIP wetlands and streams, Trump to end environmental protections

Say goodbye to America's wetlands and streams. Say hello to new rivers of pollution, and parking lots where cattails, frogs, and minnows once were. Read the rest

Giant pizza 103 meters (338 feet) long raised funds for Australia firefighters

? Yes, that's a 100-meter record-setting Margherita Pizza. A pizza with a purpose. Read the rest

Icy with a chance of falling iguanas, Florida's odd forecast reads

The iguanas are cold-blooded, you see.

Australia fires: Air-dropping veggies to feed wallabies [NEW VIDEO]

The massive scale and force of the ongoing bushfires in Australia is hard to comprehend. Read the rest

Greta Thunberg: 'You have not seen anything yet,' climate activist says as Davos nears

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

In the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and was joined by an estimated 10,000 others for a protest march, before many of them travel to Davos for next week's annual gathering of political and business elites. Their goal: Draw attention to the urgent need for world leaders to fight our worsening climate crisis. Read the rest

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