(OJB’s Climate is Heating Up!) Cynthia Replies to Ricardo on Climate Change




Polar Bear on Ice Pedestal

Orange Juice Blog contributors are tangling over the issue of Climate Change and CATER’s sponsorship (which was required for legal reasons) of the Dr. Pat Michaels event. This polar bear is not really part of the story.


I have a great deal of respect for Ricardo Toro; I appreciate that he came to me directly, prior to posting here at OJB, regarding his views on Dr. Michaels. He asked “why CATER would be involved with an academic whose ethics are in contradiction with what I thought CATER stands for.”

I appreciate Ricardo sharing his perception of how he thinks Dr. Michaels reflects on CATER for hosting him in the upcoming event on the evening of August 20, and allowing me to expand on the reasons for welcoming Dr. Michaels to Anaheim. I hope I can respond in a way that does not tarnish a friendship I highly value. But I am afraid while I respect Ricardo, I don’t agree with the conclusions he has drawn.

First, it appears my friend has jumped to the conclusion that because Dr. Michaels has received funding from the fossil fuel industry, the conclusions of his work must have been purchased by some conflict of interest. That is a very wide gap to leap over, absent any scientific finding that Michaels’ conclusions could not have come from actual scientific research, and thus MUST have been rooted in his economic interests.

If we are to apply the same conclusion, that a funding source determines the outcome, then would we not also look twice at the many, many studies funded by grants that are tied to the special interest funding surrounding what some call “warmers?” How many studies get funded with Federal grants if they actually take a critical look at the science behind the assumptions? Not all of that science is as hard-fact as the establishment would have us believe, thus the need to layer in additional models to make the numbers work. Conflict of interest works both ways.

Consider this. Forbes recently reported that costs dumped onto citizens through government regulations have made even basic needs beyond the reach of a third of Californians.

Many of those regulations and their related costs are tied to climate change.

Californians pay about 80 cents more for our gasoline than any other State in the US. An LA Times article from March reported:

On most days, gasoline in California costs more than it does in other states. That’s partly because California is considered an island in the industry, cut off from other oil-producing regions by its stringent environmental rules and a dearth of interstate pipelines.

To improve air quality, the state limits the type of gasoline to a specially formulated blend commonly known as CARBOB. The blend, too expensive for most outside producers to make and deliver, is largely created within the state.

Before California adopted its special gasoline blend, refinery-level wholesale prices in the state averaged an inflation-adjusted 6 cents above the national average. From 1996 to 2014, they averaged 16 cents higher, according to Severin Borenstein, an economics professor specializing in energy markets and regulation at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.”

And why does California insist on our own special “CARBOB” blend of gasoline? Climate change. Saving the planet.

High Speed Rail will cost Californians BILLIONS in bond funding, in addition to the “cap and trade” funding being diverted to the project, all to save “greenhouse gas” caused by those cars racing up and down I-5. Locally the streetcar in Anaheim is being built on the excuse of – yep, again – global warming, as we can’t have all those tourists’ cars idling on Katella. (Never mind that a streetcar operating in mixed traffic makes traffic WORSE, according to the City’s own studies!)

The funding that the Council majority like to pretend descends from the pockets of fairies who generate “Federal funds” is actually GAS TAX money, which is paid in disproportionate amounts by the working poor, whose gas guzzling vehicles suck through more trips to the pump than the hybrids owned by those with better incomes.

How about the lack of affordable housing, clearly tied to the often inane regulations imposed on developers, nearly all linked to environmental issues?

Saving the World Through Zoning (by the American Planning Association)

And right here in our own back yard, the whole Platinum Triangle development and its “Transit Oriented Development” leads the claim to require ARTIC and the ARC streetcar (ironically tearing up a Katella Smart Street that Anaheim put MILLIONS into with this FY 2015/15 budget)

In an email dated January 11, 2010, Anaheim’s Public Works Director Natalie Meeks discussed the following with OCTA’s Darrell Johnson, and Anaheim’s Jamie Lai and Linda Johnson.

“Darrell — Below is a note from my team’s status report. This issue with ridership has been discussed for several months but there doesn’t seem to be progress, and maybe it’s not possible. Our ridership numbers change dramatically if we consider build out of hsr. I think this will help us get funding even if its not from FTA New Starts. I would like to discuss what our options are and any ideas you have that would place our project in a good position for funding opportunities.

Can I contact your office and schedule a meeting? Who should I include?

Thanks, Natalie”

Below Natalie’s note to the OCTA Chief is indeed the ridership status report;

“City needs to get FTA support for its ridership forecasts. SCAG will support CHSR from LA Union Station to Anaheim, but City should get SCAG’s support to include the entire Phase I to Northern California in its Regional Transportation Plan. This would increase ridership from 3,000 to 27,000. OCTA also needs to begin process to get AFG project into SCAG’s funded Regional Transportation Plan in order to get federal funding.”

CATER has spoken out against the head of Anaheim’s Public Works division colluding with the head of OCTA to layer in data with no realistic connection to the current project, in order to produce the predetermined outcome desired by those funding the project. How would we not use the same skeptical view of far more invasive policies, following the revelations of the East Anglia emails, among other controversies?

“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

When I first announced Dr. Michaels may join us in California, Greg Diamond attempted to educate me, by sharing a string of articles, and I appreciate that he understood I invite all aspects of an issue to be presented. I have been working my way through the articles as time permits, but I will share what I found in THE FIRST PARAGRAPH of the FIRST ARTICLE I opened, and then you tell me I don’t have reason to be skeptical of at least the methods by which some would demand we buy their theories (and in turn the products claimed to rescue us from the disastrous claims of their theories.)

The very first article says:

Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.”

When we follow the links (or as Ricardo says, do the ‘heavy lifting”) we trace the source back to the original document, which says NOTHING close to what is claimed by the time it is filtered into the final article that was sent to me!

The 2012 article from Media Matters refers back to an article in USA Today from 2011, which references an article in Nature Climate Change from 2011.

When we finally get to the original article in Nature Climate Change, we read:

“although a majority of US citizens think the President and Congress should address global warming, only a minority think it should be a high priority.”

The remaining article goes on to measure the extent to which citizens support POLICIES addressing Climate Change.

Now there is a big difference between not making those policies a priority and not believing or knowing that Climate Change is taking place! How does one claim:

“Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.”

after reading that “a majority of US citizens think the President and Congress should address global warming”?

A majority of US citizens would have to KNOW that some form of human activity was having some form of impact on the planet, in order to believe the President and Congress should address the problem!

It seems the problem is not that ordinary citizens are unaware, or that a bunch of Republican Neanderthals refuse to accept that humans are harming the world, the issue here appears to be that the ordinary resident of planet Earth going about their day understands that we should be kind to Mother Earth. The controversy appears rooted in the fact that everyday Joe Citizen has failed to get his/her collective knickers in a knot on the level that scientists who earn their living devising improvised sea gates to hold back the rising oceans would prefer to see as our reaction.

Based on this twisting of facts as presented, anyone with a more conservative view will be accused of knuckle dragging backwoods thought process, or suffer the label of being “anti-science.” Since science, once upon a time, was the study of facts that could be repeated, replicated, and used to predict future outcomes, a demand to base arguments on what a study says, and not what some media outlet 3 times removed wishes to twist it into is far from anti-science!

That footnote in Nature Climate Change leads back to a source for a study — Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA — but does not offer the title, nor date, of the study itself. So how do we establish where the information came from?

Who was queried in order to establish a baseline for “majority of US citizens?” What were they asked? Where was the pool selected? How old is the data? What is the margin of error for the study, and how was the information initially used? Did later facts support outcomes predicted by work that may have been based on the study? Or to use the baseline for credibility posed by our beloved Ricardo, who funded the study?

None of those questions are partisan, or closed-minded, they are the reasonable inquiries one would expect of a curious mind. But based on the first paragraph of the Media Matters article, I don’t expect to find much critical thinking to be found in the remainder of the piece, which I will read with an open mind. I daresay my mind will be more open than the author of the article, who has already predetermined that a nation is ignorant or flat out unwilling to accept what “scientists” know, because we refuse the mandated requirements of regional planning councils to pack ourselves into high density boxes mid-city and give up our cars for the smelly armpit of the man next to us on the bus, until we see real science, with primary research presented without bias, and without the leap of faith that makes the story of 40 days and a boat made of gopher wood look more plausible by the day.

It is this “all or nothing” new religion of Earth Worship that creates the distrust from many of us, who wish to do the right thing and leave the next generation a better planet than the one we inherited, and in that pursuit, we deserve and frankly demand, that science offer us the credible evidence that has been subjected to a scientific method we might recognize from any of the high school classes we skipped and/or slept through.

That means CATER is presenting a more balanced view than the Climate Change theorists will offer any time soon, as we have always presented a more balanced view than the local government has offered.

And that, dearest friend, Ricardo, is why we are hosting the event on August 20th. I am sorry you cannot attend. If you have questions for Dr, Michaels, send them to me, or to Greg Diamond, we will throw them into the mix. Thanks for asking for both sides. That ability to discuss all elements of even controversial topics is what makes this blog and its “mosh pit” environment the healthy place of open debate it has become.

[Ed. Note: To Be Continued, Most Assuredly!]


A Public Discussion on Climate Change

August 20, 2015, from 7 pm to 9 pm

Servite High School auditorium
1952 W. La Palma Avenue, Anaheim


Dr. Patrick Michaels of the Cato Institute

Mark Tabbert of “Climate Leaders” / CitizensClimateLobby.org


Dr. Patrick Michaels

Dr. John Hoaglund, Geologist


Dr. Patrick Michaels

Dr. Gregory Diamond, Ph.D. Social Psychology, U. Michigan


About Cynthia Ward

I am a truth-teller. It gets me in trouble. But if you ask me if a dress makes you look fat, I will tell you so, and help select another, before you go on television and realize it for yourself. My real friends are expected to be truthful with me as well. A secret shared will be taken to my grave, but lie to me, and it will end up here…on these pages… especially if you are tasked with the stewardship of public resources. I am a registered Republican who disdains the local GOP power structure, a born-again Christian who supports everyone’s right to spend their lives with the partner of their choosing. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister. I am a loyal friend to those who merit that friendship and when crossed I am a bitch with a capital C. I do not fit into a box, nor do I see others through the stereotypes that politics and public affairs so often tries to shoehorn us into. I think for myself, and so do you. Welcome to our shared space in this world.