We are the 99%

July 27, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

Must've been a slow news week for our friend Jack. He's writing about Al Gore and climate change. Again.

Thing is, Jack doesn't have a very good track record when discussing Climate Change. Remember this column when he got the date of an important document he quoted wrong by 5 years and was forced to issue a correction? THIS correction:
Jack Kelly's July 2 column conflated references to two different Wall Street Journal op-ed articles by MIT professor Richard Lindzen. The first quote from Dr. Lindzen was from a June 11, 2001, piece, but it was incorrectly identified as being published last week. The second Lindzen quote was correctly attributed to his commentary last week (June 26). In addition, the Kelly column referred to a National Academy of Sciences report on climate change and a quote from CNN reporter Michelle Mitchell; they were both from June 2001, not this year. The column should have addressed the NAS report on climate change released June 22, 2006.
Jack should be careful when discussing Climate Change - that might include judging the sources he uses, just to see if they might be, you know, biased in some way.

That might be a good idea to do with this week's column. Paragraph ONE:

Former Vice President Al Gore and his entourage arrived at Constitutional Hall in Washington, D.C., July 17 for his speech on global warming in a caravan consisting of two Lincoln Town Cars and a Chevrolet Suburban -- not the most fuel efficient vehicles Detroit ever made. "The driver of the Town Car that eventually whisked away Gore's wife and daughter left the engine idling and the AC cranking for 20 minutes before they finally left," noted Mark Block of Americans for Prosperity.

Hmm. Who's this "Americans for Prosperity" then? According to their website:
Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP Foundation) are committed to educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing those citizens as advocates in the public policy process. AFP is an organization of grassroots leaders who engage citizens in the name of limited government and free markets on the local, state and federal levels. The grassroots members of AFP advocate for public policies that champion the principles of entrepreneurship and fiscal and regulatory restraint.
Ok. Seems to be a straight forward libertarian think tank. But who funds them? According to the website Media Transparency, they've been the recipients of a little under $1.2 million dollars in grants over the years 2004-2006. The source of a million of that $1.2 is the Claude Lambe Foundation, which is one of the Koch Family Foundations.

And who are the Kochs?
David and Charles Koch, sons of the ultraconservative founder of Koch Industries, Fred Koch, direct the three Koch family foundations: the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, and the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation. David and Charles control Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company and the largest privately owned energy company in the nation
So you know they're going to be giving millions away to think tanks that will be completely fair and balanced when it comes to energy issues.

Something Jack didn't tell you.

Paragraph TWO:
Al Gore wants you to do as he says, not as he does. The Tennessee Center for Policy Research reported last month that Mr. Gore used as much electricity last year at his mansion in Nashville -- one of four homes he owns -- as 19 average American homes do. Mr. Gore frequently travels between his homes and to speaking engagements by private jet -- which, on a per passenger basis, emits four times the greenhouse gases of a commercial jet.
This part is true. However, it's also misleading. I am sure, for instance, my efficiency apartment uses less energy than the average sized house, but it's NOT an average sized house. And the Gore's house isn't an average sized house either. From Snopes.com:

A spokesperson for the Gore family responded by noting some mitigating factors, such as the fact that the Gores' Nashville residence isn't an "average" house - it's about four times larger than the average new American home built in 2006, and it essentially functions as both a residence and a business office since both Al and Tipper work out of their home. The Tennessean also noted that the Gores had been paying a $432 per month premium on their monthly electricity bills in order to obtain some of their electricity from "green" sources (i.e., solar or other renewable energy sources). Other factors (such as the climate in the area where the home is located and its size) make the Gore home's energy usage comparable to that of other homes in the same area.

The former vice-president maintained that comparing raw energy-usage figures is misleading and that he leads what he advocates, a "carbon-neutral lifestyle," by purchasing energy from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and methane gas to balance out the carbon emissions produced in generating the electricity his home uses:

They use a lot of energy, reality shows, and they purchase it from green sources. So the amount is, and you should know this Jack, irrelevant.

Paragraph THREE:
In his speech at Constitution Hall, Mr. Gore called for a crash program to convert the entire U.S. electric grid to carbon-free sources of energy within 10 years. That's "ridiculous," said Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio.
No surprise that Senator Voinovich would be skeptical. He's the current Republican on the Committee on Environment and Public Works. Given the lockstep attitudes of Republicans in Congress, his use of the word "ridiculous" is hardly surprising.

Now let's do some fact checking. Jack's next paragraph (plus a little):
To get an idea of how ridiculous, consider this data from the Energy Information Administration. In 2006 (the last year for which complete data is available), 49 percent of our electricity was generated by coal-fired plants; 20 percent from natural gas, and 1.5 percent from oil. That is, more than 70 percent of all the electricity we have now is generated by the fossil fuels Mr. Gore wants to get rid of.

Of the remainder, two thirds is generated by nuclear plants (19 percent).
Now I'm confused. I checked the EIA and found this chart. It carries the title "Renewable Energy Plays a Role in the Nation’s Energy Supply (2006)" so presumably it contains data from 2006.

For the life of me I can't make heads or tails out of Jack's numbers. They have little if anything to do with what I was able to find at EIA.gov.

Can someone explain it to me? Or is this another one of Jack's Climate Change columns that he has to correct later?

And even if I got the wrong data, shouldn't Jack Kelly, in his zeal to educate the public about issues in the public interest replicate that zeal to make it easy to check his work?

21 comments:

Schultz said...

Jack's #'s on our electricity generation are correct. We get just over 70% of our electricity from a combination of coal and gas fired power plants.

EdHeath said...

Mr. Kelly also uses a bit of sleight of hand phrasing to make it appear that the Physics and Society Forum published a paper by a "prestigious scientist" that attacks "Al Gore's thesis that man is responsible for global warming.". He mentions that the Physics and Society Forum is "an arm of the American Physical Society, an organization which represents nearly 50,000 physicists", implying the 50,000 scientists are skeptical about global warming and man’s role in it. However a quick web search reveals that the P&S Forum merely publishes things submitted to them, and that in that same issue they published a paper supporting Al Gore's position on climate change. There may still be some debate, but apparently most scientist's feel the issue is resolved. The few dissenters are trying to convince the public by suggesting there is genuine widespread scientific dissention.

EdHeath said...

Uh, really meant to say Mr. Kelly uses verbal sleight of hand to make it appear the American Physical society disagrees with Mr. Gore's version of Climate Change, yada yada.

Anonymous said...

John K: Gore's running a scam. For him and GE (parent company of NBC and MSNBC and now the Weather Channel, how convenient) he has to convince the govt to buy into the entire global warming scam. Who is going to buy a curly light bulb with all their environmental problems unless the govt steps in to mandate it. Which they did. Who is going to buy a hybrid car unless the govt steps in and mandates it. Which they did.
Carbon technology has gone as far as it is going to go. (T. Boone Pickens knows this) But instead of allowing American entreprenuers into the market, Gore et al is going to use govt mandates and laws to force the issue. With all profits going to GE and Gore. You left wingers have been had.
Pittsburgh gets 7 days of 90 + temperatures each year. So far we had 3. Gee global warming is killing me. Now we could debate this subject, but Gore has said debate is over. By the way, those pictures of the calving glacier that Gore used in his film came from the movie the day after and were manufactored on a Hollywood set. No wonder Jaywillie dresses in his Hans Solo costume and pretends he is opposing the evil Bush. LMAO

EdHeath said...

John K? Al Gore's movie is "An Inconvenient Truth?" He had nothing to do with "The Day After Tomorrow" and absolutely nothing to do with the TV movie from the 80's "The Day After" (which was about the aftermath of a nuclear war). Now, assuming you mean "An Inconvenient Truth", can you provide proof the glacier scene was manufactured on a sound stage?

Robert said...

Try this url - it's slightly different.

http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energy_in_brief/electricity.cfm

Infinonymous said...

Is no one at the Post-Gazette editing Mr. Kelly's work? Or are the copy editors sabotaging this goober?

First, it is Monckton, not Moncton. As in Christopher Monckton, a Viscount by heredity and a conservative loon by ideology.

Second, he is not a scientist, at least not in any commonly understood sense. His education was in classics and journalism, not biology or chemistry. It was his background as a loudmouthed conservative journalist that landed his position as policy advisor to Mrs. Thatcher, not anything remotely connected to science. He is closer to a politician -- he has unsuccessfully stood for office -- than to a scientist.

Third, Monckton developed his interest in global warming not consequent to scientific curiousity, but rather because a finance firm commissioned a study. Most of his "scientific" work has been published and funded by energy interests. I do not believe he has authored a single work published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Mr. Kelly humiliates the Post-Gazette and himself with nearly every column. I suspect that Mr. Kelly is, nonetheless, precisely accomplishing his aim. What the Post-Gazette is trying to accomplish by publishing these columns, however, is baffling.

Anonymous said...

John K: Remember left wing kooks, Gore could not sell his idea of global warming without help from the govt. The market place will not support Gore, nor would they be willing to funnel profits in his direction. Hence, Gore has to run this global warming scam with help from govt regulations. You lefties been scammed. Not me. LMAO

Anonymous said...

John K: Oh Oh, 500 scientists from the Hudson Institute refute the idea that global warming is man made. Not good for Ed Heath. Don't worry Ed, just shut down Jack Kelly and you can control our thoughts for the betterment of all mankind. The burden you must carry. I pity you. LMAO

Fillippelli the Cook said...

Do trolls think nobody knows how to use the Google? A quick Google shows that, 1) at least several dozen of the scientists cited in the article to which the troll is referring said that they in no way believe global warming is NOT man-made. Second, as a result of these disavowals, the Heartland Inst. had to change the title of its essay to something along the lines of "500 scientists whose research contradicts man-made global warming."

The author of the aforementioned article also believes that organic food is worse for you than food raised in fields laced with petroleum-based fertilizer and coated in pesticides and other chemicals. So clearly he is a scientific genius (oh, what's that? he's not a scientist at all? big surprise.).

And the change in title is extremely telling. As anybody who has a scientific background or who, like myself, writes about science for a living, can tell you, every single day there are studies published that run contradictory to findings from other studies, often findings that have been corroborated tens, if not hundreds of times, in other studies.

That's what happens in science. That's what science is. However, one study does not mean squat. That's why just because some massive population-based study showed that vitamin E is protective against cancer had to be tested. Because, in the end, in an actual clinical trial, it actually increased cancer risk!

In science, conclusions are based on the preponderance of the evidence. And the preponderance of the evidence clearly shows global warming is, in large part, man made.

I'll never understand why so many on the right just hate science. They sure love it when it's saving their ass from dying - like, I'm fairly sure that Bob Novak is motherfucking happy he will be getting evidence-based care that's supported by scientific research - but when it doesn't suit their political needs, they're more than happy to shit all over it.

What a respectable way to live.

EdHeath said...

In case you want a second source for what Fillipelli said:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heartland_Institute

Fillippelli the Cook said...

Let me apologize for that fourth paragraph, which was a little jumbled. I was clearly writing in hurry. The point was that a single finding can be meaningless at best and seriously misleading at worst. In the vitamin E example, a large population-based study found that those with high vitamin E intake had lower cancer rates. So they put it to a test, gave patients vitamin E supplements, and, look out, cancer risk was increased.

Alleged think tanks like the Heartland Institute could care a lick about science, and it's obvious when they put out "reports" like that, in which they cherry pick individual studies and claim that they somehow invalidate the mounds of evidence indicating global warming is man-made.

Then again, the only people who can take groups like Heartland seriously are those who also hate science. Or just hate people. I can't tell which.

Infinonymous said...

Conservatives rail about "elitists" and decry "Ivy League eggheads" and praise the Biolas and Libertys and Regents of the world . . . and they are fervent supporters of intelligent design and home-schooling and faith-based everything . . . and they scoff at scientists' conclusions about global warming and carbon dating . . . right up to the point at which their child is diagnosed with a brain tumor, or they face bet-the-company litigation, or they have a heart attack. At that point, they want a Harvard doctor or a Princeton- and Columbia-educated lawyer or a Yale-based treatment.

Those life-or-death situations, one could say, become genuine "come to Jesus" moments.

Anonymous said...

John K: Gallup poll of likely voters, McCain 49%, Obama 45%. You Democrats do understand what a likely voter is. It is person who had voted in the previous election and will likely vote in this one. As compared to how you lefties poll, 16 year old kids who make U-Tube videos of Obama and 5 year old kids and drug addicts who won't vote unless you give them crack and other sort of riff raff who just happen to say what you left wing kooks want to hear. Message here: Try harder lefties I AM WINNING!

Anonymous said...

John K again spins and witholds the entire story.

http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2008/07/gains-for-mccai.html

The poll was taken from from Friday to Sunday (while Obama was out of the country) and the margin of error is 4 points exactly the spread of the poll.

Nice try, but not good enough.

It took me about 30 seconds to find your spin - LMAO!

I own your decrepit ass.

jaywillie said...

Nice try, John Kook...too bad that Gallup/USA Today poll doesn't jibe with Gallup's daily tracking poll which has Obama up 8(48-40).

If you knew anything about polling or statistics, you'd know that that Gallup/USA Today poll is what is known as an outlier - it doesn't match any of the other data, including the Gallup Daily, the RV2000 poll showing Obama up 51-39 or any other poll that's been released lately.

Education is an important thing; it's too bad you chose to waste your opportunity at one.

Infinonymous said...

Education is important.

That's why no rational parent would send a child to Liberty or Regent or Biola or Patrick Henry or any of the other dogma-driven "schools." Dogma over science? Superstition over reason? Not at a real educational institution.

EdHeath said...

Meanwhile, John K, you never responded to my request for proof that the glacier scene from "An Inconvenient Truth" was manufactured. Is that the way conservatives work? Claim something is faked, and when asked for proof, make a personal attack on the asker?
“By the way, those pictures of the calving glacier that Gore used in his film came from the movie the day after and were manufactored on a Hollywood set.”
” Not good for Ed Heath. Don't worry Ed, just shut down Jack Kelly and you can control our thoughts for the betterment of all mankind. The burden you must carry. I pity you.”
This is not debate, it’s name calling.

Anonymous said...

John K: Nope the Gallup poll I am referring to is "likely voters". Hello can you read, likely voters. The poll you are referring to is anyone who answers the phone, even if it a 5 year old kid. I WIN!

Anonymous said...

John K: Is it name calling Ed Heath? Get used to it, I learned it from this blog. LMAO LMAO lefties hate it when their own tactics are used against them. By the way, those 500 scientists are from the Hudson Institute, Ed Heath, the Hudson Institute. Looks like debate is not over. LMAO

infinonymous said...

The 'scientific dispute' over global warming is neither surprising nor entirely unwelcome. Science welcomes skepticism, even industry-funded "research" whose purpose is to perpetuate the appearance doubt. Part of the scientific process (and the fun) is to expose the dogma- or dollar-driven arguments as fairy tales.

Some argued against the cancer-cigarettes link, and against the danger associated with second-hand smoke, long after non-industry researchers had made the scientific caes. Asbestos manufacturers and insurances firms were questioning asbestos' health risks decades after those risks were exposed by science. Some people still fight hard against evolution, or carbon dating, or anything else that exposes the supernatural aspects of some religious interpretations.

One notable difference is that Philip Morris and Shook Hardy tended to rent real scientists, while the global warming deniers rely more on hacks such as the Most Lordy Lord Monckton. The bought-and-paid-for/ideologically blinded arguments in today's global warming debate appear to take the same trajectory as the tobacco apologists' arguments -- except, quite fittingly, they're a few decades behind.