Thursday, March 19, 2015

Roy Spencer PhD and Steve "mad, mad, mad" Goreham on defying laws

Deniers are making hay while the sun beats down - or the little mice are playing while the boss is off doing something or the other.

As I've commented before, Anthony Watts has all but disappeared from WUWT recently. While he's gone AWOL, there are a lot of deniers using his blog to peddle their denial.

Yesterday it was David Middleton who seems to be a greenhouse effect denier. Today it's Steve "mad, mad mad" Goreham, who is employed to reject climate science. It's his job. I've just noticed that he is the Executive Director of one of those pretty well one-man bands that pretends to be a real organisation by giving itself a fancy name and building a website.

Steve Goreham wrote a book that was so bad, the Heartland Institute ended up finding someone with more money than sense, who paid to send all the hundreds of printed copies, which they couldn't otherwise give away, out to scientists at Universities. The books that didn't go straight into the recycle bin were symbolically burnt.

Roy Spencer PhD - Chairs a (Heartland Institute?) denier lobby group

The "organisation" calls itself the "Climate Science Coalition of America". Steve is touted as the "Executive Director". You'll never guess who the "Chairman" is. I wouldn't have. It's Roy Spencer. The same Roy Spencer PhD whose day job is to work out the temperature of the atmosphere. After hours he's a full on climate science denier, going by his association with this wacky mob.

The website at first glance looks impressive with lots of words filling each page. Problem is, some of the letters are missing. For example, here's a snapshot of the top of the about page:

The website is so tired and ancient, it's sidebar is mostly dead links, and some that work but go to the totally discredited Wegman report from years ago. And in case you couldn't believe that Roy Spencer would have anything to do with Steve "mad, mad, mad" Goreham, the links at the top go to Roy Spencer's own blog.

Every year or so, someone decides to post an article on the website.  The latest article on the home page is about Judith Curry and her misleading testimony to a US government committee. That's from January 2014. More than a year ago. That's followed by articles from 2013 and 2012, featuring Richard Lindzen, Bob Carter and Willie Soon. (Archived here.)

It's hard to tell if Steve is still getting paid for being "Executive Director" or if the "organisation" has gone kaput. At WUWT he describes himself as holding down that job.

I don't know who is really behind shonky "organisations" like the CSCA, or whether someone is paying Roy Spencer to front as Chairman.  It's clear that it has strong ties to the Heartland Institute, which seems to have a pivotal role in all these little anti-science organisations that employ individuals as "executive directors" (remember Tom Harris?) and share the same old deniers, like Bob Carter.

Remember Roy Spencer is tied up with the Cornwall Alliance, which is tied in with the anti-environmental lobby group CFACT.

What evidence?

I didn't start out to write about yet another mickey mouse denier front group that employs people to write articles to keep deniers happy. I was going to write something about Steve's latest tirade at WUWT. Here's a sample:
Evidence is growing that natural cycles of Earth, such as ocean currents driven by the sun, dominate global temperatures and that human influences are small. Today’s storms, droughts, floods, and surface temperatures are neither extreme nor abnormal by historical standards.

Naturally Steve doesn't produce any evidence. He can't. There isn't any. Deniers don't need or want any such evidence. They are more than satisfied that someone tells them it exists. No need to produce it.

Not a law-abiding lobby group

Most of Steve's article is beseeching US states to "In the best interests of US citizens, states should refuse to comply with the proposed EPA Clean Power Plan.", which AFAIK has yet to be implemented. You can read a bit about the Clean Power Plan proposed by the EPA and the US lobby group ALEC's attempts to stymie it - at Climate Spectator.

Given that Steve reports himself in his role as Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America, one has to assume that Roy Spencer PhD, as Chairman, supports urging states to "In the best interest of citizens, states should defy the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan". Are federally funded employees permitted to do that?

From the WUWT comments

There aren't too many comments, though Steve's article has been up for a while. I just refreshed the archive and there are still only 21 "thoughts" so far. He didn't get universal applause from Anthony's readers.

Leo Geiger isn't impressed with Steve calling for states to break the law. He's a rarity at WUWT. Someone sane.
March 19, 2015 at 4:00 am
If some state governments believe the rules are unlawful, they can take their arguments before the courts. Either that, or get this or some future government to change the rules.
It isn’t for Steve Goreham or anyone else to decide that some laws can be ignored, regardless of their opinions about the rules.

A double rarity - opluso wrote:
March 19, 2015 at 2:34 am
Simply defying federal rules is not a valid option. No doubt, there will be lawsuits on both sides so the rules will have to survive court and Congressional review. 

Bloke down the pub wonders what Steve is complaining about:
March 19, 2015 at 3:44 am
If only we in the UK could have electricity for as cheap as 15cents/kwh.

willybamboo comes up with a suggestion:
March 19, 2015 at 4:49 am
States should defy federal law? No. Defy unlawful EPA (federal agency) rules – which have the force of law. It would be unambiguous if congress would legislate these rules instead. Oh right – they refused to do so on several occasions over the past six years. No congressional committee oversees the EPA. The EPA was created with an Executive Order by Richard Nixon.
Rather than states defy the ‘law’ why doesn’t Congress enact a new law that reconstitutes the EPA. Break it up into smaller parts and establish proper congressional oversight. The executive branch will still enforce the law. Perhaps someday Congress will again make the law. Our Constitution talks quite a bit about Congress and its power to make laws. It doesn’t mention the EPA. 

Political Observer took a shot at explaining the situation:
March 19, 2015 at 5:23 am
I am not a lawyer and I am not giving legal advice. However I have read a number of legal experts opinion on what states can do to oppose this action by the EPA. If I understand their arguments correctly the Clean Air Act while empowering the EPA with the authority to establish ambient air quality standards it does not allow the EPA to force these standards on the states. Instead in the interest of “federalism” the EPA can encourage states to adopt those standards and create plans to achieve those standards. States that elect not to be so “encouraged” can opt out. However in those cases the EPA can then choose to implement their own plan to regulate the emissions of those sources within those states. The “hammer” that the EPA uses in these situations is the threat that their enforcement will be far more draconian that what they would allow under the state plan.
The challenge for the EPA is two fold. The enforcement threat is only viable if a few states resist. The EPA does not have the resources to implement a nationwide or even regional approach and Congress is unlikely to appropriate additional resources. Second the coercive threat is much like the Medicaid threat to states in the Affordable Care Act which the Supreme Court found to be unconstitutional.

 You might not believe I was quoting from WUWT if I didn't post "thoughts" like this one from cnxtim
March 19, 2015 at 2:30 am
The states should follow Australia and Switzerland’s lead and reject all form of CAGW taxes – especially when they are based on phoney CO2 science…

Or this from Peter Miller
March 19, 2015 at 2:30 am
The way I interpret this is:
The more ecoloon a state is, the higher its electricity price is likely to be.
The more ecoloon a state is, the more likely it is to approve of the EPA’s new, economy busting, regulations.
Do the states have the power to give the EPA the finger, and if they did, could the EPA, or the federal government do anything about it?
I am sure this article is certain to attract an unusual amount of fatuous troll comments. 


  1. The "CSCA Core Principles" page is remarkably honest about the purpose of the organization as a purveyor of ideologically driven conclusions.

  2. I'm eager to see the contrarian reaction to FEMA's recent announcement re: the necessity of states to have mitigation plans in order to receive relevant emergency funding in the USA. Are Florida, Louisiana and Texas going to blink?


  3. Sou:

    "one has to assume that Roy Spencer PhD, as Chairman, supports urging states to "In the best interest of citizens, states should defy the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan". Are federally funded employees permitted to do that?"

    Federal employees can, as long as it is on their own time and as long as they don't suggest that their opinion doesn't represent the agency they work for. Typically what we see is something like a US Forest Service biologist pointing out that USFS plans for harvest and habitat protection for (say) the northern spotted owl is scientifically bullshit, on their own time. An employee membership group was started in the 1980s and still exists today to, among other things, protect agency employees from retribution for practicing their free speech rights on their own time.

    Beyond that, I believe that Roy Spencer works for UAH, not the feds, despite receieving federal funding. So he'd be subject to the regulations that apply to employees of UAH anyway ...

    1. "as they don't suggest that their opinion DOES represent the agency"

  4. I wonder whether Spencer actually knows he's supposedly the chairman of this thing. It's really easy to put a name up on a web page.

  5. The comments have really escalated since you posted, there are a lot of denialist gems in there. Poor Icarus62, i know he means well but those people are not going to listen, they are not willing to listen. Here's probably my favorite snippet so far:
    Catherine Ronconi March 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Get real & draw a line through RSS data from the late 1990s until now.

    You’ll find that not only has the warming stopped, but the cooling has begun.
    Not understanding the concept of a baseline, and failing to recognize and outlier (El Nino year, the year that i am guessing most americans at any rate heard "el nino" on their local news station).

    1. Well you have to remember that not only is it getting hotter (according to WUWT) because we are coming out of an Ice Age, but its about to get colder because we are about to enter an Ice Age. There can't be many people through all of human history who can boast of living through parts of two Ice Ages, but we are among the lucky few.

  6. CSCA website says "Last Updated on Monday, 04 October 2010 15:50". Not really active.

  7. Off topic. I not that today's Climate Etc could be mistaken for a science site. What forcings are in play?

  8. A bit off-topic (but not too much -- it still has to do with Anthony Watts).

    A letter to the editor critical of Anthony Watts has just been published in Watts' own hometown newspaper. It can be viewed on-line here:

    I posted a comment detailing Watts' dishonesty/incompetence in his attacks on the NASA/NOAA global-temperature work. Click on the "comments" link to read it.

    If anyone else here wants to take a shot at Watts in his own back-yard (where associates/neighbors of his are more likely to see it), please feel free to post in the comments section there!

    1. Ouch. I'd imagine Watts will write a response full of wrath where he denies being a climate change denier: because, after all this time, he still doesn't know what the definition is.


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.