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06/11/15

India Outlaws Greenpeace

Labels Greenpeace A ‘Threat To National Economic Security’


 

On November 4, the Indian government cancelled Greenpeace India Society’s registration. According to the notice issued by the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies, Greenpeace India society’s registration was cancelled for “fraudulently” conducting their business by falsifying balance sheets, and other violations of the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act of 1975. --Shreya Dasgupta, Mongabay, 6 November 2015
 
 
 
 
India’s domestic spy service has accused Greenpeace and other lobby groups of hurting economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food, the most serious charge yet against foreign-funded organisations. “A significant number of Indian NGOs funded by donors based in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment, which lends itself to stalling development projects,” the Intelligence Bureau said. These included coal-fired power projects, genetically modified organisms, mega industrial projects including South Korean firm POSCO’s steel plant and Vedanta’s bauxite project both in Odisha, hyro-power projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the strategic state on the border with China. --Reuters, 12 June 2014
 
 
1) India Outlaws Greenpeace - Mongabay, 6 November 2015
 
2) India Labels Greenpeace A ‘Threat To National Economic Security’ - Reuters, 12 June 2014
 
3) US Congress Vs NOAA: GOP Science Chief Threatens Prosecution Over Climate Study - The Washington Examiner, 4 November 2015
 
4) Did White House Collude With NOAA Over Temperature Adjustments? - Fox News, 5 November 2015
 
5) Only 18% Of Chinese View Climate Change as ‘Very Serious’ Problem - The Wall Street Journal, 6 November 2015
 
6) And Finally: More Oil Companies Could Join Exxon Mobil as Focus of Climate Investigations - The New York Times, 6 November 2015
 
 

 
 
A top Republican is threatening the head of the government’s climate research arm with criminal prosecution if the agency does not hand over materials related to a climate change study that shows there has been no “pause” in global warming. Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, sent a letter to the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Wednesday asking for all correspondence between the agency and outside sources about the study’s release. “Your failure to comply with the committee’s subpoena has delayed the committee’s investigation and thwarted the committee’s constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the executive branch,” Smith said in the Wednesday letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan. “Furthermore, your failure to comply with a duly issued subpoena may expose you to civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms.” --John Siciliano, The Washington Examiner, 4 November 2015
 
 
 
Last month, the House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith (R-Texas), subpoenaed NOAA for data and communications relating to Karl’s article.  NOAA is refusing to give up the documents, citing confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process. Is the subpoena harassment or appropriate constitutional oversight? There are two legitimate concerns here. The first is data quality, an issue that needs to be resolved owing to the central role that this data set is playing in U.S. climate policy. The second issue is arguably more worrisome and difficult to uncover: a potential alliance between NOAA scientists and Obama administration officials that might be biasing and spinning climate science to support a political agenda. --Judith Curry, Fox News, 5 November 2015
 
 
 
When it comes to climate change, many Chinese just aren’t as fussed as they used to be. That is among the key findings of global polling by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, which found less than one-fifth of Chinese surveyed viewed climate change as a very serious problem, down 23 percentage points from polling five years ago. At the same time, a growing segment in China also said climate change was not much of a problem at all. 19% of Chinese said global climate change was “not too serious” of a problem this year, versus just 6% in 2010 results. --The Wall Street Journal, 6 November 2015
 
 
 
The opening of an investigation of Exxon Mobil by the New York attorney general’s office into the company’s record on climate change may well spur legal inquiries into other oil companies, according to legal and climate experts, although successful prosecutions are far from assured. Many oil companies have funded lobbying efforts and research on climate change, so prosecutors would most likely be able to search through vast amounts of material. Energy experts said prosecutors may decide to investigate companies that chose to fund or join organizations that questioned climate science or policies designed to address the problem, such as the Global Climate Coalition and the American Legislative Exchange Council, to see if discrepancies exist between the companies’ public and private statements. --Clifford Krauss, The New York Times, 6 November 2015
 
 
 
1) India Outlaws Greenpeace
Mongabay, 6 November 2015
 
Shreya Dasgupta
 
On November 4, the Indian government cancelled Greenpeace India Society’s registration. The Society was registered in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India.
 
“This is an extension of the deep intolerance for differing viewpoints that sections of this government seem to harbor,” Vinuta Gopal, Interim Executive Director of Greenpeace India, said in a statement.
 
According to the notice issued by the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies, Greenpeace India society’s registration was cancelled for “fraudulently” conducting their business by falsifying balance sheets, and other violations of the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act of 1975.
 
“The Registrar has passed this order without granting Greenpeace a hearing, and without complying with the Madras High Court order to address each of our points and queries,” Gopal said in the statement. “This is a blatant attempt to circumvent the legal process and shows no respect for the law.
 
For over a year, the government of India and Greenpeace India have been at loggerheads. In September, for example, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order cancelling Greenpeace India’s FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) registration, which allows the NGO to receive foreign donations.
 
Full story
 
 
 
2) India Labels Greenpeace A ‘Threat To National Economic Security’
Reuters, 12 June 2014
 
India’s domestic spy service has accused Greenpeace and other lobby groups of hurting economic progress by campaigning against power projects, mining and genetically modified food, the most serious charge yet against foreign-funded organisations.
 
The leak of the Intelligence Bureau’s report comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new administration seeks way to restore economic growth that has fallen to below 5 percent, choking off investment and jobs for millions of youth entering the workforce.
 
Greenpeace denied it was trying to block economic expansion, saying the allegations were an attempt to silence dissent and that it stood for sustainable growth.
 
The government report is likely to intensify the debate over whether Asia’s third largest economy will pursue the path of fast growth under the Modi administration or try a more balanced strategy that the previous government sought.
 
It has also turned the spotlight on the role of foreign funded organisations, some of whom said they feared a crackdown by the new regime, seen as more friendly to business.
 
“A significant number of Indian NGOs funded by donors based in US, UK, Germany and Netherlands have been noticed to be using people-centric issues to create an environment, which lends itself to stalling development projects,” the Intelligence Bureau said.
 
These included coal-fired power projects, genetically modified organisms, mega industrial projects including South Korean firm POSCO’s steel plant and Vedanta’s bauxite project both in Odisha, hyro-power projects in Arunachal Pradesh, the strategic state on the border with China.
 
Together, the cancellation, disruption or delay to these development projects had clipped gross domestic product growth by 2 to 3 percent a year, according to an excerpt of the report seen by Reuters.
 
Full story
 
 
 
3) US Congress Vs NOAA: GOP Science Chief Threatens Prosecution Over Climate Study
The Washington Examiner, 4 November 2015
 
John Siciliano
 
A top Republican is threatening the head of the government’s climate research arm with criminal prosecution if the agency does not hand over materials related to a climate change study that shows there has been no “pause” in global warming.
 
Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, sent a letter to the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Wednesday asking for all correspondence between the agency and outside sources about the study’s release.
 
Smith has been trying to get answers from the agency for months. NOAA fired back last week saying it has provided documents and briefings to science committee staff, and that in its opinion has met all the requirements of a recent subpoena sent by Smith.
 
But Smith says that wasn’t enough and is now threatening civil and criminal prosecution.
 
“Your failure to comply with the committee’s subpoena has delayed the committee’s investigation and thwarted the committee’s constitutional obligation to conduct oversight of the executive branch,” Smith said in the Wednesday letter to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan. “Furthermore, your failure to comply with a duly issued subpoena may expose you to civil and/or criminal enforcement mechanisms.”
 
The study is seen by global warming skeptics as politically motivated. They say the study released last spring seeks to undermine their arguments that the Earth’s climate has not been warming for the last 15 years. The agency study emphasized the fact that there has been no pause in global warming in that period.
 
Many scientists say the Earth’s climate is warming due to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, and that immediate reductions in these emissions must occur or risk catastrophic consequences. Smith doesn’t buy that argument.
 
Wednesday’s letter provides a list of emails and documents Smith wants from Sullivan, including: internal communications between her agency and the Executive Office of the President; communications and documents between it and the White House Office of Management and Budget; all communications on the study sent between NOAA and other agencies; and a reason why the total number of documents requested have been withheld.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
4) Did White House Collude With NOAA Over Temperature Adjustments?
Fox News, 5 November 2015
 
Judith Curry
 
The hottest topic in climate research is the observation that global average surface temperature, as well as satellite observations of temperatures in the atmosphere, has shown little or no warming during the 21st century.
 
Now the political climate is heating up over the same issue. Heated words began circulating last summer, when a team of government scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), led by Thomas Karl, published a paper in Science titled “Possible Artifacts Of Data Biases In The Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus.”
 
The press release from NOAA included this statement from Karl, who is head of the National Centers for Environmental Information:   “Adding in the last two years of global surface temperature data and other improvements in the quality of the observed record provide evidence that contradict the notion of a hiatus in recent global warming trends.”
 
Media headlines quickly touted the Karl conclusion that science now shows the hiatus in warming never existed.
 
The significance of the hiatus is that it contradicted the 2007 assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which projected a rate of warming of 0.2oC per decade in the early part of the 21st century.  The discrepancy between the climate models and the observations raised serious questions about the climate models.
 
Scientists on both sides of the debate have been critical of Karl’s paper and temperature adjustments made in the new data set, particularly the ocean data analysis.
 
Some said that adjusting reliable ocean surface buoy data upwards to match much less reliable data from engine intake channels in ships causes an artificial upward trend in the readings.
 
Another recent paper used a different NOAA ocean surface temperature data set to find that since 2003 the global average ocean surface temperature has been rising at a rate that is an order of magnitude smaller than the rate of increase reported in Karl’s paper.
 
Clearly, scientists have much work to do to better understand the problems with historical ocean temperature data, adjust the biases among different types of measurements, and understand the differences among different data sets.

But the hiatus fuss is also telling us about the politicization of climate science.
 
The surface temperature data set plays a central role in the political debate over climate change. In his 2015  State of the Union address, President Obama declared: “2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.”
 
This statement followed a joint press release from NOAA’s Karl and Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, that said the same thing. The release was widely criticized for failing to point out that 2014 was in a statistical tie with several other recent years.
 
NOAA’s press release in June for Karl’s paper on the hiatus also appeared just before a big event: EPA was getting ready to issue its very controversial Clean Power Plan. And the politics are heating up even more with the approach of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris at the end of this month.
 
Last month, the House Science Committee, chaired by Lamar Smith (R-Texas), subpoenaed NOAA for data and communications relating to Karl’s article.  NOAA is refusing to give up the documents, citing confidentiality concerns and the integrity of the scientific process.
 
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex) called the request “a serious misuse of Congressional oversight powers.”
 
Is the subpoena harassment or appropriate constitutional oversight?
 
There are two legitimate concerns here.
 
The first is data quality, an issue that needs to be resolved owing to the central role that this data set is playing in U.S. climate policy.
 
The second issue is arguably more worrisome and difficult to uncover: a potential alliance between NOAA scientists and Obama administration officials that might be biasing and spinning climate science to support a political agenda.
 
Rep. Smith stated: “The American people have every right to be suspicious when NOAA alters data to get the politically correct results they want and then refuses to reveal how those decisions were made.”
 
The House Committee’s investigation should provide insight into the following questions that deserve answers.
 
To what extent did internal discussions occur about the more questionable choices made in adjusting the ocean temperature data?
 
Was any concern raised about the discrepancies of the new ocean temperature data set and NOAA’s other ocean temperature data set (OISST) that shows no warming since 2003?
 
Were any Obama administration officials communicating with NOAA about these statements prior to issuing press releases?
 
Was the release of the land and ocean temperature data sets, which were documented in papers previously published, delayed to follow Karl’s June press release?
 
Earlier this year, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., initiated an investigation into possible industry funding of scientists (including myself) who had recently provided Congressional testimony for the Republicans.
 
While potentially undisclosed industrial funding of research is a legitimate concern, climate science research funding from government is many orders of magnitude larger than industrial funding of such work.
 
If the House Science Committee can work to minimize the political influence on government-funded research, and also help to resolve legitimate scientific issues, it will have done both science and the policies that depend on science a big favor.
 
Judith Curry is professor and former chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is president of the Climate Forecast Applications Network. Follow Judith Curry on Twitter @curryja.
 
 
 
 
5) Only 18% Of Chinese View Climate Change as ‘Very Serious’ Problem
The Wall Street Journal, 6 November 2015
 
When it comes to climate change, many Chinese just aren’t as fussed as they used to be.
 
That is among the key findings of global polling by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, which found less than one-fifth of Chinese surveyed viewed climate change as a very serious problem, down 23 percentage points from polling five years ago.
 
Those surveyed in the U.S. and China—the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses—were less concerned about climate change than the global average. In the U.S., 45% of respondents said global climate change presented a “very serious” problem, compared with a global median of 54%.




In a related index Pew created to rank national concern over climate change, the results found Chinese were overall slightly more concerned than Americans, but lagged far behind other developing economies including India and Brazil.
 
The new report is based on surveys of more than 45,000 adults across some 40 countries. In many ways, the Pew report offers complex and at times contradicting views about the threat of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and climate change just as global negotiators prepare to meet for the latest round of climate-change talks in Paris in a few weeks.
 
While a vast majority—roughly 80%—said they supported the idea of their country limiting emissions of greenhouse gases as part of any agreement reached in Paris, many respondents expressed declining concern about the overall effects of climate change on their lives.
 
In addition to China, fewer respondents in other major Asian economies including South Korea, Japan and Indonesia said they considered climate change as a “very serious problem” in polling this year versus five years ago.
 
To be sure, the majority of Chinese—roughly three-quarters of those surveyed—were still at least somewhat concerned about climate change, in line with global views. According to Pew, majorities in all nations surveyed viewed climate change as a serious problem.
 


At the same time, a growing segment in China also said climate change was not much of a problem at all. 19% of Chinese said global climate change was “not too serious” of a problem this year, versus just 6% in 2010 results.
 
Full story
 
 
 
 
6) And Finally: More Oil Companies Could Join Exxon Mobil as Focus of Climate Investigations

The New York Times, 6 November 2015
 
Clifford Krauss
 
The opening of an investigation of Exxon Mobil by the New York attorney general’s office into the company’s record on climate change may well spur legal inquiries into other oil companies, according to legal and climate experts, although successful prosecutions are far from assured.
 
Many oil companies have funded lobbying efforts and research on climate change, so prosecutors would most likely be able to search through vast amounts of material. The industry has also resisted pressure for years from environmental groups to warn investors of the risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions could have on their businesses, although that appears to be changing.
 
“Exxon Mobil is not alone,” said Stephen Zamora, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center. “This is not likely to be an isolated matter.”
 


 
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