“Climate change is in dispute.”  So began an article by Dallas Morning News reporter Jim Landers at the top of the business section.

WASHINGTON — Climate change is in dispute. Oil and gas are staging a comeback. Republicans are questioning federal funding for energy research as a waste of money in a time of deficits.

The news article was supposedly about prospects of various forms of energy now and in the future.  This was not labelled commentary or opinion; not published on the editorial page.  “Climate change is in dispute” was printed as a fact as the lead business story.

And it is not in dispute — in science.  It is in dispute in politics.  The Heartland Institute, a so-called think tank, is behind much of the denier, smoke and confusion, obsfuscation of climate change.  Before this new crusade came along, The Heartland Institute was highly involved in the denial that cigarettes cause cancer.  They are industry hacks, pushing industrialists’ interests to preserve corporate profits over… is it as bad as the human race?

Trouble in the Heartland

climate sceptics were being paid by The Heartland Institute, namely the founder of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change Craig Idso ($11,600 per month), physicist Fred Singer ($5,000 plus expenses per month), geologist Robert Carter ($1,667 per month) and a single pledge of $90,000 to meteorologist Anthony Watts.

Prof. Naomi Oreskes, coauthor of The Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, added via email, “The recently released documents confirm what many scholars had suspected: that the Heartland institute continues the disinformation techniques originated by the tobacco industry. Moreover, the documents suggest that, if anything, their tactics have become even more reprehensible, moving from targeting adults who might chose to smoke, to children, in their classrooms, trying to learn.”

About the Heartland Institute’s evidence for the Hoax that is Climate Change

Jim Landers of the Dallas Morning News is a denier hack as well. He may claim that “well, it is in dispute in politics,” but that does not do justice to the Truth.  And the Truth is that mankind needs to face what is happening with the climate, with the increasing acidification of the oceans, with disappearing ice caps and glaciers, with rising sea levels, with northward shifting planting zones. Leading a business article with “Climate change is in dispute” is an irresponsible denial of published scientific opinion.  Shame on him.

Yesterday, the central midwest US was hit with dozens upon dozens of tornadoes. Some villages were literally wiped off the map. Scientists will tell us that no one weather event can be proven to be tied to global warming, but that the overall concept is that increasing energy in the atmosphere will disrupt weather patterns, shift climatic zones, lead to  stronger and more unpredictable storms as normal patterns break down.

The nominal cause of yet another outbreak of tornadoes is the warmer than usual Gulf of Mexico. Usually, we expect to see cold Arctic air swoop down across the USA for much of the winter. This cold air extends over the Gulf, cooling the waters.  But this year, it didn’t happen.

Instead, much of the USA had unseasonably warm weather throughout much of the winter.  The Gulf didn’t cool.  Now excess amounts of warm, energy laden air exist over the Gulf to be pulled into weather systems in the USA, increasing the ferocity of storms.

2011 set records for tornado damage-based insurance losses.

Deadly tornadoes

Until last year [2011], tornados were not usually considered one of the larger risks for the insurance industry from a loss perspective. It was rare, in fact, for a series of tornados to cause $1 billion in losses.

But 2011 broke the mold, with outbreaks in April and May that shattered records. The Insurance Information Institute has said that, if it were taken as a whole, the spring 2011 tornado season would rank as the fourth-costliest disaster for insured losses in U.S. history.

In recent years, outbreaks on February 5-6, 2008 and April 27, 2011 caused massive death and destruction, on a scale comparable to the all time records for the USA.  But we have to remember something:  Warning systems and communications have greatly improved since other records in the 1910’s or 1930’s or even 1950’s. Yet the casualties and widespread destruction continues. Stronger, worse, more widespread storms.

For the last two to three years, increased hurricane activity has been predicted due to rising water temperatures, but numerous hurricanes haven’t hit Mexico or the USA recently.  How much longer until Yucatan or the USA faces another Katrina?  Another Isadoro?

Temperatures are rising, despite whatever Jim Landers, the Dallas Morning News, or the phony Heartland Institute would have us believe.