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Climate change links vanish from DENR website

Posted March 11

— Links and documents about climate change have recently disappeared from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.

As recently as Jan. 21, information about climate change was available on the front page of the Division of Air Quality's website. Sometime in the last two months, the page was edited to remove the link.

The link used to connect users to a page full of information and resources about greenhouse gases and climate change. That page no longer exists, either.

Two major reports on climate change are also missing from the site: a 100-page report on the possible economic impacts of greenhouse gas mitigation and the state's 118-page Climate Action Plan, a multi-year project involving dozens of experts and policymakers. Both were commissioned by the state legislature, then controlled by Democrats, and completed in 2008. 

Division of Air Quality spokesman Tom Mather told WRAL News the decision to remove the links and documents was made by division Director Sheila Holman. He said they were removed because the programs and commissions are no longer active.

"We made these changes as part of our ongoing efforts to update, refresh and redesign our website," Mather said. "Currently, states do not have a lot of regulatory authority dealing with climate change. We do have responsibilities in several areas, however, and we still include that information on our website."

Mather said some of the information that was removed is available on other areas of the site, although a search by WRAL News found many broken links. He said the public can still access the reports by requesting them from the agency. 

He declined to say whether the change was made to reflect the current administration's philosophy.

DENR Secretary John Skvarla has made no secret of his skepticism on the issue. In an interview with WRAL.com on Jan. 4, 2013, Skvarla was asked whether he believes climate change "is a fact." 

"I think climate change is a science, and science is constantly in need of scrutiny," he responded. "I don't think climate change is something you just put the needle on the record and say it's fixed. We must engage the very best minds with diverse opinions."

Gov. Pat McCrory voiced the same skepticism on the CBS News program "Face the Nation" on Feb. 16, when he was asked by host Bob Schieffer whether he still believes, as he said in 2008, that global warming is "in God's hands." 

"I feel that there's always been climate change. The debate is, really, how much of it is man-made and how much will it cost to have any impact on climate change. My main argument is, let's clean up the environment, and as mayor and now as governor, I'm spending my time cleaning our air, cleaning our water, cleaning the ground."

Dustin Chicurel Bayard with the Sierra Club says the so-called "debate" isn't one, at least in terms of the scientific community.

"Climate change is accepted. Climate change is real. It's a fact. It is man-made," Chicurel-Bayard said. "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that climate change is happening."    

He said policymakers, planners, engineers and the public should have access to information that can help them plan long-term projects, like roads, bridges and other infrastructure. 

"This shouldn't be about opinion. This should be about science and facts and information, and that should be readily available, especially when North Carolina taxpayers have already spent money on studies," he added. "The public deserves better."

119 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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  • awbenavi Mar 17, 10:54 p.m.

    To not make climate change information available to the public is simply irresponsible. The survival of all of us depends upon responsible decision making.

  • Bill Brasky Mar 17, 2:16 p.m.

    Thats great but we are talking about a rise of .0012F according to this model.

    So why is it in... View More

    — Posted by glarg

    I wouldn't call it dishonesty. The main point of the video was to show CO2 can in fact cause warming, not cooling as suggested by Climate Change deniers. They were never trying to duplicate the exact ratio of oxygen to CO2 on Earth.

    Can you show us any peer reviewed scientific papers that disprove Climate Change?

    Someone a few months ago tried to send me a link that was from a Canadian oil company that had a poll from Geologists and engineers working for them showing only 60% believed Climate Change was occurring. Far reaching...lol!

  • glarg Mar 15, 11:41 a.m.

    Thats great but we are talking about a rise of .0012F according to this model.

    So why is it in the video, except dishonesty?

  • Bill Brasky Mar 14, 4:03 p.m.

    A dishonest experiment proves zero, except about the motives of the producers.

    But consider if... View More

    — Posted by glarg

    Just a single one degree change could mean the difference between famine or harvest; as well as having land or being underwater for many populated parts of the world.

  • glarg Mar 14, 9:21 a.m.

    A dishonest experiment proves zero, except about the motives of the producers.

    But consider if the experiment was real.

    Nye states that in his 100% CO2 experiment " its temperature will be a few degrees warmer ". The earth's atmosphere is .04% CO2, so a 100% CO2 level is both unobtainable and irrelevant. If Nye gets a 3F degree rise at 100% compared to the other container at 400PPM then, assuming a linear correlation, he a demonstrated a negligible effect on warming.

    We could double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and it would result in a rise of .0012 F Degrees.

    So ]why is this experiment even in the video? There is no way to answer the question with the producers coming off as dishonest.

    Lets assume its not faked: then it demonstrates any amount of additional amount of CO2 that humans add would result in a trivial effect. Conversely if the experiment was an inadequate model for the complexity of the atmosphere, why is it included? Fool the viewer?

  • Bill Brasky Mar 13, 4:10 p.m.

    Thats the "Fake but Accurate" defense.

    Nye says "here is a simple experiment you can try... View More

    — Posted by glarg

    The point of his experiment is to prove that CO2 raises temperatures.....Because, climate change deniers have repeated over and over again that CO2 lowers temperatures.

  • glarg Mar 13, 3:49 p.m.

    Thats the "Fake but Accurate" defense.

    Nye says "here is a simple experiment you can try yourself" and then introduces the faked experiment. Clearly the intention is to convince the viewer that there is SCIENCE going on here. Notice that video repeatedly advises to the view to "turn off the tv" and "ignore dissenting voices". AGW believers dont want to be exposed to any contradictory thought and they think their cause is more important than scientific integrity- that is why they are a religion.

    I dont know if Nye has ever successfully conducted this experiment with a different lab set up. Maybe he has. But notice that his claim is that a vessel with 100% CO2 will be "a few degrees warmer".

    So what is he demonstrating here? That in an impossible situation (100% CO2) the worst case is a 3F rise in temperature? Because that is pretty manageable (compared to not having a breathable atmosphere).

  • Bill Brasky Mar 13, 3:17 p.m.

    Nye concedes that Watt was correct, there was "corner cutting". The experiment didnt work and... View More

    — Posted by glarg

    Why did you ignore the paragraph before that one?
    "My voice describes an experiment or demonstration that I’ve performed several times over the last 15 years. You can put pure carbon dioxide in a vessel, illuminate it with a bright hot lamp, and its temperature will be a few degrees warmer than an identical vessel filled with air. (I once did it with pure methane; the temperature rose in that vessel as well.)"

  • glarg Mar 13, 2:12 p.m.

    Nye concedes that Watt was correct, there was "corner cutting". The experiment didnt work and yet it was presented as if it had. "Here is your sciency proof kids!"

    Here is Nye's admission:
    "The Climate Project people used jars with lids that were too thick, the thermometers were not well placed, and the volume of gas in each vessel was greatly diminished by the presence of handsome, but voluminous globes and pedestals. When I’ve done this in the past, my apparatus did not have any of these shortcomings, so I got different results."

    "different results". He is admitting the video is associated with was a fake experiment.
    If he had any scientific integrity he would rebuke these people for their fakery. But that assumes that an actor is interested in scientific integrity.

    Science is supposed to consider alternative explanations. Look for confounding factors. These guys didnt do either, because they arent doing science-its AWG religion

  • csw Mar 13, 1:15 p.m.

    Well I am a Christian and I believe that God created the earth. I don't understand why this has anything to do with global warming. It doesn't take a scientist to see what we have done to our planet and that global warming is real. We should try to protect the natural resources that God has given us.

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