Friday, August 31, 2012

An economist who exposes his gullibility about climate

The emission below by economist Robert Frank appeared recently in the NYT. Looking at today's NYT coverage of the GOP convention, nobody could mistake the NYT for objective but perhaps the nonsense deserves some reply nonetheless.

It is quite amusing to note the evidence Prof. Frank puts forward for his assertions: It is what "many climate scientists" say. What a pathetic argument! An 11 year old could have done as well. If Prof. Frank is the best Cornell can do, he is a sad reflection of its decayed intellectual standards

Martin Herzberg has sent the NYT a reply to their bit of propaganda but you can be sure that it will not be published. I therefore reproduce it following Prof. Frank's ruminations -- JR

DON'T expect to hear much about climate change at the Republican and Democratic conventions. Yes, there will be plenty of speeches about unemployment, budget deficits and other immediate problems. But the threats posed by global warming are decades away - or so we have been told repeatedly in recent years.

Many climate scientists, however, are now pointing to evidence linking rising global temperatures to the extreme weather we're seeing around the planet. The United States has just endured its hottest 12-month period on record. The worst drought in a generation has parched the nation's crop belt. Floods that happened once a century now occur every few years.

With distressing images of weather-related disasters saturating the news media, climate change no longer seems such a distant and abstract worry - except, perhaps, in Washington. In 2009, President Obama persuaded House Democrats, then in the majority, to pass a bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Facing a Republican filibuster in the Senate, however, the legislation died. And its prospects dimmed further when Republicans took control of the House in 2010. Mr. Obama has remained relatively silent on the issue since then.

Mitt Romney, for his part, has been equivocal about whether rising temperatures are caused by human action. But he has been adamant that uncertainty about climate change rules out policy intervention. "What I'm not willing to do," he told an audience in New Hampshire last summer, "is spend trillions of dollars on something I don't know the answer to."

Climatologists are the first to acknowledge that theirs is a highly uncertain science. The future might be better than they think. Then again, it might be much worse. Given that risk, policy makers must weigh the potential cost of action against the potential cost of inaction. And even a cursory look at the numbers makes a compelling case for action.

According to the respected [Respected by whom? Instead of invoking its respect, might we have some summary of its track-record of prediction?] M.I.T. global climate simulation model, there is a 10 percent chance that average surface temperatures will rise by more than 12 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Warming on that scale could end life as we know it. Smaller increases would be less catastrophic, but even the most optimistic projections imply enormous costs.

The good news is that we could insulate ourselves from catastrophic risk at relatively modest cost by enacting a steep carbon tax. Early studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that a carbon tax of up to $80 per metric ton of emissions - a tax that might raise gasoline prices by 70 cents a gallon - would eventually result in climate stability. But because recent estimates about global warming have become more pessimistic, stabilization may require a much higher tax. How hard would it be to live with a tax of, say, $300 a ton?

If such a tax were phased in, the prices of goods would rise gradually in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide their production or use entailed. The price of gasoline, for example, would slowly rise by somewhat less than $3 a gallon. Motorists in many countries already pay that much more than Americans do, and they seem to have adapted by driving substantially more efficient vehicles.

A carbon tax would also serve two other goals. First, it would help balance future budgets. Tens of millions of Americans are set to retire in the next decades, and, as a result, many budget experts agree that federal budgets simply can't be balanced with spending cuts alone. We'll also need substantial additional revenue, most of which could be generated by a carbon tax.

If new taxes are unavoidable, why not adopt ones that not only help balance the budget but also help make the economy more efficient? By reducing harmful emissions, a carbon tax fits that description.

A second benefit would occur if a carbon tax were approved today but phased in gradually, only after the economy had returned to full employment. High unemployment persists in part because businesses, sitting on mountains of cash, aren't investing it because their current capacity already lets them produce more than people want to buy. News that a carbon tax was coming would create a stampede to develop energy-saving technologies. Hundreds of billions of dollars of private investment might be unleashed without adding a cent to the budget deficit.

SOME people argue that a carbon tax would do little good unless it were also adopted by China and other big polluters. It's a fair point. But access to the American market is a potent bargaining chip. The United States could seek approval to tax imported goods in proportion to their carbon dioxide emissions if exporting countries failed to enact carbon taxes at home.

In short, global warming has a fairly simple and cheap technical solution [to a non-existent problem]. Extreme weather is already creating enormous human suffering. If it continues, politicians will have a hard time ignoring the problem when the 2016 conventions roll around. If the recent meteorological chaos drives home the threat of climate change and prompts action, it may ultimately be a blessing in disguise.


Covering letter to NYT from Dr. Martin Hertzberg

If Prof. Frank had done his science homework by researching the totality of the climatological data rather than regurgitating the cherry-picked, fear mongering hysteria of environmental lobbyists, he would have realized that a carbon tax will have no effect either on atmospheric CO2 or the weather.

His "hottest 12 month period of record" in the US was accompanied by average global temperatures that were quite normal. Blocking high pressures are quite common during the warmer months. They give cloudless skies when the Sun is nearest to Zenith, descending air which is adiabatically heated and dried, giving heat waves and droughts. They are quite common and have nothing to do with atmospheric CO2. The recent one in the U S was rather mild compared to the ones in the mid 1930's that gave us the "dust bowl" at a time when human CO2 emission was much lower than it is today.

So in case the Times is really interested in presenting an accurate analysis rather than aiding and abetting one of the greatest frauds in the history of science, I have attached an article for your consideration, in the hope that you will at least begin to set the record straight on this issue.

Enclosure from Dr. Herzberg

The Lynching of Carbon Dioxide

I served as a forecasting and research meteorologist while on active duty with the U. S. Navy. It was then that I first learned what climatologists and meteorologists have known for centuries and what the current crop of so-called "climate scientists" and EPA administrators apparently never learned: that weather and climate are controlled by natural laws on an enormous scale that dwarfs human activity. Those laws engender forces and motions in our atmosphere and oceans that are beyond human control. Weather and climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth, and will continue to exist in the same way long after we are gone.

Those forces and motions are driven by the following: First, the motions of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, its rotation about its polar axis, changes in the tilt of that axis, and the precession of that axis. Second, the variation in solar activity that influences the radiant energy reaching the Earth and modulates cosmic ray activity which controls cloudiness. Third, the distribution of land and water on the Earth's surface; which controls its temperature distribution, moisture availability, monsoon effects, hurricanes, and other storm tracks. Fourth, the topography of the Earth's surface which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side. Fifth, the fluid motions within the Earth's oceans that determine moisture availability and ocean surface temperatures (El Nino and La Nina cycles).

Water in all of its forms is the main agent through which those forces operate. It provides vapor in the atmosphere, heat transport by evaporation and condensation, and the enormous, circulating mass of the ocean whose heat capacity dominates. And finally it provides the cloud, snow, and ice cover that control the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free space.

While the presence of 0.04 % of CO2 in our atmosphere is essential for life in the biosphere, the notion that such a minor constituent of the atmosphere can control the above forces and motions, is absurd. There is not one iota of reliable evidence that it does. Furthermore, human emission of CO2 is but a trivial fraction of all natural sources and sinks of CO2. Human emission dissolves rapidly into the ocean and re-circulates within it. The ocean contains 50 times more dissolved CO2 than is contained in the atmosphere. The current small measured increase in CO2 is coming from the oceans: the same place CO2 changes came from during the 400,000 years shown in the Vostok ice-core data. That data show four glacial coolings each followed by an interglacial warming with atmospheric CO2 concentrations near their highest during the warmings and near their lowest during the coolings.

In all cases, however, the temperature changes precede the CO2 changes by about 500 - 1,000 years. Each glacial cooling and interglacial warming cycle has a period of about 100,000 years, which corresponds to the periodic changes in the Earth's elliptical orbit about the sun. Those increases and decreases in atmospheric CO2 occurred long before any significant human emission of CO2. And furthermore, the fact that they were preceded by the temperature changes means that the temperature changes are causing the CO2 changes and not the reverse. As oceans warm, they emit CO2, and as they cool they absorb it. Bubbles of CO2 are emitted from cold soda as it is poured into a warm glass, and soda is produced by dissolving CO2 into cold water.

When initially formulated by the Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates, their theory argued that greenhouse gases kept the Earth's surface warm by absorbing its infrared energy and then radiating it back down to the Earth below. Greenhouse gases were thus "heat trapping" gases. Originally, that was supposed to cause "global warming". But there has been no global warming for the last 10 years despite the increase in atmospheric CO2. So global warming morphed into "climate change", but climate is always changing. So it then morphed into "extreme weather events" which really catches people's attention. The latest projected catastrophe is "ocean acidification", although the ocean is about 100 times more basic than it is acidic, and that even a doubling of the CO2 concentration will have a trivial effect on its basicity.

The latest modification to the theory argues that by its infrared absorption, CO2 "blocks the Earth's natural cooling". The proponents of that theory seem to have forgotten Kirchhoff's fundamental law of radiation. A strong absorber of radiation is also a strong emitter of that radiation. Hence atmospheric CO2 emits as strongly as it absorbs. None of that emission from the colder CO2 in the atmosphere can go back to the warmer Earth's surface below (2nd law of thermodynamics). The only place where it can go is to the void of free space above the atmosphere. Thus atmospheric CO2 blocks nothing but simply continues that natural cooling.

All of the believers in human caused "global warming" seem to see something "unprecedented" in the recent changes in temperature. But all recent changes are well within the normal range of variability, and recent small temperature excursions have been matched or exceeded many times in the past: the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period, the Minoan Warm Period, the Holocene Warming, and all the major interglacial warmings that preceded them as shown in the Vostok data. They all occurred without any significant human emission of CO2.

The catastrophe that the global warming advocates project may indeed be realized, but only if we are stupid enough to implement draconian measures of "carbon control" based on the fraudulent theory that they espouse.

Warmists are clinging like drowning men to the "Arctic Ice Hits Record Low!" claim

Here are a couple of graphs that would disturb them if they were open to reason

SOUTHERN hemisphere ice is ABOVE average. So whatever is going on it is not GLOBAL warming. And there is far more ice in the Antarctic than in the Arctic so it is the Southern ice that really matters

Completely contrary to the NSDIC claims, Britain's Met. office shows the Artic ice as recovering

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Gore: Don't blame Bush for everything, then blames global warming for everything

The snow is on Big Al's hair but there is no snow in his mind -- too much hot air for that

Former Vice President Al Gore spoke on his cable station, Current TV, about the RNC in Tampa, why Democrats shouldn't blame George W. Bush for everything, and of course his favorite bugaboo, global warming, which he then proceeds to blame for, well, everything. The following are some choice excerpts made by Gore during the RNC coverage, and then the facts:

Gore: "Global warming is real and they refuse to connect those dots. We have the whole country suffering from this massive drought."

Fact: Texas has been particularly hard hit by drought. Source

Gore: "West Nile Virus is directly connected to the conditions that global warming has made worse."

Fact: CDC officials estimate that, based on current numbers, the final tally of overall U.S. cases will likely be similar to the number of cases seen in 2002 and 2003, two of the more cooler years of the past 11. Texas has been hardest hit, with 783 reported cases. CDC officials said floods and hurricanes do not increase transmission rates. A person gets infected by a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes need water to lay eggs. Source

Gore: "The whole North polar ice cap is disappearing in front of our eyes."

Fact: Other sources show no record low Arctic ice extent.

Gore: "Twelve massive million-dollar-plus climate-related disasters and they keep coming."

Fact: Quietest tornado summer on record. Quietest hurricane summer on record. Quietest long-term hurricane period since the Civil War. No global warming for 16 years. No change in sea-level-rise rates. Record cold in the Midwest. Average fire season. A cyclical drought affecting portions of the country. Source

Gore: "They [Republicans] aren't only doing nothing about it, there's hardly any discussion about [global warming pollution]. It drives me crazy."

Fact: CO2 is not a pollutant. Without it, all vegetation on Earth would cease to exist. Global warming is still a theory. It has been disproven as the cause of natural, cyclic climate change by over 1,100 peer-reviewed papers. As for Al Gore's state of mind, we leave that up to the reader to decide.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Obama sets target of 54.5 mpg by 2025

"A week is a long time in politics" and 2025 is another planet -- so this is just hot air, global warming almost. Americans are not going to consent to driving around in eggshells

US vehicle fleets will need to average 54.5 miles per gallon beginning in 2025, about double the level today and one automakers had for years declared was impossible, according to new fuel-efficiency standards set Tuesday by the Obama administration.

The new standards - endorsed by automakers as facilitating long-term planning and lauded by environmentalists as leading toward a cleaner energy future - were nevertheless deplored by some Republicans in Congress as burdensome.

As part of its program to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the administration previously set a goal of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

Tuesday's move vaults the energy-saving engine technology bar yet again for automakers - and for individual consumers, who are projected to save thousands of dollars at the gas pump on their way to cutting US oil consumption by about 700 million barrels per year.

"The Auto Alliance has called for a single, national program because conflicting requirements from several regulatory bodies raise costs, ultimately taking money out of consumers' pockets and hurting sales," the group of 13 major automakers - including Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota, and Volvo - said in a statement. "We all want to get more fuel-efficient autos on our roads, and a single, national program with a strong midterm review helps us get closer to that shared goal."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, whose agencies tightly coordinated to arrive at achievable pollution and fuel-reduction numbers that the automakers could live with, announced the mileage standards at a press conference.


Warming far from global -- it didn't even happen in Virginia

Some serious "negligence" about the data is evident

NOAA recently announced that July 2012 was the hottest month on record for the CONUS. As the above map shows, though, only Virginia actually broke the state record for July, logging up 79.0F, beating the previous record set in July 1934 of 78.6F. Or, at least, that's what NOAA tell us, but what do the thermometers say?


There are nineteen USHCN stations in Virginia. NOAA tell us :-

"The USHCN is actually a designated subset of the NOAA Cooperative Observer Program (COOP) Network the USHCN sites having been selected according to their spatial coverage, record length, data completeness, and historical stability."

In other words they are picked as being robust and reliable. Out of the nineteen, only thirteen have records back to 1934 and these are listed below with comparisons of this year's temperatures with those of July 1934. The temperatures shown are the actual original readings, and not adjusted, homogenised or otherwise tampered with! (The original handwritten/typed monthly records for these can be accessed on the USHCN site here).

As can be seen, only three stations out of the thirteen show this year as being warmer. You will also note that I have indicated the climatological division for each station. There are six such divisions for Virginia, as listed below, so all divisions are represented.

So how can we explain the difference between NOAA's figures and the evidence from the USHCN stations?

As Anthony Watts has often complained, NOAA seem to be very reluctant to divulge how they operate. We do, however, know how the current temperatures are worked out.There are 124 stations in Virginia, split into the six divisions, with a simple average taken of the set of stations in each division. The divisions, as previously noted, are then weighted to give a statewide figure.

The real mystery, though, is how they arrive at the 1934 number. There are State Climatological Reports available from then, but no direct comparison can be made with current ones because there were less stations then and they were allocated to only three divisions instead of six. Also the majority of stations reporting in 1934 no longer report now. (For interest, the State temperature given at the time for July 1934 was 78.8F, i.e. 0.2F higher than now shown).

When I asked Deke Arndt of NOAA how they calculated the temperatures for 1934, he seemed as confused as me!

So it would appear the temperatures that NOAA now declare for 1934 are no more than a "theoretical reconstruction". But without the transparency to show how this has been done, how can we have any confidence that it has been done properly. There is a potential discrepancy of 0.6F in Virginia; if this is extended across the whole country, it would destroy the claim that this July was the hottest month on record as July 1936 was only 0.13F cooler on NOAA's record. Indeed this would only the 5th warmest July in the CONUS.

So here's my challenge for NOAA. Prove me wrong. Prove that the USHCN station analysis is not giving the true picture. Show how you come to the conclusions you do and prove that they are correct.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics)

Merkel's Green Shift Forces Germany to Burn More of that hated Coal

Even (gasp!) the terminally awful (but cheap) brown coal (lignite)

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government says RWE AG (RWE)'s new power plant that can supply 3.4 million homes aids her plan to exit nuclear energy and switch to cleaner forms of generation. It's fired with coal.

The startup of the 2,200-megawatt station near Cologne last week shows how Europe's largest economy is relying more on the most-polluting fuel. Coal consumption has risen 4.9 percent since Merkel announced a plan to start shutting the country's atomic reactors after last year's Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Enlarge image Merkel's Green Shift Forces Germany to Burn More Coal

Germany's largest utilities RWE and EON AG (EOAN) are shunning cleaner-burning natural gas because it's more costly, while the collapsing cost of carbon permits means there's little penalty for burning coal. Wind and solar projects, central to Germany's plans to reduce nuclear energy and cut the release of heat- trapping gases, can't produce electricity around the clock.

Germany's increasing coal consumption is part of a global return to the fossil fuel that's cheaper than most alternatives. The amount of coal burned worldwide rose 5.4 percent to account for 30 percent of total energy use last year, the highest proportion since 1969, according to BP Plc (BP/) data.

European Union carbon emissions may rise 43 million metric tons this year because of increased coal burning at power stations, according to Barclays Plc analyst Trevor Sikorski.

"Lignite is the lowest-priced type of power generation and thus increasingly stormed the market," Martin Pack, an RWE spokesman, said by phone from Essen, referring to a type of soft coal that dominates RWE's consumption of the fuel.

EON generated 10 percent more electricity from burning coal in the first half than in the same period a year ago. RWE's coal-fired power output in Germany rose by 12 percent in the same period. Reliance on coal may continue to increase after Statkraft SF shuttered its gas-fired plant in Emden in March and EON and RWE warned they may mothball generators that lose money.

Merkel's government wants utilities to build 10,000 megawatts of coal- and gas-fired generators this decade to replace older, dirtier generators and underpin a growing share for wind turbines and solar panels.

Building new coal generators in Germany isn't easy. A group of local utilities last month scrapped plans to spend 3.2 billion euros to construct the nation's biggest hard-coal plant in Schleswig-Holstein after resistance from environment groups and the state government led by the Social Democratic Party and Green Party.

The Greens, Germany's second-biggest opposition group, are against building new coal plants and favor gas ahead of Germany's federal elections scheduled for the fall of 2013, when Merkel seeks to win a third term as chancellor.

The so-called BoA coal plant near Cologne shows how new fossil fuel plants, which are more efficient than their older models, "not only help to reduce carbon emissions but can also make an outstanding contribution to the success of the energy industry's transformation," Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, who was present at the plant's opening last week, said in a statement distributed by RWE.

RWE says coal plants are key to ensuring supply security as Germany raises the market share of renewable generation to at least 35 percent by the end of the decade, and to 80 percent by 2050. BoA, which has an efficiency of 43 percent, can raise or lower output by 500 megawatts per unit within 15 minutes, Peter Terium, RWE's CEO, told reporters in a call on Aug. 14.

It can "step in immediately when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining," Terium said. Like most power plants in Germany, BoA burns lignite, a soft coal that's sourced from domestic open-cast strip mines and emits about 29 percent more carbon dioxide than hard coal when burned. Environmental groups are concerned about the growing use of the fuel.

"It's very alarming that leading German politicians praise a plant run on lignite," Gerald Neubauer, a Greenpeace campaigner in Germany focusing on energy issues, said by phone on Aug. 16. "Burning lignite spews more carbon dioxide than using most other energy sources, and mining it inflicts major damage on the environment."



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