Friday, December 14, 2012

Man-made global warming: even the IPCC admits the jig is up

Breaking news from the US – h/t Watts Up With That? – where a leaked draft of the IPCC's latest report AR5 admits what some of us have suspected for a very long time: that the case for man-made global warming is looking weaker by the day and that the sun plays a much more significant role in "climate change" than the scientific "consensus" has previously been prepared to concede.

Here's the killer admission:
   "Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties."

As the leaker explains, this is a game-changer:
   "The admission of strong evidence for enhanced solar forcing changes everything. The climate alarmists can’t continue to claim that warming was almost entirely due to human activity over a period when solar warming effects, now acknowledged to be important, were at a maximum. The final draft of AR5 WG1 is not scheduled to be released for another year but the public needs to know now how the main premises and conclusions of the IPCC story line have been undercut by the IPCC itself."

Over to you greentards. I look forward to reading your extravagant apologias as to why this is a story of no significance and that it's business as usual for the great Climate Change Ponzi scheme.


A US carbon tax wouldn’t slow down global climate change

There is one, and only one, reason for instituting a carbon tax: to attempt to mitigate the impacts of climate change induced by humankind's use of fossil fuels for the production of energy. And about the only thing that a carbon tax in the United States will not do is mitigate global climate change in any meaningful—scientifically, or otherwise—manner.

Why? Because, based on mainstream estimates, of the approximately 3°C of global warming that is being projected to occur between now and the end of the century as a result of anthropogenic carbon (dioxide) emissions, the U.S. contribution will only be about 0.2°C, or about 7 percent of the total warming. And this is assuming that no carbon tax is put in place. Carbon dioxide emissions from the rest of the world—primarily driven by rapid emissions growth in developing countries like China and India—will be responsible for the other 93 percent of temperature rise.

The best that any carbon tax in the United States could ever hope to achieve would be to reduce the amount of global warming across the 21st century from about 3.0°C down to about 2.8°C. And that tiny, inconsequential reduction would only occur if all greenhouse gas emissions from the United States were halted forever, starting tomorrow, which isn't the plan.

The emissions reductions under any sort of carbon tax will be realized slowly, reducing the magnitude of the global temperature rise that the tax would avert. For example, a carbon tax designed to smoothly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from their current level to zero by the year 2100 would result in only about 0.1°C of global temperature "savings"—an amount, on its own, not worth pursuing.

Any perceived utility of a carbon tax does not lie in domestic reductions, but in the hope that it will spur technological innovations for cheap, reliable, nondangerous, environmentally friendly, zero-emissions energy production which would then be freely shared with, and quickly adopted by, the rest of the world. That seems wishful thinking on the time scales that matter.


Bait and Switch in the Climate Debate

Normally I would not give this kind of facile argument much attention, but it is such a perfect illustration of a point I have made for years about the climate debate that I simply cannot resist.

Over at Salon (originally from Desmog Blog, I think) this chart is actually described as a “slam dunk” against “climate deniers.”

Woah, excuse me while I stagger around here in pain like the elder Sanford on Sanford and Son.  ”Elizabeth, I’m coming Elizabeth.”  Am I dating myself?

Seriously, this is not a slam dunk, it is just stupid.  It purports to absolutely prove a proposition that is not even under serious debate.  Most informed skeptics do not deny global warming — how could you, the world has clearly warmed over the last century (though some of us will argue that land-based metrics are exaggerating that warming).    We skeptics don’t even deny that CO2 causes some warming.  In my case I accept Michael Mann’s old number of about 1C of warming (before feedbacks) from a doubling in CO2.

What we skeptics “deny” is the catastrophe — that hypothesized positive feedbacks in the Earth’s climate system will multiply the initial warming from CO2 many times, raising it from a manageable one degree or less over the next century to three or five or ten degrees.   Skeptics believe that temperatures will rise due to CO2, but will remain within the bounds of temperatures we have already seen over the last millenia, including those in the Medieval Warm Period during which European civilization thrived.  And we believe that the cost of economic dislocations, particularly in developing countries, from limiting fossil fuel consumption will be far worse than from merely adapting to a one degree change.  What fair-minded person could possibly imagine this black circle in any way is a rebuttal to this skeptic position?

Let me see if I can work by analogy.  Let’s say I were to argue that President Obama has violated his campaign promises by accelerating the drone war and continuing indefinite detentions.  Then imagine an Obama supporter counters with a pie chart saying that 99.99% of all people who have looked into the matter have determined that President Obama is a US citizen.  That would be refuting the wrong proposition, but doing so in a sleazy and conniving manner.  Because some of the crazier Obama opponents do indeed argue that Obama is not a US citizen, it might be possible to shift the debate away from my proposition to that topic, presuming one had a sympathetic enough media.  One might be able to convince the world that I oppose Obama not based on a thoughtful concern about things like his drone policy but instead because I am part of the citizenship-denier crowd.  If you can shift public perception of my position to that much weaker argument, then of course it is easy to “prove” that I am wrong.

In parallel to this example, there are of course folks out there who deny warming altogether or deny CO2 is a greenhouse gas.  So what?  They are no more relevant to rational discourse on important issues than are Joe Arpaio’s investigations of Obama’s birth certificate.  But climate alarmists have been remarkably adept at defining fringe views as the mainstream skeptic position, a sort of bait and switch that allows them to avoid debating the more difficult topics (for example, the proposition that the Earth’s climate system is dominated by strong positive feedbacks is far from settled and a literature review of that critical topic would show an incredibly broad range of results).   In the climate debate, the supposed “Defenders of Science” much prefer painting skeptics as beyond the bounds of polite society and therefore unworthy of response to actually debating the difficult points.

This is so common a bait and switch in dealing with skeptic’s arguments that I wrote a really long Forbes article to explain it here.  For those who are honestly curious about more thoughtful critiques of catastrophic man-made global warming theory, I posted a summary of the mainstream skeptic position here.  Also, if you are concerned with severe weather, I discuss how increased media coverage of extreme events is often mistaken for a trend in the underlying events here.

Postscript.  I thought I would offer one small example of how poor your understanding of global warming probably likely is if you rely on the media for all your information.  When people think of the Earth’s temperatures rising one degree, they usually think of daily high temperatures that are one degree hotter.  That is why everyone believes (without actual evidence) that rising world temperatures are leading to more record hot summer days.

But in fact we have not seen any particular increase in record high temperatures, at least not in the US where we have the longest and most detailed temperature history.  One reason is that most of the warming we have seen has been in nightly low temperatures.  In other words, we are seeing higher lows rather than higher highs, if that makes sense.  As you can see below, in the US during summer we are not setting an unusual number of daily high records (Tmax, the black line) but are seeing more records for high nightly low (Tmin, the grey line).  Via Roy Spencer:

Because temperature numbers in the global warming indexes are usually the average of the daily high and daily low (I was surprised when I first found out that the averages were not some sort of more sophisticated time average) we can and do get global warming without large increases in daily high temperatures.  I presume the reasons that this is not discussed more is that people worry about warming mainly as the hottest summer highs getting higher.   Telling them the main effect will be higher nightime winter low temperatures doesn’t have he same power to create panic.

By the way, you will see some alarmists arguing that the number of daily high records is trending up, and they will appear to have graphs to prove it.  I want to show this example because it is illustrative of how the climate debate often proceeds.   Alarmists will show this chart, which is indeed based on real, official USHCN data  (chart from here):

Game over for my argument, right?  Well, there is a problem here.  Many of the stations in this data set only have existed for 20 or 30 years.  So their highest high has to be in the last 30 years, since this is all the data they have.   The data is therefore biased by numerous short, recent records towards showing more highs in recent years.  If we weed these shorter records out, and use the exact same data but only include stations with a full 100 years of data, this is what we get:

By the way, if you were to investigate, you would find the same lack of trend for US hurricane landfalls, total Northern Hemisphere hurricane strength (ACE), total US forest fires, US snow pack, US droughts, US tornado counts, US wet weather, US storm damage when adjusted for population and property value increases, etc. etc.  As I have written many times in the past, when someone posits a trend, don’t accept it on one data point (ie Sandy).  Demand a trend line.


'Fracking' to resume in search for shale gas in Britain but  government promises tougher rules to prevent earthquakes
Energy Secretary Ed Davey made a statement to Parliament on the government's new policy on shale gas.  Drilling to explore Britain’s reserves of shale gas is to be restarted, despite major concerns about the threat it could trigger earthquakes.

Ministers today cleared gas firm Cuadrilla to resume the controversial process of ‘fracking’ in Lancashire, 18 months after drilling was halted when the use of high-pressure liquid to split rock and extract gas caused two small earthquakes.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said tough new rules were being put in place to mitigate the risks of further tremors.

'Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK,' he said.   'It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low carbon economy.'

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting liquid deep underground to fracture shale rock and release gas contained in it.

Mr Davey insisted his decision to resume fracking was based on evidence.   The development of fracking 'should not come at the expense of local communities or the environment' and the public 'must be confident that it is safe', he added.

New controls to prevent more earthquakes include:

* A major review before fracking can begin to assess the risk of earthquakes and the existence of faults in the earth's crust

* Ministers must be told in a report to the Energy department how seismic risks are being countered

* A new traffic lights system will grade seismic risk with fracking halted in certain conditions

Cuadrilla Resources suspended test-drilling in June last year after its operation caused two small earthquakes, of 2.3 and 1.5 magnitude, which hit Lancashire's Fylde coast.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said: 'Today’s news is a turning point for the country's energy future. Shale gas has the potential to create jobs, generate tax revenues, reduce our reliance on imported gas, and improve our balance of payments.

'Our exploration has shown that under Lancashire there is a belt of gas-filled shale over one mile thick. Today’s decision will allow continued exploration and testing of the UK’s very significant shale resources in a way that fulfils the highest environmental and community standards.'

Tories in the coalition have pushed for Britain to exploit reserves of gas trapped deep in shale rock, believing it could secure energy supplies for decades and curb increases in household bills.

But environmentalists have warned about the risk posed to the stability of communities nearby, and suggested a ‘dash for gas’ could come at the expense of investment in greener technologies.
Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Leila Deen said: 'George Osborne's dream of building Dallas in Lancashire is dangerous fantasy.

However, Chancellor George Osborne has urged a more aggressive push to exploit shale gas.  The sharp decline in North Sea gas reserves makes Britain more reliant on energy supplies from Qatar, Russia and the US.

The new Office for Unconventional Gas and Oil will join up responsibilities across government departments to provide a single point of contact for investors and streamline the regulatory process.

The rural splendour of George Osborne’s constituency in Cheshire could be blighted by his enthusiasm for shale gas exploration.
Tatton includes unspoilt countryside, the historic towns of Knutsford and Wilmslow, and villages such as Alderley Edge – said to have more millionaires per square mile than anywhere else in the country.

Professor Peter Styles of Keele University said the rocks in Tatton are of interest to energy firms as they are from the same period as those in Lancashire, where exploratory drilling suggests there could be enough shale gas to power Britain for decades. He added shale gas exploration requires ‘around a football pitch worth of land’ per site.

Mr Osborne indicated the government’s determination to press ahead with the expansion of gas exploration in Britain in his Autumn Statement last week.

The Chancellor unveiled a 'generous new tax regime' to encourage fracking exploration and unlock shale gas reserves that could be worth £1.5trillion to Britain's economy.

Mr Osborne told MPs: 'We must ensure we make the best use of lower cost gas power, including new sources of gas under the land.  'We don’t want British families and businesses to be left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic.

'We are consulting on new tax incentives for shale gas and announcing the creation of a single office so that regulation is safe but simple.'

In the US, gas prices have tumbled as reserves of shale gas have been brought to the surface.

But there have been horror stories about tap water igniting when a match is lit and claims of contaminated water making people ill..
France has banned fracking from shale rock, while New York state introduced a moratorium.

The industry itself vigorously denies that shale gas is unsafe and blames pollution incidents as examples of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique.


Saving the planet – or protecting power grabs and cash cows?

Waning interest and credibility forced organizers to replace climate change with sustainable development as “the world’s most urgent problem” during the UN’s June 2012 Rio+20 Conference. However, climate alarmism is again taking center stage this week at the COP-18 confab in Doha, Qatar.

The agenda remains the same: slash or end hydrocarbon use, transfer wealth, and control energy use, economic growth and lives. The strategies likewise remain unchanged: treaties, laws, regulations and higher taxes for hydrocarbon energy – with control placed in the hands of unelected, unaccountable elites who claim they are saving Planet Earth from ecological collapse.

Previous events in Bali, Copenhagen, Durban and Rio de Janeiro lavished billions of dollars on proposals and discussions that led mostly to promises of more meetings in five-star venues like Doha. With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire, Qatar’s atmosphere is rife with grim determination to forge new international agreements, in the face of hard realities that portend still more failure for global governance stalwarts.

The United States never ratified Kyoto, isn’t bound by its dictates, and has limited economic and political stature to play a lead role in forging a new agreement, regardless of what President Obama might want. Canada, Japan and New Zealand have rejected participation in a new treaty. The European Union is drowning in debt, struggling under soaring renewable energy costs that threaten families, jobs, companies and entire industries, and little inclined to shackle its economy further.

China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and other emerging markets are loathe to sign any treaty that would limit the fossil fuels they need to grow their economies and lift more millions out of poverty. They say industrialized nations must agree to further greenhouse gas reductions, before they will consider doing so, and insist that holding developing countries to developed nation standards would be inequitable.

Poor countries increasingly understand that CO2 emission restrictions will prevent them from developing and subject them to control by environmental zealots and UN regulators. People in those countries are beginning to realize that massive wealth transfers from Formerly Rich Countries – for climate change mitigation, reparation and adaptation – are increasingly unlikely. If “Green Climate Fund” pledges ever do materialize, they will mostly end up in another unaccountable UN slush fund for bureaucrats, autocrats and kleptocrats, with only pennies trickling down to ordinary people.

On the scientific front, contrary to incessant claims that Earth is warming uncontrollably, average planetary temperatures have not risen in 16 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have crept upward to 391 parts per million (0.0391 percent). Temperatures may “remain well above the long-term average,” as some insist – but humanity also suffered through a 500-year Little Ice Age and a “coming ice age scare” during the 1940-1975 cooling period.

And while global warming alarmists continue to say 2010 or the U.S. summer of 2012 was “the hottest on record,” actual data reveal that there is only a few hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit difference between these and other alleged “hottest years,” such as 2005. The 1930s still reign supreme as the hottest in American history.

Arctic sea ice reductions during 2012 were caused by many factors, including ocean currents and enormous long-lasting storms that NASA finally conceded broke up huge sections of the polar ice cap, during a very cold summer. Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice continues to expand, setting new records. The rate of sea level rise has not been accelerating and may actually be decreasing, according to recent studies.

Even with Hurricane Sandy, November 2012 marks the quietest long-term hurricane period since the Civil War, with only one major hurricane strike on the U.S. mainland in seven years. Large tornadoes have also fallen in frequency since the 1950s, and the 2012 season was the quietest on record; only twelve tornadoes touched down in the United States in July 2012, says NOAA, shattering the July 1960 record low of 42.

Climate change computer models predict every imaginable scenario – warmer and colder, wetter and drier, more snow or less snow in winter – so that human-caused disaster believers can always claim to be right. And almost nothing stops politicians and climate alarmists from saying Sandy was “unprecedented” and “proof that climate change is real,” no matter what history actually shows us.

Devastating hurricanes have struck New York, New Jersey and Canada’s Maritime Provinces many times over the centuries. Newfoundland’s deadliest hurricane killed 4,000 people in 1775, while category 1 to 3 ‘canes hit the provinces in 1866, 1873, 1886, 1893, 1939, 1959, 1963 and 2003. New York City was hammered by major storms in 1693, 1788, 1821, 1893, 1938 (the “Long Island Express”), 1944 and 1954.

Climate change is natural, normal, cyclical, frequent, unpredictable, and sometimes catastrophic – as the Little Ice Age certainly was for European agriculture and civilization.

Nor are we “running out” of oil and gas – the other rationale for irrational attacks on hydrocarbons. Thanks to new discoveries, technologies and techniques (like hydraulic fracturing), the world still has many decades of traditional energy. We need to develop it, not lock it up, to help people realize their dreams for a better tomorrow, and bring prosperity to families, communities and nations the world over.

These realities won’t stop the alarmists. There is simply too much money and power at stake. Tens of billions of dollars are transferred annually from taxpayers and energy users to activists, Mann-made global warming scientists, regulators, carbon tax “investors,” and renewable energy and carbon capture subsidy seekers – all of whom have every reason to promote climate scares and attack anyone who voices skepticism about CO2-driven climate change catastrophes.

Nor will scientific or economic reality stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is poised to impose a raft of economy-strangling, job-killing carbon dioxide regulations – or a Congress and White House that are desperate for new sources of revenue, to pay for stimulus and entitlement programs.

The real danger is not climate change. If we have the economic and technological resources, we can adapt to almost any changes Mother Nature might throw at us – short of another glacial period that buries much of the world under a mile of ice.

The real danger is policies, laws, regulations, restrictions and taxes imposed in the name of preventing global warming cataclysms that exist only in computer models, Hollywood horror movies, and UN and environmentalist press releases. Those political reactions will perpetuate and exacerbate poverty, disease, unemployment, and economic stagnation.

They will subsidize renewable energy programs that turn precious food into expensive fuel for cars, destroy wildlife and habitats, and leave the pursuit of happiness and human rights progress in the hands of pressure groups, politicians and bureaucrats who are convinced that mankind is a “cancer on the Earth.”

That is neither just nor sustainable. It is the reason the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow is in Doha. We want the United Nations to return to its founding principles, get serious about poverty alleviation and economic betterment for people everywhere – and implement constructive and sustained solutions to the real problems that continue to confront civilization, wildlife and the environment.


Forget the doom: coral reefs found to be much more robust and resilient than alarmists claim

Hoagy is astounded.  Has his life's work of alarmism just fallen apart?

A WIDESPREAD belief that the world's coral reefs face a calamitous future due to climate change is proving less resilient than the natural wonders themselves.

Rising sea temperatures, storm damage and ocean acidification have grabbed the headlines as looming threats to reef survival.

But as each concern is more thoroughly investigated, scientists are finding nature better equipped to cope than they had imagined.

The latest research, published in Nature: Climate Change today, blows away the theory that reefs were doomed due to rising ocean acidification caused by the higher take-up of carbon dioxide in the seas.

Researchers have found a common coralline algae that grows at the leading edge of coral reefs is not nearly as susceptible to changing ph levels as coral because it contains high levels of dolomite.  In fact, the dolomite-laden algae has a rate of dissolution six to 10 times lower than coral's.

The good news is that dolomite-rich coralline algae is common in shallow coral reefs across the world.  "Our research suggests it is likely they will continue to provide protection for coral reef frameworks as carbon dioxide rises," the paper says.

Lead author Merinda Nash, a PhD candidate with the Australian research school of physics and engineering, says the phenomenon has been overlooked because research to date has been on coral, not coralline algae. "It is not very sexy so it has not got a lot of attention," she said.

"What the research demonstrates is there is a lot we have yet to understand about coral reefs."

This is a sentiment echoed by James Brown of the Kimberley Coral Research Station, who believes the hot water corals of the Kimberley coast hold a treasure trove of answers for marine biologists.

Mr Brown has questioned why the Kimberley coral reefs were thriving in water temperatures and at acidification levels well outside of the limits that conventional science said should be inhospitable for their survival.

"Measurements of dissolved carbon dioxide have shown levels of up to 50 parts per million compared with the average of 28 parts per million," Mr Brown said.  "This is the outer limit of what scientists had believed would be habitable for corals.  Water temperatures are also at the top end of what coral biologists say it is possible for corals to survive in.

"The more we find out about the Kimberley, the more it rewrites the book on coral biology."

Further counter-intuitive results on coral survival have come from an extended project on the Great Barrier Reef to measure the health of deep corals.

The Catlin Seaview Survey has found the damage to coral reefs is literally skin deep, with corals located in deeper water below even the worst impacted sites thriving and in pristine condition. The findings raise the possibility that damaged corals may have an increased opportunity for recovery by recruiting new corals both from adjoining reefs and those located immediately below.

The early findings from the survey have astounded the scientists involved, including Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a leading global figure in raising concerns about crown of thorns starfish, coral bleaching and ocean acidification.

"The survey has shown that deeper reefs may be protected to an extent from some of the perils of climate-driven events such as mass coral bleaching and storms," he said. "These deeper corals may be important refuges if we get big changes in the shallows."




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


No comments: