Thursday, March 07, 2013

Hard Evidence of CO2 Warming Inflated by a Factor of 20

Dr. Claes Johnson, Professor of Applied Mathematics, has a post today demonstrating that computer models of radiation transmitted by the atmosphere attribute a warming effect of CO2 which is at least 20 times more powerful than that of water vapor. This is despite water vapor being a more powerful greenhouse gas, with a much wider absorption interval that also significantly overlaps the CO2 interval to further trivialize the effect of CO2. Climate models also assume that increased CO2 will increase water vapor, despite observations showing that water vapor has decreased. Furthermore, there is no evidence to support the global warming theory that outgoing longwave radiation [OLR] has decreased due to increased CO2, since satellite observations instead show an increase in OLR.

From Dr. Claes Johnson:

Hard Evidence of CO2 Warming Inflated by a Factor of 20

The hard scientific evidence of the warming effect of atmospheric CO2 consists of radiation spectra computed by the atmospheric radiation model Modtran, predicting a "radiative forcing" of 3.7 W/m2 from doubling of the concentration of CO2 to 0.06% from preindustrial level of 0.03%.

To get perspective, let us use the online model of Modtran to compare the present 0.039% of CO2 with a typical value of 2% water vapor. We get the following OLR spectrum for a 1976 USA standard atmosphere with 1.7 ppm CH4, trop. ozone 28 ppb, strat ozone scale 1:

We see the effect of water vapor as the area between the blue to the red curve for wave numbers smaller than 550 and the effect of CO2 as the comparable area between 550 and 800, thus with an effect of 0.039% of CO2 comparable to that of 2% water vapor. More precisely, Modtran gives the following OLR numbers:

    CO2 = 390, water vapor 2%: 248 W/m2
    CO2 = 0, water vapor 0%: 337 W/m2
    CO2 = 390, water vapor 0%: 304 W/m2
    CO2 = 0, water vapor 2%: 273 W/m2

which shows an effect of 0.039% CO2 which is about half of that of 2% water vapor.

Modtran thus attributes a warming effect of CO2 which is at least 20 times more powerful than that of water vapor!!

We can now summarize the recent posts on Modtran as the hard evidence of CO2 alarmism:

*    Modtran is supposed to be the hard scientific evidence of the warming effect of CO2.

*    Modtran appears to inflate the warming effect of CO2 by factor more than 20.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

The green energy mirage will cost the earth

Britain is committed to unsustainable carbon targets only because our politicians duped us

In 1988, the year global warming made its entrance into politics, Margaret Thatcher declared that mankind had unwittingly been carrying out a massive experiment with the planet, in which the burning of fossil fuels would produce greenhouse gases, leading to higher global temperatures. The results of this experiment remain an open question. As Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, acknowledged last month, there has been a 17-year pause in the rise of average global temperatures.

Of more immediate consequence to British families is that the UK has embarked on perhaps the most aggressive political experiment attempted in peacetime – gradually outlawing the use of fossil fuels, which we have relied on since the Industrial Revolution, as our principal source of energy. The results are already evident. Two weeks ago, Alistair Buchanan, chief executive of Ofgem, warned of rising energy bills, and questioned whether Britain would be able to keep the lights on. When there is a glut of natural gas in the US and coal prices are plunging in Europe, this country faces a green energy crunch as it attempts to decarbonise its economy.

Environmentalism has taken the Marxist concept of the alienation of the working class and applied it to the rich man’s alienation from nature. “By losing sight of our relationship with Nature… ,” the Prince of Wales wrote in 2009, “we have engendered a profoundly dangerous alienation.” In one respect, environmentalism is even more radical than Marxism. Whereas Marxism aimed to change the relations of the working class to the means of production, environmentalism is about changing the means of production themselves. Ironically, Marxism was a flop in the West, whereas environmentalism has triumphed.

One reason Britain has gone so far down the green path is that politicians have not been honest about its economic implications. During the passage of the Climate Change Act in 2008, which commits Britain to cutting net carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, the energy minister Phil Woolas rejected his own department’s estimate that the costs could exceed the benefits by £95 billion. The House of Commons never debated the costs and the Bill was passed, with only five MPs voting against.

An even more egregious example is provided by Ed Miliband, when he was climate change secretary. The Tory MP Peter Lilley had written to Mr Miliband to say that, based on his department’s own impact statement, the Climate Change Act would cost households an average of between £16,000 and £20,000. The future Labour leader replied that the statement showed that the benefits to British society of successful action on climate change would be far higher than the cost. Mr Miliband should have known this was untrue; if he didn’t, he had no business certifying that he’d read the impact statement, which he’d signed just six weeks earlier. The statement only estimated the benefits of slightly cooler temperatures for the world as a whole, not for the UK.

Indeed, in April 2012, the current Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, confirmed that his department was not aware of evidence that would have allowed Ed Miliband to claim that the UK would be better off with green policies. The impact statement did, however, say that imposing green policies unilaterally in the absence of an international agreement would “result in a large net cost for the UK”.

Here environmentalism came up against an immovable object, which explains why there is no effective international agreement – and there is unlikely ever to be one. Led by India and China, the major developing economies – now responsible for most of the extra emissions – simply refuse to agree to any international treaty that might require them to limit their carbon footprint.

Western politicians spun the mirage of “green growth”, of environmentalism without tears. Green growth was for gullible voters back home. It wasn’t mentioned behind closed doors at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, when the West implored developing countries to sign on the dotted line. It should not have surprised anyone that the developing world did not. Ever since 1972 and the first UN conference on the environment in Stockholm, the involvement of the developing world has been subject to a strict condition – international action on the environment must not fetter their economic development. Subsequently Canada – a climate change pioneer – announced its withdrawal from Kyoto.

The year before the Copenhagen conference, Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s chief policy adviser, bet the former chancellor Lord Lawson £100 that there would be agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol by 2012. On winning the bet, Lord Lawson remarked that Mr Letwin, one of the nicest people in politics, was totally divorced from any understanding of practical realities.

Without an international agreement, it is pointless for the UK to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on green energy, reduce its growth and cut living standards. The green energy crunch promises to end up costing us all much more than Oliver Letwin’s losing bet.


Warmist says that support for Warmism is a social class issue

And that working class people are right to resent the costs of Warmist policies

Like it or not, environmentalism has long been primarily a cause of the educated upper-middle class in the United States, and it remains largely populated by experts and activists from that relatively privileged, non-majority class background (including university students headed for that stratum). Yet needed global-warming reforms go far beyond traditional environmental regulations, and they will require acceptance, and some enthusiastic support, from the majority of ordinary American workers and families. Almost all families now use carbon-intensive forms of energy to light and warm their homes. Because these families have not seen real wage increases in decades, they are extremely sensitive to even modest price increases in life necessities.

The climate-change deniers and opponents of carbon limits understand this, and they are well prepared to scare ordinary American families with claims that global-warming regulations will increase living costs. The enemies of any kind of carbon limits will tell ordinary Americans that “elite” environmentalists are about to shaft them by “taxing” their energy use. Climate reformers will need to be aggressive in telling regular Americans that, no, they will receive rebates more than equal to their higher energy costs under carbon-capping legislation.

Rebates of revenues raised from carbon taxes or caps must become central features in legislative pushes, because otherwise it will not be easy to get the message out. The recently introduced Boxer-Sanders bill, for example, includes modest monthly rebates to citizens as well as carbon taxes and investments in clean energy, but all that got highlighted in media reports were the taxes and the investments. Going forward, a simple carbon tax and “green dividends” approach may be best, with 75 to 80 percent of the revenues raised devoted to highly visible checks sent annually to each citizen. The advantage of this approach is that it would be simple to administer and explain, and the rebates would be front and center — impossible for media reporters to overlook, and impossible for voters to overlook.

So far, I find the global-warming movement to be tone-deaf to valid majority concerns about increased costs. Snippets here and there tell the story. At a recent Harvard event, a well-intentioned proponent of higher carbon prices remarked that they would “only raise electricity prices by $25 a month,” not much at all in her eyes. From the perspective of the upper-middle class in Cambridge, Mass., this is indeed a modest cost. But, of course, for most families that increase would be way too much to accept — and they would listen to right-wing attacks on global-warming regulations that threatened price increases of that much or more. Likewise, at the recent, inspiring D.C. rally against the Keystone XL pipeline, a blogger did an (unscientific) snap poll among attendees, asking them to choose among various things that would “give up” to pay for greenhouse gas regulations. By a large margin, the global-warming demonstrators were reported to be willing to delay Social Security benefits and raise the U.S. retirement age. Of course, this sounds like a harmless step to professionals who work at desks. But do they realize that virtually all of the increase in longevity in the United States in recent decades has gone to white-collar and professional people, while Americans who work on their feet all day, or lift things for a living, have not enjoyed any increase in life expectancy? How will the majority feel about being asked to work at physically taxing jobs much closer to the point of death to pay for global-warming remedies? Asking the question answers it.

For me, the bottom line is simple. Global-warming reformers must stop being blind and tone-deaf to the real-life circumstances of typical American families in an era of astonishing socioeconomic inequality. The current fashion is to suppose that severe weather emergencies will, in and of themselves, prompt most Americans suddenly to support governmental actions with real bite. I really doubt this. Severe weather events are not self-interpreting; they are most likely to be understood as signs of global warming by educated people who already believe in the reality of this threat. Beyond that, humans have, for thousands of years, grown accustomed to adjusting to weather events and trends. People just devise work-arounds and truck on, and that is what will happen if global-warming reformers cannot do better than cheer for speeches by President Obama that point to weather emergencies.

Anti–global warming policies that ordinary Americans can understand, policies that deliver concrete benefits to ordinary families, plus the construction of far-reaching networks of allied organizations able to push Congress — these are what it will take to pass carbon-capping legislation next time.


Give yourself a laugh today, pick holes in Ehrlich’s wild predictions

ONE of my favourite pastimes is picking holes in the population panic-mongering of people such as Paul Ehrlich.

It’s so easy: dig up any prediction made by these sourpussed baby-fearers 20-odd years ago, contrast it to how things actually turned out, and hey presto, you have hard evidence that Malthusian miserabilists always overstate how bad things are going to get.

Ehrlich, the population control lobby’s alarmist-in-chief, who’s in Australia to speak at the Adelaide Festival, is the easiest doom-monger to slap down. He wrongly predicts calamity as casually as the rest of us discuss the weather.

In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, bible of eco-bellyachers everywhere, he said the planet was about to become so overpopulated that global famine would ensue and millions would die. He predicted that “by the year 2000 the UK will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people”. Nope. I can report that Britain is doing so well that we’re more freaked out by an alleged obesity epidemic than by hunger.

Ehrlich said India would not survive the 1970s. As a result of too many brown babies being born, we’d see the “dissolution of India as a viable nation”.

Wrong again. India’s population has more than doubled since 1970, from 550 million to 1.2 billion, yet there are fewer hungry people, more in the middle class, bigger cities, and life expectancy has risen from 49 years in 1970 to 65.1 years today. If India is anything to go by, more people means more stuff, more development, more life - not more disaster.

Amazingly, Ehrlich’s passion for misery-mongering hasn’t been dented by the failure of any of his horror scenarios to materialise. In The Australian this week he and his wife Anne warned of “global disaster” if women didn’t stop having “large-scale families”.

If you want to make some easy money, I suggest putting a bet on this prediction going the same way as all the others - straight into the file marked “Crazy Things Paul Ehrlich Predicted That Never Came True”.

Yet while many observers, like me, get a kick from exposing Ehrlich’s wrongheaded alarmism, the big fallacy on which all his other fallacies are built is rarely challenged.

Ehrlich’s core belief - that we live on a finite planet, with fixed resources - is never mocked. And that’s because this ill-informed prejudice is commonplace even among the more moderate greens and “progressives” who laugh in the face of Ehrlich’s crazier claims during his visit to Oz.

Like every Malthusian since Malthus himself, Ehrlich is convinced that resources are limited and therefore we can sustain only a certain number of people. As he told ABC radio in 2011, “You cannot have infinite growth in a finite space.” But it isn’t true that we live on a finite planet. That’s a spectacularly ahistorical way of understanding natural resources and humanity’s relationship with them.

Resources aren’t fixed; they’re fluid and changeable because the usefulness of a resource is determined by us.

Consider coal. For centuries it was a useless black rock that some Roman-era communities used to make jewellery. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that mankind unlocked coal’s secret: that it could be used to power new machines and in the process remake entire societies and overhaul human existence.

Or consider uranium. Two thousand years ago people used it as a dye, to make glass yellow. In the 20th century we used it to light up and power entire cities. We transformed a decorative chemical element into a source of awesome energy.

If you had said to a Roman woman, “One day that jewel around your neck will power things called steam engines”, or told an early Christian that his yellow dye would be used to create light and heat comparable to the sun’s, they would have laughed at you or locked you up.

As human society develops, so does our understanding of the secrets hidden within natural resources, alongside our ability to exploit those resources. Nature doesn’t determine what is a resource or how far it will go; we do.

The reason every population panicker and moody green has been wrong about future doom is because they’re addicted to the idea of finiteness; they think resources are fixed and will run out one day.

Nonsense. The only thing in short supply today is a willingness among people to experiment like earlier generations did, and to find out what else uranium, or some other as yet untapped earthly or planetary resource, can do for us.


D.C. snowstorm scrubs global-warming hearing

The snowquester has claimed yet another casualty: Wednesday's House hearing on global warming.

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee announced early Wednesday that it's postponing its environmental subcommittee's scheduled 10 a.m. hearing on the state of the science behind climate change. As a reason, it cited "weather."

The panel hasn't announced when the hearing will take place.

The session was apparently designed to shore up the knowledge of subcommittee members ahead of expected new carbon regulations from President Barack Obama. As of Tuesday evening, a committee spokesman had insisted the show would go on.

From the start, the idea of holding a climate hearing during a paralyzing D.C. snowstorm seemed ripe for snarky comments.

Don’t buy into global warming science? Here’s your March snowstorm — call up Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and his grandchildren for help with your Al Gore igloo project.

Think the U.S. needs to cut carbon dioxide emissions and adapt in the face of climate change and ever more bizarre weather patterns? Aside from forecasts for fast-falling snow and warm air temperatures, D.C. residents could experience "thundersnow."

Scheduled witnesses included Judith Curry, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and leading storm and climate expert; William Chameides, dean at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University; and Bjørn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Lomborg sometimes rankles climate activists for his position that climate change is a real and man-made phenomenon, but that it’s not as bad as folks make it out to be.

The full committee also canceled a 2 p.m. hearing on government efforts to track and deal with asteroids and meteors.


The EPA’s McCarthyism

 Barack Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to replace Lisa Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And unless Senate Republicans mount a filibuster, she will undoubtedly be confirmed.

McCarthy is really not an exceptional nominee. Not very different from prior EPA nominees. We have little doubt she or any other Obama nominee will continue issuing job-killing regulations and hampering the fragile U.S. economy in the name of religion of radical environmentalism.

The question therefore arises why she ought to be  rejected. A senator might, for example, hone in on several instances of gross mismanagement that smacks of raw incompetence that call into question her qualifications.

One might take a look at the Office of Air and Radiation she heads, which has faced criticism. The EPA Inspector General recently issued a report revealing that at the time of the Fukushima disaster many of the Agency’s radiation monitors were out of service or so poorly maintained that they failed to work with 20 percent completely out of service.

The report goes on to report, “In addition, six of the RadNet monitors we sampled (50 percent) had gone over eight weeks without a filter change.”  EPA policy calls on operators to change the filters twice per week.

McCarthy has also approved of the use of DuPont’s R1234ef air conditioning refrigerant in U.S. vehicles, ignoring a massive European recall by Daimler Benz when the product caught fire in crash testing scenarios. McCarthy has completely turned a blind eye to the health and safety hazards that she is creating through EPA incentives for car companies to use this deadly refrigerant.

In short, McCarthy has been embroiled in scandal after scandal which can only indicate either pure managerial incompetence or a complicity in the failure to perform her most basic duties.

But even worse, if there ever was an agency that needed to be reined in, it was the EPA.  The problem with the agency is not that it lacks staffing, but that it is out of control.

The nomination comes at a time when the EPA is operating as a rogue agency, regulating carbon emissions and stormwater as harmful pollutants without any guidance in the law. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon dioxide. It does not even mention carbon dioxide, and yet the EPA has seen fit to restrict it, leaning on the errant 2007 Supreme Court ruling Massachusetts v. EPA that allowed it.

The carbon endangerment finding provides the basis for the agency to arbitrarily dictate fuel efficiency standards, power plant emissions, or even which fuels may be burnt. It gives the EPA virtually limitless powers to restrict the economy from growing.

Same with the Clean Water Act, which deals with pollutants in water, not water itself. Yet it has issued regulations on the amounts of stormwater allowable in waterways. These regulations threaten to cost local municipalities millions of dollars of additional costs.

It is also engaged in a sue-and-settle racket with radical environmentalist groups to expand its powers via judicial assent. And its regulations threaten America’s future ability to develop and utilize natural resources, to grow the economy, and to create jobs.

In addition, during Lisa Jackson’s tenure, she used several private email accounts to conduct official business, and the agency dragged its heels in revealing the contents of those emails in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. To the extent the agency has responded it has redacted much of the material from the emails, which may have been used to communicate to outside environmentalist groups advocating policy.

This is an agency completely unaccountable for its actions. Not to the people. Not to Congress. And not to the law.

Given Obama’s State of the Union threat to continue to pursue unilateral executive actions in lieu of climate change legislation, no nominee to the EPA should be confirmed.

Rather, bureaucrats there should have to answer for the destruction they are wreaking on the U.S. economy. Unless and until these harmful regulations are rescinded and the sue and settle racket is torn apart, the agency should be defunded, the bureaucrats that work there furloughed, and the offices they work in sold to pay down the deficit.

How will McCarthy, or any other nominee to head this agency, deal with these problem when the fundamental problem is that this agency is simply too powerful and unaccountable?




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


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