Monday, September 30, 2013

The IPCC's mountainous molehill

The article excerpted below was headed "Climatic Change: How Long Will Earth Remain?".  Except to Warmists, the obvious answer would be:  Another few billion years.  The notable  thing to a sceptic, however, is how the factual statements -- such as the one italicized below -- are perfectly true.  But science is tightly tied to quantification and if we look at the quantities involved, the statements become laughably true.  The quantities involved are so small that the only reasonable comment is "who cares?".  In some cases Warmists are talking about temperature variations in terms of hundredths of one degree Celsius. And talk of tenths is routine. It's as irrelevant to everyday life as medieval debates about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has raised anew the question: how long will Earth remain before we ruin it completely?

According to Thomas Stocker, a co-chair of the IPCC assessment and climate scientist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, climatic change “challenges the two primary resources of humans and ecosystems, land and water.”  He warned that, “In short, it threatens our planet, our only home.”

Qin Dahe, co-chair of those who produced the report from IPCC, said:

“Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and that concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”

In their report, the group made it clear that the urgency of tackling the issue of climatic change is still present, more than ever. Without concrete and urgent drastic plans on emission reductions or controversial technical climate fixes, global warming will most likely continue to increase and this will affect the lives of billions of people inhabiting this earth, and our planet too, they warned.


Climate change: this is not science – it’s mumbo jumbo

Nigel Lawson

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published on Friday the first instalment of its latest report, is a deeply discredited organisation. Presenting itself as the voice of science on this important issue, it is a politically motivated pressure group that brings the good name of science into disrepute.

Its previous report, in 2007, was so grotesquely flawed that the leading scientific body in the United States, the InterAcademy Council, decided that an investigation was warranted. The IAC duly reported in 2010, and concluded that there were “significant shortcomings in each major step of [the] IPCC’s assessment process”, and that “significant improvements” were needed. It also chastised the IPCC for claiming to have “high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence”.

Since then, little seems to have changed, and the latest report is flawed like its predecessor.

Perhaps this is not so surprising. A detailed examination of the 2007 report found that two thirds of its chapters included among its authors people with links to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and there were many others with links to other 'green’ activist groups, such as Greenpeace.

In passing, it is worth observing that what these so-called green groups, and far too many of the commentators who follow them, wrongly describe as 'pollution’ is, in fact, the ultimate in green: namely, carbon dioxide – a colourless and odourless gas, which promotes plant life and vegetation of all kinds; indeed, they could not survive without it. It is an established scientific fact that, over the past 20 years, the earth has become greener, largely thanks to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Be that as it may, as long ago as 2009, the IPCC chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri – who is a railway engineer and economist by training, not a scientist, let alone a climate scientist – predicted that “when the IPCC’s fifth assessment comes out in 2013 or 2014, there will be a major revival of interest in action that has to be taken. People are going to say: 'My God, we are going to have to take action much faster than we had planned.’”

This was well before the scientific investigation on which the latest report is allegedly based had even begun. So much for the scientific method.

There is, however, one uncomfortable fact that the new report has been – very reluctantly – obliged to come to terms with. That is that global warming appears to have ceased: there has been no increase in officially recorded global mean temperature for the past 15 years. This is brushed aside as a temporary blip, and they suggest that the warming may still have happened, but instead of happening on the Earth’s surface it may have occurred for the time being in the (very cold) ocean depths – of which, incidentally, there is no serious empirical evidence.

A growing number of climate scientists are coming to the conclusion that at least part of the answer is that the so-called climate sensitivity of carbon – the amount of warming that might be expected from a given increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (caused by the use of fossil fuels: coal, oil, and gas) – is significantly less than was previously assumed to be the case.

It is no doubt a grudging acceptance of this that has led the new report to suggest that the global warming we can expect by the end of this century is probably rather less than the IPCC had previously predicted: perhaps some 35F (1.5C)

What they have not done, however, is to accept that the computer models on which they base all their prognostications have been found to be misleading. These models all predicted an acceleration in the warming trend throughout the 21st century, as global carbon dioxide emissions rose apace. In fact, there has been a standstill.

The true scientific method is founded on empirical observation. When a theory – whether embedded in a computer program or not – produces predictions that are falsified by subsequent observation, then the theory, and the computer models which enshrine it, have to be rethought.

Not for the IPCC, however, which has sought to obscure this fundamental issue by claiming that, whereas in 2007 it was 90 per cent sure that most of the (very slight) global warming recorded since the Fifties was due to man-made carbon emissions, it is now 95 per cent sure.

This is not science: it is mumbo-jumbo. Neither the 90 per cent nor the 95 per cent have any objective scientific basis: they are simply numbers plucked from the air for the benefit of credulous politicians and journalists.

They have thrown dust in the eyes of the media in other ways, too. Among them is the shift from talking about global warming, as a result of the generally accepted greenhouse effect, to 'climate change’ or 'climate disruption’. Gullible journalists (who are particularly prevalent within the BBC) have been impressed, for example, by being told now that much of Europe, and in particular the UK, is likely to become not warmer but colder, as a result of increasing carbon dioxide emissions interfering with the Gulf Stream.

There is nothing new about this canard, which has been touted for the past 10 years or so. Indeed, I refer to it explicitly in my book on global warming, An Appeal to Reason, which first came out five years ago. In fact, there has been no disruption whatever of the Gulf Stream, nor is it at all likely that there could be. As the eminent oceanographer Prof Karl Wunsch has observed, the Gulf Stream is largely a wind-driven phenomenon, and thus “as long as the sun heats the Earth and the Earth spins, so that we have winds, there will be a Gulf Stream”.

So what is the truth of the matter, and what do we need to do about it?

The truth is that the amount of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere is indeed steadily increasing, as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, particularly in the faster-growing countries of the developing world, notably China. And it is also a scientific fact that, other things being equal, this will make the world a warmer place.

But there are two major unresolved scientific issues: first, are other things equal?, and second, even if they are, how much warmer will our planet become? There is no scientific basis whatever for talking about 'catastrophic climate change’ – and it is generally agreed that if the global temperature standstill soon comes to an end and the world is, as the IPCC is now suggesting might well be the case, 1.5ºC warmer by the end of the century, that would be a thoroughly good thing: beneficial to global food production and global health alike.

So what we should do about it – if indeed, there is anything at all we need to do – is to adapt to any changes that may, in the far future, occur. That means using all the technological resources open to mankind – which will ineluctably be far greater by the end of this century than those we possess today – to reduce any harms that might arise from warming, while taking advantage of all the great benefits that warming will bring.

What we should emphatically not do is what Dr Pachauri, Lord Stern and that gang are calling for and decarbonise the global economy by phasing out fossil fuels.

Before the industrial revolution mankind relied for its energy on beasts of burden and wind power. The industrial revolution, and the enormous increase in prosperity it brought with it, was possible only because the West abandoned wind power and embraced fossil fuels. We are now – unbelievably – being told that we must abandon relatively cheap and highly reliable fossil fuels, and move back to wind power, which is both unreliable and hugely costly.

This is clearly an economic nonsense, which would condemn us to a wholly unnecessary fall in living standards.

But what moves me most is what this would mean for the developing world. For them, abandoning the cheapest available form of energy and thus seriously abandoning the path of economic growth and rising prosperity on which, at long last, most of the developing world is now embarked, would mean condemning hundreds of millions of their people to unnecessary poverty, destitution, preventable disease, and premature death.

All in the name of seeking to ensure that distant generations, in future centuries, might be (there is no certainty) slightly better off than would otherwise be the case.

Not to beat about the bush, it is morally outrageous. It is just as well that the world is unlikely to take the slightest notice of the new IPCC report.


British energy giants close in on green taxes delay

Britain's biggest energy companies are in late-stage negotiations with the Government to delay the implementation of a multi-billion pound green scheme to help take the pressure off the price of bills.

The Coalition is considering agreeing to the demands to reform the controversial home insulation scheme, the Energy Companies Obligation, in a deal that could avert steep price rises in the run-up to the next general election.

Centrica, owner of British Gas, and SSE are pushing for an 18-month reprieve to meet targets under the ECO scheme, arguing that more time to implement the costly programme would ease the financial burden on customers.

Ministers are under added pressure to try to halt bill increases in the wake of Labour leader Ed Miliband's pledge to cap prices. They are believed to be "receptive" to the companies' suggestions.

The option of an extension is expected to be included in a consultation document on the future of the ECO, likely to be published early next year.

On Saturday, George Osborne opened the door to reducing the impact of green policies on bills. He said that the Government had to keep a "very close eye on affordability" and that Britain should not be "in front of the rest of the world" in tackling climate change.

The ECO scheme, which began this year, requires major suppliers to cut targeted volumes of carbon emissions by installing energy-efficiency measures for poor customers and insulating homes.

Companies face fines of up to 10pc of turnover if they do not hit the targets by March 2015. Ministers say the ECO should cost £1.3bn per year or the equivalent of £50 on a household bill.

But the industry says it could cost as much as £3.1bn per year or £125 per household. Companies complain it is hard to identify the right customers and homes and that the scheme is being hampered by the slow take-up of the Green Deal, a parallel, voluntary insulation scheme.

A spokesman for SSE said: "The most important consideration, as always, is affordability for customers. With the potential for costs to escalate as the scheme goes on and with the Green Deal still in its early days, it makes sense to extend the first phase for 18 months in order to protect customers."

Companies suggest costs are likely to rise toward the end of the programme as the "low-hanging fruit" of people interested in the scheme runs out. "An ECO extension may be attractive as it moves the deadline beyond election day," one industry source said. Many in the energy industry think the costs should be paid through the tax system.

Critics say that SSE, Centrica and ScottishPower, which has also criticised the scheme, are the three major suppliers that are already facing multi-million pound fines for failing to meet their targets under previous schemes. Ministers have also remained publicly adamant that they have seen nothing to make them question their cost assumptions.

Fears are also growing that Mr Miliband's price cap pledge will make it harder for energy companies to sign contracts for gas imports. Counter-parties to any deals could be concerned that the price cap could hamper payments on any of the contracts


The British Left can’t freeze those energy bills they themselves sent through the roof

It is thanks to the Labour leader that we are paying dearly for the Climate Change Act - easily the most expensive law ever put through Parliament

Arriving in London on Tuesday to see blazoned across a newspaper front page Ed Miliband’s promise of a 20‑month freeze on energy bills, I clapped my hand to my head in disbelief. There is no one else in the country, I and many others must have thought, who has done more to drive Britain’s energy bills through the roof than Mr Miliband: the man who, in 2008, shortly after becoming our first secretary of state for energy and climate change, passed his Climate Change Act, easily the most expensive law ever put through Parliament, committing us to cut our “carbon emissions” by four fifths in 40 years.

In 2009 it was this column that revealed, thanks to the assiduous Peter Lilley MP, that Miliband’s own department had estimated that this Act would cost us all up to £18 billion every year until 2050. When, in 2010, he became Labour leader, I called him “the costliest politician in British history”. And the reason is that it is under this Act that successive governments have committed us not only to spending well over £100 billion on building tens of thousands of useless wind turbines, producing electricity at twice and three times the going rate, but also to introducing other measures, such as the “carbon tax”, which will also soon double the cost of the electricity from coal, gas and nuclear power stations that still supply more than 90 per cent of our needs. All this in the name of giving Britain a “low carbon economy”. Yet the man who sent us down this disastrous path now wants, by law, to stop electricity prices rising, just when our energy companies must spend billions of pounds to bring his mad dream to fruition.

One thing that marked out Miliband during his brief spell as energy and climate change secretary was that he was so naively obsessed with the “climate change” bit of his job description that he seemed completely to overlook the “energy” bit. Not once did he show any understanding of how electricity is made or how we are to keep our lights on. He could never have begun to explain in practical terms how we could hope to cut carbon emissions to their lowest level since the early 19th century without closing down virtually our entire economy – let alone how, in the short term, we can comply with his Climate Change Act without doubling and trebling Britain’s energy bills.

All Miliband demonstrated last week, as he made that mindless little bid for electoral popularity, which promptly knocked £3 billion off the energy companies’ shares, was that he is as little fitted to become prime minister as any other politician can have been in history.


British Tories May Lose Elections Over Rising Green Energy Costs

The cost of living is the key renewable of British politics. It will be the central battleground of the next election

Most of us remember when Lehman Brothers fell on September 15 2008. It was the moment when the hubris of the global banking system, of central banks and of governments was exposed. Five years on, we are still struggling with that inheritance.

We probably do not remember another date from that year, June 8. On that day, the House of Commons passed the Second Reading of the Climate Change Bill. We are still struggling with that inheritance, too. It is part of a comparable hubris.

Both were boom-time follies. In each case, powerful people in the Western world formed an arrogant consensus that they were right, and that there was therefore no need to pay attention to the queries of the sceptic or the needs of the citizen. Costs, prices, risk did not matter, because truth was on their side. Banking and environmentalism both became priesthoods, the first often subsidising the second, both persecuting heretics. The first collapsed five years ago. The second is crumbling only now.

The banking crisis and the Climate Change Act happened at the time of a Labour government, but they both make life extremely difficult for a Conservative-led government today. This week in Brighton, Ed Miliband, who served in that Labour administration (and was actually the energy and climate change secretary who completed the parliamentary progress of the Climate Change Act) nevertheless felt free to attack the Tories as the pal of rich bankers and prisoners of the energy companies. How could he, who was one of those who got everything wrong, dare to mount such an attack? Partly, no doubt, because he does not recognise his own role in the double catastrophe, but also because he knows how deeply implicated the Tories are.

On June 8 2008, only five Members of Parliament – Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Ann Widdecombe (all Conservatives) – voted against the Climate Change Bill. They are worth naming, I think, because “the Five Members” who defied executive fiat in the 1640s have an honoured place in our history. The modern Five Members, four of whom are still MPs, should be honoured too. But all the other Tories – nearly 200 of them – voted for the Bill, led by an enthusiastically green David Cameron.

The key error of the Climate Change Act was not, of course, to worry about the pollution of the world and to seek to encourage sources of energy other than fossil fuels. Any sensible government would consider such things. It was to enforce alarmist timetables and to load the consequent cost on consumers. Mr Miliband is right that energy prices are shockingly high. One of the biggest reasons for this is that, thanks in good part to him, the price of renewables, instead of being a tax, is stuck on each bill. The wholesale price of the cheapest form of power (from coal-fired power stations) is a third of the “strike price” for offshore wind. The consumer pays the difference, by law.

What this means is that energy prices will go on rising for at least a generation. What that means is that the most unavoidable element in any household’s cost of living will make that household poorer each year for the foreseeable future. And what that means is that any incumbent government will find it extremely hard to get re-elected.

So, although Mr Miliband’s new promise that a Labour government would forcibly hold energy prices down is insane, it is – as insane ideas go – more immediately pleasing to the voter than the current, also insane, alternative, which is that government forcibly puts them up.

This weekend, then, Mr Cameron finds it hard to know how to respond. Obviously, he should not steal the mad Miliband policy. Obviously, he should spell out why it is mad. But he cannot easily do so, since he is complicit in the madness which has brought it about. They are all in it together. Even as he tries to work out his party conference speech for next Wednesday, his Government is pushing hard in the House of Lords for its own Energy Bill which, among other things, establishes a “merit order” for power-users. This insists on the use of renewables first, thus putting cheaper sources of power into compulsory second-place and discouraging new investment in them.

If Mr Cameron wants support for a change of policy, though, he can find it in yesterday’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). You would not know it from the way it has been covered – the BBC’s Today programme was of a green bias so comical that I wondered whether parodists had taken over the studio – but it has actually altered its dire expectations, and quietly made them rather un-dire. Climate-change theory is all “rock solid”, says the government chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport, but in fact the rock has been fracked, and is trembling a little.

The IPCC has now decided that what it calls the “transient climate response” to all the dreadful things that are supposedly going on will be a warming of 0.5 to 2 degrees centigrade from today’s level by about 2080, which is below its own calculation of probable net damage. So even when young Prince George is 70 years old, the end of the world won’t really be much nigher than it is now. Which, interpreted politically, is a way of saying that current governments can slow down. If Mr Cameron now announces that renewables targets will be suspended, or greatly postponed, “the science” (I put the phrase in inverted commas, because I don’t like its coercive tone) will not condemn him, although many of these moralising scientists will.

He probably won’t dare. He will probably go on about his policy of the customer being offered the lowest possible tariff, an arrangement which no one understands because the energy companies can always throw up enough chaff to confuse us. But what he could and should say is that shale gas is likely to be the greatest ever source of indigenous energy for Britain and invite Ed Miliband to join him in supporting the search for it.

Above all, he needs to see that the Miliband energy prices promise is part of a much wider Labour effort to “stand up for the consumer”. In a less-noticed part of his speech this week, Mr Miliband said that while he was growing up in the Eighties (ie under Margaret Thatcher), there was a strong sense that prosperity was available for everyone who sought it. Now “that vital link between the growing wealth of the country and your family finances” is, says the Labour leader, “broken”. He pointed out that in the 39 months in which Mr Cameron has held office, wages have risen more slowly than prices have in 38 of them. Again, this grim statistic is mainly Gordon Brown’s fault, but in the rough old game of politics it sounds convincingly like 38 reasons not to vote Conservative.

“The cost of living.” The phrase has an old-fashioned ring to it, an echo of the age of inflation. But hard times remind people of old-fashioned facts. The cost of living is the key renewable of British politics. It will be the central battleground of the next election, not least because inflation is creeping back. Being a market Conservative, Mr Cameron knows that governments cannot sensibly cut prices. They can sensibly cut taxes, and soon they really must. If capitalism is benefiting only the few and not the many, which is the point that Ed Miliband keeps making, almost any alternative starts to feel better. Socialism can come back from the dead


Australia's Greens 'marching to slow death'

On her way out of the party-room meeting that returned Christine Milne as Greens leader on Monday morning, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young walked past a table of journalists at Aussies Cafe at Parliament House.

To their bewilderment, Senator Hanson-Young matter-of-factly announced that her party had just returned a leader that would see the party "marching to a slow death".

After the election, at which the Greens bled a third of their vote, recriminations within the party have been swift. There is clear disquiet in the party's senior ranks about Senator Milne's leadership, but for the first time, it is out in the open. It was revealed last week six of the party's 18 most senior staffers, including Senator Milne's chief-of-staff Ben Oquist, had left.

One Greens senator told Fairfax Media: "I believe all this [leadership speculation] is because there are concerns about where [Senator Milne] takes us in the next three years. If we have the same result we had this election, we will be gone; we can't afford to do it again."

But who is driving the destabilisation in this post-Bob Brown era of the Greens?

Senator Hanson-Young, an outspoken and ambitious party room member, is often mentioned by her colleagues as one of the key destabilising forces. Four separate sources claim that she made a bid for the party's leadership team at Monday's party meeting, a charge she denies.

The story goes that Senator Hanson-Young tried to gauge support for her to run for deputy leader, a position now held by the member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, who would then be propelled into the leadership. (Senator Hanson-Young would not comment on Saturday, other than to say "that's just not true").

But others suspect the rumours are being put about to deflect attention from 41-year-old Mr Bandt, coming as they do on the back of reports that he had tried to gauge numbers for a challenge last Monday. Mr Bandt issued a statement saying he and his leader were "a strong, united leadership team", and that he had never sought the position of leader. But his office would not respond to questions about whether others had urged him to run for leader.

This sort of publicly fought internecine warfare is nothing new to Labor but it is a shock to many in the Greens, who have never experienced the sort of leadership challenges normal to most political parties. There is a sense within the party that even to publicly discuss a possible challenge is impolite. Behind the scenes, the Greens have been a consistently unified presence in Federal Parliament.

But in the aftermath of the Greens' election performance, in which the party's lower house vote dropped from 11.76 per cent in 2010 to 8.6 per cent, some within the party's senior ranks are concerned about Senator Milne's leadership, particularly her attempts to put a positive spin on a poor result.

Mr Oquist, an experienced political operator who had spent years fighting for the Green side of politics, quit early last week citing "fundamental differences of opinion in strategy".

A former staffer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says Senator Milne is "in denial" about the election result. "She said this week she wanted to move to a 'campaigning phase'. Well, here's a tip, love. We've just had a federal election. What the f--k have you been doing all year?"

Senator Milne told Fairfax she took "some" responsibility for the party's election result - and losing about a third of its vote - and vowed to listen to supporters who abandoned the party.

"Of course, as the leader of any political party you take some responsibility for the outcome of that election, and certainly I have to take a share of that responsibility in terms of the outcome for the election both good and bad," she said. This included returning at least 10 senators to Parliament after the election, with new Victorian senator Janet Rice elected. (WA senator Scott Ludlam's position is still in doubt.) But Senator Milne dismissed reports there had been a foiled attempt by party insiders to install Mr Bandt as leader, saying there was no threat to her leadership. "It's wrong."

NSW senator Lee Rhiannon leapt to Senator Milne's defence, saying: "I figure if someone is going to mount a challenge, they're going to lobby for numbers. I wasn't lobbied. I just do not believe there was a challenge."

While she acknowledged the Greens had "a challenging election and a challenging election result", Senator Rhiannon said the party room shared responsibility for the low vote. "I think what we need to be looking at is how we project our message to voters."

The party's campaign committee will review the election result and report to the Greens' national conference in November.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


Sunday, September 29, 2013

MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen Rips UN IPCC Report

‘The latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence’ — ‘It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going’

I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence.  They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase.

Their excuse for the absence of warming over the past 17 years is that the heat is hiding in the deep ocean.  However, this is simply an admission that the models fail to simulate the exchanges of heat between the surface layers and the deeper oceans.

 However, it is this heat transport that plays a major role in natural internal variability of climate, and the IPCC assertions that observed warming can be attributed to man depend crucially on their assertion that these models accurately simulate natural internal variability.  Thus, they now, somewhat obscurely, admit that their crucial assumption was totally unjustified.

Finally, in attributing warming to man, they fail to point out that the warming has been small, and totally consistent with there being nothing to be alarmed about.  It is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going.


IPCC: “We don’t need no stinking climate sensitivity!”

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The newly-released Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC’s Working Group I for the AR5 report reveals a dogged attempt to salvage the IPCC’s credibility amidst mounting evidence that it has gone overboard in its attempts to scare the global public over the last quarter century.

The recent ~15 year lull in warming is hardly mentioned at all (nothing to see here, move along).

A best estimate for climate sensitivity — unarguably THE most important climate change variable — is no longer provided, due to mounting contradictory evidence on whether the climate system really cares very much about whether there are 2, or 3, or 4, parts of CO2 per 10,000 parts atmosphere.

YET…the IPCC claims their confidence has DOUBLED (uncertainty reduced from 10% that 5%) regarding their claim that humans are most of the cause behind the warming trend in the last 50 years or so:

“It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951-2010.”

Let’s examine that last claim for a minute. For the sake of argument, let’s say that 60% of the surface warming (and increase in ocean heat content, as revealed by supposed warming of hundredths of a degree) is indeed due to increased CO2. What would that say about the sensitivity of the climate system?

One would think that this question would be addressed by the IPCC, since it doesn’t require a full-blown 3D climate model to answer.

But I suspect that they know the answer is: “very low climate sensitivity” (we will reveal more on this issue in a few weeks). Even if humans are responsible for 60% of the ocean heating in the last 60 years, it suggests a level of future warming well below what this report implies will happen.

I say “implies” because the new report is worded in such a way that the IPCC can be technically correct, and still convey a maximum amount of alarm (which has been the IPCC’s modus operandi for the last 20+ years). They still leave the door open to a climate sensitivity below 1 deg. C, since they could claim “we didn’t say we were 100% certain…only 95%”.

And probably the biggest omission of the report continues to be the almost total neglect of natural forcing mechanisms of climate change. The climate system is likely at least a little chaotic, with natural variations due to inherent system nonlinearities and time lags (courtesy of the ocean). As I keep harping on, the observed increase in ocean heat content over the last 60 years (if we can believe hundredths of a degree warming is accurate) equates to a global energy imbalance of only 1 part in 1,000. To believe that Mother Nature is incapable of causing such small imbalances, as the IPCC implicitly believes, is not based upon observations but upon assumptions.

What this means is that, without knowing just how much of recent warming is natural, there is no way to know how much is anthropogenic *nor* how sensitive the climate system is. This is a glaring source of uncertainty that the IPCC continues to gloss over, sweep under the rug, …pick your metaphor.


IPCC’s political exercise in consensus building

The IPCC has never been about science. It has always been about building a gargantuan “consensus” by which to fashion the alarmist narrative and steamroller any attempt at genuine debate.

The organisation is stacked with scientists who are already convinced that global warming is man-made and dangerous and that something must be done. It is riddled with environmental activists from Friends of the Earth, WWF and other extreme-green organisations who are on a crusade to save the planet. Despite claims that the IPCC only considers “peer-reviewed” literature, previous reports have relied heavily on grey literature which, oddly enough, always supports the consensus. Funny that.

So it is of very little consequence that the latest Summary for Policymakers for Working Group 1 (Physical Science Basis) of the 5th Assessment Report, continues in the same way, building on the alarmism created in reports 1 – 4. As we have learned, this document is pored over by scientists and policy wonks for days, with every paragraph, sentence and word subjected to tough negotiation in order to ensure the message remains focussed, and isn’t diluted by, oh, I don’t know, er… facts?

It helpfully advances the narrative created over the past thirty years, so that compliant journalists can continue to print the same old rubbish (more ABC: same old rubbish) they’ve been printing for years. At the press conference, virtually every journalist was a subscriber to the cause, with only David Rose of the UK Daily Mail daring to ask something “off script”.

You only have to look at environmental journalists in Australia to realise that they are almost invariably eco-warriors. Why would anyone who isn’t want to be an environmental journalist in the first place?

It’s bizarre, but since temperatures have actually fallen slightly since the last report in 2007, the IPCC is now more certain that humans have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the 1950s. The IPCC claims that climate models have improved since AR4, but cannot give a best estimate for climate sensitivity, the only number that really matters in the end, because of, quote:

“a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”

Feeling confident so far? The pause in warming is brushed aside as due to:

“reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle.”

In other words, the dog ate it. Where’s my heat, dude? It’s in the ocean, where we can’t measure it.

Whether the IPCC’s dire warnings will be proved correct is yet to be seen. But as an exercise in political spin, it will no doubt succeed. All we can remember is the old adage, if it’s about consensus, it isn’t science.


Warmists have hornets in their bonnets  -- but only in China

The one thing we can be sure about is that the hornets are NOT the result of global warming  -- because there hasn't been any lately.  At most they are caused by local warming

Over the last few weeks, giant, deadly hornets have killed more than two dozen people in China, the result of bizarre weather patterns there that have allowed the bugs to proliferate.

This summer, China suffered through massive heat waves, breaking records in places like Shanghai, Changsha, and Hangzhou in July, and affecting 700 million people through August. This has lead to dozens of heatstroke deaths, and, now, increasingly aggressive giant insects.

Attacks by giant hornets, most likely the 5-centimeter (2-inch) Vespa mandarinia, have left hundreds injured and 28 people dead, mostly in the Shaanxi region of northwest China. Some victims reported being chased for hundreds of meters and stung — some up to 200 times — by swarms of the insects traveling 40 km/h (25 mph). A director of the Ankang Disease Control Centre said more 30 stings required “immediate emergency treatment.”

A sting from the hornet’s quarter-inch-long stinger feels like a “hot nail through my leg,” according to an entomologist who got too close for comfort. The venom contains an enzyme that can dissolve human tissue, and too much of it can also bring renal failure or death.

Authorities recommend local residents avoid fields and “be very vigilant while in the woods.” A local fire department has removed over 300 hornet nests since July. This year, fatalities from hornet attacks are twice the normal average. The hornets have attacked people in the region in previous years, but Zhou Yuanhong, a Shaanxi health official, said that this year was “unusually severe, possibly because of weather changes.” Experts say that the hornets breed more successfully in warmer temperatures.

Temperatures in China are 10 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit warmer that they were during the last ice age, which is two to four times as hot as scientists believed. As the globe warms, it turns out that China is even more sensitive to that change than previously thought.


Study: Everyone hates environmentalists and feminists

New research suggests people tend to hold negative views of political and social activists

Why don’t people behave in more environmentally friendly ways? New research presents one uncomfortable answer: They don’t want to be associated with environmentalists.

That’s the conclusion of troubling new research from Canada, which similarly finds support for feminist goals is hampered by a dislike of feminists.

Participants held strongly negative stereotypes about such activists, and those feelings reduced their willingness “to adopt the behaviors that these activities promoted,” reports a research team led by University of Toronto psychologist Nadia Bashir. This surprisingly cruel caricaturing, the researchers conclude, plays “a key role in creating resistance to social change.”

Writing in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Bashir and her colleagues describe a series of studies documenting this dynamic. They began with three pilot studies, which found people hold stereotyped views of environmentalists and feminists.

In one, the participants—228 Americans recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk—described both varieties of activists in “overwhelmingly negative” terms. The most frequently mentioned traits describing “typical feminists” included “man-hating” and “unhygienic;” for “typical environmentalists,” they included “tree-hugger” and “hippie.”

Another study, featuring 17 male and 45 female undergraduates, confirmed the pervasiveness of those stereotypes. It further found participants were less interested in befriending activists who participated in stereotypical behavior (such as staging protest rallies), but could easily envision hanging out with those who use “nonabrasive and mainstream methods” such as raising money or organizing social events.

The results of three additional studies suggested this aversion to perceived stereotypical behavior impacts people’s behavior. In one of them, 140 Americans (again recruited via Mechanical Turk) read an article about climate change and “the need for individuals to adopt sustainable lifestyles.”

For one-third of the participants, the writer was described as a stereotypical environmentalist (his “profile” stated, “I hold rallies outside chemical research labs”). Another third were told he was an atypical, less-abrasive environmentalist (“I’m involved in organizing social events … to raise money for grassroots-level environmental organizations”). For the final third, his profile did not mention environmental activism at all.

After reading the article, participants were asked whether it inspired them to do more recycling, or otherwise take more eco-friendly actions.

“Participants were less motivated to adopt pro-environmental behaviors when these behaviors were advocated by the ‘typical’ environmentalist, rather than by the ‘atypical’ environmentalist or the undefined target,” the researchers report.

This is, needless to say, frustrating news for activists, and not just the ones mentioned here. The researchers suggest this dynamic may very well apply across the board, such as to activities advocating gay rights or Wall Street reform.

“Unfortunately,” they write, “the very nature of activism leads to negative stereotyping. By aggressively promoting change and advocating unconventional practices, activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity.”

“Furthermore, this tendency to associate activists with negative stereotypes and perceive them as people with whom it would be unpleasant to affiliate reduces individuals’ motivation to adopt the pro-change behaviors that activists advocate.”

So the message to advocates is clear: Avoid rhetoric or actions that reinforce the stereotype of the angry activist. Realize that if people find you off-putting, they’re not going to listen to your message. As Bashir and her colleagues note, potential converts to your cause “may be more receptive to advocates who defy stereotypes by coming across as pleasant and approachable.”


Australia: Coal seam gas opponents 'anarchists', says minister

The Federal Minister for Resources, Mr Ian Macfarlane, has slammed as "anarchists" some of the opponents to coal seam gas projects in NSW.  "They are anarchists, they don't respect people's property, they don't respect people's rights. They don't respect the law of the land.  "They go out deliberately to break the law."

The minister said he does not oppose people demonstrating but any opponents but they must respect the law, he said.

"If they try to spit on a state's MLA I think that is anarchy.

"If they go onto a farmer's property and trespass and won't remove themselves when asked I think that is anarchy.

"If they do not accept the science that (Professor) Mary (O'Kane, the NSW Chief Scientist) comes up with, if they don't accept the policy and they don't accept the law of the land, that's anarchy."

The newly installed resources minister is to visit the Northern Rivers district of NSW early next week, he said and he expects to encounter some of the opponents to the coal seam gas industry during that visit.

Mr Macfarlane was addressing an energy summit being held in Sydney in the wake of surging gas and electricity prices following restrictions to developing of the gas industry in NSW.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


Friday, September 27, 2013

Climate change will 'make Britain cooler'

For the first time, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is due to give a clear prediction of how global warming will affect currents in the Atlantic Ocean.

It will say that the circulation of warm and cold water in the Atlantic, which includes the Gulf Stream, will weaken by 20 to 44 per cent by the end of the century.

Scientists claim that such a slow-down in the Gulf Stream will have a big impact on Britain, causing cooling of about 1.8F (1C) and disrupting weather patterns.

The Gulf Stream carries warm water from the equator to the west coast of Britain, making the country’s climate warmer than it otherwise would be.

Scientists warn that the resulting cooling would mask the impacts of global warming on the country, but play havoc with the weather.

The panel is due to publish the predictions in its fifth major assessment of global warming on Friday. Compiled by more than 2,000 scientists over three years, it is intended to be the most comprehensive analysis of climate change and its underlying causes.

The report will say that the warming of the oceans will interfere with the currents in the Atlantic, also known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). It will state: “It is very likely that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation will weaken over the 21st century. It is likely that there will be some decline in the AMOC by 2050, but there will be some decades when the AMOC increases.”

The report provides a basis for governments to draw up policies aimed at tackling climate change and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

But tense discussions this week between officials from several governments over the final wording of the report have fallen a long way behind schedule.

Prof Corinne Le Quéré, the director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia and one of the report’s authors, said: “The policymakers see the information from quite a different angle as they have to make a relationship with policy.

“They go through it line by line, paragraph by paragraph and suggest changes which the scientists then respond to.”

Delegates stayed up until 3am on Thursday morning as they deliberated over controversial points, such as the current “pause” in the global temperature rise.

Negotiations were expected to drag into the early hours of this morning as officials attempt to finalise the report.

Delegates have agreed the wording of the report’s summary on topics such as historic temperatures, sea level rise and the melting of glaciers. Debate on some sections including “attribution”, the extent to which humans are responsible for global warming, started on Thursday.

At one stage, officials from Britain, the USA, Brazil and other leading powers stepped in to alter the wording of a section addressing the comparatively slow rise in global temperatures over the past 15 years; the so-called warming “pause”.

They demanded that the wording be changed to explain the slowdown and wanted to insert clauses emphasising that global warming has not stopped.

A source at the meeting said the officials had “spent hours trying to make the language as clear as possible”.

Sceptics have pointed at the pause in global temperature increase as a sign that predictions of catastrophic global warming do not reflect the reality.

They have argued that the way the climate responds to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is not fully understood, so major decisions by governments should be delayed.

Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, warned that no previous climate change models had “predicted the warming pause”. He said the “IPCC is a highly political process and it often fails to reflect that the models do not accurately reflect what is going on”.

Lord Stern, who conducted a review into the economics of climate change for the Labour government, said the “kind of temperatures we risk” would “probably involve a recasting of where many people could live”. He said those opposing action on climate change would have to “argue that they are confident that the risks are small, which would be an astonishing statement to make”.


Warming Plateau? Climatologists Face Inconvenient Truth

From Germany's "Spiegel"

Data shows global temperatures aren't rising the way climate scientists have predicted. Now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change faces a problem: publicize these findings and encourage skeptics -- or hush up the figures.

For a quarter of a century now, environmental activists have been issuing predictions in the vein of the Catholic Church, warning people of the coming greenhouse effect armageddon. Environmentalists bleakly predict global warming will usher in plagues of biblical dimensions -- perpetual droughts, deluge-like floods and hurricanes of unprecedented force.

The number of people who believe in such a coming apocalypse, however, has considerably decreased. A survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL found a dramatic shift in public opinion -- Germans are losing their fear of climate change. While in 2006 a sizeable majority of 62 percent expressed a fear of global warning, that number has now become a minority of just 39 percent.
One cause of this shift, presumably, is the fact that global warming seems to be taking a break. The average global temperature hasn't risen in 15 years, a deviation from climatologists' computer-simulated predictions.

This is a difficult state of affairs for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which will release its next assessment report on global warming on Friday, Sept. 27.

None of the authors involved in the report are allowed to comment publicly on the report's contents before its official release. Only after days of closed-door negotiations -- which begin in Stockholm this Monday, Sept. 23 -- will the international forecasting body release its findings.

This much, though, is certain -- the new predictions will be essentially the same as the old ones, albeit a little more precise. The only adjustment the IPCC is expected to make is an increase in the predicted rise of sea levels. The new report is expected to forecast that coastal waters may rise by between 29 and 82 centimeters (11 and 32 inches) by the end of the century.

The crucial question, however, is: How will the IPCC address the pause in global warming? And how reliable are the computer models on which the predictions are based, if they failed to foresee the current temperature plateau?

In the lead-up to this week's conference, tensions have been high between the IPCC's climate researchers and the IPCC's government representatives, with Germany's governmental delegates playing a particularly questionable role.

The conference's participants will negotiate the creation of a 30-page summary for policymakers from the 1,000-page full report. Governments send representatives from their relevant ministries in order to have a hand in what message that summary will contain. In Germany's case, this means delegates from the Federal Ministries for the Environment and Research.

"If you are offering the choice between 'alarmist' and 'sceptic' then the German delegation is certainly more in the direction of 'alarmist'. But this is too simple a distinction," says British climatologist Mike Hulme from King's College London, who has many years of experience with IPCC bureaucracy.

German Green Party politician Hermann Ott, on the other hand, is satisfied with Germany's conduct in the negotiations. Since Helmut Kohl's government, Ott says, there has generally been consensus on the significance of climate protection, making it possible for "a great deal of continuity and a high level of expertise" to develop within Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment.

Despite resistance from many researchers, the German ministries insist that it is important not to detract from the effectiveness of climate change warnings by discussing the past 15 years' lack of global warming. Doing so, they say, would result in a loss of the support necessary for pursuing rigorous climate policies. "Climate policy needs the element of fear," Ott openly admits. "Otherwise, no politician would take on this topic."

Science vs. Climate Politics

Germany's Federal Ministry of Research would prefer to leave any discussion of the global warming hiatus entirely out of the new IPCC report summary. "In climate research, changes don't count until they've been observed on a timescale of 30 years," claims one delegate participating in the negotiations on behalf of German Research Minister Johanna Wanka of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The Ministry for the Environment's identical stance: "Climate fluctuations that don't last very long are not scientifically relevant."

At most, German delegates at the conference would be willing to include an admission that "the pace of temperature change has slowed" -- a reinterpretation that doesn't correspond to the latest research findings.

Germany's highest-ranking climate researcher, physicist Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, is fighting back against this refusal to face facts. Marotzke, who is also president of the German Climate Consortium and Germany's top scientific representative in Stockholm, promises, "We will address this subject head-on." The IPCC, he says, must engage in discussion about the standstill in temperature rise.

Marotzke calls the claim that a temperature plateau isn't significant until it has lasted for over 30 years unscientific. "Thirty years is an arbitrarily selected number," he says. "Some climate phenomena occur on a shorter timescale, some on a longer one." Climate researchers, Marotzke adds, have an obligation not to environmental policy but to the truth. "That obligates us to clearly state the uncertainties in our predictions as well," he says.

The researchers' problem: Their climate models should have been able to predict the sudden flattening in the temperature curve. Offering explanations after the fact for why temperatures haven't increased in so long only serves to raise doubts as to how reliable the forecasts really are.

Despite this, most Germans have not yet lost their faith in climate research. According to the SPIEGEL survey, 67 percent of Germans still consider the predictions reliable.

Possible Explanations for the Pause

In any case, scientists have discovered some possible indications as to why temperatures are not currently rising. One explanation involves the Pacific Ocean, which, calculations indicate, has absorbed an unusually large amount of heat from the Earth's atmosphere in recent years. "If this proves to be true, then the warnings are still in effect," Marotzke says. He explains that it would mean the greenhouse effect is adding more and more energy into the climate system, exactly as the simulations predict, just with a larger portion of that energy than expected disappearing temporarily into the ocean.

Another possible explanation is that the large quantity of soot emitted into the atmosphere by cars and factory smokestacks in Asia has had a cooling effect on the atmosphere. What will happen when China installs modern filtering systems on a massive scale in its vehicles and at its coal power plants? In this case, global warming would also then continue unchecked.

In other words, says glaciologist Heinz Miller at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, "The stagnation in temperature does not negate the physical evidence of global warming." Still, he says, the IPCC needs to make clear to the public and politicians alike that "scientific study is not a guarantee for infallibility." Miller also believes, "There is still a considerable need for more research."
Environmental policymakers within the IPCC fear, though, that climate skeptics and industry lobbyists could exploit these scientific uncertainties for their own purposes. The IPCC's response has been to circle the wagons. To ensure it remains the sole authority on climate predictions, the panel plans not to publish the complete report for some time after the release of the summary and not even release transcripts from the negotiations in Stockholm.

This despite the IPCC's promise for more transparency after hair-raising mistakes in the last assessment report -- from 2007 -- emerged three years ago and tarnished the panel's credibility. One result of that scandal was a commitment to avoiding future conflicts of interest. Yet scientists who previously worked for environmental organizations still hold leading roles in the creation of the IPCC report. This includes at least two "coordinating lead authors" who are responsible for individual chapters of the report.


Model meltdown

This week, the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is slated to release its fourth report since 1990. Leaked copies indicate an admission that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years, but the report will also increase its probability from 90 percent to 95 percent that global warming — if it does occur — is caused by man. Not one of the major climate models on which the panel bases its predictions forecast the lack of warming over the past 16 years, even though the models do vary widely as to how much warming they predicted.

Not to be outdone, President Obama again is warning us that if the Republicans do not vote for more government spending in the budget battles that are now upon us, we will go back into a recession. You may have not noticed we had left the recession, since employment levels are still below where they were five years ago. The president, of course, does not make such statements off the top of his head, but on the basis of his economic-forecast models. You might ask: “How accurate have these models been in forecasting?” Please note the accompanying table for the answer.

The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget makes five-year economic forecasts each year, but to spare it some pain, I took only its two-year forecasts. As you can see, the administration’s average error was well over 100 percent — making its projections almost useless. However, many private-sector economic forecasters managed to get much closer to the mark. The relevant question is this: “Why are both the climate-forecast models and some of the government economic-forecast models prone to not only gross error, but also consistent overestimates?”

Many years ago, when I was chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of my jobs was to produce a quarterly forecast of the U.S. economy, so I do have some sympathy for those whose job it is to produce forecasts. When constructing a forecast model, it is necessary to identify the key variables that will likely determine the future and then to specify those variables correctly. Good forecasters are constantly modifying their models to correct for past mistakes and take in new data. A consistent overestimate or underestimate often indicates a mistaken specification of some key variable.

The major long-range climate-change models appear to have over-weighted the effect of increased carbon dioxide, and under-weighted some other key variables, which caused almost all of them to forecast far more warming than actually occurred. It is hard enough to build a reasonably accurate economic-forecast model, let alone a climate-change model, which is far more complex with even less reliable data. Too many climate-change scientists appear have been affected with an unwarranted hubris about what they knew. Many in the political and media classes accepted their doomsday predictions with insufficient skepticism, in part, because it sold newspapers and appeared to justify higher government spending. There is also the inconvenient truth that climate scientists who produce papers and models showing a coming catastrophe are much more likely to receive government grants than those who say there is no big problem.

The Obama administration’s economic forecasts have been consistently wide of the mark in grossly overstating what is likely to occur. Its models use a Keynesian framework, which leads to overstatement of the benefits of government spending and an understatement of the costs of that spending. The models also have consistently underestimated the disincentives of higher taxes on labor and capital and the amount of regulatory-cost drag. If the model-builders corrected these persistent mistakes, they would produce results at odds with the president’s economic ideology — of which they are keenly aware. The president has a political agenda that includes a belief that global warming is a much bigger problem than it is likely to be, and that full employment and more rapid economic growth can only occur with a larger, more activist government.

There is also a long history of mathematical model-builders — whether their field is financial models, economic models or climate models — having much more faith in the results than are objectively warranted. Note the unusual frequency of so-called “Black Swan” events, which keep surprising model-builders with unforeseen events. Defenders of the government-funded models are always quick to point out the potential bias of models funded by private companies with a vested interest, which is fair. However, private-sector forecasters, whether independent or special-interest, compete with each other for accuracy, and those who prove to be the least accurate are quickly disregarded. Both history and an understanding of economic incentives ought to raise many more flags when models funded by taxpayers produce results that are in the perceived self-interest of the political class responsible for their funding. The safe bet is that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Obama administration will continue to produce greatly overstated climate and economic forecasts, and then attack those who voice a healthy skepticism as know-nothings.


EPA’s McCarthy admits regs are for show, not results

The Obama administration and its dutiful EPA have an ambitious plan to end millions of years of natural “climate change.” Meanwhile, as they determinedly demonstrate heroic world leadership to avert a looming non-disaster, the UN’s IPCC faces a different epic damage control challenge. As their political operatives meet in Stockholm this week to finalize their latest Summary for Policymakers report, they’ve got to figure out how to spin unsettling evidence of a 17-year “pause” in global temperature rise despite what they love to trumpet as “record high” atmospheric CO2 concentrations,

There are some other inconveniently non-alarming circumstances that the President, his agencies, and the UN are conveniently overlooking as well.  For example, there’s that perplexing rapidly expanding Arctic sea ice; the lack of increase in the strength or frequency of landfall hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50-70 years; the lack of increase in the strength or frequency in tropical Atlantic hurricane development during the past 370 years; the longest U.S. period ever recorded without intense Category 3-5 hurricane landfall; and no trend since 1950 evidencing any increased frequency of strong (F3-F-5) U.S. tornadoes.

To discuss such matters, 13 federal agencies were invited to provide testimony about the Administration’s climate policy before the House Energy Committee on September 18. Only two accepted, providing EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz as witnesses.

A notable exchange occurred about 2 hours and 16 minutes into the hearing between McCarthy and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.). My friend Marlo Lewis at the Competitive Enterprise Institute provided an unofficial transcribed version of this segment, which can also be viewed directly on Youtube.

Pompeo: Ms. McCarthy I want to ask a couple of questions of you. So one of the objectives today is to identify the greenhouse gas regulations that already existed and those in the future — how they actually impact the climate change, right? So you’d agree we want to have a successful climate policy as a result of those sets of rules and regulations that you promulgate? Fair base line statement?

McCarthy: In the context of a larger international effort, yes.

Pompeo: You bet. And on your website you have 26 indicators used for tracking climate change. They identify various impacts of climate change. So you would believe that the purpose of these rules is to impact those 26 indicators, right? So you put a good greenhouse gas regulation in place, you’ll get a good outcome on at least some or all of those 26 indicators.

McCarthy: I actually . . . I think that the better way to think about it, if I might, is that it is part of an overall strategy that is positioning the U.S. for leadership in an international discussion. Because climate change requires a global effort. So this is one piece and it’s one step. But I think it’s a significant one to show the commitment of the United States.

Pompeo: Do you think it would be reasonable to take the regulations you promulgated and link them to those 26 indicators that you have on your website? That this is how they impacted us?

McCarthy: It is unlikely that any specific one step is going to be seen as having a visible impact on any of those impacts — a visible change in any of those impacts. What I’m suggesting is that climate change [policy] has to be a broader array of actions that the U.S. and other folks in the international community take that make significant effort towards reducing greenhouse gases and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Pompeo: But these are your indicators, Ms. McCarthy. So . . .

McCarthy: They are indicators of climate change, they are not directly applicable to performance impacts of any one action.

Pompeo: How about the cumulative impact of your actions? Certainly you’re acting in a way . . . you say these are indicators of climate change. Certainly it can’t be the case that your testimony today is that your cumulative impact of the current set of regulations and those you’re proposing isn’t going to have any impact at all on any of those indicators?

McCarthy: I think the President was very clear. What we’re attempting to do is put together a comprehensive climate plan, across the Administration, that positions the U.S. for leadership on this issue and that will prompt and leverage international discussions and action.

Pompeo: So you’re putting regulations in place for the purpose of leadership but not to impact the indicators that you, the EPA, says are the indicators of climate change? I’m puzzled by that.

McCarthy: Congressman we work within the authority that Congress gave us to do what we can. But all I’m pointing out is that much more needs to be done and it needs to be looked at in that larger context.

Pompeo: In 2010 with NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration], in your opening statement you said you’ve gotten rid of about 6 billion metric tons [of greenhouse gases]. One of your indicators, for example, is heat-related deaths. How many heat-related deaths have been eliminated as a result of the 2010 NHTSA rules?

McCarthy: You can’t make those direct connections Congressman. Neither can I.

Pompeo: There’s literally no connection between the activities you’re undertaking and . . .

McCarthy: I didn’t say that.

Pompeo: Well, you said you can’t make the connections, so tell me what I’m not understanding. Can you draw a connection between the rules you’re providing, the regulations you’re promulgating, and your indicators? Or is it just . . .

McCarthy: I think what you’re asking is can EPA in and of itself solve the problems of climate change. No we cannot. But the authority you gave us was to use the Clean Air Act to regulate pollution, carbon pollution is one of those regulated pollutants, and we’re going to move forward with what we can do that’s reasonable and appropriate.

Pompeo: I’m actually not asking that question that you suppose that I’m asking. I’m not asking whether you have the power to solve greenhouse gases. What I asked was: Is anything you’re doing, doing any good? As measured by the indicators that you’ve provided. Is your testimony that you just have no capacity to identify whether the actions EPA has undertaken has any impact on those indicators? Literally, this is about science — cause and effect. Is there any causal relationship between the regulations you promulgated and the 26 indicators of climate change that you have on your website?

McCarthy: The indicators on the website are broad global indicators. . .

Pompeo: They’re not broad, they’re very specific.

McCarthy: . . .of impacts associated with climate change. They are not performance requirements or impacts related to any particular act.

Pompeo: I actually like the indicators — they’re quantifiable, right? Heat-related death, change in ocean heat, sea-level rises, snow cover — those are very quantifiable things. But now you’re telling me . . .

McCarthy: They indicate the public health associated with climate change.

Pompeo: Exactly, but you’re telling me you can’t link up your actions at EPA to any benefit associated with those quantifiable indicators that the EPA itself has proposed as indicative of climate change.

McCarthy: I think what we’re able to do is to show — and I hope we will show this in the package that we put out for comment — is what kind of reductions are going be associated with our rules, what we believe they will have in terms of an economic and a public health benefit. But it is again part of a very large strategy.

Pompeo: My time has expired.

So there you have it. Regardless of the countless billions of taxpayer and consumer dollars being spent to wage war on natural and inevitable climate change, the EPA head is unable to identify any discernible health and welfare benefits of her agency’s draconian regulatory policies. Instead, the apparent goal of the EPA’s current and proposed greenhouse gas regulations is to persuade the international community, particularly China, India, and other developing nations, to follow the Obama administration’s U.S. leadership over an economic precipice.

Let’s finally get it straight. Carbon dioxide isn’t a dangerous “pollutant”… it’s a natural and essential plant food. The real dangers to public health and welfare are the economic destruction, job elimination, and escalating costs of food, energy, and other essentials resulting from scientifically unwarranted policies. The greatest burdens of such sophistry fall upon those who can least afford them.


Gullible Green sailors trapped in the Arctic

The naïve advice of ardent activists can kill. Last spring, Paul Beckwith of Sierra Club Canada predicted that the Arctic seas would be ice-free ice this summer. (So did Britain’s BBC network.)  This exciting adventure opportunity attracted a variety of yachts, sailboats, rowboats, and kayaks owners to try sailing the fabled Northwest Passage.

As a former sailboat owner I can understand their excitement, but my heart aches for the agonies they now face. The Arctic sea ice suddenly expanded 60 percent this fall, after the coldest summer in the modern Alaska temperature record. The passage is now impassable. More than a dozen of the boats are trapped, apparently even including a group of tiny American jet-ski “personal watercraft” that were attempting to cross from the east coast of Russia to the North Atlantic.  Arctic observers are now warning that even Canadian icebreakers might not be able to rescue them.

The Northwest Passage blog reminds us that fall super storms are a potentially deadly fact in Alaska. “It is only a matter time. . . . Give Mother Nature her due time and she will move billions of tons of sea ice and push it up against the Alaska Arctic coast—effectively closing the door to exit the Arctic ice from western Canada. . . . No icebreakers are going to be able to offer any assistance. Mother Nature is mightier than all the icebreakers put together.”  Note that the Atlantic exit is already problematic.

Helicopter rescues on Arctic ice are incredibly expensive, involving hundreds of miles of flying by copters and crews expensively maintained in that icy and sparsely populated region. Additionally, all the lovely boats become write-offs.

The boaters ignored major warning signs. The planet has not warmed appreciably in at least 15 years. NASA told us in 2007 that the Pacific Ocean had shifted into the cool phase of its 60-year cycle and that fact predicted cooler winters until 2030.

Most concerning of all is that the costs of an Arctic sailing mistake are horrendous. Wonderfully preserved hulks of sunken explorers’ ships litter the sea-bottom around the Northwest Passage. Some of the vessels that survived the ice were trapped for as long as three winters. At least one sailboat recently froze into the ice near Svalbard. The captain and his boat were buried under the heavy snow, 100 miles from human habitation. (He actually survived to write a book.)

The risks run by the Arctic boaters are obvious. Modern society is running less obvious risks based on the same sort of naïve advice coming from the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a host of like-minded “saviors of the planet.” What about the poor and elderly Britons and Germans who have frozen to death in their homes because they couldn’t afford the higher costs of gas and electricity imposed by “renewable fuels”?

What about the millions of Third World mothers and children who die of lung diseases every year as it is politically incorrect to give them access to tiny amounts of kerosene for heating and cooking. The alternative is burning dung and charcoal in indoor, poorly ventilated fires.

Closer to home, what about the millions of young Americans who can’t get jobs in an economy stalled by overpriced “Green” energy and investor uncertainty over the War on Coal?  Inevitably, being gullible carries a price tag. We are just beginning to realize how expensive the naïveté of the environmental movement has become.


David Suzuki Attacks Climate Science

David Suzuki, better known in Canada than in the U.S. and other parts of the world, is a former scientist and modern-day financier of the radical fringes of the environmental movement. In a widely circulated essay, he criticizes media outlets ranging from Canada’s Financial Post to the Washington Post in the U.S. for daring to cover the scientific debate over the causes and consequences of climate change.

He also singled out and attacked three scientists who led a team of nearly 50 scientists who wrote or contributed to a report, titled Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, released earlier this week by my organization, The Heartland Institute.

Why would a former scientist attack scientists for doing exactly what good scientists have always done, which is to question theories and predictions based on fear and ignorance rather than facts and reason? Why does Suzuki criticize the press for doing what good journalists ought to do, which is cover both sides of debates over issues with serious consequences for public policy?

Let me be clear: Suzuki is not speaking as a scientist. He spent so little time looking at the report he criticizes that he mis-identifies the organization that produced it: It is the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), not the International Climate Science Coalition. (The Heartland Institute published the report for NIPCC).

Suzuki mistakenly says the 1,000-page report was not peer-reviewed. In fact it was doubly peer-reviewed. Nearly all of the 4,000-plus sources it cites originally appeared in peer-reviewed journals, and the volume itself was put through peer review by the three lead authors. The reviewers are clearly identified in the report and in its Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

While Suzuki failed to read the report and SPM that are available for free online (at, he’s happy to endorse without qualification a report that hasn’t yet been written: the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fifth assessment report, which he says “is a review of all the available science on climate change.”

Of course he has not compared the sources cited in the yet-to-be-published IPCC report and those cited in the NIPCC report. So how does he know the IPCC report reviews “all of the available science”? He obviously does not.

David Suzuki epitomizes what is wrong with the environmental movement today. It embraces positions without critical thought and regardless of the actual scientific evidence, so long as those positions appear to advance its political agenda. It attacks and demonizes anyone, even scientists, who dare to point this out. Until environmentalists publicly rebuke and distance themselves from irresponsible demagogues like David Suzuki, the movement will continue to lose the public support it once had.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Climate models wildly overestimated global warming, study finds

Can you rely on the weather forecast? Maybe not, at least when it comes to global warming predictions over short time periods.

That’s the upshot of a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change that compared 117 climate predictions made in the 1990's to the actual amount of warming. Out of 117 predictions, the study’s author told, three were roughly accurate and 114 overestimated the amount of warming. On average, the predictions forecasted two times more global warming than actually occurred.

Some scientists say the study shows that climate modelers need to go back to the drawing board.

"It's a real problem ... it shows that there really is something that needs to be fixed in the climate models," climate scientist John Christy, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told

But other scientists say that's making a mountain out of a molehill.

"This is neither surprising nor particularly troubling to me as a climate scientist," Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told "The work of our community is constantly to refine our understanding of the climate system and improve models based on that," she added.

The climate models, Fitzpatrick said, will likely be correct over long periods of time. But there are too many variations in climate to expect models to be accurate over two decades.

But John Christy says that climate models have had this problem going back 35 years, to 1979, the first year for which reliable satellite temperature data exists to compare the predictions to.

"I looked at 73 climate models going back to 1979 and every single one predicted more warming than happened in the real world," Christy said.

Many of the overestimations also made their way into the popular press. In 1989, the Associate Press reported: "Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide 2 degrees by 2010."

But according to NASA, global temperature has increased by less than half that -- about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit -- from 1989 to 2010.

And in 1972, the Christian Science Monitor reported: "Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000." That also proved wrong.

But people should still be concerned about global warming, Fitzpatrick says.

"The paper in no way diminishes the extensive body of observations that global warming is happening and that it is largely due to human activity," she added.

"Global surface temperature is still rising ... 2012 was in the top ten warmest years on record. The period 2001-2010 was the warmest on record since instrumental measurements began," she added.

Christy agrees that there has been some warming over time, but says man-made greenhouse gasses are not as big of a driver of climate change as many think -- and that many scientists are in denial about their mistakes.

"I think in one sense the climate establishment is embarrassed by this, and so they're trying to minimize the problem," he said. "The fundamental thing a climate model is supposed to predict is temperature. And yet it gets that wrong."

The study authors did not answer questions from about the policy implications of their research.

Why were the predictions off? The study authors list many possible reasons, from solar irradiation and incorrect assumptions about the number of volcanic eruptions to bad estimates about how CO2 effects cloud patterns.

Christy said he believes the models overestimate warming because of the way they handle clouds.

“Most models assume that clouds shrink when there is CO2 warming, and that lets in more sun, and that's what heats up the planet – not so much the direct effect of CO2, but the ‘feedback effect’ of having fewer clouds. In the real world, though, the clouds aren't shrinking,” he said.

The study also says that an overestimate of the power of CO2 as a greenhouse gas could be why the models over-predict, but that they do not know why the models are wrong at this point.

Christy said he is not optimistic about the models being fixed.

"The Earth system is just too complex to be represented in current climate models. I don’t think they’ll get it right for a long time."



Temperatures have been declining since the start of the millennium. Until the Warmists can explain that, any future predictions are meaningless.

Remember All Those Predictions About A rapidly melting Arctic?

Remember all those claims last year about accelerating Arctic ice loss and an ice-free Arctic by 2015 or 2020? Well, actually you don’t, because nobody ever made those claims. In fact, you heard exactly the opposite. You may think you heard claims about accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent ice-free Arctic, but they were merely figments of your imagination. You were merely hallucinating. How do I know this? Global warming alarmists just told us so.

Writing in Monday’s UK Guardian, alarmists John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli claim global warming alarmists predicted this year’s record growth in Arctic sea ice. And all those claims of doom-and-gloom predictions about Arctic sea ice in 2012? They were apparently just figments of our collective imagination.

So when you click on this article published by the very same UK Guardian last September 17, you really aren’t reading the article title that you think you are reading:  “Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years.”

You really aren’t reading this gem of a quote from the story’s central “expert,” either:  “This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates.”

When you click on this New York Times article, you also aren’t seeing what you think you see, because global warming alarmists apparently told us last year the 2012 Arctic ice season was unlikely to be repeated in 2013.  According to our collective hallucination in the September 19, 2012 New York Times:

“‘The Arctic is the earth’s air-conditioner,’ said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the snow and ice center, an agency sponsored by the government. ‘We’re losing that. It’s not just that polar bears might go extinct, or that native communities might have to adapt, which we’re already seeing — there are larger climate effects.’”

“Now, some scientists think the Arctic Ocean could be largely free of summer ice as soon as 2020,” the Times continued, according to our collective hallucination.

“Scientists said Wednesday that the Arctic has become a prime example of the built-in conservatism of their climate forecasts. As dire as their warnings about the long-term consequences of heat-trapping emissions have been, many of them fear they may still be underestimating the speed and severity of the impending changes,” the Times apparently never reported.

Of course, the UK Guardian and the New York Times are just two of many publications that warned us about rapidly accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent loss of the entire polar ice cap. Er, I mean, the UK Guardian and the New York Times are just two of many publications that we falsely thinkwarned us about rapidly accelerating Arctic ice loss and an imminent loss of the entire polar ice cap.

These hallucinations are strikingly similar to when we erroneously believe alarmists warned us about less snowfall, more hurricanes, shrinking Antarctic sea ice, the Gulf Stream shutting down, etc. When the earth’s climate reacts exactly in the opposite manner as predicted by global warming alarmists, they pretend they never made such scary predictions in the first place.

No, alarmists never predicted Arctic sea ice would recede this year. They all predicted record Arctic sea ice growth, instead. Any such memories to the contrary are mere hallucinations. We know this because if the alarmists ever had made such doom-and-gloom predictions, it would prove to be yet another epic fail in the annals of silly and disproven global warming predictions


Schism in the church of Warmism!

Environmental activist Naomi Klein published an open letter this week eviscerating Center for American Progress front man Joe Romm for making ignorant statements and irresponsibly making hatchet-job attacks on people with differing points of view.

In an interview published last week by, Klein said Big Green environmental groups are engaging in “very deep denialism” that is causing more harm to the goal of limiting carbon dioxide emissions than the efforts of global warming skeptics. Klein said many Big Green groups are soliciting and accepting large amounts of cash from corporations who stand to profit from asserted global warming solutions and then are beholden to the corporations’ quest for corporate welfare, even when they are proposing ineffective or counterproductive programs to address global warming.

“I think it’s a really important question why the green groups have been so unwilling to follow science to its logical conclusions,” Klein added.

The Center for American Progress, funded by renewable energy lobbyists seeking massive taxpayer subsidies and renewable power mandates, apparently felt threatened by Klein’s observations. Center for American Progress front man Joe Romm posted an article on the organization’s website blasting Klein.

“She is not just wrong, she is profoundly wrong. Her revisionist history is wrong, too, and contradicted by her policy prescriptions,” wrote Romm.

“Klein saves much of her wrath for cap-and-trade — the favorite whipping boy of the counterfactual crowd – but to understand why her analysis is so wrong we need to first look at her revisionist history,” wrote Romm, before adding, “There are so many misleading statements packed in there, it is hard to know where to begin.”

“Klein is the queen of conflation and revisionism,” Romm piled on.


Britain: The Green Party want to become Ed Miliband's worst nightmare: a Ukip of the Left

When my train arrived at Brighton Station yesterday, I did not expect the first politician I saw to be Caroline Lucas. This was the Labour Conference, so what the hell was the Green Party’s MP doing, eager to chat to anyone as they came out of the station?

Lucas was there precisely because it was the Labour Conference. Taking advantage of location – Lucas is the Honorable Member for Brighton Pavilion – she has used it to remind everyone that the Green Party still exists. And it needs disillusioned Lefty votes, pronto.

A reminder comes with the Green Party billboard you encounter on the way to the Labour conference. “Welcome to Brighton: Home of the true opposition in Parliament”, it declares. "PS – Labour is down the hill on the right." In case the message isn’t clear enough, the revolving billboard also has a checklist of all the things the Greens stand for and Labour, we can assume, do not. Saving the NHS. Tick. Fighting Austerity. Tick. Railways in public hands. Tick. Scrapping Trident. Tick.

Despite Ed Miliband’s reply when asked about bringing back socialism – “That’s what we are trying to do, sir” – there is a lot of grumbling on the Left of the party. In a fringe meeting yesterday the suggestion that Labour propose a Financial Transaction Tax received nods of approval. There weren't many when Chuka Umunna warned that, unless there was a concerted international effort, banking jobs would be lost.

Since the formation of the Coalition, Labour has monopolised the political Left. But this year the Greens have tried to fill the vacuum. Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett, the Green Party leader, were both founding members of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in February. The more time they spend sharing a stage with Owen Jones, Ken Loach and company, the more the Greens can present themselves as an attractive Leftist alternative to Labour. Caroline Lucas says: "We know that a lot of the policies we're putting forward – against NHS privatisation for example – do strike a chord with disillusioned Labour voters. And I think a lot of Labour members want to see their leadership follow our lead and take a stronger line against austerity." She also stresses that "I've voted against the Government on a range of issues where Labour have supported them."

The Greens may dream of becoming the “Ukip of the Left”. That isn’t going to happen. Ukip's obsession with immigration captures the public imagination; CO2 emissions do not. But the Greens are still a force that could take crucial votes away from Labour in 2015. The party "has been good at concentrating its limited resources in areas where it has a toehold", says Joe Twyman, a YouGov director. The Greens have over 150 councillors (only 60 fewer than Ukip) and, of course, an MP.

Ed Miliband’s great advantage has always been that, while the Right is a house divided, the Left is not. Now the Greens are making an explicit pitch to disgruntled Labour voters. How successful they are could go a long way to determining whether Miliband gets to Number 10.


Regulatory Commissars: EPA Issues Rules

Two weeks ago we outlined what to expect when the Environmental Protection Agency was to present new climate regulation ordered by Barack Obama through executive power in June. The EPA's official report released Friday affirms our report: “[N]ew large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour.”

The result will be intentionally disastrous for coal-powered plants that will now be forced to install costly carbon capture technology. “No coal-fired power plant has done that yet, in large part because of the cost,” observes The Wall Street Journal. “And those plants that the EPA points to as potential models … have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and tax credits.” Imagine that: An expensive (and likely subpar) technology in need of a government subsidy. We have a good idea how this will turn out.

Perhaps the most egregious comments come from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. While testifying last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, McCarthy was asked what effect any of the EPA's 26 climate regulations have had on curbing global warming. “It's unlikely that any specific one step is going to be seen as having … a visible change in any of those [indicators],” McCarthy admitted.

So let's get this straight: An administration working to “save the planet” from “climate change” admits it's likely none of the regulations have done anything to actually curb warming. And yet, the answer is to instate more carbon rules. This administration will do whatever it takes to destroy the coal industry in service to its leftist ideology.


Australia's public broadcaster hearts Greenies

The hysterical David Suzuki is treated as a VIP

Tonight provides further evidence of bias at the ABC. David Suzuki appears on Q&A without any other panelists. Normally Q&A consists of a panel of six people with Tony Jones. Occasionally there will be just two (and Tony Jones) – such as when Chris Bowen and Joe Hockey appeared on 19 August 2013.

Very rarely there will be just one panelist, like tonight’s show with David Suzuki. The previous examples are:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (2 September 2013 and 8 February 2010)

Prime Minister Julia Gillard (6 May 2013, 11 June 2012, 11 July 2011, 14 March 2011, 9 August 2010)

Former Prime Minister John Howard (25 October 2010)

Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott (16 August 2010)

Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull (13 October 2008)

Retiring Leader of the Greens Senator Bob Brown (23 April 2012)

With the exception of Bob Brown (who was at least leader of a minor party in the Parliament of Australia), all the others have been Prime Ministers or Opposition Leaders.

Now comes David Suzuki with no particular claim to fame except on the Q&A website as a: "Renowned Environmental Scientist and Campaigner"

How much did the ABC pay David Suzuki to appear? Have they provided young ladies to accompany him as is his wont?

It is time to privatise the ABC.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here