Monday, June 02, 2014
Pause in global warming upsets religious believers
Ross McKitrick is best known as the Canadian professor who took the so-called hockey stick graph — which is worshipped unquestioningly by anthropogenic global warming religionists — and snapped it over his scientific data like a piece of kindling.
Now the environmental economics professor at the University of Guelph is putting his data crunching prowess to work on global warming climate models and is similarly destroying the credibility of these forecasts — which are looking less reliable than tarot card reading.
Earlier this week, McKitrick ably showed a crowd of about 300 people at a joint Friends of Science/Frontier Centre for Public Policy luncheon in Calgary how the gap is growing wider and longer between what global warming models predicted and what has actually happened to the world’s climate.
In a discussion entitled “The ‘Pause’ in Global Warming: Climate Policy Implications,” McKitrick stated that “it’s not so much the pause but the flaws that matter” most with regard to general circulation models or global climate models (GCMs).
McKitrick showed a lot of graphs and mathematical equations that cannot be adequately reproduced in this space (but can be viewed on the Friends of Science website) which clearly show that since 1994, warming on Earth has levelled off and that the trend actually “goes negative in 2001” to the present day.
McKitrick’s data all comes from what is called HadCRUT — which is the data of monthly digital temperature records formed by combining the sea surface temperature records collected by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the land surface air temperature records compiled by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. (This is the university that was engulfed in controversy in recent years after its CRU emails were hacked and it was shown that these climate scientists wanted to find ways “to hide the decline” in global temperatures. But I digress.)
To his credit, McKitrick pointed out to the crowd that on its own, the 20-year pause in warming “means nothing.”
But then he showed some graphs which show observed temperatures with climate models, and something strange happens. From 1890 to 1990, the maximum amount of time in which the two lines don’t cross was nine years, way back in the late 1800s. Currently, the two lines between climate models and real world temperatures haven’t crossed for 14 years and climbing.
“This is the real issue,” says McKitrick. “At the point when the modelers could no longer peek at the answer, they started getting it wrong. Significantly wrong.”
Between 1990 and 2014, CO2 levels increased by 13 per cent. The climate models all agree on what should have happened, which is why the climate religionists at the CRU wanted to cook the books to “hide the decline.”
Fully 111 out of 114 models touted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted too much warming.
The models predicted warming of 0.21 C per decade — which is more than four times the actual observed level.
As Hans von Storch of the Institute of Coastal Sciences in Germany stated recently: “If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modelled scenario,” said von Storch, a renowned “consensus” climate scientist.
Indeed, last year, von Storch said: “We’re facing a puzzle. Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius — a value very close to zero.”
Judith Curry, climatologist and chair of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech, says: “If the 20-year threshold is reached for the pause, this will lead inescapably to the conclusion that the climate model sensitivity to CO2 is too large. Further, 20 years is approaching the length of the warming period from 1976-2000 that is the main smoking gun for AGW (man made global warming.)”
Right. Twenty years of warming caused these scientists to claim that a global crisis was imminent. Will 20 years of no warming or even cooling mean the crisis is averted? Don’t count on that.
McKitrick points out that some climate scientists are scrambling to explain the pause. They’re saying that the oceans are absorbing more heat than expected, or that there are changes in Pacific wind patterns, or that there is poor coverage of the Arctic surface or on declining stratospheric water vapour.
“These are all new hypotheses,” points out McKitrick, “yet the science was supposedly ‘settled’ over a decade ago.”
Of course, there are social and policy implications if the climate models that have predicted catastrophe are proven wrong.
Apparently, “within standard uncertainties, Integrated Assessment Modelling (IAM) estimates of the social cost of carbon falls somewhere between $0 and $206 per tonne of CO2.” The crowd laughed at that slide.
Clearly, the “settled science” was predicting too much warming in response to CO2 emissions. McKitrick says within the next two to four years, this will be “decisively confirmed” unless it is “explained away.”
In other words, expect new theories. After all, there’s a reason AGW religionists all talk about climate change now instead of global warming: they have too much at stake to let their gravy train crash and burn like the credibility of their climate models.
Scientist Dr. Daniel Botkin Tells Congress why he reversed his belief in global warming to become a skeptic
Prominent Scientist Dr. Botkin, who has studied climate change for 45 years, told the Committee in Q&A: 'I have been concerned about global warming since 1968 and in the 1980s, it looked like the weight of evidence lent towards human induced climate change, to a significant extant, and since then it's moved against it.'
Later in the hearing, Botkin elaborated: 'I was concerned that there was a human induced climate warning and I gave talks and TV interviews that said that, but since the middle of the 1990s, there is evidence that is running against that.
For example the temperature change is not tracking carbon dioxide very well. Then there is the information from the long term antarctic ice core and some from recent paper in the arctic, that suggest that carbon dioxide does not lead temperature change, it may actually lag it significantly or may not lead it at all, and if that is the case that is still an open but important scientific evidence.
Since 1968 I have published research on theoretical global warming, its potential ecological effects, and the implications for people and biodiversity. I have spent my career trying to help conserve our environment and its great diversity of species. In doing so I have always attempted to maintain an objective, intellectually honest, scientific approach in the best tradition of scientific endeavor. I have, accordingly, been dismayed and disappointed in recent years that this subject has been converted into a political and ideological debate....
I want to state up front that we have been living through a warming trend driven by a variety of influences. However, it is my view that this is not unusual, and contrary to the characterizations by the IPCC and the National Climate Assessment, these environmental changes are not apocalyptic nor irreversible.
2. My biggest concern is that both the reports present a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The reports are “scientific-sounding” rather than based on clearly settled facts or admitting their lack. Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think.
3. HAS IT BEEN WARMING? Yes, we have been living through a warming trend, no doubt about that. The rate of change we are experiencing is also not unprecedented, and the “mystery” of the warming “plateau” simply indicates the inherent complexity of our global biosphere. Change is normal, life on Earth is inherently risky; it always has been. The two reports, however, makes it seem that environmental change is apocalyptic and irreversible. It is not....
The extreme overemphasis on human-induced global warming has taken our attention away from many environmental issues that used to be front and center but have been pretty much ignored in the 21st century.
The Regulatory Death of Energy in America
By Alan Caruba
Before President Obama took office in 2009, the amount of electricity being produced by coal-fired utilities was approximately fifty percent of the total. Today it is approximately forty percent and, when the Environmental Protection Agency regulations take effect as of June 2, more such utilities are likely to close their doors. The basis for the regulations is utterly devoid of any scientific facts.
Environmentalism, as expressed by many of the organizations that advocate it is, in fact, an attack on America, its economic system of capitalism, and its need for energy to maintain and grow its business and industrial base. Electricity, of course, is also the energy we all use daily for a multitude of tasks ranging from heating or cooling our homes to the use of our computers and every other appliance.
The EPA regulations are said to be necessary to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) which the Greens deem to be a “pollutant” in our atmosphere. It is not a pollutant, despite a Supreme Court decision that identifies it as such, but rather a gas vital to all life on Earth, used by all vegetation for its growth. CO2 is to vegetation what oxygen is to all animal life. Humans, all seven billion of us, exhale CO2!
Viv Forbes, the Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, notes that the Earth’s atmosphere “is not a greenhouse” and “does not have a glass roof. It uses convection to redistribute heat very quickly.” The claim for several decades has been that CO2 has an effect on the Earth’s surface temperature, but Forbes points out that “water vapor is a far more effective agent for insulating the Earth and preserving its warmth than carbon dioxide,” adding that “there is no evidence that man-made carbon dioxide is a significant cause of global warming.”
Indeed, even though the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has increased, Forbes points out that “Close examination of past records shows that temperature tends to rise before carbon dioxide content rises, sometimes centuries earlier.” Significantly, at the same time Greens have been crying out against emissions of CO2 from coal-fired utilities and other sources, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle now verging on eighteen years!
The EPA is lying to Americans regarding carbon dioxide and, worse, its proposed regulations will reduce the number of coal-fired utilities and drive up the cost of electricity for Americans.
One of the many Green organizations, Earthjustice, claims that “Climate change threatens the world as we know it—and the chief culprit is fossil fuel burning. To avert ecological disaster, Earthjustice is pushing for a shift from dirty to clean energy to stabilize our climate and build a thriving sustainable world.”
There is literally nothing that mankind can do to “stabilize” the Earth’s climate. While the Earth has been going through climate change for 4.5 billion years, there is no evidence that anything mankind does has any effect on it. The change the Earth has encountered, as mentioned, is a cooling, a far different scenario than the “global warming” claims of the past three decades or more.
Tom Richard, the editor of ClimageChangeDispatch.com, notes that “Arctic sea ice has rebounded to higher and higher levels each year. Antarctica is actually gaining in size and there has been no increase in droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, ‘extreme weather’, flooding, et cetera.”
Reducing CO2 would have zero benefits while, at the same time, the EPA regulations would have a dangerous and totally unnecessary effect on CO2 emissions from plants producing electricity. Other nations around the world are actually abandoning “clean energy”. i.e., wind and solar power, in favor of building many more coal-fired plants to meet their need to provide energy for their populations and their economic growth. China and India are just two examples.
To support its claims of the forthcoming EPA regulations, EarthJustice is claiming that climate change “hits people of color the hardest” and that power plants “disproportionately impact Latino communities.” It noted “the moral obligation of faith community to act on climate change and support carbon pollution limits.” This has nothing to do with the actual facts of climate change and CO2 as noted here and is a blatant political campaign to secure support from these groups.
The reality, as noted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a policy research organization founded by former Senate leaders from both parties, was quoted in the May 26 edition of The Wall Street Journal saying “A 25% reduction (of CO2) with a 2015 baseline might make it impossible for some companies to operate”, noting that the cap-and-trade policies of emissions allowances that the EPA is putting in place “amounts to a hidden tax” on a whole range of electrical generation and industrial plants that produce CO2 emissions. The EPA will likely use the term “budget program” to avoid “cap-and-trade”, a proposal that was rejected by Congress.
Writing in Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin, said that the new regulations on carbon emissions “will have a potentially devastating impact on America’s more than 600 coal-fired power plants” noting that “the move was made possible by Supreme Court decisions that ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had the right to regulate (CO2) emissions, giving the President virtual carte blanche to remake this sector of our economy without requiring congressional consent.”
In July, the Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, will hold its ninth international conference on climate change. Previous conferences have brought together some of the world’s leading authorities on meteorology and climatology to debunk the decades of lies Greens have told about climate change and global warming.
The President has put “climate change” high on his list of priorities and it is an attack on the nation’s ability to affordably and extensively provide the energy needed to meet current needs for electricity and reducing our capacity to meet future needs.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is on record saying that the President’s bogus “climate change” policy could cost the U.S. economy $50 billion a year and force more than a third of coal-fired plants to close by 2030. The Heritage Foundation says “The plan will drive up energy prices for American families and businesses without making a dent in global temperatures.”
This is a form of regulatory death for the nation and comes straight out of the Oval Office of the White House.
Spanish Lesson For Obama: Green Energy Transition Unaffordable, May Crash Soon
Lawsuits may force Spain to bring its renewable energy experiment to an end. It’s a green policy fiasco that has gone terribly wrong due to astronomical costs. It’s a powerful lesson for the White House that has often cited the Spanish model as one to emulate.
Only recently, Spain was widely praised as the champion of wind energy in Europe. What is more, all over the country new solar parks were built and renewable energy had become the main source of energy supply on the Iberian Peninsula. Those days, however, may soon be over. That’s because Spain’s industry ministry intends to drastically cut back on subsidies for “clean energy.” The whole country has to cut back, the industry ministry argues drily, and energy producers have to do too.
This argument seems irrefutable since the figures that are now assessed by the government are astronomical indeed. The subsidies that are going to flow into green energy projects on the Iberian Peninsula amount to a staggering 200 billion euros. Approximately 56 billion euros have already been paid out. The lion’s share of this sum went into rather generous feed-in tariffs for wind and solar energy which, since 1995, have attracted numerous investors from both home and abroad.
The remaining 143 billion euros are due to be paid out in the next 20 years for green energy projects that have already been connected to the grid, foremost for solar farms.
Given these sums, it would appear that industry minister Jose Manuel Soria has come to the conclusion that the only option left is to put his foot down. He now plans to cut green subsidies for the energy sector by about 20 percent, to 7.5 billion euros per annum. The minister, however, has not reckoned with affected green investors who are up in arms and fighting the planned subsidy cuts.
Moratorium on new solar farms
This is not the first time that Spain intends to take advantage of solar investors retrospectively. Numerous foreign investment funds, especially from the US, have invested heavily in Spain’s renewable energy in recent years, expanding solar energy production significantly. They were lured by promises by the then socialist industry minister who had agreed a fixed rate of return of 14 percent per annum for solar park investments.
“The sun can be yours,” huge billboards claimed. Thousands of Spanish investors were keen not to miss this golden opportunity either. As a result, solar power production on the sun-drenched Iberian Peninsula increased from 53 to 313 gigawatt hours (GWh) between 2007 and 2010.
Surprised by the huge demand, the government of socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero introduced a moratorium for new solar farms, guaranteed feed-in tariff were reduced to 25 years and the premiums were paid only for a certain number of hours of sunshine per year. After a change of government at the end of 2012, the new conservative administration upped the ante and introduced a new electricity tax of 7.5 percent, causing the profits for the solar industry to fall by around 30 percent.
A good opportunity for nuclear power?
This week, U.S. energy company Nextera Energy has summoned Spain before the International Centre for Settlement for Investment Disputes (ICSID) to demand redress. The U.S. company regards the new rules as a retroactive change to the original guarantees. Nextera Energy has invested heavily in the Spanish solar power plant Termosol .
Other large investors, such as a Deutsche Bank investment fund, involved in the Andalusian power plant Andasol, and French bank BNP have asked ICSID, a World Bank organization, for arbitration. Another group of foreign investors issued first lawsuits in 2011, based on the European Energy Charter which promises investment protection and prohibits expropriation.
If the investors win their case, Spain can expect claims for damages amounting to billions of euros. In such a case, the further expansion of renewable energy in Spain would then come to end end at once.
The industry minister is not the only one who is aware of the potential consequences. Two traditional power generators, Endesa and Iberdrola, even see a good chance for new deals with nuclear power. They have requested an extension of the operating license for the Garoña nuclear power plant which had already been taken off the grid. Garoña is now expected to provide electricity until 2031. The investor believe that despite new security investments the nuclear power plant will be profitable. They expect that after the boom and bust of recent years the share of renewable energy will decline.
The Casualties of Obama’s War on Coal
This week President Obama is expected to announce new regulations on carbon emissions that will have a potentially devastating impact on America’s more than 600 coal-fired power plants. The move was made possible by Supreme Court decisions that ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency had the right to regulate such emissions, giving the president virtual carte blanche to remake this sector of our economy without requiring congressional consent. As the New York Times reports today, this decision is being closely watched abroad as governments look to see whether the U.S. is setting a good example for other nations, such as China, whose economies are driven by coal and which do far more polluting of the atmosphere than America does.
Yet the Chinese aren’t the only ones following this issue. The president has already signaled that addressing climate change was one of the priorities of his second term as well as making it clear that he was eager to move ahead and govern by executive order rather than via the normal constitutional process that involves the legislative branch. As such, the White House rightly anticipates that this broadside aimed at the coal industry will be intensely popular with Obama’s core constituencies on the left as well as the liberal mainstream media. But while leading Democratic donors such as Tom Steyer will be cheering a measure that fits his ideological agenda, not everybody in the Democratic Party is going to be happy with what amounts to a new Obama war on coal. In particular, the Democrats’ brightest hope for stealing a Republican-controlled Senate seat this fall—Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes—may wind up paying a fearful price for Obama’s decision.
As the Times notes, the conundrum of America’s extremist environmentalist lobby lies in the fact that the U.S. is actually doing relatively little of the carbon damage that they believe is fueling global warming. The vast majority of the increase in emissions comes from developing economies around the globe, especially in places like China. While resistance to the sort of tough restrictions on carbon that environmentalists lust for is strong in nations that produce fossil-based fuels, the Chinese believe that the West should pay the steep economic price involved in such schemes while they and other developing nations are allowed to burn all the coal they want. By making his ruling, Obama won’t just be harming the U.S. economy. By setting a good example, Washington thinks their going first will somehow persuade the Chinese to follow suit.
This is highly unlikely. Though it pays lip service to global warming theories, China’s top priority is building their economy. Meanwhile, nations such as Russia are not shy about stating their unwillingness to stop burning coal. But by taking what he believes is the high road with respect to the environment, the president will be fulfilling not only the promises made to his domestic liberal constituencies but also behaving in a manner that is consistent with his belief in multilateral foreign policy.
But back at home this high-minded environmentalism may not play as well as he thinks. Many Americans fear that Obama will damage their economy while doing nothing to alter the warming equation that is being decided elsewhere. Though the media has followed the White House playbook in emphasizing any report that hypes the threat from global warming while downplaying any development that undermines this thesis, the public has demonstrated repeatedly that this issue is not a priority, especially when compared to their concerns about the economy and jobs. And this is exactly what the president’s orders will affect most grievously.
Among the biggest losers will be regions where the coal industry is a mainstay of the economy. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the best example of such a state is Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remains the country’s most endangered Republican in an election cycle that should otherwise be quite favorable to the GOP. McConnell has been working hard to tie Grimes to Obama, a charge that she has steadfastly rejected. But the president’s regulatory war on coal will be a body blow to Grimes’s attempt to argue that it will be her and not Obama who will be on the ballot this November. Grimes smartly opposes the administration’s environmentalist stands with respect to coal, but the new orders will escalate the struggle to a point where it could play a crucial role in the midterms. Grimes has sought to make McConnell the main issue in the contest, something that is not to the advantage of the dour minority leader and longtime incumbent.
But if the key issue is defense of Kentucky’s coal industry against the White House, it will be difficult for the Democrat to assert that she will be in a better position to resist this assault than the man who may be the majority leader of the upper body next January. In a contest to see who can be most hostile to Obama, the GOP has the edge over even the most independent Democrat.
The war on coal is exactly the ticket to fire up the president’s coastal elite base as well as very much what the international community wants. But it could be the death knell for Grimes’s Senate hopes. If that race makes the difference in deciding control of the Senate, it could be that global warming will be the issue that pushes Obama from a weak-second term incumbent to dead-in-the-water lame duck.
Coral reefs are better at coping with rising sea temperatures than we thought
Coral reefs are under threat from rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. But in a recent paper, published in Science, it was found that certain types of coral are able to adapt to tolerate higher sea temperatures by changing the genes they express. Scientists think this new discovery could be used to devise new ways of protecting coral reefs, as well as improving our predictions of how they will cope with climate change in the future.
Known as the "rainforests of the sea," coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Despite only covering 0.1 percent of the ocean's surface, they provide a home for 25 percent of all maritime species, including fish, mollusks, and sponges.
Coral reefs are actually deposits of calcium carbonate, the substance found in sea shells. The makeup of any coral reef is complex and consists of microscopic organisms called corals that live together in small colonies known as polyps. Polyps that contain "reef building" coral species are responsible for laying down the calcium carbonate that form the reefs. Corals live together with algae, and this relationship helps coral reefs survive.
But when coral reefs experience stress, such as an increase in sea temperature, they sometimes expel the algae, which results in coral bleaching, a phenomenon in which the coral loses all its color, appearing completely white. This can result in the death of the reef. For example, in 2005, the US lost half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean to a massive bleaching event.
It is already known that some corals are better than others at coping with stress. So Professor Stephen Palumbi and his colleagues at Stanford University in California set out to assess whether coral species have the ability to acclimate to warmer temperatures by increasing their thermal tolerance levels.
Palumbi and his team completed their fieldwork on coral reefs in the U.S. National Park of American Samoa on Ofu Island. They concentrated on an important reef-building coral species. The corals were contained in two adjacent pools. In the first pool, water temperatures were more varied, reaching temperatures as high as 35°C. This was known as the highly variable pool. The second pool, known as the moderately variable pool, rarely experienced water temperatures of above 32°C.
First, the researchers tested the photosynthesis rates of corals from both pools to compare how well they coped with high temperatures. They then transplanted coral colonies from the moderately variable pool to the highly variable pool to see if the coral would adapt to higher water temperatures. The transplanted corals were left to acclimate over the course of about two years, and were regularly tested for thermal tolerance over this time. The researchers conducted genetic analysis to see if there was any change in gene expression during this period that would result in higher thermal tolerance.
It was found that corals in the highly variable pool were more tolerant of higher temperatures when compared to the corals in the moderately variable pool. But the most interesting finding involved the ability of the coral to acclimate to higher water temperatures. Dr Daniel Barshis, part of the team that completed the research, said: "The most important finding was that corals are capable of increasing their thermal tolerance limits substantially in just 12 to 18 months. This acclimation in upper tolerance limits correlates with changes in gene expression as well."
Barshis went on to say that this new knowledge should be integrated into models that predict the effects of global warming on coral reefs to help us understand how they will respond to rising sea temperatures in the future, he said: "This research provides some glimmer of hope that corals may have the ability to survive more than we've given them credit for, but only if we reduce the amount of current and future stresses."
This research also has many real-world applications that could help protect coral reefs from future climate change. Palumbi said, "It should be possible to use climate-resistant corals in transplant/restoration efforts in order to replant reefs with greater future resilience. This is one of the things we are doing this summer in a set of pilot projects in Samoa."
More information: Mechanisms of reef coral resistance to future climate change, Science 23 May 2014: Vol. 344 no. 6186 pp. 895-898. DOI: 10.1126/science.1251336
Reef corals are highly sensitive to heat, yet populations resistant to climate change have recently been identified. To determine the mechanisms of temperature tolerance, we reciprocally transplanted corals between reef sites experiencing distinct temperature regimes and tested subsequent physiological and gene expression profiles. Local acclimatization and fixed effects, such as adaptation, contributed about equally to heat tolerance and are reflected in patterns of gene expression. In less than 2 years, acclimatization achieves the same heat tolerance that we would expect from strong natural selection over many generations for these long-lived organisms. Our results show both short-term acclimatory and longer-term adaptive acquisition of climate resistance. Adding these adaptive abilities to ecosystem models is likely to slow predictions of demise for coral reef ecosystems.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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
Posted by JR at 9:08 PM