Thursday, October 16, 2014

Those moving goalposts again

Warmists are good at moving the goalposts. Catastrophe (runaway warming) was once slated to strike once atmospheric CO2 levels reached 400 ppm.  We are now there with NO change in the temperature.  So do they say "Sorry. We were wrong"?  No way.  They are just more vague about when warming will strike.  And there were LOTS of bad things that were supposed to happen by 2014 which have not happened.  Still no sign of penitence.  They just don't name dates much anymore.

So rather a lot of laughs in the report below.  The authors claim to have shown that sea levels suddenly started rising 150 years ago.  So is that evidence of man-made global warming?  It certainly runs counter to the usual Warmist claim that manmade global warming got going only in the second half of the 20th century.  So the finding must contradict Warmism, right?  It must show that sea-level was rising long before the industrial upsurge of the postwar era?

Not on your Nelly!  We read below that 150 years ago was "the same time humanity began to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels".  The onset of manmade global warming has suddenly been shunted back by around 100 years!  VERY mobile goalposts!

And a small niggle.  In the journal abstract also reproduced below the number of readings they took is given as ~1,000.  Note the tilde (~), meaning "approximately".  Don't they know how many records they used?  Amazingly sloppy data processing if so.

But the whole enterprise is a nonsense.  Present-day readings of sea level are difficult enough without thinking you can do it accurately 6,000 years back.  See here where it shows that the sea level rise since 1970 has been 4.7 inches in Boston and 8.02 inches in Atlantic city.  The rise in Atlantic city has been double what it was in Boston!  So which is the true sea level? The obvious answer is that there is no such thing.  So what these authors measured was just one sampling of sea levels which may tell us nothing about any general sea-level over the last 6,000 years


Melting glacial ice and ice sheets have driven seas to levels unmatched in the past 6,000 years, says a study out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers studied examples of past sediments in Australia and Asia that dated back 35,000 years and found that overall, the planet's sea level was fairly stable for most of the past 6,000 years.

Things began to go haywire about 150 years ago, the same time humanity began to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

"There's something going on today that wasn't going on before," said Kurt Lambeck of the Australian National University, who was lead author of the study, in an interview with the Australia Broadcasting Corp. He said the sea level rise is affected by increasing temperatures.

As the Earth's temperature warms, so do the seas. Heat-trapping greenhouse gases cause more land ice (glaciers and ice sheets) to melt and water to expand.

Lambeck told the Guardian that the sea level increase of the past 100 years is "beyond dispute."

Sea level has risen nearly 8 inches worldwide since 1880, but it doesn't rise at the same level. In the past century or so, it has climbed about a foot or more in some U.S. cities such as Charleston, Norfolk and Galveston because of the added influence of ocean currents and land subsidence.

Global sea level will rise 1 to 3 feet around the world by the end of this century, according to this year's Fifth Assessment Report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Sea level and global ice volumes from the Last Glacial Maximum to the Holocene

By Kurt Lambeck et al.


Several areas of earth science require knowledge of the fluctuations in sea level and ice volume through glacial cycles. These include understanding past ice sheets and providing boundary conditions for paleoclimate models, calibrating marine-sediment isotopic records, and providing the background signal for evaluating anthropogenic contributions to sea level. From ~1,000 observations of sea level, allowing for isostatic and tectonic contributions, we have quantified the rise and fall in global ocean and ice volumes for the past 35,000 years. Of particular note is that during the ~6,000 y up to the start of the recent rise ~100−150 y ago, there is no evidence for global oscillations in sea level on time scales exceeding ~200 y duration or 15−20 cm amplitude.


The major cause of sea-level change during ice ages is the exchange of water between ice and ocean and the planet’s dynamic response to the changing surface load. Inversion of ~1,000 observations for the past 35,000 y from localities far from former ice margins has provided new constraints on the fluctuation of ice volume in this interval. Key results are: (i) a rapid final fall in global sea level of ~40 m in <2,000 y at the onset of the glacial maximum ~30,000 y before present (30 ka BP); (ii) a slow fall to −134 m from 29 to 21 ka BP with a maximum grounded ice volume of ~52 × 106 km3 greater than today; (iii) after an initial short duration rapid rise and a short interval of near-constant sea level, the main phase of deglaciation occurred from ~16.5 ka BP to ~8.2 ka BP at an average rate of rise of 12 m⋅ka−1 punctuated by periods of greater, particularly at 14.5–14.0 ka BP at ≥40 mm⋅y−1 (MWP-1A), and lesser, from 12.5 to 11.5 ka BP (Younger Dryas), rates; (iv) no evidence for a global MWP-1B event at ~11.3 ka BP; and (v) a progressive decrease in the rate of rise from 8.2 ka to ~2.5 ka BP, after which ocean volumes remained nearly constant until the renewed sea-level rise at 100–150 y ago, with no evidence of oscillations exceeding ~15–20 cm in time intervals around 200 y from 6 to 0.15 ka BP.


The Global Warming Statistical Meltdown

Mounting evidence suggests that basic assumptions about climate change are mistaken: The numbers don’t add up

By Judith Curry (Curry is a "lukewarmer".  Probably for the sake of her standing among other academics, she accepts that CO2 can have a non-trivial effect on temperature.  I would think that the 18 year "pause" is evidence that it cannot.  But she at least gives a low estimate for the magnitude of its potential effect)

At the recent United Nations Climate Summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that “Without significant cuts in emissions by all countries, and in key sectors, the window of opportunity to stay within less than 2 degrees [of warming] will soon close forever.”

Actually, this window of opportunity may remain open for quite some time. A growing body of evidence suggests that the climate is less sensitive to increases in carbon-dioxide emissions than policy makers generally assume—and that the need for reductions in such emissions is less urgent.

According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, preventing “dangerous human interference” with the climate is defined, rather arbitrarily, as limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures. The Earth’s surface temperatures have already warmed about 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1850-1900. This leaves 1.2 degrees Celsius (about 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) to go.

In its most optimistic projections, which assume a substantial decline in emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that the “dangerous” level might never be reached. In its most extreme, pessimistic projections, which assume heavy use of coal and rapid population growth, the threshold could be exceeded as early as 2040. But these projections reflect the effects of rising emissions on temperatures simulated by climate models, which are being challenged by recent observations.

Human-caused warming depends not only on increases in greenhouse gases but also on how “sensitive” the climate is to these increases. Climate sensitivity is defined as the global surface warming that occurs when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles. If climate sensitivity is high, then we can expect substantial warming in the coming century as emissions continue to increase. If climate sensitivity is low, then future warming will be substantially lower, and it may be several generations before we reach what the U.N. considers a dangerous level, even with high emissions.

The IPCC’s latest report (published in 2013) concluded that the actual change in 70 years if carbon-dioxide concentrations double, called the transient climate response, is likely in the range of 1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius. Most climate models have transient climate response values exceeding 1.8 degrees Celsius. But the IPCC report notes the substantial discrepancy between recent observation-based estimates of climate sensitivity and estimates from climate models.

Nicholas Lewis and I have just published a study in Climate Dynamics that shows the best estimate for transient climate response is 1.33 degrees Celsius with a likely range of 1.05-1.80 degrees Celsius. Using an observation-based energy-balance approach, our calculations used the same data for the effects on the Earth’s energy balance of changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and other drivers of climate change given by the IPCC’s latest report.

We also estimated what the long-term warming from a doubling of carbon-dioxide concentrations would be, once the deep ocean had warmed up. Our estimates of sensitivity, both over a 70-year time-frame and long term, are far lower than the average values of sensitivity determined from global climate models that are used for warming projections. Also our ranges are narrower, with far lower upper limits than reported by the IPCC’s latest report. Even our upper limits lie below the average values of climate models.

Our paper is not an outlier. More than a dozen other observation-based studies have found climate sensitivity values lower than those determined using global climate models, including recent papers published in Environmentrics (2012),Nature Geoscience (2013) and Earth Systems Dynamics (2014). These new climate sensitivity estimates add to the growing evidence that climate models are running “too hot.” Moreover, the estimates in these empirical studies are being borne out by the much-discussed “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming—the period since 1998 during which global average surface temperatures have not significantly increased.

This pause in warming is at odds with the 2007 IPCC report, which expected warming to increase at a rate of 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade in the early 21st century. The warming hiatus, combined with assessments that the climate-model sensitivities are too high, raises serious questions as to whether the climate-model projections of 21st-century temperatures are fit for making public-policy decisions.

The sensitivity of the climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is a central question in the debate on the appropriate policy response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.

Continuing to rely on climate-model warming projections based on high, model-derived values of climate sensitivity skews the cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon. This can bias policy decisions. The implications of the lower values of climate sensitivity in our paper, as well as similar other recent studies, is that human-caused warming near the end of the 21st century should be less than the 2-degrees-Celsius “danger” level for all but the IPCC’s most extreme emission scenario.

This slower rate of warming—relative to climate model projections—means there is less urgency to phase out greenhouse gas emissions now, and more time to find ways to decarbonize the economy affordably. It also allows us the flexibility to revise our policies as further information becomes available.


Comedy Gold: Coal plant protest deflated by miserable failure of renewable energy

Madison, Wisconsin: Demonstrators gathered outside the Public Service Commission to protest against a requested rate structure change by the local utility company, Madison Gas and Electric (MG&E). During the protest, they decried the use of "dirty coal" and called for more renewable energy. To make their point, they had a blow-up coal power plant that was running on a fan powered by wind and solar charged batteries. Before the protest was over, however, the batteries died and their solar panel could not produce enough energy to keep the power plant standing upright.

They couldn’t even get their renewable energy sources to keep their puny inflatable coal plant upright, but they don’t want coal to supply the power their city.  This is the “logic” that drives the anti-coal (frankly, anti-science) left.

I love how visibly embarrassed the inflatable operator was.  He should be. His “renewable energy” lasted a paltry 45 minutes.  Apparently he neither understands electricity nor economics.


Senator: Emails Reveal EPA, Green Group in ‘Beyond Cozy’ Relationship

Republican lawmakers say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enjoys a “beyond cozy” relationship with a liberal environmental action group that seeks to reshape national energy policies in a way that would hurt American businesses and families.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, told The Daily Signal that the Natural Resources Defense Council played an “absolutely inappropriate” role in drafting the EPA’s new carbon emissions plan.

“The EPA has been one of the least transparent agencies I have ever seen, but it’s become apparent that their lack of transparency is to hide the influence that an organization so heavily focused on undermining U.S. businesses and families has at EPA,” Vitter said.

Vitter and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., have directed staff to look into whether the EPA broke federal law in developing the carbon emissions regulations.

Newly released emails between the EPA and the green group, Vitter said, show that the agency didn’t push to  “consider all stakeholders’ opinions equally.” He added:

While both sides have denied NRDC’s improper influence over the EPA’s development of the carbon rule, these emails clearly demonstrate their beyond-cozy relationship and force the question: Who is working for whom?

Vitter was referring to the EPA’s rebuttal of allegations by GOP lawmakers that the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-based international environmental organization, had an outsized influence on the agency’s proposed rule to limit carbon emissions at existing power plants.

The emails surfaced after a joint request last month to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy by Vitter, Issa and four other Republican lawmakers.

Nick Loris, a Heritage Foundation economist who focuses on energy and the environment, calls the Obama administration’s new carbon rules “nothing short of an attack on affordable, reliable energy.”

Claiming 1.4 million members and online activists, the Natural Resources Defense Council lobbies and litigates for  “curbing global warming” and “creating the clean energy future,” among other issues.

The organization, founded in 1978, has received $1.9 million in EPA grants since January 2009.

Allegations of the environmental group’s undue influence arose July 6 when The New York Times reported on the EPA’s close relationship with three of the organization’s principals—lawyers David Doniger and David Hawkins and scientist Daniel Lashof.

“The three were as seasoned and well connected as Washington’s best-paid lobbyists because of their decades of experience and the relationships they formed in the capital,” reporter Coral Davenport wrote.

The trio’s 110-page proposal, focused on cutting carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, was “widely viewed as innovative and audacious,” the article said, adding: “On June 2, President Obama proposed a new Environmental Protection Agency rule to curb power plant emissions that used as its blueprint the work of the three men and their team.”

In a July 10 email obtained by Politico, EPA chief McCarthy scoffs at the suggestion of an inappropriately close relationship with the green group.

On Sept. 4, two days after Vitter and Issa pressed their questions in their letter to McCarthy, the Natural Resources Defense Council denied in a blog post that it had influenced the actions of the EPA “outside of the normal regulatory process.”

But the emails between EPA chief McCarthy and Doniger, the green group’s policy director for climate and clean air, reveal close communications dating back to 2010.

McCarthy was assistant administrator at the EPA from 2009 to July 2013, when the Senate confirmed Obama’s nomination of McCarthy as administrator after a four-month confirmation battle in which Vitter posed more than 500 questions.

Of her agency’s announcement just before Christmas 2010 of amendments to the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gases, McCarthy emailed Doniger, “this success is yours as much mine.”

In 2011, email correspondence produced as the result of the congressional inquiry show at least five meetings between McCarthy and representatives of the green group regarding Section 111, which Loris describes as the “meat” of the Obama administration’s climate change regulations.

In June 2011, Doniger emailed McCarthy a copy of the organization’s “Technical and Legal Framework for Power Plant Carbon Emissions Standards Under Clean Air Act Section 111,” requesting a meeting on the environmental group’s proposal.

McCarthy’s response to Doniger includes the words:  “I would never say no to a meeting with you.”

In their Sept. 2  letter to McCarthy, six GOP lawmakers — including Vitter and Issa — demanded release of documents and information regarding the environmental group’s involvement in drafting the EPA’s proposed rules. They wrote:

"The fact that an ideological and partisan group drafted a rule that places a tremendous cost on everyday Americans through increased electricity prices is harmful and outrageous. … Accordingly, these practices must cease immediately."

Also signing the letter were Sen. Jim Inhofe R-Okla., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.,  Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla.

Paul J. Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said the emails don’t appear to show anything “unlawful” about the EPA’s relationship with the Natural Resources Defense Council, but stressed that the agency has a responsibility to independently assess outside recommendations. Larkin said:

"There is nothing inherently unusual or unlawful about a private organization, such as the NRDC, contacting a government agency, such as the EPA, in an attempt to influence public policy. In fact, the First Amendment expressly guarantees every person the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Nor is there anything inherently unusual or unlawful in the EPA’s willingness to listen to what an organization like the NRDC has to say.

At the same time, every government official, whether employed by the EPA or elsewhere, is obligated to use his or her best judgment to decide what policy best serves the public, not the interests of a private organization. That is where the rubber meets the road."

Citing the extent to which the EPA’s policies affect Americans across the country, Vitter called the environmental group’s influence “absolutely inappropriate.”

“When EPA’s policies affect the whole spectrum of American businesses and families, which they do, it is absolutely inappropriate for one outside organization to have excessive influence on those policies, and this is not how our federal government should be run,” the Louisiana Republican told The Daily Signal.

“In order to have a fair regulatory process, EPA should consider all stakeholders’ opinions equally. These emails show how that’s not the case,” he said.

Warning that the EPA’s carbon plan would increase the cost of energy and most goods for American families, Vitter called it the Obama administration’s attempt to impose in America the failed climate policies that have been a disaster in Europe:

"This carbon plan would mean a permanent stagnant economy with limited growth potential that will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and projects all across the country. It will decrease electricity reliability the same as in Europe, and it will be a crushing blow to the poor and elderly as energy poverty becomes a new normal just like what we’re seeing in Europe."

The Daily Signal sought comment Oct. 10 from the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA replied hours later with a blog just posted by Associate Administrator Tom Reynolds, who heads the agency’s Office of Public Affairs.

Reynolds’ blog attacks Vitter, Issa and other Republican lawmakers for pushing a “flawed, cherry-picked narrative that simply ignores the well-documented and widely reported and recognized sweep and range of the agency’s engagement with the public, states and stakeholders over the past 14 months.”

Of the idea that the EPA “inappropriately” collaborated with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Reynolds writes:

"Our proposal, announced in June, was developed through extensive public outreach—one that reached tens of thousands of people across the country. EPA consulted with states, power companies, local communities, environmental groups, associations, labor groups, tribes, and many more. Before we put out the proposal, EPA met with more than 300 stakeholders, to gather their thoughts and ideas."

The agency’s public counterpunch appeared unlikely to impress Vitter.

“The difference between most organizations and NRDC is that most organizations are actually trying to create jobs and provide opportunity for their fellow Americans,” Vitter said, adding:

This particular organization has advocated relentlessly to harm our energy and manufacturing sector, and EPA providing this organization an outsized role in the regulatory process is incredibly unfair to American families that rely on a healthy economy to sustain their livelihoods.


Environmentalists Halt Obama Administration Plan to Cut Trees in Alaska

A family-owned timber firm that operates the last significant sawmill in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest has won a momentous U.S. Forest Service contract: the Big Thorne Project, which will allow the harvest of nearly 150 million board feet of wood.

The Obama administration’s decision marks the transition away from old-growth timber and toward a sustainable forest industry based on young growth. More than a quarter of the trees in the contract are regrowth on previously logged sites, to be nurtured for a sustainable future.

But winning bidder Viking Lumber Company can’t begin the transition because at least five environmental groups are suing to “stop this massive old-growth clear cutting on public lands.” For years, environmentalists have tried to stop logging in old-growth forests—lands that are economically valuable because they have been growing for over a century.

Kirk Dahlstrom, a Viking co-owner, told The Daily Signal he, his three brothers, and a partner moved to Alaska in 1994 “to escape old-growth lawsuits,” particularly the notorious Audubon Society spotted owl litigation.

Dahlstrom said, “The owl lawsuit took away the high-quality old growth we used for doors, framing and molding products” in their Hoquiam, Wash., sawmill.

Audubon’s lawsuit cost 22,654 logging and mill jobs in California, Oregon and Washington, according to final surveys. The Oregon Natural Resources Council’s Andy Kerr called the unemployed “collateral damage”—a despised underclass bloodied without consequence or conscience.

How “massive” is Viking’s Big Thorne contract? Tongass Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole gave The Daily Signal some perspective: “Big Thorne is a five-year project with a mix of 6,186 acres of old growth to help local businesses through the transition stage, and 2,299 acres of young growth.”

The young growth, Cole said, will be thinned to enhance wildlife habitat—mostly for deer—and to provide growing space for the best trees for tomorrow’s re-tooled young growth sawmills.

The Tongass is America’s largest national forest—at 17 million-acres, it is bigger than Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined. It spans 500 miles of scenic Pacific Coast Range mountains, 300 miles of it fringed with the Alexander Archipelago’s 1,100 islands that shelter the iconic Inside Passage. Forests cover 10 million Tongass acres, and its 5.7 million acres of untouchable wilderness are bigger than New Jersey and Delaware together.

The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Audubon Society and others are blocking a sustainable future over Big Thorne’s “massive” 6,186 acres of old growth. (That’s about half the size of Washington’s Dulles International Airport.)

But this time they’re not attacking a marginalized minority.

The Obama administration itself ordered Big Thorne’s old-growth logging. In a July 2, 2013, memorandum, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack ordered the Forest Service “to supply sufficient old growth ‘bridge timber’ while the industry re-tools for processing young growth. The first step is the Big Thorne timber sale.”

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, was furious at “irresponsible lawsuits by environmental groups to stop all logging,” and had the state file motions in federal court challenging them, saying, “We will help defend the sale against those who want to kill Alaska’s jobs and shut down our traditional timber communities.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, an Alaska Democrat facing a tough reelection, urged the Forest Service to monitor Viking’s wood supply “and take whatever steps are necessary to supply timber until such time as Big Thorne is available.”

Big Thorne, with its transitional mix of old growth and young growth, has become an incipient Beltway brawl. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s top Republican, David Vitter of Louisiana, has taken note and asked his committee staff to track the forest industry nationwide, with good reason.

The staff recently reported on a “Billionaire Club” systematically designing and funding large numbers of environmental group campaigns attacking many industries. For example, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gives millions to shut down Canada’s oil sands; Gordon Moore’s Intel-rich private foundation pays an Alaska group to “permanently” stop Tongass logging and much more.

Vitter told The Daily Signal, “Instead of finding a middle ground that promotes responsible forestry and jobs, these litigation-happy organizations are solely focused on shutting down the forestry industry and completely disregard the potential environmental benefits.”

Perhaps this time the Billionaire Club’s hubris will be the collateral damage and a sustainable forest industry will emerge. Wisdom says keep your eye on the prize.


Australia: People Power Victoria - No Smart Meters Party Campaign Launch

People Power Victoria – No Smart Meters (PPV) campaign launch for the 2014 Victorian election will be held as follows:  Saturday 11th October, 3:00 pm sharp, Oakleigh Grammar Community Conference Centre, 77-81 Willesden Rd, Oakleigh (Hughesdale)

PPV will run in every Upper House seat and selected Lower House seats.

As a newly registered party, PPV has been formed in response to growing public unrest with how Victorians are being treated by essential service corporations and government departments, and in particular, disdain towards our right to cost-effective, safe, and privacy-protected services.

“The Party provides a focal point for voters who are frustrated by the lack of political action and feel strongly that much more needs to be done through our parliamentary system to protect the human and democratic rights of Victorians.  It is a party based on consumer rights and protection,” said Marc Florio, PPV spokesperson.

PPV is centred on opposing the mandated rollout of wireless smart meters for electricity, gas and water, and on the commitment to re-establish a healthy environment for Victorians.

“The community's experience with rising essential services’ costs and disregard of our rights and wellbeing is epitomised by the incompetent and aggressive rollout of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (smart meters) program.”

“Many Victorians have already been adversely affected by the compulsory rollout, be it financially or via deteriorating health as a direct result of exposure to radiation from smart meters. Many also see it as a gross invasion of their privacy,” he said.



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


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