Thursday, January 22, 2015

Climate scientists have refuted  skeptics' arguments against 2014 'warmest year' claim?

Below we actually find a fairly encouraging article.  We find some recogniition in the media that there are a lot of people who question global warming and who question the "2014 was the hottest year" claim.

The writer is still in the grip of the Warmists, however, and maybe he has to be to keep his job.  The key point he misses is how small the temperature differences are that lie behind the Warmist claims.  I don't expect a modern-day American journalist  to understand statistical significance, or the fraud implied when a scientist ignores it, but the fact that temperature differences over recent years can only be found in hundredths of one degree should be comprehensible.  I think most people should see that such differences are infinitesimally small and unlikely to mean  anything. That, after all, is what statistical significance tells us in this matter.

So the writer is thrashing about in discussing more minor points and missing the main issue -- that the year to year differences in temperature are too minute to be even worth discussing.  We actually live in a time of exceptional temperature stability

On January 16, two U.S. climate observing agencies jointly announced that 2014 was most likely the warmest year on record worldwide, beating previous record years such as 1998, 2005 and 2010. The announcement signaled the death knell of the argument that global warming "stopped" in 1998, which has been a popular rallying cry for climate change contrarians, from blog posts to speeches on the Senate floor.

With such high stakes, climate skeptics have been vigorously pushing back against the data, saying that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA downplayed the uncertainties in their records and misled the public.

Headlines like "2014: The Most Dishonest Year on Record" have been posted on climate skeptic blogs, such as Watts Up With That, and a commentator for the popular British newspaper The Daily Mail all but accused NASA of lying to the press and the public about global temperatures, despite the open discussion of uncertainties both in NASA's press materials and during a press conference with audio that is publicly accessible.

The skeptics have focused mainly on one table in the temperature report issued on Friday, which explains the uncertainties involved in declaring 2014 the warmest year. The table would appear to indicate that 2014 only has a 38% chance of being the warmest year in NASA's data set, which isn't that convincing at first glance, and a 48% likelihood according to NOAA's data. (Each agency uses slightly different methods of calculating global average surface temperatures.)

Here is how the Daily Mail discussed the temperature record in a story published on Sunday. "The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38% sure this was true." The story portrayed NASA as backing off their claim that 2014 was clearly the warmest year on record according to its data set.

But NASA did no such thing.

NASA and NOAA scientists say they have not changed their tune about 2014, since the data clearly shows that it was most likely the warmest year to date since instrument records began in 1880. Furthermore, they argue that climate skeptics are twisting the meaning of uncertainty ranges and making it seem like there is far less confidence in temperature data than there actually is.

Climate science debates occur every day in the blogosphere and on cable news shows, but this particular fight about a major temperature record (and therefore, major news story) highlights the extent to which many boil down to mere contradiction and rejections of facts, rather than arguments based on competing lines of evidence.

Mashable reached out to Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), who helped make Friday's announcement and has been a target of the vigorous pushback from the climate skeptic community. Schmidt is mentioned several times in the Daily Mail story.

Schmidt told Mashable that NASA is not backtracking from its conclusion that 2014 was the warmest year in its records, and that climate skeptics — (some prefer to call them "climate deniers") — misunderstand the characterization of uncertainty that NASA provided on Friday.

Schmidt says there is, of course, some uncertainty in the global temperature data, which NASA has long acknowledged. But even when these uncertainties are considered, the data still shows that 2014 was most likely the warmest year.

"No-one disputes that there are uncertainties in estimating the global mean temperature anomaly — issues of spatial coverage, measurement practice changes over time, movement of stations etc. and we estimate that any one year's value comes with an uncertainty of about plus or minus 0.05 degrees Celsius, or 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit," Schmidt said in an email.

"2014 *is* the warmest year in the GISTEMP, NOAA and Berkeley Earth analyses," he said [But only the warmest by a few hundredths of one degree], referring to different data sets kept by different groups of scientists, including the one kept by his center and known as "GISTEMP."


Morano on Fox on ‘Hottest Year’ Claims: ‘It’s statistical nonsense’ – ‘NASA’s Gavin Schmidt has egg all over his face with this’

Watch Video here:

Partial transcript of interview:

Marc Morano: Their error bars for claiming the ‘hottest years’ are 500% larger than the claimed difference. In other words, they are talking about statically meaningless temperature records that the instrument record can’t even measure. It’s way within the margin of error. It’s statistical nonsense. You asked, Stuart, can we poke holes in this? This is a house of cards, it’s collapsed on its own weight.

They said it was the hottest year on record based on statistically meaningless difference based on hundredths of a degree between hottest years. They admit now that they are only 38% sure 2014 was the ‘hottest year.’  They knew the media would run with this as though the ‘hottest year’ claim meant something but it means absolutely nothing.

It means in reality that the global warming pause continues. And according to the satellite data there has been no global warming for 18 years 3 months. Every kid in high school today has not experienced global warming.

There have been fluctuations, the satellite data uses NASA satellites and has been promoted by NASA as more accurate than ground based thermometers. They constantly adjust the land based data, they cool the past, and they heat the present. There is all kinds of siting issues with land based thermometers. So the global warming establishment now wants to ignore this satellite data which shows the 18 year pause.

We have scientists now using words like ‘misleading’ & ‘lies’ & ‘deception’ against NASA.

NASA’s lead global warning scientist is Gavin Schmidt. He’s got egg all over his face with this. He knew when the hottest year claims went out to the media that this was something NASA did not have the confidence in– They should have presented that more prominently.

Stuart Varney asks Morano: ‘So you don’t think the earth is warming?’

Morano: The earth is warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in about 1850. Many of the glaciers you see — that people get all excited about about melting —  a significant portion of them had melted by 1900 or 1950 before humans could have possibly had any kind of warming effect on the climate. (More on glaciers here, here, here and here.) And we have actually probably cooled since the medieval warm period that occurred from about 900 AD to 1300AD.

So it depends on your timeframe. We probably been stable or cooled since the Roman warming period of from around zero AD

So it all comes down to where you pick your timeline. Yes, we have warmed since the 1970s global cooling scare when they talked all about extreme weather, consensus, tipping points. In fact, all of the same rhetoric we hear today about warming was being used then about cooling.

Currently, we are at 18 years with no warming and there is no reason to expect any scary scenarios of global warming in the future. In fact, Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry is predicting at least a decade more of stable temperatures — the pause will continue.


State Department moves toward Keystone decision, sets deadline for agencies’ input

The State Department took a big step Friday toward making a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, setting a Feb. 2 deadline for federal agencies to give their views on the controversial project.

Fox News has learned eight agencies have been asked to provide their views. The State Department has been wading through a review process for months and in setting a deadline, signaled it was preparing to make a final decision.

That is important because the White House had said previously that it was waiting for the agency to conclude its probe before President Obama decides whether to support the project.

But the Feb. 2 date does not necessarily mean anything will be announced at that time.

The State Department is involved in the Keystone decision because the pipeline stretches through both the U.S. and Canada.

Last week, the House passed a bill authorizing construction on the pipeline, but the White House said Obama, citing the State Department's pending review, would veto the legislation were it to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. It's not clear if Republicans and a handful of Democrats have the required 67 votes to override a potential Obama veto.

The House vote came on the same day in which the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that three landowners who sued failed to show they had legal standing to bring their case, a victory for pipeline backers.

Also on Friday, opponents of the pipeline in Nebraska filed two new lawsuits over the proposed route after the state's Supreme Court recently tossed a previous legal challenge.

Landowners in Holt and York counties filed the suits against pipeline developer TransCanada to stop the Canadian company from using eminent domain power to gain access to their land.

Their attorney, Dave Domina, says the lawsuits closely resemble the claim the court dismissed. But he says this time all of the landowners have legal standing to bring the case.

That's important, because three judges last time said the landowners lacked standing. Four of the court's seven judges declared the law unconstitutional, but five were required.

The lawsuits seek to overturn a law that allowed former Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route.


Greenie ignorance

by Dr. Albrecht Glatzle

It’s unfortunate that Pope Francis now also joined the church of climatology [1]. However, many of his followers in the Catholic realm will doubt that this is a command by St. Peter.

A few weeks ago I returned home from attending the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-20, at Lima, Peru. This mega-event gave me the impression of a clerical synod by a world-encompassing religious community. There were many nice people from all corners of the world whom I had cordial conversations with. They all meant the best for planet Earth.

However, the main problem of this event was that 99.9% of the attendees viewed the most important nutrient for all life on earth (carbon dioxide, CO2) as a hazardous substance. That view was shared even by the attending farmers who should profit from better harvests [2] due to improved CO2 fertilization.

I asked approximately 50 people from 25 countries several questions and talked to many more. Only 5 people (10% of those I asked) knew even the order of magnitude of CO2 in the atmosphere (0.04%). The others answered “I really should know that but cannot answer the question.” None knew that the mean global temperature has remained constant over the last 10 years and has not been increasing for 18 years (in contrast to predictions from models by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC).

Among those I asked, some claimed that the temperature had risen anywhere between 0.1 and 10.0 (!!) degrees – that’s not a lie. None knew that the global sea-ice extent recently reached the same values as have been observed at the beginning of the 1980s (the extent has increased in the Antarctic and slightly decreased in the Arctic).

These were the people that negotiated about the so-called 2 C degree (warming) limit. I concluded that 99% of those negotiating there had no understanding of the matter whatsoever. Instead, they fully trust and follow the “scientific authority” of the IPCC.

The IPCC representatives also claimed that the world had already “used up” two thirds of the carbon budget increase to stay within that 2 degree limit. Unfortunately, the scientific knowledge of the IPCC functionaries and disciples is so limited that they do not even recognize the contradiction with some of their other claims.

According to the IPCC, since the beginning of the industrial era, the global mean temperature has increased by 0.8 C with about one half of that due to human activity. Furthermore, the IPCC claims to have physical evidence that the relative potential for the temperature increase follows a logarithmic function of greenhouse gas concentrations.  If that were true, then we are at most one third along the way to the 2 degree limit (not two thirds).

However, that does not sound the alarmist bell sufficiently loudly. So, the IPCC allows itself such contradictions in several claims to drive home to their believers the message of an impending apocalypse.

It is really regrettable that the Pope and his advisors fall for that perfidious game as well.

What gave me hope and pleasure though was meeting in person with former Apollo-astronaut, physicist Dr. Walter Cunningham. In terms of climate change, the two of us and perhaps another ten out the estimated 25,000 attendees who came to the COP-20 event and/or side events had the same opinion.


Romney has a bet each way on global warming

In an Indian Wells appearance that had the makings of a presidential campaign stump speech, Mitt Romney said poverty, education and climate change are among the major issues the next U.S. president must play a leading role in solving, but he stopped short of definitively declaring he would make another run for the White House.

Romney, though, kept his focus on the issues. He said that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it's real and a major problem.

He said it's not enough for Americans to keep their own carbon emissions in check when much of the rise in greenhouse gases globally is coming from countries such as China and India.

Climate change drew little attention from either candidate in 2012, when Romney sought to deny President Barack Obama, a second term. At that time, Romney said he believed global warming was occurring but he was skeptical of its man-made origins and questioned spending to curb carbon emissions.

He said his 2012 campaign faltered by allowing the Obama campaign to define his image early on and he was hurt by campaign laws that limited his ability to spend money before the GOP convention.

Romney's lecture, complete with slides of graphs and maps, began with recognition that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Romney said King's legacy was a reminder that one person can make a difference.

Romney mentioned President Obama and congressional leaders, including Republicans, when he said the nation's leadership is "failing in its most basic mission, which is to solve the problems of today and seize the opportunities of tomorrow."


GOP looks to take a position on climate change, but how?

Republicans are trying to find solutions of their own to climate change instead of just attacking President Obama's environmental policies, but the party hasn't been able to agree on specific plans or policies.

Now in control of Congress, some Republicans are beginning to think that simply throwing bombs at the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama's regulations won't work any longer, staffers on Capitol Hill say. Instead, they believe they must develop their own ideas on how to combat climate change, especially to help moderate GOP senators up for re-election in 2016. Nine Senate Republicans are on the ballot in states Obama carried at least once, and House districts that were safe in midterm races likely will be tighter in the general election.

The plan is still emerging, according to interviews with nearly two dozen people that included lawmakers, lobbyists, strategists and aides, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and evolving subject.

The rough outline is that tactics to reduce emissions should not harm the economy, but what that would entail is not certain.

"They're going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light," said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy."

Democrats think climate change can be a winning issue for them, and they plan to put GOP senators on record this week with at least one amendment on a bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline that asks whether senators believe in man-made climate change.

The 2016 map largely favors Democrats. It puts many Republicans in blue states elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave on the ballot during a general election that will bring more Democrats to the polls. That has some incumbent Republicans searching for a message on climate.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they were looking at the electoral map and thinking, 'How am I going to win? I can't leave all these votes on the table," said the Environmental Defense Fund's Tony Kreindler, who works with an environmental group called the Conservation Leadership Council that's stocked with former George W. Bush administration officials.

That has some of the party's most vocal members openly questioning where the party is on climate change, as some believe a change is required if the GOP plans to stay in the majority.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Roll Call in November. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”

In September, communications staff for Republicans accepted a request from Rich Thau, a polling expert with a roster of industry clients, to present them with a strategy on climate change. While staffers routinely hold such briefings, those familiar with the meeting called it "unusual." Policy staff was invited, which was a break with the norm.

Staffers were also incensed that Thau's suggestions — that curbing emissions could spark a "clean energy revolution," for example, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by the Washington Examiner — sounded like they came straight from the Democrats' playbook.

A senior GOP aide downplayed the significance of the meeting, while others spoke of a "responsibility" to put forward a plan now that Republicans are in the majority in both chambers.

"The question is, 'What is a solution that works?' I think that's why fellow Republicans haven't embraced a solution on climate change because they haven't heard a solution they like," said Bob Inglis, a former GOP congressman from South Carolina who now advocates for market-based policies to reduce emissions. "We heard cap-and-trade and it is an awful solution. Then along comes clean air regulation, and that's even worse."

Not all Republicans are convinced the party has an emerging, unified stance on climate change, GOP aides said. And any stance they do take doesn't change the party's game plan of attempting to roll back EPA and other environmental regulations. Rather, lawmakers might find agenda items in which climate or energy might be part of a broader discussion.

"I do think there are those [who] think there is some kind of climate change happening and are tired of fighting the science or just don't want the fight and who would rather focus on the economics — I don't think that means they are ceding the argument that manmade climate change exists, though," said one Republican Senate aide in a comment echoed by several others.

Some of the moderate Republican senators facing potentially stiff competition in 2016 have begun speaking more freely about climate change. There's a bit of awkwardness in how they approach what has been a minefield for conservative lawmakers who fear a primary opponent out-flanking them to the right, as they recall incumbents who backed a sweeping cap-and-trade proposal that fizzled in the Senate getting sacked in the 2010 primaries.

In June, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who is up for re-election, addressed a handful of groups of young conservatives — who, according to polls, are more likely to back solutions to climate change than their older brethren — to discuss market solutions to lowering emissions. He touted legislation he sponsored and helped pass when he was in the House that forgave foreign debt in developing nations if they used that money to replant forests, which helps take carbon dioxide that warms the planet out of the atmosphere.

"I say that to you not just because it sounds fun to protect biodiversity and tropical forests," Portman said.

"[It has] an enormous impact on the environment because that otherwise destruction of those forests is one of the leading causes of what?," Portman says, pausing before answering his own question. "Emissions. And when you look at it, it's probably number two or three in the world, power plants probably being number one."

Sen. John Thune, who is also up for re-election, was named by O'Connell as the leading voice advocating for the GOP to take a position on climate policies that includes the the costs and benefits of certain actions.

The South Dakota Republican, a member of Senate GOP leadership, said on "Fox News Sunday" that, "Well, look, climate change is occurring, it's always occurring... There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including human activity. The question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost?"

The discussion isn't limited to the Senate, though hard-line conservatives are usually safer in the House. Still, environmental groups have some competitive House races in their sights.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, for example, will be in green groups' crosshairs. The Michigan Republican faced arguably his toughest contest in 2014 since winning his House seat in 1986. Climate change activists sided with his Democratic opponent and, even though he still won by more than 15 percentage points, environmental groups plan to target Upton's seat again in 2016. His office didn't return a request for comment.

Many Republicans acknowledge that human activity contributes to climate change, and even more do so in private. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican on the ballot in 2016, believes that humans contribute to it — though how much is a question "left for science," she told reporters. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who was elected to the upper chamber in 2014, has said he agreed with Murkowski's view and has pledged to support clean energy.

But Democrats and environmental groups say that admission doesn't go far enough, as scientists have said humans are largely responsible for current warming trends, chiefly through burning fossil fuels.

Inglis, who is now executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, has said he's seen a noticeable shift since the collapse of cap-and-trade legislation in 2010. Then, Republicans were in outright denial of climate change, he said. Last year, Republicans rebutted arguments by saying, "I'm not a scientist," which he and other GOP operatives have said was a poor tactic.

Now, however, Inglis said Republicans are willing to state plainly that humans are contributing to climate change. But as a casualty of the Tea Party wave in 2010 that he said had much to do with him stating climate change was real — even though he voted against cap-and-trade — Inglis understands why Republicans are being cautious.

"We're in communication with a number of offices that are trying to figure out how this can work. They need to do it better than I did it. I pushed too hard, too fast, and you see what happened to me in the primary," Inglis 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.  

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