Monday, December 05, 2016

It's not the oceans wot did it

Warmists claim that just before the turn of the present century, the oceans for some unknown reason started gobbling up all the extra warmth (theoretically) generated by rising levels of CO2.  And there is some slight evidence of increased heat in the oceans.  The latest paleoclimate proxy study (below) is therefore interesting.  It found two things:

1).  Ocean temperature changes over the last 200 years were "below the detection limit". In other words there has been NO ocean warming at all in our times.

2). Further back in the last 10,000 years there WERE times of rapid and substantial changes in ocean temperature.  In other words, long before that wicked industrialization that Warmists hate, NATURAL changes in ocean temperatures did occur.

So we have got a doubly whammy:  There has been NO recent change in ocean temperature but even if there were, it could be all natural, and, as such, no proof of anything.

Rapid variations in deep ocean temperature detected in the Holocene

Samantha C. Bova et al.


The observational record of deep-ocean variability is short, which makes it difficult to attribute the recent rise in deep ocean temperatures to anthropogenic forcing. Here, we test a new proxy – the oxygen isotopic signature of individual benthic foraminifera – to detect rapid (i.e. monthly to decadal) variations in deep ocean temperature and salinity in the sedimentary record. We apply this technique at 1000 m water depth in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific during seven 200-year Holocene intervals. Variability in foraminifer δ18O over the past 200 years is below the detection limit, but δ18O signatures from two mid-Holocene intervals indicate temperature swings >2 °C within 200 years. More vigorous transport between the surface and deep ocean or stronger eddy variability than that observed in the historical record are potential explanations. Distinguishing externally forced climate trends in deep ocean properties from unforced variability should be possible with systematic analysis of suitable deep sea cores.

doi: 10.1002/2016GL071450

Reality finally hits an old attention-whore

Robert Bradley has up a series of quotations from Jim Hansen showing how his many prophecies over the years have always been couched in the most urgent language and also showing that they have always been wrong.

Which is amusing enough.  Even more amusing, however is his latest utterance, which is a large backdown.  His words this month include: "“The ponderous response of the climate system also means that we don’t need to instantaneously reduce GHG amounts.”.

After many failed prophecies, the urgency has gone.

Germany tells World Bank to quit funding fossil fuels

Why is Germany building all those brown coal power stations then?  Is German coal more ethical than third world coal?

German development minister says World Bank must focus “all of its work on climate and sustainability targets”

A new coal-fired power plant, which the World Bank is considering sponsoring, is slated to replace the ageing Kosovo A power station, outside Prishtina. Photo: Karl Mathiesen
A new coal-fired power plant, which the World Bank is considering sponsoring, is slated to replace the ageing Kosovo A power station, outside Prishtina. Photo: Karl Mathiesen

By Karl Mathiesen in Berlin
The World Bank must end its support for the industries that cause climate change, Germany’s federal development minister Gerd Müller has said.

On Wednesday, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Müller met with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to sign a cooperation agreement on climate change.

A statement from the German government said Müller had used the moment to call on the World Bank to put “an end to investments in obsolete and climate-damaging technologies”.1

“The World Bank must also focus all of its work on climate and sustainability targets,” said Müller.

World Bank cash for fossil fuels: The worst kind of hypocrisy

The bank is considering finance for a new coal plant in Kosovo – despite an internal policy ruling out such projects except in rare circumstances. It has also announced support for large gas projects in Azerbaijan and Ghana among others.

One study has found that the bank’s annual contribution to the wider fossil fuel sector was more than $3bn in 2014.1

Germany contributes €105m to the World Bank’s climate programmes. Under the agreement signed on Wednesday this will be targeted towards helping poor countries cut carbon, providing insurance to communities who may suffer climate impacts and forest sustainability programmes.

Müller said Germany and the World Bank would protect developing countries “through insurance against droughts and flooding, through investments in the vital preservation of forests. Climate change is also an opportunity, especially in the developing countries: renewable energies create jobs and are good for human health”.


The world needs more energy!

Poor countries have a right to use fossil fuels and will no longer let anyone stop us

By Steven Lyazi, from Uganda

Our planet is blessed with abundant resources that can generate enormous energy, provide raw materials for wondrous technologies, and build modern homes, roads and other structures – to support every man, woman and child on this earth. But can and will political powers make them available to the people who need them?

Of all these resources, energy is the most important. Nothing happens without energy.

For most of mankind’s history, human or animal muscle, wood and animal dung, water power, and plant or animal oil provided our energy. But the amount and quality of that energy was limited, and therefore what people could do was also limited.

Then, almost suddenly, people began using coal, and then oil, natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power. Our abilities, and our dreams, began to reach for the heavens – at least in many countries. Sadly, many other countries lagged far behind, and many still do.

They are held back, condemned to continued energy poverty – and thus to real poverty and the diseases, malnutrition and desperation that go with that absence of modern energy. This is partly because many nations are governed by incompetent, corrupt leaders, who care only about enriching themselves, their families, and their close friends, allies and supporters.

But it is also because callous, imperialistic people in rich countries use exaggerated, imaginary or phony environmental concerns and fake disasters to justify laws, regulations and excuses not to let poor countries use fossil fuels or nuclear power or develop their economies.

They tell us we should only use renewable energy. They say nuclear power is dangerous, and oil, gas and coal are dirty and cause dangerous climate change. They don’t seem to think or care about the poverty, diseases and starvation that we suffer because we do not have fossil fuels.

And when they talk about renewable energy, they mean the very limited energy – and economic growth – that come from wind and solar power, or from growing crops for energy instead of to feed our hungry people. They even oppose hydroelectric power for poor nations.

They are rich and well fed, enjoying amazing homes and jobs and technologies in their modern countries. But they tell us poor Africans (and other people) that we must limit our energy and dreams to whatever can come from expensive, insufficient kinds of energies to serve our large and growing populations. This is greedy and selfish, the kind of attitude of people who only think of themselves.

Yes, they use renewable energy, but only a little. Almost all their energy still comes from oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydro power. Only a tiny amount comes from wind, solar or biofuels – that they say should be our only sources of energy.

They have money and power, and they can influence what happens to us. But they are causing massive poverty, disease, starvation and death in third world countries.

I support clean energy and don’t want to see dangerous global warming. I agree that everyone should help ensure that we live in a clean environment. Everyone wants that, and to see their children and grandchildren living in a clean environment.

But that does not mean we should accept more poverty. It does not mean these rich, powerful people should be able to take away our right to live. It does not mean they have a right to put make-believe scare stories in our papers, on our televisions and radios, and on the internet.

It does not mean they should invent claims that our planet is boiling and we are causing droughts and floods – and so we should throw away coal and other cheap energies that we need to survive.

Maybe they are right, and humans are warming the earth or changing the climate – a little. But our weather and climate have always changed, and the world was even warmer during the dinosaur era than it is today, and much colder during the ice ages, with no human activities. Climate change has been going on for millions of years ago, but that doesn’t mean today’s changes are because of humans or will be disasters.

Environmental agencies and groups say the world is changing and try to tell us what to do to prevent these changes, which they say will all be bad. But getting rid of poverty and disease is also a big change that would be good for all of us, and cannot happen without fossil fuels.

We’ve all been scared to death by horror movies, especially films that are just plausible enough to make us think it could happen. But when these movies (or computer models) are used to scare us away from fossil fuels, that is wrong and we should not be frightened.

What these rich country movie actors, politicians, regulators, scientists and activists forget is that our planet and environment have existed for millions of years, have changed over and over, and will continue to exist either with or without human interference. But we humans have to live here too.

Denying people their right to use fossil fuels is the worst thing someone can do to a fellow human. Western powers developed massively due to cheap fossil fuels and today live like kings. They have no right to deny their living standards to people in developing countries.

Who invented the terms “developing countries” or “third world countries” anyway”? All countries have been developing at some point. In fact, they are always still developing, all the time.

The only wrong interpretation is to say “third world countries” do not have a God-given right to use all their energy, minerals and other resources to develop themselves, and get rich, create good jobs for their people, end poverty and disease, and grow enough food to make everyone well fed and healthy.

In fact, here is a thought for all African leaders: A collective mindset supporting development will make Africa as great as any other region on earth. We all just need to unite around this idea.

The recent United States elections disappointed many people, but made many others happy. To me, they may be a very good thing. They might mean the new President Trump will be a good leader for the entire world. He might make more people question these claims that fossil fuels cause dangerous global warming – and encourage everyone to use more oil, gas and coal to improve our lives, until smart people someday discover different energy sources that really do work.

We all desire to be healthy and live better lives, just like people in developed countries. Yes, we have had greedy, selfish leaders in the past who might have contributed to our status today. But we can and must learn from our mistakes, and Mr. Trump wants to correct his and Mr. Obama’s mistakes.

African and other countries need abundant energy for economic growth. They need all kinds of energy, especially fossil fuels, to become modern and make people’s lives better.

Anyone who tries to prevent us from using these energy resources is denying us our right to improve our lives, and even our right to live, which is the most fundamental right of any human. That is wrong and immoral, and we will no longer tolerate it.

Via email

My Unhappy Life as a Climate Heretic


My research was attacked by thought police in journalism, activist groups funded by billionaires and even the White House.

Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election. In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for a campaign to have me eliminated as a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website. In the email, the editor of the think tank’s climate blog bragged to one of its billionaire donors, Tom Steyer: “I think it’s fair [to] say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538.”

WikiLeaks provides a window into a world I’ve seen up close for decades: the debate over what to do about climate change, and the role of science in that argument. Although it is too soon to tell how the Trump administration will engage the scientific community, my long experience shows what can happen when politicians and media turn against inconvenient research—which we’ve seen under Republican and Democratic presidents.

I understand why Mr. Podesta—most recently Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—wanted to drive me out of the climate-change discussion. When substantively countering an academic’s research proves difficult, other techniques are needed to banish it. That is how politics sometimes works, and professors need to understand this if we want to participate in that arena.

More troubling is the degree to which journalists and other academics joined the campaign against me. What sort of responsibility do scientists and the media have to defend the ability to share research, on any subject, that might be inconvenient to political interests—even our own?

I believe climate change is real and that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax. But my research led me to a conclusion that many climate campaigners find unacceptable: There is scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the U.S. or globally. In fact we are in an era of good fortune when it comes to extreme weather. This is a topic I’ve studied and published on as much as anyone over two decades. My conclusion might be wrong, but I think I’ve earned the right to share this research without risk to my career.

Instead, my research was under constant attack for years by activists, journalists and politicians. In 2011 writers in the journal Foreign Policy signaled that some accused me of being a “climate-change denier.” I earned the title, the authors explained, by “questioning certain graphs presented in IPCC reports.” That an academic who raised questions about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in an area of his expertise was tarred as a denier reveals the groupthink at work.

Yet I was right to question the IPCC’s 2007 report, which included a graph purporting to show that disaster costs were rising due to global temperature increases. The graph was later revealed to have been based on invented and inaccurate information, as I documented in my book “The Climate Fix.” The insurance industry scientist Robert-Muir Wood of Risk Management Solutions had smuggled the graph into the IPCC report. He explained in a public debate with me in London in 2010 that he had included the graph and misreferenced it because he expected future research to show a relationship between increasing disaster costs and rising temperatures.

When his research was eventually published in 2008, well after the IPCC report, it concluded the opposite: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.” Whoops.

The IPCC never acknowledged the snafu, but subsequent reports got the science right: There is not a strong basis for connecting weather disasters with human-caused climate change.

Yes, storms and other extremes still occur, with devastating human consequences, but history shows they could be far worse. No Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, by far the longest such period on record. This means that cumulative economic damage from hurricanes over the past decade is some $70 billion less than the long-term average would lead us to expect, based on my research with colleagues. This is good news, and it should be OK to say so. Yet in today’s hyper-partisan climate debate, every instance of extreme weather becomes a political talking point.

For a time I called out politicians and reporters who went beyond what science can support, but some journalists won’t hear of this. In 2011 and 2012, I pointed out on my blog and social media that the lead climate reporter at the New York Times,Justin Gillis, had mischaracterized the relationship of climate change and food shortages, and the relationship of climate change and disasters. His reporting wasn’t consistent with most expert views, or the evidence. In response he promptly blocked me from his Twitter feed. Other reporters did the same.

In August this year on Twitter, I criticized poor reporting on the website Mashable about a supposed coming hurricane apocalypse—including a bad misquote of me in the cartoon role of climate skeptic. (The misquote was later removed.) The publication’s lead science editor, Andrew Freedman, helpfully explained via Twitter that this sort of behavior “is why you’re on many reporters’ ‘do not call’ lists despite your expertise.”

I didn’t know reporters had such lists. But I get it. No one likes being told that he misreported scientific research, especially on climate change. Some believe that connecting extreme weather with greenhouse gases helps to advance the cause of climate policy. Plus, bad news gets clicks.

Yet more is going on here than thin-skinned reporters responding petulantly to a vocal professor. In 2015 I was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Paige St. John, making the rather obvious point that politicians use the weather-of-the-moment to make the case for action on climate change, even if the scientific basis is thin or contested.

Ms. St. John was pilloried by her peers in the media. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me what she had learned: “You should come with a warning label: Quoting Roger Pielke will bring a hailstorm down on your work from the London Guardian, Mother Jones, and Media Matters.”

Or look at the journalists who helped push me out of FiveThirtyEight. My first article there, in 2014, was based on the consensus of the IPCC and peer-reviewed research. I pointed out that the global cost of disasters was increasing at a rate slower than GDP growth, which is very good news. Disasters still occur, but their economic and human effect is smaller than in the past. It’s not terribly complicated.

That article prompted an intense media campaign to have me fired. Writers at Slate, Salon, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Guardian and others piled on.

In March of 2014, FiveThirtyEight editor Mike Wilson demoted me from staff writer to freelancer. A few months later I chose to leave the site after it became clear it wouldn’t publish me. The mob celebrated., founded by former Center for American Progress staffer Brad Johnson, and advised by Penn State’s Michael Mann, called my departure a “victory for climate truth.” The Center for American Progress promised its donor Mr. Steyer more of the same.

Yet the climate thought police still weren’t done. In 2013 committees in the House and Senate invited me to a several hearings to summarize the science on disasters and climate change. As a professor at a public university, I was happy to do so. My testimony was strong, and it was well aligned with the conclusions of the IPCC and the U.S. government’s climate-science program. Those conclusions indicate no overall increasing trend in hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or droughts—in the U.S. or globally.

In early 2014, not long after I appeared before Congress, President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren testified before the same Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He was asked about his public statements that appeared to contradict the scientific consensus on extreme weather events that I had earlier presented. Mr. Holdren responded with the all-too-common approach of attacking the messenger, telling the senators incorrectly that my views were “not representative of the mainstream scientific opinion.” Mr. Holdren followed up by posting a strange essay, of nearly 3,000 words, on the White House website under the heading, “An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr.,” where it remains today.

I suppose it is a distinction of a sort to be singled out in this manner by the president’s science adviser. Yet Mr. Holdren’s screed reads more like a dashed-off blog post from the nutty wings of the online climate debate, chock-full of errors and misstatements.

But when the White House puts a target on your back on its website, people notice. Almost a year later Mr. Holdren’s missive was the basis for an investigation of me by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. Rep. Grijalva explained in a letter to my university’s president that I was being investigated because Mr. Holdren had “highlighted what he believes were serious misstatements by Prof. Pielke of the scientific consensus on climate change.” He made the letter public.

The “investigation” turned out to be a farce. In the letter, Rep. Grijalva suggested that I—and six other academics with apparently heretical views—might be on the payroll of Exxon Mobil (or perhaps the Illuminati, I forget). He asked for records detailing my research funding, emails and so on. After some well-deserved criticism from the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, Rep. Grijalva deleted the letter from his website. The University of Colorado complied with Rep. Grijalva’s request and responded that I have never received funding from fossil-fuel companies. My heretical views can be traced to research support from the U.S. government.

But the damage to my reputation had been done, and perhaps that was the point. Studying and engaging on climate change had become decidedly less fun. So I started researching and teaching other topics and have found the change in direction refreshing. Don’t worry about me: I have tenure and supportive campus leaders and regents. No one is trying to get me fired for my new scholarly pursuits.

But the lesson is that a lone academic is no match for billionaires, well-funded advocacy groups, the media, Congress and the White House. If academics—in any subject—are to play a meaningful role in public debate, the country will have to do a better job supporting good-faith researchers, even when their results are unwelcome. This goes for Republicans and Democrats alike, and to the administration of President-elect Trump.

Academics and the media in particular should support viewpoint diversity instead of serving as the handmaidens of political expediency by trying to exclude voices or damage reputations and careers. If academics and the media won’t support open debate, who will?



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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