Sunday, June 25, 2017

Rick Perry got a tongue lashing from the American Meteorological Society. Did he deserve it?

By Roy Spencer

Asked in an interview on CNBCs “Squawk Box” whether he believed carbon dioxide was “the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Perry added, “the fact is this shouldn’t be a debate about, ‘Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?”

In response, the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Keith Seitter, said in a letter to Perry:

"While you acknowledged that the climate is changing and that humans are having an impact on it, it is critically important that you understand that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the primary cause.

This is a conclusion based on the comprehensive assessment of scientific evidence. It is based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world.

We are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion. These indisputable findings have shaped our current AMS Statement on Climate Change, which states:

“It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.”

Most of the headlines I’ve seen on the CNBC interview, like one in the Washington Post, refer to Perry with the usual “denier” terms.

Does Perry deserve the epithet? And was AMS’s Seitter right to scold him?

Basically, Perry is saying he believes nature has a larger role than humans in recent warming. I, too, believe the oceans might well be a primary driver of climate change, but whether the human/nature ratio is 50/50, or less, or more than that is up for debate. We simply don’t know.

So, while Sec. Perry goes against the supposed consensus of scientists, what he said was not outlandish, and it wasn’t a denial of a known fact. It was a valid opinion on an uncertain area of science.

Seitter calls the claims in his letter “indisputable.” Really? In my opinion, the AMS view (which draws upon the U.N. IPCC view) is much more definitively stated than the evidence warrants.

Sure, all the scientific institutions are on the bandwagon, with politically savvy committees agreeing with each other. They are, in effect, being paid by the government to agree with the consensus through billions of dollars in grants and contracts.

No global warming crisis, no government funding—or very little—to study it. And then thousands of climate-dependent careers (including mine) cease to exist.

That money also trickles down to the AMS, which is paid to hold scientific conferences and workshops and publish the resulting research studies in scientific journals. They have a vested interest in keeping the gravy train going.

So, maybe I can ask the AMS: Just what percentage of recent warming was natural in origin? None? 10%? 40%? How do you know? Why was the pre-1940 warming rate—caused by Mother Nature—almost as strong as recent warming?

The truth is, no one knows just how much of recent warming was human-caused, including those thousands of “independent” scientists. They pin the blame on CO2 partly because that’s all they can think of, and we still don’t understand natural sources of climate change.

Besides, in the climate business, there are no thousands of independent scientists, anyway. They live and work in an echo chamber, and very few have the breadth and depth of knowledge to make an informed judgement on the issue. The vast majority are specialists in some narrow field of research. They go along to get along … and to keep funding coming.

Young climate researchers today cannot voice doubts about anthropogenic global warming, or they might not have a career. They can’t go to Big Energy for research funding because, as far as I know, such funding does not exist. Big Energy knows they don’t have to pay people to prop up petroleum, natural gas, and coal, because the world (for the time being) runs on the stuff.

What we do know with considerable confidence is that increasing CO2 should cause some warming. (I’ll admit that my opinion here is mostly based upon a theoretical extrapolation from laboratory measurements of how CO2 absorbs and emits infrared energy.) But we really don’t know how much. We certainly don’t have enough confidence to claim it is “indisputable” that our greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant cause, as Seitter claims.

I am ashamed that the climate research community allows such pronouncements to be made. The AMS became a global warming advocacy group many years ago, and as a result it lost a lot of established members, including myself.


Trump Takes a Dig at Wind Farms: ‘As the Birds Fall to the Ground’

President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power.

“I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories,” he told enthusiastic supporters at a rally in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As the applause died away, he added, “As the birds fall to the ground.”

After hailing steps to end “the war on clean, beautiful coal” and announcing that 33,000 mining jobs had been added since he took office, Trump said, “We’re going to have all forms of energy.”

“Whether it’s natural gas, whether it’s alternative sources, we’re going to have everything.”

“We use electric, we use wind, we use solar, we use coal, we use natural gas, we will use nuclear if the right opportunity presents itself. We’re going to be strong for the future,” he said.

Later in the speech, Trump announced – for the first time in public, he said – that he was mulling the possibility of having the envisaged wall along the U.S.-Mexico border powered by solar panels.

“We’re thinking of something that’s unique,” he said, noting that the southern border region has “lots of sun, lots of heat.”

“We’re thinking of building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy – and pays for itself.”

“And this way,” he added, “Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?”

Trump also said the panels would look “beautiful,” and pointed out with a grin that “the higher it goes, the more valuable it is.”

 “Pretty good imagination, right? Good?” he asked the crowd. “My idea.”

Trump’s reference to birds falling to the ground relates to concerns about birds dying as a result of the giant turbines used in wind farms

A 2013 study found that between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die in the U.S. every year as a result of colliding with wind turbines.

It also found that taller turbines, deemed to be more efficient in generating power, pose a greater risk of fatal collisions.

The Washington-based American Wind Energy Association, a national trade group, contends that collisions with buildings, communication towers and high-tension wires kill far more birds each year.

AWEA also argues, citing extinction predictions by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that climate change is the biggest threat to wildlife.


The Gory Facts About Solar vs. Coal Energy Employment

On "Fox News Sunday" with Mike Wallace June 4, former Vice President Al Gore said solar energy has created jobs 17 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. He also pointed out that solar now employs more people than coal.

He saw those both as reasons to celebrate. The truth is the opposite.


Because solar jobs are a tragic waste of human labor.

Gore’s right that solar employs more than coal now — roughly twice as many. At the end of 2016, solar employed about 374,000, while coal employed about 160,000.

But in 2016, coal produced 15 percent of all energy consumed in the U.S., and solar only 0.06 percent. That means coal produces 5,000 times as much energy per job as solar.

As the graphic from the EIA shows, solar provides six percent of renewable energy’s 10 percent of total energy; 0.1 * 0.06 = 0.006. Coal provides 15 percent not of renewable’s 10 percent of total energy but 15 percent of total energy; 15/0.006=2,500. But it takes twice as many workers for solar to provide that 0.006 percent of total energy, so the productivity of coal per job is 2,500 x 2 = 5,000 times the productivity per job.


Trump’s Green Energy Plan Has The Democrats Lose Their Minds

President Trump on Wednesday made his first public pitch to install solar panels on his border wall with Mexico.

It was the first time that the president mentioned his plan publically. Earlier this month, two congressional Republicans told The Wall Street Journal about the plan after a private meeting with Trump.

“Think of it,” Trump told the audience Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “The higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right?”

The president joked, “This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good. A solar wall. Makes sense.”


Australia: Great white shark debate: Lifting protection hinges on scientific population finding

The Liberal Party federal council has unanimously moved to lift protection of great white sharks if the CSIRO’s forthcoming population study finds the species is no longer endangered.

The council is the party’s highest forum for debating policy. More than 100 delegates, including MPs, voted for the motion, proposed by Anthony Spagnolo, WA Liberal Party vice-president.

The motion said the “federal government should remove the white shark as a vulnerable and threatened species from the EPBC Act should the finding of the CSIRO study prove that the species is no longer endangered.”

Speaking from the council meeting in Sydney, WA senator Linda Reynolds told The Australian the vote “reinforces that there are other opinions than those held by environmentalists”.

“It starkly illustrates the divide between the far left and mainstream Australia, who think human life always comes first,” Senator Reynolds said.

She said that relying on the CSIRO was “unequivocally the right course of action”.

“We want to base any future measures on scientific evidence, not emotional rhetoric.”

Last week, former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott told The Australian that lifting protection and restarting commercial shark fishing would “ensure that we have a stronger economy and a safer society”.

“They’ve been protected now for 20 odd years. Every fisherman knows the numbers are exploding. They are not an endangered species.”

Federal Environment minister Josh Frydenberg this month said he expected the CSIRO population study to be delivered this year.

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint said it was time to start protecting Australians.

“We must protect our swimmers and surfers and hard-working Australians like abalone divers from being attacked or killed by sharks,” she said.

“In an era when rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are at an all-time high, we should be encouraging more, not less, people to be active. This means keeping them safe from shark attacks along our coastline.

“I strongly support the Liberal Party’s Federal Council Motion today moved by the WA Division. We need evidence-based decision making and management of great white shark populations.”



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