Friday, June 02, 2017

What happens if the U.S. withdraws from the Paris climate change agreement?

Below is a CBS article with a few comments from Joe Bast of the Heartland Institute inserted

Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.

[Both sentences are meaningless. “More dangerous levels of warming” than in the past? The benefits of past warming exceeded the benefits, so those levels were not dangerous. “More dangerous” is therefore nonsensical. More dangerous than what is now forecast to occur in a century or two? Those forecasts are not scientific, are technically “scenarios” and not predictions, and are too speculative to compare and contrast.]

President Donald Trump, who once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax,

[Trump suggested the hype surrounding the global warming campaign could be fueled by the Chinese as part of their ongoing propaganda campaign against the U.S. and to create markets for its wind and solar industries. That’s probably true, since the global warming movement resembles other Chinese disinformation programs.]

said in a tweet Saturday that he would make his "final decision" next week on whether the United States stays in or leaves the 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

Global leaders, at a summit in Sicily, have urged him to stay. Earlier in the week, Pope Francis made that case with a gift of his papal encyclical on the environment when Trump visited the Vatican.

[Just a reminder, Pope Francis is not a climate scientist, but is a very liberal environmentalist who thinks capitalism is responsible for turning the planet into a “an immense pile of filth.” He is being advised on the climate issue by far-left activists, not real climate scientists. His opinions on scientific and economic controversies are not binding on Catholics, and in fact are at odds with those of past Popes.]

In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press

[“The Associated Press” most likely refers to Seth Borenstein, a radical environmentalist pretending to be a reporter. He has been called out for his bias and misrepresentation of the truth many times.]

consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

[Anyone paying attention to the climate change debate knows “special computer model scenario” is code for a newly tuned model based on assumptions and unreliable data designed to arrive at politically acceptable forecasts. Of course this new model provides support for the US staying in the Paris agreement… that is what it was tuned to find. The NIPCC produced a devastating critique of computer models.]

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

[No, some scientists (but mostly nonscientists) dependent on government grants or working for environmental advocacy groups claim this. Most scientists either disagree or don’t have an opinion on the subject. See Chapter 1 of Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming. See also the “skeptical” scientists who appear here.]

Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

[Even the IPCC disagrees with most or all of this, saying in its latest report that significant sea level rise and more extreme weather are unlikely or cannot be predicted with certainty. See here. This claim is also dependent on the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere, which probably is much less than alarmists believe. See here.]

"If we lag, the noose tightens," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change.

[Michael Oppenheimer is “an activist first, a scientist a distant second.” He was an environmental activist working for Environmental Defense Fund who went back to college to get a Ph.D. so he could pretend to be a climate scientist. He should never be quoted in a real news story as a climate scientist.]

One expert group ran a worst-case computer simulation of what would happen if the U.S. does not curb emissions, but other nations do meet their targets. It found that America would add as much as half a degree of warming (0.3 degrees Celsius) to the globe by the end of century.

[Right… see above about models.]

Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is.

[Wow, a concession that there isn’t “overwhelming consensus” on one model or one forecast? This sentence is the tip of an iceberg of truth.]

Many said because of cheap natural gas that displaces coal and growing adoption of renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that the U.S. would stop reducing its carbon pollution even if it abandoned the accord, so the effect would likely be smaller.

[So the U.S. is reducing its “carbon pollution” and this trend is likely to continue regardless of Paris. Other countries are increasing their emissions and would continue regardless of Paris, since the goals set in Paris are supposedly nonbinding. What, then, is the accord supposed to achieve? About the only thing “for sure” about the Paris accord is that it would commit the U.S. to sending hundreds of billions of dollars on renewable energy (with virtually no impact on emissions or climate) and to third world countries. What does America get out of this agreement? Nothing at all.]

Others say it could be worse because other countries might follow a U.S. exit, leading to more emissions from both the U.S. and the rest.

Another computer simulation team put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit).

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

The world without U.S. efforts would have a far more difficult time avoiding a dangerous threshold: keeping the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

[Why is 2 degrees C a “dangerous threshold”? We’re half-way there and see no dangerous impacts so far. And the latest estimates of climate sensitivity and atmosphere residence time suggest human emissions are unlikely to ever cause 2 degrees or more of warming, with or without treaties and efforts to reduce emissions. (See Figure 5 starting on page 66 of Why Scientists Disagree.) So this is all just fake news.]

The world has already warmed by just over half that amount -- with about one-fifth of the past heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions coming from the United States, usually from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

So the efforts are really about preventing another 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) from now.

"Developed nations - particularly the U.S. and Europe - are responsible for the lion's share of past emissions, with China now playing a major role," said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis. "This means Americans have caused a large fraction of the warming."

Even with the U.S. doing what it promised under the Paris agreement, the world is likely to pass that 2 degree mark, many scientists said.

But the fractions of additional degrees that the U.S. would contribute could mean passing the threshold faster, which could in turn mean "ecosystems being out of whack with the climate, trouble farming current crops and increasing shortages of food and water," said the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Kevin Trenberth.

[Kevin Trenberth is another bad apple who ought not be presented as an objective or independent climate scientist.]

Climate Interactive, a team of scientists and computer modelers who track global emissions and pledges, simulated global emissions if every country but the U.S. reaches their individualized goals to curb carbon pollution. Then they calculated what that would mean in global temperature, sea level rise and ocean acidification using scientifically-accepted computer models.

By 2030, it would mean an extra 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the air a year, according to the Climate Interactive models, and by the end of the century 0.3 degrees Celsius of warming.

"The U.S. matters a great deal," said Climate Interactive co-director Andrew Jones. "That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it."

Climate Action Tracker, a competing computer simulation team, put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 Fahrenheit) by 2100. It uses a scenario where U.S. emissions flatten through the century, while Climate Interactive has them rising.

One of the few scientists who plays down the harm of the U.S. possibly leaving the agreement is John Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the scientist credited with coming up with the 2 degree goal.

"Ten years ago (a U.S. exit) would have shocked the planet," Schellnhuber said. "Today if the U.S. really chooses to leave the Paris agreement, the world will move on with building a clean and secure future."

Not so, said Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe: "There will be ripple effects from the United States' choices across the world."

[Katharine Hayhoe is another bad apple who ought not be presented as an independent or credible climate scientist.]

Trump defies globalists and makes the right call to support coal

President Trump appears to have made the right decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement and fulfill his campaign promises.

But it took him longer than necessary to make the call. He needs to remind those who work for his administration who is in charge. The repeated comments to the press that contradict his policies by those who surround him are undermining his ability to not only accomplish his promises but even to credibly set his administration’s agenda.

The latest distraction was offered by former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, who serves as White House National Economic Council director. Cohn met with reporters on the flight to the Group of 7 meeting, which included the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. The Paris climate agreement was a hot topic.

Trump’s assistant denigrated the president’s position with respect to energy development when he attacked coal as a viable energy source, saying, “Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock.”

The remarks in advance of meetings where the president would be confronted by other leaders anxious to get him to embrace the economy-destroying global climate agreement deliberately undermined Trump. Fortunately, the president didn’t back down in the face of enormous pressure from these world leaders, but no thanks to his staff.

If Democrat Gary Cohn wants to be president, he can take his Wall Street resume back to New York City, build his own campaign, and try to convince the Bernie Sanders dominated party of his choice to nominate him. But as long as he works for a president who campaigned and won in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia largely due to his support for the resource extraction industry, Cohn should avoid talking to the media about his opinions on energy.

When you work for an elected official, you get the ability to share your opinions internally, but waive the right to share them publicly when they are not in sync with those of your boss — in this case, the President of the United States.

Cohn was right on one thing: natural gas is going to play a large role in America’s energy future, but it will not and should not replace coal. Natural gas depends upon pipelines and is not easily storable, making it significantly less reliable than coal, which is easy to store and warehouse. This is a tremendous advantage in an era when environmental radicals threaten the soft targets that pipelines represent.

The national security implications of natural gas supply disruptions without having a large amount of our nation’s electricity grid fueled by reliable and available coal or nuclear power are frightening given its interconnectivity and stretched capacity.

As a globalist traveling in Europe, Cohn must have noticed the vulnerability of what was once known as Western Europe to disruptions of natural gas pipelines from Russia. As Ukraine remains a hot spot between Russia and NATO countries, many in Europe worry that their dependency on Russian natural gas makes them vulnerable to energy blackmail.

Yet, Europe itself ignores the energy beneath its own feet in a willful blindness. Germany is rich with coal and the economic certainty it provides. Yet, Germany would rather import most of the limited coal they use and is in the process of ending its nuclear power generation capability by 2022, thus increasing their dependency on Russian natural gas, even as they intellectualize the potentially devastating effects of that dependency.

In the United States, Trump made it clear on the campaign trail last year that the war on coal was over in his administration. Many of his actions have demonstrated his commitment to coal and nuclear power as a large and expanded part of our national energy security plan.

After Cohn’s ill-advised opinions, the Trump wisely stood up to the G-7 leaders who sought to push him to a so-called “climate deal.” Now, he needs to tell his own staff, that they need to follow his lead, or find another job. In order for Trump to succeed, he needs his own White House pushing his policies, setting a clear direction for Congress and others to follow.

Cohn is just the latest White House aide who forgot that he doesn’t sit behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office. For the nation’s sake, let’s hope that Cohn is the last to speak out of turn. The administration needs to set an unambiguous, coherent, forward-looking economic policy that puts our nation on a course toward true full employment and roaring economic growth, turning the corner from the worst growth in U.S. history that we have endured over the past decade.

The U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement should be followed by Energy Secretary Rick Perry aggressively engaging in policies that will re-energize the coal and nuclear electricity generation options, creating a true “all of the above” strategy.

Electricity generation is both an economic and national security priority. Trump needs to ignore out of touch advisors like Gary Cohn and put American energy security first by emphasizing stable, reliable, and resilient electricity generating sources.


Climate Alarmism Minus Perspective Equals Fake News

Like any policy discussion, the field of science can be easily distorted and misconstrued when it lacks proper perspective and insight. The New York Times performed this masterfully in a recent climate piece, “Mapping 50 Years of Melting Ice in Glacier National Park.” The article’s objective was to tug at Americans' heartstrings by highlighting the supposedly exceptional amount of ice melt occurring in northern Montana, where glaciers “shrank by more than a third between 1966 and 2015, according to new data from the United States Geological Survey and Portland State University in Oregon.”

To help readers understand how their carbon footprint is disposing America of its ice age relics, the Times publishes myriad images to visually (and emotionally) document the receding glaciers. The article then stipulates, “Glacier National Park’s eponymous ice formations have been around for more than 7,000 years, and have survived warmer and cooler periods. But they have been shrinking rapidly since the late 1800s, when North America emerged from the ‘Little Ice Age,’ a period of regionally colder, snowier weather that lasted for roughly 400 years. (At its founding in 1910, the park had at least 150 glaciers, most of which are now gone.) After the end of the Little Ice Age, glaciers across the Western United States, Canada and Europe lost ice as temperatures rebounded. But scientists have attributed more recent melting to human-caused global warming.”

By what objective temperature measurements? Well, the Times doesn’t say, and nefariously so. As Robert Tracinski observes, this form of climate deception has become a pattern at the Times. He writes, “There is no science without numbers. Science can’t get by on qualitative descriptions. If you say the average global temperature in 2016 was ‘higher’ than in 2015, that’s not science. It could be a lot higher or a little higher. It could be a number that is enormous, or it could be a number that is literally insignificant. (And if they don’t tell you the number, guess which of those it is likely to be.)”

The Times knows such disclaimers could jeopardize its message, which is the real motivation for its refusing to publish temperature minutiae. Why else would it neglect to report that regional temperatures around Glacier National Park have actually been flat for more than a century? Global warming is real — few dispute that. But if temperatures aren’t rising in tandem around GNP, there has to be more to the story for why glaciers are receding at an ostensibly faster rate because of human activity. None of this matters, however, because, as Tracinski opines, the Times is predisposed to believe that “nothing can be attributed to mere natural causes any more. It all has to be because of global warming.”

In January, The Wall Street Journal wisely editorialized that “nuances are important, because phrases such as ‘hottest year ever’ are waved around as a pretext for political action that usually involves giving more control over the economy to governments.” Sadly, the Times continues to borrow from the same playbook. After Donald Trump’s election in November, Times officials promised to “rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you.” In truth, they’re sticking to the same statist agenda.


Further Empirical Proof Elevated CO2 is Benefitting Earths Forests
Paper Reviewed: Choury, Z., Shestakova, T.A., Himrane, H., Touchan, R., Kherchouche, D., Camarero, J.J. and Voltas, J. 2017. Quarantining the Sahara desert: growth and water-use efficiency of Aleppo pine in the Algerian Green Barrier. European Journal of Forest Research 136: 139-152.

In response to concerns about the possible impacts of CO2-induced global warming on the biosphere, scientists are turning more and more to empirical analyses to evaluate model-based claims of climate alarmism. And among the many assertions that are made in this regard, is the claim that rising temperatures and increasing droughts will harm forest ecosystems, so much so, in fact, that they contend the positive benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment will be overwhelmed by the predicted negative impacts of climate change. But is this happening in the real world?

The latest study to provide insight on the matter comes from Choury et al. (2017), who analyzed long-term trends in the basal area increment (BAI) and intrinsic water-use efficiency (WUEi) of native Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis Mill.) growing in the Djelfa province of Algeria, near the northern border of the Sahara Desert. There, they cored multiple trees from three locations so as to evaluate such trends over the period 1925-2013, during which time mean annual temperatures rose by 1.5°C and atmospheric CO2 concentrations rose by approximately 30 percent. So did this modern increase in temperature and CO2 bring doom down upon this forested region? Are the Aleppo pines here showing signs of distress?

In a word, hardly!

As illustrated in the figure below, Choury et al. report "the BAI patterns of natural Aleppo pine stands did not show a decreasing trend over the last century, indicating that warming-induced drought stress has not significantly affected secondary growth of pines in the area; instead, BAI trends were stable or even showed a significant increase in the case of the North slope site." Similar good fortunes were noted for the trees' WUEi, with the seven-member research team reporting that "WUEi increased by ca. 39% across sites between 1925 and 2013."

Altogether, the welcomed results of their analysis led Choury et al. to conclude that their study "highlights the substantial plasticity of Aleppo pine to warming-induced drought stress," while adding that "the extent of such plastic responses for Aleppo pines growing at the southernmost limit of the species distribution area is, from a physiological point of view, remarkable." Consequently, it would appear that model-based assertions that the predicted negative impacts of climate change will overpower any positive influence of rising atmospheric CO2 on forests could not be more wrong!


Overpopulation Hoax

In 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote "An Essay on the Principle of Population." He predicted that mankind's birthrate would outstrip our ability to grow food and would lead to mass starvation. Malthus' wrong predictions did not deter Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich from making a similar prediction. In his 1968 best-seller, "The Population Bomb," which has sold more than 2 million copies, Ehrlich warned: "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." This hoax resulted in billions of dollars being spent to fight overpopulation.

According to the standard understanding of the term, human overpopulation occurs when the ecological footprint of a human population in a specific geographical location exceeds the carrying capacity of the place occupied by that group. Let's look at one aspect of that description — namely, population density. Let's put you, the reader, to a test. See whether you can tell which country is richer and which is poorer just by knowing two countries' population density.

North Korea's population density is 518 people per square mile, whereas South Korea's is more than double that, at 1,261 people per square mile. Hong Kong's population density is 16,444, whereas Somalia's is 36. Congo has 75 people per square mile, whereas Singapore has 18,513. Looking at the gross domestic products of these countries, one would have to be a lunatic to believe that smaller population density leads to greater riches. Here are some GDP data expressed in millions of U.S. dollars: North Korea ($17,396), South Korea ($1,411,246), Hong Kong ($320,668), Somalia ($5,707), Congo ($41,615) and Singapore ($296,967).

The overpopulation hoax has led to horrible population control programs. The United Nations Population Fund has helped governments deny women the right to choose the number and spacing of their children. Overpopulation concerns led China to enact a brutal one-child policy. Forced sterilization is a method of population control in some countries. Nearly a quarter-million Peruvian women were sterilized. Our government, through the U.N. Population Fund, is involved in "population moderation" programs around the world, including in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Egypt, Turkey, Ethiopia and Colombia.

The entire premise behind population control is based on the faulty logic that humans are not valuable resources. The fact of business is that humans are what the late Julian L. Simon called the ultimate resource. That fact becomes apparent by pondering this question: Why is it that Gen. George Washington did not have cellphones to communicate with his troops and rocket launchers to sink British ships anchored in New York Harbor? Surely, all of the physical resources — such as aluminum alloys, copper, iron ore and chemical propellants — necessary to build cellphones and rocket launchers were around during Washington's time. In fact, they were around at the time of the cave man. There is only one answer for why cellphones, rocket launchers and millions of other things are around today but were not around yesteryear. The growth in human knowledge, human ingenuity, job specialization and trade led to industrialization, which, coupled with personal liberty and private property rights, made it possible. Human beings are valuable resources, and the more we have of them the better.

The greatest threat to mankind's prosperity is government, not population growth. For example, Zimbabwe was agriculturally rich but, with government interference, was reduced to the brink of mass starvation. Any country faced with massive government interference can be brought to starvation. Blaming poverty on overpopulation not only lets governments off the hook but also encourages the enactment of harmful, inhumane policies.

Today's poverty has little to do with overpopulation. The most commonly held characteristics of non-poor countries are greater personal liberty, private property rights, the rule of law and an economic system closer to capitalism than to communism. That's the recipe for prosperity.



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