Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ecofascists below fantasise about changing the law to secure their political aims: locking up their political enemies

They are hanging their hopes on attribution studies but such studies involve modelling.  And when did any Greenie model get anything right?  Still, it would be great to get Warmism into court.  It would not survive judicial scrutiny for a moment.  They'd actually be lucky to get anybody to testify for them -- for fear of getting a face-egging

For decades, proving the link between human greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on extreme weather events was thought to be near impossible. Now, scientific advancements in extreme weather event attribution are turning this assumption on its head.

At the same time, courts around the world are increasingly being asked to consider questions of liability arising from a relationship between the loss and damage caused by an extreme weather event and climate change.

From a legal view, the information that attribution studies provide about the increased characteristics of extreme weather events – such as heatwaves, droughts or storms – is crucial. Having the ability to foresee damage is a key requirement in establishing a duty of care in many legal systems.

This breakthrough will galvanise future climate change litigation. Cases are likely to involve local government agencies, professionals or companies that own or manage public and private infrastructure and have a duty of care to manage climate-related risks.

And this fusion of science and the law could spur action from governments and businesses to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, helping to limit the extent of climate change in future.

Rapidly evolving scientific field

The science of determining the extent to which human-caused climate change has affected the characteristics of an extreme weather event is known as “event attribution”.

Scientists use a methodology to compare observations and records from the “real world” with the “counterfactual world” – a modelled simulation with human-caused forcings, such as  greenhouse gases and aerosols, removed.

Since the first attribution study on the 2003 European heatwave, scientists have published more than 140 studies looking at weather events around the world.

The strength of attribution science is based on three “pillars”: the quality of observed records; the ability of models to simulate climate events; and the understanding of physical processes that drive climate events and how these are being affected by climate change.

To date, confidence in studies of extreme heat and cold episodes has been the strongest – though scientists are increasingly able to differentiate between natural and human-caused influences on rainfall extremes and storms as well.

Significant uncertainties do remain, however, and in an inherently chaotic weather system it is technically impossible to state that a specific extreme event would “never” have occurred without human influence. Therefore, scientists reject simplistic statements such as “this event was caused by climate change” and instead express findings in terms of changing risk.

For example, a recent study in Australia found that “in the past, a summer as hot as 2016–17 was a roughly 1-in-500-year event”. It continued: “Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1-in-50 years – a tenfold increase in frequency. In the future, a summer as hot as this past summer in New South Wales is likely to happen roughly once every five years”.

Implications for the law

The fact that the findings of event attribution studies are expressed probabilistically does not diminish the usefulness of this evidence for the law or liability. The law has shown flexibility in assessing harm resulting from “negligence” (a type of legal wrong) where harm can only be proven using probabilistic methods.

For example, courts in the UK have accepted causation for civil cases relating to occupational exposure to toxic chemicals when the science has shown the risk of an event occurring has been increased by a 2:1 chance. This is known as the “doubling of the risk” test. Similar tests have been adopted as part of litigation in the US.

Attribution science is not only beginning to link emissions from human activities to specific physical events happening today, it is also producing clear warnings and evidence about the risks of extreme climate events in the future.

What does this mean for governments and business?
With these scientific breakthroughs, governments and businesses may find that the bar is raised with respect to the expectations of the public and the law.

Some nation states have legal duties to protect the rights of citizens. As our understanding of the future risk from climate change becomes more certain, governments may have corresponding legal duties to adapt physical infrastructure and disaster management plans to protect people and the environment.

Specifically, government or private bodies that own and manage critical public infrastructure – such as ports, roads, airports or even public housing – should be aware of, and adapt to, the expected exposures projected by the best available event attribution science. This is necessary to continue to achieve necessary protective and reliability standards – and maintain related economic stability. Infrastructure may need to be re-designed to ensure it can withstand future climate-related risks, such as heatwaves and floods.

In the US, claims against governments for failing to adapt to climate change could be brought under existing statutory obligations, however, the process is complex. Just as litigation arose after Hurricane Katrina, questions will be asked in the wake of Hurricane Harvey regarding appropriate planning, management and responses to flood risk in Houston.

Interestingly, the UK Climate Change Act allows the Secretary of State to request adaptation plans from public authorities that show their preparation and planning for the impacts of climate change.

The same liability risk applies to companies, too. A business that designs, constructs or manages public assets also faces future climate-related risk. If architects, engineers or builders use outdated building standards, or if codes are not updated to take into account exposures projected by advances in climate science, these companies and professionals may expose themselves to negligence claims. As has been seen time and again in the US in all manner of litigation, mere compliance with a statute or procurement rule or requirement does not necessarily satisfy professional duty obligations.

More frequent and severe weather events also physically threaten private assets and business revenue and related tax revenues, whether that includes a loss of productivity due to periods of closure, or higher energy costs. Businesses, just like governments, must assess and manage foreseeable climate-related risks.

We expect that attribution science will provide crucial evidence that will help courts determine liability for climate change related harm. But that liability may emerge first from traditional common law negligence causes of action, applied to professionals and parties with unique knowledge and/or duties, rather than from regulatory compliance actions.

Governments and businesses can no longer ignore the risk of extreme events or write them off as “Acts of God”. Instead, quantifying the impact that humans have on climate events could help us mitigate climate risk and adapt for a stable future.


The Myth That Climate Change Created Harvey, Irma

Flooding in homes and businesses across Houston was still on the rise when Politico ran a provocative article, titled “Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like.”

Politico was not alone, as another news outlet called the one-two punch of Harvey and Irma the potential “new normal.” Brad Johnson, executive director of the advocacy group Climate Hawks Vote, says Harvey and Irma are reason to finally jail officials who “reject science.”

Rather than focus on the victims and offer solutions for speedy recovery, pundits and politicians in the wake of Harvey focused on saying, “I told you so.”

Consider this data from a 2012 article in the Journal of Climate, authored by climatologists Roger Pielke Jr. and Jessica Weinkle. Pielke tweeted a graph from the paper that shows no trends in global tropical cyclone landfalls over the past 46 years.

Statistician and Danish author Bjorn Lomborg also tweeted a graph showing major hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. trending downward for well over a century.

Before anyone starts claiming that Pielke and Lomborg’s charts rely on denier data, mainstream science published similar findings.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in its most recent scientific assessment that “[n]o robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes … have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin,” and that there are “no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency.”

Further, “confidence in large-scale changes in the intensity of extreme extratropical cyclones [such as ‘Superstorm’ Sandy] since 1900 is low.”

Other media outlets tying Harvey to climate change took a more measured approach.

For instance, Vox wrote that man-made global warming did not actually cause Harvey, but simply exacerbated the natural disaster by creating heavier rainfalls.

But this claim is discredited by University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass, who after examining precipitation levels in the Gulf found that “[t]here is no evidence that global warming is influencing Texas coastal precipitation in the long term and little evidence that warmer than normal temperatures had any real impact on the precipitation intensity from this storm.”

Mass went on to explicitly refute those who attribute Hurricane Harvey to climate change:

The bottom line in this analysis is that both observations of the past decades and models looking forward to the future do not suggest that one can explain the heavy rains of Harvey by global warming, and folks that are suggesting it are poorly informing the public and decision makers.

Politicians seeking to exploit Harvey and Irma as reasons to act on climate change would only make a bad situation worse. Climate policies and regulations designed to prevent natural disasters and slow the earth’s warming simply will not do so.

Such policies aim to limit access to affordable, reliable conventional energy sources that power 80 percent of the country. Restricting their use through regulations or taxes will drive energy prices through the roof and make unemployment lines longer.

Further, these policies will destroy economic wealth, meaning fewer resources would be available to strengthen infrastructure to contain the future effects of natural disasters and to afterward.

Instead of blaming man-made greenhouse gas emissions, climate catastrophists should see natural disasters for what they really are: natural.

If policymakers want to take a page out of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “never let a crisis go to waste” playbook, they should worry less about costly nonsolutions to climate change and focus on natural disaster response, resilience, and preparedness.


Japan To Build 40 New Coal Power Plants

Japan may not achieve its carbon emissions target if an ambitious plan to build more coal-fired power plants moves ahead, the environment minister said, underlining Tokyo’s struggle to meet globally agreed goals to halt climate change.

Even as it champions the Paris climate agreement, Japan — the world’s fifth-biggest carbon emitter — continues its massive reliance on coal and natural gas, putting it out of step with the rest of the Group of Seven bloc and even South Korea.

The industry ministry sees coal as an important part of the country’s energy mix after the closure of nuclear reactors in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns….

“If all those plants are built, it will become a major obstacle for Japan’s 2030 target to cut emissions,” said Yamamoto.

Under the Paris climate deal, Japan pledged to trim its carbon emissions by 26 percent in 2030 from 2013 levels.

The ministry estimates that Japan’s emissions could exceed its 2030 target by 70 million tons if all the coal power plants are built.


Correlation of Regional Warming with Global Emissions

Jamal Munshi, Sonoma State University


A study of regional temperature reconstructions of the instrumental record 1850-2016 for land and ocean in the two hemispheres is presented. The rate of warming over land in the Northern Hemisphere appears to show some evidence of correlation with global emissions in five of the twelve calendar months but the statistical significance of the correlation could not be verified with station data from the region. No correlation with emissions could be found in regional temperature reconstructions for any of the other five global regions studied. These results taken together do not support the claim that the observed warming in surface temperatures worldwide since the Industrial Revolution is driven by fossil fuel emissions or that the rate of warming can be attenuated by reducing fossil fuel emissions.


Miss America goes Green

Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund, was named Miss America 2018 Sunday night in Atlantic City following a night of political questions ranging from the Trump administration's alleged collusion with Russia to Confederate monuments.

The event got political after the Miss America candidates were asked multiple questions about the current political climate and President Trump during the question-and-answer session.

During one of the onstage interviews, Mund said Trump was wrong to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord aimed at combating climate change.

“I do believe it's a bad decision,' she said. “Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table and that's something that we really need to keep in mind.”

“There is evidence that climate change is existing. So whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table, and I think it's just a bad decision on behalf of the United States,” she added.




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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