Wednesday, January 24, 2018

With talk of ‘mini ice age,’ global warming debate may again be about to change

The unfalsifiable theory

Many Americans believe the debate over whether man is primarily responsible for Earth’s recent warming was started by Al Gore in the 1990s, when the issue prominently made its way onto the national stage, but scientists have been debating humans’ role in our changing climate for many decades.

For instance, in 1969, the New York Times reported, “Col. Bernt Balchen, polar explorer and flier [now serving with General Dynamics], is circulating a paper among polar specialists proposing that the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two. … A number of specialists believe that an ice-free Arctic Ocean would not freeze again.”

In the 1970s, some scientists speculated Earth was about to go through an extensive global cooling period, with some even suggesting the cooling could be catastrophic.

These dire predictions, and many more just like them, never occurred, of course, but they all have one thing in common: Environmentalists have consistently used scientific projections to justify radical, often socialistic policy changes, including carbon taxes and exchanges, incentives to limit population growth and other extreme measures that take power away from individuals and give it to an ever-growing centralized government.

I believe we could be about to experience another remarkable shift in the climate change debate, although radical environmentalists’ plan to seize your rights will likely remain the same.

Another ‘mini ice age’?

On Dec. 27, Sky News, a large media outlet in the United Kingdom, published a news article on its website titled, “Scientists predict ‘mini ice age’ could hit UK by 2030.” In this article, reporter Gerard Tubb describes a new report from researchers at Northumbria University that claims “a mathematical model of the Sun’s magnetic activity suggests temperatures could start dropping here from 2021, with the potential for winter skating on the River Thames by 2030.”

Sky News reported the research team, led by professor Valentina Zharkova, projects there will be “rapidly decreasing magnetic waves for three solar cycles beginning in 2021 and lasting 33 years.”

Zharkova says there is a 97 percent chance the model is accurate, but she and her team say because of man-caused global warming, it’s not clear how much cooler things might get. Still, Zharkova says it’s very possible global temperature will drop in a manner similar to when solar activity was last at Zharkova’s projected levels, in the mid-1700s, when much of the world experienced a so-called “mini ice age.”

Many of those who believe humans are primarily responsible for global warming have already denounced the mini ice age prediction. They believe humans are creating so much warming that it will far outweigh changes in the sun’s magnetic waves.

“The effect is a drop in the bucket, a barely detectable blip, on the overall warming trajectory we can expect over the next several decades from greenhouse warming,” Michael Mann, a professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University and the man behind the infamous “hockey stick graph,” said in an email to the Washington Post.

If Mann is right and the “warming trajectory” — which I think is a rather misleading term given some of the findings by Dr. John Christy and other researchers — continues, then it’s unlikely the climate change debate will change much over the next decade or two. Alarmists will continue to say the world is about to end, skeptics will say they think the alarmists are wrong, and most people will go on with their lives, waiting until the debate definitively ends or until climate alarmists get their wish and institute massive, far-reaching and expensive policies that will control how much carbon dioxide people can emit without paying a fine.

However, if Mann is wrong and the changes to solar magnetic waves expected by Zharkova’s team do occur and do cause warming to cease, or even cooling, then the climate change debate will inevitably shift, as alarmists and politicians scramble to come up with an explanation for why their many highly touted and dire predictions never occurred. How will far-left environmentalists save themselves from total embarrassment?

A new strategy

Interestingly, at least some climate scientists are already beginning to drop hints about how they might react. When asked by Sky News about how potential alterations to the sun’s magnetic waves might affect global warming, Zharkova responded, “I hope global warning will be overridden by this effect, giving humankind and the Earth 30 years to sort out our pollution.”

Ah yes, how fortunate it is that the sun’s changes will give Earth “30 years” to come up with a solution to global warming! Rather than admit that they might be wrong and that warming could be driven primarily by factors other than carbon-dioxide emissions, Zharkova suggests instead that an extreme cooling period would push the red line people like Al Gore are always ranting about 50 years into the future.

This conveniently gives the environmental left and many Democrats a doomsday deadline far enough off into the future that it will theoretically affect most people now living (or at least their kids) but not so far off that people aren’t concerned about it.

Given what I’ve read about Zharkova, it doesn’t seem as though she should be classified as an “alarmist.” In fact, in accordance with good scientific practices, she seems very willing to consider all the evidence on both sides of the debate. But her statement speaks volumes about the future of the global warming movement should her predictions about the Sun turn out to be accurate.

Zharkova isn’t the only one who has suggested such a view, either. In a Newsweek article, James Renwick, a professor at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, was quoted as saying any cooling would be limited to the 30-year period projected by Zharkova, and that global warming would pick up right where it left off, or be even worse, when the solar activity changed again around 2050.

“If things played out as described in Zharkova’s paper, and we did see a decrease in solar output roughly as happened in the 1700s, there would be some cooling for 20 or 30 years,” Renwick said. “But the levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are so much higher now (and will be even higher in 2030) that temperatures would not drop much below where they are today. And that drop would last only until 2050 or so. Then we’d have a bounce upwards again.”

Newsweek reported Howard Diamond, the program director for the U.S. Climate Reference Network, also concluded warming temperatures would quickly rebound, even if Zharkova is right.

As these statements show, even if we experience lots of cooling because of solar changes, many climate scientists are likely to ignore those alterations as evidence that natural causes may be the most important climate change consideration.

Instead, it appears they will stick to their climate change theory about man’s responsibility and possibly use the cooling period (if one occurs) as a time to rally support for radical energy policies. This situation is eerily similar to when alarmists shifted away from using the term “global warming,” replacing it with the more-ambiguous and all-encompassing “climate change.”

Climate change doesn’t appear to be on the way out, but the debate could be on the verge of evolving again, this time putting alarmists on the defensive as global temperature cools because of changes in the Sun’s magnetic waves.


Bob Lutz slams Tesla’s future prospects, says if you like electric cars ‘buy one while they’re still available’

TESLA was once the darling of the automotive industry, but it’s starting to lose its lustre with those in the know.

CAR industry veteran Bob Lutz has cast doubt on the future of electric car maker Tesla, which has struggled to make a profit, and suffered chronic production delays and quality problems.

The former high ranking executive from General Motors, now retired, said Tesla boss Elon Musk “hasn’t figured out the revenues have to be greater than costs … when you are perennially running out of cash you are just not running a good automobile company”.

A Los Angeles Times report said Lutz, 85, made the comments while addressing a crowd of vintage car collectors at an auction in the US.

Lutz praised the latest Tesla electric car as “one of the fastest, best handling, best braking sedans that you could buy in the world today” with enough acceleration to “beat any $350,000 European exotic”.

However, Lutz said the future prospects of the company are grim.

“I don’t see anything on the horizon that’s going to fix that, so those of you who are interested in collector cars may I suggest buying a Tesla Model S while they’re still available,” Lutz said.

Afterwards, Lutz told a reporter from the Los Angeles Times: “Twenty-five years from now, [the Model S] will be remembered as the first really good-looking, fast electric car. People will say ‘Too bad they went‎ broke’.”

Lutz — who has worked for BMW, Ford, Chrysler and, finally, General Motors before he retired from the US car giant in 2010 — is known for his direct and outspoken views in an industry mired in political correctness and marketing speak.

It is not the first time Lutz has questioned Tesla’s “cash burn”, drawing attention to it during a CNN interview in 2016.

“The last time I checked their quarterly cash burn is about $250 million. For a company that size that’s horrific,” Lutz said.

Although he was instrumental in approving the development of the Chevrolet Volt petrol-electric plug-in hybrid car, Lutz describes himself as a climate change sceptic rather than a climate change denier.

In 2008 he told a room full of journalists “global warming is a crock of shit”, before explaining “I’m motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the CO2 (argument)”.

Among his list of career achievements, Lutz played a key role in getting the Holden Monaro coupe and Holden Commodore sedan exported to the US in the early to mid 2000s.

He was also a senior executive at GM in charge of future models when the company went into bankruptcy in the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, and it was forced to axe brands such as Hummer and Pontiac.

However, Lutz is not the only high ranking executive to question Tesla’s claims.

Last year General Motors’ director of autonomous vehicle integration Scott Miller said “I think he’s full of crap” when asked about Musk’s claims that certain Tesla cars “already have the hardware for full self driving capability”.

Mr Miller said Tesla vehicles currently lack the back up systems to properly deliver a truly autonomous car.

“Do you really want to trust one sensor measuring the speed of a car coming into an intersection before you pull out? I think you need some confirmation,” Miller told Australian media in a technology briefing in Detroit.

Despite the gloomy forecast, Tesla is buoyed by the value placed on it by investors.

According to the latest data, Tesla has a market value of $US59 billion and trades at $US351 a share even though it only produced 101,000 vehicles in 2017.

By comparison, General Motors has a market value of $US61.5 billion and trades at $US43 a share after producing more than 9 million vehicles in 2017.

The world’s number one car maker Volkswagen has a market value of $US116 billion and trades at $US46 a share after producing approximately 11 million vehicles in 2017.


The Dangers of Asserting 'Hottest Year Since...'

It's one thing to compare satellite temps and quite another to make claims using dubious 100-year-old logs.

We recently turned the calendar over to a new year, which provides us an opportunity to analyze last year’s climate rankings. According to Dr. Roy Spencer, a renowned climate researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), the temperature of the lower troposphere in 2017 registered a positive anomaly of 0.38°C. This measurement originated via satellite recordings that began in the 1970s and uses 1981-2010 as a baseline. According to Spencer, at +0.38°C, 2017 ranks as the third-warmest year (2016 and 1998 were both higher).

Similarly, the California-based Remote Sensing Systems company, whose niche is “specializing in satellite microwave remote sensing,” says based on its analysis that “the lower troposphere [in] 2017 was the second warmest recorded since satellite observations began in 1979.” Both the UAH and RSS computations take into account a 39-year satellite history. This is very important, as we’ll explain.

On Thursday, NASA asserted that “Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880.” More specifically, “Globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean.” Strangely, even the libertarian site Reason ran with the headline, “2017 Was the Second Hottest Year Since 1880, Says NASA.” It’s true that the NASA ranking is similar if not identical to the satellite reports, but it’s incredibly deceptive to pretend they mean the same thing.

It’s one thing to compare more modern satellite temperatures and quite another to make concrete claims that are heavily dependent on logs from 100-plus years ago. Satellite measurements — the most reliable tool we have — went into commission in the late 1970s. On the other hand, NOAA is taking us all the way back to 1880, when satellite data was nonexistent. Anyone who claims that global climate data from then up until the satellite era is anywhere close to factual is delusional. Moreover, NASA is utilizing revisionist temperature data along with very spurious methodology. So next time you hear “It’s the hottest year since…” remember, it’s all relative. And if government data is involved, it’s most likely based on highly unsubstantiated claims.


We can't win:  Cleaning up pollution may make global warming WORSE

Or so they say

The very contaminants that are helping to fuel global warming may also be masking its effects, research has indicated.

Efforts to remove pollutants from the air could result in an increase in warming, extreme weather and other climate effects, according to the study, which was published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Specifically, removing aerosols, which are human-made pollutants often emitted by industrial activities, could push the earth's temperature to become half a degree to 1.1 degree C warmer.

It might not seem like much of an increase, but it has the potential to make the earth's temperatures approach dangerous levels.

Experts have said they hope to keep world temperatures within 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius of their pre-industrial levels, Scientific American noted.

The earth may have already warmed by a degree, which means any incremental increases could make a big difference.

Not only would cooling the earth result in warmer global temperatures, but it may also enhance the related effects of global warming.

Chief among those effects are increasingly dangerous weather, such as precipitation and natural disasters. 

'We also see that the impact that these aerosols have on temperature in Asia really transports northwards to the Arctic region, northern Europe, Norway, the northern U.S.,' said Bjørn Samset, the study's lead author, according to Scientific American.

'That part of the world is also quite sensitive to the changes in aerosols in Asia.'

The scientists also noted that the negative effects of removing pollutants tend to be stronger in areas that were more polluted to begin with.

Researchers used four global climate models to simulate the impact of removing human-contributed emissions of major aerosols, such as sulfate and soot.

The scientists concluded that doing so would warm the earth by half a degree to 1.1 degrees Celsius.

For the time being, Samset said he hopes that the study will help 'inform the next generation' of climate research.

The study follows similar research that found artificial cooling techniques, often referred to as 'geoengineering,' can be harmful to the earth.

One technique involves firing aerosols into the atmosphere to combat global warming. Doing so would cool ultimately cool the earth by blocking incoming solar radiation. However, if the geoengineering technique is abruptly stopped, it can actually cause the planet to warm ten times faster than normal.

This could lead to devastating floods or droughts and could be a 'huge threat' to the natural environment and biodiversity.


Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal over endangered frog

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a lower-court decision protecting a dusky gopher frog on private land in Louisiana.

The high court will hear the case of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service against Weyerhaeuser Company, a timber producer.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had designated nearly 6,500 acres in Louisiana and Mississippi as a critical habitat for the frog living underground in open-canopied pine forests. That includes more than 1,500 acres on private land in St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana.

Since 2001, the dusky gopher frog has been listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. In 2012, the U.S. agency designated the private land as protected.

In June 2016, a three-judge panel of 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the classification even though the frogs no longer live on the St. Tammany Parish land. But the court agreed with the federal agency that those lands are essential because they contain five ephemeral ponds, each within hopping distance of the next. They lay their eggs only in these temporary ponds and the parish was the last known Louisiana breeding ground.

The Weyerhaeuser Company wants to use the land for residential and commercial development, as well as timber operations. It argued the wildlife agency abused its power under the Endangered Species Act.

"The landowners thus face the Catch-22 that they can continue forestry operations on the frogless land largely unhindered by the designation," the company wrote.

If it tries to develop the land, consistent with existing plans and zoning, the designation may well stop the development in its tracks -- "which again would not help the frog. Either way, the designation destroys economic activity, leaves the land as unoccupied non-habitat, and does nothing to help the frog."

The lower court ruled that critical-habitat designations do not transform private land into wildlife refuges.

"We're disappointed the Supreme Court took up the case but confident the justices will ultimately uphold this imperiled frog's habitat protections," said Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney who works to conserve amphibians and reptiles. "The Fish and Wildlife Service followed the unanimous advice of frog experts in deciding to protect essential habitat of these critically endangered animals."

Although at one time prevalent throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, dusky gopher frogs are now nearly extinct.

"The Supreme Court's ruling is bad news for these endangered frogs," said Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network. "This lawsuit attempts to gut essential habitat protections for the frog. For too long the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had to focus its limited resources on defending this decision rather than recovering the frogs and restoring their habitat."

The Center for Biological Diversity and Gulf Restoration Network are participatating in the litigation before the Supreme Court.




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


No comments: