Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Climate excuses add up as climate theory fails

Tony Abbott may have annoyed the climate change mob with his speech in London, but a far more serious problem for that industry is an admission that global temperatures have not been following climate models.

Besides the two papers making that admission, including one in Nature Geoscience, that massive industry also faces the problem of a possible La Niña this year, which will pull global temperatures down.

Selling disaster stories about rising temperatures, the main way the industry justifies itself, is harder if temperatures are falling rather than rising.

The June 19 paper, "Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming rates", states in part: ‘We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early 21st century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in the post-2000 external forcings used in model simulations.’

Scientists have made this observation before and been bitterly attacked for their troubles, but this paper is notable for including, as authors, the global warming leading light Professor Michael Mann, of Pennsylvania State University and one of Australia’s most distinguished scientists in this area, Professor Matthew England of the University of NSW.

In other words, the climate establishment has finally conceded some ground by agreeing that climate models may not be right all the time.

The concession is still comparatively limited as the paper refers to the troposphere (the upper atmosphere) and, as the authors have subsequently made clear, they blame the difference on a combination of ‘internal variations’ and short-term natural cooling such as volcanic eruptions injecting material into the atmosphere.

They are not abandoning global warming as a theory, merely explaining why the models are falling short. The implication is that the models will still accurately forecast warming over the long term.

The second paper "Natural climate variability, part 2: Interpretation of the post-2000 temperature standstill" published on October 2 in the less prestigious International Journal of Heat and Technology, adjusts recorded temperatures by removing the massive El Niño that rolled through the climate system in 2015-2016.

Scientists have claimed that the obvious spike in temperatures in 2015 and 2016 were the end of the so-called ‘pause’ in global temperatures. The paper, by three Italian academics led by a Nicola Scafetta of the University of Naples Frederico II, states ‘by removing the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) signature, the authors show that the temperature trend from 2000 to 2016 clearly diverges from the general circulation model (GCM) simulations.

Thus, the GCMs models used to support the AGWT (anthropogenic global warming theory) are very likely flawed.’

This is the sort of inconvenient paper that the climate establishment is adept at ignoring and discrediting, and Professor Scafetta, an astronomer and statistician rather than a climate scientist, has theories on the sun and the planets influencing climate that make his straight statistical work easy to unfairly deride.

However, as the climate establishment is making similar noises, albeit while insisting that global warming theory still rules, Scafetta’s paper has caused comparatively little fuss.

Any laymen/women with expertise in the Excel spreadsheets can also download the earth’s global temperature records from the Hadley Climate Unit site in the UK and examine the resulting graph for themselves, without the mixed benefit of highly trained scientists interpreting the results.

That graph clearly shows the spike in temperatures in 2015-16 is due to the previously mentioned El Niño, but it is equally clear that temperatures have fallen back to about where they were before El Niño, at least to judge by just looking at a 13-month rolling average.

Then there is the real possibility of La Niña, the opposite of El Niño, pulling temperatures down. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology takes a typically conservative line on the warning signs of cooler waters (as measured by satellite) in the Pacific by saying on its site, ‘The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. The surface of the tropical Pacific has warmed over the past fortnight as a result of weaker trade winds.

‘International climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest this recent surface warming may only be temporary, with further cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean likely. Five of the eight models suggest sea surface temperatures will reach La Niña thresholds by Dec. 2017, but only three maintain values for long enough to be classified as a La Niña event.”

The private US meteorological service Vencore Weather, however, said on its site in early October ‘there is now substantial agreement amongst numerous computer forecast models that La Niña conditions are likely to become established over the next couple of months and current observations back this notion’.

As the Vencore site also points out ‘if history is any guide, once La Niña becomes well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures should drop noticeably relative-to-normal’. This will make life difficult for the many global warming proponents trying to push a bleak view of the world’s future.

These efforts are not helped by the many wild-eyed forecasts of the dreadful effects of higher temperatures, including sharp increases in the number of deaths that will result from problems such as heat stroke affecting the elderly.

In his speech to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Abbott pointed out that in developed countries more deaths result from winter cold than summer warmth, so that overall a slight increase in temperatures should result in fewer deaths due to changes in the weather. This difficult to refute point drew howls of outrage from the climate establishment, but Abbott did not take the next step.

As is now well established, death rates among those vulnerable to extreme weather, usually the elderly, depend on many factors including access to air conditioning or heating, or on whether they have been warned to drink more fluids (hot days) or wrap up warmly (cold days).

By concentrating on possible additional risk for this group in coming decades, climate policies are creating more risk now by pricing air conditioning and heating beyond the means of the elderly.

In the meantime, we are being handed reasons, which critical people might call excuses, as to why climate theory does not seem to be working.


Irish Government Proposes To Weaken EU Climate Targets

The Irish government circulated a fresh set of proposals aimed at weakening EU climate legislation last Monday. In a leaked paper dated October 16, which was circulated to other member states, Ireland argued against several proposals designed to ensure the EU meets its renewable energy and greenhouse gas goals for 2030.

The EU has set a collective aim of having 27% renewables in its energy mix by 2030, and is currently negotiating how it will meet this target, as member states have refused to take on any more binding national targets after 2020.

The proposed solution is that countries will “pledge” their own renewables targets for 2030 and the European Commission will assess whether they are sufficiently ambitious. The commission will then monitor member states’ progress, with a checkpoint scheduled for 2025. If it looks like member states will not meet their collective 27% goal, governments would have to pay into an EU renewables fund which would invest in additional projects across the union.

Ireland proposed several amendments last week. It believes countries which fail to meet their 2020 renewables targets should get a fresh start in 2021 rather than being expected to meet and exceed that level in 2021. A source with knowledge of the talks said Ireland was isolated on this issue.

Ireland is also opposed to payments to the new EU renewables fund being mandatory. It argues that such a requirement would “reduce the ability to invest in renewable energy” in countries that are currently behind target.

Ireland is also against being required to be 50% towards its 2030 target by 2025, arguing this is “not practical”….

As part of the new EU climate and energy rules, countries will be required to publish detailed strategies for the 2021-30 period. However, the Irish paper argues this is “not realistic”. At a meeting of environment ministers last week, a senior diplomat representing Ireland argued that 2021-30 climate and energy measures were not yet budgeted for and “perhaps society is not yet fully on board”.


Yes, I’m a global warming skeptic

By Rob Jenkins

So sue me. Throw me in jail. I know some blue-state attorneys general would like to.

What I don’t know is if any substantive warming is happening or not, and neither do you. How can we reach firm conclusions about long-term trends based on a few decades of data, when scientists say Earth is millions of years old?

This isn’t about climate change. Although warmists keep trying to conflate the two, mostly to cover up holes in their theories, global warming and climate change are not the same. No one disputes that the climate has been changing for as long as the planet has existed, generally from warmer to cooler but occasionally in the other direction.

I’m simply skeptical of claims that Earth has gotten significantly warmer in recent years; that humans are to blame; that it’s likely to get much worse; and that warming is necessarily a bad thing.

No, I’m not a scientist. But as a trained science writer, recruited by both the NSA and the U.S. Department of Energy, I can tell you that the prevailing theory of scientific communication is “consensualism,” which means that what is true is what the science establishment can convince people is true. In other words, contrary to popular perception, public science is less about “proof” than about persuasion, based on available evidence.

This can easily be seen in the way researchers change their minds, over time, about things like how much fat we should have in our diet. As more evidence comes to light, conclusions naturally change. Meanwhile, science journalists use researchers’ findings to influence public opinion and behavior.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But given such a system, doesn’t it make sense to be just a bit skeptical?

Of course, I’m always skeptical of any research that claims to find exactly what it set out to find. True science rarely works that way.

I’m skeptical of data sets that must be “adjusted” based on assumptions about what they ought to be.

I’m skeptical of researchers who talk openly, in emails, about manipulating the data.

I’m skeptical of computer models that claim to predict the temperature in 50 years when we can’t project the path of a hurricane with any certainty more than a few days out.

I’m skeptical of wolf-criers. It’s hard to take seriously dire warnings about melting polar ice caps when we were told, 10 years ago, that they’d be gone by now.

And finally, I’m skeptical anytime adherence to a theory becomes a badge of political correctness. If anyone should habitually defy the PC police, it’s scientists.

Fortunately, despite what you may have heard, thousands of scientists are just as skeptical as I am, for many of the same reasons. And while the warmists are busy cherry-picking data to advance their political agenda, the skeptics will continue actively searching for the truth.


President Trump Shouldn’t Give in to the Solar Industry’s Drama

President Trump is about to decide whether to raise the price of solar energy, based on an economic theory refuted in 1845.

In response to a formal complaint, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled this month that imported solar cells are putting too much competitive pressure on domestic cell producers. The commission will now examine what remedy would be appropriate, and then it will be up to the Trump administration to decide whether to take action. The likely remedy would be to impose tariffs on imported solar cells, thus protecting U.S. cell manufacturers and raising prices for consumers.

The solar industry is already receiving this sort of protection. In 2014, in response to a complaint by U.S. manufacturers, the Commerce Department imposed tariffs of up to 78.42 percent on imports of solar panels made in China, increasing the price for any U.S. consumer purchasing the panels. But that wasn’t enough for the U.S. companies filing this year’s complaint relating to the cells that make up the panels.

This attempt to raise the price of using sunlight for energy reminds me of one of the most famous documents in the history of free trade. In 1845, the French economist Frederic Bastiat wrote “The Candlemakers’ Petition,” in which he imagined the makers of candles and street lamps petitioning the French parliament for protection from a most dastardly foreign competitor:

Let’s hope that this time President Trump stands up for American consumers and workers and tells the uncompetitive solar panel manufacturers to go build a better mousetrap.
“We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price [ …] This rival … is none other than the sun.”

After all, Bastiat’s imaginary petitioners noted, how can the makers of candles and lanterns compete with a light source that is totally free?

Thank goodness we wouldn’t fall for such nonsense today—or would we? Solar manufacturers are asking for pretty much the same thing: protection from a cheaper competitor.

Perhaps the comparison is unfair. After all, the solar manufacturers haven’t been asking for protection from the sun, only from foreign companies.

What’s the difference, though? Any source that supplies solar panels to American consumers and businesses is a competitor of the American industry. And any source that can deliver any product cheaper than American companies is a tough competitor. Domestic producers will no doubt gain by imposing a tariff on their Chinese competitors, but American companies that install solar power will lose, by having to pay higher prices for panels.

Indeed, as is often in the case in trade matters, not all the companies in the industry are in agreement. This case was brought by two companies, but the largest solar trade group in the nation, the Solar Energy Industries Association, opposes tariffs. The association says that if the two companies get what they are asking for, prices for solar power will rise, consumer demand will fall, and the industry will lose some 88,000 jobs, about one-third of the current American solar workforce.

Interestingly, the two companies that brought the complaint, Suniva and SolarWorldAmericasTwo, are based in the United States but are respectively owned by German and Chinese firms. It’s ironic that companies made possible by cross-border investment are now seeking protection from cross-border trade.

Businesses would always prefer a world without competitors. If they can’t outcompete their rivals in the marketplace, they may be tempted to ask the government for protection. And our trade laws actually invite such complaints. But economists agree that consumers, and the businesses that use imported products, lose more on net than producers gain. Protectionism is a bad deal for the American economy. And in this case, a bad deal for anyone who wants to see more solar energy in the United States.

Let’s hope that this time President Trump stands up for American consumers and workers and tells the uncompetitive solar panel manufacturers to go build a better mousetrap.


Electric hybrid car emits four times more CO₂ than advertised, Australian real-world testing shows

A purportedly eco-friendly hybrid electric car emits four times more greenhouse gas than manufacturers claim, according to a report backed by Australia's motoring heavyweights that opens up a new front in the nation's energy policy tussle.

The report by the Australian Automobile Association, members of which include the NRMA and RACV and RACQ, says real-world testing reveals some new cars are using up to 59 per cent more fuel than advertised. Almost six in 10 exceeded the regulated limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The AAA says consumers are being "increasingly ripped off", forking out for vehicle technology that cuts emissions in the laboratory, but not on the road.

It says the findings cast doubt on whether more stringent vehicle emissions laws – a move being considered by the Turnbull government – would reduce pollution and lower fuel use.

But environment groups accused the association of spreading "misinformation" and seeking to derail attempts to make Australian cars less polluting.

The AAA report, conducted following the Volkswagen emissions testing scandal, tested 30 popular Australian passenger and light commercial vehicles on Melbourne roads. It did not name makes or models.

Emissions and fuel use were tested under real driving conditions, with Australian fuel types, and urban, rural and freeway settings.

The report found that, on average, real-world fuel consumption was 23 per cent higher than laboratory results, including one diesel vehicle that used 59 per cent more fuel than lab tests indicated.

One fully charged plug-in hybrid electric car consumed 166 per cent more fuel than official figures suggest – or 337 per cent more when tested from a low charge. It also emitted four times more carbon dioxide than advertised.

Of 12 diesel vehicles tested, 11 exceeded the laboratory limit for nitrogen oxides emissions. Overall, 18 vehicles, or almost 60 per cent, failed to achieve the regulated emissions limit for one or more pollutant in cold-start tests.

The report concluded that vehicles with the highest emission standards had the largest discrepancy between lab and on-road fuel use results, and urged regulators to be "cautious" when implementing new vehicle emissions laws.

AAA chief executive Michael Bradley said Australia's motoring clubs want appropriate pollution reduction but "real world testing is clearly required if either consumers or the environment are to benefit".

The government has proposed reducing new car emissions to 105 grams of CO₂ per kilometre by 2025 – a change Mr Bradley has previously said was "extreme" and would make vehicles more expensive.

ClimateWorks Australia project manager Claire Painter said the government must include light-vehicle CO₂ emissions in its upcoming climate policy review if Australia is to meet its obligations under the Paris climate deal. The proposed new standard could save the average motorist $519 a year in fuel costs, she said.

Ms Painter accused the AAA of seeking to delay the introduction of new standards while the emissions testing regime was improved – adding this was unnecessary because while discrepancies existed between lab and on-road test methods, "the absolute emissions saved is roughly the same for both tests".

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy urged the government "not to be put off by misinformation and to adopt strong pollution standards".

A spokesman for consumer group Choice, Tom Godfrey, said the test results showed consumers could not trust the fuel efficiency claims made by car manufacturers and "real world testing is clearly needed to ensure consumers are getting what they're paying for".

Mr Godfrey rejected suggestions this should mean the delay of more stringent emissions standards, saying "the government can walk and chew gum".

A spokeswoman for Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said a ministerial forum on vehicle emissions could assess the merits of real world testing.




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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