Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cheers! Skeptics toast U.S. exit from Paris pact at UN climate summit in Germany

Global warming skeptics have descended upon the UN climate summit in Germany this week, hosting a summit of their own to highlight the errors of the UN’s climate change claims. On the final day of the skeptics’ climate summit, the group gathered for a champagne toast to the U.S. climate exit or “clexit” from the UN Paris pact.

Lord Christopher Monckton, former Thatcher adviser: “President Trump is right. He speaks not only for the former Democrat workers from the rust-belt states whom the new totalitarians have callously abandoned but also for all who fear the establishment of global totalitarian rule on the specious pretext of saving the planet. The science behind global warming has collapsed. So too will the “climate process”, a rent-seekers’ nirvana in which the many are compelled to impoverish themselves to enrich the gilded few.”

Dr. Holger Thus, President of the EIKE – European Institute for Climate & Energy on U.S. climate exit: “It was very important. What people don’t want to see is the U.S. is blamed for a lot of things, but in the past it has also been paying for a lot of things. The core of the message of President Trump was is that he is no longer willing to pay things are not in the interest of the United Sates. The U.S. could be a policy model for other countries. There are many countries that are thinking of undertaking such steps.”

French climate skeptic Pierre Bouteille of the French group Climato-Réalistes on U.S. climate exit:“It was a boost to our morale. On climate Trump is doing the right thing. He is appointing the right people.”

Craig Rucker, the executive director of CFACT: “The Europeans congratulate the U.S. for the courage to stand up to the UN, academia and the media and are willingness to go it alone when it comes to the UN Paris pact. A champagne toast celebrating the U.S. withdrawal during the UN climate summit was the perfect message to send to the UN climate summit.”

Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot, author of upcoming book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change”: “President Trump waded into a religious war by going after UN climate pact. The former UN chief has actually said global warming is my religion.  Trump is actually standing up and willing to taking on the religion of climate change. No modern leader other than former Czech President Vaclav Klaus has shown this kind of strength. Trump is a leader! When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, he was called the reckless cowboy and many were worried. This is what leadership looks like, you buck even your allies and do what’s right not only for your country but for the planet. The planet does not need nonsense about a UN climate treaty somehow saving us and now we are all doomed because we did not adhere to it. That is belief in superstition. This is America reborn. Trump is showing unbelievable courage.”


Climate debate at the Cambridge Union -  summary of the main problems with the standard alarmist polemic

By Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv - Professor at the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Shaviv has also been granted the IBM Einstein Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University

Last week I participated in an interesting debate that was held at the Cambridge Union, the oldest debating club in the world (dating back to 1815. The invite was to be on the side opposing the proposition "This house would rather cool the planet than warm the economy".

Although I think the phrasing of the question is problematic to begin with, since it assumes that "warming the economy" necessary would cool the climate, I should applaud the Cambridge Union for supporting free speech and allowing people on both side to voice their arguments, especially given how many on the alarmist side refuse to do so, claiming that there is nothing to debate anymore.

I should also add that I was quite shocked to see how the audience was so one sided (though far less than the ridiculous 97:3 ratio we hear about!) and unwilling to listen to scientific arguments. I am actually quite lucky to be living in Israel where free speech and free thought are really more than lip service. Having honest debates in Israeli academia or in the media is actually the norm.

Below you will find the summary I wrote myself before the debate. Since it is rather concise I thought it would be a good idea to bring it here as well.

Dr. Shaviv: Let me begin by asking you a question. What is the evidence that people, like the proponents here, use to prove that we humans are responsible for global warming and that future warming will be catastrophic if we don't get our act together?

The fact is that this idea is a misconception and the so called evidence we constantly hear is simply based on fallacious arguments.

To begin with, any one who appeals to authority or to a majority to substantiate his or her claim is proving nothing. Science is not a democracy and the fact that many believe one thing does not make them right. If people have good arguments to convince you, let them use the scientific arguments, not logical fallacies. Repeating it ad nauseam does not make it right!

Other irrelevant arguments may appear scientific, but they are not. Evidence for warming is not evidence for warming by humans. Seeing a poor polar bear floating on an iceberg does not mean that humans caused warming. (Actually, the bear population is now probably at its highest in modern times!). The same goes to receding glaciers. Sure, there was warming and glaciers are receding, but the logical leap that this warming is because of humans is simply an unsubstantiated claim, even more so when considering that you can find Roman remains under receded glaciers in the Alps or Viking graves in thawed permafrost in Greenland.

Other fallacious arguments include using qualitative arguments and the appeal to gut feelings. The fact that humanity is approaching 10 billion people does not prove that we caused a 0.8øC temperature increase. We could have just as much caused an 8øC increase or an 0.08øC. If all of humanity spits into the ocean, will sea level rise appreciably?

In fact, there is no single piece of evidence that proves that a given amount of CO2 increase should cause a large increase in temperature. You may say, "just a second, we saw Al Gore's movie, in which he presented a clear correlation between CO2 and temperature from Antarctic ice cores". Well, what he didn't tell you is that one generally sees in the ice cores that CO2 lags the temperature by typically a few hundred years, not vice versa! The simple truth is that Al Gore simply showed us how the amount of CO2 dissolved as carbonic acid in the oceans changes with temperature. As a matter of fact, over geological time scales, there were huge variations in the CO2  (a factor of 10) and they have no correlation whatsoever with the temperature. 450 million years ago there was 10 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere but more extensive glaciations.

When you throw away the chaff of all the fallacious arguments and try to distill the climate science advocated by the IPCC and alike, you find that there are actually two arguments which appear as legitimate scientific arguments, but unfortunately don't hold water. Actually, fortunately! The first is that the warming over the 20th century is unprecedented, and if so, it must be human. This is the whole point of the hockey so extensively featured in the third assessment report of the IPCC in 2001. However if you would google "climategate" you would find that this is a result of shady scientific analysis - the tree ring data showing that there was little temperature variation over the past millennium showed a decline after 1960, so, they cut it off and stitched thermometer data. The simple truth is that in the height of the middle ages it was probably just as warm as the latter half of the 20th century. You can even see it directly with temperature measurements in boreholes.

The second argument is that there is nothing else to explain the warming, and if there is nothing else it must be the only thing that can, which is the anthropogenic contribution. However, as I mention below, there is something as clear as daylight. and that is the sun.

Before explaining why the sun completely overturns the way we should see global warming and climate change in general. It is worth while to say a few words on climate sensitivity and why it is impossible to predict ab initio the anthropogenic contribution.

The most important question in climate science is climate sensitivity, by how much will the average global temperature increase if you say double the amount of CO2. Oddly enough, the range quoted by the IPCC, which is 1.5 to 4.5øC per CO2 doubling was set, are you ready for this, in a federal committee in 1979! (Google the Charney report). All the IPCC scientific reports from 1990 to 2013 state that the range is the same. The only exception is the penultimate report which stated it is 2 to 4.5.

The reason they returned to the 1.5 to 4.5 range is because there was virtually no global warming since 2000 (the so called "hiatus"), which is embarrassingly inconsistent with a large climate sensitivity. What's more embarrassing is that over almost 4 decades of research and billions of dollars (and pounds) invested in climate research we don't know the answer to the most important question any better? This is simply amazing I think.

The body of evidence however clearly shows that the climate sensitivity is on the low side, about 1 to 1.5 degree increase per CO2 doubling. People in the climate community are scratching their heads trying to understand the so called hiatus in the warming. Where is the heat hiding? While in reality it simply points to a low sensitivity. The "missing" heat has actually escaped Earth already! If you look at the average global response to large volcanic eruptions, from Krakatoa to Pinatubo, you would see that the global temperature decreased by only about 0.1øC while the hypersensitive climate models give 0.3 to 0.5øC, not seen in reality.

Over geological time scales, the lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature places a clear upper limit of a 1.5øC per CO2 doubling sensitivity. Last, once we take the solar contribution into account, a much more consistent picture for the 20th century climate changes arises, one in which the climate drivers (humans AND solar) are notably larger, and the sensitivity notably smaller.

So, how do we know that the sun has a large effect on climate? If you search on google images "oceans as a calorimeter", you would find one of the most important graphs to the understanding of climate change which is simply ignored by the IPCC and alarmists. You can see that over more than 80 years of tide gauge records there is an extremely clear correlation between solar activity and sea level rise - active sun, the oceans rise. Inactive sun - the oceans fall. On short time scales it is predominantly heat going to the oceans and thermal expansion of the water. This can then be used to quantify the radiative forcing of the sun, and see that it is about 10 times larger than what the IPCC is willing to admit is there. They only take into account changes in the irradiance, while this (and other such data) unequivocally demonstrate that there is an amplifying mechanism linking solar activity and climate.

The details of this mechanism are extremely interesting. I can tell you that it is related to the ions in the atmosphere which are governed by solar activity and in fact, there are three microphysical mechanisms linking these ions to the nucleation and growth of cloud condensation nuclei. Basically, when the sun is more active, we have less clouds that are generally less white.

So, the main conclusion is that climate is not sensitive to changes in the radiative forcing.

This means that we are not required to "cool the economy" in order to cool earth. In Paris and Copenhagen the leaders of the world said that we should make sure that the total global warming will be less than 2øC. It will be less than 2øC even if we do nothing. There are several red flags that people do their best to ignore. The lack of warming in the past 2 decades is a clear sign that sensitivity is low, but people ignore it.

Last point. People say that we should at least curb the emissions as a precautionary step. However, resources are not infinite. Most people in developed nations can pay twice for their energy, but for third world nations? It would mean more expensive food, hunger and poverty, and many in the developed world actually freezing in winter. So in fact, taking unnecessary precautionary steps when we know they are unnecessary is immoral. It is even committing statistical murder.

Now the really last point, I am also optimist that humanity will switch to alternative energy sources in less than 2-3 decades just because they will become cheap enough, and just for the reason that people want to save money. Just like the price of computers has plummeted exponentially (Moore's law- number of transistors doubles every 18 months) so does the cost of energy from photovoltaic cells (cost halves every 10 years). Once they will be really cost effective, without subsidies, suddenly we won't be burning fossil fuels because it would be the expensive thing to do!

Let us use our limited resources to treat real problems.

Via email

Obama's EPA Spent $690,000 on Parking Spots No One Used

IG: $1.5 million wasted on subsidies and empty spots in final 2 years

The Environmental Protection Agency spent nearly $700,000 for parking spots that no one used during the final two years of the Obama administration.

The office of inspector general released an audit Wednesday finding the agency wasted taxpayer dollars on subsidized parking for employees at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.

"Only EPA headquarters (based in Washington, D.C.) and Region 4 (based in Atlanta, Georgia) subsidized employee parking," the inspector general said. "These offices paid over $840,000 to subsidize employee parking from January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2016."

"In this time period, none of the other EPA regional offices provided their employees with subsidized parking, which is not a required employee benefit," the inspector general added.

Not only did the EPA use resources on unnecessary parking benefits that could have gone towards environmental projects, it also paid $293.45 per month for parking spots that were not being used. More than a quarter of the parking spots the EPA paid for its D.C. headquarters were unoccupied.

"We also found that, from January 2015 through December 2016, 29 percent of the parking spaces that headquarters leased for its employees and 27 percent of the parking spaces that Region 4 leased for its employees remained unoccupied," the inspector general said. "The EPA paid approximately $690,000 for these unoccupied parking spaces."

The inspector general said the $1.5 million spent on subsidized parking and unused parking spots could have been used for mission-critical work.

"While the parking subsidy is permitted, it is not required," the inspector general said. "In an age of dwindling federal resources, the EPA's use of taxpayer money-over $840,000 in a 2-year period-to fund employee parking may not be an effective use of federal resources and may take funds away from mission-critical public health and environmental initiatives."

Under administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA made plans to return 53 unused parking spaces earlier this year, which would save taxpayers $186,634.20 annually.

This entry was posted in Issues and tagged EPA, Government Waste. Bookmark the permalink.


Why Calling Electric Cars 'Zero Emission' Is Blatantly False Advertising

Environment: If truth-in-advertising laws were properly enforced, any company that labeled a battery-powered car as "zero emissions" would be guilty of breaking the law. A new report, in fact, shows that electric cars can be worse than conventional cars when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.

In a recent news release, General Motors (GM) said it planned to someday be an all-electric "zero emissions" car company. Toyota (TM) says it wants all its cars to be "zero emission" by 2050. Other car companies are making similar promises. The push to go electric is largely being driven by fears about global warming and the desire to reduce CO2 emissions.

But the term "zero emission" is so unbelievably and wildly misleading that it's a wonder anyone gets away using it.

Yes, the plug-in electric cars that automakers are touting - and states like California are mandating - don't emit pollutants from their tailpipes.

That doesn't mean they don't contribute to pollution. It just means that the source of the pollution moves from the car to a power plant. That's especially true when it comes to CO2 emissions, which the power plant might pump out in copious amounts, depending on its energy source.

So, every time an electric car gets recharged, it's contributing to additional CO2 emissions.

Just how much CO2 is made plain in a new report from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. It calculated the CO2 emissions from plug-in electrics, depending on the energy sources used to generate electricity in various countries, and then translated that into miles per gallon.

The result is eye-opening.

The report - authored by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle -  notes that an electric car recharged by a coal-fired plant produces as much CO2 as a gasoline-powered car that gets 29 miles per gallon. (For context, the average mpg of all the cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks sold in the U.S. over the past year is 25.2 mpg.) A plug-in recharged by a natural gas-powered plant is like driving a car that gets 58 miles per gallon.

Solar, wind and geothermal do far better on this score, but they generate a small portion of the nation's electricity. More than 64% of electricity is generated by coal, natural gas or other fossil fuels.

The U of M researchers calculate that, given the energy mix in the U.S., the average plug-in produces as much CO2 as a conventional car that gets 55.4 miles per gallon.

In China - which is winning all sorts of plaudits for its commitment to electric cars but is more dependent on coal - a plug-in generates the same CO2 as a 40 mpg car. In India, plug-ins are even less clean, emitting the same CO2 as a car that gets 35.7 mpg.

Worldwide, the researchers found, the CO2 emissions from electric cars are equal to a 51.5 mpg car.

That is better than conventional cars on the road today, to be sure, but it is far from zero.

And even this exaggerates the environmental benefits of electric cars because the report doesn't take into account the additional CO2 emissions involved in making batteries.

A separate study from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that, depending on the type of plug-in being built, manufacturing a battery-powered car generates anywhere from 15% to 68% more CO2 emissions than a conventional gas-powered car. The reason is that producing the batteries is incredibly energy intensive.

Over the lifetime of a car, then, a plug-in could, depending on where one lives, contribute more to global warming than those nasty gasoline powered cars.

Whatever the case, it's clear that labeling electric cars as "zero emission" is one of the biggest consumer scams going.


Free Market Solutions to Environmental Issues

Giving the government more power is the wrong way to go when the market can steward resources.

Yuval Levin, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, states, "Some of what is good about our world is irreplaceable and has to be guarded, while some of what is bad is unacceptable and has to be changed."

Nothing could be more true in terms of the environment. Some of what is good is irreplaceable, and requires our guardianship: the protecting of species, the sustainability of our forests, oceans and wetlands, and the cleanliness of the air we breathe and water we drink. Yet some of what is bad (the ineffective policies and overregulation) is unacceptable and requires change.

The 19th century U.S. conservationist movement sought to guard the irreplaceable aspects of our national nature and history and initially started with a focus on private property as the impetus for stewardship. The environmentalists in the 1970s and beyond grew to favor the federal government (rather than individuals) as the custodian, manager and enforcement officer of the United States environment.

Leaning heavily on regulations, permits and compliance papers, the 1970s brand of environmental protection traded private stewardship for public management. Yet government-owned and managed public lands have been notoriously mismanaged through passivity and fiscal irresponsibility.

The key issue here is the incentive structure. What do the laws incentivize people to do? Are they incentivized to "be in compliance" or to actually take care of the land? Does collective ownership or private ownership incentivize the best care of goods?

Here's a basic example: Most people who have a pool in their backyard don't use it as a giant trash bin. Why? Generally, because they want to swim in it later. In the short run, throwing your trash in the pool may be more convenient than putting it in plastic bags and hauling it out to the dumpster, but everyone knows that at some point, you're going to have to clean up the mess that you made. Ultimately you feel incentivized to care for that which is yours because it's your property.

This same principle applies to the environment.

The inextricable relationship between a person and his or her property cannot be ignored. It is as natural to have a vested interest in your own "stuff" as it is for a toddler to yell, "Mine!" when grasping his favorite toy.

Jonathan Adler, law professor at Case Western University, describes effective market-driven management of the environment in "Conservative Principles for Environmental Reform." He gives the example the U.S. fisheries who have adopted the "catch-share" concept that fuses species sustainability with privatization incentives.

It works like this: Scientists decide the number of fish that can be caught in a particular area without causing the species to die out. Fishing associations divide that number among themselves and can catch their fish quota in any season throughout the year. As the fish population increases, the share amounts increase. Thus, the ownership piece of the catch-share concept incentivizes fishing associations to take care of their area (stewardship), and not overfish (sustainability).

Other organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy list properties for purchasers interested in private conservation of land and work with these individuals to restore and preserve the land to its natural state. In Texas, for example, they have a property listed that is one of the largest protected pieces of the Texas Blackland Prairie, of which only 2% remains. Potential buyers can purchase the land and receive help or advice in planting indigenous wildflowers and other plants in order to maintain the land's natural state.

Other private initiatives include ranchers who breed and sell endangered species, which act simultaneously as a conservationist effort and profitable business. WildLife Partners LLC currently holds permits to own, breed and sell 10 endangered species, which they sell to collectors and other ranches.

Government has and will maintain a key role in our environmental laws, many of which have been good and useful. However, many laws and regulations have been on the books for years and merit a re-examination to determine their actual effectiveness or redundancy - or constitutionality. We must ask the question, "Do the regulations exist to just be regulations, or do they help to achieve environmental stewardship?" We need to examine the incentive structures of the laws and regulations to see if they are incentivizing private management or public apathy.

In light of the recent controversial Trump administration Climate Report, it's time to focus less on problems and more on real solutions to environmental issues. Market principles and privatization can and will deliver effective results if we allow them to be part of the environmental conversation.




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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