Friday, December 01, 2017

Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast?

UN climate forecasts are consistently high … consistently wrong … and used to drive policy

Dr. Tim Ball and Tom Harris

Dr. Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, summarized the problem the world faces with climate change policy:  “Would you bet your paycheck on the weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on global warming predictions that have even less foundation?”

Sowell is right to be skeptical. Meteorologists can’t forecast the weather much beyond 48 hours, as the degree of accuracy diminishes rapidly with every additional day. Yet the same weather agencies, often using the same computer models, since 1990 have said with almost absolute certainty that their 50- and 100-year forecasts are correct. They maintain this illusion today, even though all their long-term forecasts have been wrong.

Moreover, it’s not just your paycheck that you would be putting at risk. It’s reliable, affordable energy for everything you do, and for those you rely on for goods and services. It’s your living standards and future – and your children’s future.

It’s the health and wellbeing of every person in every modern, industrialized nation on earth – and of every person in poor developing countries who dreams of having living standards and opportunities approaching those we are blessed with.

The global warming deception worked because most people don’t know the difference between weather, climate and meteorology. This confusion arose partly because of the historical development of each.

Climate came first, with the word originating from the Greek word for inclination. The ancient Greeks realized that the climate of a region, and how it changed through the year, was primarily determined by the angle of the Sun’s rays. Beyond that, they used evidence from experience and historical patterns.

Aristotle’s student and philosophical successor Theophrastus (371–287 BC) wrote the book Meteorological Phenomena, sometimes called the Book of Signs. Theophrastus was not referring to astrological signs, but weather signs such as the red sky observation that is neatly summed up by the old, and generally correct, adage: “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.”

The Greeks developed short-term forecasts based on observations made over hundreds of years. This use of long-term signs to try and determine short-term weather pervades and guides all communities because of its impact on their food supply. This became more important when humans switched from hunter-gatherer to sedentary agricultural subsistence.

Some simple definitions are important for the public to understand.

Weather is the total of the atmospheric conditions at any given moment. It includes thousands of inputs from cosmic radiation from deep space, heating energy from the bottom of the oceans and everything in between.

Climate is the average weather conditions, and how they change, at a given location, over an extended period of time. While one can describe “daily climate,” obtained by averaging the 24-hourly readings or averaging the minimum and maximum readings in a 24-hour period, much longer periods are normally studied by climatologists. The choice of the beginning and end point of climate studies determines the overall trend. By “cherry picking” this time interval, you can demonstrate virtually any trend you want.

For example, the general temperature trend of the last 140 years was warming, but the trend of the last 1,000 years was cooling. That is why the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tried to rewrite the historical temperature record over the past millennium to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period. It finally had to restore the Warm Period, which existed across Europe and Asia, and is recorded in multiple Chinese texts from that era.

Similarly, you can study climates of various regions, although forecasting regional climate is fraught with uncertainties. Dr. Tim Palmer, leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, summed the situation up well in a 2008 New Scientist magazine article:

“I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.”

Meteorology is the study of the physics of the atmosphere and is the term people associate most with weather forecasting. Meteorologists maintain that their physics is correct. Then why are their forecasts so often wrong? The answer is inferred in mathematician and philosopher A.N. Whitehead’s comment that,

“There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain.”

The IPCC defends its long-term climate forecasts by maintaining that a weather forecast is different from a climate forecast. But climate is an average of the weather, and one cannot generate accurate results by averaging inaccurate ones.

Thus, starting in 1990, the IPCC stopped making forecasts – because they were never right. Instead they began publishing a range of “projections.” Yet, they too were hopelessly at odds with what actually happened in the real world. Worse, the news media, climate activists, politicians and regulators treat the “projections” as predictions, or forecasts, for purposes of stirring up public anxiety and trying to justify draconian anti-fossil fuel policies.

Indeed, these failed projections underlay the extreme, economically damaging, and completely unnecessary policy prescriptions that were presented earlier this month at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

So, the answer to Sowell’s question is clear. No country – certainly not successful, developed nations like the United States or Canada – should bet a nickel of taxpayers’ money on the UN’s failed global warming predictions.

Poor, struggling, developing countries are even more strongly advised to ignore UN predictions and energy policy prescriptions – unless they want to be mired in poverty and misery for another century.

Via email

The Real Story Behind The Heartland Institute’s Role In The Trump Admin

Have you read The Washington Post lately? If so, you probably read about a “fringe” group of global warming deniers working behind the scenes to push President Donald Trump’s administration ever farther to the right.

WaPo depicted the conservative Heartland Institute’s November meeting in Houston, Texas, as full of activists unhappy with the Trump administration’s progress on undoing liberal climate policies.

Heartland held similar meetings in June and September. Details from those meetings were also leaked to the press, cultivating a media narrative of a fringe conservative group pulling the strings behind Trump’s policies from the Paris accord withdrawal, to opening lands to drilling and eliminating climate programs.

Jim Lakely, Heartland’s communications director, isn’t surprised with the media’s take, he told The Daily Caller News Foundation. This is part of an effort to delegitimize Heartland’s work and drive a wedge between them and the Trump administration, he said.

“The tone of it is that the climate realist right isn’t happy with Trump’s progress,” Lakely told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Every meeting participant — except one cited many times by WaPo — was ecstatic with Trump’s progress.

“It’s a complete 180 from what Hillary Clinton would have done,” Lakely said. “I think it’s remarkable what Trump has been able to get done.”

That’s not the impression you’re left with after reading WaPo’s recent expose. In fact, Lakely has taken issue with the media’s portrayal of Heartland’s activities, portraying the Chicago-based think tank as a fringe group that pushes secretive policy memos at closed-door meetings.

On the contrary, Heartland has always been public about its ultimate goals — to keep global warming alarmists from winning the public debate. The group has certainly not been coy about its public policy goals of rolling back former President Barack Obama’s administration’s global warming regulatory regime.

Heartland even published online an energy and climate policy checklist for Trump shortly after Trump’s 2016 election win.

Always A Target

Heartland CEO Joe Bast isn’t surprised with the media’s portrayal of Heartland. Environmental activists have been attacking the Heartland Institute for years over their skeptical stance on man-made global warming.

“The left demonizes us,” Bast told TheDCNF, referring to environmentalist campaigns to smear them in the media. The Illinois-based think tank began seriously critiquing climate science in 2007, and since then, they’ve only attracted more vitriol from liberal groups.

Heartland is now in the spotlight for its influence with the Trump administration.

WaPo claimed audio recordings and a three-page document obtained from Heartland’s Houston meeting “highlight the extent to which those on the right are pushing Cabinet members … to enact even more sweeping changes,” according to an article published Nov. 15.

The meeting showed “how conservatives are working to place key allies in top policy posts in the White House and elsewhere, including on boards that help guide federal policy,” the paper argued.

However, Bast said that’s not how the group operates. The meetings convened to prepare scientists and economists who could do a good job in federal agencies or on advisory boards.


The Paris Agreement: A Fairytale’s Failure

The Paris Agreement is all set to become a massive failure. Major member states of the Paris agreement are set to miss the deadlines to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

Why is it a debacle?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) states that the Paris Agreement’s aim is to limit the global temperature rise to below 1.5–2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, by the end of this century.

To accomplish this target, it required member states to commit to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, believing that this would offset the supposed rise in global temperature levels.

This proposal hinged on scientifically inaccurate conclusions regarding the role of carbon dioxide in increasing the global temperature levels.

There is no scientific proof that carbon dioxide is the primary source for the increase in global temperature levels. Moreover, the global temperature has not displayed any dangerous increase in the past 100 years.

The only probable support for the theory of dangerous increase in temperature levels comes from the UN sponsored computer climate models that use false assumptions.

Climatologists unanimously acknowledged the flaw, when these computer models failed to reflect the temperature fluctuations during the past 17 years, despite a consistent increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

The models were designed to portray an alarming increase in temperature that is nowhere to be seen in the real world. Besides, the models used carbon dioxide as the major forcing factor for temperature increase, thereby providing a means to justify the unholy war on carbon dioxide emissions from human activity.

These faulty temperature projections from the models were the very basis for the Paris Agreement. The UNFCC has completely ignored the failure of these models and continues use their projections as a scare-tactic.

With the help of mainstream media and using political advantage, the proponents of climate alarmism tried to shield the agreement from critique and kept the juggernaut rolling.

But, not anymore!

The UNFCCC required each signatory country to make a commitment and submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The NDC’s of each signatory contained the agreed targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in phased manner.

The Paris Agreement’s webpage boasts that 168 countries have ratified the agreement.

This number indicates neither the success of ratification nor the proportionate contribution of the key signatories. It also conveniently ignores the non-ratification by the U.S., which is the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

The regime shift saw the U.S. withdrawing its support for the Paris Agreement. The Trump administration scrapped the clean power plan and indicated that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), if any, is not an immediate concern for the country.

With the second largest signatory pulling out, the eyes of the alarmists turned east.

China is the largest emitter and India is one of the top five emitters of carbon dioxide. Between them they also have roughly three-tenths of the world’s population, and large percentages of their populations desperately need energy from fossil fuels to rise out of poverty—fuels they wouldn’t be able to use while simultaneously making significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Not surprisingly, therefore, both countries have refused to make substantial reductions in their carbon dioxide emissions.

Their NDC’s are ambiguous regarding future commitments and projections indicate that they will miss the targets of whatever little commitments they have made.

Both countries have announced a continued increase in new coal power plant installations and have increased their targets for production and import of coal.

In fact, India’s chief economic adviser slammed what he called ‘carbon imperialism’ by the global warming alarmists and called for a coal coalition to encourage the empowerment of coal power plants globally.

Europe too is falling apart. Europe’s largest emitter, Germany, will miss its reduction targets. Germany is also facing serious energy challenges because of its efforts to promote renewables. It has the largest number of coal power plants in Western Europe and the demand for coal has increased.

Germany is not alone. The UK, France, Netherlands, and Australia—all will miss their individual emission reduction targets.

More member states will benefit from withdrawing from the agreement, as it will reduce the economic cost of depending on heavily subsidized and unreliable solar and wind energy systems. It will also accelerate and expedite their journey towards meeting the energy demands in their respective countries.

Even before a year, forecasts suggested a failure of Paris agreement. With the tectonic shift in global climate change politics, 2017 has further rendered the Paris agreement ineffective and futile.

Prophets of climate doom continue proclaiming “The end is near!” But the end that’s near is not that of the planet or the climate or human or natural wellbeing but that of the Paris agreement. The world will soon be free from the fairytale of climate alarmism that it had espoused during the past two decades.


The Climate Alarmists Definitely Don't Believe Their Own Propaganda

Is man-caused climate change a crisis that requires immediate action to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions to save the planet?  Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit has a frequently-repeated phrase that he uses on this subject, which is "I'll believe that it's a crisis when the people who claim it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis."

Plenty of people have pointed to extreme examples of the "do as I say, not as I do" syndrome in the climate wars.  Twenty-three thousand people (23,000!!!!) jet off to Bonn to cook up schemes to force others to fly less.  Al Gore has a 10,000+ square foot house that uses more than 20 times the amount of energy as the average American home -- and that's just one of his multiple houses!  And so forth.  But just because these people behave this way does not necessarily mean that they don't believe their own propaganda; it may just mean that they believe that the burden of sacrifice needs to be on you rather than on themselves.  But are there some of their actions that go further and prove that they really know that it's all bullshit?

Because it's hard to get people too worked up over the idea that the temperature might rise a couple of degrees -- or even three! -- the big scare story always tends to revert to sea level rise.  Antarctica is going to melt and we're all going to drown!!  Or something like that.  An article from the Guardian a few days ago (November 3) is typical of the genre:

Hundreds of millions of urban dwellers around the world face their cities being inundated by rising seawaters if latest UN warnings that the world is on course for 3C of global warming come true, according to a Guardian data analysis.

OK then, undoubtedly the progressive climate-alarm-believing elite would situate themselves well away from the dangerous coastlines at some respectable higher elevation.  Actually, not at all.  The progressive and supposedly climate-alarm-believing elite clusters itself just as close along the coastlines as it can get:  New York, LA, San Francisco, Seattle.  In New York and San Francisco particularly, favored perches of the alarmists line up right along the waterfront.  Tenants of my own office building -- no more than about 30 feet above mean high tide in downtown Manhattan -- include Vox Media.  Or consider the Goldman Sachs headquarters, just a couple of hundred feet inland, and barely elevated abov the sea:

I guess that tells you what the smart money thinks.  Would they really have put a billion dollar building there if they thought there was anything to this sea level rise thing?

Or consider the case of nuclear power.  If carbon emissions really were a huge existential crisis, there is exactly one way to replace the energy we currently get from fossil fuels with energy that is sufficiently abundant and reliable, and reasonable enough in cost, to be a real way to power a modern economy for the entire world.  That is nuclear.  (By the way, I'm not saying that I am a fan of nuclear power.  As far as I'm concerned, we should take what the market provides without government meddling and subsidies, and likely that is almost entirely fossil fuels for the foreseeable future.  But what I am saying is that if climate alarmists think that it is absolutely essential to de-carbonize the world economy, then there is only one way to do that without destroying it, and that is widespread adoption of nuclear power.)

Undoubtedly then, the people who are really concerned with climate crisis should be advocating loudly for expansion of nuclear power to replace fossil fuels.  Funny, but you literally can't find that.  Yes, there are a few examples of lonely individuals out there making this point, but literally no example from any major environmental organization.  For instance: 

Natural Resources Defense Council?  "Expanding nuclear power is not a sound strategy for diversifying America’s energy portfolio and reducing global warming pollution."

Sierra Club?  "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.  The Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy."

Greenpeace?  "Greenpeace got its start protesting nuclear weapons testing back in 1971. We’ve been fighting against nuclear weapons and nuclear power ever since."

Union of Concerned Scientists?  "Current security standards are inadequate to defend nuclear plants against terrorist attacks."

You could go on with this as long as you want.

So what's going on here?  There is no way to avoid the conclusion that the biggest promoters of the climate scare don't actually believe their own propaganda.  But there are several other reasonable hypotheses for why they continue.  For the environmental groups, the reasonable hypothesis is that scaremongering and alarmism are the sine qua non of fundraising.  The leaders of the environmental groups themselves know, because they have to, that intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar cannot meaningfully de-carbonize the world economy.  But the halting advance of those non-workable energy sources means no imminent solutions and therefore a never-ending crisis that can keep career-long sinecures going.


Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way

Volunteer communities are being sought for Australia’s first small nuclear reactors, which developers hope could be in operation by 2030.

SMR Nuclear Technology has set a timeline for the development of Australia’s nuclear power ­industry, which would require a site to be identified within three years. Building nuclear power stations in Australia would require changes to state and federal laws and overcoming deep community objections. SMR director Robert Pritchard said the company had adopted an aggressive approach to nuclear development in ­Australia based on small reactors.

“We now realise that politicians will follow the community view,” Mr Pritchard said. “We have to get out and spend a year getting the community on side.” He said interest had been widespread.

In a submission to the Energy Security Board, Sydney-based SMR said small modular reactors had become a game-changer. “It would be imprudent not to factor SMR nuclear generation into Australia’s energy security plan at this time,” SMR said.

The company claims nuclear offers the prospect of safe, affordable energy free of greenhouse gas emissions. “Nuclear may be the only reliable, low-emissions source of electricity generation technology that is suitable for you, unless your area has an unlimited supply of water for hydro electric,” the SMR pitch says.

“The construction of any ­nuclear power plant is currently prohibited by Australian law but there is a growing realisation that maintaining the reliability and ­affordability of our electricity ­supply whilst lowering emissions will require all low-emissions technologies to be considered.”

SMR said small modular reactors were compatible with renewables, factory built and affordable.

It said despite the billions of dollars spent on renewables, Australia had not yet been successful in significantly reducing emissions from electricity generation.

The company said the most ­recent cost analysis by the UK ­Energy Options Network showed the levelled cost of electricity for nuclear was an average of $US60/MWh and as low as $US36/MWh. It said at the lowest level, new nuclear plants could be the lowest-cost generation available.

The construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Australia is prohibited by two commonwealth acts: similar prohibitions exist in state law. SMR said these prohibitions were put in place at a time when there was no real appreciation of the contribution that modern, safe nuclear power plants could make to ­energy security, affordability and emissions reduction.




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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