Thursday, April 26, 2018

A global warming manifesto in a medical journal

Under the heading "Health, Faith, and Science on a Warming Planet" the manifesto below appeared in JAMA for no apparent reason.  It appears to be authored by an Hispanic Catholic, an American Jew and a South Indian -- so maybe that is meant to be an impressive "consensus"

It is basically a religious document. It makes no mention of any scientific fact that would indicate global warming but relies entirely on appeals to authority -- in this case the opinions promulgated by various scientific societies.

With solid brass hypocrisy, however they declare that "disciplined, critical thinking, and an unfailing commitment to distinguish what is verifiable from what is not" characterizes the way they work.  But they show no sign of it.

What for instance do their critical faculties make of the long hiatus from 1945 to 1975 (where temperatures flatlined --  showed no upwards trend) precisely at the time they should have been soaring -- when CO2 levels were soaring as an outcome of post-WW2 industrialization.  Clearly such a spectacular departure -- 30 years is no "blip" -- from what Global Warming theory predicts does not bother them.  They pay lip-service to scholarship and science but in practice ignore it. They are intellectual pygmies. Platitudes are the best they can do

Global change presents humanity with unprecedented challenges. Climate change, altered natural cycles, and pollution of air, water, and biota threaten the very conditions on which human civilization has depended for the last 12 000 years. While human health is better now than ever before in human history, climate change is undermining many public health advances of the last century and ultimately may be associated with the unprecedented extinction of species. The increasing gap between the wealthy and poor—already unconscionable, and the cause of profound preventable morbidity and mortality—amplifies the effects of climate change on health and deepens health disparities.

These challenges call for global collaboration. Innovative partnerships are essential. The emerging alignment of health professionals, climate scientists, and the faith community is one such partnership. This alignment is based on a great deal of common ground.

First, there are certain truths. This is a time when many people are questioning even established facts. Untruths are promulgated with disturbing frequency and are disseminated efficiently through social media. But disciplined, critical thinking, and an unfailing commitment to distinguish what is verifiable from what is not, characterize the best of the health, science, and faith communities.

Second, scientific evidence is a primary basis for distinguishing what is verifiable from what is not. Science is both an epistemology (ie, a way to establish truth) and a set of institutional arrangements, including universities and research institutes, science academies, expert committees, and government science advisors. Scientific evidence provides invaluable policy guidance to political leaders, to members of the public, and to religious leaders. In the United States, for example, the National Academies have provided extensive guidance on climate science and on the influence of climate change on human health and well-being.1 The Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican, which was founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI but which traces its origins to the much older Accademia dei Lincei (established in 1603 and led by Galileo Galilei), has a similar important role. For example, the Academy provided scientific support to the 2015 Papal encyclical, Laudato Si’, which laid out a global approach to environmental stewardship. Laudato Si’ identified climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity,” recognized the grave implications for health and equity, and grounded this assessment in “the scientific consensus that changes in the climate are largely man-made.”2

Third, “with unchecked climate change and air pollution, the very fabric of life on Earth, including that of humans, is at grave risk.”3(p5) Data collected in recent years have revealed that worldwide warming can expose billions of people to deadly heat waves, floods, droughts, and fires. The pollutants released by the burning of fossil fuels and nonrenewable biomass that lead to climate change are associated with an estimated 7 million premature deaths each year.4 In response, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences convened a group of political and faith leaders, climate scientists, and public health experts in 2017, to review data on health effects of climate change. The group affirmed the seriousness of the threat. It proposed scalable solutions such as transitioning to a decarbonized energy system, providing financial support to poor nations for climate adaptation, and ending deforestation. The group also recommended an alliance of scientists, policy makers, private donors, and faith leaders to implement these solutions.

Fourth, there is a role for reverence and awe. These responses may come more easily to religious than to scientific thought, but in truth they are common to both domains. “You must have experienced it, too,” Werner Heisenberg wrote to Albert Einstein, “One is almost frightened in front of the simplicity and compactness of the interconnections that nature all of a sudden spreads before him and for which he was not in the least prepared.”5(p108) The impulse to address climate change, to protect people, and to seek justice is not only a response to danger. It also reflects profound appreciation for the sanctity of individuals, the beauty of community, the gift of health, and the majesty of the natural world.

Fifth, there is a moral obligation to safeguard the earth for future generations. Scientists, health professionals, and people of faith all understand that contemporary actions have future consequences. Climate scientists model and forecast these consequences. Health professionals understand them through the lenses of genetics and epigenetic effects. Religious traditions are grounded in the intergenerational transmission of faith and values. Together, these perspectives support a robust moral claim that each generation has a responsibility to the generations that follow.6

Sixth, there is a moral obligation to care for the most vulnerable. Health professionals recognize that social inequities are among the strongest predictors of poor health. The world’s major religious traditions, even if they interpret God in different ways, must share a commitment to human dignity, the pursuit of justice and peace, and the exercise of charity, and must act together accordingly. Pope Francis’s reminder that “there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor”7 is as clear and compelling, in its domain, as are the health data in their domain. All people are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, but the poor and disenfranchised are especially vulnerable.8 Strategies for climate mitigation and adaptation, for health promotion and disease prevention, and for economic and social development, must center on serving these populations.

These 6 areas of common ground represent a broad and deep foundation, and a powerful opportunity. They establish a path to innovative and productive partnerships among health professionals, scientists, and the faith community as they work together safeguarding both the global environment and human health—and leveraging their moral authority, expertise, and influence—to address climate change urgently, effectively, and equitably.


American Ingenuity Defies Carbon Emissions Orthodoxy

"No major industrial economy on Earth has made as much progress as the U.S." in reducing emissions

A few months ago The Washington Post begrudgingly reported, “Countries made only modest climate-change promises in Paris. They’re falling short anyway.” As we noted at the time, there’s absolutely nothing surprising about the report because the entire Paris Climate Accords fa├žade was predicated on a pipe dream. That’s why President Donald Trump dumped it.

In a free market like the one upon which America was built, innovation, not reckless government mandates, must be the policy centerpiece of the economy. Maintaining a clean environment is important, no doubt, but statist decrees will inevitably do more harm than good.

The benefits of natural human innovation are far too often taken for granted. That’s a shame because much heartache could otherwise be avoided — including when it comes to emissions control. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “The latest report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that the emission of so-called greenhouse gases declined by 2% in 2016 from 2015 and 11% from 2005. No major industrial economy on Earth has made as much progress as the U.S. And no, we’re not claiming this as a victory for Donald Trump or anyone else in government. It’s due to fracking and the replacement of high-CO2 fuels like coal with far-cleaner natural gas.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt succinctly responded, “This report confirms the president’s critics are wrong again: One-size-fits-all regulations like the Clean Power Plan or misguided international agreements like the Paris Accords are not the solution. The U.S. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than any country on Earth over the last decade.”

Moreover, he proclaimed, “American ingenuity and technological breakthroughs, not top-down government mandates, have made the U.S. the world leader in achieving energy dominance while reducing emissions — one of the great environmental successes of our time.”

For the record, foreign nations are actually purchasing U.S. coal at increasing rates, with nearly 100 million short tons of it being shipped from the U.S. in 2017. However, this is a mutually beneficial arrangement — it bolsters the U.S. economy while helping foreign nations meet their energy needs, which, ironically, underscores just how flawed the Paris accord is; these foreign nations’ energy problems were mostly created by their reliance on renewables.

But it gets even better: These countries’ embrace of U.S. coal in the meantime will hopefully put them on a path toward finding their own innovative solutions to carbon emissions like we are here in the U.S. As Investor’s adds, “American companies are reducing our greenhouse gas output without being ordered to do so by dictatorial green bureaucrats. That’s a lesson the rest of the world could learn from.” The results speak for themselves.


An Earth Day Meditation for Millennials

April 22 marks Earth Day and millennials might think it goes back at least 100 years, or maybe all the way to the nation’s founding. Actually, Earth Day started only 48 years ago in 1970, but it was an occasion of significance. As Randy Simmons, Ryan M. Yonk and Kenneth J. Sim showed in Nature Unbound: Bureaucracy versus the Environment, Earth Day launched the modern environmental movement. The core belief of this movement was that human beings were a kind of invasive species and that if humans are not around, nature returns to a pristine state of harmony and balance. As the authors show, disturbance and change, not balance and harmony, best describe nature.

Earth Day prompted legislators to pass the Clean Water Act (1972), the Clean Air Act (1973), the Endangered Species Act (1973) and to create bureaucracies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, with a current budget of $6.1 billion. This Earth Day, millennials might ponder how in 2015 the EPA spilled three million gallons of toxic wastewater in southern Colorado’s Animas River, polluting an entire river system and creating a certified ecological disaster. Millennials might wonder why EPA boss Gina McCarthy did not get fired. That is because, whatever damage they may cause to the environment, federal agencies are essentially a no-fire zone, with little if any accountability. So powerful bureaucracies and their unelected bosses are not exactly worthy of celebration.

All age groups might think of Earth Day as a religious holiday because it hails a kind of fundamentalist pantheism. In effect, it immanentizes the eschaton with a secular version of Biblical prophecies. This new religion also issues commandments that have little to do with empirical inquiry and marshals considerable hostility to human rights, especially property rights.

As Nature Unbound shows, human beings are part of nature. The environment does better when public policy respects that reality and protects property rights instead of violating them. When Earth Day recognizes that reality, it will truly be worthy of celebration.


Geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change

Charles A. Perry and Kenneth J. Hsu


Although the processes of climate change are not completely understood, an important causal candidate is variation in total solar output. Reported cycles in various climate-proxy data show a tendency to emulate a fundamental harmonic sequence of a basic solar-cycle length (11 years) multiplied by 2N (where N equals a positive or negative integer). A simple additive model for total solar-output variations was developed by superimposing a progression of fundamental harmonic cycles with slightly increasing amplitudes. The timeline of the model was calibrated to the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary at 9,000 years before present. The calibrated model was compared with geophysical, archaeological, and historical evidence of warm or cold climates during the Holocene. The evidence of periods of several centuries of cooler climates worldwide called “little ice ages,” similar to the period anno Domini (A.D.) 1280–1860 and reoccurring approximately every 1,300 years, corresponds well with fluctuations in modeled solar output. A more detailed examination of the climate sensitive history of the last 1,000 years further supports the model. Extrapolation of the model into the future suggests a gradual cooling during the next few centuries with intermittent minor warmups and a return to near little-ice-age conditions within the next 500 years. This cool period then may be followed approximately 1,500 years from now by a return to altithermal conditions similar to the previous Holocene Maximum.

The debate on the cause and the amount of global warming and its effect on global climates and economics continues. As world population continues its exponential growth, the potential for catastrophic effects from climate change increases. One previously neglected key to understanding global climate change may be found in examining events of world history and their connection to climate fluctuations.

Climate fluctuations have long been noted as being cyclical in nature, and many papers have been published on this topic (1). These fluctuations also can be quite abrupt (2) when climate displays a surprisingly fast transition from one state to another. Possible causes of the cyclic variations and abrupt transitions at different time intervals have been theorized. These theories include internal drivers such as CO2 concentrations (3), ocean temperature and salinity properties (4), as well as volcanism and atmospheric-transmissivity variations (5). External drivers include astronomical factors such as the Milankovitch orbital parameters (6), which recently have been challenged (7), and variations in the Sun's energy output (8–10).

The most direct mechanism for climate change would be a decrease or increase in the total amount of radiant energy reaching the Earth. Because only the orbital eccentricity aspect of the Milankovitch theory can account for a change in the total global energy and this change is of the order of only a maximum of 0.1% (11), one must look to the Sun as a possible source of larger energy fluctuations. Earth-satellite measurements in the last two decades have revealed that the total energy reaching the Earth varies by at least 0.1% over the 10- to 11-year solar cycle (12). Evidence of larger and longer term variations in solar output can be deduced from geophysical data (13–17).

In an extensive search of the literature pertaining to geophysical and astronomical cycles ranging from seconds to millions of years, Perry (18) demonstrated that the reported cycles fell into a recognizable pattern when standardized according to fundamental harmonics. An analysis of the distribution of 256 reported cycles, when standardized by dividing the length of each cycle, in years, by 2N (where N is a positive or negative integer) until the cycle length fell into a range of 7.5 to 15 years, showed a central tendency of 11.1 years. The average sunspot-cycle length for the period 1700 to 1969 is also 11.1 years (19). In fact, the distribution of the sunspot cycles is very nearly the same as the distribution of the fundamental cycles of other geophysical and astronomical cycles. Aperiodicity of the cycles was evident in two side modes of 9.9 and 12.2 years for the geophysical and astronomical cycles and 10.0 and 12.1 years for the sunspot cycle. The coincidence of these two patterns suggests that solar-activity cycles and their fundamental harmonics may be the underlying cause of many climatic cycles that are preserved in the geophysical record. Gauthier (20) noted a similar unified structure in Quaternary climate data that also followed a fundamental harmonic progression (progressive doubling of cycle length) from the 11-year sunspot data to the major 90,000-year glacial cycle.


Wind turbines delivering next to nothing to Australian grid despite hysteria

Are we completely insane? Well, almost our entire political class and the overwhelming majority of – self-believing – “clever people” seemingly certainly are.

As I write this Wednesday evening, all those wonderful “clean” wind turbines across Victoria and South Australia are pumping out all of 30MW of electricity.

They are supposed to have the capacity to produce more than 3400MW – that’s 1½ Hazelwoods. They were operating at less than 1 per cent of capacity.

How many times do you have to say and write “when the wind don’t blow (and the sun don’t shine) the power don’t flow” to break through the thick skulls of “clever people” from PMs and premiers, through company chairman and CEOs being paid salaries in the millions and all the way down to academics and media idiots?

If the wind doesn’t blow then no power is generated.

Oh wait, sorry; all those turbines across SA and Victoria have now kicked up to producing 74MW. That’s a much more impressive 2 per cent of capacity.

Supply – more accurately, non supply – of electricity is one aspect of the insanity. The other is price. The wholesale price in SA was running at over $130 a MW hour. Victorians were doing a little better at around $108 a MW hour.

As the wind picked up, the SA price plummeted to $126 a MWh and Victoria’s to $106.

In the “bad old days” – all the way back to around 2000 – when we had wicked old, coal-fired power stations chugging away reliably pumping out electricity, irrespective of wind and sun, we paid $20-$30 a MWh, day in and day out.

It was so terribly boring – there’s so much more excitement, indeed real frisson, when prices can change by as much as that in a matter of minutes, as the wind chooses to blow or not.

And of course back then Gaia was crying tears of blood.

Never mind, as the AFR’s renewables (and Tesla) fanboy Ben Potter breathlessly informed us this week, a mammoth 9691 megawatts of new wind and solar capacity would be added to the national energy market by the early 2020s.

One can assume that Potter is as mathematically challenged as energy minister Josh Frydenberg; that like most of our 2018 “clever people” they’ve never had explained to them that any number multiplying zero still gives you zero.

We now have 3400MW of installed – OK, I’ll go along with the joke and call it – “capacity” – wind in Victoria and SA. As I wrote, that was producing all of 30MW, according to the market operator AEMO.

You can add that mammoth 9691MW, but if the wind is blowing as the same gentle zephyr, you’ll kick the relative output up to all of 115 MW.

Pity, that Victoria and SA alone need around 7500MW pretty much every hour, all day. Although, true, presumably the two states will need less by the early 2020s as more and more factories are shuttered as a consequence of crippling power prices.

To emphasise for Josh and Ben and all the others “clever people”/idiots: if you’ve got 3400MW of wind “capacity” and the wind don’t blow you will get zero or close to zero electricity.

You can have 13,000 MW of wind “capacity” and if the wind don’t blow you will still get zero or close to zero electricity.




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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