Friday, December 27, 2019

100 scientific papers: CO2 has minuscule effect on climate

Increasing evidence destroys primary claim of alarmists

Within the past few years, more than 50 papers have been added to a compilation of scientific studies that refute the primary claim of climate-change activists that CO2 causes global warming.

The papers compiled by the NoTricksZone website, now numbering 106, find that CO2 has a minuscule effect on climate.

Words such as "negligible" are used to describe CO2's effect on the climate.

A 2019 paper, for example, noted that the "enhancement of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases is often considered as responsible for global warming."

But the analysis by Costas Varotsos and M.N. Efstathiou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens "did not show a consistent warming with gradual increase (in CO2) in low to high latitudes in both hemispheres, as it should be from the global warming theory."

"Based on these results and bearing in mind that the climate system is complicated and complex with the existing uncertainties in the climate predictions, it is not possible to reliably support the view of the presence of global warming in the sense of an enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities," the researchers write.

WND reported in September an MIT-trained scientist who has specialized for nearly 25 years in abnormal weather and climate change published a book explaining why he believes the data underpinning global-warming science are unreliable.

Mototaka Nakamura, who earned a doctorate of science from MIT, has conducted his work at prestigious institutions such as MIT, Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and Duke University, reported the website Electroverse.

In his book "The Global Warming Hypothesis is an Unproven Hypothesis," Nakamura explained why global mean temperatures before 1980 are based on "untrustworthy data."

"Before full planet surface observation by satellite began in 1980, only a small part of the Earth had been observed for temperatures with only a certain amount of accuracy and frequency," he says. "Across the globe, only North America and Western Europe have trustworthy temperature data dating back to the 19th century."

Earlier in September, a group of 500 scientists and professionals in climate science wrote a letter to the United Nations contending there is no climate crisis and that spending trillions on the issue is "cruel and imprudent."

They urged the U.N. to "follow a climate policy based on sound science, realistic economics and genuine concern for those harmed by costly but unnecessary attempts at mitigation."

Electroverse noted that today's "global warming science" is built on the work of a few climate modelers who claim to have demonstrated that human-derived CO2 emissions are the cause of recently rising temperatures "and have then simply projected that warming forward."

"Every climate researcher thereafter has taken the results of these original models as a given, and we're even at the stage now where merely testing their validity is regarded as heresy."

Richard Lindzen, an emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT who has published more than 200 scientific papers, says in a video produced by PragerU "it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get."

He pointed out that the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, admitted in its 2007 paper that the "long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible."

The truth is, the professor said, that climate-change scientists and "skeptics" in the scientific community agree that the climate is always changing and that over the past two centuries, the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, why are so many people panic-stricken, including some who are warning the world has only 12 years left to save itself?

He points to politicians, activists and media. "Global warming provides them, more than any other issue, with the things they most want," he said.

For politicians, it's power and money. For activists, it's money for their organizations and "confirmation of their near-religious devotion to the idea that man is a destructive force acting upon nature."

For the media, Lindzen says, it's ideology, money and headlines.  "Doomsday scenarios sell."


We’ve just had the best decade in human history. Seriously

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news

Matt Ridley

Let nobody tell you that the second decade of the 21st century has been a bad time. We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history. Extreme poverty has fallen below 10 per cent of the world’s population for the first time. It was 60 per cent when I was born. Global inequality has been plunging as Africa and Asia experience faster economic growth than Europe and North America; child mortality has fallen to record low levels; famine virtually went extinct; malaria, polio and heart disease are all in decline.

Little of this made the news, because good news is no news. But I’ve been watching it all closely. Ever since I wrote The Rational Optimist in 2010, I’ve been faced with ‘what about…’ questions: what about the great recession, the euro crisis, Syria, Ukraine, Donald Trump? How can I possibly say that things are getting better, given all that? The answer is: because bad things happen while the world still gets better. Yet get better it does, and it has done so over the course of this decade at a rate that has astonished even starry-eyed me.

Perhaps one of the least fashionable predictions I made nine years ago was that ‘the ecological footprint of human activity is probably shrinking’ and ‘we are getting more sustainable, not less, in the way we use the planet’. That is to say: our population and economy would grow, but we’d learn how to reduce what we take from the planet. And so it has proved. An MIT scientist, Andrew McAfee, recently documented this in a book called More from Less, showing how some nations are beginning to use less stuff: less metal, less water, less land. Not just in proportion to productivity: less stuff overall.

This does not quite fit with what the Extinction Rebellion lot are telling us. But the next time you hear Sir David Attenborough say: ‘Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist’, ask him this: ‘But what if economic growth means using less stuff, not more?’ For example, a normal drink can today contains 13 grams of aluminium, much of it recycled. In 1959, it contained 85 grams. Substituting the former for the latter is a contribution to economic growth, but it reduces the resources consumed per drink.

As for Britain, our consumption of ‘stuff’ probably peaked around the turn of the century — an achievement that has gone almost entirely unnoticed. But the evidence is there. In 2011 Chris Goodall, an investor in electric vehicles, published research showing that the UK was now using not just relatively less ‘stuff’ every year, but absolutely less. Events have since vindicated his thesis. The quantity of all resources consumed per person in Britain (domestic extraction of biomass, metals, minerals and fossil fuels, plus imports minus exports) fell by a third between 2000 and 2017, from 12.5 tonnes to 8.5 tonnes. That’s a faster decline than the increase in the number of people, so it means fewer resources consumed overall.

If this doesn’t seem to make sense, then think about your own home. Mobile phones have the computing power of room-sized computers of the 1970s. I use mine instead of a camera, radio, torch, compass, map, calendar, watch, CD player, newspaper and pack of cards. LED light bulbs consume about a quarter as much electricity as incandescent bulbs for the same light. Modern buildings generally contain less steel and more of it is recycled. Offices are not yet paperless, but they use much less paper.

Even in cases when the use of stuff is not falling, it is rising more slowly than expected. For instance, experts in the 1970s forecast how much water the world would consume in the year 2000. In fact, the total usage that year was half as much as predicted. Not because there were fewer humans, but because human inventiveness allowed more efficient irrigation for agriculture, the biggest user of water.

Until recently, most economists assumed that these improvements were almost always in vain, because of rebound effects: if you cut the cost of something, people would just use more of it. Make lights less energy-hungry and people leave them on for longer. This is known as the Jevons paradox, after the 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons, who first described it. But Andrew McAfee argues that the Jevons paradox doesn’t hold up. Suppose you switch from incandescent to LED bulbs in your house and save about three-quarters of your electricity bill for lighting. You might leave more lights on for longer, but surely not four times as long.

Efficiencies in agriculture mean the world is now approaching ‘peak farmland’ — despite the growing number of people and their demand for more and better food, the productivity of agriculture is rising so fast that human needs can be supplied by a shrinking amount of land. In 2012, Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University and his colleagues argued that, thanks to modern technology, we use 65 per cent less land to produce a given quantity of food compared with 50 years ago. By 2050, it’s estimated that an area the size of India will have been released from the plough and the cow.

Land-sparing is the reason that forests are expanding, especially in rich countries. In 2006 Ausubel worked out that no reasonably wealthy country had a falling stock of forest, in terms of both tree density and acreage. Large animals are returning in abundance in rich countries; populations of wolves, deer, beavers, lynx, seals, sea eagles and bald eagles are all increasing; and now even tiger numbers are slowly climbing.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that Britain is using steadily less energy. John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum points out that although the UK’s economy has almost trebled in size since 1970, and our population is up by 20 per cent, total primary inland energy consumption has actually fallen by almost 10 per cent. Much of that decline has happened in recent years. This is not necessarily good news, Constable argues: although the improving energy efficiency of light bulbs, aeroplanes and cars is part of the story, it also means we are importing more embedded energy in products, having driven much of our steel, aluminium and chemical industries abroad with some of the highest energy prices for industry in the world.

In fact, all this energy-saving might cause problems. Innovation requires experiments (most of which fail). Experiments require energy. So cheap energy is crucial — as shown by the industrial revolution. Thus, energy may be the one resource that a prospering population should be using more of. Fortunately, it is now possible that nuclear fusion will one day deliver energy in minimalist form, using very little fuel and land.

Since its inception, the environmental movement has been obsessed by finite resources. The two books that kicked off the green industry in the early 1970s, The Limits to Growth in America and Blueprint for Survival in Britain, both lamented the imminent exhaustion of metals, minerals and fuels. The Limits to Growth predicted that if growth continued, the world would run out of gold, mercury, silver, tin, zinc, copper and lead well before 2000. School textbooks soon echoed these claims.

This caused the economist Julian Simon to challenge the ecologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet that a basket of five metals (chosen by Ehrlich) would cost less in 1990 than in 1980. The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, Simon said, arguing that we would find substitutes if metals grew scarce. Simon won the bet easily, although Ehrlich wrote the cheque with reluctance, sniping that ‘the one thing we’ll never run out of is imbeciles’. To this day none of those metals has significantly risen in price or fallen in volume of reserves, let alone run out. (One of my treasured possessions is the Julian Simon award I won in 2012, made from the five metals.)

A modern irony is that many green policies advocated now would actually reverse the trend towards using less stuff. A wind farm requires far more concrete and steel than an equivalent system based on gas. Environmental opposition to nuclear power has hindered the generating system that needs the least land, least fuel and least steel or concrete per megawatt. Burning wood instead of coal in power stations means the exploitation of more land, the eviction of more woodpeckers — and even higher emissions. Organic farming uses more land than conventional. Technology has put us on a path to a cleaner, greener planet. We don’t need to veer off in a new direction. If we do, we risk retarding progress.

As we enter the third decade of this century, I’ll make a prediction: by the end of it, we will see less poverty, less child mortality, less land devoted to agriculture in the world. There will be more tigers, whales, forests and nature reserves. Britons will be richer, and each of us will use fewer resources. The global political future may be uncertain, but the environmental and technological trends are pretty clear — and pointing in the right direction.


Contrast Of Climate And Energy Policies, And Economic Results, In The U.S. And Germany

If you are reading your normal diet of “mainstream” press, you are getting hit with a constant barrage of climate alarm, together with a near total boycott on any good economic news for as long as Trump remains President. As a result, it is very easy to lose track of the widening chasm in the climate and energy policies, and also in the economic results, between the U.S. and its major European competitors. When you put some easily-available numbers together in one place, the contrast becomes very striking. For today, I will collect a smattering of relevant statistics, focusing on the U.S. and Germany.

And then there are the positions on these subjects of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for President. I find those positions beyond belief.

You probably know that the so-called “fracking” revolution in oil and gas production has led to a large increase in U.S. production of those fuels over the last ten or so years. The actual numbers are quite remarkable. On the oil side, according to data from the government’s Energy Information Agency here, in 2008 U.S. production of crude oil from all sources averaged 5 million barrels per day. By 2018, that figure had well more than doubled to 10.99 million bbl/dy. By contrast, crude oil production in Saudi Arabia in 2018 was 10.445 million bbl/dy (up from 9.261 bbl/dy in 2008), and in Russia was 10.759 bbl/dy (up from 9.357 bbl/dy in 2008). Of today’s U.S. production, some 59% — representing essentially all of the increase since 2008 — comes from so-called “tight” resources, meaning those that are produced by fracking.

The large increase in U.S. production has been accompanied by a correspondingly large decline in the price of oil and natural gas. Oil of the WTI (West Texas Intermediate) grade that traded at $110 per barrel in 2013 closed today at $59.12. U.S. prices for a gallon of regular grade gasoline, which reached a high of $3.90 in 2012, fell as low as $2.25 earlier this year, and are currently around $2.60. Natural gas prices are quite volatile, but were in the range of $4 to $6 per thousand cubic feet in 2014, and most recently $2.29.

In September, the U.S. became a net exporter of oil for the first time since the 1940s. The EIA expects that status to continue for the foreseeable future.

Over in the economic news category, the U.S. continues to thrive. Today, the Labor Department reported an increase in jobs of 266,000 during November, the unemployment rate down to 3.5% (lowest since 1969), and wages up 3.1% over a year ago. All of those must be considered excellent results.

And then there’s Germany. According to CleanEnergyWire here, Germany in 2018 imported 98% of its oil needs, and 95% of its gas. But doesn’t Germany have at least one good shale formation that could be developed? The answer is that Germany pretty much banned all fracking in 2017. They are still caught up in the Energiewende, or, in other words, the delusional idea that wind and solar power can replace fossil fuels within a few years. Nearly ten years into this, their carbon emissions have barely decreased at all, while emissions increases in places like China and India make any marginal decreases that Germany can achieve completely irrelevant. Meanwhile, they depend for their oil and natural gas on places like Russia and the Middle East.

GlobalPetrolPrices gives the most recent price of consumer gasoline in Germany as 1.385 euros per liter, equivalent to $5.807 per gallon. Admittedly, this cannot be blamed solely on supply restrictions; embedded taxes are also substantially at fault. But those embedded taxes are also part of the ongoing war against fossil fuels. German consumer electricity prices are also about triple the U.S. average.

And the economic news from Germany? It seems that the industrial sector is in the midst of a slump, in substantial part caused by the mad drive to force energy conversion without consideration of the costs. From the Daily Express, December 3:

The German car industry is facing disaster with up to 50,000 jobs under threat or expected to be lost before the end of the year in what has been described as the “biggest crisis since the invention of the automobile”. last week the owner of Mercedes-benz announced plans to axe at least 10,000 employees globally, taking the number of jobs losses by German carmakers to almost 40,000 this year as the industry sinks under a massive sales slump. Daimler wants to save £1.2billion in staff costs as it prepares to invest billions in the electric cars boom. Audi, which is owned by volkswagen, has also said it would be shedding almost 10,000 people – around around 10 percent of its global workforce.

Trading Economics here states that German GDP “rebounded” to a growth of 0.1% in the third quarter, after a decline of 0.2% in the second quarter of 2019. Congratulations!

Meanwhile, among the Democratic candidates for President, the contest is between those who would ban fracking immediately and those who advocate some period of “transition” to some fanciful alternative. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have vowed to ban fracking immediately. It’s not clear how they would do that, other than that they view the presidency in their hands as a dictatorship of unlimited powers. Then there’s the “moderate” Joe Biden, who said (yesterday) “I’d love to make sure we can’t use any oil or gas, period,” but then hedged that we would need some period to “transition away” from those fuels.

“Transitioning” away from fossil fuels — that’s what Germany is doing.


Is screen time bad for kids? It depends on many factors, including what you even mean by “screen time.”

The first iPhone was introduced in 2007; just over a decade later, in 2018, a Pew survey found that 95 percent of teenagers had access to a smartphone, and 45 percent said they were online “almost constantly.” When researchers began trying to gauge the impact of all this “screen time” on adolescent mental health, some reported alarming results. One widely publicized 2017 study in the journal Clinical Psychological Science found that the longer adolescents were engaged with screens, the greater their likelihood of having symptoms of depression or of attempting suicide. Conversely, the more time they spent on nonscreen activities, like playing sports or hanging out with friends, the less likely they were to experience those problems. These and other similar findings have helped stoke fears of a generation lost to smartphones.

But other researchers began to worry that such dire conclusions were misrepresenting what the existing data really said. Earlier this year, Amy Orben and Andrew K Przybylski, at Oxford University, applied an especially comprehensive statistical method to some of the same raw data that the 2017 study and others used. Their results, published this year in Nature Human Behavior, found only a tenuous relationship between adolescent well-being and the use of digital technology. How can the same sets of numbers spawn such divergent conclusions? It may be because the answer to the question of whether screen time is bad for kids is “It depends.” And that means figuring out “On what?”

The first Step in evaluating any behavior is to collect lots of health-related information from large numbers of people who engage in it. Such epidemiological surveys, which often involve conducting phone interviews with thousands of randomly selected people, are useful because they can ask a wider range of questions and enroll far more subjects than clinical trials typically can. Getting answers to dozens of questions about people’s daily lives — how often they exercise, how many close friends they have — allows researchers to explore potential relationships between a wide range of habits and health outcomes and how they change over time. Since 1975, for instance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has been funding a survey called Monitoring the Future (M.T.F.), which asks adolescents about drug and alcohol use as well as other things, including more recently, vaping and digital technology; in 2019, more than 40,000 students from nearly400 schools responded.

This method of collecting data has drawbacks, though. For starters, people are notoriously bad at self-reporting how often they do something or how they feel. Even if their responses are entirely accurate, that data can’t speak to cause and effect. If the most depressed teenagers also use the most digital technology, for example, there’s no way to say if the technology use caused their low mood or vice versa, or if other factors were involved.

Gathering data on so many behaviors also means that respondents aren’t always asked about topics in detail. This is particularly problematic when studying tech use. In past decades, if researchers asked how much time a person spent with a device — TV, say — they knew basically what happened during that window. But “screen time” today can range from texting friends to using social media to passively watching videos to memorizing notes for dass — all very different experiences with potentially very different effects.

Still, those limitations are the same for everyone who accesses the raw data. What makes one study that draws on that data distinct from another is a series of choices researchers make about how to analyze those numbers. For instance, to examine the relationship between digital-technology use and well-being, a researcher has to define ‘‘well-being.” The M.T.F. survey, as the Nature paper notes, has 13 questions conceming depression, happiness and self-esteem. Any one of those could serve as a measure of well-being, or any combination of two, or all 13.

A researcher must decide on one before running the numbers; testing them all, and then choosing the one that generates the strongest association between depression and screen use, would be bad Science. But suppose five ways produce results that are strong enough to be considered meaningful, while five don’t. Unconscious bias (or pure luck) could lead a researcher to pick one of the meaningful ways and find a link between screen time and depression without acknowledging the five equally probable outcomes that show no such link. “Even just a couple of years ago, we as researchers still considered statistics kind of like a magnifying glass, something you would hold to the data and you would then see what’s inside, and it just helped you extract

the truth,” Orben, now at the University of Cambridge, says. “We now know that statistics actually can change what you see.”

‘The part that people don’t appreciate is that digital technology also has significant benefits.

To show how many legitimate outcomes a large data set can generate, Orben and Przybylski used a method called “specification curve analysis” to look for a relationship between digital-technology use and adolescent well-being in three ongoing surveys of adolescents in the United States and the United Kingdom, including the M.T.F. A “specification” is any decision about how to analyze the data — how well-being is defined, for example. Researchers doing specification curve analysis don’t test a single choice; they test every possible combination of choices that a careful scientist could reasonably make, generating a range of outcomes. For the M.T.F., Orben and Przybylski identified 40,966 combinations that could be used to calculate the relationship between psychological well-being and the use of digital technology.

When they averaged them, they found that “digital-technology use has a small negative association with adolescent well-being.” But to put that association in context, they used the same method to test the relationship between adolescent well-being and other variables. And in all the data sets, smoking marijuana and being bullied were more closely linked with decreased well-being than tech use was; at the same time, getting enough sleep and regularly eating breakfast were more closely tied to positive feelings than screen time was to negative ones. In fact, the strength of the association screen time had with well-being was similar to neutral factors like wearing glasses or regularly eating potatoes.

Not finding a strong association doesn’t mean that screen time is healthy or safe for teenagers. It could come with huge risks that are simply balanced by huge rewards. “The part that people don’t appreciate is that digital technology also has significant benefits,” says Nick Allen, director of the Center for Digital Mental Health at the University of Oregon. These include helping teenagers connect with others. The real conclusion of the Nature paper is that large surveys may be too blunt an instrument to reveal what those risks and benefits truly are. What’s needed are experiments that break “screen time” into its component parts and change one of them in order to see what impact that has and why, says Ronald Dahl, director of the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley. A screen-related activity may be beneficial or harmful depending on who is doing it, how much they’re doing it, when they’re doing it and what they’re not doing instead. “If we just respond to emotions or fears about screen time, then we actually could be interfering with our ability to understand some of these deeper questions,” he says.

Allen notes a vexation: The behavioral data “is already being quantified” on the granular level researchers need. But tech Companies don’t routinely share that information with scientists. To deliver the advice the public wants, Orben says, will require “a very difficult ethical conversation on data sharing. I don’t think we can shy away from it much longer.” Till then, parents struggling with how much screen time is O.K. for their children might benefit from trying, as researchers are, to get a more detailed picture of that behavior. “Ask your kids: “What are you doing on there? What makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad?’ ” says Michaeline Jensen, of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She was an author of a study in August showing that on days when teenagers use more technology, they were no more likely to report problems like depressive symptoms or inattention than on days when they used less. “Even an hour a day, that could be particularly problematic — or enriching.”


Australia: Dangerous electric scooters

Saddening scooter crash rate revealed.  These have had quite an uptake among young people and clearly kept cars off the road.  Another Greenie idea that creates problems

THE rate of horror injuries caused by Lime Scooter accidents could be almost 30 times higher than originally believed, according to shocking new research. The data reveals almost 450 people presented at Brisbane emergency departinents in the 12 months to October this year, equating to 27 serious accidents per 100,000 trips.

A leading Queensland lawyer has called on the State Government to force companies like Lime to register their scooters and obtain Compulsory Third Party insurance. "Perhaps the State Government would be thinking twice about allowing e-scooter companies to skip registration and therefore Compulsory Third Party insurance," lawyer Travis Schultz said.

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail' of 23 December, 2019


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C. S. P. Schofield said...

While I think the statement that the past decade has seen a huge improvement in most aspects of human life, the problem with discussing it is that much of the data on global poverty, and even global population, comes from sources that simply cannot be considered reliable. While economic and population data from North America and Western Europe is probably not altogether worthless, Data from Central and South America should be view with suspicion and data from Africa almost entirely worthless.

Chaamjamal said...

Re: "But the analysis by Costas Varotsos and M.N. Efstathiou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens "did not show a consistent warming with gradual increase (in CO2) in low to high latitudes in both hemispheres, as it should be from the global warming theory."

AGW theory does not imply that the rate of warming is uniform across latitudes. It makes statements only in the aggregate heat balance and therefore only about trends in global mean temperature