Tubby climate hustler, Al Gore, gets cozy with Letterman. I love his description of Qatar’s
“visionary” plan to export solar energy from the Middle East to Europe.
When Gore lost in 2000, god shed his grace on America.
Tubby climate hustler, Al Gore, gets cozy with Letterman. I love his description of Qatar’s
“visionary” plan to export solar energy from the Middle East to Europe.
When Gore lost in 2000, god shed his grace on America.
Matt Ridley provides a handy summary of logical challenges to the hysterical global warming “science.”
I have written about climate change and energy policy for more than 25 years. I have come to the conclusion that current energy and climate policy is probably more dangerous, both economically and ecologically, than climate change itself. This is not the same as arguing that climate has not changed or that mankind is not partly responsible. That the climate has changed because of man-made carbon dioxide I fully accept. What I do not accept is that the change is or will be damaging, or that current policy would prevent it.
For the benefit of supporters of climate change policy who feel frustrated by the reluctance of people like me to accept their assurances, here is what they would need to do to change my mind.
1. I need persuading that the urban heat island effect has been fully purged from the surface temperature record. Satellites are showing less warming than the surface thermometers, and there is evidence that local warming of growing cities, and poor siting of thermometers, is still contaminating the global record. I also need to be convinced that the adjustments made by those who compile the global temperature records are justified. Since 2008 alone, NASA has added about 0.1C of warming to the trend by unexplained “adjustments” to old records. It is not reassuring that one of the main surface temperature records is produced by an extremist prepared to get himself arrested (James Hansen).
2. Despite these two contaminating factors, the temperature trend remains modest: not much more than 0.1 C per decade since 1979. So I would need persuading that water vapour will amplify CO2’s effect threefold in the future but has not done so yet. This is what the models assume despite evidence that clouds formed from water vapour are more likely to moderate than amplify any warming.
3. Nor am I convinced that sulphate aerosols and ocean heat uptake can explain the gap between model predictions and actual observations over the last 34 years. Both are now well understood and provide insufficient excuse for such an underperformance. Negative cloud feedback, leading to total feedbacks being modest, is the more plausible explanation.
4. The one trend that has been worse than expected – Arctic sea ice – is plausibly explained by black carbon (soot), not carbon dioxide. Soot from dirty diesel engines and coal-fired power stations is now reckoned to be a far greater factor in climate change than before; it is a short-lived pollutant, (more…)
New estimates from a Norwegian research project show meeting targets for minimizing global warming may be more achievable than previously thought.
After the planet’s average surface temperature rose through the 1990s, the increase has almost leveled off at the level of 2000, while ocean water temperature has also stabilized, the Research Council of Norway said in a statement on its website. After applying data from the past decade, the results showed temperatures may rise 1.9 degrees Celsius if Co2 levels double by 2050, below the 3 degrees predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The Earth’s mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s,” said Terje Berntsen, a professor at the University of Oslo who worked on the study. “This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity.”
Someone please tell the politicians hell bent on implementing policies that will hurt everyone, but especially the poor.
In his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama laudably promised to “respond to the threat of climate change.” Unfortunately, when the president described the urgent nature of the threat—the “devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms”—the scary examples suggested that he is contemplating poor policies that don’t point to any real, let alone smart, solutions. Global warming is a problem that needs fixing, but exaggeration doesn’t help, and it often distracts us from simple, cheaper and smarter solutions.
For starters, let’s address the three horsemen of the climate apocalypse that Mr. Obama mentioned.
Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that even with global warming proceeding uninterrupted, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until around midcentury and won’t resume on the level of 1950—the worst for fire—before the end of the century.
Claiming that droughts are a consequence of global warming is also wrong. The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.” The U.N. Climate Panel in 2012 concluded: “Some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”
As for one of the favorites of alarmism, hurricanes in recent years don’t indicate that storms are getting worse. Measured by total energy (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century—the last Category 3 or stronger storm was Wilma, more than seven years ago.
While it is likely that we will see somewhat stronger (but fewer) storms as (more…)
Actually, liberals make good entertainers — it would be boring without them. Let ‘em live, just don’t let them rule anything.
Humans are a plague on the Earth that need to be controlled by limiting population growth, according to Sir David Attenborough.
The television presenter said that humans are threatening their own existence and that of other species by using up the world’s resources.
“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now,” he told the Radio Times.
He said the only way to save the planet from famine and species extinction is to limit human population growth.
Is Earth really crowded? James Delingpole writes in his book, Watermelons, that even once the earth’s population reaches 7 billion, everyone could fit in Texas at the same density as New York city (23,000/square mile).
Of course, feeding that many requires plenty of land.
Ed Driscoll found some anniversaries to celebrate including James Hansen’s claim — four years ago– that Obama had only four years to save Earth.
This is rich because NASA was busy reassuring cranks last month that, no, the world would not end on the last day of the Mayan calendar.
James Hansen has long exaggerated climate change danger for political effect. He should be scorned even more than goofy ministers such as Harold Camping.
Unlike Hansen, Camping has done no serious damage to the world’s economy.
Two weeks ago, the news was full of stories about 2012 being the hottest year in the USA’s lower 48 states. Yesterday, that was expanded to include the whole earth.
Yet even big name climate scare mongers such as Phil Jones of ClimateGate fame and NASA’s James Hansen, are conceding there has been no global warming for 16 years.
Dr. James Hansen and Reto Ruedy of NASA GISS have written a paper (non peer reviewed) with a remarkable admission in it. It is titled Global Temperature Update Through 2012.
Here is the money quote, which pretty much ends the caterwauling from naysayers about global temperature being stalled for the last decade.
The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing.
Gosh, I thought Hansen had claimed that “climate forcings” had overwhelmed natural variability?
In 2003 Hansen wrote a widely distributed (but not peer reviewed) paper called Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb? in which he argues that human-caused forcings on the climate are now greater than the natural ones, and that this, over a long time period, can cause large climate changes.
As we shall see, the small forces that drove millennial climate changes are now overwhelmed by human forcings.
According to Hansen’s latest essay, apparently not. So much for “da bomb”.
Here are some other interesting excerpts from his recent essay, Bob Tisdale take note:
An update through 2012 of our global analysis reveals 2012 as having practically the same temperature as 2011, significantly lower than the maximum reached in 2010. These short-term global fluctuations are associated principally with natural oscillations of tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures summarized in the Nino index in the lower part of the figure. 2012 is nominally the 9th warmest year, but it is indistinguishable in rank with several other years, as shown by the error estimate for comparing nearby years. Note that the 10 warmest years in the record all occurred since 1998.
The current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the facr [sic] that the first half of the past 10 years had predominantly El Nino conditions, and the second half had predominantly La Nina conditions.
The approximate stand-still of global temperature during 1940-1975 is generally attributed to an approximate balance of aerosol cooling and greenhouse gas warming during a period of rapid growth of fossil fuel use with little control on particulate air pollution, but quantitative interpretation has been impossible because of the absence of adequate aerosol measurements.
That last part about 1940-1975 is telling, given that we now have a cleaner atmosphere, and less aerosols to reflect sunlight, it goes without saying that more sunlight now reaches the surface. Since GISS is all about the surface temperature, that suggests (to rational thinkers at least) that some portion of the surface temperature rise post 1975 is due to pollution controls being enacted.
But, he’s still arguing for an imbalance, even though flatness abounds. Seems like equilibrium to me…
Climate change expectations.
The continuing planetary imbalance and the rapid increase of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel assure that global warming will continue on decadal time scales. Moreover, our interpretation of the larger role of unforced variability in temperature change of the past decade suggests that global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably to the next El Nino phase.
Except when natural forcings overwhelm the human component of course.
I brought my space heater into my office for the first winter in four years. SoCal is cold this winter.
Now comes news that Jerusalem has had its heaviest snowstorm in 20 years.
What does that have to do with global warming?
Nothing. Weather and climate different.
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
- Autobiography of Mark Twain
Human beings are warming the earth and something must be done.
Why? Because I heard it on TV.
Fact: aggregate global temperatures have remained static for the past 16 years.
Fact: that has not stopped the global warm-mongers from claiming that CO2 from human beings have caused bad weather.
Fact: the global warming industry has crossed a new threshold of dishonesty when it conflates weather with climate, such as suggesting that Hurricane Sandy was exacerbated by a warmer earth.
When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 2012 was the hottest year on record in the “contiguous United States,” trust the media to transcribe the statement accurately. A disaster for public understanding begins only when the media stop transcribing and start using their own brains.
Said the New York Times climate blog, in an assertion that was echoed throughout the media: “The temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but 2012 blew away the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit.”
Really? If that were true, then hair-on-fire news should have been the fact that 2012 was 2.13 degrees hotter than 2011. That’s a far more dramatic change, and in a single year.
Nor was it mentioned that 2008, in the contiguous U.S., was two degrees cooler than 2006. Or that 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 were all cooler than 1998 by a larger margin than 2012 was hotter than 1998.
Are you getting the picture? None of this was mentioned because it makes a mockery of using trends in the Lower 48 as a proxy for global warming, the misguided intent that permeated media coverage of the NOAA revelation.
The contiguous United States isn’t the globe. It isn’t even the United States, omitting Alaska and Hawaii. The Lower 48 represent just 1.58% of the total surface area of the Earth. The law of large numbers is at work here: The smaller the sample, the more volatile its patterns compared to a larger sample. And the fact remains, in all the authoritative studies, the warmest year on record globally is still 1998 and no trend has been apparent globally since then.
Uh huh. Because year-to-year changes in global (as opposed to contiguous U.S.) temperature are indeed teensy, it would be astonishing if the decade following the warmest year on record were not the warmest decade on record. But the appeal of this formulation is that it allows the media to talk about global warming in our time without mentioning that, ahem, global warming has ceased in our time.
Liberals liberally quote from President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation about the dangers of a “military-industrial complex.”
Little attention is paid to his warning about the corruption of science via the government. James Delingpole quotes this passage in Watermelons.
…Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research.
Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
This describes the global-warming industry perfectly.
Just as it is safe everywhere when proper procedures are followed. But some green government types don’t want anyone to know.
Thanks to a leak from an anonymous insider, we learned Thursday that a report commissioned by the State of New York has given fracking a clean bill of health. The insider “did not think it should be kept secret” and released the document, which is now nearly one year old, to the New York Times, which reported:
The state’s Health Department found in an analysis it prepared early last year that the much-debated drilling technology known as hydrofracking could be conducted safely in New York.
The eight-page analysis is a summary of previous research by the state and others…[that] delves into the potential impact of fracking on water resources, on naturally occurring radiological material found in the ground, on air emissions and on “potential socioeconomic and quality-of-life impacts.”…[It] concludes that fracking can be done safely.
The analysis and other health assessments have been closely guarded by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his administration as the governor weighs whether to approve fracking. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has long delayed making a decision, unnerved in part by strident opposition on his party’s left.
This is very good news. Contrary to green fears that fracking is a mortal danger to both humans and the environment, this report finds exactly the opposite, arguing that fracking “can be done safely within the regulatory system that the state has been developing for several years.” With the environmental concerns largely settled, the ground is now set for New York to claim its share of the energy revolution and the jobs and industry that come with it.
This is a must read for anyone following the global warming controversy. I used to believe that the certainty of the man-made global warming alarmists was sincere. Not any more.
This is a lively, informed read. And if you use a Kindle or Kindle app and are an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow it for free from Amazon’s lending library.
This is a book you’re going to want your liberal friends to read.
British author James Delingpole tells the shocking story of how an unholy mix of junk science, green hype, corporate greed and political opportunism led to the biggest – and most expensive – outbreak of mass hysteria in history.
In Watermelons, Delingpole explains the Climategate scandal, the cast of characters involved, their motives and methods. He delves into the background of the organizations and individuals who have sought to push global warming to the top of the political agenda, showing that beneath their cloak of green lurks a heart of red.
Watermelons shows how the scientific method has been sacrificed on the altar of climate alarmism. Delingpole mocks the green movement’s pathetic record of apocalyptic predictions, from the “population bomb” to global cooling, which failed to materialize. He reveals the fundamental misanthropy of green ideology, “rooted in hatred of the human species, hell bent on destroying almost everything man has achieved”.
Delingpole gives a refreshing voice to widespread public skepticism over global warming, emphasising that the “crisis” has been engineered by people seeking to control our lives by imposing new taxes and regulations. “Your taxes will be raised, your liberties curtailed and your money squandered to deal with this ‘crisis’”, he writes.
At its very roots, argues Delingpole, climate change is an ideological battle, not a scientific one. Green on the outside, red on the inside, the liberty-loathing, humanity-hating “watermelons” of the modern environmental movement do not want to save the world. They want to rule it.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse has a new slogan for Al Jazeera, “You can call us Al.”
Bernard Goldberg on Al Gore selling his TV channel:
…Because Current was such a financial flop, Gore and his business partners decided to sell. (These are the same geniuses, by the way, who once paid Keith Olbermann $10 million dollars and got nothing but trouble in return.) But they wanted a very special buyer, one who shared their values, they said.
Turns out Glenn Beck wanted to buy Current but no way Gore and his team would ever let that happen. They refused to take an offer from Beck because, as one source put it, “the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view.”
Instead, they sold out to al Jazeera. Seriously.
If you think that’s funny wait until you hear the rest of the story. The government of Qatar owns al Jazeera (which claims to be independent from the government). Qatar makes about a bazillion dollars a week selling oil to the gas-guzzling world. So if you connect the dots you can easily see that money derived from oil bought Current TV – from the same Al Gore who has spent the past decade or so railing against oil, unless it’s being pumped into the private jet which hauls his considerable rear end all over the place.
Can you say irony? But wait. Don’t say it yet.
It also turns out that Gore – whose picture you see if you look up the word “liberal” in the dictionary — wanted to close the deal before December 31. Why? Because he reportedly is making about $100 million on the sale and … (wait for it) … wanted to avoid the higher tax rates on people like him that went into effect on January 1 of this year. (He missed by a day; the deal wasn’t done until January 2nd.)
Don’t you love those sanctimonious liberals who tell us the rich need to pay their “fair share,” that raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans is the patriotic thing to do … and then do their best to make sure they themselves don’t actually have to pay higher taxes.
Just buying Current does not guarantee instant distribution, however. Time Warner Cable, which offered Current in roughly 10 million of its homes, is dropping the channel. Without Time Warner Cable, which is the largest distributor in New York City and Los Angeles, Current TV is in only about 50 million homes.
Typically, when a cable network is sold or changes its programming direction, distributors can renegotiate their deals. It is possible that other distributors that carry Current may see the sale as an opportunity to drop a low-rated channel that is fairly expensive in proportion to its ratings.
But here’s the corker:
Gore and Hyatt said in a statement that Current and Al Jazeera shared similar goals of speaking “truth to power” and providing “independent and diverse points of view and to “tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Gore’s propaganda film–which won an Oscar and him a Nobel prize–pretends that the green lobby is outnumbered and outspent by evil capitalists. This is just another lie.
My resolution this year is to be much more diplomatic and emollient and generally more sympathetic to the other point of view.
Naah. Just kidding.
But what I did think would be a good idea at the start of yet another year’s blogging is to remind ourselves where we’re at and why it is that I do the things I do, write the things I write, and say them in the uncompromising, no-prisoners-taken way I say them.
You might think it was because of people like this man – Richard Parncutt, Professor of Systematic Musicology at the University of Graz in Austria, who argued on the university website (till he was embarrassed into taking his comments down) that all climate sceptics should be executed. Since I’m one of those on “ze list”, I suppose I should be quite exercised by this. But to be honest I’m delighted and feel I owe Herr Throatcutt a huge debt of thanks. He has done probably more to discredit the cause of climate change alarmism than perhaps anyone since Richard Curtis’s infamous “No Pressure” film – aka Splattergate.
No, the bigger problem are not the out-and-out eco-fascists but their useful idiots among the broader populace. Mild-mannered and reasonable-seeming people like this kindly gentleman, one Dr James Willis, who emailed me over Christmas thus:
This is the text of my new year email to quite a lot of people, sadly the lovely pictures don’t work in this text box. Email and I will gladly send them:
On 6 June 2006 our youngest grandchild was born in Oxford. This was the photograph I took that evening:
Inline images 1
That same morning I was giving the opening keynote address to the North European Conference on Travel Medicine (NECTM 2006) in the great hall of the International Conference Centre in Edinburgh. My subject was the urgency of facing down the denialists who were delaying remedial action to mitigate the worst effects of man-made global warming. You can read the address here: www.bit.ly/SYAwCR
Since then the predictions of mainstream climate science have been been shown to be, if anything, conservative. And the denialists, with a few exceptions, have become even more entrenched, and even more influential. The general public continue to think, contrary to the overwhelming weight of evidence, that the science is still in some kind of doubt.
That baby is now nearly seven and here is the picture I took recently of him playing the one-string guitar he says I helped him to make:
Inline images 2
Since 2006 I have completed a BA Humanities with Literature First Class from the Open University and done a lot of acting and singing. In other words, I am not an ‘environmentalist’. Certainly no more than I am a ‘photographer’, or a ‘woodwork hobbyist’, and certainly much less than I am a grandfather, father, husband… In fact I am an ordinary human being who is desperately worried that we are missing our chance to save humanity from a terrible danger.
What I have decided to do is to hire the main hall at Alton Assembly Rooms for 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th January 2013 when I will repeat the talk I gave on the little boy’s birthday, word for word and slide for slide. Lesley and I are paying all the expenses it will be entirely free. Do come, and do read the talk first if you want to. I read it from time to time myself and stand by every word. I am also going to send invitations to as many celebrity denialists as I can think of. I don’t suppose they will come, because I don’t suppose they think we are very significant here in Alton.
I would like to prove them wrong about that.
Now the reason I quote Dr Willis’s letter because it contains so many of the tropes and rhetorical fallacies to which the climate alarmist movement is prey, all of them wrapped up in a blanket of warm caringness and noble altruism. To whit:
1. The copious cloying references to his grandson. Climate true believers think they have a monopoly on compassion. They think they are the only people who love their children and grandchildren or even stop to consider the plight of “future generations”. This gives them the moral authority to write surreptitiously malevolent, passive-aggressive emails to people they’ve never met and whose opinions they’ve never troubled to understand, accusing them of being “celebrity denialists.”
2. “Denialists.” I emailed Dr Willis to ask him what it was that these “denialists” were denying. I pointed out that this inflammatory term had been quite deliberately chosen by alarmist propagandists to equate scepticism about climate “science” and policy with Holocaust denial. Dr Willis replied: “I use the term denialist in the usual sense to denote someone who denies something. Not really very inflammatory, or puzzling.” So I wrote again to ask what exactly these “denialists” were denying. He replied: “Oh dear. I think you know exactly what I mean, James.”
3. “That same morning I was giving the opening keynote address to the North European Conference on Travel Medicine (NECTM 2006) in the great hall of the International Conference Centre in Edinburgh.” Read the speech – if you can bear it. As Dr Willis makes clear he has no specialist expertise in this field. But that’s not necessarily a problem – think mining engineer Steve McIntyre; think economist Ross McKitrick; think ex-banker Nic Lewis: many of the biggest most recent advances in our understanding of climate science have come from non-climate-scientists. What is more worrying, though, is how cursorily Willis has looked into the subject on which he presumes, nonetheless, to deliver a keynote lecture at an international conference. His sources? Wikipedia; the Independent; the BBC.
Moscow won’t join the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which starts on January 1st 2013.
Russia decided to discontinue its participation in the protocol because the world’s major producers of greenhouse gases – the United States, China and India – are still refusing to commit themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Because of that, Russian leaders say, the Kyoto Protocol, which came into force seven years ago, had no impact on the rate of global warming.
There has been no global warming for 16 years, so we can all relax.
Furthermore, the US rejected Kyoto 98-0 because it excluded China and India. That was when the Senate still showed some common sense.
Of course, the eco-nitwits in California decided to show the world the way, imposing Kyoto-like policies on the state, thus jacking up energy costs and killing business growth. But hey, we’re cool!
An Austrian professor suggests that critics of man-made global warming science — aka “deniers” should be put to death.
During my 50-year career, every time some demented soul would take a semiautomatic gun and clean out a post office, a school or a picnic, I’d get up on my soap box and let loose with a withering diatribe about guns, the National Rifle Association and weak-kneed politicians. Did it about 75 times, give or take.
And in every case the main effect was a spike in gun sales.
Still, I thought I’d give it one more shot … er, chance.
Obama’s speech was fine as far as it went, but it didn’t go very far. Neither have any of the other responses I’ve heard.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she was going to introduce a bill to ban the sale and importation of assault weapons. Great, but the bill wouldn’t apply to weapons already out there, and in defining illegal weapons, it listed more than 900 exceptions.
The thing missing from the debate so far is anger — anger that we live in a society where something like the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre can happen and our main concern is not offending the NRA’s sensibilities.
That’s obscene. Here, then, is my “madder-than-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore” program for ending gun violence in America:
• Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. It offers an absolute right to gun ownership, but it puts it in the context of the need for a “well-regulated militia.” We don’t make our militia bring their own guns to battles. And surely the Founders couldn’t have envisioned weapons like those used in the Newtown shooting when they guaranteed gun rights. Owning a gun should be a privilege, not a right.
• Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.
• Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.
And if that didn’t work, I’d adopt radical measures. None of that is going to happen, of course. But I’ll bet gun sales will rise.
Forget the Doha climate jamboree that ended earlier this month. The theological discussions in Qatar of the arcana of climate treaties are irrelevant. By far the most important debate about climate change is taking place among scientists, on the issue of climate sensitivity: How much warming will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide actually produce? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to pronounce its answer to this question in its Fifth Assessment Report next year.
The general public is not privy to the IPCC debate. But I have been speaking to somebody who understands the issues: Nic Lewis. A semiretired successful financier from Bath, England, with a strong mathematics and physics background, Mr. Lewis has made significant contributions to the subject of climate change.
He first collaborated with others to expose major statistical errors in a 2009 study of Antarctic temperatures. In 2011 he discovered that the IPCC had, by an unjustified statistical manipulation, altered the results of a key 2006 paper by Piers Forster of Reading University and Jonathan Gregory of the Met Office (the United Kingdom’s national weather service), to vastly increase the small risk that the paper showed of climate sensitivity being high. Mr. Lewis also found that the IPCC had misreported the results of another study, leading to the IPCC issuing an Erratum in 2011.
Mr. Lewis tells me that the latest observational estimates of the effect of aerosols (such as sulfurous particles from coal smoke) find that they have much less cooling effect than thought when the last IPCC report was written. The rate at which the ocean is absorbing greenhouse-gas-induced warming is also now known to be fairly modest. In other words, the two excuses used to explain away the slow, mild warming we have actually experienced—culminating in a standstill in which global temperatures are no higher than they were 16 years ago—no longer work.
In short: We can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in “radiative forcing” (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity.
The conclusion—taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake—is this: A doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6°-1.7°C (2.9°-3.1°F).
This is much lower than the IPCC’s current best estimate, 3°C (5.4°F).
Mr. Lewis is an expert reviewer of the recently leaked draft of the IPCC’s WG1 Scientific Report. The IPCC forbids him to quote from it, but he is privy to all the observational best estimates and uncertainty ranges the draft report gives. What he has told me is dynamite.
Given what we know now, there is almost no way that the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Mr. Lewis comments: “Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30% rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1°C.”
A cumulative change of less than 2°C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good—that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly, growing seasons will lengthen, Greenland’s ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.
Some of the best recent observationally based research also points to climate sensitivity being about 1.6°C for a doubling of CO2. An impressive study published this year by Magne Aldrin of the Norwegian Computing Center and colleagues gives a most-likely estimate of 1.6°C. Michael Ring and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, using the most trustworthy temperature record, also estimate 1.6°C.
The big question is this: Will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC’s existing 2°-4.5°C “likely” range for climate sensitivity? Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization’s record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.
How can there be such disagreement about climate sensitivity if the greenhouse properties of CO2 are well established? Most people assume that the theory of dangerous global warming is built entirely on carbon dioxide. It is not.
There is little dispute among scientists about how much warming CO2 alone can produce, all (more…)
Human emissions of fossil carbon into the atmosphere and the resulting increase in temperatures may be holding off the next ice age, according to research from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.
“We are probably entering a new ice age right now,” Lars Franzen, a professor of physical geography at the university, was cited as saying in an online statement today. “However, we’re not noticing it due to the effects of carbon dioxide.”
Franzen and three other researchers calculated how much of Sweden might be covered by peat lands during an interglacial, the period between two ice ages. Peat absorbs carbon from the atmosphere, and the study found that the country’s carbon-sink potential could increase six- to 10-fold, which theoretically might cause a drop in temperatures.
Increased felling of woodlands and expansion of agricultural land, combined with early industrialization, probably halted the so-called Little Ice Age from the 16th to the 18th century, slowing down or even reversing a cooling trend, according to the researchers.
“It’s certainly possible that mankind’s various activities contributed towards extending our ice age interval by keeping carbon dioxide levels high enough,” Franzen said. “Without the human impact, the inevitable progression toward an ice age would have continued.”
The earth experienced at least 30 periods of ice age in the past 3 million years, according to the university. There were no emissions of fossil carbon in earlier interglacial periods, and carbon sequestration in peat lands may have been one of the main reasons why ice age conditions occurred, according to Franzen…
With high-altitude mountains in Himachal Pradesh experiencing up to 100 cm fresh snowfall in November month after 10 years, the abundance of snow on mountains has rejuvenated nearly one thousand Himalayan glaciers and has ensured uninterrupted supply of water for drinking, irrigation and hydel projects. While scanty snowfall and rising temperature in the last decade had sparked the possibilities of fast shrinking of glaciers, good spells of snowfall in last three years have changed the trend with glaciers almost growing to their original size. –Suresh Sharma, The Times of India, 3 December 2012
A new analysis of data from dedicated satellites shows that one of the main factors predicted to drive rising sea levels in future has been seriously overestimated, with major implications for climate talks currently underway in Doha. –Lewis Page, The Register, 28 November 2012
When the Atlantic hurricane season starts next June 1, it will have been 2,777 days since the last time an intense (that is a Category 3, 4 or 5) hurricane made landfall along the US coast (Wilma in 2005). Such a prolonged period without an intense hurricane landfall has not been observed since 1900. The long-term intense hurricane drought means that a mere “regression to the mean” will see more hurricane landfalls and considerably higher damage in the years to come. The fashionable talk these days of a “new normal” is of course utter bullsh*t. Just wait until we return to the “old normal” — I know that it may be hard to believe, but both hurricane damage and climate hype are set to increase dramatically in the years to come. –Roger Pielke Jr., 3 December 2012
When the worst drought in 60 years hit America’s corn belt this summer, many people wondered if it was caused by climate change. It is too early to say much about such a recent episode but various studies have attributed earlier individual heatwaves or drought to global warming, notably those in Europe in 2003, Russia in 2010 and the sweltering summer of 2011 in Texas. The most recent (2007) assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said bluntly: “higher temperatures and decreased precipitation have contributed to changes in drought.” Global warming might cause drought because warm air holds on to water vapour, making rain even less likely in places that are already dry. But a study published recently in Nature casts doubt about whether that is actually happening. –The Economist, 1 December 2012
A paper published today in The Journal of Climate reconstructs snow accumulation of the Greenland ice sheet from 1600-2009 and finds “a 12% or 86 Gigaton/yr increase in ice sheet accumulation rate from the end of the Little Ice Age in ~1840 to the last decade of the reconstruction. This 1840-1996 trend is 30% higher than that of 1600-2009, suggesting an accelerating accumulation rate.” –The Hockey Schtick, 6 December 2012
…but progressives can feel good about themselves, so what the hey?
California’s push to add wind and solar energy to its existing power grid could saddle ratepayers with soaring electrical bills and despoil the state’s environmental resources unless officials act soon, according to a report released Monday by a government watchdog agency.
Although it applauded the state’s effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission said that a “balkanized” and “dysfunctional” collection of state energy agencies threatened to create a “profoundly expensive policy failure.”
“The state has failed to develop a comprehensive energy strategy with clearly delineated priorities to ensure that policies are not working at cross-purposes,” the report said. “Policies and regulations affecting electricity have been piled upon each other piecemeal, through multiple, sometimes overlapping public processes.”
The 107-page analysis, “Rewiring California,” outlined the mistakes made during the administration of former Gov. Gray Davis, which resulted in a crisis that sent electricity rates skyrocketing, and warned of the possibility of similar policy errors.
Among other recommendations, the commission urged the governor to establish a single overarching entity or agency to coordinate the state’s energy policy.
State officials are not required to act on the group’s advice. However, a spokesman said Gov. Jerry Brown would review the report.
The problems described in the report can be traced to California’s ambitious legal requirement that the state utilities derive a third of their power from wind, solar and other renewable sources by 2020.
In the rush to incorporate new energy sources, the state has approved 20-year power agreements that lock in “unnecessarily high prices,” the report says.
“This sets the stage for a potential ratepayer revolt,” the report said…
Commission Chairman David Hancock said the complexity of the issue requires careful policy choices. “Getting it right is far more important than speed,” he said.
The commission urged Brown to assess the real cost of the state’s energy policies and determine whether they will help achieve the goal of reducing fossil fuel emissions. It also recommended a moratorium on further renewable energy policies.
Another solar failure:
A consortium led by French nuclear group Areva has ditched a A$1.2 billion concentrated solar thermal project after the federal government pulled critical funding.
The Solar Dawn consortium, which includes developer Wind Prospect, has been plagued with problems since winning $464 million in federal funding through the Solar Flagship program to develop a 250-MW solar thermal plant in Queensland’s outback.
Without a supply agreement in place, it failed to meet a 30 June financing deadline, prompting Queensland’s government to withdraw A$75 million in state funding. In July, federal energy minister Martin Ferguson referred it to the newly formed Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) for consideration …
Despite today’s setback for Solar Dawn, solar thermal proponents say the government’s Energy White Paper calls for 16 percent of total electricity demand to be sourced from solar thermal by 2050, which would make Australia a global leader.
Why not build something that actually works, like a nuclear plant? Otherwise, we should follow America’s lead and leave things to the free market:
The U.S. is likely to surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer as early as 2020.In its annual world energy outlook, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) says the global energy map “is being redrawn by the resurgence in oil and gas production in the United States …”
The key to this U.S. energy boom has been technological innovation and risk-taking funded by private capital. Specifically, the private oil and gas industry pioneered the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) to tap unconventional deposits such as shale that once were technologically out of reach. It also wouldn’t have happened if the industry wasn’t able to drill on private land, free from federal regulation.
Woe to the Mayans. Had they not offended Gaia with their industrial smokestacks, gas burning automobiles and coal burning power plants, they might still be here today.
Argument has raged for decades over what doomed the ancient Maya civilization and spurred its people to abandon their awe-inspiring temples and pyramids in the rain forests of Mexico and Central America. Warfare, disease, social unrest and over-farming have all been cited as potential factors in the decline of a culture that was scientifically and culturally advanced for 750 years.
A new study bolsters the theory that large-scale climate change was responsible for the society’s demise — and argues that changes in global weather patterns were also responsible for its rapid rise.
Using data from a 13,500-year-old stalagmite taken from the floor of a recently discovered cave in Belize, scientists said they were able to assemble a precise record of rainfall for the region going back 2,000 years.
By AD 700, that wet weather gave way to a “general drying trend that lasted four centuries and was punctuated by a series of major droughts,” he said. “That triggered a decline in agricultural productivity and contributed to societal fragmentation and political collapse. … Maya kings lost their power and influence.”
Researchers said the severe drought the Maya experienced was akin to the one that devastated Mexico in the 16th century and brought crop failure, famine and death. Kennett said such circumstances probably visited the Maya during their classic period, which lasted from AD 250 to 1000.
Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann could not be reached for comment.
From an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitungon.
“The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.
The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president.”
Make that double for California, as evidenced by this LAT poll.
California voters strongly support the state’s ambitious program to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that cause global warming, according to a new post-election poll.
Notice that CO2 is declared by assumption to cause global warming.
…In response, 63% said the law is needed, agreeing generally that the state needs to break from “outdated energy policies” and reward companies that produce energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources and to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
This will already happen by 2035, but not from windmills and solar panels, but from fracking. Oh, excuse me, the “controversial” fracking.
There was one poll respondent with common sense:
Republican Clayton Timmer, 30, favored relaxing development laws, saying businesses already bear too much of an economic burden because of inflexible environmental regulations. Timmer works in a group home for emotionally disturbed boys near Chico.
As for greenhouse gases, he said the law seeking to reduce them is unaffordable.
“I’m not for getting rid of all emissions regulations,” he said, adding that the state economy is one of the biggest in the world but is “being restricted by emissions regulations. China and India have virtually no regulations, so why are we burdening California with making the world cleaner when it’s not really us who’s polluting it that much?”
Because we are governed by a confederacy of dunces.
If our atmosphere was warmer 1,000 years ago, when there were no cars, factories and not even close to 7 billion people exhaling CO2, how can scientists claim current temperatures are unprecedented?
A flurry of recent scientific papers has tried to measure the warmth of the “Medieval Warm Period” (MWP) of about 1,000 years ago. Scientists have long debated whether it was cooler or warmer than today, and whether the warmth was global or regional. The point for nonscientists: If recent warming has precedents, some might find it less alarming.
If recent warmth has precedents, some might find it less alarming.
Until the late 1990s, researchers generally agreed that the MWP was warmer than today and that the “Little Ice Age” of 1500-1800 was colder. Then in 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change adopted the “hockey stick” graph devised by Michael Mann at the University of Virginia and colleagues.
Using temperature indicators such as tree rings and lake sediments, the graph rewrote history by showing little warmth in the 11th century and little cold in the 17th, but a sharp spike in late-20th-century temperatures. That graph helped to persuade many people (such as me) that recent temperature rises were unprecedented in scale and speed in at least 1,400 years.
But critics of the graph pointed out that it used a statistical technique that overemphasized hockey-stick shaped data from unreliable indicators, such as tree rings in bristlecone pine trees and Scandinavian lake sediments influenced by 20th-century land-use changes. Four recent studies have now rehabilitated the MWP as a period of unusual warmth, though they disagree on whether it was as warm or warmer than today.
Jan Esper of the University of Mainz and his colleagues looked at pine wood densities from Sweden and Finland and found “evidence for substantial warmth during Roman and medieval times, larger in extent and longer in duration than 20th-century warmth.” Bo Christiansen of the Danish Meteorological Institute and Fredrik Ljungqvist of Stockholm University looked at 32 indicators across (more…)
Climate hacks — who certainly know better — are trying to exploit Hurricane Sandy.
If nothing else, how can they blame a warming earth when– by their own measures–the earth has not warmed in 16 years?
In the wake of the disaster caused by Tropical Storm Sandy, various allies of the Obama campaign have rushed to claim that the event was caused by anthropogenic global warming, thereby justifying the president’s program of crushing the economy with regressive carbon taxes, a supposedly necessary measure to prevent future bad weather. In fact, there is no scientific basis, either empirical or theoretical, to justify such claims.
Weather systems are natural heat engines, and like all other heat engines, both natural and artificial, they are driven not by temperature per se, but by differences in temperature between one location and another. A professor at my old university once illustrated this principle in striking fashion by showing that he could make a car run on liquid nitrogen, using the temperature difference between the ultra-cold fluid and the merely cool ambient Seattle air to derive strong motive power. Similarly in nature, temperature differences, such as that between the warming land and the cold sea at sunrise, create wind, and under the right conditions, can form powerful windstorm systems. Where temperatures are uniform, there is no motive power, regardless of how hot conditions may be.
The Earth is significantly warmed by a greenhouse effect caused largely by water vapor in its atmosphere. But because warm air can hold much more water vapor than cold air, water-vapor greenhousing works more effectively where it is warm than where it is cold, and thus serves to increase the temperature differences between warm regions and cold regions, as well as between day and night. In contrast, carbon dioxide spreads evenly in the atmosphere regardless of local temperature, and thus delivers its insulative warming effect to those water-vapor-poor regions which benefit from it the most. And while it also adds insulation to hot places as well, the marginal effect of the addition is much greater for the have-nots than the haves. (To understand this, just consider the benefit of putting one flannel shirt on a naked chest on a cold day to putting a second shirt over that. The difference between having one shirt and none is much greater than that between having one shirt or two.)
For this reason, it is widely understood that carbon dioxide–driven global warming would have the effect of reducing temperature difference among different parts of the Earth, and therefore reducing the motive force for creating major wind systems. This fact is even acknowledged by the generally global-warming-alarmist U.N. Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) (more…)
Al Gore is about 50 times richer than he was when he left the vice presidency in 2001. According to an Oct. 11 report by The Post’s Carol D. Leonnig, Gore accumulated a Romneyesque $100 million partly through investing in alternative-energy firms subsidized by the Obama administration.
Two days after that story ran, Mitt Romney proclaimed at a rally in Ohio’s Appalachian coal country: “We have a lot of coal; we are going to use it. We are going to keep those jobs.” Thousands cheered.
The juxtaposition speaks volumes about the Democratic Party, and about modern liberalism generally. As the Democrats become more committed to, and defined by, a green agenda, and as they become dependent on money from high-tech venture capitalists and their lobbyists, it becomes harder to describe them as a party for the little guy — or liberalism as a philosophy of distributive justice.
Gore’s sanctimony doesn’t help. The erstwhile Tennessee populist bristles at any suggestion that his climate crusade is about money. And, no doubt, he cared about the planet before he got rich. Still, his investments, including in such flops as Fisker, the maker of $100,000 plug-in hybrid cars, create a patent conflict of interest. This hurts his credibility — if not about climate change per se, then certainly about the particular solutions he advocates.
But that’s not the worst contradiction in the Democrats’ doing-well-by-being-green ethos. Green energy is not cost-competitive with traditional energy and won’t be for years. So it can’t work without either taxpayer subsidies, much of which accrue to “entrepreneurs” such as Gore, or higher prices for fossil energy — the brunt of which is borne by people of modest means.
Consider California’s “net metering” subsidy for solar-panel users. As the New York Times reported in June, the program hugely benefits well-off consumers who can afford to install photovoltaic panels. They get sun power for their homes — plus an excess supply that utilities must buy. Thus utilities must also (more…)
Ruben Vives in the LA Times:
A new report on hydraulic fracking at the Inglewood Oil Field found that the controversial oil extraction method used at two wells did not have significant effects on the environment or on the health of those living near the 1,200-acre site.
“Controversial” has been appended to fracking simply because people, who are anti-science, make a lot of noise. The LAT never deems abortion as controversial, despite more than half of Americans being against it.
More than 200 residents of the Baldwin Hills area turned out Monday evening to hear the findings and question the author of the environmental impact study. The meeting was organized by Plains Exploration & Production Co., the owner and operator of the field that paid for the study, and was held at Knox Presbyterian Church in Ladera Heights.
As the findings of the yearlong report were announced by its author, Daniel Tormey of Cardno Entrix, some residents shook their heads in disbelief, some jotted down notes, while others held up signs that read “Stop Fracking Now” and “Stop the Insanity.”
Uh, who is acting insane? Who is anti-science?
Residents living around the oil field have complained about ground movements damaging their properties. Some suspect that the drilling operations of Plains Exploration is causing the movement. But the area also lies atop of the Newport-Inglewood fault.
Tormey said the movements were not related to the company’s activities. He said 21% of the properties were damaged by natural slope instability, which was induced by rainfall.
Residents such as Gary Gless, founder of the Citizens Coalition for a Better Community, weren’t buying it.
“They cannot control the earth,” Gless said.
Other findings show that the groundwater beneath the field is not the source of drinking water for the region. Instead, Tormey said, the water is imported from Northern California and Colorado. Still, he added, the water underneath the field meets drinking standards and no impacts were recorded when the oil extraction method was used at the field.
Here’s my favorite:
“It just seems like the practice is not safe,” said Jessica Yurasek, a resident of Culver City, who clearly wasn’t convinced.
As a conservative living in the lovely state of California, it’s painful to see the loony left ruin our economy.
Before reading this, look at the post below.
LEGGETT, Calif. — Braced against a steep slope, Robert Hrubes cinched his measuring tape around the trunk of one tree after another, barking out diameters like an auctioneer announcing bids. “Twelve point two!” “Fourteen point one!”
Mr. Hrubes’s task, a far cry from forestry of the past, was to calculate how much carbon could be stored within the tanoak, madrone and redwood trees in that plot. Every year or so, other foresters will return to make sure the trees are still standing and doing their job.
Such audits will be crucial as California embarks on its grand experiment in reining in climate change. On Jan. 1, it will become the first state in the nation to charge industries across the economy for the greenhouse gases they emit. Under the system, known as “cap and trade,” the state will set an overall ceiling on those emissions and assign allowable emission amounts for individual polluters. A portion of these so-called allowances will be allocated to utilities, manufacturers and others; the remainder will be auctioned off.
Over time, the number of allowances issued by the state will be reduced, which should force a reduction in emissions.
To obtain the allowances needed to account for their emissions, companies can buy them at auction or on the carbon market. They can secure offset credits, as they are known, either by buying leftover allowances from emitters that have met their targets or by purchasing them from projects that remove carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, like the woods where Mr. Hrubes was working.
Dozens of verifiers from different fields, from chemists to accountants to foresters, will be the first line of defense in making sure the benefits are real.
Mr. Hrubes said his goal in any audit was to ensure that the forest’s owner was “being conservative whenever a judgment call has to be made” in calculating greenhouse gas reductions.
The outsize goals of California’s new law, known as A.B. 32, are to lower California’s emissions to what they were in 1990 by 2020 — a reduction of roughly 30 percent — and, more broadly, to show that the system works and can be replicated.
The risks for California are enormous. Opponents and supporters alike worry that the program could hurt the state’s fragile economy by driving out refineries, cement makers, glass factories and other businesses. Some are concerned that companies will find a way to outmaneuver the system, causing the state to fall short of its emission reduction targets.
“The worst possible thing to happen is if it fails,” said Robert N. Stavins, a Harvard economist.
No, the worst thing is that idiots will turn California into Detroit with a nice climate.