Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #170

The Week That Was:February 28, 2015 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Politicized Science: This week members of Congress removed any doubt that Climate Science has become highly politicized, virtually ignoring that scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence, not based on what some scientists claim they think they know. The once respected New York Times (NYT), had an article criticizing Wei-Hock Soon (Willie Soon) for failing to disclose in publications that the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics received some $1.2 million from fossil fuel sources to support the work of Soon, including the utility company, Southern Company. The Center also received some of this money from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, which is now a favorite target of environmental groups. The article stated that the documents were obtained by Greenpeace, an environmental group, but failed to mention that Greenpeace is a leader in the anti-fossil fuel movement.

Soon has been targeted repeatedly by environmental groups and government-funded scientists because he advocates that the sun has a major role in global warming and cooling. For authorities on the subject, the NYT article uses Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), who advocated that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the control knob of the earth’s temperatures, a position clearly contradicted by an examination of the earth’s climate history. The article also features the views of Naomi Oreskes, whose book Merchants of Doubt, rails against four distinguished scientists, including Dr Robert Jastrow, the founder of NASA-GISS, without producing evidence to substantiate the accusations.

Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), who is the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, immediately sent letters to the presidents of various universities to investigate the funding of seven prominent researchers. The letter references the article in the New York Times. Further, the letter to the President of the University of Colorado, demanding disclosure of financial information concerning Roger Pielke, Jr., specifically states:

His July 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.” John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and technology Policy, has highlight[ed, sic]t what he believes were serious misstatements by Prof. Pielke and the scientific consensus on climate change and his (Holdren’s) position on the issue.

To make matters worse, US Senators Markey, Boxer, and Whitehouse sent letters to about 100 fossil fuel companies referencing articles on Willie Soon and demanding disclosures including:

“List of research efforts (including but not limited to grants, fellowships, scholarships, consulting contracts, contracts honoraria, and speaking events) on or related to climate, climate change, global warming …”

If this affair had stopped with the New York Times article, it would have been one more example of biased reporting in the New York Times, as the grey lady becomes increasingly dark – or green? By publishing the Pentagon Papers, which questioned US involvement in the Vietnam War, the NYT upheld its reputation as a force in standing up to the authority of President Nixon. Now, it promotes the authority of the current administration and its efforts to suppress those who think independently.

To its credit, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) severely criticized Representative Grijalva’s effort. Instead of providing leadership, the new President of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) punted. More importantly, in a letter to the recipients of the letter sent by the three Senators, the majority on Senate Environment and Public Works Committee stated that the prior letter “could be viewed as an attempt to silence legitimate intellectual and scientific inquiry.” “The federal government does not have a monopoly on funding high-quality scientific research, and many of the nation’s environmental laws require decisions be based on the best scientific information available—not just federally funded research.” To which TWTW concurs.

Herein lies the major issue. In September 2014, SEPP produced a handout “Climate Fears and Finance” in which SEPP calculated that, based on US government reports, from Fiscal Year (FY) 1993 to FY 2013 total US expenditures on climate change amounted to more than $165 Billion. More than $35 Billion was identified as climate science. The Federal government has not produced a systematic accounting since FY 2013.

For these massive expenditures, we have expensive climate models that grossly overestimate current temperature trends ( of no warming). Virtually nothing has gone to understanding the natural causes of climate change, a glaring omission because climate change has been occurring for hundreds of millions of years – long before humanity existed. As Fred Singer pointed out, each of the five major reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have major defects in evidence and/or logic. Americans are getting a very poor return on these massive expenditures.

See links under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry, Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt Claims, Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt History, Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt Blowback.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/08/climate_science_does_not_support_ipcc_conclusions.html and http://www.sepp.org/key_issues/ClimateFearsandFinance9-7.pdf

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Munich Re: The investigation of Roger Pielke, Jr. brings up the incorrect scientific pretentions of this Administration. There is no evidence of increasing losses occurring from more intense weather events, as correctly reported by Pielke. The largest and second-largest reinsurance companies in the world, Munich Re and Swiss Re, reported that 2014 was benign for losses from natural disasters and overall losses are declining. The largest single owner of Munich Re stock is Berkshire Hathaway, which is controlled by Warren Buffett. Buffett is thought to be a supporter of this Administration.

Is the next move for John Holdren to call Warren Buffet, demanding that he inflate the losses of Munich Re to conform with Holdren’s climate beliefs? See TWTW Feb 7, 2015 & Dec 20, 2014

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Evidence-Free: TWTW received several comments on the use of the term “evidence-free” assertions. Some commentators thought it a bit too strong and suggested terms such as evidence-lacking assertions. The term evidence-free may have a bit of a marketing ring, such as carbon-free sugar, which was used by a sugar manufacturer, as pointed out by Christopher Essex.

A formula for simple sugar (glucose) is C6H12O6 or 6 parts carbon, 12 parts hydrogen and 6 parts oxygen, making carbon-free sugar an oxymoron. Example, “I can resist anything, except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde

Since the authors claim to be authorities in science, one is tempted to call Merchants of Doubt an example of “evidence-free science.”

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Quote of the Week: In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another. Richard Feynman “Cargo Cult Science”

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Number of the Week: 7

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Mathematical Problems in Models: The Financial Post carried an article by mathematician Christopher Essex defending Willie Soon. In it, Essex brings up some of the mathematical issues to climate models that he discussed in a video for the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Choice quotes include: “Next December policymakers will try again to save the world from what they don’t understand by proposing policy on something else, which won’t work anyway.

“There’s the closure problem of turbulence in fluids: Not only can’t we determine the flow in a pipe from first principles, we can’t even get the lowest order statistic, after 150 years of trying.”

See link under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry – The Witch Hunt Blowback

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Greenhouse Effect: SEPP does not doubt the existence of heat absorbing gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. The issue is: to what extent will carbon dioxide emissions cause an increase in temperatures? It appears to be far less than claimed by the IPCC and its models.

When sent the abstract of a study on direct observations of increase of the greenhouse effect, from 2000 to 2010, we listed 4 questions.

1) Does it include all the measuring stations?

2) Is the complete data set included?

3) The areas are semi-arid, what is the effect in humid (high water vapor) areas

4) Extrapolation of the results to global results must be done rigorously

The cut-off date of 2010 and the claimed consistency with models triggered skepticism. According to a post by blogger Stephen Goddard the start and end points of the time series are carefully selected to give the maximum impact of the data. The actual data

CONTINUE READING –>

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