The Week That Was: October 3, 2015- Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
More IPCC Challenges: The US administration is attempting to establish an agreement to be reached at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11. Meanwhile, more challenges to the findings of the UN Intergovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) continue to emerge. Many of the challenges do not question the basic science or logic found in the climate models, but do question the use to which they are put. This questioning especially applies to the 95% certainty expressed in the Summary for Policymakers of IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5).
In a recent paper, distinguished physicist Wallace Manheimer expressed it well: “This paper reviews a great deal of worldwide data, some of which confirms, some of which disputes the global warming hypothesis. While increasing CO2in the atmosphere is a concern, it is hardly a planetary emergency.” Perhaps these sentences summarize the views of the global warming skeptics: carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not causing a planetary emergency, only the politically motivated advocates and politicians are. This political motivation extends to the IPCC and its work based on the assumption it can predict (project), with great certainty, global warming from human causes without thoroughly understanding the natural influences on climate.
To illustrate his view, Manheimer uses two examples of community madness from US history: the Salem witchcraft trials and the prosecution of preschool teachers for sex abuse of their students in the 1980s and 90s. The former is well known and lasted a year. Many try to suppress the latter. The prosecutions were based on work and testimony by social workers and psychologists who insisted they could interpret actions and words by 6 to 7 year old children to have them recall sexual abuse claimed to have occurred when the children were 3 or 4. Eventually, all the convictions were overturned, with one man serving 18 years based on absurd accusations. Unlike the 17th century governor of Massachusetts who later apologized for the witch trials, none of the governors of the states involved in the late 20th century false trials apologized.
After explaining these examples, Manheimer embarks on a brief review of the evidence behind the claim that human emissions of CO2 are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming, and finds it lacking. He lists the reasons why. Including: “Fourth, if the measurement is just barely on the edge of a detectable effect; some measurements show a slight effect, others do not, or show the opposite effect, as in the climate change case, there is certainly strong grounds for skepticism, at least as regards the current status of the effect. Fifth, computer simulation is a very powerful technique (I have spend [sic] a good part of my career developing and using computer models of complex physical systems), but it is hardly infallible. They [The models] should be regarded with at least some skepticism, no matter how many of them point to a particular effect.”
See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy
Quote of the Week: “It is necessary to look at the results of observation objectively, because you, the experimenter, might like one result better than another.” Richard Feynman
Number of the Week: $7 Billion USD
Société de Calcul Mathématique: Several French mathematicians under the Société de Calcul Mathématique SA wrote a 195 page white paper on global warming and the political ramifications of the actions of its proponents. The title of the paper is well put: “The battle against global warming: an absurd, costly and pointless crusade.” Writing from the perspective of French, European, and world policy, the paper finds an enormous impact on the economy with every activity affected. It also states:
“The impact on the entire field of scientific research is particularly clear and especially pernicious. No project can be launched, on any subject whatsoever, unless it makes direct reference to global warming. You want to look at the geology of the Garonne Basin? It is, after all, an entirely normal and socially useful subject in every respect. Well, your research will be funded, approved and published only if it mentions the potential for geological storage of CO2. It is appalling.
“The crusade has invaded every area of activity and everyone‘s thinking: the battle against CO2 has become a national priority. How have we reached this point, in a country that claims to be rational? At the root lie the declarations made by the IPPC [IPCC], which have been repeated over the years and taken up by the European Commission and the Member States. France, which likes to see itself as the good boy of Europe‘, adds an extra layer of virtue to every crusade. When others introduce reductions, we will on principle introduce bigger reductions, without ever questioning their appropriateness: a crusade is virtuous by its very nature. And you can never be too virtuous.
“But mathematicians do not believe in crusades; they look at facts, figures, observations and arguments.”
The paper assesses the facts, explaining why the authors consider the crusade is absurd, costly, and pointless. Under the scientific section, it discusses the natural variability of the climate, humans influence on the climate (tiny while the natural influence is huge), that humans do not have the technology to change the climate (or make it stable), and that the consequences of global warming are that the world will adjust as it always has. The paper criticizes the IPCC [which it abbreviates as the IPPC] and states: “The IPPC‘s conclusions go against observed facts; the figures used are deliberately chosen to support its conclusions (with no regard for the most basic scientific honesty), and the natural variability of phenomena is passed over without comment.”
The paper presents a detailed overview of the surface temperature measuring stations, with Europe covered for more than 150 years and the US for more than 110 years. From a historical perspective land mass is not well covered and, except for Europe, the US, and eastern China, the bulk of the land mass is not well covered today. Surface sea coverage is spotty, at best, distributed in a few areas in the world, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. The paper also discusses the manipulation of the surface record by NOAA, but not the one in 2015. It suggests that one cannot use the surface data to define or calculate an average temperature.
The paper challenges the widely accepted measurements of CO2 from Mauna Loa, and states there is a poor distribution of sensors, with nearly all located in Europe or the US. Also it states:
Among other criticisms, the paper points out weaknesses in satellite estimates of temperatures, independently supported by weather balloon measurements. SEPP maintains these are the finest available, though not perfect.
Under the heading “Be Careful!” the paper briefly discusses models:
“Conclusions based on any kind of model should be disregarded. As the SCM specializes in building mathematical models, we should also be recognized as competent to criticize them. Models are useful when attempting to review our knowledge, but they should not be used as an aid to decision-making until they have been validated. Now, validating a climate model requires thousands of years.” [Boldface added.]
Perhaps that is the intention of those who control the IPCC. See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
David Evans: Jo Nova’s web site continues to present criticisms of the IPCC models by mathematician and electrical engineer David Evans. As stated last week, TWTW will refrain from detailed comments until the entire presentation is complete. That said, the heavy use of partial differentiation of two or more independent variables appears serious. Traditionally, such measures require all other variables remain constant.
Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas. As easily demonstrated by the South Asian monsoon, it varies by region, season, and year. Assuming water vapor is constant can lead to major complications. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
UN Sustainable Summit: The September 25 to 27 UN Sustainable Summit ended with the attendees approving 17 goals, down from 169 initially proposed. Simply because the number of goals were reduced, that does not mean all are achievable. For example: Goal # 13 is “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” Exactly how the UN proposes to combat climate change that has been occurring for hundreds of millions of years, thousands of times longer than humanity, is not clear.
The details of the goal include some highly questionable assertions. “From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C.” As pointed out by the Société de Calcul Mathématique, we do not have the ability to calculate average global surface temperatures today, much less in 1880.
The statement also includes: “Oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and sea level has risen. From 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level rose by 19 cm as oceans expanded due to warming and ice melted. The Arctic’s sea ice extent has shrunk in every successive decade since 1979, with 1.07 million km² of ice loss every decade.” Why stop at 1901? Since 18,000 years ago oceans have risen by 120 meters (400 feet). Other than a past trend, claims of future temperature rise and sea level rise are speculation from un-validated climate models.
“Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.” “Due to drought and desertification each year 12 million hectares are lost (23 hectares per minute), where 20 million tons of grain could have been grown.”
The concept that, in general, the earth is greening, as demonstrated by satellite photographs, has not reached the UN. Also, the massive increase in world-wide yields from modern agriculture has eluted the UN, including a 54% increase in yields of cereals (not including rice) from 1986-89 to 2013-15.
Some of the UN goals stated are reasonable and commendable, but a number of the goals demonstrate the lack of critical thinking and general ignorance of these international leaders.
See Expanding the Orthodoxy, TWTW – Sep 5, 2015, http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climate-change-2/ and
Ozone: The US EPA has intensified its ozone regulations without significant scientific justification of how the new regulations may improve public health. The new regulations may be among the most costly undertaken. A number of links identify the costs, but few address a major issue with ground level ozone – increasingly, it is caused by nature.
Even the EPA web site recognizes that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which cause ozone, are created, in part, by nature. Other than PM 10 (Particulate Matter, which fell by 17%), VOCs fell the least amount of EPA category pollutants, by only 18% from 2000 to 2013. The EPA realizes that weather conditions influence ozone. “Ozone is more readily formed on warm, sunny days when the air is stagnant.”
This weather influence, is particularly true for VOCs such as isoprene, which is largely produced by trees. Plants produce significant amounts of VOCs on warm sunny days, particularly humid days. Environmental groups tend to blame that the haze of Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, part of the Appalachian Mountain system, on automobiles, but fail to mention the tremendous increase in density and number of trees in the mountains since the 1930s, partially from a decline in need for pasture and biofuels. The early settlers named it the Blue Ridge for a reason, not for its crystal-clear air.
Similarly, environmental groups are quick to blame haze in the Grand Canyon on the coal-fired
Four Corners Generating Station or Navajo Generating Station. The former requires that emissions go in the opposite direction to the prevailing winds. The latter requires that emissions go to the north and east, rather than the prevailing winds to the east.
Few groups, including the EPA, bring up that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is dominated by the heavy woodlands of the Kaibab National Forest, with a “warm summer, humid, continental climate.” A combination that results in naturally caused haze.
See Article # 2 and links under EPA and other Regulators on the March,
Additions and Corrections: The August 29th TWTW pointed out that the extreme heat of Venus is not so much due to “run-away greenhouse” but due to the atmospheric pressure at the surface being more than 90 times that of earth. The discussion omitted Mars. Comparing the atmospheric pressure of Mars, Venus, and Earth shows that pressure is not so much due to the composition of the atmospheres, but thickness. Both Venus and Mars have high concentration of CO2 (about 95%); but, the thickness of the atmosphere varies.
Number of the Week: $7 Billion USD. After the expenditure of about $7 Billion, Royal Dutch Shell announced it would halt exploration in the US Chukchi Sea (Arctic), because it failed to find adequate quantities of oil and natural gas. The $7 Billion expenditure includes about $2.1 Billion to the US government for leases. According to reports, US Geological Survey has estimated that US Arctic water hold about 26 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Exxon-Mobil, BP and other producers have discovered about 10 billion barrels.
No doubt, the drop in the price of oil, thanks to hydraulic fracking of dense shale, was an important factor in Shell’s decision. Also, the harsh conditions, the failure of the Arctic to warm as many predicted, contributed. But the harsh conditions of US permitting may have been significant. After BP, Keystone, and the Administration’s failure to establish reasonable regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federally controlled lands and waters; what oil company would trust Washington? See Washington’s Control of Energy.
Please note that articles not linked easily or summarized here are reproduced in the Articles Section of the full TWTW that can be found on the web site under the date of the TWTW.
1. For Sustainable Energy, Choose Nuclear
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Sep 30, 2015
SUMMARY: Energy based on nuclear fission has many of the same advantages and none of the disadvantages of solar and wind; politics based on false fears are retarding its growth. Yet many believe that wind and solar energy are essential, when the world “runs out” of non-renewable fossil fuels. [They also believe that wind and solar are unique in providing energy that’s carbon-free, inexhaustible, and essentially without cost. However, a closer look shows that all three special features are based on illusions and wishful thinking.]
2. The Twilight Ozone
The Grand Canyon may soon be an EPA ‘non-attainment’ area.
Editorial, WSJ, Oct 1, 2015
SUMMARY: The new rules for …“ozone may be the costliest regulations in US history. The new “rule is wholly discretionary, and none other than President Obama overruled the EPA on ozone in 2011 in the name of “reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.” But that was headed into an election year, and Mr. Obama is making amends to burnish his eco-legacy.
“Ozone in the ambient air can contribute to smog and respiratory ailments, but the U.S. has worked hard to control O3 to the point of virtual nonexistence. “Back in 1979, Los Angeles still was so full of smog that there were days where people who were vulnerable just could not go outside,” Mr. Obama said in August. “And you fast-forward 30, 40 years later, and we solved those problems.”
“Sure enough, the EPA’s latest measures show most of the U.S. is meeting the 2008 standards of ozone concentrations of 75 parts per billion (ppb) or less, except for pockets in Texas and the northeast. Only green-happy California is in ‘extreme non-attainment.’”
“The EPA is nonetheless lowering the standard to 70 ppb and the green lobby wanted 65 ppb or even 60 ppb. So while avoiding the worst-case scenario, the factories, utilities, refineries, farms, cars and trucks that produce the man-made emissions that cause ozone to form will need to install expensive retrofits. New ones will be more expensive. The EPA estimated the 2011 draft proposal would cost the private economy anywhere from $19 billion to $90 billion.
“All that money will buy few public health benefits. The EPA is attempting to drive ozone down to or below the “background” level where it naturally occurs from sources like forest fires and plant life. The Grand Canyon and Yellowstone will likely become ‘non-attainment areas’ under the new standard.
“Mr. Obama and the EPA invoke asthma attacks, and cleaning up dirty air in a city like Beijing would certainly help asthmatics—and everybody else. But the marginal gains decline sharply when moving from clean U.S. air to allegedly cleaner air.
“…., costly regulations like the ozone rule make it harder for the economy to expand. Dollars that a manufacturer spends to replace functional equipment can’t be spent to hire new workers or finance a new idea. California gets a special dispensation and more time to comply because the EPA deems its ozone problem is “uniquely stubborn,” but the state is also losing factories and businesses that will take the hit. Federal permits are much harder to obtain in “non-attainment areas.”
“If you want to know why the U.S. has had 2% growth for so long, the EPA’s almost bimonthly release of regulations like the ozone rule—or the coal ash rule, the mercury rule, or the waters of the United States rule—is a big part of the explanation.”