Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #204

The Week That Was: (November 7, 2015) – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Un-Validated Models: “The basic problem with the IPCC’s [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] extensive analysis of peer-reviewed, published research, from which it draws its conclusions regarding climate sensitivity to CO2 [carbon dioxide] and other GHG [greenhouse gases], is that it makes the critical mistake of giving any credence whatsoever to projections of future climate changes, and attribution of those changes, from output of un-validated climate simulation models. Moreover, in our opinion, the results of computer model studies should only be published in scientific journals if they are accompanied by supportive empirical observations. This conclusion is based on over a half-century of experience from many of our research team members, using models for critical decision-making in design and operation of spacecraft, where human safety was involved.

“Although computer models based on first principles are used extensively for design of commercial airplanes, bridges and buildings, engineers never base design decisions on output of un-validated computer models, and for good reasons supported by a grateful public. For what possible reason would it be appropriate to base public policy decisions regarding climate, with potentially severe unintended consequences, on un-validated climate simulation models, as the IPCC advocates and as adopted by the IWG [US Interagency Working Group] for SCC {Social Cost of Carbon] calculation?” (p.22)

“The Right Climate Stuff (TRCS) research team is a volunteer group composed primarily of more than 25 retired NASA Apollo Program veterans, who joined together in February 2012 to perform an objective, independent study of scientific claims of significant global warming caused by human activity, known as Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).” (p.11)

The above statements by part of the team that proved they could successfully model human landings on the moon, without any texts or similar guidance, illustrates what SEPP believes to be the most glaring deficiency (pink flamingo) in climate science as supported by the IPCC and many governments, including the US – the failure to validate a climate model.

Using government documents, mainly from the General Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Research Service (CRS), and the White House, SEPP estimates that the US government has spent at least $40 Billion on what it classifies to be Climate Science, since 1993. These sums do not include the more than $100 billion in expenditures, both actual outlays and tax expenditures (tax exemptions and credits for selected purposes) for the research and deployment of forms of energy creation in the name of combating global warming/climate change, mainly solar and wind generated electricity.

According to “Our Changing Planet” by the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, the FY 2014 self-reported – not independently analyzed – enacted budget of the USGCRP was $2,503,000,000 and the FY 2015 requested budget was $2,512,000,000 (p. 32). The report was sent to Congress in October 2014, signed by John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. The fiscal year (FY) ended on September 30, 2015, but SEPP was unable to find an update.

Interestingly, the reports identifies Thomas Karl as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. As discussed in last week’s TWTW, Mr. Karl has earned dubious fame as leading the effort to re-calculate historic records of sea surface temperatures in a manner many find unfitting, and, recently, refusing to respond to a subpoena by the relevant committee in Congress, the House Science and Technology Committee, to explain the basis for these re-calculations.

But, the main point is the failure of the USGCRP, or any government entity, to validate any global climate model, or express interest to do so. Yet, the forecasts (projections, predictions or other) are a fundamental reason for the Administration’s power plan, which is opposed to fossil fuels and other forms of reliable electricity. These non-validated models are the justification for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) scheduled between November 30 and December 11. Without a valid model able to predict dire consequences from human use of fossil fuels, COP-21 can be considered un-validated.

Given the deficiencies in their science, the motto of the USGCRP “Thirteen Agencies, One Vision: Empower the Nation with Global Change Science” is inappropriate, perhaps changed to Limit the Nation to our Vision? See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Defending the Orthodoxy, and On to Paris.


Quote of the Week: “The basic problem with the IPCC’s extensive analysis of peer-reviewed, published research…is that it makes the critical mistake of giving any credence whatsoever to projections of future climate changes, and attribution of those changes, from output of un-validated climate simulation models.” Harold Doiron, et al. TRCS research team


Number of the Week: 11


Upper-Bound Analysis: Some may argue that that upper-bound analysis by the TRCS (The Right Climate Stuff) research team has been superseded by recent developments in extraction of hydrocarbons, but the TRCS report provides excellent guidance of the maximum warming that may occur over 50 years with no limitations on fossil fuel use. Further, more recent estimates of the sensitivity of the earth’s climate to carbon dioxide indicate that the upper-bound analysis may be far too high, and the expected warming from unlimited fossil fuel use will be far less than what TRCS calculated.

What is vital is that an all-volunteer group, working part time, is able to do the type of analysis needed to rationally approach the global warming issue. This analysis is missing in the findings by the IPCC, the USGCRP, and other groups that have received billions of dollars in public funding. So-called experts in communications claim the problem is in communications – in a way it is. The government approach to the issue is not rational: the critical assumptions are not carefully assessed and independently tested. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Peer Review: Frequently, SEPP receives comments from scientists stating they will not read articles that have not been peer-reviewed, and challenging TWTW for some of its comments. Certainly, at one time, peer-review was important for establishing standards of scientific journals.

However, all too frequently these standards now appear to be more based on the whims of the editors rather than any objective standards. In 2000, when he became editor-in-chief of Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Donald Kennedy brazenly announced the magazine would no longer publish articles questioning or challenging human-caused global warming. This publically institutionalized a bias among some journals of ignoring articles of merit by researchers such as John Christy, Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, and others. Nature and some other journals had similar policies.

When Science published a fawning review of Merchants of Doubt (2010), which contains many personal accusations against four distinguished scientists that are not substantiated, SEPP Chairman S. Fred Singer, the only one of the four alive, submitted a reasoned rebuttal. The editors of Science promptly rejected it, citing lack of space.

Many of the unsubstantiated claims were supposed to be payments from tobacco companies. The closest such payment was a substantial multi-year grant from the Reynolds family to Rockefeller University for medical research, overseen by President Emeritus of Rockefeller University and the late SEPP Chairman Fredrick Seitz, which ultimately resulted in a Nobel Prize for Medicine (Physiology or Medicine).

As illustrated above, peer review is not an indication of high quality research. Nature had no difficulty publishing Mr. Mann’s hockey-stick, which was inconsistent with a great deal of empirical data, relied on a model subsequently shown to be statically biased, and required the unexplained removal of recent data that was inconsistent with the theme, Mann’s Nature trick.

The findings of TRCS research team state another major deficiency in many peer-reviewed science papers. The results of un-validated models are frequently published without any supporting empirical observations. Short-term trends do not necessarily become long-term trends. For these reasons, when linking to such papers, TWTW classifies them under Un-Science or Non-Science? See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Un-Science or Non-Science?


Peer Review – NIPCC: Some of those objecting to the reports of the Nongovernment International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) state that the reports are not peer-reviewed. Those who make such objections have not leafed through the reports. The latest reports; Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science (2013), and Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts (2014); contain thousands of citations of articles in peer-reviewed journals. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC.


COP-21 – Climate Justice: The possibility of a UN Tribunal on “Climate Justice” has been added to the not-yet agreed upon sections in the proposed draft that may be agreed upon in Paris. In Power Line, Steven Hayward writes: “[An International Tribunal of Climate Justice as] [A] [compliance mechanism] is hereby established to address cases of non-compliance of the commitments of developed country. Parties on mitigation, adaptation, [provision of] finance, technology development and transfer [and][,] capacity-building[,] and transparency of action and support, including through the development of an indicative list of consequences, taking into account the cause, type, degree and frequency of non-compliance.” [Any errors in language, grammar, etc. are copied as accurately as possible.]

The in brackets are not-yet agreed upon. This may or may not be a bluff or a ploy. If eliminated, delegates from developed countries may claim they have accomplished a lot, even though they did little. The ploy gives countries that desire development a lever. As Hayward states: “…India is willing to go along with the climate nonsense—if they’re paid $2.5 trillion. Good that they’ll have a court that will compel payment. In ‘non-punitive’” ways of course.”

The problem is that courts can “rationally justify” almost anything. In 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson, the US Supreme Court institutionalized segregation in spite of the 13th and 14th Amendments by finding states may constitutionally enact legislation requiring persons of different races to use “separate but equal” segregated facilities. In 2007, the Supreme Court justified the lawsuit brought by Mass et al. against the EPA for CO2 emissions from automobiles, in part, by finding that sea levels are rising, but ignoring that sea levels have been rising for over 18,000 years, some 17,900 years before automobiles existed.

It is the latter case that gave the EPA the authority to create its finding that greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, endanger human health and welfare (Endangerment Finding). Court powers can be dangerous and should not be agreed to lightly. See links under Expanding the Orthodoxy.


Keystone: As many expected, after 7 years of review, the Obama Administration ruled against the extension of the Keystone pipeline crossing into Canada. Mr. Obama claimed the pipeline is not needed for national security or to bring down petroleum prices. In part, he is right. During the delay of the Administration’s approval petroleum prices peaked and are declining. The decline is thanks to the hydraulic fracturing of shale for oil and natural gas on private and state owned lands, which is not occurring on lands and waters controlled by Washington,. America’s need for imported oil has diminished.

According to August 2015 estimates by the US Energy Information Administration, the US imports, monthly, about 31,166,000 barrels of crude oil and products from Saudi Arabia and 28,987,000 barrels from Venezuela. Imports from non-OPEC Canada dominate, with 121,522,000 barrels. It is the OPEC sources that additional oil from Canada would have replaced. Apparently, Mr. Obama now considers the OPEC sources not to be a threat to national security.

If so, it is time for the government, particularly the Department of Defense, to abandon its expensive programs in bio-fuels and in unreliable electricity from solar and wind.

Interestingly, reports state that since 2010, 12,000 miles of new pipeline has been built in the US, including the other main portion of Keystone from Cushing Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. This accomplishment occurred while the Administration studied the 875-mile sector of Keystone that the Administration just denied. In five years, companies built almost 14 times the miles of pipelines in areas Washington could not control, than the length of pipeline Washington denied.

With the denial of the pipeline, unworkable regulations for hydraulic fracturing on government lands, and the Pebble Mine; the Administration is demonstrating that its economic policy is one of Mercantilism – regulation of the economy for accumulating government power – which grew in 16th century Europe out of feudalism. Adam Smith deplored it.

Others may say the Administration’s economic policy is a form of Fascism, without the military component. Under fascism the facade of private property is maintained but the state actually controls all. As Mussolini said: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” In Europe and the US fascism was popular among those who considered themselves “progressives”, until World War II and its aftermath revealed its dark side. See links under Washington’s Control of Energy, EPA and other Regulators on the March, and http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_move_impcus_a2_nus_ep00_im0_mbbl_m.htm


Number of the Week: 11. COP-21 has been proclaimed as the last chance to save humanity. The web site, Climate Change Predictions.org, has gathered similar pronouncements prior to COP meetings — Bonn, 2001; Montreal, 2005; Bali, 2007; Poznan, 2008; Copenhagen, 2009; Cancun, 2010; Durban, 2011; Doha, 2012; Warsaw, 2013; Lima, 2014; Paris, 2015. Making Paris number 11. Eleven listed international conferences using fossil fuels to fly tens of thousands of people around the world to save the world from the effects of fossil fuels! See link under Below the Bottom Line.



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. The Next Climate Scandal?

House Republicans hunt for evidence that temperature records are politicized.

By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., WSJ, Nov 3, 2015


SUMMARY: Jenkins opens with a summary of the main issues. He writes:

“Lamar Smith, the Texas GOPer who runs the House science and technology committee, has been seeking, voluntarily and then not so voluntarily, emails and other internal communications related to a study released earlier this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study, by adjusting upward temperature readings from certain ocean buoys to match shipboard measurements, eliminated the “pause” in global warming seen in most temperature studies over the past 15 years.

“Let’s just say, without prejudging the case, gut instinct has always indicated that, if there’s a major global warming scandal to be discovered anywhere, it will be found in the temperature record simply because the records are subject to so much opaque statistical manipulation. But even if no scandal is found, it’s past time for politicians and the public to understand the nature of these records and the conditions under which they are manufactured.

“This is where those who confuse science with religion, and scientists with priests, take umbrage. Unfortunately, NOAA has proved itself pliable to the propagandizing urge. Witness its steady stream of press releases pronouncing the latest month or year the “warmest on record.” It always falls to outsiders to point out that these claims often rest on differences many times smaller than NOAA’s own cited margin of error. Case in point: When President Obama declared in January that 2014 was the warmest year on record, it had only a 38% chance of being hotter (by an infinitesimal margin) than other hottest-year candidates 2010, 2005 and 1998.

“It doesn’t help that NOAA’s sleight of hand here seems designed precisely to conceal the alleged “pause.” The inconvenient hiatus in global warming showed up just as temperature measurement became more rigorous and consistent; just as China overtook the U.S. as champion emitter; just as 30% of all greenhouse gases released since the start of the industrial revolution were hitting the atmosphere.”

Jenkins further states: “Researchers will surely be prepared to justify each and every tweak, but it seems all but impossible to bias-proof the choice of which adjustments to make or not make. By the count of researcher Marcia Wyatt in a widely circulated presentation, the U.S. government’s published temperature data for the years 1880 to 2010 has been tinkered with 16 times in the past three years.

“But let us end on an optimistic note. Progress comes from unexpected directions. In a new paper, Australian psychologist Stephan Lewandowsky, Harvard historian Naomi Oreskes and three co-authors chide climate scientists for adopting the term “pause” or “hiatus” in relation to global warming, saying it indicates a psychological susceptibility to the “seepage” of “memes” into their thinking.

“As we are not the first to note, if the Oreskes et al. paper means climate activists are now prepared to acknowledge that climate scientists are subject to social pressures, this is perhaps the first breakthrough in decades.”


2. In Exxon War, Bamboozled by Greenies

Journalists discover (and misrepresent) what the oil giant has been trying to tell them for years.

By Holman Jenkins, Jr, WSJ, Nov 6, 2015


SUMMARY: The Attorney General for New York State is suing Exxon over possible research Exxon did on global warming. According to Jenkins:

“Scurry on board the Exxon prosecution express. Lest they be left behind and called “deniers,” Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, the attorney general of New York and Al Gore this week all demanded criminal investigation of Exxon Mobil as a result of recent media “exposés.”

“Technically, the reporters wallow in the equivocation fallacy. Uncertainty about whether X=2 is not the same as uncertainty about whether 2+2=4. Acknowledging and even studying man’s impact on the climate, as Exxon has done and continues to do, is not tantamount to endorsing a green policy agenda of highly questionable value.

“And that’s the real problem. Read closely and the accusation isn’t really that Exxon misled the public by emphasizing the uncertainties of climate science, which are real. It’s that Exxon refused to sign up for a vision of climate doom that would justify large and immediate costs to reduce fossil fuel use.

“But wait, hasn’t this experiment been run? In the early 2000s, BP CEO John Browne began sounding a climate alarm. Ron Oxburgh, the chairman of Shell, gave a speech warning of planetary doom. In 2007, Alcoa, GE, Duke Energy, Ford, DuPont and others endorsed a U.S. cap-and-trade bill. Yet all this failed to move the ball in two successive congresses because Senate Democrats (the second time joined by President Obama) didn’t want to be blamed for jacking up gasoline prices.

“The same experiment has also been run globally. Out of 196 countries, 196 have concluded that there is no way, with current technology, to take a big enough whack out of carbon-dioxide emissions at a cost their societies would be prepared to bear.

“Maybe the tobacco analogy is apt after all. Recall that the result of government lawsuits wasn’t to ban tobacco use but to make government (and organized crime) the main beneficiary of tobacco revenues.

“Especially sad is the decision by Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund to sign a group letter calling for a criminal inquiry, though he mealy-mouthed his participation by saying ‘We don’t have all the facts. We’re not prejudging what happened.’

“At least until this week, Mr. Krupp was an outlier, devoting himself to the coalition-building that is indispensable for real policy progress (and Exxon for the past six years has been a public supporter of a carbon tax). But Mr. Krupp’s fellow climate campaigners clearly have other priorities.”


3. Third World America

The Keystone beating shows political risk is a major U.S. problem.

Editorial, WSJ, Nov 3, 2015


SUMMARY: The editorial expresses views on the Administrations’ handling of the Keystone XL pipeline prior to the Administration denying it as discussed in the This Week section (above):

“One difference between the developed and developing worlds is honest, transparent government that treats investors fairly. By that standard, the Obama Administration’s handling of the Keystone XL pipeline shows the U.S. is sliding closer to Third World politics than Americans would like to admit.

“This triumph of politics is part of a pattern for a White House that has stretched its bureaucratic power to delay, undermine or scuttle investments in mining and energy production, especially fossil fuels. Other examples include Alaska’s Pebble Mine project, Shell’s drilling in the Arctic and liquid natural gas terminals, among others.

“This is the capricious rule enforcement that companies expect in Argentina or Cameroon. But then the U.S. is no longer capitalism’s leading light. In the World Bank’s latest Doing Business survey, the U.S. ranks seventh overall. But it is 33rd in the ease of obtaining construction permits, just behind St. Kitts and Nevis but ahead of Belarus. The U.S. is 49th in ease of starting a business and 53rd in paying taxes.”


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