Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #205

The Week That Was: November 14, 2015  – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Un-Validated Models: The November 7 TWTW emphasized the findings of The Right Climate Stuff research team. The projections of un-validated climate models should not be used for establishing government policy. This is particularly true when long-range policy, enshrined by international agreements, is based on long-range projections by un-validated climate models. As Roy Spencer has calculated, of the 90 CMIP5 Climate Models tested, over 95% overestimate global average temperature trends from 1979 to 2013 – 97.8% overestimate lower troposphere warming as calculated by UAH (University of Alabama, Huntsville) and 95.6% overestimate surface warming based on HadCRUT4 (Hadley Center – Climatic Research Unit Temperature calculations). One can speculate that the overestimates motivated Tom Karl of NOAA to modify the existing surface-records, thereby eliminating the pause or hiatus in warming. It appears that NOAA is not able to manipulate satellite and weather balloon records as readily.

The CMIP5 models are considered state-of-the-art by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5, 2013). In the politically negotiated Summary for Policymakers the IPCC declared that most of the recent global warming/climate change is caused by humans. The projections from the models and the IPCC’s questionable finding provide the justification for an international agreement to drastically reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scheduled between November 30 and December 11. If there is little or no warming, why have an international agreement to reduce CO2 emissions that will be economically destructive?

The November 7 TWTW produced responses from a few engineers stating how they validate models upon which their professional lives depend. These responses will be summarized in an upcoming TWTW. Reader Jim Ring reminded TWTW of Chapter 14 (Advancing Our Understanding), Section 14.2.2. of the Scientific Section of Third IPCC Assessment Report, (2001) titled “Predictability in a Chaotic System”, which opens with:

“The climate system is particularly challenging since it is known that components in the system are inherently chaotic; there are feedbacks that could potentially switch sign, and there are central processes that affect the system in a complicated, non-linear manner. These complex, chaotic, non-linear dynamics are an inherent aspect of the climate system.”

And section concludes with

“In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles. The generation of such model ensembles will require the dedication of greatly increased computer resources and the application of new methods of model diagnosis. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive, but such statistical information is essential.”

“The ensemble of model solutions” appears to be the mean, but calling the products “solutions” is a misnomer. If the mean of the ensemble is considered a solution, the solution is greatly overestimated. Further, there has been little or no published effort to mathematically establish a probability distribution of the projections. The assignment of probabilities in the Summary for Policymakers is nothing more than speculation. In short, some national leaders are willing to commit their nations to an agreement based on sophisticated speculation. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Quote of the Week:It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject permits and not to seek an exactness where only an approximation of the truth is possible.” – Aristotle


Number of the Week: II, 2, 2


On to Paris: The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and The Heartland Institute are combining to have a program at COP-21 on December 7. SEPP Chairman Fred Singer will be giving a brief talk on real, not computer simulated, climate change threats – the high probability of a future ice age. Singer will suggest that expert economists confirm that a modestly warmer climate benefits both health and human prosperity. A colder climate generally spells more sickness and poses danger to agricultural yields — with consequent famines and mass starvation. These calamities can be overcome – through adequate and timely preparation for energy supplies, water, and crop lands. Appropriate links will be in a future TWTW.


Benefits of Fossil Fuels: As those promoting COP-21’s rush to limit the use of fossil fuels, TWTW was reminded of a short paper by Indur Goklany: Humanity Unbound: How Fossil Fuels Saved Humanity from Nature and Nature from Humanity. The 2012 paper summarizes some of his findings in the more comprehensive book: The Improving State of the World: Why We’re Living Longer, Healthier, More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet (2007). In the paper, Goklany presents several graphs the shape of which can be called true hockey-sticks, but not including temperature increases. One graph charts global progress from 1 A.D. to 2009 A.D., showing the enormous growth in world population, gross domestic product per capita, life expectancy, and CO2 emissions over the period, particularly in the 20th century.

Correlation is not causation; however, the use of fossil fuels has contributed enormously to the wealth and well-being of the developed world. Those who seek to limit the use of fossil fuels based on speculative climate models need to address which of the other variables they wish to limit – population, life expectancy, wealth? Perhaps such graphs explain why so many in developing countries are objecting to CO2 limits being imposed by developed, Western nations. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


G20 Subsidies: The Group of Twenty (G20) is meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on November 15, and 16. According to the web site, the G20 “is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making. Its membership comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. Each G20 president invites several guest countries each year.”

“The G20 started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held, and the group played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis. Its decisive and coordinated actions boosted consumer and business confidence and supported the first stages of economic recovery. G20 leaders have met nine times since 2008… The G20 introduced trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus packages worldwide…Over the past six years, the G20 has framed the world’s efforts to restore growth and build the resilience of financial institutions and national economies. It led the world out of an economic crisis and through the initial stages of the recovery. With the world now free from immediate economic crisis, the G20 can increasingly shift its attention to driving practical actions that will lead to sustained global growth.” [Boldface added.]


“The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union… In 2015 Turkey welcomes Spain as a permanent invitee; Malaysia as the 2015 Chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN); Zimbabwe, as 2015 Chair of the African Union; Senegal representing New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); Azerbaijan; and Singapore.”

No doubt, with that amount of money, the G20 becomes a target for those groups that desire financial subsidies. Just in time, a group in the UK, called the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), produced a study claiming enormous subsidies by the G20 to oil, gas, and coal production.

We have seen imaginative accounting by groups demanding subsidies, such as wind power groups in the US. For example, one such group claimed that world-wide subsidies to fossil fuels show that wind power should be subsidized in the US. If gasoline costs 5 cents a gallon in Venezuela or 50 cents a gallon in Saudi Arabia, there is no logical reason why the US tax payer should subsidize wind power in the US. But the claim is made none-the-less. The choice of one country to subsidize a certain group of consumers should not obligate other countries to subsidize other groups.

In its report, ODI took such imaginative accounting to new levels. It included the production costs incurred by government-owned companies into the general accounting, termed as subsidies. If it costs a state-owned oil company $100 million to explore and develop an oil field, then this is classified as a subsidy to fossil fuels. Perhaps, next we will see any profits from such a venture classified as return on subsidy rather than return on investment. In an era when governments term real subsidies as investments, this is not surprising. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up and https://g20.org/about-g20/


MIT and Climate Action: The President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has issued a plan for action on global warming/climate change. The Executive Summary repeats the 2°C chant:

“Overwhelming evidence shows that the Earth is warmer than it was in the pre-industrial age and that most present-day climate change is associated with human activity—the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). Primary energy use worldwide is projected to increase 60% by 2050. This will drive further warming, which could lead to unplanned migrations, competition for food and water, and societal conflict. A warming of about 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels marks a threshold after which the resulting damage to societies and natural systems becomes increasingly grave. Protecting against this risk is known as “the 2°C challenge.” To avoid the 2°C threshold in the long term, human-driven emissions must decrease greatly by 2050 and must eventually reach zero. The world needs an aggressive but pragmatic transition plan to achieve a zero-carbon global energy system.”

But in the plan there is a ray of hope:

“We believe that divestment—a dramatic public disengagement—is incompatible with the strategy of engagement with industry to solve problems that is at the heart of today’s plan. Combatting climate change will require intense collaboration across the research community, industry and government. Divestment would interfere with our ability to collaborate and to convene opposing groups to drive progress, at what may be a historic tipping point. For readers interested solely in our decision on divestment, you will find a fuller explanation in Section IV, on page 15.”

The plan cites the famed 1979 report by Jules Charney on the possible increase in temperatures from a doubling of CO2, but fails to note that after over 35 years of study and billions of dollars spent on climate science, the estimate has not changed significantly. See links under Expanding the Orthodoxy.


Divestment: A movement demanding institutions to eliminate investments in fossil fuels is a fad among colleges and universities. It appears to be well-financed. The group called the National Association of Scholars published a report questioning the purpose of this entire movement and its effects. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Questioning Assumptions: Last week, TWTW featured a report by the Right Climate Stuff research team that included an upper-bound analysis. The analysis indicated that even if nothing is done to limit fossil fuel use, little significant warming will occur during the next 50 years. This is based on the assumption that a doubling of CO2 will result in a warming of 1.2°C, with no feedbacks. Members of SEPP have reviewed a paper by Kyoji Kimoto of Japan, which questions the basic 1.2°C with no feedbacks. According to the paper, slight changes in what is called the “fixed lapse rate”, may undermine the 1.2°C increase with a doubling of CO2 and the entire climate sensitivity issue as presented by the IPCC and its followers.

Unfortunately, the paper is in need of judicious editing and is difficult to follow. We mention it in TWTW because the long-established assumption is more of a hypothesis in need of rigorous testing than a fact that has been well-established. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Number of the Week: II, 2, 2 – From the Constitution of the United States: Article II, Section 2, paragraph 2. (Executive) “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;…” [note – this is more specific than “ by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate which applies with appointment of ambassadors, minsters and consuls, judges of the supreme court, etc.

Some of those involved in COP-21 are suggesting that any agreement reached will be binding onto the United States without consent of two-thirds of the Senate. If this becomes the game the Administration plays, perhaps long-term employment of lawyers specialized in Constitutional Law may be the Administration’s lasting legacy.


ARTICLES: The Articles section is now at the bottom of TWTW.


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