The Week That Was: March 26, 2016 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Lack of Evidence: For the past several weeks, TWTW has addressed the evidence supporting EPA’s finding that human greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), endanger human health and welfare (EPA Endangerment Finding). We found little or no physical evidence supporting the finding. Without this finding the EPA has no legal basis for regulating CO2, and the administration has no logical basis for its energy plan of eliminating coal-fired power plants through CO2 regulations. These regulations are based on a controversial 2007 Supreme Court decision stating that CO2 is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act, even though it is not a defined category pollutant. According to the decision, before regulating, the EPA must find greenhouse gases (particularly CO2) endanger public health.
The five assessment reports (ARs) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produce some excellent science, but also misleading assertions. The so-called “hot spot”, mistakenly called the distinct human fingerprint in IPCC’s second assessment report of Working Group I (AR-2 1995), has not been found to exist. There is no discernible increase in atmospheric warming trends over the tropics centered at about 33,000 feet. (Note: it is the warming trends over time, increasing with altitude, that are important. A lapse rate, the decline in actual temperatures with increasing altitude would still be observed, but the rate should decline over time.) In fact, the AR-2 synthesis report, which followed the Working Group I report, makes no mention of the hot spot in the section titled: “The Balance of Evidence Suggests a Discernible Human Influence on Global Climate.” (p. 22).
The strongest statement in the section is:
“More convincing recent evidence for the attribution of a human effect on climate is emerging from pattern-based studies, in which the modelled climate response to combined forcing by greenhouse gases and anthropogenic sulphate aerosols is compared with observed geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of atmospheric temperature change. These studies show that such pattern correspondences increase with time, as one would expect, as an anthropogenic signal increases in strength. Furthermore, the probability is very low that these correspondences could occur by chance as a result of natural internal variability only. The vertical patterns of change are also inconsistent with those expected for solar and volcanic forcing.”
What we have seen is that if the “pattern-based studies” refers to the “hot-spot”, then the “anthropogenic signal” has not increased in strength with time as the UN report claimed it would. Why the EPA would insist on its existence in its 2009 Endangerment Finding is known only to the EPA. As demonstrated in the Appendix I of the petition of some scientists opposing the Administration’s power plan the “hot spot” cannot be found, thus the “hot spot” does not substantiate the EPA’s finding and the Administration’s rules against CO2 emissions. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and
Quote of the Week: As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. – Albert Einstein
Number of the Week: 51% (41 times that of 2000)
Un-Validated Models: Similarly, the EPA argues that the Endangerment Finding is justified by our general knowledge of climate science and by the climate models predicting (projecting) dire consequences about 100 years hence. As the world refuses to warm as predicted by the models, our lack of knowledge about climate change is being exposed by nature. Natural variation is far more important than the IPCC, or the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) state. Again, this incorrect emphasis on knowledge that does not exist about human influence on climate over natural influences is key to the EPA Endangerment Finding, the Administration’s energy plan, and the US involvement in the Paris Accord to curtail CO2 emissions, committed to by the Administration without Congressional approval. These issues are partially addressed in Appendices II and III of the above referenced petition. Currently, global warming advocates are claiming the current warming in global temperatures as a result of the El Niño demonstrates the validity of their views, which it does not. El Niño is a weather event, not a climate event.
The IPCC has never validated the climate models it uses to project dire climate consequences from use of fossil fuels. As discussed in the March 19 TWTW, even the core study in 1979, the Charney Report to the National Research Council of the US National Academy of Sciences, used general circulation models to verify other models – a procedure that is not empirical verification; but, rather, more complex speculation. Since 1979 we have ample observations of global atmospheric temperatures from satellites independently verified by observations using different equipment from weather balloons. The globe’s atmosphere is not warming as predicted/projected by the Charney Report and by the five UN IPCC reports that followed.
These observations provide a classic example of the need to empirically verify the speculation of scientists, no matter how brilliant they are. Those who state they only look at surface temperatures, because that’s where people live, are engaged in deliberate ignorance.
Writing in The Rebel, Tim Ball has an overview of the paucity (scarceness) of surface climate data and the total lack of atmospheric climate data required by the models. The atmospheric data from satellites involve large volumes of the atmosphere, not small mathematically defined grids used in the models. The difference between the model’s precision and the data demonstrates that all too frequently mathematically techniques greatly exceed observational capabilities. Without observational support, the techniques become interesting, and often brilliant, speculation. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Changing Weather.
Status of Legal Proceedings: The Brief of Amici Curiae Scientists in Support of Petitioners (including states) opposing the Administration’s power plan has been accepted by the US Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit, the court of relevant jurisdiction. With the Supreme Court “stay” on implementing the administration’s power plan, the proceedings are on an accelerated schedule. The Oral Arguments are scheduled for June 2, 2016, with a decision possible as early as September. No doubt, the losing party will appeal for a hearing by the full court. Additional petitions will be due 90 days after the court’s decision. Most likely this case will be heard by the Supreme Court, possibly in 2017. The petition by E&E Legal that the EPA did not comply with its peer review procedures (as found by the EPA inspector general) was denied for technical reasons. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Litigation Issues.
Racketeering: The March 19 TWTW carried an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, criticizing the position of certain politicians, including Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, demanding investigation by the Department of Justice of those who do not agree with the government’s position on climate change under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The Justice Department referred the matter to the FBI. The Journal published a letter from Mr. Whitehouse stating he requested a civil investigation, not a criminal one, which he claims the Justice Department bungled. According to his official bio, Mr Whitehouse was a United States Attorney for the District of Rhode Island from 1993 to 1998 and the Attorney General of Rhode Island from 1999 to 2003. Rhode Island is noted for racketeering. Apparently, Mr. Whitehouse believes if a student hears that professor X is under Federal investigation for racketeering, the immediate response will be “Is it civil or criminal?”
Also writing in the Wall Street Journal, two practitioners of appellate and constitutional litigation, who defended the Competitive Enterprise Institute against legal proceedings instituted by Mr. Michael Mann, draw parallels between these RICO activities and the inquisitors of Galileo Galilei in 1633, with Mr. Whitehouse “assuming the mantle of Grand Inquisitor.” Calling the current efforts “Climate Inquisition” they state:
“Intimidation is the point of these efforts. Individual scientists, think tanks and private businesses are no match for the vast powers that government officials determined to stifle dissent are able to wield. An onslaught of investigations—with the risk of lawsuits, prosecution and punishment—is more than most can afford to bear. As a practical reality, defending First Amendment rights in these circumstances requires the resources to take on the government and win—no matter the cost or how long it takes.
“It also requires taking on the Climate Inquisition directly. Spurious government investigations, driven by the desire to suppress a particular viewpoint, constitute illegal retaliation against protected speech and, as such, can be checked by the courts, with money damages potentially available against the federal and state perpetrators. If anyone is going to be intimidated, it should be officials who are willing to abuse their powers to target speech with which they disagree.”
See Articles # 1 and # 2 at the bottom of TWTW.
Another Poll? American Meteorological Society (AMS) has produced the initial finding of another survey of its members. The participation rate was 53.3%. It was conducted by George Mason University with Edward Maibach of the RICO 20 the lead author (academics calling for racketeering investigations of those who doubt their conclusions about dangerous human-caused global warming). The funding of the survey came from the National Science Foundation (NSF). As Judith Curry states, had she received the survey her first reaction would have been not to respond. How many others would react the same, when the leader of a survey is calling for racketeering investigation of those who disagree with conclusions that are not supported by empirical evidence?
Among the questions are: “Regardless of the cause, do you think climate change is happening? [Only for millions of years.] How sure are you that climate change is happening?” [The northern US is no longer covered with ice], etc. Which if any of the following reasons contributed to your becoming more convinced (or less convinced). Answers include peer-reviewed climate science, personal observation, scientific community seems more certain, etc.
Not one of the questions presented in the initial findings ask the key question. What is the most compelling physical evidence that humans are the primary cause of climate change? A secondary question would be why have the global climate models generally failed in predicting atmospheric climate change? See links under: Communicating Better to the Public – Do a Poll?
James Hansen’s Sea Level Rise: James Hansen, with others, has produced another study of the threat of sea level rise from human caused global warming, which is not occurring as he predicted in 1988. The abstract states: “We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response.” [Boldface added.]
There is no logical way disprove this assertion for many years to come and he knows it because he has repeated it for several years. Conversely, there is no logical way to presently disprove the assertion: “We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as logarithmic than by a more linear response.” One could make this argument from sea level rise over the past 1000 years, or so.
Several proponents of human-caused global warming have criticized Mr. Hansen’s claims. According to an article: ““When asked about critics during Monday’s press conference, Hansen said that skepticism is a normal part of the scientific process.” The reporter concluded: “So it seems that the irreversible effects of climate change remain what he’s most concerned about.” See links under Changing Seas.
CO2 Levels: Much is made about the current level of CO2. Headlines claim that CO2 is increasing faster than any time since the so-called Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) – a period of warm temperature for about 200,000 years. It seems that during PETM ocean temperatures rose rapidly and reached 5 deg C warmer than today and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 1000 ppm (it’s about 400 ppm today).
What is omitted in such reports are periods of sudden warming over the past 20,000 years that cannot be explained by increasing CO2 – the Dansgaard–Oeschger (D-O) events – discussed in the March 19 TWTW. A NOAA web site states D-O events are periods of abrupt warming (5 to 7 deg. C) followed by more gradual cooling. If one were concerned about current climate change, then explaining these events would be more appropriate than explaining events that occurred tens of millions of years ago, when the geophysical features of earth were significantly different than it is today. See links under Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Number of the Week: 51% (41 times that of 2000). According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), noted for independent statistics & analysis, in 2015 51% of oil production in the US came from hydraulically fractured wells. “In 2000, approximately 23,000 hydraulically fractured wells produced 102,000 barrels per day (b/d) of oil in the United States, making up less than 2% of the national total. By 2015, the number of hydraulically fractured wells grew to an estimated 300,000, and production from those wells had grown to more than 4.3 million b/d, making up about 50% [51%] of the total oil output of the United States.”
In 2015, the daily production from hydraulically fractured wells was about 41 times that of 2000. There appears to be no limit in the foreseeable future in production of oil from privately owned and state owned lands. Of course, none of this occurring on Federally controlled lands and waters. But don’t tell the Department of Energy, which is seeking to make the country more dependent on unreliable wind power, or the Department of Defense, which seeks “energy security” from wind, solar, and biofuels. See links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?