The Week That Was: April 23, 2016 – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Three Groups: MIT Professor Emeritus of Meteorology Richard Lindzen is featured in a very clear four-minute video explaining the ongoing conflicts regarding the human influence on global warming, (now called climate change), primarily from emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). He divides the participants into three groups: 1) knowable scientists who largely agree with the findings of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its 5 assessment reports (ARs); 2) knowable scientists who largely disagree with the findings of the IPCC that burning of fossil fuels may cause dangerous global warming, and 3) politicians, environmentalists, and the media. [It should be noted that a number of scientists in group 2 participated in earlier IPCC reports, including Mr. Lindzen, and departed from it. Some stated that the IPCC has become too politicized.]
Lindzen notes that the two groups of scientists who disagree on the effects of burning of fossil fuels largely agree on a surprising number of points.
· The climate is always changing.
· CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming.
· Atmospheric levels of CO2 have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century.
· Over the past two centuries, the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or one degree Celsius.
· Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made.
Some may find the last point surprising. But, the IPCC fourth assessment report (AR-4, 2007) stated that: “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Here we see a major problem between what the groups 1 & 2 scientists have articulated and what members of group 3, the politicians, environmentalists, and the media, have claimed. Unfortunately, the clamor created by group 3 has virtually drowned out the clear agreement between groups 1 & 2, and the sharp distinctions between them. According to Lindzen, group 3 have their own reasons –money, power, and ideology – to promote a catastrophic scenario. The impact of group 3 is making pure scientific research into the actual influence of carbon dioxide on the climate very difficult.
Adding to the difficulty is the participation of scientists who are not knowledgeable on the climate science issues and business interests hoping to benefit from the fear of global warming, mostly from subsidies or direct payments for “green” energy technologies, which governments continue to lavishly provide. Lindzen does not give this subset of group 3 a name, or label. He does state that they have joined the bandwagon of group 3 and are publishing papers blaming global warming for everything from acne to the Syrian civil war.
If we term the scientific debates as the climate wars, the latter group can be termed as climate war profiteers, or climate profiteers. These include scientists who contribute little or nothing to the scientific issues, frequently incorrectly stating the issues, and who hope to advance their careers by making a fuss out of little. Examples include those who attack climate skeptics for irrelevant reasons, such as being allegedly paid by tobacco interests, and those who manufacture a non-existing consensus, or use inferior polls to declare a consensus or an agreement where one does not exist. Of course, politicians and state attorneys general who are calling for investigation of private individuals and groups skeptical of dangerous human-caused global warming fall into this group of climate profiteers.
Lindzen’s short video greatly clarifies the myriad of motivations of those advocating political policies in the name of “climate science” and make anyone reading an article that states “scientists say” very skeptical. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC.
Quote of the Week: Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false. – Bertrand Russell-Unpopular Essays
Number of the Week: $315 Billion
National Security: A disturbing trend in the Department of Defense is its alternative energy programs under the claim that these are needed for national security. As explained under Number of the Week in the April 16 TWTW, less than 13% of the petroleum products (crude oil, gasoline, etc.) consumed in the US in 2015 came from outside of North America (US., Canada and Mexico). This shift in oil production, with no thanks to the administration, which limits production on Federally controlled lands and waters, renders the need for alternative energy programs in the name of national security obsolete, including the US Navy’s “Green Fleet.” [How bio-fuels can be ramped up to meet sudden military needs still remains to be a mystery.]
In striking testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works on April 13, 2016, US Army retired Major General Robert H. Scales stated what he thought about global warming/climate change as a threat to national security:
“The common spark for all wars is jealousy and greed [,] amplified by centuries-long animosities and political ambitions. The catalyst for war is the ignorance of leaders that leads them to misjudge. Humans start wars believing they will be profitable, short, glorious and bloodless. These truths never change. None are affected in the least by air temperature.
“But the myth of climate change as an inducement to war continues to curry favor among Washington elites. One source for connecting war to temperature comes from the political closeness between environmentalists and the antiwar movement. Their logic goes like this: ‘Global warming is bad. Wars are bad. Therefore, they must be connected.’ Remember, prior to the 1991 Gulf War, environmentalists warned of a decade of global cooling that would come from burning Kuwaiti oil fields…
“In its zeal to follow orders the military might deflect resources away from fighting the war against global terrorism to fight a contrived war against global warming. Every dollar spent on initiatives that don’t apply directly to fighting the enemy and keeping our soldiers and Marines safe on the battlefield is a dollar needlessly wasted. Again, no soldier should die in battle for the sake of political correctness. [Boldface added]
“Our men and women in uniform are smart and perceptive. They can spot phoniness in a heartbeat. Think of a soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq returning from a dangerous and exhausting mission being obliged to listen to a senior defense official lecture them on the revelation that fighting climate change is their most important mission.
“These men and women see the realities of battle all around them. The military threat of rising temperatures is not one of them.”
The Pentagon’s emphasis of global warming/climate change is becoming too similar to its previous claim that the US can win in Southeast Asia purely by committing enough manpower, without a strategic plan. See Article # 1.
Need for Fossil Fuels: At the same hearing as General Scales, Alex Epstein, the author of the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, testified:
“Nature doesn’t give us a stable, safe climate that we make dangerous. It gives us an ever-changing, dangerous climate that we need to make safe. And the driver behind sturdy buildings, affordable heating and air-conditioning, drought relief, and everything else that keeps us safe from climate is cheap, plentiful, reliable energy, overwhelmingly from fossil fuels.”
A moral energy policy is one that liberates all the energy technologies, including fossil fuels,
nuclear, and large-scale hydro, and lets them compete to the utmost to provide the most
affordable, reliable energy for the most people.
Epstein’s testimony also stated: “The United States should learn from the failed German experiment; instead, our President is doubling down on it many times over. And, just as ominously, he is leading global initiatives that call for even the poorest countries to be forced to use unreliables instead of reliables.
“This, in a world where 3 billion people have almost no access to energy and over one billion people have no electricity.”
[The last sentence is confusing. The source states: “An estimated 1.2 billion people – 17% of the global population – did not have access to electricity in 2013, 84 million fewer than in the previous year…In 2013, more than 2.7 billion people – 38% of the world’s population – are estimated to have relied on the traditional use of solid biomass for cooking, typically using inefficient stoves in poorly ventilated spaces.”] See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/resources/energydevelopment/energyaccessdatabase/
Letter to Secretary of State Kerry: As described in the March 19 TWTW, the US State Department diverted $500,000,000, largely marked for economic development, to the UNFCCC Green Climate Fund established in the Paris Agreement, without Congressional approval.
On March 17, 2016 the “State of Palestine” became a full member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). On April 18, 2016, 28 Senators signed a letter to Secretary of State Kerry stating:
“In 1994, Congress passed and the President signed into law a prohibition on the distribution of U.S. taxpayer funds to ‘any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have internationally recognized attributes of statehood.’
The letter argues further:
“The U.S. government does not recognize the ‘State of Palestine,’ which is not a sovereign state and does not possess the ‘internationally recognized attributes of statehood.’
“Therefore, the UNFCCC, as an affiliated organization of the UN, granted full membership to the Palestinians, an organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood. As a result, current law prohibits distribution of U.S. taxpayer funds to the UNFCCC and its related entities.”
This demand may severely impact on the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement, and the $500,000,000 diverted to the Green Climate Fund. The newspaper reports thus far reviewed do not mention the $500,000,000. We shall see how the State Department honors the law stated in the letter. See links under: After Paris.
International Mother Earth Day: UN declared the formal signing by some countries to the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016 as International Mother Earth Day. Perhaps in celebration of, the Majority Staff of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works released a white paper, “Lessons From Kyoto: Why The Paris Agreement Will Fail National Economies and the Climate.” See links under After Paris
RIP William Gray: By Christopher Essex; Professor; Department of Applied Mathematics; The University of Western Ontario; London, Canada N6A 5B7
As George Orwell famously wrote, “Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”
It is the job of research scientists to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy—no point to the job otherwise, is there. Thus scientists can and do quite naturally find themselves outside of fashion and the fair treatment that it affords, including any potential largesse of government research funding. If you are really pushing the envelope, you will probably be on your own and funding things out of your pocket or the pocket of a trusted patron. It has always been this way. It is human nature.
Bill Gray pushed the science fashion envelope fearlessly. It closed in on him, but he would have none of it. I admired his extraordinary persistent, unflinching courage. It is no small thing to stand your ground publicly again and again in a harsh spotlight aimed by unsympathetic ignorant fools. I overheard CSU people even talking about him behind his back like he was a crazy uncle. It made my blood boil. But if I had any questions about all things hurricane he was my go to person. He earned my confidence every single time. The man deserved a medal.
I loved talking to him. You always knew which way was up with him, and the deep comprehension arising from a combination of intelligence and extraordinary hands-on experience exuded from him. I learned a lot from Bill. Without him and people like him the scientific world would stagnate and be a very dull place.
If you conclude that Bill was wronged, you would be right. But do not be too sad about it, or complain too much. Bill knew what he was doing and the consequences that would accrue. It goes with the territory, and there are no simple fixes to flaws in human nature. There is the choice that we all must face at times: do good or do well. Bill did good. If more of us would make that choice, we would not be in the mess we are in.
Rest in peace, Bill.
Additions and Corrections: Last week, TWTW discussed the four freedoms articulated by President Roosevelt: freedom of speech, worship, from want, and from fear. Reader Craig McCulskey took exception to the statement that the first two are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. He stated that the freedom of religion is in the First Amendment; but, freedom of religion may be different from freedom of worship. “There is a vast difference in freedom of worship (being able to talk about religious things in one’s church or other house of worship) and freedom of religion, which is the free expression of one’s faith in the public square and, in particular, in relation to the way we are governed”
We thank all those who make additions and corrections to TWTW.
SEPP’S APRIL FOOLS AWARD
SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:
· The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
· The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
· The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
· The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
The four past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, and Ernest Moniz are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on June 1. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness on July 9.
Number of the Week: $315 Billion. According to calculations by Bloomberg the foreign exchange reserves of major oil exporting nations have fallen by $315 billion since oil prices started slumping in November 2014. Almost one-half of the decline in reserves came in Saudi Arabia. This is an illustration of the effect of increased US petroleum production from horizontal drilling and hydraulic multi-port fracturing of dense shale, which is denounced by many US politicians and the Administration.
Berning the Clinton Establishment
Hillary entered the race hoping to revive the Clinton era. Now she has betrayed it.
By Kimberley Strassel, WSJ, Apr 21, 2016
SUMMARY: The author writes about the difference between Bill and Hillary Clinton in their views about energy and fossil fuels: “Bill’s was the party that increased permits for oil and gas drilling by more than 50%—even as it hailed the Kyoto Protocol. Hillary’s is the party that now opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, opposes offshore drilling, and even opposes one of the country’s greatest economic engines—fracking. ‘By the time we get through all of my conditions,’ she promised in March, ‘I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.’ Climate isn’t simply the left’s new religion, but core unfinished business for the White House, and Mrs. Clinton would make it a hallmark of her presidency.”
Climate Crowd Ignores a Scientific Fraud
A defective radiation-risk standard holds back our most important low-carbon energy source.
By Holman Jenkins, WSJ, Apr 15, 2016
SUMMARY: The author writes: “Green activists, some masquerading as attorneys general of New York and California, want to prosecute Exxon as a climate heretic. Its sin? Saying impeccably true things about climate science: The range of uncertainty is high. Climate models are not the climate, and show themselves to be unreliable guides to future warming. There is a cost-benefit test that policy must pass, and it doesn’t.
“The AG case is a spinoff of “investigative” journalism by the Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News, which we now learn was directly underwritten by climate activists at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund.
“‘It’s about helping the larger public understand the urgencies of finding climate solutions. It’s not really about Exxon,’ explained a Rockefeller official about a January meeting to coordinate the legal and journalistic attack.
“The journalists involved in this travesty, we’re sorry to say, are of the dumber sort—confused about what science is. But their clottedness comes at a poignant moment.
“Honest greens have always said nuclear power is indispensable for achieving big carbon reduction. James Hansen, the former NASA scientist who has been chaining himself to fences since the first Bush administration, was in Illinois last week lobbying against closure of a nuclear plant…
“Nuclear (unlike solar) is one low-carbon energy technology that has zero chance without strong government support, yet is left out of renewables mandates. It’s the one non-carbon energy source that has actually been shrinking, losing ground to coal and natural gas.
“What keeps nuclear costs high? Why do so many opponents misread the Fukushima meltdown, where 18,000 deaths were due to the earthquake and tsunami, none to radiation exposure, and none are expected from radiation exposure? Why has the U.S. experience of spiraling nuclear construction costs not been matched in South Korea, where normal learning has reduced the cost of construction?
“The answer increasingly appears to be a real scientific fraud. In a series of peer-reviewed articles, toxicologist Edward Calabrese of the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows how a cabal of radiation geneticists in the 1940s doctored their results, and even a Nobel Prize acceptance speech, to exaggerate the health risk from low-level radiation exposure. At the time, Hermann Muller, their leader, was militating against above-ground atomic-bomb testing. “I think he got his beliefs and his science confused, and he couldn’t admit that the science was unresolved,” Mr. Calabrese told a UMass publication.
“Data developed to show high-dose effect on fruit flies, Muller claimed, showed a proportional low-dose effect. Thus was born LNT—the “linear no-threshold” model of radiation risk that has become the world’s go-to standard for nuclear safety, source of repeated (and unfulfilled) forecasts of thousands of cancer deaths from Chernobyl or Fukushima. LNT is why nuclear plants shoulder artificially huge costs not to protect against accidents, but to protect against trivial emissions. Coal-plants, which don’t have to meet U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules, actually put out thorium and uranium far in excess of what nuclear plants are allowed to emit.
“We detailed some of the health evidence in a December piece about efforts to wake up the NRC. The New York Times wrote a similar piece last September looking at Japan’s foolish evacuation of thousands of Fukushima residents against a nonexistent radiation threat.
“Dr. Carol Marcus, of the UCLA medical school, and two other nuclear-medicine specialists last year petitioned the NRC to re-evaluate its standards. Now the Environmental Protection Agency and several green groups have filed defenses of LNT, which since the 1950s has been adopted not only as Washington’s unscientific model of radiation risk, but as the EPA’s unscientific model of chemical risk. It shouldn’t be overlooked that, for these green groups and the EPA, nuclear is also anathema because it competes with solar and wind.
“OK, science seldom fares well in high-stakes political controversies, but it’s bizarre to watch green campaigners attack anybody who questions their thinly based climate predictions, then attack anybody who questions the thinly based science that keeps down our best carbon-free energy choice.
“An environmental reporter with an ounce of independence would actually be doing his or her green friends a favor. Pushing the greenies to confront their nuclear contradictions is probably the best possible way right now of making progress on the climate conundrum.”