Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #268

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Recap of John Christy’s Testimony: Described in the April 1 TWTW, the March 29 written testimony of John Christy provides further physical evidence refuting the hypothesis encompassed in the 1979 Chaney Report that the modest warming, demonstrated by laboratory experiments, from a doubling of CO2 will be greatly amplified by processes in the atmosphere, namely by an increase in the flow of latent energy from the surface to the atmosphere.

The theory of latent heat is well tested. It is the absorption or release of energy through phase change of a substance. For example, liquid water at the surface is converted to a gas, water vapor, it absorbs heat, without necessarily increasing temperature. The heat absorbed changes the bonding energy among the molecules, resulting in the change of phase from liquid to gas. In the Charney hypothesis, the gas rises into the atmosphere until it condenses back to liquid water, releasing the energy as heat. The process will significantly amplify the warming caused by CO2. In the global climate models, based on the Charney hypothesis, the release of latent energy is centered over the tropics at about 10 km (33,000 feet), 250 to 200 mb of pressure. This is the so-called “hot-spot.”

Using the Canadian Climate Model as an example, Christy gives a pictorial representation of the “hot-spot.” He outlines the area from the surface to 50,000 feet (15km), making it clear where the pronounced atmospheric warming should occur, according to the modelers and the prevalent hypothesis. By keeping his analysis below 50,000 feet, Christy avoids any confusion of the principal issue with stratospheric cooling, for which there is no generally accepted explanation.

Christy shows that, in general, global climate models (CMIP5), from 32 institutions, greatly overestimate the tropospheric warming trends (50,000 feet or below). The number of simulations each institution contributes varies from one to eighteen. For the empirical data, Christy uses 3 different satellite datasets, 4 balloon datasets, and the average of 3 reanalysis datasets. The different types of datasets closely correspond, contrasting the average of the models which greatly overestimate the observations by 2.5 to 3 times.

Clearly, the global climate models fail this basic test and the hypothesis of a significant amplification of the effect of CO2 as encompassed in the Charney Report fails. Following the procedures of the scientific method, they must be rejected until substantially revised.

Christy reveals that in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5, 2013) the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provided information that supports his conclusions. In the Supplementary Material of Chapter 10, the report (Figure SM 10.1) showed that the tropical trends of climate models with greenhouse gases added failed to match actual trends while climate models without greenhouse gases added agreed with actual trends. Christy simplified the material for his testimony (Figure 5). In short, the reasoning that the IPCC offered elsewhere as proof of the strong influence of greenhouse gases was proof of their weak influence. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Quote of the Week. For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled. – Richard Feynman


Number of the Week: 0.6% and 1.9%


Revised Paper by Wallace, Christy, and D’Aleo: In his testimony, Christy discusses the simple statistical model used in the August paper by Wallace, Christy, and D’Aleo. At the time of Christy’s testimony, the paper was undergoing revision and made stronger. The paper has been reviewed by several experts in relevant sciences and statistics.

One of the major issues regarding the global climate models is their complexity. They involve multiple complex climate processes that have not been adequately solved. Weather models also involve such processes, but can be used to predict over short periods of time — a matter of days. Much of the improvement in numerical weather prediction is from improvement in measuring initial conditions. For meaningful climate predictions, initial conditions should be irrelevant. But, if the current climate models are to be meaningful, thorough understanding of the climate processes is necessary.

The widely accepted Kiehl – Trenberth Annual Global Mean Energy Budget Model (TWTW March 11 & 18) gives an example of the annual global energy flows that must be known with a high degree of precision before meaningful predictions can be made from global climate models. Although research has been on-going for over 35 years, adequate measurements of these energy flows may take decades more.

The beauty of the simplified approach used by Wallace, Christy, and D’Aleo (WCD) is that bulk atmospheric and surface measurements are used. Thus, detailed knowledge and measurement of the processes involved are not necessary. The statistical techniques employed are widely used in economics and other types of studies. Certainly, economics is not considered a precise science. But, at this point, climate science is not precise.

The central issue remains – will a significant increase in CO2 result in dangerously higher surface temperatures. The EPA’s finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare (endangerment finding) assert that it will. But as seen above, both the hypothesis and models the EPA relies on fail basic testing.

The WCD approach addresses changes in global average temperatures, both atmospheric and surface, using four explanatory variables: 1) changes in CO2; 2) changes in solar activity; 3) changes in volcanic activity; and 4) changes in the coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) as indicated in NOAA’s Multivariate ENSO Index.

Change in first variable (CO2) is considered human-caused, anthropogenic. The others are natural and unpredictable, chaotic. (Some solar experts may disagree that changes in the sun are unpredictable.). The key issue is whether the three natural variables adequately explain changes in temperatures, without needing the influence of CO2.

Fourteen different temperature datasets are analyzed, including balloon and surface data from 1959 to 2015 and satellite data from 1979 to 2015.

As Christy stated in his March written testimony:

The fact that this statistical model explains 75-90 percent of the real annual temperature variability, depending on dataset, using these influences (ENSO, volcanoes, solar) is an indication the statistical model is useful. In addition, the trends produced from this statistical model are not statistically different from the actual data (i.e. passing the “scientific-method” trend test which assumes the natural factors are not influenced by increasing GHGs). This result promotes the conclusion that this approach achieves greater scientific (and policy) utility than results from elaborate climate models which on average fail to reproduce the real world’s global average bulk temperature trend since 1979.


It is important to note that the WCD report brings up two econometric issues that may result in overestimates of the influence of human-released CO2 on surface temperatures: 1) multicollinearity and 2) simultaneity.

Multicollinearity results from influences other than those directly considered. For example, over the time-period considered, on an annual scale, CO2 is rising roughly linearly. On a similar scale, certain other activities may have roughly linear trends causing increasing temperatures, which are incorrectly attributed to CO2. One such human activity is urbanization.

Simultaneity would occur when an increase in temperatures from natural causes results in an outgassing of CO2 from the oceans, which may be falsely attributed to humans. CO2 outgassing can be seen in the ice cores from Antarctica with an increase in CO2 following a general warming. There are statistical ways to address such issues.

Christy’s comment concerning the IPCC models is appropriate:

The over-warming of the atmosphere by the IPCC models relates to a problem the IPCC AR5 encountered elsewhere. In trying to determine the climate sensitivity, which is how sensitive the global temperature is relative to increases in GHGs, the IPCC authors chose not to give a best estimate. [A high climate sensitivity is a foundational component of the last Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon.] The reason? … climate models were showing about twice the sensitivity to GHGs than calculations based on real, empirical data. I would encourage this committee, and our government in general, to consider empirical data, not climate model output, when dealing with environmental regulations.

See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.


Shots Fired: Over the weekend of April 22-23, the office next to John Christy’s on the UAH campus was fired upon. According to accounts, the police collected seven 5.8 x 23 mm cartridge casings. The cartridge is a high-velocity round for handguns especially designed for NATO. The bullet is about the same diameter as higher velocity cartridge used in the M-16 rifle. Our concern goes to John Christy and his family, and the occupants of the offices next to John’s. We hope this was not the work of a fanatic deranged by the fear of global warming. See links under Suppressing Scientific Inquiry.


Paris No, Endangerment Finding Yes? Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorialized that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is correct in not addressing the petitions to reconsider the endangerment finding. This week the newspaper urged the Trump administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The argument is that the international agreement will limit the growth potential of the US economy.

Apparently, the newspaper does not recognize that the endangerment finding may place as severe restrictions on economic growth as the Paris Agreement. Environmental groups will use it in their campaign against natural gas drilling and gas-fired power plants. They will continue the myth that carbon dioxide is a pollutant if the endangerment finding stands. See Article # 1 and links under After Paris! Change in US Administrations, and Environmental Industry


Costs of Solar and Wind: Last week’s TWTW contained an estimate by Euan Mearns of Energy Matters that, with subsidies included, renewables cost about three times as much as conventional power in Europe. Donn Dears gives a clear explanation of costs all too frequently not considered by those who try to make direct comparisons. Operating costs are especially important because they must be borne by the utilities and consumers, but are often ignored. See links under Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind


Which Climate Must Be Preserved? The Peoples Climate March ended without particularly significant participation. Roy Spencer inquired which climate? The morning forecast for Washington was a high of 20 degrees above normal, the forecast for Denver, another hotbed of protest, was a high of 30 degrees below normal and snow. See link under Changing Weather


Number of the Week: 0.6% and 1.9% According to the EIA, solar accounted for about 0.6% of total US energy consumption in 2015, and wind for about 1.9%. All forms of renewables accounted for about 10% of energy consumption. What is confusing is that many people think solar and wind are the major forms of renewable energy. But, EIA classifications show that of the 10% total classified as renewable, hydroelectric is 25%, biofuels 49% (wood 21%, biofuels 22%, biomass waste 2%) and geothermal is 2%. Many of those who write articles about renewable energy sources do not understand that biomass and hydroelectric comprise 74% of the total. See links under Energy Issues – US and https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_home.


Springtime Out of Paris

Staying in Obama’s climate accord risks Trump’s energy plans.

Editorial, WSJ, Apr 26, 2017



President Trump and his advisers are debating whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords, and the issue is coming to a head. If he doesn’t want to topple his own economic agenda, Mr. Trump’s wisest course is to walk away from a pact that President Obama never put before the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Trump wants to revive growth and lift wages (see above), and a large part of that project is a bet on liberating U.S. energy production, notably natural gas and oil. Toward this end Mr. Trump issued an executive order in late March asking the Environmental Protection Agency to unwind Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The Obama team finalized CPP in late 2015, and the rule was immediately challenged in court by 28 states. Notable among the Obama Administration’s legal defenses is that CPP is essential to fulfill the U.S. commitments to reduce carbon emissions under Paris. By the end the White House cited Paris as the legal justification for all its climate policies.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is moving to repeal CPP and other Obama climate rules. Environmental groups will inevitably sue. If the U.S. remains in Paris, Mr. Pruitt will have to explain to the many Obama appointees on the federal bench that gutting CPP is a reasonable exercise of administrative power in light of the Administration’s continued fealty to Paris carbon reductions. This is the sort of logical inconsistency that a creative judge might seize on to justify blocking Mr. Trump’s EPA rules. By staying in Paris Mr. Trump may hand opponents a sword to kill his agenda.

The left is also pointing to Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, which gives EPA a mandate to regulate emissions that “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare in a foreign country.” The catch is that EPA can only act if there is regulatory “reciprocity” among the nations involved. Such as the Paris accords.

Mr. Obama knew he was setting these carbon political traps as he rushed to commit the U.S. to Paris. His bet was that even a future GOP President would be reluctant to endure the international criticism that would follow withdrawal. And sure enough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn are making precisely this argument for staying in Paris.

Then again, Candidate Trump promised to withdraw, and he can’t possibly be vilified for Paris more than he already has for everything else. His advisers have presented a way to short-circuit the supposed four-year process for withdrawing, which involves U.S. resignation from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This isn’t a question of science or diplomacy. For Mr. Trump, the question is whether he wants to put his economic agenda at the mercy of anticarbon warriors and federal judges.



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