Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #293

By Ken Haapala, President,Science and Environmental Policy Project

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

Hypothesis Testing: Following up on work by the late Bob Carter, retired Australian chemist Ian Flanigan tests the hypothesis that the observed warming since the onset of industrialization is entirely natural against the alternative that it is due to anthropogenic carbon-dioxide emissions. Note, that due to differences in training, there are differences in terminology used between the Australians and Americans, but not in procedure. The testing of hypotheses is critical if one is to assert, as the leaders of NASA-GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) asserted: CO2 is the control knob of the earth’s temperatures.

Using widely accepted temperature data from the central Greenland ice cap and atmospheric CO2 data from the EPICA Dome C ice core in Antarctic, Flanigan shows that there is little relationship between CO2 concentrations and air temperatures over the last 11,000 years.

“From these data we cannot ascribe any cause to the current warming event, nor is it necessary to do so. We simply observe that the data are seen to be consistent with the null hypothesis that the modern warming is due to natural causes, and inconsistent with the alternative hypothesis that this warming is due to carbon dioxide. We do not need to understand the details of the operation of the climate system, which so occupies the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

There is no logical reason, physically demonstrated, that shows that the relationship between CO2 and temperatures suddenly changed in the last 150 years. Decades of experiments in several laboratories demonstrated that the relationship between CO2 and atmospheric temperatures is weak and logarithmic. Any influence of CO2 may be hidden by natural variation.

Flanigan addresses possible criticism that the data above are limited to ice cores by referencing comprehensive evidence offered by Ian Plimer in “Heaven and Earth, Global Warming: The Missing Science.”

Further, there is no logical reason that a new relationship may suddenly appear, that has not appeared in the past. For example, the 1979 report by the Climate Research Board, “Charney Report,” published by the National Academy of Sciences, contained the speculation that the modest warming from CO2 would be greatly amplified by an increased warming from water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas. The report offered no data supporting the speculation, nor are any reported. The net effect, if it exists, is likely weak as well.

Now, we have government entities such as the IPCC and the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and government sponsored researchers promoting other ideas as substitutes for the lack of clear CO2 caused warming. These ideas include sudden sea level rise, coral bleaching, famine, etc. As Flanigan discusses:

“Although there is endless reporting and commentary about the danger of global warming, there is no mention of the data supporting the anthropogenic global-warming hypothesis because no such data exist. Discussion always diverts to such matters as modelling, sea-level changes, weather events, reef bleaching, melting ice caps or any of a myriad other phenomena in which changes have been observed.

“If you study nature you will always observe change, but these changes must be seen in their proper context. All of these changing phenomena may (or may not) be signs of warming. But signs of warming are precisely what one would expect to see at the peak of a warming cycle and they tell us absolutely nothing about the cause of the warming. To test the hypothesis that it is carbon dioxide that is causing the warming we must turn to carbon dioxide and temperature data: and they show that whatever the cause of the warming is, it is not carbon dioxide, whose warming effect, such as it is, is clearly outweighed by natural factors.

“Any attempt to imply that rises in sea level, for example, are a sign that carbon-dioxide emissions are the cause of global warming is bogus science (there are other reasons why sea levels might rise). It is effectively saying that the hypothesis that carbon dioxide is causing global warming is being supported by another hypothesis: that sea-level rises are due to global warming, which is due to carbon dioxide. Or that the bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef is due to the warming of the oceans, which is due to global warming, which is due to carbon dioxide.

“You cannot support a hypothesis with another hypothesis or even a series of hypotheses. That is bogus science. The test of the global-warming hypothesis can only be made against the carbon-dioxide and temperature data.” [Boldface added.]

Further, he writes: “Those who claim that carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming need to produce data that force the rejection of the null hypothesis: that the warming is due to natural causes. This has not been done and, in the absence of those data, the global-warming hypothesis must be regarded as nothing but a theory based on a premise that is known to be false.” See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

Quote of the Week. “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day.”—Albert Einstein

Number of the Week: Reducing Zero to Zero 

A Bit of History: Australian Bernie Lewin, who has carefully tracked the founding and financing of the IPCC, authored a new book, which complements the essay by Ian Flanigan, “Searching for the Catastrophe Signal: The Origins of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

According to government reports, the US government has spent over $40 billion on Climate Science, including helping finance the IPCC, and over $100 billion on “fighting climate change,” yet it has failed to find hard evidence that CO2 is causing dangerous global warming. Lewin’s new book may help explain why.

On his web site, ‘Enthusiasm, Scepticism and Science,’ Lewin has thought provoking essays on the origins and impacts of global warming alarmism including the icon of the alarmists, “the distinct human fingerprint,” and the icon of the skeptics, a graph in the first IPCC report, the source of which was not known. Also, Lewin discusses how the alarmists tried to capture the work of H.H. Lamb, largely successfully, and how the entry of economists increased the “costs” by focusing on the “economic and social dimensions” of global warming / climate change. This joined the sustainability concepts that are now popular.

In an essay posted on WUWT, Lewin discusses the sentence: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” This sentence, along with the removal of skeptical passages, prompted the late Frederick Seitz, who was Chairman of SEPP, to call the IPCC process a “disturbing corruption of the peer-review process” and misleading to the public.

Lewin’s essay suggests that the involvement of the US in the misleading process was significantly broader than just Ben Santer, who added the sentence after the peer-review. It implies that there was an orchestrated campaign to alter the scientific findings. If so, it will be valuable to discover how government entities misled the public, in hopes of preventing similar occurrences in the future. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – The IPCC History.


Personal Attacks: In 2011, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway came out with “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.” The book attacks Fredrick Seitz and S. Fred Singer, then the SEPP president, as well as two other distinguished scientists. At the time, only Singer was alive. Well received by some, the book has flaws similar to those in the claims for carbon dioxide-caused global warming, as discussed by Flanigan, above – lots of accusations, but little physical evidence.

Writing in WUWT, Russell Cook examines some of the background to this book. See link under Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.


Mann, Again? Last week’s TWTW linked to an essay by Roger Pielke, Jr., suggesting that the litigation between Mark Jacobson and Christopher Clack on the capability of the world to obtain all its energy from 100% renewables does not serve the interests of science. Pielke mentioned Mr. Mann’s litigation against a fellow scientist and several journalists as an example of deviance from norms as articulated by sociologist Robert Merton.

This week, one of Mr. Mann’s attorneys had a letter in the Wall Street Journal objecting to Pielke’s observations and claiming: “Mr. Mann’s lawsuit doesn’t squelch scientific debate as his case isn’t about science but rather the latest installment in a smear campaign to destroy his reputation through verifiably false and malicious assertions of fact about his professional conduct.”

In the comments section following the letter, Ken Haapala posted:

“A Washington newspaper published an interview with Mr. Mann, who claimed that the distinguished scientist who is Chairman of the organization of which I am president, received money from Monsanto (chemical), Philip Morris (tobacco) and Texaco (petroleum). No evidence was presented, nor is there any evidence. Unfortunately, the costs of litigation are so extreme, that we cannot afford to litigate against Mr. Mann to stop such accusations. It would be an enormous waste of resources.” See Article # 2.


Antarctic Melting: Another study was published on temperature reconstructions of the Antarctic going to year 0 CE. Only the Antarctic Peninsula showed any unusual warming in recent years, above natural variation. Of course, the authors included a comment:

“However, projected warming of the Antarctic continent during the 21st century may soon see significant and unusual warming develop across other parts of the Antarctic continent.”

No evidence, just speculation is required. Steve McIntyre remarks on the failure to publish complete records of temperature reconstructions of Antarctica:

“It astonishes me that there is no technical journal article on Law Dome d18O data either for the Holocene or for the past 2000 years. Van Ommen planned to publish the data according to my earliest correspondence with him (2004). It’s disquieting that longer Holocene data for such an important site remains unpublished.” [d18-O is the changes in the isotope of oxygen with an atomic weight of 18. The ratios of 16-O and 18-O are used to reconstruct temperatures. See links under Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice


Tesla Battery: Tesla has announced that it has completed its well-publicized battery in South Australia, which may lessen future black-outs from over reliance on wind and solar. The writers at Energy Matters are not impressed, and estimated what is needed for a grid-scale storage for the wind and solar generation in the UK. One of the writers, Euan Mearns states:

“In order to deliver 4.6 GW uniform and firm RE supply throughout the year, from 26 GW of installed capacity, requires 1.8 TWh of storage. We show that this is both thermodynamically and economically implausible to implement with current technology.” See links under Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind.


Pause Delayed? Steve McIntyre examines the current controversy whether the 2016-17 El Niño interrupted 1998 to 2015 “pause in global warming.” He compares the surface datasets with the latest climate models used by the IPCC. His conclusion is most interesting:

“What does this all mean? Are models consistent with observations or not? Up to the recent very large El Nino, it seemed that even climate scientists were on the verge of conceding that models were running too hot, but the El Nino has given them a reprieve. After the very large 1998 El Nino, there was about 15 years of apparent “pause”. Will there be a similar pattern after the very large 2017 El Nino?

“When one looks closely at the patterns as patterns, rather than to prove an argument, there are interesting inconsistencies between models and observations that do not necessarily show that the models are WRONG!!!, but neither are they very satisfying in proving that that the models are RIGHT!!!!

· “According to models, tropospheric trends should be greater than surface trends. This is true over ocean, but not over land. Does this indicate that the surface series over land may have baked in non-climatic factors, as commonly argued by “skeptics”, such that the increase, while real, is exaggerated?

· “According to models, marine air temperature trends should be greater than SST trends, but the opposite is the case. Does this indicate that SST series may have baked in some non-climatic factors, such that the increase, while real, is exaggerated?

“From a policy perspective, I’m not convinced that any of these issues – though much beloved by climate warriors and climate skeptics – matter much to policy. Whenever I hear that 2016 (or 2017) is the warmest year EVER, I can’t help but recall that human civilization is flourishing as never before. So we’ve taken these “blows” and not only survived, but prospered. Even the occasional weather disaster has not changed this trajectory.” [Boldface added]


Number of the Week: Reducing Zero to Zero. When COP-23 ended, 20 countries announced they will phase out coal power by 2030. For some countries, such as Costa Rica, it is not much of a sacrifice, they generate zero power with coal. Jo Nova gives a breakdown for some of the countries. The ceremonial host country, Fiji, has 51% hydro, 47% diesel.



1. Trump vs. the Deep Regulatory State

The tempestuous president is overseeing a principled, far-reaching reform of agencies that had exceeded their constitutional writ.

By Christopher DeMuth, WSJ, Nov 17, 2017


The fellow at the Hudson Institute and former president of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

“Federal regulation has been growing mightily since the early 1970s, powered by statutes that delegate Congress’s lawmaking authority to mission-driven executive agencies. Beginning in 2008, the executive state achieved autonomy. The Bush administration during the financial crisis, and the Obama administration in normal times, decreed major policies on their own, without congressional authorization and sometimes even in defiance of statutory law.

“President Trump might have been expected to continue the trend. As a candidate, he had railed against imperious Washington and promised to clear regulatory impediments to energy development and job creation. Yet he also was an avid protectionist, sounded sometimes like an antitrust populist, and had little to say about regulatory programs like those of the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. He was contemptuous of Congress and admiring of President Obama’s unilateral methods. Clearly, this was to be a results-oriented, personality-centered presidency.

“The record so far has been radically different. With some exceptions (such as business as usual on ethanol), and putting aside a few heavy-handed tweets (such as raising the idea of revoking broadcast licenses from purveyors of “fake news”), President Trump has proved to be a full-spectrum deregulator. His administration has been punctilious about the institutional prerogatives of Congress and the courts. Today there is a serious prospect of restoring the constitutional status quo ante and reversing what seemed to be an inexorable regulatory expansion. Consider three leading indicators.

“First, Mr. Trump has appointed regulatory chiefs who are exceptionally well-qualified and are determined reformers. Deregulation succeeds only when political officials are earnestly committed to the broad public missions of their agencies—and equally committed to ferreting out bureaucratic excesses, ideological detours and interest-group machinations.” [supporting paragraph omitted]

“Second, the Trump administration is turning back from unilateral lawmaking. Mr. Obama made several aggressive excursions into this dangerous territory. He issued orders shielding certain classes of illegal aliens from deportation, spent billions without a congressional appropriation to subsidize insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges, and imposed the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Each was a substantive policy that Congress had considered and declined to enact. Each was justified by legal arguments that administration officials conceded to be novel and that many impartial experts (including those who favored the policies on the merits) regarded as risible. Each ran into strong resistance from the courts.” [supporting paragraphs omitted.

“A third indicator is the introduction of regulatory budgeting, which sounds tedious but is potentially revolutionary. The idea goes back to the late 1970s, when the new health, safety and environmental agencies were first issuing rules that required private businesses and individuals to spend tens of millions of dollars or more. It seemed anomalous that this should be free of the disciplines of taxing, appropriating and budgeting that applied to direct expenditures. Jimmy Carter’s commerce secretary, Juanita Kreps, proposed a regulatory budget as a good-government measure; Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D., Texas) introduced legislation; and several academics (myself included) worked out the theory and practicalities in congressional reports and journal articles.

The idea never went anywhere. One problem was the inherent sponginess of regulatory cost estimates, which seemed inconsistent with the clear dollar metrics that drive spending budgets. Another was the herculean task of tracking the aggregate cost of the stock and flow of agency rules. When Ronald Reagan came into office, he instead imposed a cost-benefit test on individual rules, enforced by OMB. All subsequent administrations essentially continued that approach.”

The author then argues regulatory budgeting may be feasible today.


2. Science, the Courts and the Public’s Interest

Were Robert Merton alive today he would reject Mr. Pielke’s claim that science is stronger when scientists must turn the other cheek to attacks on their character.

Letters, WSJ, Nov 23, 2017


After introducing the issue, Mr. Mann’s attorney asserts:

“Mr. Mann’s lawsuit doesn’t squelch scientific debate as his case isn’t about science but rather the latest installment in a smear campaign to destroy his reputation through verifiably false and malicious assertions of fact about his professional conduct. The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed Mr. Mann’s right to proceed holding that “defamatory statements that are personal attacks on an individual’s honesty and integrity . . . if false, do not enjoy constitutional protection and may be actionable.” Nor do Merton’s scientific norms prevent scientists, like all free people, from defending their good name through the courts if necessary. Mr. Pielke’s invitation to muzzle scientists confronting ad hominem fallacies under the guise of “scientific debate” would strike a grievous blow at the institution of science by chilling free inquiry and thought, the bedrock of a vibrant scientific community. This notion is as true today as it was in 1937 Nazi Germany, which Merton wrote about in his “Science and the Social Order.” Were Merton alive today he would reject Mr. Pielke’s claim that science is stronger when scientists must turn the other cheek to attacks on their character.”

Peter J. Fontaine

In the comments section following the letter, Ken Haapala posted:

“A Washington newspaper published an interview with Mr. Mann, who claimed that the distinguished scientist who is Chairman of the organization of which I am president, received money from Monsanto (chemical), Philip Morris (tobacco) and Texaco (petroleum). No evidence was presented, nor is there any evidence. Unfortunately, the costs of litigation are so extreme, that we cannot afford to litigate against Mr. Mann to stop such accusations. It would be an enormous waste of resources.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s