Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #295

By Ken Haapala, President, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

UN – Protection of Four Freedoms: On December 10, 1948, the three-year old-UN adopted its Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among others, Eleanor Roosevelt lobbied heavily for this declaration, invoking what was called the Four Freedoms. On January 6, 1941, President Roosevelt articulated these concepts in his State of the Union address. At the time, the US was formally neutral about the war occurring in Europe and in Asia, though Roosevelt was trying to convince the reluctant Congress and public to join the side of Great Britain.

When the US entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the four freedoms became generally accepted by the western allies. They are:

· Freedom of speech

· Freedom of worship

· Freedom from want

· Freedom from fear

Freedom from want is usually associated with adequate food for the public. These concepts are articulated in the second paragraph of the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” [Boldface added].

Sometimes, it appears that over the past 69 years the UN has lost its way and now is more concerned with promoting phantom fears of carbon dioxide, a gas essential for life as we generally recognize it, rather than protecting the freedoms embodied in its creation. See http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

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Quote of the Week. “The true standard of impartiality is that he should conceal no fact which, in his own mind, tells against his views.” – Lord Charnwood, biography of President Lincoln [H/t Rupert Darwall]

Number of the Week: 108th out of 140

UN – Promotion of Four Fears: The Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis Report, of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5, 2013 & 2014) for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes contains many assertions regarding the climate system that may develop in the future from the continued used of fossil fuels. The major assertions are based on numerical models that have not been rigorously tested. These assertions were amplified by the Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), Volume I, (CSSR) released by the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) in November. The CSSR was discussed in the November 11 TWTW.

The UN IPCC report and the USGCRP report make similar claims (predictions?) of a dire future from continued use of carbon-based fuels, include increases in heat related mortality, extreme events, heat, precipitation, declining food availability (security), as found on page 13 of the UN report. However, there is little solid evidence supporting these claims, and they are largely based on numerical models that have never been verified and validated, thus are speculation. In general, the claims can be grouped into four phantom fears:

· Fear of Dire Temperature Increase

· Fear of Sudden Sea Level Rise

· Fear of Ocean Acidification (change in chemistry)

· Fear of Famine

Now, it appears that a principal purpose of the UN is not to protect freedoms, including the freedom from fear, but to promote fears. In promotion of fear, the UN is ably assisted by many US government agencies, including the 13 which make up the USGCRP and comprise part of the climate establishment. These government agencies are: The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health & Human Services, Interior, State and Transportation, plus EPA, NSA, NSF, the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.

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Fear of Dire Temperature Increase: There is no question that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas, the atmospheric concentration of which is increasing with the burning of fossil fuels. Without greenhouse gases, the primary one being water vapor, the earth would be uninhabitable. Further, humanity evolved in the tropics of Africa during a period of climate change. The major issues are how sensitive are earth’s temperatures to CO2 and at what point does warming become harmful to humanity, in general.

The June 17 TWTW discussed detailed analysis by Geologist Euan Mearns who examined the temperatures, carbon dioxide, and methane (CH4, another greenhouse gas) found in the Vostok Ice Core from Antarctica. Mears focused on the Post-Eemian period after the last warm interglacial period and found that for over 14,000 years as temperatures fell and the earth entered a major ice age, CH4 concentrations fell, but CO2 concentrations remained high. It is important not to over-generalize from such a finding, but it is one indicator that the earth’s temperatures are not as sensitive to CO2 as the IPCC and the USGCRP have assumed.

As discussed in last week’s TWTW, John Christy and Richard McNider of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) estimated the maximum effect increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) may have on atmospheric temperatures – an upper bound of climate sensitivity to increasing CO2 – by using established statistical techniques to eliminate two natural influences on atmospheric temperatures – volcanoes and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). They did not eliminate other natural influences such as changing solar energy hitting the globe. Based on the entire atmospheric temperature record to June 2017, they found that the earth’s atmospheric temperatures are far less sensitive to greenhouse gases than assumed by the IPCC and the USGCRP. The Greenhouse Gas effect occurs in the atmosphere.

It appears that the fear of dire temperature increase from increasing CO2 is not substantiated. See links in the cited TWTW’s

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Fear of Sudden Sea Level Rise: Featured in the Third Assessment Report (AR-3, 2001) of the IPCC, Mr. Michael Mann introduced the world to the climate hockey stick: He placed temperature data gathered by instruments at the end of the time line for temperature data derived from proxy data. Along with other issues, Mr. Mann did not properly calibrate data sets derived from two different means. It appears that failure to properly calibrate different datasets occurs with sea level data as well.

Both the IPCC and the USGCRP reports show a sharp increase in the rate of sea level rise. The USGCRP has a major problem of a sharp increase in sea level rise starting in 1993, the date of the first sea level estimates from satellites. It failed to properly calibrate that data with long-term data from coastal tidal gages.

Earlier tidal gage data, from 1870 to 2000, shows a calculated mean sea level rise of 1.54 mm per year or 6 inches per century. The later satellite data, from 1993 to 2016, shows a calculated mean sea level rise of 3 mm per year, or 11.8 inches per century. There is no logical reason to assume the rate of increase should suddenly double. Claims that there has been significant ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica from carbon dioxide-caused warming are highly suspect. That warming is not being observed in the atmosphere, particularly over Antarctica.

The satellite data may be more sensitive than tidal gage data to changing wind patterns or absorption of total solar energy. The latter will be discussed in a future TWTW. Since two of the three coordinating lead authors of the USGCRP report are from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory and NASA Headquarters, perhaps a plotting together of these two remarkably different rates of sea level rise can be called the NOAA-NASA Hockey Stick. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy, https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/sea-level/, and https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/sod/lsa/SeaLevelRise/

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Fear of Ocean Acidification (Change in Chemistry): Increasing atmospheric CO2 may cause small changes in the chemistry of the oceans, by lowering the alkalinity of the oceans, making them closer to neutral (neutral is a pH of 7, alkaline above 7). The most abundant dissolved ions in sea water are, in descending order, sodium, chloride, magnesium, sulfate, and calcium. Sodium, magnesium and calcium are alkali metals or alkaline earth metals. They raise the pH.

Supposedly, an increase in CO2 will prevent certain animals and algae from forming protective shells. Yet, the history of the earth provides ample evidence that this assertion is false. US geologists divide the Carboniferous Period, during which extensive coal beds were formed world-wide, into an early part called the Mississippian Period (360 to 320 million years ago) and the later part called the Pennsylvanian (roughly 320 to 286 million years ago). The Mississippian Period is characterized by thick marine limestones deposited by plants and shell forming animal life. Yet, during this period, carbon dioxide concentrations were 4 or more times greater than today.

Further, the reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and CO2 science show that the fear of ocean acidification is based on speculation and shoddy laboratory experiments that do not allow life to adjust to changes as it would in nature. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC, Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science, and http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

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Fear of Famine: Possibly the worst fear being generated by the UN and the USGCRP is fear of famine. The IPCC states: “For wheat, rice and maize in tropical and temperate regions, climate change without adaptation is projected to negatively impact production for local temperature increases of 2°C or more above late 20th century levels,” Yields are speculated to decline. (p. 15). These fears are repeated by the USGCRP, which includes the Defense Department and the Department of Agriculture.

Perhaps the leaders of these entities are unaware the plants require CO2 for photosynthesis, that satellite photographs show a greening earth, that NIPCC and CO2 Science have documented thousands of studies showing plant life does better in an environment richer in CO2, and that plant nurseries add CO2 to the atmosphere of their greenhouses. There is little justification for this fear.

Recent headlines show farming communities world-wide are experiencing difficulties from too much crop production:

· “Low Food Prices Are Hurting Farm-State Economies”

“Iowa and South Dakota’s economies shrink as farmers add to a global food glut” (WSJ, Dec 6, 2017)

· “Global Oversupply of Grains Puts a Squeeze on Giant Processors” (WSJ, Nov 2, 2017)

The second article discusses five years of bumper crops in North America, Eurasia, and Brazil. This includes the period when alarmists were proclaiming the hottest year ever. Further, Brazil is a tropical country, far hotter than temperate regions where the IPCC claims temperature increase will adversely affect food production. It is sad that the UN, the IPCC and some US government agencies have shifted from protecting freedoms to promoting phantom fears. See Article # 1, links under Challenging the Orthodoxy– NIPCC, and Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science

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Beginning of the Scare: On his web site, Bernie Lewin is tracing the beginning of the UN involvement in promoting fear of climate change. As he reports, it began in the 1970s, when a few geologists began promoting a major cooling. Not many were involved, and they were right that the dominate climate for over 2.5 million years has been long cold periods.

At the time there were fears of population explosion, bad weather, droughts, floods, food security, and resource depletion. Some of the promoters of these used state-of-the-art numerical models to give a scientific image to their findings. Often, the assumptions in the models were poorly tested, or pure speculation.

Interestingly, Lewin finds that the State Department under the Nixon administration was involved in encouraging the UN to participate. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy

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APS Workshop in 2014: Rupert Darwall’s essay on the 2014 workshop by the American Physical Society is receiving increased attention. To simplify matters for TWTW readers who may wish to read the essay, the participants for the side promoting IPCC’s CO-2 caused global warming were: William Collins, an IPCC Lead Author and climate modeler, Benjamin Santer of “distinct human fingerprint” fame, and Isaac Hal of NOAA. The participants for the opposing side were Richard Lindzen, John Christy, and Judith Curry (all frequently cited in TWTW). Steven Koonin was the moderator.

The main issues were: West Antarctic Meltdown (the underlying geothermal warming was not well understood at the time; Enhanced greenhouse effect; IPCC use of climate models; Is the consensus wrong?; Climate science – can it be falsified; John Christy’s congressional testimony (greatly expanded since); Politicized science v. red/blue team appraisals; and Need for informed consent by the public. See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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Number of the Week: 108th out of 140. The International Atomic Energy Agency had an article on Costa Rica and “Climate-Smart Agriculture.” The article brought up the “Happy Planet Index”, a composite index designed by the New Economics Foundation of: a) wellbeing “How satisfied the residents of each country feel with life overall” (based on a Gallup poll) multiplied by b) Life expectancy multiplied by c) inequalities of outcomes. (“the inequalities between people within a country in terms of how long they live, and how happy they feel, based on the distribution in each country’s life expectancy and wellbeing data”) and then divided by d) Ecological Footprint (“the average impact that each resident of a country places on the environment, based on data prepared by the Global Footprint Network.”)

According to the article and the index, Costa Rica with a score of 44.7 is number 1; Mexico with a score of 40.7 is number 2; Bangladesh with a score of 38.4 is number 8; Venezuela with a score of 33.6 is 29; and the US with a score of 20.7 is number 108. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.

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ARTICLES:

1. Low Food Prices Are Hurting Farm-State Economies

Iowa and South Dakota’s economies shrink as farmers add to a global food glut

By Sharon Nunn and Benjamin Parkin, WSJ, Dec 6, 2017

https://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2017/12/06/low-food-prices-are-hurting-farm-state-economies/

(SUMMARY) The reporters write:

“Farmers are producing too much food, holding down prices and holding back economies in states with big agricultural industries.

 

“South Dakota and Iowa are the only two states in the country where gross domestic product fell in the second quarter. Ultra-low crop and livestock prices stemming from a global oversupply have squeezed farm incomes, pulling down Iowa’s GDP 0.7% and South Dakota’s 0.3% from the prior quarter.

 

“Elsewhere, low farm prices dented growth in 23 other states but not enough to tip them into decline, the Commerce Department said in a recent report. Overall, U.S. GDP advanced 2.8% nationwide during the same period. (These GDP figures exclude federal military and civilian activity located overseas, making the U.S. tally slightly lower than the more widely reported 3.1% growth rate for the second quarter.)”

Graphs showing the volatility of grain prices in the states compared with the US are given.

“Despite low prices, farmers in the U.S. and globally keep producing, suggesting that agriculture will continue to weigh on economies across the Great Plains and other states that are disproportionately dependent on farming and ranching for growth.

Iowa and South Dakota’s GDP have dropped four out of the six previous quarters. Overall, GDP across the seven states of the Great Plains also dropped four out of the six previous quarters.”

Due to the highly competitive market, incomes for independent farmers are expected to remain low soon. For example:

“Crop farmers in the Midwest and Great Plains recently harvested another bumper corn and soybean crop, while increasingly competitive producers in countries like Russia erode U.S. wheat farmers’ share of the global export market. Hog and cattle farmers, meanwhile, have taken advantage of cheap feed costs to expand their herds, exacerbating a buildup of red meat.”

The article concludes with a comment from a central Iowa farmer:

“’It’s wonderful we have this network, but we can’t reasonably expect all of us to act as one body…to address these larger economic issues,’ Mr. Lehman said. ‘We want to grow on every acre we have. We want to produce.’”

CONTINUE READING –>

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