Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #313

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

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

Where’s the Theory? Last week’s TWTW discussed the report by the National Association of Scholars presenting the causes, consequences, and recommendations for reforms in the failure to be able to reproduce studies in the medical profession. The report touched on climate science and other fields, but strongly focused on medical studies. Errors creating the inability to reproduce studies can occur in numerous areas including: 1) logic; 2) methodology (procedures used); 3) improper data; and 4) extraneous data (leading to biases).

The primary focus of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its parent organization, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is assessing the influence on greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), on global temperatures. The Paris Agreement, signed by countries of the UNFCCC, reflects this concern. (President Trump has announced the US will pull out of the Paris Agreement, which is his choice, because it was not approved by the US Senate, only the prior administration.)

The highly influential 1979 Charney Report published by the US National Academy of Sciences recognized that increasing CO2 would have a small positive influence on global temperatures. However, it discussed speculative claims by climate modelers that the small influence by CO2 would be dramatically amplified by an increase in water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas. The report gave a total sensitivity from a doubling of CO2 of 3ºC plus or minus 1.5 ºC, a range of 1.5 to 4.5 ºC (3 to 8 ºF).

It is very interesting to note, that in the latest IPCC reports, amplification from increased water vapor has been dropped, but the values obtained by using water vapor have been retained. One can see this in the EPA’s “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, 1990-2016” (April 12, 2018). Water vapor (H2O) is not listed in “Table ES-1: Global Warming Potentials (100-Year Time Horizon) Used in this Report”. The report stated: “UNFCCC reporting guidelines for national inventories require the use of GWP values from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) (IPCC 2007).”

There appears to be no theoretical justification for calculating values for a warming from increasing CO2 greater than that which can be derived from decades of direct laboratory experiments. However, the IPCC, and its followers such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), apparently believe they do not need a theoretical basis or an empirical basis for claiming dangers of carbon dioxide. See link under Defending the Orthodoxy.


Quote of the Week. “It is not only by dint of lying to others, but also of lying to ourselves, that we cease to notice that we are lying.”– Proust, from “Why We Cheat” by Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall.

Number of the Week: 3 Billion People


Failure in Reproducibility: Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry have revised their 2015 paper on estimates of the sensitivity of the global climate to increasing atmospheric CO2. They address a range of concerns that arose from their 2015 paper. Using various sets of surface data, some dating as early as 1850, but mostly dating to 1869, they estimate that the sensitivity of global temperatures from a doubling of CO2 would be about one-half of that estimated in the Charney Report, stated above, and used by the IPCC and its followers. These findings apply to the models used by the IPCC and their followers, including the EPA in its finding that CO2 emissions endanger public health and welfare. The Lewis/Curry paper was published in the Journal of Climate.

What makes these estimates important is that Lewis and Curry follow the databases and methodology of the IPCC and address the uncertainty in these. They find the IPCC estimates greatly overstate CO2-caused warming. The IPCC work is not reproducible. As stated in the March 24 and 31 TWTWs, Professors Happer, Koonin, and Lindzen (Three Profs) demonstrate that the IPCC methodology can yield an infinite set of solutions. There is no logical reason to assume that the IPCC bureaucratic science is superior to the science of Lewis and Curry.

Further, it is important to note that Lewis and Curry found that using infilled temperature data (calculated data where no actual measurements exist) produces higher estimates of warming than estimates from ignoring these data. This indicates that NOAA and NASA, which infill (calculate) temperature data, create a warming bias. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Arbitrary Start Date: On his web site, Roy Spencer makes important comments:

“I’d like to additionally emphasize overlooked (and possibly unquantifiable) uncertainties: (1) the assumption in studies like this that the climate system was in energy balance in the late 1800s in terms of deep ocean temperatures; and (2) that we know the change in radiative forcing that has occurred since the late 1800s, which would mean we would have to know the extent to which the system was in energy balance back then.


“We have no good reason to assume the climate system is ever in energy balance, although it is constantly readjusting to seek that balance. For example, the historical temperature (and proxy) record suggests the climate system was still emerging from the Little Ice Age in the late 1800s. The oceans are a nonlinear dynamical system, capable of their own unforced chaotic changes on century to millennial time scales, that can in turn alter atmospheric circulation patterns, thus clouds, thus the global energy balance. For some reason, modelers sweep this possibility under the rug (partly because they don’t know how to model unknowns).”

Spencer’s comments do not reduce the importance of the work of Lewis and Curry. Spencer recognizes turbulence of the earth’s climate system, as discussed by the Three Profs and in the paper by Lehr, Haapala, Frank, and Moore (April 14 TWTW). There is no reason to assume that earth is ever in balance, even though it may be constantly adjusting towards one. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Stagnant Science? As stated above, IPCC science seems to be failing in four major areas: 1) logic; 2) methodology (procedures used); 3) improper data; and 4) extraneous data (leading to biases). The failure in logic comes from the IPCC’s elimination of increased water vapor amplifying any warming caused by increasing CO2 and the work of Monckton, et al. illustrates a logical error. Failure in methodology is illustrated by the work of the Three Profs (discussed above) and the recent work of Lewis and Curry. Failure in proper data has been long demonstrated by John Christy, most recently in an April 6 paper published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing. The greenhouse effect occurs in the atmosphere, and greenhouse gases are not warming it as claimed by the IPCC. Failure in eliminating extraneous data creating biases is demonstrated by Wallace, et al. (2017) discussed in the April 29, 2017, TWTW. The El Niño Southern Oscillation and volcanos have a clearly established direct influence on surface and atmospheric temperatures. The solar influence is imputed from the 1977 Pacific Climate Shift, for which existing data is incomplete.

Further questions of data integrity were discussed by Fred Singer (TWTW Apr 7).

A science that does not adjust to changing data and theory is stagnant, bureaucratic. Will western climate science continue to stagnate under past assumptions demonstrated to be wrong? That is unknown, but the EPA needs to revisit its finding the greenhouse gases, especially CO2, endanger human health and welfare. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and in TWTWs mentioned above.


Secret Science: On April 24, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed proposed rules requiring that science used by the agency be fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information be publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation. According to the press release:

“’The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,’ said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. ‘The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.’

“This proposed rule is in line with the scientific community’s moves toward increased data sharing to address the ‘replication crisis’—a growing recognition that a significant proportion of published research may not be reproducible. The proposal is consistent with data access requirements for major scientific journals like Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as well as recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Science for Policy Project and the Administrative Conference of the United States’ Science in the Administrative Process Project.”

The reactions by environmental groups and organizations such as the American Lung Association, which have long made medical claims that cannot be verified, were swift and predictable. They do not want transparent science.

However, EPA veteran Alan Carlin supported the action, writing:

“EPA’s regulations must be based on the best possible scientific evidence. Allowing the possibility that the producers have deliberately or accidentally depended on ‘secret science’ is simply unacceptable.”

An interesting objection came from the Center for American Progress, which claimed the new action “Threatens Reproductive and Environmental Justice for Women.” It supported the claim by arguing that the regulations would result in: 1) Rolling back crucial air quality standards; 2) Reducing access to clean water; 3) Increasing exposure to toxic chemicals; and 4) Undermining efforts to address the urgent threat of climate change. How assuring transparency in science threats justice is not explained.

Perhaps the first use of secret science by the EPA occurred when the first EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, banned the use of DDT in the US by claiming it may cause cancer, without offering evidence. This was quickly used to promote banning DDT in many countries, even though the indoor spraying DDT was the most cost-effective way of controlling malaria and outdoor spraying was used to eradicate malaria in the southern US. Generally, malaria kills those most vulnerable, pregnant women and children. It appears that such secret science is not compatible with “Reproductive and Environmental Justice for Women.” See links under Change in US Administrations and Science, Policy, and Evidence


Variability in the Grid: Environmental activist Michael Schellenberger, a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” asks the question that if wind and solar power are becoming so cheap, as their proponents claim, why is electricity becoming so expensive in Europe? The candidate for governor of California gives a partial answer, variability in wind and solar generation require others to provide electricity or take electricity, when needed. He then blames reporters for not competently investigating the issue. As easily, one can blame promoters and politicians. Future TWTWs will explore the issue further. See links under Questioning European Green and Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind.


California Whiplash: Cliff Mass exposes one of the latest marketing gimmicks used to create fear of CO2, weather whiplash in California as discussed in “Nature, Climate Change.” Mass writes:

“This “whiplash” frenzy in the media shows a major failure mode in our conversations about global warming. Some researchers analyze purely model results. They don’t compare the model output with observations. They find some modest changes in the model projections and somewhat inflate the importance in their paper. The media and certain interest groups hype up the results with big headlines.

“As a result, the public is exposed to essentially incorrect information and gets turned off by another apocalyptic prediction. And such poor communication gets in the way of properly dealing with climate change, a serious issue, in a rational, fact-based way.”

Cliff Mass believes the CO2 will cause significant warming, but he understands the need to report weather properly. In the comments section, Physicist Gordon Fulks writes:

“Thank you, Professor Mass. I for one appreciate the fact that you continue to take a good hard look at all the climate nonsense that is published these days and then echoed and amplified so many times in hysterical media.

“Statistical studies that find slightly positive correlations in what may well be completely random data should never be published. (Completely random data are never perfectly smooth.) And studies using less than perfect models (meaning all of them) have to clearly state that the tiny effects claimed may be artifacts of the model and not real.

“Such shortcomings are hardly limited to the paper you discuss or even to climate science. There is a disturbing tendency among researchers to claim significant results when all they have really identified are problems with their own techniques.

“Peer-review is obviously failing big time. They should ask you to review more of these papers before they get published. Real researchers want thoughtful criticism, so they can avoid instant embarrassment. Careers may be temporarily propelled forward by uninformed media hype, but that attention quickly fades when people realize that poor quality science was involved.”

The integrity exhibited by Cliff Mass is sorely lacking. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.


Number of the Week: 3 Billion People: Global warming promoters appear to be in a race for the greatest hyperbole – extreme exaggeration. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007) claimed the Himalayan Mountain glaciers will melt in the 2030s. When this was challenged in a report by glacial experts in India, the IPCC claimed it was a typo, and should have been 2300. Now, California governor Jerry Brown gets in the race and in a press conference at the National Press Club (DC) predicts if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced 3 billion will die from fatal heat events and 1 billion will be subjected to vector borne diseases they are not subject to now. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.



1. Climate Activists Are Lousy Salesmen

From turgid battle cries to hypocritical spokesmen, it’s no wonder they turn so many Americans off.

By Stewart Easterby, WSJ, Apr 25, 2018


SUMMARY: The former sales executive writes:

“Politicians, bureaucrats, activists, scientists and the media have warned Americans for decades that the Earth is headed toward climate catastrophe. Yet surveys consistently show that less than half of U.S. adults are “deeply concerned” or “very worried” about climate issues. If, as Leonardo DiCaprio insists, climate change is the “most urgent threat facing our entire species,” why do a large percentage of Americans not share his fear? Climate crusaders tend to lay fault with nonbelievers’ intransigence. But this is its own form of denial and masks the real reason: poor salesmanship.

“The promotional efforts of the climate catastrophists have lacked clarity, credibility, and empathy. These are the cornerstones of effective persuasion. Successful advocacy campaigns use lucid names to frame and sell their issues—“living wage,” “welfare queen” or “death tax.” Climate can be confounding; it is long-term weather, but environmentalists chide anyone who dares call it that. Since Earth’s climate is always fluctuating, the word “change” muddles it with redundancy. Swapping between “climate change” and “global warming” confuses the public.

“A good battle cry can rally the troops, but the Paris Agreement’s aim is “to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” That is a far cry from ‘Remember the Alamo!’ And Americans are always turned off by the use of metric units. In the U.S., Toyota wisely markets the 2018 Prius’s fuel economy as 52 miles a gallon, not 22 kilometers a liter.”

After discussing the success of Carl Sagan and the hypocrisy of the life style of Al Gore, the author continues:

“Scientific impropriety has triggered a popular backlash against the climate change activists. The hockey stick chart, Climategate and questions about the integrity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate data have all fueled public suspicion. Only 39% of Americans believe climate scientists can be trusted a lot to give full and accurate information on causes of climate change according to Pew.

“Failed forecasts diminish believability. A Wall Street firm with multiple wrong market calls would lose clients. The actual rate of warming has come in below what climate models projected, casting doubt on future calculations. Likewise, claims that anyone can precisely estimate what global average temperatures will be decades from now don’t pass muster with the average person. There are currently no betting odds for Super Bowl CX in 2076 or S&P 500 futures with December 2099 expiration dates.

“The burden of proof in the climate debate lies with those claiming rising temperatures stem primarily from human activity and not other factors. While the prosecution may feel it has a winning case, the jury’s verdict is what counts. Labeling dissenting jurors ‘deniers’—an insidious association with Holocaust denial—is a losing courtroom strategy. Most people are naturally disinclined to obsess daily about a phenomenon that started long before they were born and won’t reach fruition until long after they die.

“It’s true that almost all climate scientists believe human-caused global warming is real. Similarly, American adults understand that expert opinions can change or turn out to be spectacularly wrong. Think of the recently overturned consensus on the link between egg consumption and coronary heart disease, or the reports during the 1970s that a new ice age was imminent. Against this backdrop, calling skeptics ‘anti-science’ is counterproductive, especially since skepticism is the essence of the scientific method.

“From 2006 to 2016, China increased its annual carbon dioxide emissions 37% while America’s yearly output decreased far more than any other country. In the Paris Agreement, China pledged to begin reducing emissions around 2030, meaning it can spew even more greenhouse gas for years to come. The U.S. vowed to reduce its 2025 emissions by 28% from 2005 levels. Yet questioning if the accord is fair to America or will forestall global warming is reliably met with sanctimonious scorn.

“My advice to the activists is this: you will attract more supporters to your cause if you can pick a name and stick with it, create a clear call to action, enlist a convincing spokesman with a small carbon footprint, tone down the alarmism, and fix the computer models. Most important, listen to the doubters, don’t lambaste them.”


2. Unappointed ‘Judges’ Shouldn’t Be Trying Cases

The SEC’s tribunals run afoul of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has a chance to remedy that.

By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman, WSJ, Apr 22, 2018


SUMMARY: The attorneys writer:

“President Trump promised to nominate judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia, and that thought was no doubt foremost in his mind when he chose Neil Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s vacant seat. On Monday Justice Gorsuch and his colleagues will consider whether the hiring of adjudicators deciding cases within federal agencies will also be subject to the kind of accountability that making an appointment entails.

“So-called administrative law judges are not ‘principal officers,’ so they are not subject to Senate confirmation under the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. The question in Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission is whether they are ‘inferior officers.’ In that case, the clause requires them to be appointed by principal officers, such as commissioners acting collectively or a cabinet secretary, themselves appointed by the president. The alternative is that they are mere employees, who can be hired by lower-level managers with no presidential responsibility.

“The dividing line, the Supreme Court has explained, is whether the position entails the exercise of ‘significant authority.’ There shouldn’t be much doubt on which side of that line the SEC’s judges fall.”

After going into some detail in the case, the attorneys conclude:

“There’s no reason to fear disruption if the justices rule in Mr. Lucia’s favor. Every agency employing ALJs already has the legal authority to leave their appointment to the top officer, as the Constitution requires. And in only a handful of pending cases has the appointments issue been raised. If necessary, the high court could clarify that its decision applies only prospectively—just as it did when it held that bankruptcy courts lacked authority to decide certain kinds of claims.

“What it should not do is permit agencies to shirk what Justice James Wilson identified as the principle underlying the Appointments Clause: ‘The person who nominates or makes appointments to offices, should be known. His own office, his own character, his own fortune should be responsible.’”


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