Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #317

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

By Ken Haapala, President

Hollow Models? The long writing career of British logician and philosopher Bertrand Russell covered a period of marked change in science. The term natural philosophy was giving way to the term physical science and extensive divisions were occurring into branches such as physics, chemistry, etc. Already, it had been shown that long-held beliefs needed continuing empirical verification. For example, European philosophers long held the view that knowledge can be logically deduced from generally held beliefs, or propositions, such as: all swans are white; if it is a swan, it is white. This logical view was broken when the premise was falsified with the discovery of black swans in Australia in 1697. The occurrence has been used to demonstrate that logic alone is not sufficient to demonstrate a proposition has meaning in the physical world (truth). [Stock market investor Nassim Nicholas Taleb developed an investment (speculation) strategy based on unlikely events, which has different meaning.]

Previously, it was held that mathematics, the language of science, conveys empirical meaning. Euclidian geometry fit well with Newtonian Mechanics. However, Brownian Motion, discovered in 1827, did not. Further, Quantum Mechanics, advanced at the beginning of the 20th century by Max Planck, Einstein, and others, does not fit into a Euclidian scheme. Mathematics alone is not sufficient to advance knowledge, meaning, of the physical world. Empirical verification is necessary.

Recently, we have seen significant work that contradicts the claims of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and others, that carbon dioxide is causing dangerous global warming. As John Christy, Roy Spencer, and others with the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville have published, the bulk atmosphere is not warming as projected by a multitude of models used by the IPCC. Using the Canadian Climate Model Run 3, as an example, they show that the incorrectly termed “distinct human fingerprint”, the tropical “hot spot” between about 20ºN and 20ºS, does not exist in 38 years of atmospheric temperature data.

In its latest Assessment Report (AR5, 2013 & 2014), the IPCC no longer claims a tropical hot spot, but such a condition is necessary if water vapor is to amplify the slight warming produced by an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) shown in laboratory experiments, as speculated in the 1979 Charney Report, published by the National Academy of Sciences. Thus, the IPCC and its followers such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), with 13 US government participating agencies, are in a difficult situation. They have no empirical basis for declaring that greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, are causing dangerous global warming.

Over one hundred years ago, it was shown that mathematics and logic, alone, are not sufficient for establishing meaningful knowledge about the physical world. Reliance on mathematical models, without empirical verification, is an empty science. The global climate models being used are hollow. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Questioning the Orthodoxy.


Quote of the Week. ““In rejecting their view [Spinoza, Leibniz and Hegel], as I shall contend that we must, we are committing ourselves to the opinion that “truth” in empirical material has a meaning different from that which it bears in logic and mathematics.” – Bertrand Russell, “An Inquiry Into Meaning & Truth” (1940)

Number of the Week: 721 authors


Dangerous Sea Level Rise: Last week’s TWTW carried the corrected version of Fred Singer’s essay on sea level rise. The printed version contained the erroneous statement: “good data showing sea levels are in fact rising at an accelerating rate.” This was corrected in the electronic version to at a constant rate [Singer is chairman emeritus of SEPP.] He stated:

“I chose to assess the sea-level trend from 1915-45, when a genuine, independently confirmed warming of approximately 0.5 degree Celsius occurred. I note particularly that sea-level rise is not affected by the warming; it continues at the same rate, 1.8 millimeters a year, according to a 1990 review by Andrew S. Trupin and John Wahr. I therefore conclude—contrary to the general wisdom—that the temperature of sea water has no direct effect on sea-level rise. That means neither does the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide.

Singer chose the earlier period because he questions the claimed late 20th century and early 21st century surface warming, believing it is more a product of instrument variation and data manipulation than a result from general warming of the globe.

There was no acceleration to sea level rise for 30 years 1915-45, although it is generally recognized that the global surface temperature warmed by about 0.5 degree Celsius. Among others, Mr. Mann and Senator Whitehouse responded to the essay, but ignored the period being discussed. Perhaps they found it a bit difficult explaining why warming in one period does not cause an acceleration in sea level rise but a similar warming in a later period does.

The issue of sea level rise is important, because it was used by the Supreme Court in 2007 to give Massachusetts standing to sue the EPA over greenhouse gas emissions, CO2, from motor vehicles. That decision created the opportunity for government advocates to claim that CO2 endangers human health and welfare, as the EPA declared on December 7, 2009.

It should be noted that the IPCC AR5 contained an assertion of accelerating sea level rise endangering human lives. This was a change from the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007) which did not have an accelerating rise, but was the only report that had the lower estimate of global warming at 2ºC rather than the 1.5 ºC that is in the Charney Report. Could this be a sign that the IPCC is recognizing that its temperature predictions are highly questionable, and it needs to create new fears to keep the money flowing? Will the thirteen US government agencies follow? See Article # 1 and links under Changing Seas.


EPA Comments on Transparency Extended: According to a report in The Hill newspaper:

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is extending the public comment period for a controversial science ‘transparency’ rule that environmentalists have criticized as a rule that would limit facts from being involved in the agency’s rulemaking process.”

The report states that the public comment period is extended to August 17. The quote is an indication that something is wrong in Washington when, in matters of public health, requiring transparency is controversial. It is as if there are two different sets of facts relating to public health – secret facts and public facts. See link under Change in US Administrations.


Censorship: Australian Don Aitkin, former Chairman of Australia’s National Capital Authority and former Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra, comments on “The unfolding saga of Peter Ridd.” Professor Ridd is a “well-published academic whose fields of research include coastal oceanography, reef systems and peer review, has been for ten years the Head of the School of Physics at James Cook University (JCU).” He was disciplined for drawing attention to what he considered “exaggerations in the way fellow academics at his university were describing the condition of the Great Barrier Reef.”

The Great Barrier Reef is a cultural icon in Australia and fear of any threat to the icon is a “hot button” to obtain government funding, which may cause significant issues for those who question such threats. Aitkin writes:

“…But it is a problem, and a rapidly growing one, in areas of research where what is actually the case is contested vigorously by others. An eye has to be kept on the source of the money going to higher education research, which in our country is overwhelmingly the Australian Government. In 2014, not quite four billion dollars was available within the higher education system for research, all of it from the Commonwealth. In addition universities made another billion or thereabouts from consultancy and research for other funders. That is a lot of money. As the last Chairman of the Australian Research Grants Committee in 1987 I had a little over $30 million to parcel out. The engine has been most effective.

“In the last forty years governments have become interested in universities’ finding academic support for what they are proposing or have in place. We are in an era of ‘policy-based evidence’. We are also in an era of a particular political correctness, where it is very difficult indeed to get funds for research if the purpose of the research seems antithetical to current government policy. ‘Curiosity-directed research’ now comes with some serious barriers. Nowhere is this situation clearer than in the case of research on the Great Barrier Reef, in which Professor Ridd has been involved. A bucket-load of money has been devoted to ‘the Reef’, and another half-billion was forecast in the recent Budget, some of which will doubtless go the James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The Reef, as is frequently said, is an Australian ‘icon’. An icon is a religious object. Professor Ridd is a scientist, not a priest.”

NIPCC editor the late Bob Carter was “disciplined” by James Cook University. It seems that distasteful litigation is the only path for those who question scientific rigor and are willing to disagree with the academic bureaucracy. See links under Censorship.


San Francisco Bay Cities Litigation: According to reports: “The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) last Thursday filed an amicus brief in the cases filed by San Francisco and Oakland against energy producers, slamming the lawsuits and asking the court for dismissal.”

“The DOJ responded with several compelling reasons why the cities’ grievances should not be afforded relief by this case: 1) it is logistically impossible to fix a problem of the magnitude the cities describe in court; 2) other parts of the government already regulate greenhouse gas emissions and the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that it is not appropriate for the Court to intervene; and 3) the cities may not even have the right to bring this type of claim to federal court.”

The last is an issue of standing, which was important in the Mass. v. EPA litigation mentioned above. See links under Litigation Issues.


Asking the Right Questions: According to P. Gosselin who translates reports in German, after 20 years, some in Germany are asking the right questions regarding the problem of storing and transporting solar and wind energy. When the systems produce, there is an excess of electricity, but when they don’t, there is a shortage. According to Gosselin: Dr. Björn Peters wrote a summary of a meeting attended by political and industry leaders on Germany’s energy future that featured surprising realism.

“It is only now, after the construction of over 100 gigawatts of power generation capacity, that the realization is beginning to take hold that the expansion of ambient energies is not getting us closer to the purpose of replacing chemical energy sources.”

The technological components of an energy supply system based on sun and wind first need to be developed. Just the development of suitable power storage cells for bridging windless and sunless periods still requires many decades.”

“the sticking point is that it is only the weather-dependent ambient energies that can be expanded greatly, but they have neither the quantity nor the consistency to meet the requirements for a steady and affordable power supply.”

“Peters summarized:

“In total there was the impression that the numerous unanswered questions of the ‘Energiewende’ have finally dawned on the energy sector. While only a few years ago hope for rapid solutions to the technical challenges was high at the industry conferences, the degree of realism that has since spread is hard to surpass today. Not only are solution[s] to the know[n] problems being sought, but the industry representatives and policymakers are finally beginning to ask the right questions regarding technical concepts, costs and economic impacts.’”

[Boldface in original]

Until a suitable technology is commercial available to store electricity, making the problem EU-wide, does not solve the problem, but only expands it. See links under Questioning European Green.


Additions and Corrections:

The April 21 TWTW contained an essay by Fred Singer published in the American Thinker “Does the Greenhouse Gas CO2 cool the climate?” However, TWTW left off the concluding paragraph which is below:


“A greenhouse gas produces cooling of the climate when its molecular transitions are in a region of positive lapse rate. One example is CO2 and the stratosphere, where temperature increases with altitude. Another example is temperature over the winter poles [Happer – private communication; Flanner et al. GRL 2018].

“While the climate cooling is not obvious, it counters [conventional] GH warming. This at- least-partial cancelation might explain the puzzling absence of CO2-based GH warming in the 20th century.[viii] It could also help explain the cause of the [hotly] contested climate ‘pause.’[ix]

“Much further work awaits!


“I am grateful to colleagues for helpful discussions of the assumptions.

“This work was supported by SEPP, which accepts private charitable donations.


Number of the Week: 721 authors, “A Chosen Few?” According to Carbon Brief, the IPCC has chosen 721 people from 90 countries to be an author in the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), to be published in 2022. Of the chosen few, how many really understand what is needed to make a mathematical climate model yield meaningful results? See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.



1. Water’s Rising Because It’s Getting Warmer

That research shows that sea levels are rising and human-caused climate change is the cause. Don’t just take our word for it; help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature showing as much.

By Michael Mann, Senator Whitehouse, et al. WSJ, May 22, 2018


“Would the Journal run the op-ed “Objects Are Falling, but Not Because of Gravity”? That’s pretty similar to climate contrarian Fred Singer saying The Sea Is Rising, but Not Because of Climate Change” (op-ed, May 16).

“No, ice is not accumulating on Earth—it is melting. No, Antarctica isn’t too cold for melting—warming oceans are eroding the ice from beneath, destabilizing the ice sheet. And no, legitimate scientific conclusions are not reached in op-ed pieces, but through careful peer-reviewed research.

“That research shows that sea levels are rising and human-caused climate change is the cause. Don’t take our word for it; help yourself to the mountain of scientific literature showing as much. When water warms, it expands. When ice warms, it melts. To deny these facts is not just to deny climate change. It is to deny basic physics.

“New York City experienced an additional 25 square miles of flooding from the approximately one foot of sea-level rise that has occurred due to human-caused warming. Without concerted efforts to reduce carbon emissions, it could experience as much as eight feet by the end of the century—permanently inundating most of Wall Street.”

Asst. Prof. Andrea L. Dutton; University of Florida; Gainesville, Fla. and

Prof. Michael E. Mann; Penn State University’ University Park, Pa.


“Fred Singer leaves out any real evidence to refute research attributing the measured sea-level rise almost exactly to the measured thermal expansion of seawater and glacier melt.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.); Newport, R.I.


“Our emissions will continue shaping how much seas rise in the coming decades. Taking this threat lightly endangers hundreds of communities in the U.S. and world-wide, and wastes the dwindling time we have to reduce our risk by cutting carbon emissions and investing in resilience. Since 1900, global sea level has risen by seven to eight inches. Sea-level rise has brought more frequent flooding to dozens of coastal communities, including Atlantic City, N.J. and Charleston, S.C., where the number of floods has quadrupled since 1970. The pace of sea-level rise has recently doubled.

“Mr. Singer acknowledges there’s ‘good data showing sea levels are in fact rising at an accelerating rate,’ yet makes the unscientific claim that this is disconnected from rising global-warming emissions and temperatures. The risks are clear. Sea-level rise projections for 2100 range from one foot to more than eight feet—far greater than the six inches Mr. Singer claims. Swiftly reducing our global-warming emissions would give us the best chance to minimize sea-level rise, but our current emissions trajectory makes achieving the range’s low end more unlikely each day.”

Kristina Dahl, Ph.D.; Union of Concerned Scientists; Oakland, Calif.


“NASA disagrees with Prof. Singer. A Feb. 13 paper notes: “Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere increase the temperature of air and water, which causes sea level to rise in two ways. First, warmer water expands, and this ‘thermal expansion’ of the ocean has contributed about half of the 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) of global mean sea-level rise we’ve seen over the last 25 years . . . Second, melting land ice flows into the ocean, also increasing sea level across the globe.’”

Wendy Fleischer; Brooklyn, N.Y.


“Melting ice is not the only thing that can raise the sea level. Note the eruption of hundreds of undersea volcanoes in the oceans and what they deposit. All of the rivers of the world flush millions of acre feet of mud and silt into the sea floor daily. During an undersea earthquake a tectonic plate could override another, affecting a thousand miles of sea floor, displacing a great deal of water and raising the sea level.”

David Darlow; Spokane, Wash.


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