Brought to You by www.SEPP.org The Science and Environmental Policy Project
By Ken Haapala, President
William Happer – New Trump Appointment: According to news reports, William (Will) Happer has begun serving on the National Security Council as the senior director for emerging technologies. Will Happer is the Cyrus Fogg Professor of Physics, Emeritus, of Princeton University. His specialties included atomic physics, optics and spectroscopy. He is one of the pioneers in the field of optically polarized atoms. This research includes how light is used to raise electrons from a lower energy level in an atom or molecule to a higher one – optical pumping.
Happer’s activities with government agencies included posts in the Department of Energy and since 1976, long-term membership with the science and technology advisor group JASON. JASON is a highly select, independent group of scientists advising the government mostly on classified issues. Happer chaired the group from 1987 to 1990. According to Wikipedia (please note the source) JASON produced a 1979 report on global warming about the same time the Charney report was published by the National Academy of Sciences.
As described in past TWTWs, (for example, Sep 1, Aug 4), the Charney Report embodied speculation by climate modelers that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) would cause a global warming at the surface of 3ºC plus or minus 1.5ºC, primarily coming from an increase in atmospheric water vapor. This estimate could not be substantiated because, at the time, there were no comprehensive measurements of atmospheric temperatures, where the greenhouse gas effect occurs. Recently, the Charney Report was highly publicized by New York Times Magazine, which failed to mention there were no data (hard evidence) supporting the Charney estimates. The New York Times Magazine confused speculation with knowledge (Aug 4 TWTW).
The Charney estimates have been carried forward by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers including the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). In 1990, Roy Spencer and John Christy reported a method for measuring temperature trends (not actual temperatures) in large volumes of the atmosphere by using data gathered by satellites since December 1978, which are independently confirmed by temperature measurements of slivers of the atmosphere taken by weather balloons. The IPCC, the USGCRP, and others claiming dire global warming from CO2 systematically ignore atmospheric temperature trends.
Unfortunately, TWTW has been unable to uncover the 1979 JASON report on CO2-caused warming and can only speculate on what it contains. The writings and actions by Will Happer give a good indication. Upon retirement, Happer founded the CO2 Coalition, a non-profit 501(c)3 explaining the benefits of CO2 to agriculture, the environment, and humanity. Its web site states:
“The CO2 Coalition was established in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) for the purpose of educating thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy. The Coalition seeks to engage in an informed and dispassionate discussion of climate change, humans’ role in the climate system, the limitations of climate models, and the consequences of mandated reductions in CO2 emissions.
“In carrying out our mission, we seek to strengthen the understanding of the role of science and the scientific process in addressing complex public policy issues like climate change. Science produces empirical, measurable, objective facts and provides a means for testing hypotheses that can be replicated and potentially disproven. Approaches to policy that do not adhere to the scientific process risk grave damage to the economy and to science.”
Based on this, one can conclude that the JASON report on CO2-warming did not contain an alarm of dire global warming. The list of early members of JASON includes Freeman Dyson, another skeptic of dire CO2 global warming and climate models.
Based on reports from others, when CNN first announced the news of Happer’s appointment, it labeled him as a “Climate Denier” The link still contains the term “climate denier.” The once distinguished Science Magazine said he is a “vocal critic of mainstream climate science.” Such derogatory reporting is all too common in Washington. “Anyone who thinks differently than I think is inferior.”
Demonizing the “other side” is a mark of propaganda. In discussing the term “denier” as it applies to new BBC “standards,” Jo Nova discusses its origins in theology, beginning in 1475, linking to a November 25, 2015, post in which she has excerpts from an 1840 book “Skeletons, a course of theological lectures” by Rev. Finney, vol 1, 1840 on how to treat atheists:
“FOURTH. Point out the difficulties of Atheism
“1. Difficulty. One of the fundamental and fatal difficulties of Atheism is that it is founded upon the denial of a first truth.
“2. It cannot be denied without admitting it. The denial implies a denier; the denial is the effect of which the denier is the cause.
“4. The denier knows that he states a falsehood in the denial: for if he did not believe in causality he would not and could not attempt the denial.”
Differing from the Washington views, physicist Luboš Motl writes:
“Unsurprisingly, he [Happer] has written numerous articles that are “mainly” about the infrared absorption bands and Google Scholar finds over 1,000 articles that contain his name as well as “infrared”. So, when it comes to the main physical effect that is supposed to drive ‘climate change’, he’s not only an expert. He’s one of the world’s leading experts.”
A very interesting part of Happer’s background is his understanding of spectroscopy – which includes the study of any interaction with radiative energy as a function of its wavelength or frequency. This goes to the core of any warming from increased greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases slow the loss of infrared energy from the earth into space, resulting in a warming. Happer has written that his calculations indicate a warming from doubling CO2 to about 1ºC, about one-third of the Charney estimates, repeated by the IPCC. It is far lower than what is projected by the climate modelers.
Perhaps the public is fortunate that Happer’s new position does not require Senate “advice and consent.” It would be sad to see politicians preening for the cameras attempting to make political points by pretending to understand electromagnetic radiation, not to mention infrared absorption bands of atmospheric gases.
Please note, Will Happer is a long-time friend of SEPP Chairman emeritus S. Fred Singer and a past recipient of the Fredrick Seitz Memorial Award, along with Roy Spencer and John Christy. See links under Censorship, Change in US Administrations, https://co2coalition.org/about/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JASON_(advisory_group).
COP Infinity? The political games leading to the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Katowice, Poland, from December 3 to 14 are becoming interesting. In a preliminary meeting in Bangkok, developing countries are demanding payment for damages caused by global warming / sea level rise, with island nations among the most vocal. Now that under the Trump administration the US is planning to be a “grinch” at Christmas rather than “Santa Claus,” some countries are disappointed.
They have little justification to be angry. In December 2015, the Obama administration demanded a last-minute revision of the Paris Agreement, with its generous Green Climate Fund, that clearly signaled that the administration would not submit the Agreement to the Senate for approval, showing the Obama administration did not consider the Paris Agreement to be a treaty binding on the US. The Obama administration played verbal games instead, that the Trump administration did not play. The US has no moral obligation to meet Obama’s vague promises. See links under After Paris!
Clexit: Tim Ball was a student of climate change pioneer H.H. Lamb and uncovered a wealth of naturalist and climate information on central North America recorded by the Hudson Bay Company. Ball continues with his efforts to encourage Canada to exit the Paris Agreement, as the Trump administration is doing.
Starting with the Club of Rome formed in 1968, Ball provides a review of the Malthusian ideas that led to the Paris Agreement and Canada’s involvement. Among other issues, the anti-humanity writings of President Obama’s science advisor, John Holdren, are in stark contrast to those of Will Happer (above).
As Ball relates, the Paris Agreement and the entire COP show is an expensive circus with little meaning. Ball cites previous writing by Bjorn Lomborg about the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in the Paris Agreement:
“The climate impact of all Paris INDC promises is minuscule: if we measure the impact of every nation fulfilling every promise by 2030, the total temperature reduction will be 0.048°C (0.086°F) by 2100. (Lomborg’s emphasis).
Even if we assume that these promises would be extended for another 70 years, there is still little impact: if every nation fulfills every promise by 2030 and continues to fulfill these promises faithfully until the end of the century, and there is no ‘CO₂ leakage’ to non-committed nations, the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce temperature rises by just 0.17°C (0.306°F) by 2100.
Of course, all this is based on models that already exaggerate climate sensitivity and TWTW does not accept. These increases are also within the margins of error of our temperature measuring devices, so they really won’t be seen anyway. See Article # 1 and links under After Paris.
Electricity Recommendations for Australia: Identifying themselves as the Electric Power Consulting Pty. Ltd. (EPC), a small group of professional engineers and scientists experienced in various aspects of electricity and distribution have made recommendations for Australia and the National Electricity Market (NEM). Australia’s electricity market is in turmoil as it tries to lower carbon dioxide emissions.
“After years of relying on coal, gas, and hydro generation, it must now deal with rising concerns about cost, availability, and reliability of differing types of replacement generation as ageing power plants are shut down and commitments to reduce emissions take hold.”
The issue is stark and looming, it a movement from a cost-efficient, reliable system to a heavily subsidized, erratic system. Many studies have been made, but few demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of power system engineering. These recommendations are worth of considering by jurisdictions considering abandoning fossil fuels. They are:
1. “Wind-up subsidies for intermittent power generation Apart from being expensive to taxpayers and of questionable merit in meeting lower emissions, subsidies for intermittent power generation on the NEM reward investment without regard to the generator’s ability to meet minute by minute changes in customer demand. This has distorted recent investment decisions, resulting in a suboptimal mix of generation technologies.
2. “Add a capacity market component to the National Electricity Market. The current NEM is an energy-only market, which does not give clear signals when more or replacement dispatchable generation investment is needed. This weakness has been a key factor in the current absence of new dispatchable investment, i.e. power which can be delivered at the time it is needed by customers.
3. “Remove the ban on nuclear power This ban is the result of a political deal done 20 years ago. It has no scientific merit, and is now an obstacle to much-needed decisions for the longer-term future. It prohibits by law the development of emissions-free, reliable, affordable nuclear power for Australia. The removal of the ban would allow more competition between various technologies to supply our future electricity needs.”
TWTW does not consider that there is a need to abandon fossil fuels, but the recommendations give some idea of what consumers may face as politicians force more erratic “green energy” onto the grid, which must be subsidized by all consumers on the grid to be made reliable. See links under Energy Issues – Australia.
Vegan Electricity? As discussed in last week’s TWTW, Apple Computers and other companies are using a marketing gimmick of pretending to “go green” by joining companies to generate unreliable electricity from solar and wind, then purchase a similar amount of reliable electricity from the grid. The electricity has been made reliable by the transmission companies and paid for by all consumers. The companies receive double subsidies, one in the form of federal tax credits for the generation, then in the form of reliable electricity subsidized by all the consumers. With this gimmick, only the general consumer and taxpayer loses.
Pierre Gosselin of No Tricks Zone presented another gimmick – “Vegawatts.” A German Power Utility is offering Vegan electricity and gas. In an Alternating Current electricity system, the electrons travel minute distances, oscillating forward and back. In a Direct Current electricity system, the electrons may travel from the generator to the consumer, but do the electrons wear team colors so that the consumer knows which ones to use? There seems to be no end to green tricks. See links under Below the Bottom Line.
Number of the Week: Ninety Trillion Dollars, $90,000,000,000,000. Many economists have mastered the art of misleading others by numerical manipulation. Nicholas Stern demonstrated his skill with using absurdly low discount rates to make the present value of future “costs” of climate change, highly speculative as they are, appear to be enormous. These “costs” were used to justify the UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act which is causing real costs to the British public.
Several US entities have played similar games, including the USGCRP, the reports of which can be considered skilled propaganda.
Ben Pile of Climate Scepticism went through a new report by the “Global Commission on the Economy and Climate” claiming great economic growth in the future if the world commits $90,000,000,000.000 now to achieve a “low carbon economy.” According to Pile, the report is paid mostly be public funds, and Stern, formerly with the World Bank, is a member of the commission. Pile writes:
“In other words, the Global Commission want more than a year’s worth of labour from the entire population of the planet to realise its goal.” See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.
Peak Oil: A Lesson in False Prophecy
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Sep 5, 2018
The Chairman Emeritus of SEPP writes:
“As recently as 10 years ago, we were told that the world was running out of oil soon. Horrors! Then, directional drilling and fracking opened up the prolific resource of “tight” oil shale. New production records are being set daily; the U.S. now leads the world in oil reserves, ahead even of Saudi Arabia.
“Geophysicist and noted pioneer of ground water flow in aquifers Dr. M. King Hubbert was being celebrated as a prophet. He had predicted that U.S. oil production would peak around 1970 – and it did! Of course, the price of oil was then only around $2 a barrel; it is now around $75, and will surely go higher.
“The National Petroleum Council [NPC], made up of the leaders of the oil industry and other experts, told us, in 1970 as I recall, that if oil prices ever reached $3 a barrel, the vast resource of the Colorado kerogen would become commercial. Some oil companies actually mined some kerogen and retorted it to extract the locked-up but uneconomic oil. The world oil price is now around $75 a barrel — and sure to rise further.
“Hubbert also predicted that world oil production would peak by mid-century, at the same unrealistic low price; it gave a boost to the anti-growth movement and to the general feeling that we would soon deplete most of the world’s resources.
“Those were the years of the ‘Malthusians,’ mostly geologists, opposed only by a few brave ‘Cornucopians,’ mostly resource economists, who preached that prices would rise, encourage conservation, recycling, and substitution for scarce metals.
“This was also the time of Prof. Paul Ehrlich’s ‘population bomb’ and Zero Population Growth [ZPG]. Impressionable young women were taking vows not to have any children; abortions were popular.
“I was a Malthusian — until my eyes were opened by organizing an AAAS conference in 1969, titled ‘Is There an Optimum Level of Population?’
“Optimum Population Level?
“I later edited a book on the same topic; it included contributions by nuclear pioneer Alvin Weinberg, Chauncey Starr, EPRI president and RFF president Joseph Fisher. (Of course, Prof. Julian Simon was way ahead of me; but I only met him much later, around 1980.)
“Noted Malthusians participated: geologist Preston Cloud and ecologist Garrett Hardin; agricultural experts gave talks on overpopulation and predicted world famine to occur a few years hence.
“The Club of Rome and Limits to Growth
“The Malthusians even had their own loose international organization, called the ‘Club of Rome,’ founded by Aurelio Peccei, retired chairman of the Italian auto firm that produced the Fiat car. I knew him and believed in his cause — until I edited the book and ‘saw the light.’
“I remember critiquing, in Science and EOS, their first report, ‘Limits to Growth’ [LTG] and debating its main authors Dennis and Donella Meadows, who were spreading the LTG ‘gospel.’
“Their book also made me a skeptic about computer models. They used no real data and simply assumed functional relationships between key variables. For example, pollution would kill world population, but people also created pollution. As a result, world population would swing wildly between maximum and zero — signifying complete collapse. However, LTG made a huge impact at high government levels and supported the mantra that ‘economic growth was bad.’
“Forecasts of overpopulation and world famine were very popular in those days. There was even a book published, by the two Paddock brothers, titled Famine 1975! — just a few years away.
“This was really the beginning of the environmental movement. The whole atmosphere of doom and gloom was ripe for that. Naturally, it boosted the craze for solar and wind energy and ethanol gasoline additive, which were said to be inexhaustible resources, unlike fossil fuels, and made ‘peak oil’ very believable.
“Anyway, those days are over — or so it seems — although some of the after-effects are still with us.
“I was not impressed by all this noise. King Hubbert was my colleague then at the Department of Interior, where I was responsible for water research and also for estuarine preservation.
“I had lunch with King, a convinced Malthusian, and told him to consider future changes in the price of oil and a possible development of new technologies. I also told him to forget about ‘peak oil’ and go back to his pioneering work on ground-water flow. After that lunch, he never spoke to me again. He was a very austere gentleman, with no sense of humor.
“In 1972, soon after our lunch, the world price of oil jumped to $12 a barrel. But U.S. production was impeded by price regulation and the general feeling that oil supplies would soon peak. President Ronald Reagan finally removed the artificial price controls. Public debate about ‘peak oil’ resumed, as oil became available to anyone willing to pay the world price.
“I should note that, the $2 price was a result of the infamous ‘oil import quota program,’ which had been set up years earlier to ration oil imports to favored importers — essentially a program to reward ‘cronies,’ and to keep prices low for a while for U.S. consumers. Those were the days of 20-cents-per-gallon gasoline that our fathers keep telling us about.
“The situation has changed drastically — mainly because of new technologies and the free market. President Donald Trump has just announced the official end of the oil crisis. He also hinted at the end of the miles-per-gallon [MPG] restrictions on cars and trucks.”
2. Environmentalists Need to Get Real
The problem isn’t climate-change denial. It’s doubt that activists have the answers.
By Walter Russell Mead, WSJ, Sep 3, 2018
SUMMARY: The author states:
“Last week French environmental minister Nicolas Hulot, once a prominent supporter of President Emmanuel Macron, threw in the towel. ‘I don’t want to lie anymore. I don’t want to create the illusion that my presence in the government means that we are on top of [environmental] issues,’ he said during a live broadcast announcing his resignation.
“Mr. Hulot is not alone among environmentalists in denouncing the hypocrisy and inadequacy of government action on climate change. The Paris accords are ‘a fraud, really, a fake,’ said climate activist James Hansen in 2015. ‘There is no action, just promises.’
“Three years later, Mr. Hansen’s words look prescient. Even ostensibly committed countries like Germany and France are on course to miss the voluntary 2020 targets they announced to such fanfare in 2015. The Climate Action Tracker estimates that only Morocco and Gambia are on a ‘Paris agreement compatible’ path.
“The climate-change movement is stuck, even after a scorching summer elevated the issue across much of the Northern Hemisphere. It is powerful enough to command lip service from politicians, but too weak to impose the policies it says are needed to prevent catastrophic change.
“Many environmentalists fail to grasp that the real problem isn’t skepticism that the climate is changing, or even that human activity is a leading cause of the change. Millions worry about climate change and believe human activity is in large part responsible. But they do not believe that the climate movement has the answers for the problems it describes. Green policy blunders, like support for ethanol in the U.S. and knee-jerk opposition to nuclear power, erode confidence that environmental activists—who too often have an anticapitalist, Malthusian and technophobic view of the world—can be trusted, to as they often say, to ‘save the planet.’
“For center-right politicians and people who support both free markets and a healthy environment, the status quo is also a problem. In the U.S. and abroad, market-friendly politicians cannot embrace the stagnant, statist and rent-seeking policies often proposed by environmentalists. Yet neither do they wish to turn a blind eye to a consequential problem that voters care about.
“The world needs a green movement that can command more than lip service from politicians. Such a movement would be tech-positive, pro-science and pro-growth, recognizing that capitalism can deliver technological and social changes that offer humanity’s best hope of a greener and cooler future. A realistic green movement would not only embrace zero-carbon nuclear power as part of the solution to the climate problem; it would embrace the broader potential of the information revolution to raise living standards around the world while reducing humanity’s carbon footprint.
The author gives examples of lowering CO2 emissions such as teleworking, changing commuting, and videoconferencing, then concludes with:
“A smarter green movement also would embrace the development and use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture. Tweaking the genes of specific crops can raise yields while shrinking humanity’s carbon footprint. A field of ‘tweaked’ soybeans that need little or no fertilizer or pesticides is the real killer app for solar power. Human ingenuity plus sunlight can dramatically reduce the need for fertilizer and pesticides with all the greenhouse-gas emissions and other environmental damage they entail.
“These ideas are neither Malthusian nor anticapitalist. For that reason, many green activists will shun them. Some would rather see the planet perish in a runaway greenhouse effect than see gene-tweaked soybeans in European grocery stores—just as they would rather risk catastrophic flooding than accept nuclear power. But market-friendly, pro-science think tanks, researchers and politicians should not be deterred. Developing a green agenda that is high tech but not hair shirt is a crucial project if the world is to break the dangerous gridlock on climate change.”
[SEPP Comment: Disagree with the author that CO2-caused climate change is dangerous!]