Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #338

Brought to you by http://www.SEPP.org, Science and Environmental Policy Project

By Ken Haapala, President

Quote of the Week: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” — Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

Number of the Week: Minus 211,000 bb/d


The Persistent Sun: In his first blog post in ScienceBits for some time, Nir Shaviv, Chairman, Racah Institute of Physics, describes his brief presentation to Environment committee of the German Bundestag. The invitation was quite a surprise, because Shaviv is a climate “skeptic” meaning he does not believe carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary driver of climate change – the sun is. Shaviv makes another important distinction between his work and the work of global warming promoters of CO2-caused warming such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its US followers, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). As Shaviv states:

“However, I am looking for the drivers of the warming, not the consequences at this point! And the fact that sea level is rising does not contradict the fact that you see the sun’s 11-year signature clearly, with which you can quantify the solar radiative forcing.”

All too frequently the consequences of global warming / climate change are used as evidence that CO2 is the cause. It is not. And many promoters claim that if it is not CO2, they cannot think of anything else. This goes to their lack of imagination and their simplistic notions on how our enormously complex climate system works – to the extent it is understood. Shaviv begins his lecture with:

“Three minutes is not a lot of time, so let me be brief. I’ll start with something that might shock you. There is no evidence that CO2 has a large effect on climate. The two arguments used by the IPCC to so called “prove” that humans are the main cause of global warming, and which implies that climate sensitivity is high, are that: a) 20th century warming is unprecedented, and b) there is nothing else to explain the warming.

“These arguments are faulty. Why you ask?

“We know from the climate-gate e-mails that the hockey stick was an example of shady science. The medieval warm period and little ice ages were in fact global and real. And, although the IPCC will not admit so, we know that the sun has a large effect on climate, and on the 20th century warming in particular.

In the first slide we see one of the most important graphs that the IPCC is simply ignoring. Published already in 2008, you can see a very clear correlation between sea level change rate from tide gauges, and solar activity. This proves beyond any doubt that the sun has a large effect on climate. But it is ignored.

The graph is quite compelling, there is a strong correlation, both increase and decrease, between the rate of change in sea level (note rate of change in sea levels not just change in sea levels) and changes in the solar constant. The data is from about 1920 to about 2000. The IPCC can say it ignores this data because its mandate is to find human cause. But, the USGCRP has no such excuse, because its mandate from Congress is to understand both human and natural causes of climate change. By ignoring such relationships in its “Fourth National Assessment” the USGCRP has ignored is responsibilities to Congress and to the American public.

When presenting the graph of “Radiative forcing by emissions and drivers” by the IPCC Shaviv comments:


“This is the contribution to the radiative forcing from different components, as summarized in the IPCC AR5. As you can see, it is claimed that the solar contribution is minute (tiny gray bar). In reality, we can use the oceans to quantify the solar forcing and see that it was probably larger than the CO2 contribution (large light brown bar).


“Any attempt to explain the 20th century warming should therefore include this large forcing. When doing so, one finds that the sun contributed more than half of the warming, and climate has to be relatively insensitive. How much? Only 1 to 1.5°C per CO2 doubling, as opposed to the IPCC range of 1.5 to 4.5. This implies that without doing anything special, future warming will be around another 1 degree over the 21st century, meeting the Copenhagen and Paris goals.


“The fact that the temperature over the past 20 years has risen significantly less than IPCC models, should raise a red flag that something is wrong with the standard picture.


“I should also add that science is not a democracy. The majority is not necessarily right! You should also be careful and make the distinction between evidence for warming and evidence for warming by humans. There is in fact no evidence for the latter. Last, people may frighten you with secondary climate effects associated with global warming, on the sea level, cryosphere, droughts floods or economic effects. However, if the underlying climate model is fundamentally wrong, all the ensuing predictions are irrelevant.


“The fear of global warming, and with it the denouncement of any other voice, is now part of our Zeitgeist. However instead of blindly flowing [going] with the flow, we should stop for a minute and think before we waste so much of our precious public resources. Maybe we will find out the that the emperor has new [no] clothes.”

Some have dismissed the solar impact because solar activity fell during the 1990s, yet surface and atmospheric temperatures rose, peaking in 1998. Shaviv states:

“First, even if the sun was the only climate driver (which I never said is the case), this anti-correlation would not have contradicted it. Following this simple logic, we could have ruled out that the sun is warming us during the day because between noon and say 2pm, when it is typically warmest, the amount of solar radiation decreases while the temperature increases. Similarly, one could rule out the sun as our source of warmth because maximum radiation is obtained in June while July and August are typically warmer. Over the period of a month or more, solar radiation decreases but the temperature increases! The reason behind this behavior is of course the finite heat capacity of the climate system.”

We must remember that the globe’s climate system is composed of two fluids in chaotic motion changing at different rates. There is no logical reason to assume the impact of the sun’s radiance on earth will immediately change with the solar changes.

Later in this post, Shaviv discusses sensitivity analyses he published in 2005 showing that if the Svensmark Hypothesis is correct, that solar activity changes cloudiness through cosmic ray modulation, the impact of a doubling of CO2 is even less than 1 to 1.5°C as stated above. To those who claim that the Svensmark Hypothesis is mere correlations Shaviv states:

“To begin with, if the correlations were just spurious, then there would have been no reason for them to continue, but since the analysis that gave the above graph was published, a new one based on 2 more solar cycles worth of satellite altimetry [measurements] was published as well. If the first correlation was a mere fluke, then there should be no reason for the correlation to continue, but they very clearly do.”

The written statement Shaviv presented neatly summarizes his findings:

1. “There is no direct evidence demonstrating that large CO2 variations cause large temperature variations. There is evidence for the opposite.


2. The two arguments used by the IPCC to “prove” the catastrophic AGW picture are flawed—warming over the 20th century is not unique, while the claim that there is nothing else to explain the 20th century warming is simply wrong.


3. There are many other pseudo-arguments which are simply irrelevant. This includes the often-heard appeal to authority (the 97% claim) as well as arguments based on evidence for warming, which is not evidence for warming by humans.


4. The sun has a large but ignored effect on the climate. With it, one obtains a consistent picture for 20th century climate change, one in which more than half of the 20th century is due to solar activity increase and in which climate sensitivity [to CO2] is low (and consistent with empirical data).


5. The low climate sensitivity implies that future climate warming will be benign and within the goals set by the Copenhagen and Paris summits without having to take particular steps. One has to rethink how much resources we wish to spend on the problem which is much more benign than commonly believed.”

The USGCRP has no excuse for ignoring this science in its reports, such as the Fourth National Assessment. The science was readily available, all the USGCRP needed to do was a little basic research. See links under Science: Is the Sun Rising?


Atmospheric Trends: The Global Temperature Report by Earth System Science Center at University of Alabama in Huntsville is out for November 2018. These reports cover the atmosphere above vast areas for which there are no surface-air instruments. The data starts in December 1978 and shows a warming trend with significant variation. The beginning of the record had significant volcanoes which cause a cooling of the atmosphere.

Since 1998, the record has been dominated by El Niño, which cause a warming by adding water vapor into the atmosphere. Water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas and additional water vapor will have a significant influence in the polar regions. The Arctic is warming as one may expect, but the Antarctic is not. Next month will complete forty years of records. It will be interesting to see that report. See links under Measurement Issues – Atmosphere.


Including That Which Does Not Exist: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issued a statement: “The long-term warming trend has continued in 2018, with the average global temperature set to be the fourth highest on record. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years…” It was accompanied by a globe showing warming in areas for which there are no instruments to measure temperatures. These imaginary measurements cover the Antarctic and the parts of South America, Africa and Asia as well as vast stretches of oceans.

Paul Homewood has a second globe showing the areas actually covered by surface-air instruments in the “Global Temperature and Precipitation Maps.” The WMO report can be considered to be a propaganda piece for the 24th Conference of Parties which has started in Katowice, Poland, another international conference by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up, After Paris! – Policy, and After Paris! – COP 24 and Beyond.


The Other 97%: Few climate claims are a silly as the pollsters who claim 97% of scientists agree that humans are the primary cause of climate change (or CO2 is the primary cause). George Gallup spent a lifetime trying to remove the influence of the pollster from his polls. Even he made the mistake of claiming in 1948 that Dewey would beat Truman, because he did not realize the bias that the use of telephones would introduce in a poll.

In creating the 97% myth, the pollsters deliberately introduced a bias, by “evaluating” the responses. For example, Nir Shaviv was ranked as one of the 97%, which he promptly denied. Are those rioting in France wearing yellow vests from mandatory automobile safety kits part of the 97% who are not “climate scientists?” See links under Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes.


Largest Find in the US? The USGS has issued its estimates of the recoverable amounts of oil and gas in the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring Formation in the Permian Basin,


“Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey assessed undiscovered, technically recoverable continuous mean resources of 46.3 billion barrels of oil and 281 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Wolfcamp shale and Bone Spring Formation of the Delaware Basin in the Permian Basin Province, southeast New Mexico and west Texas.”

This is the largest continuous find in US history. But it should be noted that it includes the “source rock” not just an easily recoverable dome of oil and gas. See links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?


Simon Abundance Index: Researchers at the CATO Institute have developed “The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources” named after Julian Simon. The author of “The Ultimate Resource,” Simon believed: “As population increases, the time-price of most commodities will get cheaper for most people, most of the time. Unfortunately, most people will assume the opposite.” Simon objected to the idea that the US was running out of oil and natural gas. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.


Biological Plasticity: the CO2 Science review of papers includes one addressing claims that:

“CO2-induced climate change has been projected to negatively impact animals by causing temperature-induced mismatches between breeding (birth/hatching) and the availability of food resources, ultimately leading to lower rates of animal survival. Yet the validity of such projections remains an open topic for debate; for it has also been projected that animals have inherent phenotypic plasticity that can minimize or nullify the predicted mismatches arising from climate change.”

The study on Canada Goose egg laying data and various environmental variables found that geese adapt. This should not be a surprise considering the drastic changes in climate as the earth came out of the last Ice Age, particularly the sudden cooling and warming during the Younger Dryas about 11,700 to 12,900 years ago. See links under Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science


Additions and Corrections: Last week TWTW misspelled Fred Singer and Jule Charney. We thank those who caught these errors.


Number of the Week: Minus 211,000 bb/d. For the week ending November 30, the EIA reported the US imported Minus 211,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products. The US was a net exporter for the first time since 1949. The climate and energy models based on 1970s assumptions need to be revised. The energy models have been updated, the climate models have not.


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1. A Warming Climate Brings New Crops to Frigid Zones

Longer growing seasons help lead northern farmers to plow up forests for crops such as corn that were once hard to grow in chilly territories

By Jacob Bunge, WSJ, Nov 25, 2018


SUMMARY: As may be expected, the author discusses that forests in Canada are being converted to farm land, as growing seasons expand. What is very interesting is the following:

A decade ago, Monsanto’s fastest-growing corn needed about 80 days to mature for harvesting, said Dan Wright, who oversees Bayer’s Canadian corn and soybean research from Guelph, Ontario. Next year, he aims to begin selling corn that will mature in 70 days, targeting farmers in places like Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Red Deer, Alberta. For corn and soybeans, the company’s two biggest crops by sales, he said, such areas represent the ‘edge opportunity.’”

Modern agriculture requires a shorter growing season than crops years ago. This is similar to what applies in Brazil, where crops are growing in regions long considered too hot for crops. The UN-IPCC and the USGCRP totally miss such changes in agriculture.


2. What Works? Reason alone is not sufficient.

It’s easier to tell a story of good vs. evil than to understand the science.

By Holman Jenkins, WSJ, Dec 4, 2018


The journalist writes:

“There are lessons in the media’s psychiatric moment last week over the newly published U.S. National Climate Assessment.


“Let’s give the New York Times credit. It was braver than just about every other news organization when it said, in its lead sentence, the “damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.”


“I can’t figure out where the Times got this, but it’s the difference between, say, 2% and 1.86% annual growth over the next 82 years and happens to be about right. How does this justify the dire adjectives it was swathed in? It doesn’t. I suspect that’s why every other news report, including the Journal’s, relied on adjectives alone rather than giving numbers—because the numbers just aren’t that alarming.


“What does the National Climate Assessment actually say? In 2090 the U.S. will experience annual climate-related costs of $500 billion. Notice that $500 billion, to echo a widespread misinterpretation of the Times report, is not 10% even of today’s economy (it’s 2.5%). It’s 10% of 1971’s economy.”


Jenkins then discusses the supporting views of Stephen Koonin presented in last week’s TWTW and goes on:

“Weirder still, I saw not one news report that ventured to say what the expected temperature would be in 2090. Maybe that’s because doing so would reveal that these relatively bearable costs arise under a worst-case scenario for emissions, known as RCP 8.5, which would further undercut the media’s hysterical adjectives. This is a shame because all such studies, including the new U.S. assessment, show that the biggest threat to climate is a lack of prosperity.


“In fact, RCP 8.5 is a model of emissions under conditions of economic stagnation. Trade, technology, global wealth and global per capita income stagnate. Demographic transitions to slower population growth don’t occur. Fracking is essentially uninvented. Countries burn impossible amounts of coal because that’s the only resource they have access to.


“Notice how important these assumptions are. It’s a mouthful, but here’s what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says: “The second-to-lowest RCP” [with about half the emissions of RCP 8.5] is “consistent with a baseline scenario that assumes a global development that focuses on technological improvements and a shift to service industries but does not aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a goal in itself” (emphasis added).


“That is, a fast-growing world is greener even if it’s not trying to cut carbon.


“Unfortunately the environmentalist left has only itself to blame for the developed world’s (not including the U.S.) wholesale flight in the wrong direction. In France, the target of the rioters may be a new fuel tax, implemented by the government as a gesture of climate virtue. But as every news account tells us, what really is bringing them into the streets is 30 years of slow growth and chronic joblessness caused by towering taxes and antibusiness regulation.


“Put aside scientific uncertainties, which we haven’t talked about. The clear lesson of last week’s U.S. government report and every other official assessment is that climate change is not the end of the world. We can handle the cost and we can also handle the cost of avoiding a portion of climate change through sensible tax policy. (It should not be necessary at this point to rehearse the case for a carbon tax that is simultaneously pro-growth and anti-carbon.)


“Unfortunately the U.S. media have become a positive hindrance to public understanding. Consider that systemization of banality known as Axios. Last week it told its presumably politically engaged readership that the way to “be smart” about climate change is to understand that ‘In climate science, one side is the scientific consensus, and the other is a small but vocal faction of people trying to fight it.’


“In other words, reduce everything to a binary question of believers vs. deniers, good guys vs. bad guys. Here’s the sad truth: This narrative is mostly an invention of journalists for their own convenience. It relieves them of having to understand a complicated subject.

“I’m not trying to be funny. Over the past 15 or 20 years, the climate beat has been handed over to reporter-activists who’ve decided that climate science is impenetrable but at least nobody ever got fired for exaggerating the risks of climate change.


“Their ignorant crisis-babble is why electorates everywhere now believe climate and prosperity are necessarily at odds. Every study, including the U.S. government’s latest, shows the opposite: Continued prosperity is essential to mitigating the risks of climate change.”


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