Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #351

The Week That Was: March 9, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

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

Quote of the Week: “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.” – Richard Feynman

Number of the Week: 220 times more

Rising Seas – At Sea, or Shore? The latest Summary for Policymakers of its full Assessment Report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC, AR-5, SPM, 2014) declared that sea level rise is accelerating. Numerous studies have come out in support of that view. As shown in the 2008 report of the Nongovernment International Panel for Climate Change (NIPCC, 2008), with the ending of the last Ice Age about 18,000 to 20,000 years ago, sea levels have risen about 400 feet (120 meters). At first, the rise was slow, then rapid, then for the past several thousand years slowing to about 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20 cm) per century. There is some question about the variation during the Little Ice Age and the period following it called the industrial period since 1850.

AR-5 claimed a strong relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and surface temperatures with increasing emissions are causing a significant rise in surface temperatures. The implied relationship is not found in 40 years of comprehensive satellite measurements of temperature trend estimates in atmosphere where greenhouse gases cause warming. As suggested by William Happer in 2011, a doubling of CO2 may cause a warming of one-degree C (2F), far less than the three-degrees C, or more, claimed by the IPCC.

The IPCC report predicted / projected an increase in sea level rise of 0.2 meters to 0.95 meters by 2100 (8 to 37 inches), depending on CO2 emissions. This is a jump of five times the rate of increase for several thousand years. Since the IPCC prediction / projection, a great deal of effort has been made in discovering an acceleration in sea level rise. One of the more promising method has been using satellite measurements of sea levels.

However, these measurements have several significant issues. The major issue is that due to shift from land to water and changing tides and wave action, satellite measurements cannot be calibrated using historic tidal gauges. Estimates taken in the middle of the oceans vary due to waves, weather patterns, long-term wind patterns, etc. Tidal gauges in the western part of the Pacific Ocean show significant variation lasting years or decades due to wind patterns. Thus, the best guide to future sea levels in a coastal region is to use local tidal gauges adjusted for a minor increase for time – say 7 to 8 inches per century, as stated in the 2008 report of the Nongovernment International Panel for Climate Change (NIPCC, 2008).

The latest reports (Aug 8, 2018) from NOAA Tides and Currents Section supports such a view. The reports state:

“The variations in sea level trends seen here primarily reflect differences in rates and sources of vertical land motion. Areas experiencing little-to-no change in relative sea level are illustrated in green, including stations consistent with average global sea level rise rate of 1.7-1.8 mm/yr.” [about 7 inches per century, Boldface added]

When discussing tidal gauges in Tidewater Virginia, which is sinking, the reports state:

“Stations illustrated with positive sea level trends (yellow-to-red) are experiencing both global sea level rise, and lowering or sinking of the local land, causing an apparently exaggerated rate of relative sea level rise. Stations illustrated with negative trends (blue-to-purple) are experiencing global sea level rise and a greater vertical rise in the local land, causing an apparent decrease in relative sea level.” [Boldface added]

Claims of dramatic increases in sea level rise are without hard evidence. They are based on speculation and models that are poorly tested.

As discussed in previous TWTWs (e.g. Feb 23), many cities along the Coastal Plain and Gulf Coast of the US are sinking from ground water extraction and, possibly, in the Gulf from oil extraction. Claiming the sinking is from sea level rise is similar to the captain of the Titanic claiming his ship sank because the seas rose. The excuse hides the need to find alternatives to ground water extraction, such as desalination plants as being used in Carlsbad, California, based on Israeli technology. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC, Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy


National Security: Regardless of political affiliation or faction, it is disturbing to read some groups invoking patriotism to advance their political ideology. Such was done by the signers of a letter to President Trump defending the use of the “rigorously peer-reviewed National Climate Assessment and applying that to national security policy.” As TWTW has stated, there is little hard evidence supporting the National Climate Assessment, and much of what passes as evidence is speculation using long-term predictions / projections from climate models that fail to accurately describe what is occurring in the atmosphere, where the greenhouse gas effect occurs. If there is anything that needs rigorous re-assessment, it is the National Climate Assessment. It totally ignores the obligation of its authors to assess natural climate change – a glaring deficiency.

Perhaps even more disturbing is that the authors of the letter tried to wrap their views with the cloak of patriotism. Apparently, they are unaware of the famous 1775 quotation from Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Meanings vary, but one is that those who wish to deceive, often claim their motives are patriotic. The group wrote:

We support the science-driven patriots in our national security community who have rightly seen addressing climate change as a threat reduction issue, not a political one, since 1989.” [Boldface added]

Apparently, no one is questioning the patriotism of those who prepared threat analyses claiming carbon dioxide is a major threat to American security. What is questioned is the science. Where is the hard evidence?

Certainly, the green fleet on which the Navy spent hundreds of millions to fly jet planes on biofuels under former Secretary of the Navy Mabus, a signer of the letter, did little to lessen the Navy’s reliance on fuels. In fact, if implemented more fully, biofuels may increase a threat to the Navy. Aviation fuel, though not specific to Navy standards, is available world-wide. With no breakthrough in technology, biofuels depend largely on corn grown in the Midwest and Brazil, which would make supply lines more vulnerable, not less vulnerable.

Similarly, other signers of the letter promoted wind power, which is unreliable. How would relying on wind power improve any security dependent on electronics?

As Jerry Taylor, assisted by former Chief of Naval Operations Thomas Hayward, points out, the US has massive resources in coal, oil, and natural gas. How does abandoning these resources promote national security?

When President Reagan decided to question the common belief, well-established among government agencies, that the economy of the Soviet Union was comparable to that of the US, many claimed that Reagan was wrong. However, few claimed that the questioning of the common belief was contrary to national security as the signees of the current letter do:

“Let’s drop the politics, and allow our national security and science agencies to do their jobs.”

Reagan proved to be right, underscoring that the concepts used to prepare national security estimates need to be challenged frequently, particularly if the concepts are based on computer models in a field in which information is changing constantly, such as climate science. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.


A Different Letter: In part, prompted by the above-mentioned letter, a number of independent scientists and others are proposing a different letter be sent to President Trump. The different letter calls for an independent review into the National Climate Assessment, particularly as it applies to the published National Threat Assessment.

Such a letter could point out that the basis for current alarm is the 1979 Charney Report, which stated the speculation of the participants, particularly that of the climate modelers. Since then, we have had a dramatic increase in the types and quality of information available regarding the atmosphere and greenhouse gases such as CO2. The new information is rendering the assumptions and speculation in the Charney Report out-of-date to the point that the assumptions have become a myth embraced by those who ignore advancing science. The major myths are

· CO2 is a pollutant. In fact, CO2 is greatly benefiting the planet by enriching plant production. (The CO2 Coalition has a new pamphlet on this.)

· CO2 is causing dire global warming endangering human lives. Increasing CO2 is causing a modest warming making the planet more livable.

· CO2 is causing more severe storms, etc. There is no hard evidence, instead the best evidence indicates that increasing CO2 may cause a decrease in storm severity by lessening the temperature differential between the tropics and the polar regions.

· CO2 is causing dire sea level rise. As discussed above, there is no hard evidence of this.

· CO2 is acidifying the oceans. CO2 may cause a slight decline in pH of oceans, but it is promoting the symbiotic relationship between plants and corals, which is needed for growth of corals. One only needs to look at the age of the White Cliffs of Dover and other extensive lime deposits to realize great quantities of limestone, and similar coral deposits, were formed during the ages of significant atmospheric CO2.

Of course, SEPP is strongly in favor of such a letter, but cannot endorse it because of a potential conflict of interest. The proposed head of such an independent review is Will Happer, a friend of SEPP Chairman emeritus Fred Singer and other members of SEPP’s board. This is especially disappointing, because Happer is an expert in atomic, molecular, and optical physics, fields needed to understand the greenhouse effect and missing in climate science. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Change in US Administrations, and Social Benefits of Carbon Dioxide.


The Greenhouse Effect: In the last two issues, TWTW discussed the major natural greenhouse gases, their general influence, how data are collected on their influence in the atmosphere, and how data are compiled making it meaningful for researchers. This section was planned to discuss, in general, what happens in the atmosphere as outgoing infrared energy flows from the surface of the earth to space. However, the discussion was too obtuse, or as one reader wrote, not sufficiently clear before the second cup of coffee. We will have a detailed discussion about the science involved in a later TWTW; meanwhile we have a few notes.

Unfortunately, many commentators credit Svante Arrhenius with the discovery. In 1896, Arrhenius made careful calculations of what he estimated to be the effect of a doubling of CO2 needed to explain the Ice Ages. About 10 years later, Arrhenius wrote a second paper (referenced later), effectively reducing his calculations of the greenhouse effect from CO2. Apparently, Arrhenius never fully grasped the concept of greenhouse gases. The second paper by Arrhenius is ignored by proponents of CO2-caused global warming.

The key issue is how outgoing infrared radiation excites greenhouse gas molecules and how these molecules interfere with the radiation reaching space.



Hurricanes Intensifying: Judith Curry has finished the next to last part of her seven-part series about possible human cause for hurricanes intensifying, becoming more frequent, etc. Other than Hurricane Harvey, with its unusual flooding of the Houston area of Texas when it stalled, she found no basis for assuming humans have interfered with hurricanes. As she states:

“Convincing detection and attribution of individual extreme weather events such as hurricanes requires:

· a very long time series of high-quality observations of the extreme event

· an understanding of the variability of extreme weather events associated with multi-decadal ocean oscillations, which requires at least a century of observations

· climate models that accurately simulate both natural internal variability on timescales of years to centuries and the extreme weather events”

Simply put, the data for conclusions do not exist. Unfortunately, for some, as long as the data don’t exist to contradict, let’s predict! See links under Changing Weather.


Germany’s Auto Industry: Paul Homewood had a very interesting post on the importance of the auto industry to Germany. According to the graph in the article on “Industrial Composition of Germany’s Economy,” Automaking was the largest industry by far in 2017 at 696 billion euros up almost 90% since 2007. Retail was second at 339 billion up less than 30% since 2007. Medical, chemicals; engineering are way down the list and growing slowly. The growth of this industry is critical to Germany. Restricting CO2 emissions jeopardizes the industry.

As the CO2 Coalition states in its new pamphlet, fossil fuels are critical to the US, and CO2 emissions are greatly the environment. Our nation is prospering using the power of fossil fuels and the products from fossil fuels. It seems as if those claiming CO2 emissions are dangerous to humanity and a threat to this nation’s security do not know not of what they speak. See links under Benefits of Carbon Dioxide, Questioning European Green, and Article # 1.


Number of the Week: 220 Times: According to IPCC advocate Neville Nicholls, Professor Emeritus, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, Australia: “in 2015 over 15,000 scholarly papers were published with the topic of ‘climate change’, ‘greenhouse effect’, or ‘global warming’ as the topic.” “In 1988, the year the IPCC was established, only 68 scholarly articles published on these topics. With such strong and growing media and expert interest, how can we fail?’

This is an increase of 220 times in the number of papers published on the subject. Yet, during the 27 years covered, the official estimates of the effect of a doubling of CO2 did not change and the error range of the estimates remained the same. Is there a problem with the science? See links under Below the Bottom Line.



Story of the Year

You have to be obtuse to stare at this jobs record and pretend it isn’t happening.

By Daniel Henninger, WSJ, Mar 6, 2019


SUMMARY: The journalist writes:

“The great political challenge of our time is sorting out what matters from what’s just chatter. The din of distracting statistical noise is overwhelming. A Democratic governor named Inslee announces he’s going to run for the U.S. presidency on one issue—climate change. Days later, the real president delivers a speech of immeasurable length to a conference of conservatives about pretty much everything rattling around in his head. The new week dawns with a Democratic House committee chairman named Nadler demanding that 81 of the president’s ‘associates’ provide him with a document dump.

“Serious people would like to believe something real in politics is going on. The good news is . . . something is.

“This past weekend, The Wall Street Journal published a series of stories titled ‘Inside the Hottest Job Market in Half a Century.’ As far as I’m concerned, this jobs record is the story of the year. The Journal’s articles transformed a year of economic data into the new daily reality of getting paid to work in America.

“‘All sorts of people who have previously had trouble landing a job are now finding work,’ the Journal reported. ‘Racial minorities, those with less education and people working in the lowest-paying jobs are getting bigger pay raises and, in many cases, experiencing the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded for their groups. They are joining manufacturing workers, women in their prime working years, Americans with disabilities and those with criminal records, among others, in finding improved job prospects after years of disappointment.’

“Example: A 23-year-old woman, Cassandra Eaton, a high-school graduate and single mother who was working for about $8 an hour at a day-care center in Biloxi, Miss., is doing now what previously would have been unimaginable. She’s an apprentice welder making $20 an hour at a shipyard in Pascagoula.

The unemployment rate for high-school dropouts, a status many depressing books and studies show puts one close to the bottom of the barrel for getting ahead in America, is 5%. Their median wages the past year rose 6%.

“An ex-con named James O. Wilson, who got a job in 2017 with FedEx in Indianapolis, is today making more than $16 an hour, has a house and a wife, and says, ‘I want FedEx to say, ‘Do you have any more people like him?’ ‘

Let’s cut to the chase. From left to right, socialist or conservative, most of a nation’s political debates are ultimately about one thing: making life better for people. Whatever else that may mean, it first requires giving people something to do with their daily lives—work, a job. Which is to say, aspiration and opportunity.

“If what has happened inside the U.S. labor market the past two years doesn’t qualify as the point of all this effort, those of us in and around politics might as well pack it in.

“A great value of the Journal’s articles on the historic top-to-bottom jobs market is that for most people this establishes a baseline of observable, undeniable reality.

“‘Most people,’ however, does not include large swaths of the professional political class. Because the jobs story overlaps almost precisely with the policies of a U.S. presidency occupied by you-know-who, the reality outside their windows must be denied.

“Start with the Democrats, whose response to the new jobs market borders on the comical: Create a new top personal tax rate of 70%, a higher corporate tax rate, a circa-1933 jobs program doing things for the environment and free health care. If none of that works, impeach the president.

“It’s no surprise that Mike Bloomberg, a Democratic capitalist, chose not to compete with the crew running for the party’s presidential nomination, while former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, one of the great job creators of his generation, shuns the Democrats to run as an independent.

“More interesting is the internal debate among conservatives and Republicans.

“In recent years, a group know as Reformicons has argued that the Reagan-era policy mix of tax cuts, deregulation and economic growth is no longer relevant to the needs and anxieties of the U.S. middle class. Instead, their policy alternatives include targeted government interventions, such as wage subsidies, to supplement middle-class incomes. These ideas are often associated with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

“One notices that most of the Reformicon arguments emerged from 2014 to 2016—before the Reagan-era, supply-side policies of the Trump presidency were passed into law or implemented. In 2019, the idea that tax reductions, public-sector deregulation and growth are no longer relevant to the needs of the middle class is provably and demonstrably false.

“It requires a remarkable degree of obtuseness to stare at the policy success of the past two years and pretend it hasn’t happened. Democrats are doing exactly that. Conservatives should pocket the Trump presidency’s Reaganesque policies for massively matching job producers with job seekers. There is plenty left for them to do without trying to reinvent the wheel.”



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