Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup # 372

The Week That Was August 17, 2019, By Ken Haapala, President SEPP

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

Quote of the Week: “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”—Soren Kierkegaard [H/t William Readdy]

Number of the Week: 22 Years

Censorship: Solar physicist Nir Shaviv reluctantly granted science journalist Doron Levin an interview, although Shaviv was skeptical that it would be published. A similar interview to a reporter for Bloomberg was reject by its editorial board. Leven assured Shaviv that Forbes would publish the interview online. It did – for a few hours. The interview was an immediate hit. Then, Forbes yanked the report with the statement:

“After review, this post has been removed for failing to meet our editorial standards.

“We are providing our readers the headline, author and first paragraphs in the interest of transparency.

“We regret any inconvenience.”

Shaviv strongly supports the Svensmark hypothesis and has co-authored papers with Svensmark. The key issue is that Shaviv considers that the increase in solar irradiation in the 20th century contributed one-half to two-thirds of estimated 20th century warming. These estimates are in direct contrast to the orthodox view expressed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its supporters who claim that the role of the sun in climate change is minor, miniscule, compared to carbon dioxide (CO2). To his credit, the journalist involved wrote up the incident and the offending passages, which were posted on the Global Warming Policy Forum.

In demonstrating its support of the climate orthodoxy, “Forbes” substituted an article by Marshall Shepherd, past president of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). The opening paragraph states:

As a climate scientist, I hear my share of myths about what is causing climate change or why it is a ‘hoax.’ I call them ‘zombie theories’ because they just will not die. They persist in blogs, certain networks, and social media like zombies long after scientists have killed them off. I debunked 20 of them in a previous article in Forbes. The ‘sun and its variability’ is one that makes the rounds. I am pretty sure I’ve had to spray ‘climate science repellent’ on that nagging ‘mosquito’ numerous times. This week I heard of a variation of this myth involving cosmic rays. Here is a science-based debunking of the solar-cosmic ray myth.

Shaviv does not take the bait and go into a name calling contest. Instead he presents hard observational evidence supporting his views and contradicting Shepherd’s views and those of the IPCC. One of the strongest pieces of evidence is a graph of over eighty years, from about 1915 to 2005 showing the relationship between Sea Level Change Rate (mm/year) and changes in the Reconstructed Solar Constant (watts per square meter).). The sea level change rate is from stable tidal gages. As the oceans heat, they expand; as they cool, they contract. The relationship of the changes is quite dramatic.

Shaviv presents a graph showing the relationship between sea levels based on satellite altimetry (minus the linear trend) and a model which includes the solar cycle plus the El Niño Southern Oscillation. Again, the relationship is very strong. [Note: those attempting to establish that sea level rise is increasing would do well to examine these relationships, but it is doubtful that they will. Also, since sea level change cannot cause significant changes in the solar constant, this analysis does not fall into the trap Al Gore did with ice cores showing CO2 and temperatures, where he confused the timing of the changes.]

Shaviv then modifies a standard IPCC graph to show what his evidence indicates is the real solar contribution over the 20th century and the total forcing, natural and anthropogenic. He effectively dismisses the arguments that the solar effects should be instantaneous by stating that the hottest time of the day is usually after high noon, and the hottest month of the season is usually after the summer solstice.

A big issue with the IPCC and its followers dismissing the solar influence is the heat capacity of the oceans. As Shaviv states:

… “As a Professor of meteorology, Prof. Shepherd should know about the heat capacity of the oceans such that assuming that the global temperature is something times the CO2 forcing plus something else times the solar forcing is too much of a simplification.

“Instead, one can and should simulate the 20th century, and beyond, and see that when taking the sun into account, it explains about 1/2 to 2/3s of the 20th century warming, and that the best climate sensitivity is around 1 to 1.5°C per CO2 doubling (compared with the 1.5 to 4.5°C of the IPCC). Two points to note here. First, although the best estimate of the solar radiative forcing is a bit less than the combined anthropogenic forcing, because it is spread more evenly over the 20th century, its contribution is larger than the anthropogenic contribution the bulk of which took place more recently. That’s why the best fit gives that the solar contribution is 1/2 to 2/3s of the warming. Second, the reason that the best fit requires a smaller climate sensitivity is because the total net radiative forcing is about twice larger. This implies that a smaller sensitivity is required to fit the same observed temperature increase.”

Shaviv then gives the results of a model by Ziskin and Shaviv and compares it with the global climate models used by the IPCC. He compares the IPCC version 5 models with satellite data by both UAH and RSS and reanalysis data. He demonstrates that the Ziskin and Shaviv model more closely matches atmospheric data than others, except for the one from the Institute of Numerical Mathematics in Moscow. Shaviv concludes:

“Namely, our predictions are totally consistent with the satellite (RSS / UAH, whichever you prefer) and the Reanalyses datasets. Remember, this was obtained for a model which included the real solar contribution which requires a small climate sensitivity.

“Shepherd also mentions that the link through cosmic ray flux variations has been debunked. I point the reader to a summary of why those attacks don’t hold any water, which I wrote yesterday.

“To summarize, Shepherd did not debunk the solar forcing. His arguments are defunct. Unless he comes up with a very good explanation to the first graph above, he should instead advocate taking solar forcing into account. The fact that Forbes hushes up any possibility for having a scientific debate should be considered truly bothersome by anyone who values free speech and scientific debate. Truth will prevail irrespectively.”

Shaviv gives a list of publications in respected journals that are generally ignored by the IPCC and its followers, especially by the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) in its Fourth National Assessment. It is clear that the IPCC and the USGCRP are political, not scientific. They do not adhere to the scientific method.

Out of the sordid action of censorship, those skeptical of the claim that CO2 is the primary cause of global warming have an excellent summary of the solar influences on climate to refer to, to the extent they are understood today. See links under Science: Is the Sun Rising? and Censorship.


Nature’s Authority: “Nature, Communications” published “Discrepancy in scientific authority and media visibility of climate change scientists and contrarians.” In the title one can recognize a distinct disconnect. In science, there are no authorities; there are only experts, and they do not always agree. However, there is a recognized procedure, the rigorous application of the scientific method, which is an ongoing process. Since CO2-caused global warming skeptics, contrarians, don’t recognize an authority, particularly the IPCC and its followers; there is no reason for them to adhere to their prescriptions other than for personal gain.

The foolishness of the article is well discussed by Judith Curry, Christopher Monckton, and others. It is amusing to note that a list ranked various individuals, the top 25 names include Fred Singer and the late Bob Carter; Singer was founder of SEPP and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), and Carter was an editor of NIPCC reports. Also, though the late Frederick Seitz is ranked lower down, four of the six recipients of the Fredrick Seitz Memorial Award are in the top 25: Roy Spencer, Richard Lindzen, John Christy, and Willie Soon.

The award is given annually to a person “For exceptional courage in the quest for knowledge.” It was created to recognize the unsung heroes who rigorously apply the scientific method. It rewards scholars for having the courage to “swim against the tide” of conventional thinking despite the financial and professional disincentives. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.


Teen Brain Needed? Time Magazine had a foolish article on “Why Your Brain Can’t Process Climate Change.” The thrust is that during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination, certain parts of the brain respond to different stimuli. For teenagers, the prefrontal cortex, the big part of the brain that separates humans from other mammals is not well used, while the part of the brain that responds personal needs is. The author uses this and asserts:

“How we choose to value future generations will help decide what we should do now about existential risks. This is especially true for climate change, which demands action in the present to avert devastation that will largely be felt in the future, perhaps after many of us now alive are dead.”

Thus, the argument is that mature adults need to listen to teenagers when it comes to climate change or any other long-term threats.

Rather than consulting futurists and others who believe in “climate collapse” without hard evidence, the author would have done well by consulting Health Encyclopedia of the University of Rochester Medical Center on the teen brain. It reads:

“Understanding the Teen Brain

“It doesn’t matter how smart teens are or how well they scored on the SAT or ACT. Good judgment isn’t something they can excel in, at least not yet.

“The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.

“In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.

“In teen’s brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing—and not always at the same rate. That’s why when teens have overwhelming emotional input, they can’t explain later what they were thinking. They weren’t thinking as much as they were feeling.” [Boldface and underline added.]

It is not becoming emotionally alarmed that is important. But understanding the cause of the alarm, and what to rationally do about the cause of the alarm, that are important. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal, and Other News that May Be of Interest.


Propaganda Props: Advertising has long used children to promote the message. It can be seen on television every day with varying degrees of success. It has long been used in politics. Lyndon Johnson’s Presidential Campaign used a young child playing in the foreground with a nuclear bomb exploding in the background to paint his opponent, Barry Goldwater, as a war monger. Many supporters found the ad deplorable.

The same may apply for CO2 alarmists using children as props to support their arguments, be it species extinction, litigation efforts, or symbolic sailing. The arguments are failing, because the evidence is weak. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Use Children for Propaganda.


July 2019 – Hottest Since 1880: Newspaper headlines have blared that NOAA declared that July 2019 “was the hottest month measured on Earth since records began in 1880.” “Last month’s temperatures narrowly topped the previous July record, set in 2016, by 0.03 C (0.05 F).” The precision of one-hundreds of a degree is highly questionable, and not really possible before satellites – yet NOAA ignores satellite temperature records. Also interesting is where the instruments located in 1880? In Greenland?

Little was known about the interior of Greenland until the 1880s. The great Swedish explorer of the Arctic, Nordenskiold, thought the center of Greenland was a huge ice-free valley. In 1883 he tried to discover it, but failed, and only got about 73 miles in from the coast on the West. His scouts went farther but found no valley and reported the ice continued to rise to the east.

In 1888, the great Norwegian explorer, later statesman, Fridtjof Nansen and his party climbed the high mountains on the East and skied across Southern Greenland. They reached an estimated altitude of 2,700 meters (8,900 ft) above sea level and found no valley. TWTW is seeking any evidence of NOAA weather stations in the interior of Greenland in 1880, supporting the claim in the newspaper headlines. See links under Measurement Issues – Surface.


Homogenization: One of the highly questionable practices undertaken by NOAA and NASA-GISS, the practice called Homogenization. Paul Homewood posted an excellent video by Tony Heller demonstrating how this practice can greatly distort surface temperature records, making the claims of records dating back to 1880 even more questionable. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


The Greenhouse Effect – Solar: As stated above, Nir Shaviv estimates that once the influence of changing solar intensity is accounted for, his estimate of a temperature increase due to a doubling of CO2 is 1 to 1.5°C (2 to 3°F) as compared with the 1.5 to 4.5°C of the IPCC (3 to 8°F). The difference is enormous when considering the purported dangers of increasing CO2.

Shaviv’s estimate is very close to the estimates of John Christy and his colleagues and William van Wijngaarden and his colleagues. Each group uses a different approach using different datasets. We can expect even more strident objections and claims from the IPCC and its followers as their exaggeration is being exposed by the use of the scientific method.

Of course, we can expect even more extravagant exaggerations from those who are profiting from damaging policies undertaken by misguided politicians. See links under Questioning Green and Energy Issues.




The voting is closed and the winner who most closely meets the qualification is being selected. No missing shards here, one hopes.


Number of the Week: 22 Years: Shaviv asserts the solar cycle is really about 22 years, not the 11 years as generally used. The sun changes polarity after every cycle, and this changes its influence on cosmic rays, thus changing cloudiness. He states:

“Cloud cover varies over the 11-year solar cycle (e.g., reference 9 below). This by itself is not proof that the link is through cosmic rays, since there are several things that change with the solar cycle. However, one particularly interesting aspect is that the cloud cover variation are asymmetrical between odd and even cycles, just as cosmic rays are, and unlike other solar related variables that are blind to the fact that the real cycle is 22 years (Polarity returns back to the same state after two switches, hence, 22 years…”



1. A Kamikaze Climate Suit

Democratic states suing the EPA could hurt their own emissions cause.

Editorial, WSJ, Aug 16, 2019


SUMMARY by TWTW: The editorial opens by stating a key lawsuit may backfire. It explains:

“Twenty-two Democratic state Attorneys General and seven cities this week asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the Trump EPA’s CO2 emission rules for coal plants. The Clean Air Act directs the EPA to implement the “best system of emission reduction” for pollutants, which the agency has traditionally applied to individual power plants.

“The Obama EPA went further and required states to re-engineer their electric grids by replacing all coal and eventually natural gas with wind and solar. The Supreme Court in 2016 stopped the Obama power grab from being implemented as it likely exceeded the EPA’s legal authority and unconstitutionally commandeered the states.

“The result is that federal CO2 emission standards for power plants have been nonexistent. Last month the Trump EPA issued new regulations requiring states to implement the “best system of emission reduction” by making on-site efficiency improvements at coal plants. The rule gives states flexibility and won’t force them to prematurely close plants.

“Yet Democratic states complain in announcing their lawsuit that the “EPA’s rule rolls-back [the Obama] limits and will have virtually no impact on these emissions prolonging the nation’s reliance on polluting, expensive coal power plants and obstructing progress of states toward clean, renewable, and affordable electricity generation.” This is false in every respect.

The Trump rule will cover 600 coal-fired plants and cut emissions to 34% below 2005 levels—similar to what the Obama Clean Power Plan purported to achieve. As the Trump rule notes, ‘updated analysis shows the [Clean Power Plan] would have no effect on future CO2 emissions’ due to ‘current market trends.’

“Coal plants have struggled to compete with cheap natural gas and heavily subsidized renewables. As much coal power will be phased out during President Trump’s first three years in office as during Barack Obama ’s last three. Dozens of coal plants are slated to retire over the next few years regardless of government diktats.

“Yet some utilities and coal plant owners are currently investing in emission-control technologies to become more efficient and competitive. By giving coal a death sentence, the Obama rule would have halted these investments and coal emission reductions in the short term.

“Also note that energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 14% in the U.S. from 2005 to 2017 while increasing 21% globally. Most of the U.S. reduction was due to natural gas replacing coal. Carbon dioxide emissions fell five times more in Ohio and four times more in Pennsylvania between 2006 and 2016 than in California, which had long banished coal.

“Vacating the Trump rule wouldn’t reinstate the defunct Obama Clean Power Plan, but would instead produce a regulatory vacuum. Democrats may not have standing to sue since they won’t suffer a concrete harm from the Trump rule, and they remain free to impose climate mandates within their borders.

“Perhaps they hope the D.C. Circuit will enjoin the Trump rule and force EPA to issue more aggressive standards under the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA (2007) ruling, which required the agency to regulate CO2 as a pollutant. But the Court’s four conservatives who dissented said states lacked standing to sue and courts could not impel EPA to regulate CO2.

“In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that ‘the very concept of global warming seems inconsistent with this particularization requirement’ of standing since ‘global warming is a phenomenon ‘harmful to humanity at large,’ and the redress petitioners seek is focused no more on them than on the public generally—it is literally to change the atmosphere around the world.’

“Even some liberals warn that suing the Trump Administration could invite the Court’s new conservative majority to revisit Massachusetts v. EPA. Democratic states may be betting that President Trump won’t be around by the time the Court could consider his EPA’s new rule. But don’t be so sure if Democrats continue their anti-fossil fuel crusade.”


2. ‘Fraud in the Lab’ Review: Experiments in Doubt

Lapses of rigor, misleading methods, outright falsification: How common are the transgressions of research scientists?

By Sally Satel, WSJ, Aug 14, 2019


SUMMARY by TWTW: The psychiatrist and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute opens her review the book by stating

“Scientific misconduct is surely as old as scientific inquiry, but in the modern era the mainstream media took little notice of it before 1974. In that year, it flagged the case of a medical researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York who used a felt-tip pen to darken patches of purportedly black skin transplanted onto white mice. Within a couple of years, separately, the British psychologist Cyril Burt was posthumously found to have invented data to support his theory that IQ was largely inherited.

“Rocked by these and other revelations, the scientific community began devising mechanisms to detect dishonest scientists and hold them accountable. Almost half a century later, there are still problems, according to Nicolas Chevassus-au-Louis, a French investigative journalist and a former biomedical researcher. In ‘Fraud in the Lab,’ a compact book that is part exposé and part manifesto, he sets out to quantify what he calls an ‘epidemic’ of fraud that is international in scope, to describe its effects and to chart a path forward.

“Mr. Chevassus-au-Louis says that the most common fraud offenses fit into a category he cheekily labels ‘storytelling and beautification.’ They include a failure to report conflicting data and the use of misleading analytical methods. (‘Beautification’ can be almost literal at times: In 2012, a whistleblower in Japan revealed how ‘image retouching,’ in more than one scientific journal, had exaggerated the results in cell-biology studies.) Other maneuvers include redefining the hypothesis that guides an experiment after the results are in, a move that, retroactively, renders the experiment’s design less appropriate to what is being investigated and the results weaker than researchers may claim.

“How common are such transgressions? Most strikingly, Mr. Chevassus-au-Louis cites a 2009 review of 21 surveys asking scientists about their research conduct. A third of the respondents world-wide admitted to having committed ‘questionable research practices’ that fell somewhere between lapses of rigor and outright fraud. These integrity breaches are the broken windows of research: When ‘passively accepted in research circles,’ the author states, ‘they open the door to more serious misconduct.’

By ‘serious misconduct’ Mr. Chevassus-au-Louis means fabrication, falsification and plagiarism. Any one of these sins can result in the retraction, or public invalidation, of a published paper. Having a paper ‘pulled’ for fraud, as opposed to honest error, is the ultimate scarlet letter for a researcher and a professional tragedy for his unwitting collaborators.

“The proportion of retracted articles, Mr. Chevassus-au-Louis says, jumped 11-fold between 2001 and 2010. Although less than 1% of all scientific papers were retracted in that time, he believes that the percentage should be higher. He points to that 2009 survey-review, in which 2% of the scientist-respondents admitted that they have fabricated or falsified results at least once; 14% said that they knew of colleagues who had done so.

“The research universe has been further plagued, Mr. Chevassus-au-Louis notes, by the problem of reproducibility—a matter of special attention in the social sciences. The source of the trouble in many cases is a failure by the original authors to describe research methods in sufficient detail. To its credit, a concerned group of researchers led by a professor at the University of Virginia, in 2011, was able to persuade roughly 270 colleagues to repeat 100 published psychological studies to see if they could get the same experiment-results a second time around. Less than 40% of the studies that originally reported statistically significant results did so in the attempted replications.

“The ‘hard’ sciences are not immune from this problem. In 2011, Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company, found that it could fully replicate only 21% of the studies that had inspired it to launch its own research; soon after, Amgen, the biotech company, found that it could replicate only 11%. Some biotech start-ups are so wary of initial discoveries that do not hold up that they demand ‘reproducibility certificates’ (supplied by independent labs) before investing in projects.”

The article continues to discuss that scientific literature is deeply tainted and the efforts to improve it include implementing what the book author calls “the ethos of transparency.”


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