Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #377

The Week That Was: September 21, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

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

Quote of the Week – “When in doubt, always tell the truth. It will confuse your enemies and astound your friends!”—Mark Twain [H/t Will Happer]

Number of the Week: 250 Outlets

Climate Model Inflation: According to the “Centre national de la recherche scientifique”, a French government entity billed as the largest governmental research organisation in France and the largest fundamental science agency in Europe, climate models have been underestimating the worst case for an increase in temperatures from a doubling of carbon dioxide (CO2). In a news release it announced:

“The international climate science community is undertaking an extensive programme of numerical simulations of past and future climates. Its conclusions will contribute significantly to part one of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, which is expected to be published in 2021. The French scientists involved in the work, in particular at the CNRS, the CEA and Météo-France, were the first to submit their contributions, and they have now revealed the broad outlines of their findings. Specifically, their new models predict that warming by 2100 will be more severe than forecast in earlier versions. They are also making progress in describing climate at the regional level.

“French scientists working together in the CLIMERI-France2 platform participated in the World Climate Research Programme (CMIP6)3 using two climate models, one developed by the CNRM4 together with CERFACS5, and the other at the IPSL6. CMIP6 brings together over twenty climate centres around the world that have developed some thirty models.

“Simulations with the two new French models, as well as with models from other countries that are already available, predict that by 2100 warming will be more severe than that forecast in previous versions in 2012, especially for the most pessimistic emission scenarios. This could be explained by a more pronounced climate response to the increase in human-induced greenhouse gases than in the 2012 simulations. However, the reasons for this increased sensitivity and the degree of confidence to be attributed have yet to be assessed.

“In the most pessimistic scenario (SSP5 8.5 – rapid economic growth driven by fossil fuels), the rise in mean global temperature is likely to reach 6 to 7 °C by 2100, which is 1 °C higher than in previous estimates. Only one of the socio-economic scenarios (SSP1 1.9 – marked by strong international cooperation and giving priority to sustainable development) enables temperatures to remain below the 2°C global warming target, at the cost of very significant mitigation efforts and of temporarily exceeding this target during the course of the century.” [Boldface added. Note that the temperatures are expressed relative to pre-industrial temperatures and that 6 to 7 °C by 2100 converts to roughly 11 to 13 °F.]

Based on atmospheric temperature tends, the models overestimate past warming. How is it that they now underestimate future warming?

No doubt politicians and the press will emphasize this scenario, which has no basis in hard evidence. Experimental evidence shows the relationship between CO2 and temperature is logarithmic. A doubling of the current value of 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere to 800 ppm would require enormous amounts of fossil fuels. Observations and calculations show that a doubling of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and a modest increase in water vapor corresponding to the observed rise in temperatures in the atmosphere may increase temperatures by 1 to 1.5 °C (2 to 3 °F).

The physical explanation for this sudden increase projected by the French models may be a stronger positive feedback from increased atmospheric water vapor than the feedback speculated in the 1979 Charney Report. But that Charney feedback warming is yet to be found in the atmosphere, much less a stronger one.

It appears the only justification for this sudden change is based on model simulations, which can be meaningless. For example, in the mid-1970s the US government produced models used to claim the US would run out of oil and natural gas at the end of the 20th century. Almost 20 years after models projected it would run out of oil and gas, the US is a leading producer of oil and natural gas. One can run as many simulations of such models as one wishes, but model simulations will not stop US oil and gas production.

The scientific method is based on repeated testing of assumptions (hypotheses) against physical evidence gathered by physical experiments or rigorous observations. It appears that the French climate modelers are completely abandoning the scientific method for something beyond normal science. It will be interesting whether US climate modelers go along, including the National Science Foundation’s NCAR, NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Will they abandon the scientific method for something beyond normal science? If so, they will demonstrate they are not scientific organizations serving the interests of the American public. See links under Model Issues


Climate Propaganda Week: This week there will be numerous activities to celebrate the “fight against climate change” headed by the United Nations. Global temperatures been changing for hundreds of millions of years and atmospheric carbon dioxide has changed for hundreds of millions of years. But there is no strong relationship. However, the UN is proclaiming it can stabilize temperatures by controlling CO2 emissions. For evidence, the UN offers the results of speculative global climate models that fail basic tests on their ability to predict temperature trends in the atmosphere where the greenhouse effect occurs.

The week was preceded by children’s climate marches in many cities globally on September 20. The attendance was not impressive. In the US, more people attend football games on a fall Saturday or Sunday than appeared at the global climate marches on Friday.

The UN is making a major push to promote fear of CO2, and its motive is becoming transparent: $100 Billion per year into the Green Climate Fund that it controls. This will give the UN enormous financial control around the world. It has long desired independent sources of funding, without a need to justify its actions to national governments. The Green Climate Fund would deliver what the UN desires, but the UN is yet to show it is worthy. Certainly, its politically charged summaries of reports do not motivate the general public as the UN may have expected, As discussed above, the science is becoming increasingly poor.

Increasingly, the UN seems to be relying on the young, particularly a blond girl with Nordic features and pigtails. This may invoke motherly instincts in some, but not in others such as Mr. Trump. Through its efforts, the UN is lowering its standards as an international organization of professionals. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy, Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda on Children, and Communicating Better to the Public – Use Children for Propaganda.


Drone Attack — Resilience: Last week, two major oil fields in Saudi Arabia where hit by drones, which knocked out about 50% of its total production. Ten years ago, such an event would have caused a major spike in oil and gasoline prices and inflamed the world press, particularly in the US. But any alarm quickly died down.

Today, there is no shortage of oil world-wide. The US and Russia can expand if needed and Canada has enormous resources it needs to get to refineries. Also, the Saudis appear to have the ability to adjust to the damage quickly. This reliance demonstrates that although oil remains a critical resource, it is not subject to a major disruption from one incident. A main reason is that the independent oil producers involved in shale production in the US have a major impact in the world oil markets. Through competitive pressures against each other and the major producers, they have become a major influence for resilience and stable oil markets. All too often a competitive market is considered an unstable one, yet the opposite may be more correct. Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal had contradicting articles on the lasting importance of the drone strike. See Article # 2 and links under Energy Issues – Non-US.


Threatened Oceans: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has been frequently used as an example by those who claim that human-caused ocean warming or acidification is causing great damage to the world’s oceans. Certainly, human-caused sediment is a problem, but that is neither warming nor acidification. The recent incident involving Peter Ridd and James Cook University underlines the need for marine biologists to base their findings on rigorous application of the scientific method.

Walter Starck is a University of Miami marine biologist who spent much of his 40-year plus career studying coral reefs and marine fishery ecosystems. He has been involved with several technological developments used in diving and the study of reefs. He writes:

“While ‘quality control’ may be a useful generic label for this issue, it does not convey to the non-scientist the actual nature of the problem and few have any understanding of what constitutes quality science. In addition to replication, some other things of particular relevance to GBR research may be worth mentioning:

1. Ignoring of conflicting evidence

2. Misleading confidence levels and ignored uncertainties

3. Selective use of data

4. Improper employment of statistical methods

5. Use of unvalidated modelling as evidence

6. Undisclosed adjustments to data

7. Provably false claims left unaddressed even when brought to attention.

Sound policy-making demands the establishment of some mechanism to provide decision makers with a well-informed critical assessment of the science on which they rely. The current approach of presenting advocacy only, bolstered by claims of authority and consensus with no mention of uncertainty or conflicting evidence is simply not good enough for either decision making or even to be accepted as valid science.”

Starck’s history of the controversies concerning the Great Barrier Reef, which started 50 years ago with an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish eating coral on the reef, is a caution to those who believe exaggerations such as “this never happened before.” See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Censorship: In time for Climate Propaganda Week, the Australian publication “The Conversation”, claiming to provide scientific rigor with a journalistic flair, announced it is joining 170 media outlets in an initiative called Covering Climate Now. “The Conversation” stated:

“Climate change deniers are dangerous – they don’t deserve a place on our site.”

The effort is spearheaded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation. The mission statement at the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) states:

“CJR’s mission is to be the intellectual leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism. It is the most respected voice on press criticism, and it shapes the ideas that make media leaders and journalists smarter about their work. Through its fast-turn analysis and deep reporting, CJR is an essential venue not just for journalists, but also for the thousands of professionals in communications, technology, academia, and other fields reliant on solid media industry knowledge.

What constitutes knowledge in the media industry remains an unknown. At least, the CJR states its major funders. “Covering Climate Now” appears to be little more than an effort to establish a political movement with editorials such as “Turning newspapers into climate-change art” and articles on the “Climate Crisis.” See links under Censorship and https://www.cjr.org/covering_climate_now/.


NBC Confessions: NBC News has a new website titled “Climate Confessions.” It states:

“Even those who care deeply about the planet’s future can slip up now and then. Tell us: Where do you fall short in preventing climate change? Do you blast the A/C? Throw out half your lunch? Grill a steak every week? Share your anonymous confession with NBC News.”

There is a link where one can write a confession and where one can view the confessions of others. One may be tempted to think this is like religious confessions, such as those with the Catholic Church. But those confessions are in strict privacy between the priest and the person confessing. The public viewing of NBC’s confessions makes them appear closer to public confessions in China during the reign of Mao. See links under Expanding the Orthodoxy.


Number of the Week: 250 Outlets. According to the “Covering Climate Now” website, 250 news outlets have signed up for its political effort. It is interesting to speculate how many outlets will ignore news that contradicts the claims of the climate establishment. We are in a brave new world. At least, some outlets are becoming obvious about their biases rather than subtle. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda.



1. California Can’t Go Its Own Way

Trump’s fuel policy intervention is right on policy and the law.

Editorial, WSJ, Sep 18, 2019


TWTW SUMMARY: The editorial states:

“If you haven’t heard, President Trump has declared war on California, the auto industry and the world’s climate. Or that’s what liberals are saying about his Administration’s plans to revoke California’s waiver that lets it set national fuel economy rules that raise costs for consumers across the country.

“Mr. Trump trolled California progressives during a visit to the Golden State on Wednesday by tweeting that his Administration would yank California’s Clean Air Act waiver. The Environmental Protection Agency last year foreshadowed its plans to do so when it proposed relaxing the Obama -era corporate average fuel economy (Cafe) standards.

“The 1970 Clean Air Act prohibits states from regulating tailpipe emissions, but it allows California to request a waiver to ‘meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.’ This waiver authority was intended to help California reduce tailpipe pollutants such as NOx and sulphur that contribute to smog. The LA haze in those days could be as thick as San Francisco’s fog.

“Yet the Obama Administration in 2009 issued California a waiver to regulate greenhouse gas emissions despite the lack of legal or environmental justification. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act pre-empts state regulations of fuel economy, and CO2 emissions don’t cause smog. CO2 wasn’t even considered a pollutant until the Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA (2007) decision.

“The Trump Administration now has strong economic, regulatory and constitutional reasons to revoke the waiver. California has used its waiver to impose electric car quotas that will raise costs for consumers across the country. Manufacturing an electric car costs $12,000 more than an equivalent gas-powered vehicle. Despite generous federal and state consumer subsidies, auto makers will probably have to sell EVs below cost in California and raise prices on gas-powered cars everywhere else.

“The state’s EV mandate doesn’t even account for all CO2 emissions since it awards more credit for longer-range batteries, even though they require more energy (and fossil fuels) to manufacture. A Tesla Model S, for instance, receives almost twice as much regulatory credit as a Nissan Leaf. It also provides credit for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that derive energy mostly from natural gas. This scheme encourages regulatory arbitrage.

“Fair-weather liberal federalists are complaining that the Trump Administration is running over states’ rights. Yet the Commerce Clause prohibits states from burdening interstate commerce, and the California rules discriminate against consumers in other states. If California’s waiver is allowed to stand, its rules would become the de facto national standard.

“Auto makers want regulatory certainty and have urged the Trump Administration to compromise with California to avoid a prolonged legal brawl. But California progressives as usual want it their way or the highway. As Gov. Gavin Newsom declared, ‘California will prevail because we’re leaders in this space.’””

The article concludes with a brief discussion of litigation issues and electric cars.


2. Sorry Energy Consumers, Shale Won’t Save You

Booming U.S. oil production has altered the world energy landscape, but it can’t plug a hole of the size created by the weekend attack on Saudi Arabia

By Lauren Silva Laughlin, WSJ, Sep 15, 2019


TWTW SUMMARY: The journalist writes:

“America’s bountiful shale deposits have displaced worries about the far larger oil reserves and production of the Middle East. This weekend was a reminder of just how crucial the region remains.

“Saudi Arabia’s forced shutdown of over half of its crude production, some 5% of world supply, should be short but shocking. Energy traders had become complacent about geopolitical risk in part because massive shale plays, particularly the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico, have driven growth in world oil production.

“The region pumps some 4.4 million barrels of oil a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Growth over the past 10 years has helped make the U.S. a significant exporter of petroleum products. Since the 2014 collapse in oil prices at the tail end of an earlier boom in shale output, which was later surpassed in volume, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with nonmember Russia, have struggled to support prices and to adapt to the shale era.

“Reinforcing the impression that traditional oil producing heavyweights were no longer as important is shale’s nimbleness. Part of what supported prices after the 2014 price collapse was a reversal in U.S. output by the middle of 2015. Unlike voluntary cutbacks from OPEC producers, this reflected hundreds of individual, commercially-driven decisions by drillers. Shale’s short drilling cycle meant that a pullback in investment soon translated into a drop in output.

“The flip side of that has seen a surge in output to record levels since prices recovered, much to OPEC’s frustration. This feeds the impression that shale can save the day. But Saturday’s attack should serve as a reminder that this isn’t the case.

“Shale simply can’t respond to an attack on the artery of the world oil market. It can’t even make much money these days. Drillers have been under pressure from shareholders to bolster returns and cut back investment. Permian-focused companies like Pioneer Natural Resources are doing just that. Investment has showed signs of slowing—active U.S. rigs hit a 17-month low in July. The most recent reading from Baker Hughes shows the number of drilling rigs down 16% from last year.”

Other journalists have written that the Saudi crude production will resume by the end of September. This is not a long-term disruption but demonstrates that increased security is needed. See links under Energy Issues – Non-US.


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