Weekly Energy and Climate News Roundup #387

By Ken Haapala, President of SEPP – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Quote of the Week: “We know what’s happening now. It’s the past that keeps changing.” – Old Russian Joke

Number of the Week: 110 million people now drowning?


By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Grim Future? Historical discussions of the human condition reveal that humans tend to identify themselves as members of like-minded groups. As discussed in the June 1 TWTW, in his farewell address, George Washington called such groups “factions.” Christopher Booker identified the common thinking of such factions as groupthink. In a post on his web site discussing Climategate, Roy Spencer addresses this issue stating that one of the few scientists who changed their mind after Climategate was Judith Curry: “She is now a well-informed and unabashed skeptic of the modern tendency to blame every bad weather event on humans.” He goes on to write:

“While I’m sure there are other examples, the unfortunate truth is that fewer and fewer people actually care about the truth.”

“You see, it does not really matter whether a few bad actors (even if they are leaders of the climate movement) conspired to hide data and methods, and strong-arm scientific journal editors into not publishing papers that might stand in the way of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mission to pin climate change on humans, inflate its seriousness, and lay the groundwork for worldwide governmental efforts to reduce humanity’s access to affordable energy.”

“From a practical standpoint, what we do (or don’t do) about human-caused climate change supports either (1) a statist, top-down governmental control over human affairs that involves a more socialist political framework, or (2) an unconstrained individual-freedom framework where capitalism reigns supreme. So, one could easily be a believer (or non-believer) in the ‘climate emergency’ based upon their political leanings.”

Spencer discusses these groupings on spiritual level and an essay by Alan Jacobs on an observation that people tend to believe “anything they see on the internet if it supports their biases.” TWTW has been accused of such a bias, and it does favor those who question the issues raised by the IPCC and other groups that support it. However, TWTW tries to explore the physical evidence offered and the logic used, exposing that which TWTW considers deficient.

Spencer writes:

“In the climate wars, I see this behavior [that which supports their views] from both skeptics and alarmists. The alarmists point to increasing storms, heat waves, wildfires, etc. as evidence that humans are making weather worse. When they are shown evidence from a century of more of data that, no, things are not getting worse, these ‘storm truthers’ still bitterly cling to their beliefs while calling us skeptics ‘deniers’.

“On the flip side, I routinely engage skeptics who claim that there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect, and that it is physically impossible for the cold atmosphere to make the surface warmer by increasing its CO2 content, anyway. No matter how many different ways I try to show how they are wrong, they never change their stance.

“As a result, despite being a skeptic on the subject of humans having a serious effect on global climate, I’ve had to block more fellow skeptics from commenting on my blog than I have blocked alarmists. So, I get attacked from people on both sides of the issue.

“I partly blame the public education system for the current state of affairs. Students are increasingly taught what to think, rather than how to think. Also to blame is the (probably unavoidable) funding of science by government, which President Eisenhower warned would cause science to become corrupted by a handful of powerful elites who did not have the advancement of scientific knowledge as the central goal.”

After further discussion of the views of James Delingpole, who broke the Climategate story Spencer concludes with:

“Delingpole and Jacobs come to sobering — even depressing — conclusions. Unfortunately, like these two authors I do not have much reason to be hopeful that things will get better anytime soon.”

TWTW takes a different view than Spencer; the situation is grim, and the UN’s propaganda machine is effective. It has a goal of getting $100 billion a year into its “Green Climate Fund” and its greed may be its undoing. In effect the Green Climate Fund is a form of “protection insurance.”

Various racketeers sell “protection insurance” which shopkeepers and other business owners buy to protect their property from being firebombed or otherwise damaged by thugs. Unlike the racketeers who control the thugs, the UN has no control over weather, and carbon dioxide is not the “control knob” of weather or climate. The UN’s use of a Nordic blond girl with pigtails expressing teenage angst, fear and anxiety to sell the protection insurance may be effective in Europe, but not in China. The UN’s propaganda may collapse under its own weight. See links under Climategate, Challenging the Orthodoxy, After Paris! and Communicating Better to the Public – Use Children for Propaganda.


Dynamic, Not Static – The Greenhouse Effect: As brought up in the February 23rd TWTW, since the advent of the satellite era, several countries have been compiling data on the atmosphere. For example, with what is called the A-Train of multiple satellites, and a similar, lower orbiting C-Train, satellites from the US, France, and Japan collect a wide variety of data, including visible, infrared and microwave energy, phases of water, studies of vegetation, atmospheric pollutants, greenhouse gases, aerosols, clouds, water levels on land areas, snow depths, etc. The information is shared among international partners.

The constellation of satellites started with Aqua launched in 2002 and continued with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) launched in 2014. According to the NASA web site:

“Each one of these missions has its own objectives and makes its own unique contribution to improving our understanding of aspects of the Earth’s environment and climate. The real advantage of constellation flying, however, is that the data from the various satellites are synergistic and can be combined together to allow for even more comprehensive studies.”

As discussed in the November 9 TWTW, almost 41 years of comprehensive atmospheric temperature trends have been validated by 3 different entities analyzing the data and verified by 4 different balloon datasets and reanalysis data. We now have up to 17 years of other atmospheric data. As described in the graph by John Christy, NSF (NCAR), NOAA (GFDL), NASA (GISS) ignore physical evidence in favor of using models to make predictions / forecasts / projections from questionable surface data, that has undergone a revision process similar to what is described in the quote of the week.

Physical evidence separates science from science fiction. Frequently, as physical evidence expands, what was thought to be science, becomes fiction. Forty years ago, many experts believed that the US would soon run out of oil and natural gas. As late as fifteen years ago, few experts believed oil and gas could be viably extracted from dense shale, source rock. Today, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, fracking, of shale are transforming the oil and gas markets world-wide. The belief that the US will soon run out of oil and gas is not science, but science fiction.

Similarly, the predictions from current climate models are no better than predictions from dated energy models that the US will run out of oil and gas by the end of the 20th century. They are becoming science fiction. See the November 9 TWTW, links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past, and https://atrain.nasa.gov/


Venus: Using the Grand Canyon as an example, Tony Heller has a video explanation of the importance of atmospheric pressure in determining temperature during normal weather. The elevation of the north rim is over 8000 feet/2450 m, the floor elevation (Colorado River) is about 2400 feet/750 m. Those who journey down the rim in the summer note a significant change in temperatures from comfortable 70s to hot 100s F (low 20s to 40s C).

Heller’s video dispatches the popular notion that Venus is an example of “runaway greenhouse effect.” The atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is about 92 earth atmospheres. [Aside, carbon dioxide, the dominant gas on Venus, has a molar mass of 44 g/mol while nitrogen, N2, the dominant gas on earth has a molar mass of 28 g/mol.]

Also, the video shows that the North Rim has two thick limestone layers in which fossil shells are found. As Heller explains, these layers were formed when the earth’s atmosphere had many times the concentration of CO2 than it does today. This physical evidence destroys the myth that human emissions of CO2 are acidifying oceans and killing shellfish. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and https://www.desertusa.com/grand-canyon/grand-canyon-climate-geography.html


Coral Wars: Independent Australian researcher Jennifer Marohasy has taken on the claims that humans are destroying the Great Barrier Reef, which has been a constant claim for the Australian government funding research at universities, etc. Professor Peter Ridd was dispatched from James Cook University because he questioned these claims. Marohasy did something the academics may call “unfair”, she filmed the corals! As she states:

“We filmed this reef [Beige Reef] because, according to a scientific report in the journal Nature, there are no longer any Acropora corals at this location. The peer-reviewed article, coauthored by David Wachenfeld who is the chief scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, claims the corals at Stone Island have been destroyed by global warming and declining water quality.

“Yet we found about 25 hectares [60 acres] of Acropora in the north-facing bay at Stone Island.

“The underwater cinematography shown in this film is irreconcilable with the claims in the Nature article.

“Beige Reef, my very first film, makes the point that Peter Ridd has been making for some time: that our scientific institutions are untrustworthy, that there is a need for some quality assurance of the science.

“I am delighted that Tara Clark [a major advocate of reef destruction] acknowledges that there is no bleaching of corals at Stone Island. I would like to film coral bleaching at the Great Barrier Reef, but no-one has been able to tell me where I can find bleached corals. I would be happy to travel to any location at the Great Barrier Reef that shows significant bleaching for a future IPA short film. Could you, and/or Tara Clark provide me with specific locations.”

There is no question that siltation damages coral, and that storms can temporarily destroy parts of reefs, but the advocates have gone too far. Perhaps the disappearance of the Great Barrier Reef will go the way of the extinction of the Polar Bear – another false propaganda campaign to raise money. See links under Acidic Waters.


Fine Fuels: Environmentalist Jim Steele was director of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus of San Francisco University, where he established one of California’s leading environmental education centers. The bio of Steele at his website says:

“He soon discovered maximum temperatures in the Sierra Nevada had declined since the 30s as observed at the nearby Tahoe City weather station that is part of the US Historical Climate Network. It became clear that the Sierra Nevada were not overheating despite publications blaming wildlife extinctions on global warming. The most important factors affecting local climate change were the cycles of El Nino and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as well as landscape changes that had greatly altered the regional microclimates. Believing the politics of global warming have been misguiding conservation efforts, Jim Steele wrote the book Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism. And the lessons learned from his students helped shape his writing style, making the book’s science lessons most enjoyable and easily grasped by all.”

Writing in Watts Up With That, Steele started a series that addresses the changes that have occurred in the California hills and the Great Basin that promote frequent, hot fires. Namely, the sagebrush habitat, which stayed green during the summer, has been replaced with annual grasses such as cheat grass. These invasive grasses die after setting seed, providing highly flammable fuels that can easily burn almost anytime thereafter. Claiming that recent fires are due to climate change accomplishes nothing. Steele is suggesting some practical changes that may reduce the risks of wildfires. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.


NOAA: Barry Meyers, President Trump’s nominee to head NOAA has withdrawn after an extended period, citing health concerns. Organizationally, NOAA has real problems that will be very difficult to solve. NOAA has very important functions, but many sections appear to have lost any sense of scientific integrity and data quality. For example, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information just released a report stating:

“The combined global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for October 2019 was the second highest for October in the 140-year record at 0.98°C (1.76°F) above the 20th century average 14.0°C (57.1°F). This value is just 0.06°C (0.11°F) shy of tying the record warm October set in 2015.” [Boldface added]

The press release had maps of the globe showing how October 2019 land and sea measurements departed from the 140-year average followed by the statement:

“October 2019 was characterized by warmer-than-average temperatures across much of the global surface. The most notable warm temperature departures from average were observed across much of Alaska, northern Canada, north-central Russia, eastern Europe, the Middle East and western Australia, where temperatures were at least 2.0°C (3.6°F) or higher. The most notable cooler-than-average temperatures were present across parts of the western half of the contiguous U.S. and southwestern Canada, where temperatures were at least 1.5°C (2.7°F) below average or cooler. Record warm October temperatures were mainly present across parts of the North and Western Pacific Ocean and northeastern Canada, as well as scattered across parts of the South Atlantic Ocean, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, and South America. Only a small area in the western contiguous U.S. had record cold October temperatures.”

In 1879, 140 years ago, only the main part of the US had reasonable temperature coverage. Other than several cities, Canada, Alaska, Greenland etc. had little or none. Western Europe had reasonable coverage. Eastern Europe, Central Asia, central Australia, Africa, and South America had little or none. The coverage of the oceans was dubious at best. At least, NOAA did not claim comprehensive coverage of Antarctica, unlike the World Meteorological Organization.

To a large part, the numbers are made-up, yet NOAA ignores any need for major disclaimers. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information appear to have lost any sense of scientific integrity and data quality. This division is responsible for keeping the US records of temperatures, once considered the gold standard, but undergone repeated adjustments. [UAH reported October was a warm month.] See links under Measurement Issues – Surface and EPA and other Regulators on the March.


North American Harvest: Joseph D’Aleo of WeatherBell Analytics and ICECAP reported on the US and Canadian grain harvest. It was a poor year from start to finish, wet and cold with the last 30 days very cold. For the first time in six years the grain yields are below the 1989 to 2019 trend line. It is interesting to note, that due to the positive slope of the trend line, these low yields match the “high” yields of 2009. Soybeans had a similar fate. Thanks to tropical Brazil, there may not be a grain shortage, which the authors of the US National Climate Assessment fail to understand. See links under Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine.


Number of the Week: 110 million people now drowning? Last month, Nature Communications published a paper claiming past estimates of sea levels were wrong, because estimates of the land elevations were too high. Immediately a flood of alarming reports came out, such as the New York Times declaring Southern Vietnam would be flooded out by 2050.

Writing in Project Syndicate, Bjorn Lomborg, who agrees with the IPCC’s climate findings, points out that in Southern Vietnam, and elsewhere, about 110 million people live below the sea level high-tide mark today, protected by dikes and other means. Holland is the great example. By 2050 another 40 million will do so, but they can be protected by similar means. Lomborg reminds us of what those claiming “climate crisis” ignore.

“Remember that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that the total impact of all negatives from global warming in the 2070s will be equivalent to society losing between 0.2-2% of income – and by then, the UN’s standard scenarios suggest we’ll be 300-500% richer.”

“Climate change is a problem we need to tackle, and we should be particularly mindful of how it will hurt the poorest in society. But the bigger, unreported story is that today’s climate policies will do very little to resolve the ‘challenge’ of more people living below the high-tide mark.

“In southern Vietnam, the difference between implementing an extremely robust climate policy that limits the increase in average global temperature to less than 2°C and embarking on the most outrageous fossil-fuel binge, is almost nil, even at the end of the century. And globally, the most extreme climate policy pathway – costing literally thousands of trillions of dollars – will reduce the number of people living ‘underwater’ by only 18% compared to a no-climate-policy scenario.”

Even if one disagrees with Lomborg’s endorsement of IPCC views, his reasoning is to be admired. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.



Cuomo’s Carbon Casualties

Ban pipelines and fracking and then blame business for shortages.

Editorial, WSJ, Nov 17, 2019


TWTW SUMMARY: The editorial states:

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a proud opponent of fossil fuels. But now that the consequences of his policies are harming people in the real world—those who can’t afford to escape to Florida—the Governor is blaming others.

“Mr. Cuomo has blocked shale fracking upstate and several pipelines delivering natural gas from Pennsylvania in the name of protecting waterways. But this is an excuse. Natural-gas production in Pennsylvania has increased 60% since Mr. Cuomo banned fracking five years ago, adding $6 billion to Keystone State GDP and its waterways are fine.

“Mr. Cuomo’s real purpose is to eliminate natural gas as part of his political commitment to ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2050, and this isn’t a cost-free promise. Upstate New Yorkers struggle economically and pay among the highest energy costs in the U.S. A quarter still rely on heating oil, which costs about $1,000 a year more than natural gas and emits nearly 40% more CO2. New Yorkers pay about 40% more for electricity than Pennsylvanians and 15% more than in New Jersey.

“The utility Con Edison in March halted natural gas hookups north of New York City due to pipeline constraints. National Grid, the gas utility that serves Long Island, this fall imposed a moratorium on new hookups after the Governor vetoed a 23-mile gas pipeline beneath New York Harbor. National Grid said it couldn’t guarantee uninterrupted service without the pipeline. New oil-to-gas conversions could cause future gas shortages and outages.

“The Governor’s response: Who cares? ‘The ‘moratorium’ is either a fabricated device or a lack of competence,’ the Governor wrote to National Grid last week. Mr. Cuomo ordered the utility to explore ‘short-term options’ to increase supply such as transporting natural gas by tanker or truck. ‘Other infrastructure could be proposed or additional unloading facilities installed,’ he said.

After a discussion of the impossibly of obtaining the necessary permitting, the editorial concludes;

“Regardless, if National Grid doesn’t repair his pipeline blunder by Thanksgiving, the Governor says he’ll yank its public franchise. ‘This would be one of the most lucrative franchises in the country,’ Mr. Cuomo declared last week. At least until the unlucky winner becomes the next scapegoat for the Governor’s destructive energy policies.”

SEPP Comment: Does Mr. Cuomo know the difference between propane and natural gas?


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