Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #390

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

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

Quote of the Week: “In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works. [Boldface added.]

“If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.” Richard Feynman on the Scientific Method

Number of the Week: 20 to 30º C (35 to 55º F) warmer

Not With a Bang, But a Whimper: (T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”) The months-long UN Climate Festival has ended for this year with cries “wait until next year.” It began in September with the UN Climate Week in Manhattan and concluded with the 25th annual Conference of Parties (COP-25) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Madrid. It featured bluster and teenage fears and anxieties with cries that the world is doomed, all of it based on a fanaticized future created by numerical climate models that fail basic testing. The UN, particularly the UNFCCC and its subordinate organization, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have created a social beast by greatly exaggerating the warming effects that increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have.

As described below, the UN has abandoned the scientific method as articulated by Nobel co-Laurate in Physics and brilliant teacher Richard Feynman. For example, see the Quote of the Week stated above. The UN and its followers, such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), fail to compare their guesses directly with nature – observations of the atmosphere, where greenhouse gases warm the planet by slowing heat loss to space. The harm being done by the UN and its followers can be seen by the psychological responses of many people expressing “climate anxiety” and the development of counseling programs by psychotherapists on “climate depression.”

According to reports, UN Secretary-General António Guterres started the Madrid conference by declaring: “For many decades the human species has been at war with the planet … And the planet is fighting back.” In a sense, this is accurate. For decades the UN has proclaimed that man, not nature, is causing climate change. And nature is fighting back – winning. It does not obey the UN pronouncements and predictions / projections of the climate modelers.

The UN is engaged in a war, not on climate change, but on human prosperity. As stated in the November 9 TWTW:

“Based on World Bank estimates a group called Our World in Data estimates that the number of people living in extreme poverty is down 66% in the past 28 years. In 1990, the number of people in extreme poverty was 1.9 billion, about 36% of the world’s population. In 2018, the number of people in extreme poverty was 650 million people, about 9% of the world’s population of 7.5 billion.”

“The bulk of this remarkable decline in extreme poverty has occurred in South Asia, East Asia and Pacific. The extreme poverty population in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased. Much of the reduction of extreme poverty can be attributed to opening of the economies to market competition (especially China and India) and use of energy, particularly fossil fuels.”

Yet, even as the use of fossil fuels is reducing dire poverty, we are not seeing dire warming of the atmosphere as global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increase. The extreme exaggeration used by the UN and green groups may be becoming less convincing. Nevertheless, on the early morning of December 15, two days after the Madrid conference was scheduled to close, Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted:

“I am more determined than ever to work for 2020 to be the year in which all countries commit to do what science tells us is necessary to reach carbon neutrality in 2050 and a no more than 1.5-degree temperature rise.”

See links under Defending the Orthodoxy, Social Benefits of Carbon Dioxide, After Paris, Funding Issues, and https://twitter.com/antonioguterres/status/1206199271009075200


Rhetoric, Not Physical Evidence: In a post on her website, Climate Etc., Judith Curry addresses some of the hyperbole used by the UN and its followers. As a former climate modeler who began to question the global climate models and their procedures, she was cast out of that closed society. A few of her succinct observations are:

“So . . . exactly what should we be worried about? Consider the following statistics:

· Over the past century, there has been a 99% decline in the death toll from natural disasters, during the same period that the global population quadrupled.

· While global economic losses from weather and climate disasters have been increasing, this is caused by increasing population and property in vulnerable locations. Global weather losses as a percent of global GDP have declined about 30% since 1990.

· While the IPCC has estimated that sea level could rise by 0.6 meters by 2100, recall that the Netherlands adapted to living below sea level 400 years ago.

· Crop yields continue to increase globally, surpassing what is needed to feed the world. Agricultural technology matters more than climate.

· The proportion of world population living in extreme poverty declined from 36% in 1990 to 10% in 2015.”

After addressing other issues such as sea level rise, she states:

“The extreme rhetoric of the Extinction Rebellion and other activists is making political agreement on climate change policies more difficult. Exaggerating the dangers beyond credibility makes it difficult to take climate change seriously. On the other hand, the extremely alarmist rhetoric has frightened the bejesus out of children and young adults.”

“JC message to children and young adults: Don’t believe the hype that you are hearing from Extinction Rebellion and the like. Rather than going on strike or just worrying, take the time to learn something about the science of climate change. The IPCC reports are a good place to start; for a critical perspective on the IPCC, Climate Etc. is a good resource.

“Climate change — manmade and/or natural — along with extreme weather events, provide reasons for concern. However, the rhetoric and politics of climate change have become absolutely toxic and nonsensical.

“In the meantime, live your best life. Trying where you can to lessen your impact on the planet is a worthwhile thing to do. Societal prosperity is the best insurance policy that we have for reducing our vulnerability to the vagaries of weather and climate.”

And concludes with:

JC message to Extinction Rebellion and other doomsters: Not only do you know nothing about climate change, you also appear to know nothing of history. You are your own worst enemy — you are triggering a global backlash against doing anything sensible about protecting our environment or reducing our vulnerability to extreme weather. You are making young people miserable, who haven’t yet experienced enough of life to place this nonsense in context. [Boldface in the original.]

See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Climate Awards: Unlike some past COP events, no Nobel Peace prizes were given. Instead, Time Magazine awarded “The Person of the Year” distinction to a certain Nordic blond girl with pigtails who has been fashionable in expressing her teenage fears and anxieties about the future of the earth’s climate. In 2016, the same award went to Donald Trump, who is noted for his bluster.

The awards seem very appropriate for describing the public discourse on climate change. It tends to be in one extreme or the other: bombast and bluster; or fears and anxieties – replacing reasoned judgement. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda on Children and Communicating Better to the Public – Use Children for Propaganda


Model Guesses and Observations: In a post on this website, Roy Spencer compares model runs with observations. The models are the last generation used in the 5th Assessment Report of the IPCC, CMIP5 (AR5, 2013&14). As shown, the models do poorly when compared with two different sets of satellite data (University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS – satellite only)) and four different datasets of reanalysis data (used to calibrate weather models daily). The only model that does well against the UAH and the reanalysis data is INM-CM4, Russian Institute for Numerical Mathematics Climate Model Version 4, in Moscow.

The average warming of the global lower troposphere estimated by the models is roughly twice the warming observed by UAH and other observations. In discussing the discrepancies Spencer makes several observations:

“I still believe that the primary cause of the discrepancies between models and observations is that the feedbacks in the models are too strongly positive. The biggest problem most likely resides in how the models handle moist convection and precipitation efficiency, which in turn affects how upper tropospheric cloud amounts and water vapor respond to warming. This is related to Richard Lindzen’s “Infrared Iris” effect, which has not been widely accepted by the mainstream climate research community.

“Another possibility, which Will Happer and others have been exploring, is that the radiative forcing from CO2 is not as strong as is assumed in the models.

“Finally, one should keep in mind that individual climate models still have their warming rates adjusted in a rather ad hoc fashion through their assumed history of anthropogenic aerosol forcing, which is very uncertain and potentially large OR small.” [Boldface is italics in the original.]

In a separate critique, German climate science critic Professor Fritz Vahrenholt wrote that the model will not be corrected. [Translated]

“’Then hundreds of pages dealing with model projections would have to be critically revised,’ comments Vahrenholt. So, for the IPCC, it’s best to just simply ignore all the inconvenient science and to go on pretending.

“Vahrenholt concludes: ‘Politics is hot because the models are too hot. Which scientists have the courage and are ready to accept their responsibility to enlighten FFF and policymaking?’” [the meaning of FFF is not clear.]

It is sad to think that due to inertia, or political consequences, modelers and administrators of scientific organizations will continue to pretend there is nothing wrong with the models. But this may be true in the US, if not elsewhere.


Radiative Forcing: Physicists W. A. van Wijngaarden and William Happer (W & H) submitted a paper to EPA on the influence of methane on climate, particularly on global warming. It is based on a much longer paper underway on the influence of greenhouse gases on climate, mainly on changing the greenhouse effect by increasing radiative forcing of the Earth’s atmosphere. Radiative forcing, also called climate forcing, is the difference between energy which reaches the earth, primarily from the sun, and the energy radiated back to space. Greenhouse gases slow the energy radiated back to space as well as absorb some of the energy hitting the atmosphere. This can be contrasted with a transparent atmosphere, an idealized atmosphere with no interference with electromagnetic radiation.

In general, the new papers, particularly the paper in progress, are too complex for these pages. They include multiple equations of both differential and integral calculus. A few key points will be stated.

It is important to realize that as a greenhouse gas concentration increases, the total greenhouse effect increases, but the influence of the last amounts added decreases. This is similar to what economists call diminishing returns. For example, if carbon dioxide is doubled, assuming no other influences (feedbacks) the increase in temperatures would be X (the current climate debate is on the value of X). If the atmospheric CO2 goes from 200 parts per million (ppm) to 400 ppm, temperatures will increase by X. But the next doubling requires going from 400 to 800 ppm – also increases the temperatures by X.

At the current levels in the atmosphere, an increase of say 10 ppm of CO2 from 400 to 410 ppm will have some influence on temperatures but it is less than the temperature increase of increasing CO2 concentration from 200 ppm to 210 ppm. It is not noticeable and is trivial. In physics, it is said the absorption bands are saturated, meaning that increases in molecules of these gases no longer readily absorb and re-radiate electromagnetic energy as previous increases. Stated differently, increasing molecules of these gases has a lessening influence on the ability of each additional molecule to the slow the radiation of energy from earth to space.

In the abstract, W & H state:

“Radiative forcing is the difference in the net upward thermal radiation from the Earth through a transparent atmosphere and radiation through an otherwise identical atmosphere with greenhouse gases. Radiative forcing, normally specified in units of W m−2, depends on latitude, longitude and altitude, but it is often quoted for a representative temperate latitude, and for the altitude of the tropopause, or for the top of the atmosphere. For current concentrations of greenhouse gases, the radiative forcing at the tropopause, per added CH4 molecule, is about 30 times larger than the forcing per added carbon-dioxide (CO2) molecule. This is due to the heavy saturation of the absorption band of the abundant greenhouse gas, CO2.”

It is important to note that the most important greenhouse gas, by far, is water vapor. Yet, the IPCC and its followers generally ignore water vapor until the end of their analysis when it becomes the important effect that amplifies or magnifies the influence of CO2.

Based on their analysis, W & H state (p 11)

“Methane levels in Earth’s atmosphere are slowly increasing, as shown in Fig. 7. If the current rate of increase, about 0.007 ppm/year for the past decade or so, were to continue unchanged it would take about 270 years to double the current concentration of C {i} = 1.8 ppm. But, as one can see from Fig.7, methane levels have stopped increasing for years at a time, so it is hard to be confident about future concentrations. Methane concentrations may never double, but if they do, WH show that this would only increase the forcing by 0.8 W m−2. This is a tiny fraction of representative total forcings at midlatitudes of about 140 W m−2 at the tropopause and 120 W m−2 at the top of the atmosphere. [Please see the paper for explanation.]

W & H go on to state:

“The reason that the per-molecule forcing of methane is [appears in calculations to be] some 30 times larger than that of carbon dioxide for current concentrations is “saturation” of the absorption bands. The current density of CO2 molecules is some 200 times greater than that of CH4 molecules, so the absorption bands of CO2 are much more saturated than those of CH4. In the dilute “optically-thin” limit, show that the tropospheric forcing power pe molecule is P {i} = 0.15 × 10−22 W for CH4, and P {i} = 2.73 × 10−22 W for CO2. Each CO2 molecule in the dilute limit causes about 5 times more forcing increase than an additional molecule of CH4, which is only a “super greenhouse gas” because there is so little in the atmosphere, compared to CO2.”

In short, the influence of methane on temperatures is and will be trivial – much to do about nothing. Next week TWTW will address the recent paper by Richard Lindzen, another climate science skeptic. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.


The Last Pacific Island Glacier: The November 30 TWTW discussed how David Gunnlaugsson, Iceland’s former prime minister, debunked the publicity stunt by green groups mourning the passing of an Iceland glacier. As it turns out, melting Icelandic glaciers are revealing tree stumps, buried in ice for 3,000 years. Could it be possible Iceland and the world was once warmer than it is today?

This week writing in Watts Up With That, Willis Eschenbach addresses the melting of the last Pacific island glacier. He writes:

“There is no evidence for ice on any of the New Guinea mountains between about 7,000 and 5,000 yr. BP, and in fact the tree line of Mt. Wilhelm [4,500 m (14,800 ft)] was as much as 200m above its present position from 8,300 to 5,000 yr. BP.”

It appears that glaciers are not permanent, and their melting is not evidence of unprecedented global warming. See links under Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice

Number of the Week: 20 to 30º C (35 to 55º F) warmer.

Wijngaarden and Happer (W & H) state:

“The warming would be different at different latitudes and longitudes, or in summer or winter, or if clouds are taken into account. But 20 C to 30 C is a reasonable estimate of how much warming is caused by current concentrations of greenhouse gases, compared to a completely transparent atmosphere.” [An idealized atmosphere with no interference with electromagnetic radiation.]

These numbers should give pause to those who claim greenhouse gas warming is causing extinction.



Chevron, Facing Fossil Fuels Glut, Takes $10 Billion Charge

Oil giant cuts the value of its holdings, including shale, citing low prices caused by oversupply

By Christopher M. Matthews and Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, Dec 10, 2019


[TWTW Comment: The era of the US soon “running out of oil and gas” is over. Other than the highly questionable fear of carbon dioxide-caused global warming, there is no practical or economic reason for the US to subsidize wind and solar power or biofuels.]

TWTW Summary: The article begins:

“Chevron Corp. is writing down the value of its assets by more than $10 billion, a concession that in an age of abundant oil and gas some of its holdings won’t be profitable anytime soon.

“In the largest write-down by an energy producer in years, Chevron said Tuesday that it was cutting the value of a number of properties, notably its U.S. shale holdings in Appalachia, by a combined $10 billion to $11 billion. Chevron is also restructuring its operations to focus on fewer prospects in the face of persistently low natural gas prices, and will explore sales of some assets.

“The second-largest U.S. oil company lowered its forecast for future commodity prices, and said that as a result, it was reducing the value of production from one of its offshore oil projects in the Gulf of Mexico, called Big Foot. It also lowered the value of a planned facility to export liquefied natural gas from Canada.

“Chevron Chief Executive Mike Wirth said in an interview that the company had performed well in a difficult market but wanted to focus on its most promising future prospects, including an expansion of shale oil drilling in Texas.”

After discussing market reactions, the article continues

“The sobering reappraisal by Chevron, one of the world’s largest and best-performing oil companies, is likely to ripple through the oil-and-gas industry, forcing others to publicly reassess the value of their holdings in the face of a global supply glut and growing investor concerns about the long-term future of fossil fuels. Particular pressure is falling on shale producers, especially those focused on natural gas in places like Pennsylvania, which are struggling with historically low U.S. prices caused by oversupply.


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