Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #263

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

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

False Precision: In their early education, many students of science faced the problem of significant numbers (digits). A useful rule of thumb was that the chain was only as strong as its weakest link. In measurement, the less precise instrument making the measurements determines precision of any dataset representing the measurements. A mathematical operation does not add precision to the instruments, or the dataset. For example, as discussed in the January 21 TWTW, the widely used Automatic Surface Observing System (ASOS) instruments at airports have a precision of plus or minus 1 degree C (1.8 F, correctly, 2 F). Surface datasets using these measurements cannot be more precise than these instruments. Yet, routinely, some government agencies report data, after mathematical manipulation, with far greater precision – to one-hundredths of a degree C. Such precision is false.

Writing in the non-conservative Boston Globe, columnist Jeff Jacoby gives a simple illustration on how small errors in measurement can compound in a computer model with many small errors. Any assumption that the errors will cancel each other out needs to be demonstrated. However, in the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers, such cancellation of errors is not demonstrated.

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The Futility of “Earth Hour”

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

The winner for Earth Hour every year since 2003  – North Korea. Odds favor them to be the winner again this year.

satellite image of the korean penninsula at night, showing city lighting

“Earth Hour” –  Yawn.

Every year at Christmas, many newspapers reprint “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“, this excellent essay by Ross McKittrick should be repeated on every blog on every observance of Earth Hour. Copy, paste, and share it widely. Better yet, turn on all your lights to celebrate, as Ross says below.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. – Ross McKitrick

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Solar Slump: The Sun Was Blank for Two Weeks Straight

[Low sunspot numbers correlate very well with colder times. We have just had 7 higher than average sunspot cycles (11 years each) and temps have been warmer than “usual.” – Bob]

By Anthony Watts – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

Over the weekend, we reviewed the state of the solar data for March 2017. Now, there’s a two week straight lack of sunspots, the longest stretch since 2010.

A blank look to the sun on Monday, March 20, and it has now been blank for two weeks straight; image courtesy NASA/GSFC

Overview

The sun is currently blank with no visible sunspots and this is the 14th straight day with a blank look which is the longest such stretch since April 2010 according to spaceweather.com. Historically weak solar cycle 24 continues to transition away from its solar maximum phase and towards the next solar minimum. In April 2010 – the last time there was a two week stretch with no visible sunspots –  the sun was emerging from the last solar minimum which was historically long and deep.  There have already been 26 spotless days in 2017 (34% of the entire year) and this follows 32 spotless days last year which occurred primarily during the latter part of the year. The blank look to the sun will increase in frequency over the next couple of years leading up to the next solar minimum – probably to be reached in late 2019 or 2020.  By one measure, the current solar cycle is the third weakest since record keeping began in 1755 and it continues a weakening trend since solar cycle 21 peaked in 1980.  One of the impacts of low solar activity is the increase of cosmic rays that can penetrate into the Earth’s upper atmosphere and this has some important consequences.

Comparison of all solar cycles since 1755 in terms of accumulated sunspot number anomalies from the mean value at this stage of the solar cycle. Plot courtesy publication cited below, authors Frank Bosse and Fritz Vahrenholt

Comparison of all solar cycles since 1755 in terms of accumulated sunspot number anomalies from the mean value at this stage of the solar cycle. Plot courtesy publication cited below, authors Frank Bosse and Fritz Vahrenholt

Third weakest solar cycle since 1755
A recent publication has analyzed the current solar cycle and has found that when sunspot anomalies are compared to the mean for the number of months after cycle start, there have been only two weaker cycles since observations began in 1755.  Solar cycle 24 began in 2008 after a historically long and deep solar minimum which puts us more than eight years into the current cycle.  The plot (above) shows accumulated sunspot anomalies from the mean value after cycle start (97 months ago) and only solar cycles 5 and 6 had lower levels going all the way back to 1755.  The mean value is noted at zero and solar cycle 24 is running 3817 spots less than the mean.  The seven cycles preceded by solar cycle 24 had more sunspots than the mean.

Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. Last day shown: 28 February 2017. (Graph courtesy climate4you.com)

Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. Last day shown: 28 February 2017. (Graph courtesy climate4you.com)

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If We Had Listened to Climate Scientists Back in 1979

By Alberto Z. Comendador – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

In two previous articles I made a point that seems inarguable but that advocates of emission cuts seldom acknowledge: the only worthy metric of progress in reducing emissions is the CO2 intensity of GDP, which one could also call CO2 efficiency. Looking at absolute emissions is absurd because absolute emissions depend largely or mostly on GDP and the growth thereof, which are of course unknown (especially if we’re making projections about the year 2100!).

In any case, climate policies aren’t supposed to reduce emissions by reducing GDP; sometimes advocates of emission cuts even brag about the economic benefits of their policies. So they can only work by reducing CO2 intensity, which is to say by increasing CO2 efficiency.

A second point hardly ever acknowledged is that CO2 efficiency isn’t static: it’s growing most of the time, in most places. It would have grown without the COP meetings and it did grow before the Kyoto agreement was signed – at a faster pace than thereafter.

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Social Cost of Carbon Regulations Hurt the Poor, and Ignore Benefits

Anti-fossil fuel SCC relies on garbage models, ignores carbon benefits and hurts the poor


Foreword:

The Social Cost of Carbon is a key foundation for numerous Obama-era energy policies, regulations and programs. Climate alarm activists insist the SCC is rooted in solid science and economics, but it is actually little more than Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting – and worse.

The SCC assumes fossil-fuel-driven carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous manmade climate change, and blames U.S. emissions for every conceivable climate-related cost worldwide. But it fails even to mention, much less analyze, the tremendous and obvious benefits of using oil, gas and coal to power modern civilization – or the undeniable benefits of more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere helping crops and habitats grow faster and better. Finally, the SCC totally ignores the social, economic, employment and environmental costs of the regulations imposed in the name of saving the planet by converting America to a totally carbon-free energy system.


By Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy,” Bill Gates has said. “Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” World Bank VP Rachel Kyte and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen agree.

The UN Development Program also calls energy “central to poverty reduction.” And International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol notes that “coal is raising living standards and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” In fact, all fossil fuels are doing so.

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Trump’s Budget to “Hammer Climate Programs” Across the Federal Government!!!

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From http://www.WattsUpWithThat.com

gallagher

The Promise Keeper keeps delivering…

TrumpBudget

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 can be read as a political document, a statement of his administration’s policy priorities. Many of these proposed cuts won’t get passed by Congress, but it’s a look at what Trump values.

And what’s clear is that Trump wants the US government to pull back sharply from any effort to stop global warming, adapt to its impacts — or even study it further. Under the proposal, a wide variety of Obama-era climate programs across multiple agencies would be scaled back or slashed entirely.

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To Protect Climate Money, Obama Stashed It Where It’s Hard to Find

By Christopher Flavelle – Re-Blogged From http://www.Bloomberg.com

  • Obama’s aides spread money across the government, eluding cuts
  • Most recent estimate puts tab at $77 billion from 2008-2013

What to Expect From Trump on Climate Change

President Donald Trump will find the job of reining in spending on climate initiatives made harder by an Obama-era policy of dispersing billions of dollars in programs across dozens of agencies — in part so they couldn’t easily be cut.

There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did. The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration. In some cases, the idea was to make climate programs hard for Republicans in Congress to even find.

“Much of the effort in the Obama administration was to mainstream climate change,” said Jesse Keenan, who worked on climate issues with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and now teaches at Harvard University. He said all federal agencies were required to incorporate climate-change plans into their operations.

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