Dr. Steven Koonin is the director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. Formerly, he was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term. So, not a guy you’d think would be a Koch-funded climate denier. Yet, he writes in the Wall Street Journal that the current state of climate science is not settled, despite what others may say.
After spending several paragraphs highlighting both our lack of scientific understanding of basic climate processes, and the unreliability of the different computer models and their predictions, he concludes:
These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not “minor” issues to be “cleaned up” by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.
Yet a public official reading only the IPCC’s “Summary for Policy Makers” would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that “climate science is settled.”
While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.
This is not coming from some right-wing whack job. It is the sober assessment of the science from a former Obama Administration official. Claims that the “science is settled” are just that: claims. They are claims made to further a specific political agenda, not a realistic summation of what we actually know.
Yet we are told that massive government action is required—usually leavened with a generous dollop of socialism—to prevent disaster. A disaster, by the way, than cannot be confidently predicted. If that is so, the predictions of success for ameliorative actions cannot be confidently predicted either. Indeed, we cannot truly say that massive ameliorative actions are even needed.
“The science is settled,” therefore, is not a factual, scientific statement. It is a political one. It deserves no more respect than any other political assertion.
Walter Russell Meade does a great job of summing up the impact of yesterday’s “March of the Usual Lefty Organizations” in the name of taxing us into poverty with a carbon tax:
Street marches today are to real politics what street mime is to Shakespeare. This was an ersatz event: no laws will change, no political balance will tip, no UN delegate will have a change of heart. The world will roll on as if this march had never happened. And the marchers would have emitted less carbon and done more good for the world if they had all stayed home and studied books on economics, politics, science, religion and law. Marches like this create an illusion of politics and an illusion of meaningful activity to fill the void of postmodern life; the tribal ritual matters more than the political result.
And he’s precisely right. Besides being the usual collection of leftist professional protesters sprinkled with clueless pols and celebrities, nothing of note is going to change at the UN Climate Summit. Nothing. The outcome of that is, as they say, “already written in the books”.
The world’s largest emitters are declining to show up, even for appearances. The Chinese economy has been the No. 1 global producer of carbon dioxide since 2008, but President Xi Jinping won’t be gracing the U.N. with his presence. India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi (No. 3) will be in New York but is skipping the climate parley. Russian President Vladimir Putin (No. 4) has other priorities, while Japan (No. 5) is uncooperative after the Fukushima disaster that has damaged support for nuclear power. Saudi Arabia is dispatching its petroleum minister.
China, however, has found a wonderful new way to forever avoid any responsibility for reducing its output. It has become the “champion” for the poor and underdeveloped countries of the world and is helping put forward their demands:
China led calls by emerging economies on Friday for the rich to raise financial aid to the poor as a precondition for a United Nations deal to combat global warming. “When the financing is resolved, this will set a very good foundation to negotiate a good agreement,” China’s chief negotiator Xie Zhenhua told delegates from about 170 nations. Xie said developed nations, which have promised to raise aid to $100 billion a year by 2020, should have legally binding obligations to provide finance and technology to emerging economies, along with legally binding cuts in emissions.
Well of course the “rich nations” should … because that would have them pay China and India – two of the biggest carbon producers around. So China has, in effect, made an offer they must refuse, because leaving out the two largest carbon producers is sort of self-defeating, isn’t it? And anyway, we should pay for our “rich nation privilege”, shouldn’t we?
Meanwhile, Dr. Steven Koonin makes the point of saying what is clearly the truth in an op-ed in the WSJ – the science of climate change is not settled science. In fact, it’s not even close. Dr. Koonin, by the way, was the undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during Obama’s first term. So this isn’t some right-wing ideologue spouting off, but a serious scientist. Interestingly, he makes hash of the reliability of the climate models:
The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere’s energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate’s inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.
And we’re still looking for that one model that is right … but remember, it is on the basis of those models that this entire “scare” or alarmism finds its roots. Make it a point to read the entire Koonin piece.
But never fear as our fearless leader will be in NY to address the UN summit (most likely a rushed speech between fund raisers and golf). Not that it will have any effect or make any difference. But in his mind, it will be “action”. In reality, it’ll be another example of him again being outplayed on the world stage.
In reference to “climate change”, Paul Krugman leads with:
This just in: Saving the planet would be cheap; it might even be free. But will anyone believe the good news?
Two points – it is entirely debatable as to whether the planet needs saving. Science and the data produced certainly doesn’t support the supposition. I’m talking about real science. Not the pseudo-science of the alarmist side – the science denier side. Given that, why should anyone care about whatever “good news” Krugman is shilling today.
Second point – is government involved in the solution (he studiously tries to disguise that in his article)? Of course it is. Then it will be neither cheap nor free. And most likely it will be terrible to boot, hurt the economy, make government larger and more intrusive, etc., etc., etc.
So no, Mr. Krugman, anyone with two brain cells to rub together – and that likely excludes you – won’t believe much of anything that comes out of the pseudo-science, and now pseudo-economics of the left.
At best they’re educated guesses. And, as the actual climate continues to demonstrate when compared to the outcomes the models predict (and that’s all they do is come up with a prediction based on how the huge numbers of variables have been set up in the algorithm they use), they’re woefully wrong about climate change. This comes under the category of “a picture is worth a thousand words” or in this case, a graph:
Not even close.
Now, who is the “denier”?
President Barack Obama will attend a United Nations summit on climate change in September.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited heads of state and other leaders to the Sept. 23 summit in New York. The U.N. says the goal is to spur governments, industry and civil groups to make new commitments to addressing climate change.The summit comes one year before world leaders will gather in Paris for global climate talks aimed at securing a deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Obama has set a goal to cut U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020, compared to 2005 levels.
The Obama administration will seek a non-binding international accord – rather than a treaty – at a United Nations climate summit in Paris next year on reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
It was a widely anticipated move, as President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he would act alone, bypassing Congress, if lawmakers declined to support his proposal.
So one would assume that the UN meeting would lay the groundwork for the Paris talks, no? Since it all under the auspices of the UN? And this apparently is very important to our president, no? He’s going to attend, he’s got a plan (one of the few plans his administration has ever managed to push out there) to make a commitment for the US while bypassing Congress. What could go wrong with this issue that is so important to Obama? And he’s certainly consulted with other world leaders to ensure their cooperation and backing, right?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation, won’t join his U.S. and Chinese counterparts at a United Nations climate summit next month in New York. Modi’s absence is a bit of a blow to the summit.
Chinese counterparts? The Chinese are blowing it off too:
Chinese president Xi Jinping has decided to skip a meeting of world leaders on climate change in New York, according to climate insiders, casting doubt on the summit’s potential to make progress ahead of next year’s major UN climate summit in Paris.
You think? But, as the commercial says, “that’s not all”:
German daily TAZ reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel isn’t going to bother attending the Ban Ki-Moon initiated climate conference in New York this coming September. The TAZ adds this has been “confirmed by a government spokesman“. Merkel’s decision to snub the event is likely another sign that efforts to forge a climate agreement are already dead in water. The TAZ writes: “Ultimately only Europe and very few other countries remain on board. Canada for example has opted out. Japan and Russia are also no longer taking part.”
Always the last to know. Kind of like his foreign policy, isn’t it? No India. No China. No Russia. No Canada, Germany or Japan.
So, if all of these major players in the world don’t see a reason to show up for Obama and Moon’s little show, how are those two going to sell this to world as an emergency situation that needs drastic action?
I know — call in John Kerry!
And the clown car continues to careen down the path to nowhere.
How many times have we been treated to hissy fits by the environmental left when it comes to species other than humans and their endangerment? What group has constantly pushed for laws that protect animals from humans? And where have the enviros been mostly silent as a particular group of animals is wantonly slaughtered daily in the name of green, renewable energy?
California’s massive Ivanpah solar power plant can produce enough electricity for 140,000 households — but the environmental cost is nothing less than an avian slaughter.
The plant’s 350,000 mirrors bounce sizzling sunlight to the tops of three 40-story boiler towers, heating steam for turbine electricity generators. Temperatures near the towers can reach up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, heat certainly sufficient to fry a fowl.
“Workers at the state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — ‘streamers,’ for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair,” the Associated Press reports this week.
That’s a common occurrence, the AP continues; federal investigators saw a bird burn roughly every two minutes. Ivanpah owner BrightSource estimates that “about a thousand” die each year, and one environmental group says the plant kills up to 28,000 birds each year.
Of course, if you do the math (and account for 12 hours of darkness each day) it comes out to about 130,000 a year – assuming the observation that one bird “burns” every two minutes. And the outcry? Yeah, not so much.
And some of the birds it is killing are, among others, endangered:
As the plant prepared to begin operations, workers found the winged corpses of “a peregrine falcon, a grebe, two hawks, four nighthawks, and a variety of warblers and sparrows,” the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year.
You want a “silent spring”? Keep building these sorts of installations.
What about wind turbines? Well, Ivanpah comes up a piker in comparison:
Ivanpah isn’t the only green darling with a lot of bird blood on its hands, either. The American Bird Conservancy estimates wind turbines slay 440,000 birds each year, and the an analyst writing in the Wildlife Society Bulletin says it’s closer to 573,000 — in addition to 888,000 bats.
And, as usual, our federal government makes exceptions to the law for favored industries:
Federal wildlife officials on Friday for the first time agreed not to prosecute a developer if an endangered California condor is struck and killed by turbine blades at its proposed wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
You accidentally do it and watch how much of an exception they make for you.
In the meantime, with all this data showing massive bird kills among solar and wind turbine installations?
Crickets – unless they find some other sort of “green energy” source that happens to wipe them out too.
Well, if reports are true it appears our self-crowned king has decided he’s found a way to obligate us to a treaty without following the Constitution’s proviso for doing so.
In seeking to go around Congress to push his international climate change agenda, Mr. Obama is echoing his domestic climate strategy. In June, he bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions….
American negotiators are instead homing in on a hybrid agreement — a proposal to blend legally binding conditions from an existing 1992 treaty with new voluntary pledges. The mix would create a deal that would update the treaty, and thus, negotiators say, not require a new vote of ratification.
Countries would be legally required to enact domestic climate change policies — but would voluntarily pledge to specific levels of emissions cuts and to channel money to poor countries to help them adapt to climate change. Countries might then be legally obligated to report their progress toward meeting those pledges at meetings held to identify those nations that did not meet their cuts.
“There’s some legal and political magic to this,” said Jake Schmidt, an expert in global climate negotiations with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an advocacy group. “They’re trying to move this as far as possible without having to reach the 67-vote threshold” in the Senate.
“Political magic”? Is that the state of our nation now – we resort to “political magic” when we can’t get our way as the Constitution requires? Well, yes.
President Obama seems to be following a script laid out in May, 2014 by former Undersecretary for Global Affairs Timothy Wirth, who was the Clinton Administration’s lead negotiator for the Kyoto Protocol, and former South Dakota Senator Thomas Daschle who astutely asserted that “the international community should stop chasing the chimera of a binding treaty to limit CO2 emissions.” They further noted that more than two decades of U.N. climate negotiations have failed because “nations could not agree on who is to blame, on how to allocate emissions, or on projections for the future.”
Wirth and Daschle are advocating that the climate negotiators adopt a system of “pledge and review” at the 2015 Paris conference of the parties to the UNFCCC. In such a scheme nations would make specific pledges to cut their carbon emissions, to adopt clean energy technologies, and to wring more GDP out of each ton of carbon emitted. The parties would review their progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions every three years and make further pledges as necessary to achieve the goal of keeping the increase in average global temperature under 2°C. Since there would be no legally binding targets, there would be no treaty that would require politically difficult ratification. If insufficient progress is being made by 2020 they argue that countries should consider adopting globally coordinated price on carbon.
Now this isn’t to say that this is going to work or even have an effect, but it is a blatant attempt to have one’s way (via “political magic”) while avoiding the unpleasantness of a failure to get a ratification by tw0-thirds of the Senate (its all about getting the leverage to pass a carbon tax).
And, as usual, Mr. Obama doesn’t care one whit about much more than getting his way – just ask Senate Democrats:
President Obama’s election-year plan to win a new international climate change accord is making vulnerable Democrats nervous.
The administration is in talks at the United Nations about a deal that would seek to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by “naming and shaming” governments that fail to take significant action.
The State Department on Wednesday denied a report in The New York Times that the plan is to come up with a treaty that would not require Senate confirmation, but that appeared to provide cold comfort to Democrats worried the issue will revive GOP cries about an imperial Obama presidency.
One Democratic strategist said the proposal would put swing-state candidates who are critical to the party keeping its Senate majority “in front of the firing squad.”
“You’re … making it more difficult for them to win and certainty putting them in a position to lose,” the strategist said.
Silver linings … always look for the silver lining to those storm clouds.
And then there’s immigration …
If the findings of a new study are correct, it appears the sun is indeed the primary reason for global temps being higher for a few years. I know, you’re shocked aren’t you? Who would have thought the big heater in the sky could have a role in temperature increases? Well not the alarmists.
As illustrated in the figure below, the authors report there is “remarkable agreement” among the overlapping years of their reconstruction (solid black line) and the number of sunspots recorded from direct observations since 1610 (red line). Their reconstruction of solar activity also displays several “distinct features,” including several “well-defined Grand minima of solar activity, ca. 770 BC, 350 BC, 680 AD, 1050 AD, 1310 AD, 1470 AD, and 1680 AD,” as well as “the modern Grand maximum (which occurred during solar cycles 19-23, i.e., 1950-2009),” which they describe as “a rare or even unique event, in both magnitude and duration, in the past three millennia.”
Figure 1. Reconstructed decadal average of sunspot numbers for the period 1150 BC-1950 AD (black line). The 95% confidence interval is shown by the gray shading and directly measured sunspot numbers are shown in red. The horizontal dashed lines demark the bounds of the three suggested modes (Grand Minimum, Regular, and Grand Maximum) as defined by Usoskin et al.
A “rare or even unique event” which had zip to do with man or CO2, but certainly coincided with the panic about man-made global warming, huh? And the alarmists gave what sort of influence to the sun in their models?
Usoskin et al. (2014) write their results “provide important constraints for both dynamo models of Sun-like stars and investigations of possible solar influence on Earth’s climate.” They also illustrate the importance of improving the quality of such reconstructions, in light of the fact that previous reconstructions of this nature “did not reveal any clear signature of distinct modes” in solar activity.
Unfortunately, it was beyond the scope of this paper to address the potential impact of solar activity on climate. Yet the reconstruction leaves a very big question unanswered — What effect did the Grand maximum of solar activity that occurred between 1950 and 2009 have on Earth’s climate? As a “unique” and “rare” event in terms of both magnitude and duration, one would think a lot more time and effort would be spent by the IPCC and others in answering that question. Instead, IPCC scientists have conducted relatively few studies of the Sun’s influence on modern warming, assuming that the temperature influence of this rare and unique Grand maximum of solar activity, which has occurred only once in the past 3,000 years, is far inferior to the radiative power provided by the rising CO2 concentration of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Not that any of these facts will at all derail the Alarmist’s rush to provide an expensive solution to a non-existent problem. Doug Hoffman summarizes what we who are totally skeptical of the “science” of man-made global warming face:
One of the sad side effects of the global warming climate scam is the way otherwise fairly intelligent people have been snookered into believing the dumbest things. There is no shortage of “experts” who gleefully back up claims of climate induced catastrophe—some with scholarly gravitas, others with fanatical shrillness. And the list of false and debunked claims goes on and on. Part of the blame for all these faux catastrophes rests squarely on the news media. Operating under the old adage, “if it bleeds it leads,” the mindless vultures of the world’s news agencies flock to report any calamity, more than happy to attributed the event to climate change. Instead of registering guns, governments should register cameras and microphones—they are truly dangerous weapons in the hands of the breathtakingly ignorant members of the fourth estate.
Indeed. One of the things we’ve discussed here before is how the rise of advocacy “journalism” harms us all. This “scam”, as Hoffman characterizes it, points out in spades how poorly we’re served by our media today.
Don’t expect this study to get much attention. It is counter to the conventional wisdom, counter to the desire to further empower government and certainly counter to the desire by those in power to cash in on this faux crisis.
Energy Matters takes a look at the progress of the green energy renewables that were supposed to be saving the day and justifying the “war on coal”:
“So while we can expect that hydro will continue to provide most of the energy generated by renewables for some time to come it isn’t likely to contribute to decarbonizing global energy generation any more than it already has. If decarbonization is to be achieved by expanding renewables the expansion will have to come in wind, solar and biomass. So let’s take hydro out and see how far growth in wind, solar and biomass has carried us along the decarbonization path so far…Clearly they still have a long way to go.”
So, when you hear Obama and the alarmist bleating incessantly about the crisis of “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever phrase they choose to characterize the hoax they’re trying to perpetrate on the people of the country, ensure you point out that not even their own data supports their claim:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most accurate, up-to-date temperature data confirm the United States has been cooling for at least the past decade. The NOAA temperature data are driving a stake through the heart of alarmists claiming accelerating global warming.
Responding to widespread criticism that its temperature station readings were corrupted by poor siting issues and suspect adjustments, NOAA established a network of 114 pristinely sited temperature stations spread out fairly uniformly throughout the United States. Because the network, known as the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), is so uniformly and pristinely situated, the temperature data require no adjustments to provide an accurate nationwide temperature record. USCRN began compiling temperature data in January 2005. Now, nearly a decade later, NOAA has finally made the USCRN temperature readings available.
According to the USCRN temperature readings, U.S. temperatures are not rising at all – at least not since the network became operational 10 years ago. Instead, the United States has cooled by approximately 0.4 degrees Celsius, which is more than half of the claimed global warming of the twentieth century.
But, but, that’s only the US … yup, and that supports the observation that globally there has been no warming for the past 17 years. The models are wrong. Just flat wrong and it’s time we started saying that. There is no credence to be found in their predictions and certainly nothing to support the alarmist’s claims.
Carly Fiorino, former CEO of Hewlett Packard and a senate candidate remarked this weekend on the cobbled up “war on women”. On CNN, she pulled out a fortune she’d gotten from a fortune cookie and said:
“‘Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause,’” Fiorina read. “And that’s exactly right. The War On Women is shameless, baseless propaganda. There’s no fact to it. But it’s worked because it’s scared women to death. Enough.”
Substitute the alarmist’s “climate change” for “war on women” and it describes precisely what is going on with them. They have no case, only propaganda, and their only “argument” is to call the other side names and call for violent action against them.
Meanwhile, the case against the alarmist cause just keeps on getting stronger and stronger, not that it will slow them down or cause them to decrease the volume of screaming. It’s not about science, it’s abotu power and money … and they want both. More power over the way you live and more money to use against you to enforce their edicts.