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Extreme Politics: The Roger Pielke Jr. Story

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | June 10, 2019

Last week, an article by economist Ross McKitrick appeared in Canada’s National Post. Titled This scientist proved climate change isn’t causing extreme weather – so politicians attacked, it tells the story of Roger Pielke Jr., a professor in Boulder, Colorado who has been mercilessly persecuted for the unpardonable sin of telling the truth.

With Canada’s Prime Minister childishly insisting a national carbon tax will prevent wildfires, floods, and tornadoes, McKitrick sets us straight:

Globally there’s no clear evidence of trends and patterns in extreme events such as droughts, hurricanes and floods. Some regions experience more, some less…There’s no trend in U.S. hurricane landfall frequency or intensity. If anything, the past 50 years has been relatively quiet…Since 1965, more parts of the U.S. have seen a decrease in flooding than have seen an increase…There’s no trend in U.S. tornado damage (in fact, 2012 to 2017 was below average)…Cold snaps in the U.S. are down but, unexpectedly, so are heatwaves.

The bottom line is there’s no solid connection between climate change and the major indicators of extreme weather… [bold added]

Pielke once specialized in natural disasters and the damage they inflict. In 2006, Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, appeared. It incorrectly claimed global warming was responsible for Hurricane Katrina, which had devastated New Orleans. This became the party line amongst US Democrats.

Having since switched his research focus to other matters, Pielke spoke publicly last year about being relentlessly smeared and slimed by ridiculously senior Democrats despite the fact that he himself has never once voted Republican.

A case in point is John Podesta. This man was President Bill Clinton’s last chief of staff. He was an advisor to President Barack Obama. More recently, he served as Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign manager. Podesta’s other project is the Center for American Progress (CAP), described as “the Democrat’s favorite think tank.”

Podesta is as partisan as they come, and CAP is a Democratic Party political machine. In Pielke’s words, between 2007 and 2015, “CAP wrote more than 161 articles critical of me, many spreading false and incorrect representations of my views. They averaged an article a week in 2008 and 2009.”

Overall, seven different CAP writers chose to ignore Pielke’s airtight scholarship. He needed to be muzzled for political reasons – for “questioning the link between climate change and extreme weather” and for allegedly providing “cover for climate deniers.”

In an internal 2014 e-mail (made public by WikiLeaks in 2016), CAP employee Judd Legum boasts that his part of that organization got Pielke fired as a contributor to FiveThirtyEight.com, a website affiliated with ABC News.

Pielke’s first and only article there was titled Disasters Cost More Than Ever – But Not Because of Climate Change. Studded with numerous links to source material, it points out that even the UN’s highly politicized Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits there’s scant evidence of a spike in the frequency or intensity of floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes.

In other words, there’s nothing remotely radical or non-mainstream about Pielke’s position. But the blowback orchestrated by CAP and others was so vociferous, he was never published at FiveThirtyEight.com again. In this interview Pielke says he suggested leaving three months later, after the website had demonstrated “some reluctance in continuing to publish my work.”

Slide #38 in the presentation Pielke gave last year includes a third party advertisement that characterizes his departure as a “Victory for climate truth!” Rather than being an honest scholar, you see, he’s actually a “climate confusionist” who deserves to be destroyed.

Today, someone searching on Pielke’s name at FireThirtyEight.com is presented with a very short list. It includes an editorial by its founder and editor-in-chief about Pielke’s article. It also includes a response to Pielke’s article by Kerry Emanuel. But there’s no actual link to Pielke’s calm, sane piece itself.

Having kowtowed to bullies, FireThirtyEight.com now sticks to conventional fare – articles that discuss “climate change denialists” and “climate change deniers.”

The simple truth is so threatening to certain political operatives that Pielke’s persecution didn’t end there. In 2015, he was falsely accused of secretly taking money from an oil company and investigated by Congress. In that context, the president of the university that employs him was advised in writing that Obama’s White House science advisor believed Pielke to be guilty of “serious misstatements.”

Also in 2015, Paige St. John, a Pulitzer Prize-winning US journalist, discovered that mentioning Pielke in an article was sufficient to ignite a campaign against her. Slide #22 contains a comment St. John sent to Pielke by e-mail:

You should come with a warning label: Quoting Roger Pielke will bring a hail storm down on your work from the London Guardian, Mother Jones and Media Matters.

Let that sink in. No one is off limits. Even journalists at the top of the heap are targeted and bullied. The climate mafia exists. Its enforcers are real. Their mantra is: thou shalt not set a toe out of line.

As Ross McKitrick ended his National Post article last week, so shall I: “Something has gotten scary and extreme, but it isn’t the weather.”

June 10, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance, Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Glacier National Park Quietly Removes Its ‘Gone by 2020’ Signs

Glaciers Appear to be Growing, not Melting in Recent Years

By Roger I. Roots, J.D., Ph.D.,
Founder, Lysander Spooner University

May 30, 2019. St. Mary, Montana. Officials at Glacier National Park (GNP) have begun quietly removing and altering signs and government literature which told visitors that the Park’s glaciers were all expected to disappear by either 2020 or 2030.

In recent years the National Park Service prominently featured brochures, signs and films which boldly proclaimed that all glaciers at GNP were melting away rapidly. But now officials at GNP seem to be scrambling to hide or replace their previous hysterical claims while avoiding any notice to the public that the claims were inaccurate. Teams from Lysander Spooner University visiting the Park each September have noted that GNP’s most famous glaciers such as the Grinnell Glacier and the Jackson Glacier appear to have been growing—not shrinking—since about 2010. (The Jackson Glacier—easily seen from the Going-To-The-Sun Highway—may have grown as much as 25% or more over the past decade.)

The centerpiece of the visitor center at St. Mary near the east boundary is a large three-dimensional diorama showing lights going out as the glaciers disappear. Visitors press a button to see the diorama lit up like a Christmas tree in 1850, then showing fewer and fewer lights until the diorama goes completely dark. As recently as September 2018 the diorama displayed a sign saying GNP’s glaciers were expected to disappear completely by 2020.

Video of the diorama two years ago.

But at some point during this past winter (as the visitor center was closed to the public), workers replaced the diorama’s ‘gone by 2020’ engraving with a new sign indicating the glaciers will disappear in “future generations.”

Almost everywhere, the Park’s specific claims of impending glacier disappearance have been replaced with more nuanced messaging indicating that everyone agrees that the glaciers are melting. Some signs indicate that glacial melt is “accelerating.”

A common trick used by the National Park Service at GNP is to display old black-and-white photos of glaciers from bygone years (say, “1922”) next to photos of the same glaciers taken in more recent years showing the glaciers much diminished (say, “2006”). Anyone familiar with glaciers in the northern Rockies knows that glaciers tend to grow for nine months each winter and melt for three months each summer. Thus, such photo displays without precise calendar dates may be highly deceptive.

Last year the Park Service quietly removed its two large steel trash cans at the Many Glacier Hotel which depicted “before and after” engravings of the Grinnell Glacier in 1910 and 2009. The steel carvings indicated that the Glacier had shrunk significantly between the two dates. But a viral video published on Wattsupwiththat.com showed that the Grinnell Glacier appears to be slightly larger than in 2009.

The ‘gone by 2020’ claims were repeated in the New York Times, National Geographic, and other international news sources. But no mainstream news outlet has done any meaningful reporting regarding the apparent stabilization and recovery of the glaciers in GNP over the past decade. Even local Montana news sources such as The Missoulian, Billings Gazette and Bozeman Daily Chronicle have remained utterly silent regarding this story.

(Note that since September 2015 the author has offered to bet anyone $5,000 that GNP’s glaciers will still exist in 2030, in contradiction to the reported scientific consensus. To this day no one has taken me up on my offer. –R.R.)

Source

June 6, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 2 Comments

Heat Wave Hysteria Coming Soon

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | June 5, 2019

US data beginning in 1985, shared by Bjorn Lomborg. Rising blue line: percentage of deaths attributable to the cold. Orange line: percentage attributable to heat.

In many parts of the world, we’ve just endured an extra snowy winter followed by a cool, delayed spring. But wait for it. When hotter weather arrives it will take no time at all for media outlets to start ‘educating’ us about heat waves and dangerous climate change.

In anticipation of those ‘news’ stories, here’s an inoculation: Cold weather kills far more people than does hot weather. If we truly care about weather-related suffering and sorrow, heat waves should be near the bottom of our priority list.

On his Facebook page, Bjorn Lomborg is calling our attention to a research paper published last year in Environment International. It contains marvelous news. In 7 out of 10 countries studied, heat-related deaths have decreased since 1985.

The researchers conclude that improved health care and infrastructure (aka increased access to air conditioning), have made us less likely to die from the heat. Normal, everyday upgrades are outpacing heat-related risks. As living standards improve, higher temperatures become less life threatening.

But the news isn’t so rosy on the other side of the ledger, where most deaths connected to extreme temperatures actually occur. Depending on the country and the time frame under discussion, the ratio of cold deaths to heat deaths varies. Since Table 3 of this study includes data for all 10 countries for the years 2000-2004, the numbers below are pulled from that column.

During this five-year period no deaths in Ireland were linked to heat, but 9.34% of all deaths were attributed to cold temperatures. (Compared to the 1980s, cold-related deaths in Ireland have fallen dramatically.)

The big picture is that for every person who dies during a heat wave, many more quietly perish from the cold at other times of the year. Here’s the ratio of cold deaths to heat deaths in the locales examined by this study:

Australia: 11:1

Brazil: 6:1

Canada: 13:1

Ireland: cold caused 9.34% of all deaths, heat caused 0%

Japan: 27:1

South Korea: 37:1

Spain: 4:1

Switzerland: 1.5: 1

UK: 28:1

USA: 25:1

When the next heat wave hits, don’t expect journalists and weather broadcasters to provide you with all the relevant facts. In their zeal to hype global warming, they will systematically misinform you. They will encourage you to believe things about weather-related deaths that are the opposite of the truth.

June 5, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Deadly Japan Heatwave “Due To Global Warming”

By Paul Homewood | Not A Lot Of People Know That | May 30, 2019

Japan’s heatwave in July 2018 could not have happened without climate change.

That is the unequivocal conclusion of a report released last week, as the country battles yet another record-breaking heatwave.

The July 2018 heatwave, which killed 1,032 people, saw temperatures reach 41.1C, the highest temperature ever recorded in the country. Torrential rains also triggered landslides and the worst flooding in decades.

Penned by the Meteorological Society of Japan, the study is the first to establish that some aspects of the international heatwave could not have occurred in the absence of global warming. Scientists reached this conclusion by employing a technique known as event attribution (EA).

The relatively new method, lead author Yukkiko Imada told Climate Home News, sought to pin down the causality of climate change in the heatwave by simulating 18 climate scenarios with and without the current 1C global warming above pre-industrial levels.

They found a one in five chance of the heatwave occurring in the current climate, but almost no chance of in a climate unchanged by human activity.

https://www.climatechangenews.com/2019/05/29/deadly-japan-heatwave-essentially-impossible-without-global-warming/

This claim is utterly absurd and dishonest.

As Imada’s study makes abundantly clear, the cause of the heatwave was the coming of two powerful high pressure systems, known as a double-high.

Moreover, two seasonal high-pressure systems, namely the North Pacific subtropical high (NPSH) in the lower troposphere and Tibetan high in the upper troposphere often cause warm climate in Japan (Imada et al. 2014). This two-tiered high-pressure system (double-High) was also visible in July 2018.

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/sola/advpub/0/advpub_15A-002/_pdf/-char/ja

The paper goes on to say:

However, experts do not have any  answers on whether the double-High in 2018 was extreme compared to other such  historical events. It is even more difficult to determine the extent to which  human-induced global warming contributed to this event….

Thus, the double-High condition appears to be natural variability  and not affected by the human-induced climate change at this stage.

 In other words, the heatwave would have occurred, regardless of global warming.

As is usually the case with these sort of attribution studies, what this one actually says is that this event was slightly hotter than would have been the case prior to 20thC warming.

It is funny that we never seem to hear about studies that explain how cold winters would have been even colder without AGW!

It is reckoned that 1032 died in the Japan heatwave, but it is certain that many more would have died in pre-industrial versions of that weather event, before the days of air conditioning.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

Former U.S. Forest Service Ecologist: UN species report ‘grossly’ exaggerated, used to promote UN agenda

May 21, 2019

To the United States Congress

I am an ecologist and was the director of San Francisco State University’ Sierra Nevada Field Campus for 25 years. My professional career was dedicated to promoting wise environmental stewardship. Despite my years of research to advance biodiversity, I’m gravely concerned about the recent Summary for Policymakers by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), where it suggests that 1± million species are now threatened with extinction. Based on my experience, that number is greatly exaggerated. It appears this organization grossly overstated species threats in order to promote their stated agenda that “goals for 2030 and beyond may only be achieved through transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors.”

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is considered the gold standard for identifying threatened species. As of 2019, they estimate that there are 1,733,200 described species (not total species) of which less than 10% (just 98,512) have been evaluated to some degree. Of those evaluated species 27,159 species appear threatened with extinction to some degree. That is a reason for concern, but the IUCN estimates of species loss are a far cry from a million.

The IPBES suggested that the total number of threatened species could be derived by calculating the proportion of yet-to-be-evaluated species, using the same proportion of evaluated species that are considered threatened. Still such speculative math would still only result in 461,621 threatened species — again quite a few less than a million.

To reach 1± million threatened species the ≈ stated, “The proportion of insect species threatened with extinction is a key uncertainty, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10 percent.” They then state that insects comprise 75% of the known 8± million animal and plant species. However, that results in an estimate of 6± million insect species which is 6 times greater than the scientific consensus. Such misleading exaggerations suggest this group has a hidden agenda.

A key understanding is that 75%± of all mammal, bird, reptile and amphibian extinctions have occurred on islands, and 86% of those extinctions were the result of introduced non-native species. Island species had not evolved the defenses needed to resist introduced rats, cats, and stoats. For example, in Hawaii, the introduction of mosquitos and avian malaria in the 1800s decimated Hawaii’s native birds.

Due to invasive species, 41%± of all highly threatened species (Endangered and Critically Endangered) now live on islands. The current threats to most island species are not the result of what humans are doing wrong today, but the result of introductions a century ago. Now aware of the problem, humans are trying to fix it.

Private conservation groups and public land managers are now working to eradicate invasive species, but those efforts require much more resources. If IPBES was truly concerned about protecting threatened species, they could simply fund these eradication efforts. There is no need for “transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors.”

Furthermore, the IUCN’s criteria for designating threatened species (the total of Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable species) allows for much subjectivity. That subjectivity allows for overstating a species condition which would inflate the threat. For example to classify a species as “Threatened,” all one needs is “an observed, estimated, inferred or suspected population size reduction” The magnitude of the reductions determines if a species is Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered. That criteria is accurate for well-studied species for which quantitative studies have been carried out. However many ICUN evaluations “have no quantitative data available on densities or abundance” from which to determine the threatened status. The population reduction is then just inferred or suspected.

An example of the problem with speculations is the Adelie Penguin. It was classified as a species of Least Concern in 2009, with a population of about 4± million individuals throughout Antarctica. They were up-listed to Near Threatened based on a 2010 climate modeling study that speculated global warming would reduce the sea ice they needed to rest on during the winter. However, after more intensive studies, researchers realized Adelie populations were actually increasing and had now doubled to 8± million individuals. Due to good quantitative studies, the IUCN reclassified Adelies as Least Concern again.

Speculation that a million species are threatened with extinction does not fully account for the conservation efforts that are improving species once they have been identified as Endangered. For example, our current hunting regulations have allowed many whale species to return from the brink of extinction. Humpback and Bowhead whales were listed as Endangered in the 1980s. They have now recovered and are listed as species of Least Concern. Quantitative studies allowed for wise hunting quotas that quickly reduced the threat to many species. Again, there is no need for a “transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors.”

Loss of habitat is a key factor that can result in species becoming endangered — and sometimes it is political decisions that can lead to these species threats.

For example, government attempts to promote biofuels based on speculations about climate change have disrupted ecosystems and threatened more species. The European Union-subsidized Palm Oil for years, resulting in the loss of tropical forest and threatening species like the Orangutans. Realizing their mistake, those subsidies will be withdrawn.

Another example is that subsidies for sugar cane as a biofuel has prevented the restoration of tropical forests in Brazil, and corn subsidies in the USA have encouraged corn plantation in the northern Great Plains disrupting prairie ecosystems and reducing aquifers.

Yet another situation is that subsidies for industrial wind energy have resulted in increased bird and bat mortalities, in addition to the well-documented eco-system disruption. These representative examples should make clear that “transformative economic and political changes” can cause more problems than they solve.

I urge Congress to carefully peruse the IPBES claims. Their assertion of a million threatened species does not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Their gross exaggerations appear to be a political gambit to control “transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors,” while offering very little to improve current efforts to protect biodiversity.

Sincerely,

Jim Steele

Jim Steele was the director of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus from 1984 to 2010. He was Principal Investigator of the U. S. Forest Service Neotropical Migratory Bird monitoring in Riparian Habitats on the Tahoe National Forest, performed two USGS Breeding Bird Surveys in the area, and initiated the successful Carman Valley Watershed Restoration project. Contact jsteele@sfsu.edu

May 29, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | 1 Comment

The mass extinction lie exposed: life is thriving

By Gregory Wrightstone | Inconvenient Blog | May 13, 2019

One million species will become extinct in the not-too-distant future and we are to blame. That is the conclusion of a new study by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was issued on May 6th {the full report will be issued “later this year} and warns that “human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before” and that “around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss.”

It also asserted that we have seen increasing dangers over the last several decades, stating “the threat of extinction is also accelerating: in the best-studied taxonomic groups, most of the total extinction risk to species is estimated to have arisen in the past 40 years.” The global rate of species extinction claimed “is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years.”

The release of the report spawned a media frenzy that uncritically accepted the study’s contention that we will see more than 20,000 species per year bite the dust in the not too distant future. PBS called it the “current mass extinction,” and the New Yorker’s headline read “Climate Change and the New Age of Extinction.

The only chart in the SPM that supported the claim of increasing extinctions is shown here (bdlow). The graph covers 500-years and appears to present a frightening increase in extinctions and extinction rate.

Species extinction since 1500

This chart and the accompanying “analysis” are a case study of how those who promote the notion of man-made catastrophic warming manipulate data and facts to spread the most fear, alarm, and disinformation.

First, note that the title of the graph itself (Cumulative % of Species Driven Extinct) is confusing even to scientists used to interpreting such data. More importantly, the data were lumped together by century rather than shorter time frames, which, as we shall see accentuates the supposed increase in extinctions.

The base data were derived from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List, which catalogues every known species that has gone the way of the dodo and the carrier pigeon. Review of the full data set reveals a much different view of extinction and what has been happening recently.

Below, all 529 species available from the Red List with a known extinction date are shown below in Figure 2 by decade of extinction. This chart reveals quite a different story than that advanced by the new report. Instead of a steady increase in the number and rate of extinctions we find that extinctions peaked in the late 1800s and the early 20th century, followed by a significant decline that continues today. It is thought that this extinction peak coincides with introduction of non-native species, primarily on islands (including Australia).

Species extinction by decade

A closer review of the most recent information dating back to 1870 reveals that, instead of a frightening increase, extinctions are actually in a significant decline.

What is apparent is that the trend of extinctions is declining rather than increasing, just the opposite of what the new report claims. Also, according to the IPBES report, we can expect 25,000 to 30,000 extinctions per year, yet the average over the last 40 years is about 2 species annually. That means the rate would have to multiply by 12,500 to 15,000 to reach the dizzying heights predicted. Nothing on the horizon is likely to achieve even a small fraction of that.

Graph of Species Extinctions by Decade, from the Red List

This new extinction study is just the latest example of misuse and abuse of the scientific process designed to sow fear of an impending climate apocalypse. The fear and alarm over purported man-made catastrophes are needed to frighten the population into gladly accepting harmful and economically crippling proposals such as the Green New Deal.

Rather than an Earth spiraling into a series of climate catastrophes that threaten the planet’s life, we find that our planet and its estimated 8 million species are doing just fine, thank you.

Postscript: In an incredibly ironic twist that poses a difficult conundrum for those who are intent on saving the planet from our carbon dioxide excesses, the new study reports that the number one cause of predicted extinctions is habitat loss. Yet their solution is to pave over vast stretches of land for industrial scale solar factories and to construct immense wind factories that will cover forests and grasslands, killing the endangered birds and other species they claim to want to save.

Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years of experience researching and studying various aspects of the Earth’s processes. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Waynesburg University and a master’s from West Virginia University, both in the field of geology. He has written and presented extensively on many aspects of geology including how paleogeography and paleoclimate control geologic processes. His findings have allowed him to speak at many venues around the world including Ireland, England, China and most recently India.

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

Assange Accuser Ridiculed for Proclaiming Teenage Climate Activist New ‘Prophet’

Sputnik – May 27, 2019

According to Anna Ardin, the Swedish deacon who has accused Julian Assange of sexual misconduct, the world must listen to Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old with Asperger’s Syndrome who has risen to international fame and inspired thousands of followers with her “school strike” campaign, claiming that her message comes from God himself.

In her piece in the Christian newspaper Kyrkans Tidning, Anna Ardin, the Swedish woman who has accused Julian Assange of rape, proclaimed celebrity climate activist Greta Thunberg a prophet of our time, just as the biblical characters Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah and Ezekiel once were.

Together with Joakim Kroksson, Equimenical Church deacon Anna Ardin has listed six traits they claim to elevate Greta Thunberg to prophet-like status. The traits include “daring to talk about harsh reality” and “preaching repentance”.

“The point is that we must listen to the message, because the message comes from God. It requires a radical conversion to a fossil (fuel) free life and society,” Ardin and Kroksson wrote, while stressing that the goal of the article was not to hail Greta Thunberg, but her message.

Theologian Stefan Gustavsson, the director of Apologia, a Centre for Christian Apologetics, is critical of his colleages’ reasoning. According to him, a prophet must explicitly claim to be sent by God and convey God’s message and fight sins against God. He also disagrees with the claim that Thunberg faces the same rejection as her biblical “counterparts”, who lived in stark exclusion, unlike Thunberg, who has received a plethora of awards and has even been nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Not a single prophet has received the same global tribute as Greta,” Gustavsson told the Christian newspaper Världen Idag, stressing that Thunberg has the entire establishment behind her.

On social media, Ardin’s stance on Thunberg has triggered even stronger reactions.

Artist, musical producer and former Army of Lovers start turned philosopher Alexander Bard wrote that the same woman accusing Assange of rape proclaiming Greta Thunberg a prophet sent by God was a token of “how utterly mad Sweden has become in 2019”.

“I just left the Swedish church because of that”, another user wrote.

“Insanity knows no borders. Neither does Sweden”, yet another user mused.

Others labelled Anna Ardin unbecoming epithets ranging from “complete nutcase” to “one of the most extreme leftists in Sweden”.

Anna Ardin, who is a self-attributed “radical reformist” and “fighter against ‘Churcharchy'”, is a feminist and an animal rights fighter. In 2010, she claimed that WikiLeaks owner Julian Assange had tampered with a condom during sex with her, essentially forcing her to have unprotected sex. While Assange denied the allegations, an court in England where he then lived, ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden for investigation. In response, Assange sought asylum at London’s Ecuadorian embassy, where he remained until earlier this year.

Greta Thunberg is a teenage Swedish climate activist who rose to international fame for her weekly “school strikes” held outside of the Swedish parliament, as well as doomsday rhetoric of imminent environmental catastrophe. In recent months, her movement has gathered hundreds of thousands of students in over a hundred countries across the globe to follow her example.

Despite her numerous psychological issues, such as Asperger’s and selective mutism and depression, to name a few, she remains a cultural icon in Sweden, where she is known as “Climate Greta” and has been named “woman of the year” by the country’s largest newspapers.

READ MORE:

Church of Sweden Shamed for Hailing Girl With Asperger’s as ‘Jesus’s Successor’

May 27, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | | 1 Comment

Government Accountability Project engages in projection

Anonymous allegations are republished by an allegedly respectable website.

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | May 20, 2019

A reader has alerted me to the fact that a Washington, D.C. organization called the Government Accountability Project is bad-mouthing me. It says I’m part of the “global warming denial machine.”

I almost never respond to accusations of this kind. It’s time-consuming, draining, and distracting. I prefer to make a positive contribution to the world through my writing, and to let my record speak for itself. In the end, one must trust in the ability of the public to sort sense from nonsense.

In this case, though, I’m making an exception. So let’s start with some basics.

WHO AM I?
1.  I am not a US citizen.

2.  I have never held a government job (unless one counts part-time clerical work in libraries and hospitals during my teens and early twenties).

3.  My journalism career includes four years as a columnist with the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. I’m a former columnist and member of the editorial board of the National Post. My investigative work has appeared in several newspapers and magazines, and I am the author of three books.

4.  I’m a longtime proponent of free speech, having joined the board of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in 1993, and served as a vice president from 1998 to 2001.

WHO IS SMEARING ME?
The Government Accountability Project (henceforth I’ll call it The GAP), says it helps whistleblowers “hold the government and corporations accountable.” That’s marvellous and admirable.

I, however, am not a government. I’m not a corporation. Having worked with my share of whistleblowers over the years, I line up squarely on their side.

So why is this Washington-based organization trashing me – a journalist in a foreign country, who currently writes out of her home office and receives no regular pay cheque from anywhere?

Lamentably, the GAP has morphed into something rather different than what its name implies. The fine print on its website tells us:

As more attorneys joined the team, Government Accountability Project increased its litigation work, setting up its unique capacity to launch both political advocacy and legal campaigns. [bold added by me]

Political advocacy campaigns. Keep that phrase in mind.

The GAP now focuses its attention on six subject areas, including ding-ding-ding climate change. A section of its website therefore talks about sustainability and “the dangers posed by fossil fuel dependence.”

In other words, one arm of The GAP behaves like a politically-motivated, green advocacy group.

WHO REALLY AUTHORED THESE ACCUSATIONS?
In very large letters, the Government Accountability Project declares: Donna Laframboise recycles old attacks on IPCC. Holding a particular government to account is grand in The GAP universive. But blowing the whistle on a group of governments involved in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is villainous. Yeah, that’s coherent.

At the bottom of the page bearing that headline we see a September 2013 date. It turns out everything here was actually cut-and-pasted from a now defunct website called ClimateScienceWatch.org, which used to be run by The GAP.

Five-year-old content has simply been transferred from ClimateScienceWatch over to The GAP’s main website. In other words, The GAP’s remarks about me have been recycled – an activity its own headline suggests is contemptible. It’s all so confusing. Green activists vigorously promote recycling. Until they want to insult someone.

Unfortunately for me, The GAP’s main website exudes respectability. There’s an impressive logo, a muted palette, and a professional design. A reader in a hurry might well form the mistaken impression that I’m opposed to government accountability. In fact, I’ve spent my career striving to keep government institutions – including criminal and family courts – honest.

So what does The GAP actually say about me? Those first-published-in-2013 remarks consist of two parts. Here’s the introductory paragraph:

In a Wall Street Journal editorial on the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, IPCC critic Donna Laframboise sinks to the lowest common denominator of overused attacks. Repeated and unfounded attempts to taint the IPCC’s credibility should be seen as what they are: a distraction from the real issue – the science.

This paragraph is immediately followed by a 600-word “guest post by Climate Nexus.” Who is Climate Nexus? It’s yet another green advocacy group, funded via the Rockefeller Foundation’s billions. Correcting “misinformation about climate change” is part of its mission.

So that’s what happened here. The WSJ published my opinion piece and Climate Nexus produced a response, which was published by ClimateScienceWatch back in 2013. Today, that material appears on The GAP’s main website.

This response, please note, is unsigned.

That’s because Climate Nexus is essentially a PR firm devoted to squelching non-conformist climate views. Its employees police the boundaries of what journalists are allowed to say. Anyone who colours outside the lines is targeted, accused of sinking “to the lowest common denominator of overused attacks.” Whatever that might mean.

Climate Nexus personnel don’t take responsibility for their own words. The people who are cavalierly smearing me – a real journalist, with a real reputation – aren’t identified.

Five years later, we still don’t know who they are. These are anonymous accusers. Anonymous cowards.

To be continued…

May 20, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Netflix, Attenborough and cliff-falling walruses: the making of a false climate icon

GWPF | May 17, 2019

Dr. Susan Crockford, a Canadian wildlife expert, exposes the manipulation of fact behind the controversial walrus story promoted in the Netflix documentary film series, ‘Our Planet’, that was released early last month.

One episode in the series contained a highly disturbing piece of footage of walruses bouncing off rocks as they fell from a high cliff to their deaths. Narrator Sir David Attenborough blamed the tragedy on climate change, insisting if it weren’t for lack of sea ice the animals would never have been on land in the first place. World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) used the sequence to suggest the walrus was “the new symbol of climate change”.

However, much of what Sir David told viewers was a fabrication. Careful investigation has revealed that the producers, with help from WWF, created a story that had elements of truth but which blatantly misrepresented others and contained some outright falsehoods.

Dr. Crockford explains why it is especially incorrect to claim that large numbers of walruses resting on land constitutes a sure sign of climate change.

“Enormous herds of Pacific walrus mothers and calves spend time on beaches in late summer and fall only when the overall population size is very large. Recent estimates suggest there are many more walruses now than there were in the 1970s, which is the last time similarly massive haulouts were documented. Huge herds of walruses resting on beaches are a sign of walrus population health, not evidence of global warming. That’s largely why the US Fish and Wildlife Service concluded in 2017 – the year the Netflix scene was filmed – that walrus do not require Endangered Species Act protection.”

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

Is the Long Renewables Honeymoon Over?

Dr John Constable – GWPF – 11/05/19

The European renewables industry press, which is usually unequivocally upbeat in its assessments, is currently reporting a broad spectrum of substantial problems in the sector, ranging from bankruptcies and technical problems to tepid policy support and increasing public resistance.

In a fundamentally viable energy generation sector such stories could be regarded as minor perturbations, but in one that has been for decades all but completely insulated from risk by subsidy and other non-market support, it suggests deep-seated structuro-physical weakness.

The German wind turbine manufacturer Senvion S.A., formerly trading under the name of RePower, is currently in financial difficulties. This Hamburg-based firm, which has installed over 1,000 wind turbines in the UK alone, applied to commence self-administered insolvency proceedings in mid-April this year, and is at present sustained by a EUR 100m loan agreement with its lenders and main bond holders. Senvion has delayed both its AGM, which was due to take place on the 23 May, and also the publication of its recent financial results. At the time of writing the company had not yet announced a new timetable.

For nearly eight years, from 2007 to 2015, Senvion was owned by the Indian wind turbine manufacturer, Suzlon, and is now the property of the private equity firm, Centerbridge Partners. It is currently rumoured in the industry press that Centerbridge may now be compelled to cut its losses by making a distressed sale to Asian, probably Chinese, companies seeking a cheap way of acquiring a wind power market toehold in Europe. Western companies are thought to be unlikely to have the appetite for such a purchase, and their reluctance is entirely understandable: as Ed Hoskyns shows in a recent note for GWPF using EurObservER data, the annual installation rates for wind and solar have halved in the EU28 since 2010. Senvion may be the first major company to feel the effects of this downturn, and is certainly large enough for its difficulties to have wide ramifications, with two of its suppliers, FrancEole, which makes towers, and the US company TPI Composites, which makes blades, both being hurt by reduced revenues. Indeed, FrancEole was already in a poor way, and is now reported as being on the verge of liquidation.

Projects that were being supplied by Senvion are also affected, with the building of one, Borkum West 2.2, a 200 MW offshore wind farm, being suspended mid-construction since components due from Senvion have not been delivered on schedule. This delay, which has been front-page news in some circles, must be causing considerable headaches for Borkum West’s developer, Trianel GmbH, which is apparently now seeking to establish direct links with Senvion’s suppliers so that they can complete the project.

Elsewhere in the offshore wind universe, two large and relatively new projects are in the midst of what must be costly repairs involving significant downtime. Having received regulatory approval, the Danish mega-developer Orsted is about to start removing and renovating all 324 blades on the 108-turbine, 389 MW, Duddon Sands wind farm in the UK part of the Irish Sea, a year after problems first became apparent. The machines used, the Siemens 3.6–120, have suffered leading edge erosion, a problem that affects perhaps some 500 turbines in Europe (See “Type Failure or Wear and Tear in European Offshore Wind?”), and requiring the application of a remedial covering to each blade.

Less can be read in the public domain about the repairs about to restart at the gigantic, EU-funded Bard Offshore 1, which is owned by Ocean Breeze Energy GmbH & Co. KG. The project, which commissioned in 2013, has eighty 5 MW turbines, with a total capacity of 400 MW. Bard had already suffered a well-known series of cable failures, and it now transpires that both nacelles and rotors have been undergoing replacement for about two years, though Ocean Breeze is, according to industry press reports, apparently declining to confirm how many turbines are affected. The company’s website gives no information in either German or English that I could find.

There would, then, appear to be a great deal of work in servicing offshore wind installations, but this has not been enough to prevent Offshore Marine Management Ltd (OMM), a UK-based offshore wind contractor, entering into voluntary liquidation after several years of losses. Interestingly, OMM, a relatively small company though prominent in the UK, cited the increasingly “competitive nature” of the sector as a factor underlying its failure, and it seems likely that it was unable to survive the efforts of developers determined to reduce both capital and operational and maintenance costs to the bone (and judging from the failures reported, perhaps into the bone itself). With margins pared thin, costly local suppliers may quite simply be forced out of the market, and regardless of their other merits. Related evidence of this phenomenon, which is clearly global, can be found in the fact that the Danish mega-developer Orsted is now grumbling that the Taiwanese government’s insistence of a high level of local content for its projected 900 MW Changua 1 & 2a offshore wind farms will double the capital cost from approximately £1.6m/MW to about £3m/MW.

One wonders whether this underlying reality was discussed at the recent and apparently robust meeting between the Scottish Government and the offshore wind industry, convened because the Scottish metal manufacturing firm BiFab had not been commissioned to make equipment for the 950 MW Moray East wind farm, a wind farm that has one of the much over-hyped Contracts for Difference at £57.50/MWh. The supply deals had instead been awarded to Lamprell, which is based in the UAE. The Scottish Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, used the meeting to express “significant frustration” that local firms had been involved to such a small degree hitherto, in spite of repeated promises. Did Benji Sykes of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, present at the meeting, cite the Taiwanese case and explain to Mr Wheelhouse that something very similar would apply in Scotland, and that if local content was insisted upon, then construction costs would increase substantially and subsidies would also have to be increased to pay for it? Did he explain that there is genuine doubt whether Moray East can be viable at £57.50/MWh, even with low-cost international suppliers, and that local content would certainly not improve that situation? It would seem not. However, he did promise to “work closely” with the Scottish government to “ensure that communities up and down the country reap the economic benefits offshore wind offers”. Mr Wheelhouse has probably heard that before. How much longer will he go on believing it?

So much for the action in the foreground. The backdrop is also sombre. The Crown Estate, which in effect controls offshore wind development in UK territorial waters, has delayed pre-qualification for Round 4 projects until after the summer of 2019, and the German maritime agency, the BSH, has disappointed developers by not assigning new development zones as had been requested. In delay is danger, and the offshore wind industry in general will be deeply concerned at the loss of momentum that may result from these decisions.

Onshore wind is doing no better. The most recent auction for wind contracts in Germany took place in February and was radically undersubscribed, with only 476 MW of a possible 700 MW being awarded, the underlying causes being, it is reported, less favourable planning consent regulations and less generous price support. Senvion itself is described in some reports as being one of the supply chain casualties, alongside the German tower and foundation maker, Ambau GmbH, which has already filed for bankruptcy.

One wonders why these companies were not better prepared. Reductions in subsidy in Germany were inevitable, and the tightening of planning regulations is long overdue and unsurprising. Indeed, it is remarkable that the German public has tolerated for so long such intense development in close proximity to domestic housing. However, some German states are now considering an exclusion zone of 1 km from the nearest turbine, which is still extremely close for structures in excess of 100m, and now heading, believe it or not, to over 200m in overall height. The German people have been patient, but the mood is clearly changing; indeed, the premier manufacturer and developer Enercon has recently been compelled by court order to suspend construction of its 30 MW Wulfershausen wind farm because it had, apparently, breached the local authorities’ requirement that no dwelling should be within a distance ten times tip height.

This less favourable atmosphere is contributing to a general sense that existing onshore wind farms in Germany will not be repowered in great numbers at the end of their lives. About 15 GW of Germany’s onshore wind is now over fifteen years old and the end of the economic lifetime is in sight. But industry sources quoted in the subscription only press suggest that less than a third of this will actually be repowered, much less than had been expected only a few years back. The reasons given for this sudden change in prospects include declining public acceptance, reflected in tougher planning conditions, and falling subsidies.

Meanwhile, in Norway and in its home territory Sweden, Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, has suspended further onshore wind construction because it would be “very challenging” to develop profitable projects in these areas. They are concentrating on other less resistant markets, such as the United Kingdom, where it has acquired a 250 MW portfolio of projects from Element Power.

But as it happens, things in the UK may prove to be no more promising. It has just dawned on the wind industry that government is actually acting on Amber Rudd’s landmark energy reset speech when Secretary of State for the Department of Energy & Climate Change in November 2015. In that speech Rudd remarked that “we also want intermittent generators to be responsible for the pressures they add to the system”. That of course was only right, but perhaps the industry hoped the intention would never materialise. If that was their expectation they were gravely mistaken. Aurora Energy Research has now released analysis of the regulator, Ofgem’s proposal to reform network charges, the “Targeted Charging Review”, and believes that the proposed changes “could set back subsidy-free renewables by up to five years”. When “unspun” this actually means that if the regulator removes the hidden subsidy of avoided system costs, imposed by renewables but socialised over all generators, then more of the true cost of renewables will be revealed to the market, making it much less likely that even the most greenwash-thirsty corporate, NGO, or governmental body will sign an extravagant long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a wind or solar farm. In other words, far from hindering the emergence of subsidy-free renewables, Ofgem’s reforms threaten to give the lie to the subsidy-free claim and show that it was never anything more than an empty PR gambit.

In spite of all this, it is doubtless too soon to say that the game is up for renewables. The industries concerned will fight back, and beg further direct and indirect public assistance while threatening politicians and civil servants with missed climate targets if that support is not forthcoming. In all likelihood they will be to some degree successful. But this will only delay the inevitable. As the depressing news stories summarised above suggest, after decades of public support and de-risking there are still fundamental weaknesses in the renewables industry that go well beyond teething troubles and localised management failure. One explanation, the sole necessary one in my view, is that the physics is against this industry, and that the physics is beginning to tell. It remains only to say that this blog is not licensed to give investment or financial advice.

May 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | Leave a comment

Climate Change Misconceived

By Iain Aitken | Watts Up With That? | May 6, 2019

In this essay I propose that there are many things about climate change that the general public, journalists, academics, environmentalists and politicians may think they ‘know’ to certainly be true that are actually, at the least, highly equivocal (or demonstrably false) and that once these misconceptions are corrected perceptions of the issue are (or, at least, should be) transformed. Note that throughout I use the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) definition of ‘climate change’: ‘a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer)’. By ‘global warming’ I mean a rise in the Global Average Surface Temperature of the Earth.

Although the exact terminology and language may vary, we are repeatedly told that the essential ‘facts’ about climate change are that:

a) Global warming is happening, at rate that is unprecedented and accelerating

b) It has been caused by our carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels

c) It has already caused an alarming and accelerating rise in sea levels

d) It has already caused an alarming and accelerating increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events

e) It has already caused alarming and accelerating global species extinctions

f) We are experiencing a climate change crisis that will soon be catastrophic (potentially even causing a mass extinction event) if we don’t stop climate change

g) We can stop climate change by urgently switching to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, so eradicating our emissions

h) The science behind the above points is settled and beyond reasonable dispute.

My assertion is not that these ‘facts’ are ‘fake news’ (deliberately reported falsehoods) or ‘myths’ (implying that there is no truth whatsoever in them) but that they are fundamental misconceptions based on misunderstandings of what the science and evidence actually tell us. These misconceptions appear to have assumed the mantle of ‘collective beliefs’ (or ‘memes’) that through extensive repetition in the media are mistakenly taken to be indisputable truths, despite the ready availability of science and evidence to disprove (or, at the least, seriously question) them. Few people will have heard the opinions of scientists (including many of the world’s most eminent climate scientists) who doubt this ‘man-made climate change crisis’ narrative because their voices have largely been silenced (typically by branding them ‘climate change deniers’ or even ‘science deniers’). In the current climate of hostility to even considering alternative viewpoints there is apparently only one politically correct position to take, the ‘right’ position of accepting that the alarmist narrative is beyond dispute.

It’s hardly surprising that these misconceptions have arisen because for most people (whether they be the general public, politicians or, indeed, journalists) their exposure to the climate change issue is predominantly through the media. Furthermore when the media concerned is mainstream (such as the BBC), and so ‘trusted’, people reasonably believe that they are being told the ‘whole truth’ by unbiased journalists who must have understood and critically investigated the science and evidence. Sadly such understanding and critical analysis is rarely to be found, journalists typically simply taking on trust what the ‘scientific authorities’ tell them (as gleaned from Press Releases and ‘executive summary’ documents from which all the complexities and profound uncertainties, unknowns and ambiguities have largely been expunged). This often superficial understanding is then communicated to the target audience using unscientific, emotional, hyperbolic language (such as ‘climate emergency’ and ‘climate change crisis’) and quoting extreme outlier predictions that are virtually impossible to occur in order to create an impression of urgency and danger; rhetoric appealing to the emotions coupled with alarming images (like ice calving, hurricanes and wildfires or computer-generated drowning cities) are always likely to sway public opinion far more powerfully than rhetoric appealing to logic coupled with complicated science, graphs and data. In this way highly improbable risks in the far future come to be perceived as existential crises today. In fact if you want to convince the general public (and journalists and politicians) that ‘we are experiencing a man-made climate change crisis’ then, because few will understand the fundamental differences between man-made climate change and global warming, let alone the differences between man-made climate change and natural climate variability, you typically need only convince them that ‘global warming is happening’ (which nobody denies). So one temperature graph showing warming (there are thousands available on Google Images) is all it may take to apparently ‘prove’ your case. Yet evidence that global warming is happening is not evidence that man-made global warming is happening and not evidence that climate change is happening (let alone evidence that man-made climate change is happening) because the global warming may just result from natural climate variability. Natural climate variability is variability in the mean state of the climate on all temporal scales (beyond that of individual weather events) resulting from natural processes.

This confusion was epitomized in ‘Climate Change – The Facts’, Sir David Attenborough’s BBC documentary (that appeared on British TV 18th April 2019) that was a catalogue of scientific misconceptions, spanning claims of man-made climate change causing escalating heatwaves, droughts, storms, floods, ice melt at the Antarctic, sea level rise, species extinctions and widespread coral death. Sample criticisms of the programme can be found here and here and here. It included the claim (also being made by such extremist groups as Extinction Rebellion) that globally we must achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and not exceed a further half a degree Centigrade of global warming if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe and possible mass extinction event – a claim that, to put it as charitably as possible, is not at all supported by the science, as is evident to anyone with even the most basic understanding of climate science or anyone who has actually read the IPCC SR15 report that ostensibly formed the basis of this claim. Furthermore to achieve this goal would, according to the IPCC, ‘require unprecedented changes in our lifestyle, energy and transport systems’, effectively a global social and economic revolution.

The essential problem for those who are prepared to open their minds to alternative viewpoints is that to understand the flaws in the alarmist narrative’s simplistic certainties requires that you delve quite deeply into the science, statistics, politics and economics of climate change – and that is time-consuming, hard work that requires quite a high degree of scientific literacy. However if you do make the effort a very different (far less alarming) picture appears:

1) Global warming and climate change are both unequivocally happening (the latter being reflected in, for example, glacier retreat and sea level rise) but so far both at a rate that is well within the bounds of natural climate variability (and not unprecedented)

2) There are substantial uncertainties about the extent to which human activity (principally in the form of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions and global cooling from aerosol and soot emissions) has contributed to the observed post-industrial global warming and climate change, not least because of the extreme difficulty of separating man-made climate change from the ‘background noise’ of natural climate variability. Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions)

3) Sea levels are rising at a rate of about 7-8 inches per century, a rate that has remained steady despite our escalating carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. the cause is probably predominantly natural. We could globally cease all carbon dioxide emissions overnight and sea levels would continue to rise, an inevitability to which we must adapt

4) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that extreme weather events have increased in frequency or intensity in post-industrial times (although the reporting of such events certainly has)

5) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that climate change (man-made or otherwise) has resulted in widespread species extinctions (most extinctions have been attributed to habitat loss, over-exploitation, pollution or invasive species)

6) If you remove the (entirely natural) El Niño warming of 2015-16 there has been little statistically significant global warming this century

7) Recently (essentially this century) global warming has been slowing down (while our carbon dioxide emissions have continued to escalate), this illustrating the fact that there is no direct (or linear) correlation between global surface temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions

8) It is impossible to control the Earth’s average surface temperature (on the timescales of decades to centuries) just by controlling our carbon dioxide emissions

9) It is impossible to stop climate change happening – climate change is inherently complex, unpredictable and uncontrollable

10) It is impossible to specify a threshold for global warming beyond which the climatic effects become net-harmful (the 20C goal of the Paris Climate Accord is essentially politically arbitrary)

11) Carbon dioxide is an incombustible, colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that is a very effective plant nutrient. Thanks to our carbon dioxide emissions increasing concentrations in the atmosphere there has been a greening of the Earth that is already equivalent in size to twice the area of the USA and could fundamentally change the Earth’s carbon cycle by adding such a vast carbon sink. Furthermore, as the ‘fuel’ of photosynthesis and the creation of oxygen, it is absolutely essential to the existence of complex life on Earth (which includes us). Dr. Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has stated that the idea that carbon dioxide is a dangerous, planet-destroying toxin ‘will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world’

12) Carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere today are about 46% higher than their (280ppm) pre-industrial level (largely because of our emissions) but about four times lower than their average level and at least 10 times lower than their highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)

13) The global average surface temperature today is about 10C higher than its pre-industrial level but about 60C lower than its average level and at least 130C lower than its highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)

14) Climate change computer models are proving very unreliable guides to future climate change (in particular they are substantially overestimating warming) – yet it is the most extreme ‘predictions’ of these models that are driving global climate and energy policies

15) The future costs and impacts of decarbonization may well exceed the future costs and impacts of man-made global warming, i.e. even if future man-made global warming becomes net-harmful it may not be cost-effective to mitigate it with decarbonization

16) Based on observational estimates of climate sensitivity (simplistically how much warming you get when you double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) on the balance of probabilities further man-made global warming this century is unlikely to exceed 1.50C and its climatic effects might actually be net-beneficial for humans and the environment for many regions of the world [Here I am assuming climate sensitivity not exceeding 20C (based on the best empirical evidence) and ‘business as usual’ emissions trajectories leading to carbon dioxide concentrations not exceeding 700ppm by 2100. Note that by ‘business as usual’ I mean a reasonable extrapolation of economic, population and energy mix trends. This is not to be conflated with recent trends which have roughly tracked the IPCC scenario RCP8.5 (its most extreme emissions scenario, which is virtually impossible to occur)]

17) Climate disruption (e.g. the failure of the Gulf Stream) before the end of this century resulting from man-made global warming is not absolutely impossible but is extremely unlikely

18) A ‘mass extinction event’ before the end of this century resulting from man-made global warming is a virtual impossibility; however a global economic recession/depression resulting from climate policies designed to limit future warming to a half degree Centigrade (and so ostensibly avert such a catastrophe) is a virtual certainty

19) Intermittent wind and solar power is not the solution to any potential future climate change problem (certainly with any foreseeable development of battery technology to ‘plug the intermittency gap’)

20) Climate change science is currently immature, highly disputable and not remotely ‘settled’. This is precisely why many very different interpretations of the science have arisen

Based on the above points the politically correct vogue for councils/counties/countries to declare a ‘climate change emergency’ is clearly profoundly scientifically misconceived (in fact it is hard to avoid the word ‘delusional’) based on any reasonable definition of the word ‘emergency’. It might well make good political sense (to attract the ‘green vote’) but it makes no real scientific or economic sense. For example, the only statistically significant change in Britain’s climate for hundreds of years has been that it has warmed slightly – yet the UK Parliament has now declared a ‘climate change emergency’. Basically it is hard to see how climate change that so far has probably been net-beneficial for humans and the environment, that has lifted us out of the misery of the Little Ice Age that preceded it, with its droughts, crop failures, famines and epidemics, and has been accompanied by the Industrial Revolution’s soaring wealth and life expectancy (according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators 2014) could reasonably, in the round, be described as an ‘emergency’; indeed quite the opposite.

Despite all of the above, if nevertheless the radical global decarbonization route is to be followed it cannot succeed without global concerted action, in particular from major emitters like China (30% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and rising – and funding about $36 billion of coal projects globally according to the IEEFA). Decarbonization unilateralism by small emitters is worse than pointless. For example even if Britain (1.1% of global emissions) somehow totally decarbonized its economy (with technologies not yet viable, like Carbon Capture and Sequestration), as is being recommended by its Committee on Climate Change, the future reduction in global warming would still be undetectably and unmeasurably small (estimated to be of the order of a hundredth of a degree Centigrade by 2100) and so basically just extremely economically, socially and environmentally damaging ‘virtue signalling’. The only basis on which this could possibly be described as even vaguely rational or responsible would be if major emitters, like China, followed Britain’s lead – and there is, to say the least, a negligible chance of that.

Of course these 20 conjectures are a great deal more complicated, qualified and uncertain than the 8 simple, absolute and certain ‘facts’ at the start of this essay. Given a choice between the complex uncertainties of my conjectures and the simple certainties of the ‘facts’ many would prefer the latter. So can we reduce all this complexity to a relatively simple ‘alternative climate change narrative’, at the very real risk of being as trite as the original set of ‘facts’? If forced to make such a gross simplification my suggestion would be:

a) Global warming is happening, albeit at a rate that is unexceptional and not accelerating

b) It has been caused by both human activity and natural activity (i.e. it has not just been caused by our carbon dioxide emissions)

c) It has caused a rise in sea levels, albeit at a rate that is unexceptional and not accelerating

d) It has not caused an increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events

e) It has not caused accelerating global species extinctions

f) We are not experiencing a ‘climate change crisis’ or a ‘climate change emergency’ (indeed arguably quite the opposite) but climate disruption in the far future, although very unlikely, is not impossible

g) We cannot stop climate change but we can reduce climate change risks (albeit at an economic, social and environmental cost that may be prohibitive) by gradually transitioning to lower carbon-intensity energy sources (like natural gas), so reducing our emissions

h) The science behind the above points is immature and subject to dispute. There is almost total scientific consensus that global warming and climate change are happening and that we are contributing to them – but profound disagreements about the extent of our contribution, whether it will lead to ‘dangerous’ climate change and whether urgent global decarbonization is the correct policy response.

Now all this is highly controversial and iconoclastic because it subverts the politically correct orthodoxy on climate change, those alarming ‘facts’ that we are not supposed to question. Many would doubtless disagree with this alternative, more circumspect and far less alarming narrative, perhaps saying ‘well that’s not what the IPCC say.’ The IPCC is typically described as, ‘The internationally accepted authority on climate change’ and is viewed with reverence, not to say awe, by most academics, politicians, environmentalists and journalists, who regard it as virtually infallible and omniscient in all climate change matters. In fact many of my 20 points are directly derived from IPCC reports. Actually I suspect that the IPCC would privately agree with most of these 20 points (but would never publically admit it for fear of reducing the fear). Furthermore the IPCC, in keeping with its remit from the UN to support the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is the main international treaty on climate change), focuses almost exclusively on man-made climate change at the expense of important aspects of natural climate change and is arguably predisposed to a ‘presumption of guilt’ of carbon dioxide emissions. Basically to ignore the opinions of the IPCC would be as foolish as to believe that they are beyond reasonable dispute.

To really understand the climate change issue we must accept that it is far more complicated and nuanced and uncertain than the simplistic way it is typically reported in the media. We must open our minds to the wide range of expert opinions about the issue, give them deep thought, apply common sense, make careful judgements, and above all be wary of any simplistic all-purpose solutions, such as urgent global decarbonization. Unfortunately few people have available to them the time, inclination and perseverance to do that. As Dr. Richard Lindzen has said, ‘Most arguments about global warming boil down to science versus authority. For much of the public authority will generally win since they do not wish to deal with the science.’ The apparent overwhelming message from the authorities (as mediated by the media) is that we are experiencing a man-made climate change crisis that can only be fixed through urgent and radical global decarbonization and it is perfectly understandable (although regrettable) that the vast majority of the general public and journalists and politicians simply choose to believe this. Why do all that hard, time-consuming work when you can just believe. The simplistic certainties of the alarmist media narrative may be based on profound scientific misconceptions (as the authorities are well aware) but the attitude of the authorities appears to be that because a ‘climate change crisis’ in the distant future is not impossible this possible end justifies the dubious means – after all, even this alarmist narrative has failed to get the nations of the world to act decisively. If the authorities communicated the climate change issue honestly, in all its complexity and uncertainty, it would give governments even more reason to avoid or delay decarbonization. So the behavior of the scientific authorities is perfectly understandable, although regrettable, because it risks radical climate change policies being implemented that may be the cause of deep global regret in the future. And of course the behavior of the media is also perfectly understandable (although regrettable) because bad news sells; it is hard to monetize a ‘no climate change crisis’ story.

When people say that they believe in the climate change crisis because they ‘believe in science’ what they may actually be saying is that because they don’t really understand the science they choose to believe in the alarmist narrative promoted by the authorities and abetted by the media. Few people choose the ‘road less travelled’ of opening their minds to the competing arguments in the climate change debate, embracing complexity, uncertainty, doubt and social opprobrium when they can simply choose to believe what they think the authorities and other ‘right thinking’ people believe. On the one hand you have an apparently scientifically-straightforward, very easy to understand, very certain, very alarming problem (‘our carbon dioxide emissions are causing a climate change crisis’) with an ostensibly very simple solution (‘decarbonize’) and on the other hand you have a scientifically-challenging, very hard to understand, complex, nuanced and uncertain problem that may or may not be alarming and which has no simple solution. To put it another way, on the one hand you have an imminent existential planetary crisis that can only be solved by the radical and urgent transformation of global society and on the other hand you have a possible distant future problem with no obvious ‘correct’ policy response today. It’s not hard to see why certain people, in particular young, idealistic and impressionable people, may be more attracted to the former idea and want to break out the banners and ‘save the planet’ through a world revolution.

Within the climate science community the divide is essentially between those (epitomized by the IPCC) who predominantly put their faith in climate models (i.e. virtual world projections of what might happen in the future) and those who predominantly put their faith in empirical scientific evidence (i.e. real world observations of what has actually happened). The former group tend to focus on the possible high risks of future climate change and urge rapid global decarbonization just in case whilst the latter group tend to focus on the probable low risks of future climate change (and high costs and impacts of decarbonization) and urge circumspection. It might be said that the latter group is looking at the issue in the manner of a businessman, assessing the balance of probabilities, costs, benefits and risks (they are essentially gambling and saying that urgent decarbonization is probably a bad bet) whilst the former group is simply saying that there is a huge potential risk and therefore something (radical global decarbonization) must be done, almost irrespective of the probabilities, costs and adverse impacts. As Obersteiner et al put it in Managing Climate Risk, the key unresolved question is whether global decarbonization ‘will fundamentally reshape our common future on a global scale to our advantage, or quickly produce losses that can throw mankind into economic, social, and environmental bankruptcy.’ Climate scientists who question the dominant man-made climate change crisis narrative are not saying that there is a clear scientific verdict of ‘Innocent’ – instead they are simply saying that our guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt (or even on the balance of probabilities). Perhaps here we need the Scottish legal system’s verdict of ‘Not Proven’.

The fundamental problem with the climate change problem is that it is a ‘wicked’ problem: it is impossible to predict our climate future, determine whether it is benign or alarming and know how best to respond because there are simply too many variables, too many unknowns and too many uncertainties. However we choose to respond is a vast gamble with humanity’s future; however we choose to respond may result in deep regrets.

May 6, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment