President Obama proclaimed in the SOTU address “...If anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You will be pretty lonely because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”
Yet just 23% of voters agree that the scientific debate is over and 46% believe change is caused by planetary or other factors while just 44% believe humans are to primarily blame according to an August 2015 Rasmussen poll. There is widespread and growing skepticism among scientists that climate change is man made and an issue though it should not surprise you that the scientists who are on the receiving end of the billions of dollars of government grants and support will voice support for the ‘theory’ even as every day facts emerge that prove it has failed. The military and other agencies carry out the administration’s will and are not experts in science and industry will sign on to any cause if they think it will improve profits. Finally most of the 200 nations signed onto the UN volunteering pledge because they believe that they will financially benefit.
ICECAP Aside: A post by Anthony Watts in 2008 reviewed a paper I had posted on Icecap.us which did a comparative analysis of CO2 versus other natural factors and temperatures. Other follow up papers have been done, peer reviewed and published since then and another set is under review for an upcoming book for Elsevier. They show natural factors drive climate changes. Here is a recap of the original work and a link to one of the updates.
Here is a story by Steve Goddard on Real Science on the Endless Stupidity at the New York TImes and here one on Twenty Years of the Same Climate Stupid. And speaking of stupid, here is another in a series of stupid scientists - this one Bill Nye.
The Heritage Foundation in their fact check of the SOTU found on the topic:
President Obama said feel free to question the science behind climate change but doing so will leave you “pretty lonely” because “you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”
This “problem” of climate change is hardly one at all. Natural variations have altered the climate much more than man has. Proponents of global action on climate change will argue that 97 percent of the climatologists agree on climate change. There is significant agreement among climatologists, even those labeled as skeptics, that the Earth has warmed moderately over the past 60 years and that some portion of that warming may be attributed to manmade carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is no consensus that temperatures are increasing at an accelerating rate and we’ve seen them plateau for nearly two decades now.
Even studies that have attempted to refute the 18-year pause in global warming show that the temperature trend is much less than that projected by climate models. And even though man-made greenhouse gas emissions have increased, the world has not experienced trends in the increased frequency or magnitude of extreme weather events.
Heritage research has shown that the statistical models that the administration relies on to quantify the economic impact of climate change are heavily dependent upon certain assumptions and extremely sensitive to very reasonable tweaks to these assumptions. In fact, under some assumptions one of the models that the administration relies on suggests that there may even be net benefits to global warming. That’s right: benefits.
The climate data simply does not suggest that man-made global warming should be at the top of the list of public concerns. Most importantly, even if you do believe the planet is heading toward catastrophe, the Obama administration’s climate agenda will drive up energy costs by driving out affordable energy sources for no meaningful climate reduction. We could grind all economic activity to a halt, hold our breaths forever, and cut carbon emissions to zero in the U.S. - and still only wind up lowering average temperatures by no more than 0.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Politicians might want to start listening to those “lonely” climate voices and have an objective, scientific debate on climate change.
By Nicolas Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow and Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer
Thanks to Michael Mann, Andrew Dessler and Seth Borenstein, we can rate the candidates as to how independent the candidate are on thinking relative to climate change. Those at the top understand the scientific method while those at the bottom like the three authors haven’t a clue.
By Dr. Anthony Lupo
Throughout the Fall season this year we’ve heard about the onset of a monster El Nino, one on par with the huge El Nino of 1997-1998. As fall has evolved the El Nino has certainly been a strong one. Typically, El Nino results in warmer temperatures for the eastern 2/3 of the country, and colder temperatures for the western USA. This December’s weather has certainly El Nino-like.
But, it should be noted that not all El Ninos produce the same weather patterns over the USA. El Nino influences the path of the jet stream, and this impact depends on the location and the shape of the anomalous warm water mass in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The El Nino of 1997-1998 was not as noteworthy for warm conditions in the eastern US.
As fall rolled into winter, December has been off-the-charts warm for much of the country. And this follows a very warm fall (September- November). Unprecedented we’re told, as surfers rode the waves Christmas day off New York and New Jersey. And there was unusual severe weather as well, as tornadoes and flooding rains occurred from Texas to Florida, and also up north as far as Michigan. This severe weather resulted in fatalities through the Christmas Holiday.
Of course, climate change has been fingered as playing as much a role as El Nino in the occurrence of this unprecedented weather. This means at least partly related to human carbon dioxide emissions, or that we may have brought this on ourselves. All the talk has been about how this is the “new normal”. Is this warm weather a prelude to our future? Many have asked the question across the nation.
Thus it is instructive to put Fall 2015 into a historical perspective. One could look at the “cumulative warmth” of each fall dating back to 1889, the date for which records are first available in our region. This quantity is simply the sum of each month’s temperature anomaly for a season. The monthly temperature anomaly was calculated using the 1889 - 2014 average for each month. This quantity is similar in concept to heating or cooling degree days. For Columbia, MO, Fall 1931was the warmest at +19.7 F. Fall 1963 was second at +15.5 F, while Fall 2015 was third at +15.1 F. Thus, for this region, Fall 2015 was the third warmest, unusual for sure, but not unprecedented. Then, looking at the statewide mean temperatures for the September to November period showed Fall 2015 was only the ninth warmest on record, while the same period for 1931 was only 4th warmest. This disparity between these two statistics means that the fall of 1931 and 2015 was consistently very warm but not uniformly so across our region.
Nationwide, the situation was much the same, warmer than normal temperatures were the rule. Examining Figure 1 (see PDF) shows that the surface temperature pattern for November 1931 (Fig 1 left) strongly resembled November 2015 (Fig 1 center) in form and magnitude. Note that the eastern part of the USA was very warm, while the western part was very cold compared to normal as shown by the size and color of the circles (Fig. 1 right).
How about globally? Using the 500 hPa height field to compare global weather patterns (Figure 2), shows the 500 hPa height fields are similar for the Fall 1931 versus Fall 2015. The contours on this map can be thought off as the cumulative energy in the atmosphere up to that level. It should be noted that the height data for 1931 was constructed using surface records, as 500 hPa height measurements were not available at that time. Figure 1 (see PDF) November surface temperature (F) for the USA (left), (center) by climate division for 1931 and 2015, respectively, and (right) the 2015 anomaly, where blue is cold and red is warm with the size of the circle corresponding to a magnitude.
Looking further at the regional temperatures for the start of winter in this area, the fall of 1931 was followed up by the warmest winter in the 126 year period of record for the state of Missouri by far (almost 2 F more that the second warmest winter). It is highly likely that our grandparents and great grandparents were also wondering where winter had gone.
Figure 2 (see PDF) shows the mean 500 hPa height (m) for September to November (left) 1931 and (right) 2015, the contour interval is every 60 m. Using the cumulative anomaly statistic, the winter of 1931-1932 produced a value of +26.4 F for Columbia, MO. The jet stream for December 1931 compared to December 2015 (to Dec 28th) (Figure 3) shows that similar conditions existed over the USA for both years, with a trough over the western US and ridging over the east. Normal conditions would show the opposite. Thus, it might be reasonable to expect that the winter of 2015-2016 could be one of the warmer winters on record if the pattern for winter is established. But, then again, Mother Nature may not cooperate!
Interestingly, the winter of 1931-1932 was not characterized by El Nino conditions in the Pacific Region, and conditions were what we would call ENSO neutral, neither El Nino nor La Nina. Again, the impact of sea surface temperature anomalies on the jet stream are influenced by their location and their shape. Figure 3 (see PDF) as in Fig. 2, except for the month of December.
But, November and December of 2015 have been quite wet as well for much of the midwest and south. Warm and wet conditions also characterized two other similar November and December periods. This was the years 1982 and 1895. The former was a strong El Nino year, while the latter was characterized by warm waters in the El Nino region (though not warm enough to be classified as El Nino). In Columbia, November - December period for 2015, 1982, and 1895 ranked as the 2nd, 6th, and 3rd wettest overall.
Is it fair to say El Nino is contributing to this unusual pattern? Yes, it is likely. Is what we are experiencing unprecedented in our short period of climate records? The answer to that is no, it’s happened before. Also, since a very warm fall and winter pattern is rare, it is also fair to say that 2015 is not indicative of some “new normal”. In fact, to have six or more months (two seasons) in a row average so far above or below normal (more than two standard deviations) is very rare, occurring only three times (1931, 1976, 2012) in the 126 year period. The winter of 2015-2016 has two more months to go before it can be determined to join that crowd.
By Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace
’Greenpeace has made itself the sworn enemy of all life on Earth’
Greenpeace, in furtherance of what is in effect its war against every species on the planet, has now turned to what, on the face of things, looks to me like outright breach of the RICO, wire-fraud, witness-tampering and obstruction-of-committee statutes. I have called in the FBI.
Greenpeace appears to have subjected Dr Will Happer, Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University, to a maladroit attempt at entrapment that has badly backfired on it.
Greenpeace used this dismal rent-by-the-hour office block in the Beirut souk for its entrapment scam
The organization I co-founded has become a monster. When I was a member of its central committee in the early days, we campaigned - usually with success - on genuine environmental issues such as atmospheric nuclear tests, whaling and seal-clubbing.
When Greenpeace turned anti-science by campaigning against chlorine (imagine the sheer stupidity of campaigning against one of the elements in the periodic table), I decided that it had lost its purpose and that, having achieved its original objectives, had turned to extremism to try to justify its continued existence.
Now Greenpeace has knowingly made itself the sworn enemy of all life on Earth. By opposing capitalism, it stands against the one system of economics that has been most successful in regulating and restoring the environment.
By opposing the use of DDT inside the homes of children exposed to the anopheles mosquito that carries malaria, Greenpeace contributed to the deaths of 40 million people and counting, most of them children. It now pretends it did not oppose DDT, but the record shows otherwise. On this as on so many issues, it got the science wrong. It has the deaths of those children on what passes for its conscience.
By opposing fossil-fueled power, it not only contributes to the deaths of many tens of millions every year because they are among the 1.2 billion to whom its campaigns deny affordable, reliable, clean, continuous, low-tech, base-load, fossil-fueled electrical power: it also denies to all trees and plants on Earth the food they need.
Paradoxically, an organization that calls itself “Green” is against the harmless, beneficial, natural trace gas that nourishes and sustains all green things. Greenpeace is against greenery. Bizarrely, it is opposed to returning to the atmosphere a tiny fraction of the CO2 that was once present there.
In November 2015, out of the blue, Professor Happer received an email from “Hamilton Ellis”, a soi-disant “business consultancy” operating out of rent-by-the-hour offices in a crumbling concrete block in the Beirut souk.
The bucket-shop “consultancy’s” email said that a “client”, an energy and power company “concerned about the impacts of the UN climate talks”, wanted to commission Professor Happer to prepare a “briefing” to be released early in 2016 “which highlights the crucial role that oil and gas have to play in the developing economies, such as our client’s Middle East and North Africa region”.
The email smarmed on:
“Given your influential work in this area and your position at Princeton we believe a very short paper authored or endorsed by yourself could work strongly in our client’s favour. Does this sound like a project you would be interested in discussing further?”
Will Happer replied enclosing a white paper written, with major input from him, by the CO2 Coalition, a new group that he had helped to establish earlier in 2015. He also sent a copy of testimony on the “social cost of carbon” that he had given at a regulatory hearing in St Paul, Minnesota. Crucially, he added: “I would be glad to try to help if my views, outlined in the attachments, are in line with those of your client.”
In short, he was not prepared to be bought. He would help the “client” of the “business consultancy” if and only if he was not asked to attest to anything that he did not already believe.
The “consultancy” replied:
“It certainly sounds like you and our client are on the same page.” It went on to ask whether Professor Happer’s two papers had been “part of the same initiative on CO2 reported on [by Matt Ridley] in the London Times recently, and added: “The focus we envisage for this project comes from a slightly different angle. Our client wants to commission a short briefing paper that examines the benefits of fossil fuels to developing economies, as opposed to a switch to so-called clean energy”.
The “consultancy” also wanted to know whether it “would be able to reference you as Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton University if this project were to go ahead?”
It also tried to smoke out the identity of Professor Happer’s contacts in the U.S. media, and ended with a classical entrapment line:
“It would be useful to know, in your experience, whether you would need to declare the source funding when publishing research of this kind”.
Professor Happer replied that Matt Ridley was “someone the CO2 Coalition is in close touch with” and said: “The article also mentions Patrick Moore, like me a member of the CO2 Coalition, and my friend from Princeton, Freeman Dyson, who shares our views.”
He confirmed that his official title is Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Emeritus. He also reinforced his earlier message indicating he could not be bought by stating, very clearly:
“To be sure your client is not misled on my views, it is clear there are real pollutants associated with the combustion of fossil fuels, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen for most of them, fly ash and heavy metals for coal, volatile organics for gasoline, etc. I fully support regulations for cost-effective control of these real pollutants. But the Paris climate talks are based on the premise that CO2 itself is a pollutant. This is completely false. More CO2 will benefit the world. The only way to limit CO2 would be to stop using fossil fuels, which I think would be a profoundly immoral and irrational policy.”
Professor Happer added that he no longer had external funding following his retirement, and went on:
“My activities to push back against climate extremism are a labor of love, to defend the cherished ideals of science that have been so corrupted by the climate-change cult. If your client was considering reimbursing me for writing something, I would ask that whatever fee would have come to me would go directly to the CO2 Coalition. This was the arrangement I had with the attorneys representing the Peabody Coal Company in the regulatory hearings in Minnesota. The fee I would have received was sent instead to the CO2 Coalition, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt educational organization. The CO2 Coalition covers occasional travel expenses for me, but pays me no other fees or salary.”
The “consultancy” replied that the “client” was “completely comfortable with your views on fossil-fuel pollution”. It asked whether Matt Ridley might “help to disseminate our research when it is ready”, and whether the briefing could be peer-reviewed. “On the matter of reimbursement, we would of course remunerate you for your work and would be more than happy to pay the fee to the CO2 Coalition.”
Then another classic entrapment line:
“Our client does not want their name associated with the research as they believe it will give the work more credibility. What provisions does the CO2 Coalition provide? Would this be an issue?”
Professor Happer replied that he was sure Matt Ridley would be interested in the briefing and that Breitbart would be among blogs and syndicated columnists that could also be interested.
As for peer review, he explained that
“this normally refers to original work submitted to a scientific journal for publication, and not to the sort of articles that Ridley writes for the media, or what I think you are seeking to have written. If you like, I could submit the article to a peer-reviewed journal, but that might greatly delay publication and might require such major changes in response to referees and to the journal editor that the article would no longer make the case that CO2 is a benefit, not a pollutant, as strongly as I would like, and presumably as strongly your client would also like.”
He said his fees were $250 per hour, and that his Minnesota testimony had required four eight-hour days, so that the total cost was $8000. He said that, if he wrote the paper alone, he did not think there would be any problem stating that “The author received no financial compensation for this essay”. He added that he was pretty sure that the “client’s” donation to the CO2 Coalition would not need to be public according to US regulations of 503(c)(3) educational organizations, but that he could get some legal advice to confirm this if asked.
The “consultancy” replied:
“The hourly rate works for us and, as previously discussed, we are happy to make a direct donation to the CO2 Coalition, providing it is anonymous. We can look into the official disclosure regulations, but it would be useful to know whether the CO2 Coalition voluntarily discloses its funders? Presumably there are other donors in a similar position to us?”
“With regards to peer review, I raised this issue because Matt Ridley’s article on Dr Indur Goklany’s recent CO2 report said that it had been thoroughly peer reviewed. Would it be possible to ask the same journal to peer review our paper given that it has a similar thrust to Goklany’s? It’s not a deal-breaker, but I felt that it helped strengthen that piece of work.”
Professor Happer replied that early drafts of Goklany’s paper had been reviewed by him and by many other scientists; that he had suggested changes to which the author had responded; that Matt Ridley might also have been a reviewer; and that, although some members of the academic advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation might have been too busy to respond to a request to comment on the first draft, “The review of Golkany’s paper was even more rigorous than the peer review for most journals”. Professor Happer said he would be glad to ask for a similar review for the first drafts of anything he wrote for the “client”.
He said he would double-check on the regulations, but did not think the CO2 Coalition, a 501(3)c tax-exempt educational organization, was required to make public any donors, except in Internal Revenue Service returns.
He checked with the CO2 Coalition, which replied that the Coalition was not obliged to identify any donors, except to the IRS, who would redact the list of donors if it received a request for the Coalition’s form 990.
On December 7 he received an email from one Maeve McClenaghan of Greenpeace, telling him that they had conducted what she grandiosely described as an “undercover investigation” - actually a criminal entrapment scam contrary to the RICO and wire-fraud statutes, and a flagrant attempt both to tamper with a Congressional witness (he is due to testify today, 8 December) and to obstruct committee proceedings and that they intended to publish a “news article ... regarding the funding of climate sceptic science.
She said: “Our article explores how fossil fuel companies are able to pay academics to produce research which is of benefit to them” and added that the story would be published on a Greenpeace website and “promoted widely” in the media. She gave Professor Happer only hours to respond.
Many of the points she said she proposed to include in the article were crafted in such a way as to distort what the above correspondence makes plain were wholly innocent and honest statements, so as to make them sound sinister. The libels Ms McClenaghan proposed to circulate will not be circulated here.
I am profoundly dismayed that the organization I founded - an organization that once did good work addressing real environmental concerns - has descended to what I consider to be criminality and also proposes to descend to libel.
Accordingly, I have decided to inform the Federal Bureau of Investigation of Greenpeace’s dishonest and disfiguring attempt at entrapment of Professor Happer, whom I know to be a first-rate scientist, one of the world’s half-dozen most eminent and experienced physicists, and one who would never provide any scientific advice unless in his professional opinion that advice was correct.
The organization’s timing was clearly intended to spring the trap on Professor Happer hours before he was due to appear in front of Congress. This misconduct constitutes a serious - and under many headings criminal interference with the democratic process that America cherishes.
I have reported Greenpeace to the FBI under 18 USC 96 (RICO statute); 18 USC 1343 (wire fraud); 18 USC 1512 (tampering with a witness due to appear at a Congressional hearing); and 18 USC 1505 (obstruction of proceedings before committees).
I shall also be asking the Bureau to investigate Greenpeace’s sources of funding. It is now an enemy of the State, an enemy of humanity and, indeed, an enemy of all species on Earth.
People’s main disagreement over global warming was never regarding whether the climate changes. No one argues that. The main contention was over whether humans are the main cause of that change.
Global warming alarmists claim that humans are making the earth hotter through their use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.
Alarmists are taking something that is observable and repeatable such as the idea that the climate changes naturally through cycles and turning it into a political issue by “blaming” an entire sector of the economy for the changing weather. Politicians have hijacked legitimate environmental stewardship to demonize their political enemies in the private sector, to eliminate their competition, and to grant the failed green industry a government-sponsored monopoly, all at the expense of the taxpayer.
But it’s a little difficult to blame humanity for the changing climate when apparently, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), the highest temperatures sustained by this planet were long ago, before man even existed. These are the same people who tell us that man is to blame for global warming. But they also argue that “millions” of years ago, before there was any such thing as mankind or SUVs, before there were fossil fuels, the earth’s temperature was at its hottest, upwards of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit.
From CNS News:
An Aug. 12, 2014 article posted on climate.gov and titled, “What’s The Hottest The Earth’s Ever Been,” stated, “Earth’s hottest periods - the Hadean, the late Neoproterozoic, the PETM - occurred before humans existed.” It added, “Those ancient climates would have been like nothing our species has ever seen.”
The article noted that the Arctic Circle was once a tropical hot spot:
“Stretching from about 66-34 million years ago, the Paleocene and Eocene were the first geologic epochs following the end of the Mesozoic Era. (The Mesozoic-the age of dinosaurs - was itself an era punctuated by ‘hothouse’ conditions.)
Geologists and paleontologists think that during much of the Paleocene and early Eocene, the poles were free of ice caps, and palm trees and crocodiles lived above the Arctic Circle. The transition between the two epochs around 56 million years ago was marked by a rapid spike in global temperature.”
In its earliest days “when [Earth] was still colliding with other rocky debris,” the temperature was “upward of 3,600 degree Fahrenheit,” the article noted.
During the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, “the global temperature appears to have risen by as much as 5-8 degrees” Centigrade (9 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit), the article stated. (Note: the Paris climate change agreement is designed to stop Earth’s temperature from rising 2 degrees Fahrenheit, an increase caused by human activity, according to the U.N.).
My point is not to say that now I believe that “billions of years ago,” “before man existed,” the earth was thousands of degrees Fahrenheit. These kinds of evolutionary explanations are man’s desperate attempts at explaining the world without God. The fairy tale will only get more and more absurd, and its adherents more and more dogmatic.
My point is to show the inconsistency. The same people who argue that man is to blame for 1-degree global warming - something they call “catastrophic” - are the same people who believe that earth’s hottest period in history had nothing to do with man. Their own words condemn them.
Also note the hottest temperatures in the records back into the 1800s in the 50 states tell a non warming tale. 23 of the 50 stat all time record highs occurred in the 1930s, 38 before 1960. there have been more all time cold records since the 1940s than highs.
Brittany M. Hughes
"After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder.”
No, that’s not a recent quote from a group of global warming dissenters. It’s the first line of an article published in The New York Times on Jan. 30, 1961.
The article was topped with one bold declaration of a headline: “Scientists Agree World Is Colder.” Yep. Fifty years ago, before deciding to scare the world witless with prophesies of planetary heating, scientists were afraid of freezing to death.
See the cooling from 1940 to 1970 disappeared over time and the warming gets exaggerated with every passing year.
The only problem was, the scientists in question couldn’t seem to reach a consensus on why the planet’s temperature was allegedly dropping.
In the article, scientists from America to Australia to Hungary blamed everything under the clearly-not-hot-enough sun for the impending glacial apocalypse, including the “shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” “the tilt of the earth’s axis,” the solstices, the sun, “changes in transparency of the atmosphere,” dust spewed from volcanic eruptions, industrial smoke blocking sunlight, and the presence of too much or not enough ice in the Arctic.
By November of 1974, the Earth’s chilling situation appeared even more dire. An article published in the Ukiah Daily Journal, and dug up by Climate Depot, reported the United States and Russia were considering damming up the Bering Strait in an effort to deliberately warm the Earth’s temperature and avoid a catastrophic ice age.
The newspaper quoted a former arms technologist named Lowell Ponte, who pointed to global cooling as “the primary cause of world food shortages.”
Sounds like he’d had gotten along well with Sen. Bernie Sanders, who likes to blame global warming for everything from droughts to famines to the number of terrorists running around with bombs.
Back in 1974, Ponte warned of a global ice age that could last anywhere from 200 to 10,000 years, and result in “rivers of solid ice again as far south as Yosemite in California and Cincinnati, Ohio.” The paper added that scientists had proposed about 60 theories to explain the cooling phenomenon.
According to Ponte - who was basically the Al Gore of the 1970s - global powers needed to combine efforts and point a manmade space heater toward Mother Earth in order to “convert the American southwestern deserts into verdant green valleys” and “stave off worldwide famine.” He further detailed how the Earth would basically morph into the Planet Hoth in his book “The Cooling: Has the Next Ice Age Already Begun? Can We Survive It?”
If the threats of global warming are anything like scientists’ cooling predictions of the 60’s and 70’s, we’ll probably survive it just fine.
By Michael Brush
Despite El Nino, unusually warm temperatures will give way to a frigid winter
After last year’s winter wallop, is this bizarrely warm weather great or what? Well, enjoy it while it lasts- because it’s about to go away.Icecap Note: it has gone away in a lot of places including the western Mountains and this weekend when snow and cold hits Chicago and the Midwest.
Starting around Nov. 20, it’s going to get a lot colder in much of the U.S., and it will stay that way through the first few weeks of December. After Christmas, the cold weather will back off, but return with a vengeance during mid-January through much of March.
The cold weather snaps are going to take a lot of folks by surprise. So naturally there’s a contrarian investing angle.
The setup here is that many people have been lulled into complacency by the warm weather itself, and the misperception that this year’s strong El Nino equates to a warm winter. One website ran this headline Monday: “Biggest El Nino in 15 years is turning up the heat.”
An El Nino can heat up winter, but not this year. So here’s the investing angle: When the reality of a colder winter sets in soon, it will bid up shares of United States Natural Gas Fund LP UNG, - 3.90% which invests in futures contracts that track the price of natural gas NGF16, - 4.73% So you could buy UNG now. Natural gas prices are going to move up sharply over the next few weeks, more or less, as investors and traders realize this winter won’t be so warm after all.
A couple of factors add fuel to the fire, so to speak. Once natural gas gets moving, it could advance a lot in a bear market rally because there is such a big short position in the commodity, say analysts at Bear Traps Report.
Another factor here is that investors and traders have capitulated on natural gas. It looks washed out, according to proprietary capitulation measures used by Bear Traps analysts. This, plus the big short position, makes natural gas a good contrarian trade from the long side. Layer on the contrarian call that this winter will be colder than people currently expect, and you could see a big move up soon.
This isn’t a buy-and-hold situation. Natural gas could fall in price around Christmas as the weather warms up. But then the same dynamic will play out as it gets colder again in mid-January through March.
How do I know what the weather will do over the next four months? I don’t. But the scenario above is the call of my favorite weather guy and fellow Penn Stater, Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell Analytics, based in New York City. I’ve consulted Bastardi regularly on weather calls during the past 15 years. He often makes out-of-consensus calls that turn out to be right.
While a change in the weather that will surprise many people is the main factor here, other potential catalysts could bid up natural prices in North America. They include a production decline as energy companies continue to trim capital spending, and the commencement of liquid natural gas exports by Cheniere Energy Inc. LNG, +0.06%
Then there are the more speculative potential catalysts. Natural gas could get a bump in sympathy with any move up in oil as allied forces strike the energy infrastructure producing oil for Islamic State terrorists. I don’t know this will happen, of course, but it’s possible. Conversely, the terrorists could strike energy infrastructure in the Middle East. These are wild cards. But a colder-than-expected winter, and evidence of it soon, should be enough to get natural gas moving up.
A few stock plays
Besides UNG, another way to play a move up in natural gas is to buy energy companies with a lot of exposure to natural gas. Two producers favored by Hodges Capital Management energy analyst Mike Breard are Comstock Resources Inc. CRK, -2.41% and Memorial Resource Development Corp. MRD, -3.68%
Comstock is tiny, so it is riskier. But it owns solid properties and there was some interesting insider buying a few weeks back - two reasons why I own Comstock personally and have suggested it in my stock newsletter, Brush Up on Stocks. Investors have a huge short position in Comstock’s shares, which adds fuel to upside rallies. During rallies in heavily shorted stocks, short sellers can get nervous and cover. That means they have to buy back the stock, which drives prices higher. Comstock has the potential to provide an even wilder ride than most energy companies these days. So be careful with position size if you don’t have the stomach for volatility.
The winter forecast
No, the Russians won’t be sending us cold air via a polar vortex. Other factors are at work here. Weather is highly complex, so this is a vast oversimplification. But at a high level, there’s a lot of warm water in the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, and also to some degree off the East Coast. This normally leads to colder temperatures in the southern and mid-Atlantic U.S. The warm water “creates a high-pressure ridge in Western Canada, which means cold air can come here. Cold air seeps down through the Northeast,” says Bastardi.
While Thanksgiving through Christmas will be colder, followed by some warming, we’ll get another blast from around mid-January through much of March. “February and March are going to be the big winter months this year,” says Bastardi. February will likely be the worst month.
The country won’t be colder than normal across the board. Here’s the breakdown: The central south, the southeast and mid-Atlantic will experience below-normal temperatures. Bastardi is predicting 30 inches of snow for Washington, D.C., for example. The northeast will have a normal winter (but still colder than people expect). And the Northwest and north central U.S., places like Washington, Oregon and Chicago, will have above-average temperatures.
Averaged all together and weighted by population, this will be a pretty regular winter on the whole. But given that a lot of forecasters are calling for a warmer-than-normal winter, as reality sets in it will likely put a bid under natural gas, in my view.
Even analysts at AccuWeather, who have a warmer forecast than Bastardi for much of the winter, agree that February could be trouble. “February may be a volatile month across the U.S.,” says David Samuhel, a meteorologist at AccuWeather. He predicts below-average temperatures and above-average snow fall for that month.
In short, expect colder weather and a bump in natural gas prices and related stock plays pretty soon. This will be followed by warmer weather from around Christmas through mid-January when prices will back off. And colder weather from mid-January through much of March will push natural gas prices up again.
At the time of publication, Michael Brush owned shares of CRK and he has suggested CRK in his stock newsletter Brush Up on Stocks. Brush is a Manhattan-based financial writer who has covered business for the New York Times and The Economist group, and he attended Columbia Business School in the Knight-Bagehot program.
Brophey’s unsubstantiated and ill-mannered attack on Tom Harris and the group I created in 2007, the International Climate Science Coalition, is a sample of what we will undoubtedly see more of as we approach the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, only days away.
Climate campaigners are doing their best to divert the public from noticing that essentially none of their forecasts are coming true. For example:
* Global warming stopped 18 years ago despite a 10 per cent rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.
* Hurricane activity is at a record low.
* Medium to strong tornadoes have become less frequent.
* Antarctic sea ice cover has been increasing at about 1-2 per cent per decade.
* Polar bear populations have never been so high in the historical record.
Rather than engage in a “most disingenuous and deceitful distortion of established science,” as Brophey charges, Harris and the ICSC are simply pointing out what is happening in the real world, not the flawed climate models held dear by the UN.
And the ICSC is anything but a “denier lobby group.” We explain that climate has changed continually since the origin of the atmosphere billions of years ago and so we need to help people adapt.
Yet, because of pressure from people like Brophey, of the $1 billion a day spent worldwide on climate finance, only seven per cent goes to helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change today. This is immoral, effectively valuing the lives of people yet to be born more than those in need today.
Of course, we must reduce pollution where it is a problem and conserve energy when it is scarce, but the idea that we know the future of climate decades in advance, let alone that we can control it, is pure fantasy.
What is not fantasy is the fact that, because of unjustified concerns about climate, millions of impoverished Africans are prevented from using the one source of energy that is affordable and within their reach - fossil fuels which still provide some 86 per cent of the world’s energy.
TERRY DUNLEAVY, MBE, JP, Founding Chairman and Strategic Adviser, International Climate Science Coalition
By Walter Williams
I receive loads of mail in response to my weekly nationally syndicated column. Some recent mail has been quite disturbing. Here’s a sample:
“Given your support of freedom on a great many issues, I wish to bring to your attention the following George Mason University staff who have formally called on the president to use RICO statutes to punish organizations and individuals who dispute the ‘consensus’ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
The writer goes on to say, “I am appalled that anyone associated with George Mason would so misuse the power of the federal government.” The writer names 20 signatories, six of whom are GMU faculty members.
This letter writer’s problem, like that of many others, is a misperception of George Mason University, where I am an economics professor.
We have a distinguished economics department that can boast of having had two homegrown Nobel Prize winners on our faculty. Plus, we have a worldwide reputation as a free-market economics department.
The university can also boast of a distinguished law school with professors who, in contrast with many other law schools, have respect for the United States Constitution and the rule of law. We can boast of the excellent Law & Economics Center, too.
With this kind of intellectual firepower at George Mason University, most people assume that it is, like its namesake, a libertarian or free-market university. Little could be further from the truth. My university, at which I’ve toiled for 35 years, has a political makeup like that of most other universities - middle of the road to liberal/progressive.
What distinguishes my liberal/progressive colleagues is that they are courteous and civilized, unlike many of those at universities such as the University of Massachusetts and the University of California, Berkeley.
So I investigated this call for the use of RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. It turns out that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., has called for the criminal investigation of people and organizations who are seen as global warming deniers.
The investigation would include lawsuits against the coal and oil industries, certain think tanks and other organizations that question the global warming religion.
By the way, so that Whitehouse and his gang don’t appear silly, they’ve changed their concern from global warming to climate change. That’s stupid in and of itself, for when has the climate not been changing, even before mankind arrived?
It turns out that George Mason University meteorologist Jagadish Shukla is the lead signatory of the letter sent to the president and attorney general asking them to use RICO laws to prosecute “corporations and other organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change.”
This GMU professor calling for the prosecution of climate skeptics has been recently revealed as a “climate profiteer.” From 2012 to 2014, this leader of the RICO 20 climate scientists paid himself and his wife $1.5 million from government climate grants for part-time work.
The effort to suppress global warming dissidents is not new. Grist Magazine writer David Roberts said: “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards - some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
Professor Richard Parncutt has called for the execution of prominent “GW deniers.” Climate Progress editor Joe Romm called for deniers to be strangled in their beds. James Hansen, who has headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has likewise called for trials of global warming deniers.
The global warming agenda is a desperate effort to gain greater control over our lives. Political commentator Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) explained, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
That’s the political goal of the global warmers.
Read More At Investor’s Business Daily.
GMU’s Ed Maibach was commisioned by the AMS to help find out why broadcasters and forecasters were not buying the warmist position. He did surveys and advised on special indoctrination sessions for the AMS. See the story that suggests this RICO saga originating out of GMU may become the greatest scandal in science here.
See also here how one of the signatories Alan Betts, (who recently won an award from AMS for his alarmist works) doesn’t believe the letter went far enough. What he neglected to mention, he has made millions from NSF and NASA grants the last 30 years. Betts appears to be the typical alarmist hypocrite - he blocked a debate in St Johnsbury with Tom Wysmuller and Dr. Larry Gould and did a one man show. The society had wanted a lively debate. He did the same with me on VPR when I was invited then uninvited at his insistence. He bashed Fred Singer using Wikipedia lies and denied claims the climate models were failing in that radio hour interview. He sees himself as Vermont’s self annointed climate truth sayer.