Jun 15, 2016
Annals Of Government Fraud: The “Social Cost Of Carbon”
Francis Menton, The Manhattan Contrarian
Somewhere along the line in the growth of the administrative state, some very naive people got the idea that giving bureaucrats arbitrary power is no problem because the bureaucrats can be constrained by a requirement that they do a “cost-benefit analysis” before they undertake major actions or regulations. Thus no bureaucratic regulation will proceed unless the benefits exceed the costs. Obviously, if the benefits exceed the costs, the regulation would be a net benefit, and of course it should take effect. What could go wrong?
In the ranks of such touchingly naive people we have, for example, the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court. The Congress has indulged in hundreds of broad delegations of regulatory power to the administrative state, often with theoretically constraining language that either explicitly requires a cost-benefit analysis, or alternatively says something sort of close to that, such as that any regulation must be “appropriate and necessary.”
In the case of a collection of power plant emissions regulations imposed by EPA in 2011, EPA attempted to take the position that the “appropriate and necessary” test under the Clean Air Act did not require it to consider cost before imposing the regulations. The Supreme Court disagreed in the 2015 case of Michigan v. EPA, and sent EPA back to the drawing board. So with that, agencies will almost always be required to assess cost against benefit before imposing any major action or regulation, and thus everything is now back to perfect balance and equilibrium in the world. Right??
Of course the flaw here is the naive faith that a bureaucracy can be trusted to do an honest cost-benefit analysis, when in fact the essential dynamic of all bureaucracies is that they are only interested in growing their own power, staff, and budget. For today’s lesson, consider what goes by the name of the “Social Cost of Carbon.”
The “Social Cost of Carbon” can fairly be described as the mother of all government cost-benefit analyses. Supposedly it is a sophisticated tote-up of plusses and minuses that stands behind all government efforts to impose regulations in the area of “climate change.” In reality it is a completely dishonest scam that wildly exaggerates costs and ignores benefits in order to justify vast seizures of power unto the government.
You may or may not have heard of the specific term “Social Cost of Carbon,” but undoubtedly you do know that in 2009 when the Obama administration came in, “climate change” was one of its top priorities; yet it was clear that there was going to be no new legislation (even though the Congress was fully in Democratic hands). The administration thus had a huge impetus to proceed by regulations to increase its power and authority.
This was several years before the Supreme Court’s decision in Michigan v. EPA, but the Obamanauts were smart enough to realize that if they were going to have an aggressive regulatory agenda, somewhere in some statute would be something that someone would claim required a determination that the benefits of any proposed regulations exceeded costs. And this “climate change” thing had the potential to impose hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars of costs on the U.S. economy.
This was way too big to entrust to any one little agency. So instead, the White House itself took the reins, and convened what it called the “Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon.” To do the mother of all cost-benefit analyses, you need the mother of all Interagency Working Groups. What agencies? In government acronym-speak, it was CEA, CEQ, DOA, DOC, DOE, DOT, EPA, NEC, OECC, OMB, OSTP, and DOT (here’s a document with the list)—all co-ordinated through the White House itself. Whew! The mission was to assess the costs versus the benefits of emitting carbon into the atmosphere via the burning of fossil fuels.
With this huge collection of scintillatingly brilliant geniuses from literally every important government agency, certainly you could be assured that the result would be perfect and fair and accurate. They came out with their initial results in 2010. The results were subsequently updated in a further document issued in 2013, with with yet a further revision in July 2015.
Now, step back from this for a moment. Think about what fossil fuels have brought to the world over the course of the past century or so. To start with, there’s electricity. Could you go as long as a few days without it? It is light, telecommunications, computers, smartphones, the internet, music, television and movies, refrigeration, air conditioning, tools, appliances, and so many other things.
About 90% of electricity worldwide comes from fossil fuels and thus from the emission of carbon into the atmosphere; and by the way, most of the remaining 10% (nuclear, hydro) is also not OK with environmentalists. Next, coming virtually 100% from fossil fuels, we have transportation—automobiles, planes, trains, buses, ships, even motorcycles. Then we have mechanized agriculture, also depending almost entirely on fossil fuels.
Mechanized agriculture is the difference between having our food supply produced by 2% of the population (as we have today) versus the 90% of the population it took to produce the food before mechanization. Without mechanized agriculture, you would almost certainly be working on a farm today if you wanted to eat; and by the way you would be using a horse to plow the field rather than a tractor. And your plow would be made of wood (can’t make metal without fossil fuels).
Then come mechanized and automated factories, which also depend almost entirely on fossil fuels. Is it even possible to run a steel mill on power from wind turbines? Still other things dependent on fossil fuels: Try mowing your lawn without a mower powered by fossil fuels; or trimming a tree without a trimming device powered by fossil fuels; or plowing your driveway after a snowstorm without a plow powered by fossil fuels. Almost all homes that are heated use fossil fuels to do it. This list is almost endless. Fossil fuels literally have transformed human life, hugely for the better, over the course of little more than the past one hundred years.
Are there any negatives in the use of fossil fuels? Of course there are. Fossil fuels have impurities that end up as pollution in the atmosphere—SO2, NO2, “particulates” (but great progress has been made in reducing the amounts of these impurities that make it into the atmosphere). And then there’s the threat of “climate change,” largely theoretical at this point and projected in models that you may or may not believe.
Suppose that you even believe some of the worst case scenarios projected by the most alarmist of the climate models, and you are then given the task of doing a cost-benefit analysis for the use of fossil fuels by mankind. Your first reaction would probably be, how do you quantify something like this? How do you put a value on what it is worth to people to have basically free streaming music, or air conditioning in Texas, or jet travel to Europe and back?
But even as you ponder some of those questions, I hope that your second reaction would be, this is not even remotely close. On any conceivable scale of measurement, the benefits to mankind from the use of fossil fuels have to outweigh the negatives by a factor of hundreds if not thousands. The benefits so wildly exceed the costs that the whole effort to try to quantify and weigh the two can’t really even be justified. Even if you hugely minimize the benefits and exaggerate the costs, there couldn’t possibly be any way to make the use of fossil fuels by mankind into a net negative. Indeed, if you need a reasonable proxy for the positive benefits of carbon-based energy, a pretty good start would be 100% of GDP. For the U.S. that’s around $17 trillion per year. After all, without carbon-based energy GDP would be a very small fraction of what it is.
Maybe you could knock off a couple of trillion for the part produced by nuclear and hydro, the infinitesimal part produced by wind and solar, and the even more infinitesimal part that you could produce by your own backbreaking human labor in the absence of an energy boost from something else. So a good estimate of what we might call the Social Benefit of Carbon, or alternatively the Negative Social Cost of Carbon, would be around $15 trillion per year.
That’s how you would approach the problem if you were honest, or if you had even a smidgeon of integrity. But remember, this is the government, and their power is at stake.
So in case you haven’t already guessed, the huge collection of government geniuses in the mother of all Interagency Working Groups sweated and struggled over this problem for about a year, and then in February 2010 they came out with a document titled “Technical Support Document:—Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis—Under Executive Order 12866.” And sure enough, their conclusion was that the use of fossil fuels by mankind imposes big costs upon society, hereafter to be known as the “Social Cost of Carbon.” And not just small costs. Gigantic costs.
Of course they give multiple scenarios and estimates to make the whole thing as confusing and incomprehensible as possible. But the simplest answer was, on our preferred assumptions and for this year of 2010, the Social Cost of Carbon is $35 per ton of carbon emitted. (Total carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. run in the range of 7 billion tons per year. That would put the total annual “Social Cost of Carbon” in the range of $250 billion, for the U.S. alone.) As mentioned above, since 2010 there have been two updates, most recently in 2015, and you will not be surprised to learn that the claims as to the Social Cost of Carbon have only increased. At the comparable spot in the model ranges to the $35 per ton claim in 2010, the new 2015 number is $56 per ton. That would put annual U.S. SCC now at around $400 billion. But on other assumptions (particularly as to discount rate) it could be as high as $700 billion! And also, rapidly increasing every year!
So what possible approach to valuing costs and benefits could possibly lead to such frankly insane conclusions? Go to those two “technical support documents” put out by the IWG, and try to even figure out what they are doing. It’s endless bureaucratic doublespeak and bafflegab. We’re using really sophisticated models from the smartest of the smartest at the very best Ivy League schools! We have the DICE model and the FUND model and the PAGE model!
It’s impossible to quote from documents like these in a short blog post, but I’ll try to summarize at least a little. It seems that the enormous costs projected by the models trace almost entirely to temperature rises assumed to occur from greenhouse warming, and that the increased temperatures are assumed to cause harm in four main ways: sea level rise, health effects, agricultural productivity, and so-called “discontinuity events.”
For example, for sea level rise, here’s how they say it works: CO2 will cause global warming in the future; global warming will cause ice to melt; enough ice melting will cause sea level to rise; we project that rising seas will flood Manhattan in, say, the year 2060. How much loss will come from that? Pick an arbitrary large number! How about $1 trillion. No, make it $5 trillion! Now discount that back to the present at a ridiculously low discount rate. It’s easily $1 trillion of “present value.” (Less than that? Then make the 2060 loss $10 trillion!) Your heating your house puts 2 tons per year of CO2 into the air. The Social Cost of Carbon is $56 per ton. Thus your personal contribution from home heating to the flooding of Manhattan in 2060 costs “society” $112 right now this year!
And sorry, there is no offsetting credit for your being warm in your house in the winter. You should have heated your house with a wind turbine! It is really far, far beyond ridiculous.
My short comments on the four things that underlie the bulk of the projected “loss”:
Sea level rise. I can find no convincing evidence that the rate of sea level rise is any faster now in the intensive fossil fuel era than it has been consistently since the end of the last ice age. (The rate, by the way, is about 8 inches per century.) Here’s my favorite indicator: The headquarters of Goldman Sachs is located just a few hundred feet from the Manhattan waterfront, and at most about 15 feet above sea level. That’s what the smart money thinks about sea level rise, at least over the next many decades. (At 8 inches increase in sea level per century, the Goldman Sachs headquarters is safe from the sea for another good couple of millennia.)
Health effects. Assume worst case projected scenarios of five or even six degrees of warming. That’s a lot less than the average temperature difference between, say, New York and Houston. As far as I know, Houston is no less healthy than New York.
Agricultural productivity. There is no question but that higher temperatures and more CO2 make for better, not worse, agricultural productivity.
“Discontinuity events.” This seems to refer to future natural and weather disasters that they have no reason to think will be more frequent or severe in a warmer future than they are now. They are completely making it up.
So to summarize: The government has convened literally everybody who is anybody in the regulatory apparat to put out a document to “prove” to the world what every thinking person knows can’t possibly be true, namely that carbon fuels are a cost rather than a benefit to humanity. It’’s hard to imagine a more transparent and obvious fraud.
Anyway, I take up this subject today because the internet has been abuzz this past week with critiques of the government]s Social Cost of Carbon analysis that somehow seek to deal with it on its own terms. A paper in April by Dayaratna, McKitrick and Kreutzer re-ran the government]s SCC numbers using lower climate sensitivity estimates based on empirical evidence (rather than just models). Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller picked up on that article on June 7 in a piece titled “Experts Debunk Obama’s ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ Estimate—It Might Be Negative!” (Might be??? It’s at least $10 trillion per year negative on any reasonable assumptions.) The generally sensible Judith Curry also comments here on the issue, and equally points out that the government’s SCC figures rely on climate sensitivity estimates that have been refuted by empirical evidence of the past several decades.
Fair enough. But these people give the government way too much credit for fairness and honesty. The Social Cost of Carbon is a preposterous and transparent fraud by the government that is ridiculous in forty different ways. I suppose these people deserve some credit for doing hard work to establish that the government’s representations fall apart even on their own terms, but really, this whole Social Cost of Carbon thing is something that no intelligent person should take seriously.
And yet, it seems that we have to. Meanwhile, the idea that imposing a “cost-benefit” requirement on the government is any meaningful constraint is exposed as complete futility. If they can put out an analysis purporting to make use of fossil fuels a negative for mankind, then they can do literally anything.
Jun 13, 2016
How a liberal bias is killing science
Pascal Emmanuel Gobry
Oh boy. Remember when a study came out that said that conservative political beliefs are associated with psychotic traits, such as authoritarianism and tough-mindedness? While liberalism is associated with “social desirability?”
The American Journal of Political Science recently had to print a somewhat embarrassing correction, as the invaluable website Retraction Watch pointed out: It turns out somebody made an Excel error. And the study’s results aren’t a little off. They aren’t a lot off. They are exactly backwards.
Writes the American Journal of Political Science:
The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed. Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response. [American Journal of Political Science]
In other words, at least according to this study, it’s liberals who are psychotic and conservatives who are awesome.
Well, obviously, as a conservative, I first had to stop laughing for 10 minutes before I could catch my breath.
I could also make a crassly political point, like of course liberals are psychotic given liberal authoritarianism, and of course conservatives are more balanced - after all, we’re happier and we have better sex.
But actually, this is bigger than that. Adds Retraction Watch, “That 2012 paper has been cited 45 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.”
I’ve been a harsh critic of shoddy scientific research. Criticizing American academia’s liberal bias earned me a lot of pushback, mostly from progressives on Twitter patiently explaining to me that it’s not “bias” to turn down equally qualified conservatives for tenure or promotion or their papers, since after all conservatives are intrinsically unreasonable and stupid (they could have added psychotic for good measure. After all, science proves it!).
Contacted by Retraction Watch, the authors of the study hem and haw and say that their point was not about conservatives or liberals, but about the magnitude of differences between those camps. Yeah, right.
Actually, as independent reviewers point out, the paper itself is so shoddy that we conservatives shouldn’t use it to crow about how liberals are psychos. The correlations are “spurious,” explains one reviewer. And looking at the methodology, I couldn’t help but agree.
The reason the study was made, and the reason it was published, and the reason it was cited so often despite its shoddy methodology, was simply to smear conservatives, and to use “science” as a weapon in our soul-deadening cultural-political war.
Isn’t it time we see that this is killing science and its credibility? Isn’t it time to do something about it? That is, if science is an actual disinterested pursuit, and not a priestly class that, like all priestly classes, eventually forgets its calling and just seeks to aggrandize its power and control the masses.
The political bias problem is merely the visible part of the iceberg.
Science’s problems run much deeper. The social prestige associated with the word science has led to excesses in many directions, leading us to believe that “science” is the equivalent of “magic” when it is a specific and flawed process for doing important but limited things. We’re not helped by the fact that most scientists are themselves ignorant about how science works.
The end result is that Big Science is now broken, with it being nearly certain now that most published research findings are false - and, most importantly, nobody has any idea what to do about it. And nobody is panicking! Because science is infallible, so how could anything be wrong with it?
It’s time for scientists and the scientific establishment to wake up. Only 11 percent of preclinical cancer research could be reproduced according to a recent survey. False results have spawned entire fields of literature and of study and grants. And this is just one example. At stake is much more than political and culture wars.
Jun 08, 2016
The Environmental Spectator: Greenpeace Faces a Resolute Opponent
UPDATE: Note from author Susan J. Crockford
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Susan J. Crockford, scientist and novelist. Please see my author website
Finally, courage to counterpunch the green bullies.
When the name Resolute was chosen in 2011, after the merger of Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated, the Canadian company, a global leader in the forest products industry and the largest producer of newsprint in the world, likely didn’t know what a harbinger it was. Today, it stands alone, set in purpose, with firmness and determination. Displaying the rare courage to stand up to the typical environmental extremists’ campaign of misinformation and shaming designed to shut it down, Resolute Forest Products is fighting back.
Many people are probably unaware of the shakedown tactics used by groups whose touchy-feely names belie their true goals.
Like most companies, Resolute originally went along. As Peter Foster explains in the Financial Post: “a cabal of radical environmental non-governmental organizations, ENGOs - including Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the David Suzuki Foundation - agreed to stop their campaigns of customer harassment in return for the members of the Forest Products Association of Canada, FPAC, agreeing to sanitize a swathe of the Canadian Boreal forest, and to ‘consult’ on development plans. Astonishingly, governments played no part.” The result was the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The ENGOs ultimately aspired to put the majority of the Boreal forest off limits - ending economic development. Regarding the Greenpeace-promoted concept of “intact forest landscape protection,” Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s Minister of Forest, Wildlife and Parks, says it threatens “absolutely devastating” economic implications.
Resolute had been a major supporter of the Agreement and has participated in other efforts between ENGOs and industry to work out differences. Despite that, using a campaign of lies and intimidation, ENGOs have constantly attacked Resolute. At one point, in 2012, the false claims were so egregious, Resolute threatened legal action against Greenpeace - which garnered an unprecedented apology and retraction from Greenpeace. However, it came back with vengeance. Greenpeace continued to publicize the same false statements and dubbed Resolute a Boreal forest “destroyer.”
Engaged in a war without violence, Greenpeace has since attacked Rite-Aid Pharmacy for “getting millions of pounds of paper from controversial logging giant Resolute Forest Products,” calling Resolute “a company with a history of environmental destruction.” Greenpeace was successful with a similar harassment campaign against Best-Buy. Resolute was the company’s primary paper supplier, but due to the shaming, Best-Buy announced it would seek other sources. Greenpeace has no plans to stop the tactic. Other targeted companies include Canadian Tire (a retailer with more than 1,700 outlets), Home Depot and Office Depot, Proctor & Gamble and 3M. Foster reports: “Greenpeace itself has calculated that its campaigns have cost Resolute at least $100 million.”
Somewhere between the Greenpeace retraction and May 2013, an epiphany - similar to what occurred between the president of the U.S. and the space alien in the movie Independence Day - must have taken place. In the clip, the captured alien is choking someone with its tentacle and the president is trying to negotiate with it. He tries to reason with the alien and suggests that they could “coexist.” He asks the alien what it wants them to do. The alien simply responds: “Die.” Resolute must have realized that no matter how many agreements it might sign, the global network of ENGOs will come back with more and more rigid requirements until the tentacles choke the company out.
On May 23, 2013, Resolute filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace claiming it damaged the company’s “business, goodwill and reputation.” The suit asserts defamation, malicious falsehood, and intentional interference with economic relations and seeks damages of $5 million as well as punitive damages of $2 million, plus costs. Greenpeace says the suit “is an effort to subdue Greenpeace into silence and send a message to other groups that they should stay quiet.” It believes the suit should have been thrown out, but despite several attempts, the Judge has disagreed and allowed unflattering accusations about Greenpeace’s global law-breaking activities to remain.
While the Canadian lawsuit makes its way through the courts and the appeals process, Resolute has just taken another bold step to defend itself against the green bully’s attacks.
On May 31, Resolute took a page from the ENGO’s playbook and, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, filed a civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) suit against Greenpeace and a number of its associates who, though they claim to be independent, act cooperatively. The RICO Act intended to deal with the mob as a loose organization, or “enterprise,” with a pattern of activity and common nefarious purposes, such as extortion. (Greenpeace has asked the Justice Department to use the RICO Act to investigate oil companies and organizations that sow doubts about the risks of climate change.)
The 100-page complaint alleges that Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise.” According to the Resolute news release, it describes the deliberate falsity of the malicious and defamatory accusations the enterprise has made and details how, to support its false accusations, “Greenpeace has fabricated evidence and events, including, for example, staged photos falsely purporting to show Resolute logging in prohibited areas.” The suit also calls Greenpeace a “global fraud” out to line its pockets with money from donors and says that “maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective.” Additionally, it cites admissions by Greenpeace’s leadership that it “emotionalizes” issues to manipulate audiences.
In the U.S. lawsuit, Resolute is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial, as well as treble and punitive damages.
Patrick Moore, one of the original founders of Greenpeace, is disappointed that the group that originally wanted to help, is now an extortion racket. He told me: “I am very proud to have played a small role in helping Resolute deal with these lying blackmailers and extortionists.”
Discovery in both the Canadian and U.S. lawsuits will open up records and could well peel back the moralist tone to expose a global job-destroying, anti-development agenda. For too long ENGOs have been allowed free rein over regulating natural resources in what is really economic warfare on workers.
At a recent meeting, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, according to Foster, “acknowledged that it was time to stand up and recognize ‘the significant economic implication of misinformation’” - though one has to wonder what took them so long.
Resolute is counter-punching the green bullies - and it’s about time. Just ask the coal miners in West Virginia or the farmers in Central California who are wild with enthusiasm for the Trump candidacy that promises to end the regressive regulations and return the U.S. to economic strength.
Hopefully other companies will now tune into the public’s change in attitude and, with firmness and determination, will, also, fight back to protect shareholders and workers.
Jun 07, 2016
Democrats intensify their economic suicide mission.
Why do donors give money to the Sierra Club? Are they trying to strangle the American economy?
The liberal green group is celebrating its “victory” of putting America’s major coal producers out of business - to say nothing of the tens of thousands of miners placed in unemployment lines. Several thousand more mining jobs were lost last month.
Now the Sierra Club wants to similarly bury the oil and gas industry.
Here is how the Sierra Club spokeswoman, Lena Moffit, explains the strategy: “We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. We oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking.”
That’s an amazing admission given that natural gas is a clean burning fuel that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and real pollutants too. Then she admitted: “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way… to ensure that we’re moving to a 100% clean energy future.”
This means no oil, gas, or coal. Right now we get about three-quarters of our electricity from gas and coal and most of our transportation fuels come from oil. Do they want us to use bicycles?
It’s not just the environmentalists who are advancing this lunatic agenda. The three most prominent Democrats in America aren’t far behind in this maniacal mindset of killing domestic industries. President Obama says we have to shift to a “keep it in the ground” strategy when it comes to all fossil fuels. Bernie Sanders is the sponsor of a Senate bill that would effectively ban all oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
Hillary Clinton has announced that global warming is “the defining issue of our time” and hopes for a future when there is no drilling for oil and gas. This would end America’s access to an estimated $50 trillion of energy resources.
But think about this: the oil and gas industry is responsible for 10 million jobs and more than $1 trillion American output every year. End oil and gas production and you crush all of this economic output. Do they care?
Certainly they show no remorse over the devastation of the coal industry.
By the way, the workers the greens want to throw out of work are truckers, construction workers, petroleum engineers, welders, pipefitters, geologists, and many other hardhat workers. Many if not most are union members.
Why are the industrial unions not in full scale revolt against the greens like the Sierra Club and billionaire Tom Steyer, who are out to give them pink slips?
Of course the make-believe retort is that we will transition to windmills and solar panels. In other words, we will shift back to the energy sources of the Middle Ages. Windmills will power our steel plants. Solar energy will electrify our factories and homes - except when the sun doesn’t shine. Germany thought it could “go green” and that strategy has raised energy prices and put the hurt to its manufacturing industries.
The lost energy employment will never be replaced with so-called “green jobs.” We already fell for that scam at the start of the Obama administration.
The greens are out to get the blue collar American workers. Obama, Hillary, and Bernie are willing accomplices to the economic homicide. Their religious fervor to stop global warming at all costs means they are willing to sacrifice the jobs of millions of American workers. So much for the socialist vision of a workers’ paradise.
May 20, 2016
Challenging the Climate Cult
By Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
Dr. Gordon Fulks
In an essay published on Saturday May 7, 2016, Oregon Legislator Mike Nearman asked those who objected to his skepticism about Anthropogenic Global Warming to provide the evidence (data) that convinced them we are headed for a climate catastrophe. In response, he got the typical name-calling and other bad behavior we have come to expect from those thoroughly sold on the prevailing paradigm.
Most of us who actually are scientists realize that Nearman was precisely correct to request the robust empirical data that should back up all science, but in the case of Global Warming is substantially missing. Proponents like to confuse the issue by providing evidence of warming that could come from several natural sources and ignore the crucial question about a link to human activities. And when confronted with the ruse, some resort to calling opponents “absolute idiots.”
Of course, the only “absolute idiots,” are those who believe that science is too sacred to be questioned.
Scientists continually question prevailing wisdom to see if we can improve on it. When science first emerged out of the politics and religion of the seventeenth century with the formation of the British Royal Society, the founding members chose the motto “Nullius in verba” or “Take no one’s word for it.” That expressed their determination to avoid the domination of authority and to decide scientific matters by an appeal to data gathered by experiment. Once freed from the domination of politics and religion, science made amazing progress.
Let me provide the robust empirical data and sturdy arguments that Representative Nearman requested.
We need not concern ourselves with the great complexity of the earth’s climate but only the predictions of those who claim to be able to predict climate catastrophe from man-made CO2. Their predictions stem from billion dollar Climate Models that one would hope could justify their cost. But they do not.
Here is a comparison of their predictions with robust empirical data from NASA satellites and radiosondes. The two satellite data sets come from the two official NASA contractors (UAH and RSS), one alarmist and one skeptical.
If anyone prefers a similar comparison from climate alarmists, he should look at the very last page of the supplementary information for Santer et al., PNAS 2013. There he will find a table that shows the Climate Models running hot by a factor of about two in temperature trend. While not exactly the same as the comparison from Professor John Christy above, it is also proof that the models are fatally flawed, and even alarmists who are members of the US National Academy of Sciences recognize it.
For those unfamiliar with “fatal flaws,” these are deficiencies so egregious that the entire paradigm collapses.
The government’s case against carbon dioxide is based on what they call “Three Lines of Evidence,” or three arguments. In addition to their assertion that the Climate Models are able to accurately predict the future, they assert that the slight warming we have observed has to be from carbon dioxide because of a ‘hot spot’ in the tropical mid-troposphere. And they assert that we have observed unusual global warming recently. None of these are remotely correct.
Over the seven decades since the end of the Second World War when human emissions of carbon dioxide increased substantially, temperatures have risen over only two of those decades. Two of seven decades is not a very good correlation. And we know that the increase that began in the late 1970s occurred in concert with a change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) known as the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1977. That was ocean warming not greenhouse gas warming. It is similar to the El Nino warming we are currently experiencing that originates with warmer than normal sea surface temperatures in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific off of the coast of Peru. These last about a year and are typically followed by several years of the opposite condition known as La Nina.
When the PDO is in its warm state, we get more and stronger El Ninos over a period of several decades and hence generally warmer conditions followed by several decades of cooler conditions. We observed one complete PDO cycle in the 20th century, with the earth warming up to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and then cooling off to the cold of the 1960s and 1970s. The cyclical nature of the earth’s climate is readily apparent in many individual station temperature data sets but not in the compilations cooked by alarmists. It is especially visible in the Arctic which responds strongly to ocean cycles.
Hence, the robust temperature data we have shows that our climate is cycling normally. The fact that there is nothing unusual going on that we have not seen before is another fatal flaw in the Obama Administration’s climate science.
The third fatal flaw is the complete absence of a hot spot in the tropical mid-troposphere. That is very obvious in this comparison:
The government’s case against carbon dioxide is fatally flawed in three ways (3 LoEs), and carbon dioxide is innocent, as Representative Nearman suspected.
Nearman’s very proper request for robust temperature data completely vindicates him. And his worry about the quality of scientists coming out of Oregon universities is unfortunately well founded too.
Thank you Mike!
For those who would like to research this further, they can find the government’s 3 LoE arguments in official Environmental Protection Agency documents and in President Obama’s very lengthy National Climate Assessment - 2014. Our detailed rebuttal to the NCA - 2014 can be found many places, including here.
This was written in an essay style to be easily accessible to a wide audience. It was signed by fifteen accomplished scientists and economists. For those who prefer similar arguments presented in a legal style and submitted under oath to the US Supreme Court, they can look at our merit stage brief here and at an earlier cert brief.
For the best global temperature measurements we have from NASA satellites, readers should go to Dr. Roy Spencer’s website
where they will find not only the latest Global Temperature Anomaly (GTA) but a complete table of all the NASA MSU satellite temperature data from 1979 by region, and useful commentary from Spencer.
Gordon J. Fulks lives in Corbett and can be reached at email@example.com. He holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago’s Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research.