Not only are all the climate claims made by the administration wrong, but the benefits of climate policies were shown by independent fact checkers to also be unwarranted.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) President Barack Obama glossed over some inconvenient truths Tuesday in his climate-change speech to the United Nations. For one, as the U.S. cleans up emissions at home, it’s sending dirty fuel abroad to pollute the same sky.
As well, the U.S. is not cleaning up quite as aggressively as Obama implied in his remarks.
Obama was among scores of world leaders at the gathering, which followed by days a mass demonstration in New York City in support of action to combat global warming. Among those who marched: Al Gore, whose 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” shed light on the problem.
A look at some of Obama’s claims and how they compare with the facts:
OBAMA: “Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth."\
THE FACTS: Europe as a whole has cut a bigger proportion of its emissions. From 2005 to 2013, the period cited by Obama, the European Union reduced carbon dioxide by 13.9 percent, compared with a 10 percent reduction in the U.S. Because the United States pollutes more, it has reduced more raw emissions than the EU -cutting raw tonnage by 649 million tons since 2005, compared with Europe’s reduction of 614 million tons. But Europe has cut a bigger proportion of its emissions.
From 1990 levels, the benchmark year from which the EU measures progress, emissions were down about 18 percent in Europe. Meanwhile, compared with 1990, U.S. emissions are up about 10 percent, based on data from the Global Carbon Project.
OBAMA: “So, all told, these advances have helped create jobs, grow our economy, and drive our carbon pollution to its lowest levels in nearly two decades - proving that there does not have to be a conflict between a sound environment and strong economic growth.”
THE FACTS: About half of the 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions the U.S. has achieved in recent years can be attributed to the economic recession, not any specific actions from the Obama administration. Obama’s comments also left out that U.S. carbon emissions rose 2.9 percent from 2012 to 2013, the first increase since 2007, because higher natural gas prices spurred more coal use.
OBAMA: “We’re helping more nations skip past the dirty phase of development, using current technologies, not duplicating the same mistakes and environmental degradation that took place previously.
THE FACTS: The U.S. is actually sending more dirty fuel abroad even as it takes steps to help other nations transition to cleaner energy. The U.S. has cuts its own coal consumption by 195 million tons in six years. But according to an AP analysis of Energy Department data, about 20 percent of that coal was shipped to power plants and other customers overseas. Emissions from that coal were not eliminated but rather moved to other countries. As well, the U.S. exported more products refined from oil another dirty fuel than it imported, starting in 2011.
On the other side of the pollution ledger, the Obama administration has placed restrictions on U.S. financing of coal plants overseas that don’t control for carbon dioxide and wants to lower tariffs on trade in clean energy technology.
OBAMA: “Today I’m directing our federal agencies to begin factoring climate resilience into our international development programs and investments.”
THE FACTS: Not an entirely new effort. The U.S. Agency for International Development already factors climate-change impact in its assistance programs, says Oxfam America. Raymond C. Offenheiser, Oxfam America’s president, welcomed news that more U.S. agencies will do the same while saying that amounts to “a drop in the bucket” without additional financial commitments.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: From a White House background document: “The Climate Action Plan is working. In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell to the lowest level in nearly two decades.”
THE FACTS: That plan has nothing to do with reductions in emissions in 2012 because it was not announced until June 2013. Moreover, two of its cornerstone regulations controls on new and existing coal-fired power plants are at this point just proposals. The administration isn’t expected to complete those rules until next year and some states may not submit plans until after Obama leaves office. The statement also leaves out the fact that in 2013, emissions in the U.S. rose for the first time since 2007.
Obama did invest in renewable energy and boost fuel economy before announcing the climate plan. But the plan can’t be credited with improving anything before it came into existence.
Awareness grows that faulty science would keep millions in the dark
By Willie Soon and Christopher Monckton - - Thursday, September 18, 2014
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sensibly declined to attend yet another climate summit - this time called by Ban Ki-moon for Tuesday in New York under the auspices of the United Nations - which profits handsomely from much-exaggerated climate scares. Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel likewise intend to skip the event.
Environmentalists have complained about Mr. Modi’s decision. They say rising atmospheric carbon dioxide will cause droughts, melt Himalayan ice, and poison lakes and waterways in the Indian subcontinent.
However, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already had to backtrack on earlier assertions that Himalayan glaciers would be gone within 25 years, and the most comprehensive review of drought trends worldwide shows the global land area under drought has decreased throughout the past 30 years.
The spiritual yet down-to-earth Mr. Modi knows that 300 million Indians still have no electricity. His priority is to turn on the lights all over India. In Bihar, four homes in five are still lit by kerosene.
Electric power is the quickest, surest, cheapest way to lift people out of poverty, disease, subsistence agriculture and childhood death - thereby stabilizing India’s population, which may soon overtake China’s.
The world’s governing elites, however, no longer care about poverty. Climate change is their new focus.
For instance, in late August, the Asian Development Bank predicted that warmer weather would cut rice production, rising seas would engulf Mumbai and other coastal megacities, and rainfall would decline by 10 percent to 40 percent across in many Indian provinces.
Garbage in, gospel out. In truth, rice production has risen steadily, sea level is barely rising, and even the U.N.’s climate panel has twice been compelled to admit that there is no evidence of a worldwide change in rainfall.
Subtropical India will not warm by much. Advection would take most of any additional heat poleward. Besides, globally there has been little or no warming for almost two decades. Climate models did not predict that, casting doubt on all of the U.N. climate panel’s “projections.” The panel, on our advice, has recently all but halved its central estimate of near-term warming.
Sea level is rising no faster than for the past 150 years. From 2004 to 2012, the Envisat satellite reported a rise of one-tenth of an inch. From 2003 to 2009, gravity satellites actually showed sea level falling. Results like these have not hitherto been reported in the mainstream news media.
More than two centuries of scientific research have failed to make the duration or magnitude of monsoons predictable. Monsoons depend on sea and surface temperatures and wind conditions in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans, the timing of El Ninos in the equatorial Pacific, variations in Eurasian and Himalayan winter snow cover, and even wind direction in the equatorial stratosphere.
In 1906, forecasts depended on 28 unknowns. By 2007, scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology were using 73. So insisting that just one variable - atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels - will drive future monsoons is unscientific.
IPCC climate models said monsoons would become more intense. Instead, they have weakened for 50 years.
Models also failed to replicate the 60-year and 200-year cycles in monsoon rainfall linked to solar cycles that are reflected in studies of ocean sediments from the Arabian Sea.
A new study led by K.M. Hiremath of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics shows a strong, possibly causative correlation between variations in solar activity and in monsoon rainfall.
Governments also overlook a key conclusion from the world’s modelers, led by Fred Kucharski of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics: “The increase of greenhouse gases in the 20th century has not significantly contributed to the observed decadal Indian monsoonal rainfall variability.”
Not one climate model predicted the severe Indian drought of 2009, followed by the prolonged rains the next year - a one-year increase of 40 percent in most regions. These natural variations are not new. They have happened for tens of thousands of years.
A paper for the scientific journal Climate Dynamics co-authored by B.N. Goswami, recently retired director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, shows why the models relied upon by the U.N. climate panel’s recent assessments predict monsoons inaccurately.
All 16 models examined have the same fatal flaw: They predict rain too easily, by artificially elevating air and water masses in the atmosphere.
Models are not ready to predict the climate. Misusing computers to spew out multiple “what-if” scenarios is unscientific. This approach simply means “if all our unproven assumptions are correct, this could happen.”
Most of the fundamental problems in our still immature understanding of climate have remained unresolved for decades. Some cannot be resolved at all. The U.N.’s climate panel admitted in 2001 what has been known for 50 years: Because climate is a “coupled, non-linear, chaotic object,” reliable long-term climate prediction is impossible.
Misuse of climate models as false prophets of doom is costly in lives as well as treasure.
To condemn the poorest of India’s poor to continuing poverty is to condemn many to an untimely death. Mr. Modi is right to have no more to do with such murderous nonsense. It is time to put an end to climate summits. On the evidence, they are not needed.
Willie Soon is a solar physicist and climate scientist based in Cambridge, Mass. Lord Monckton is a former expert reviewer for the Fifth Assessment Report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) of the U.N.’s climate panel.