Political Climate
Jun 26, 2014
Why would climate skeptics hold a conference in HOT Las Vegas?

By Anthony Watts

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That is a question that I’m sure is on a lot of people’s minds as they wonder if they should attend. It seems like the sort of thing warmists would do - go someplace hot, talk about how hot it is, and then hope a new record is set while there to underscore the importance of saving the planet from hotter and hotter days. It’s a PR flack’s dream.

But, expectations and reality in the climate debate are often far different, and it is that difference that makes Las Vegas a perfect place to discuss temperature, climate, and global warming, as I show below.  First, let’s look at the potential for new record highs during the days of the ICCC9 conference:

Here are the records for early July during the conference, it would have to exceed 114/113 to have a new record. The normal high is 104 for the dates of July 7/8/9:

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July_LasVegas_records (enlarged)

As you can see there has been a warming trend in average temperature for Las Vegas, something sure to be pounced on:

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LasVegas_average_temps (enlarged)

But, it turns out that most of that trend is in overnight temperatures, which are most affected by the explosive growth of Las Vegas and the resultant UHI (1):

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LasVegas_lows (enlarged)

Inconveniently, there is no upward trend in maximum temperatures, in fact it appears there has been a slight downward trend since the late 1930’s and early 1940’s:

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Las Vegas highs (enlarged)

There also seems to be no increase in record high temperatures beyond the levels first noted when record keeping began in 1937, no new maximum temperature records have exceeded the 117 degree record set on July 24th, 1942 (2):

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LasVegas_high_records (enlarged)

All in all, I think Las Vegas is PERFECT place to have a climate conference, because it shows that expectations of warming and the reality of data just don’t match.

I’ll be there and I’ll be giving a final report on our SurfaceStations project and what we’ve found. Registration is here if you want to attend.

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References:

(1) Summary Report, Urban Heat Island Effect, City of Las Vegas, Office of Sustainability, April 2010

(2) Source for data: NOAA/NWS Las Vegas



Jun 20, 2014
Public perception of climate change

Scientific Alliance

According to a recent BBC report Extreme flooding events influence UK climate views. This shouldn’t be too surprising. After all, people are often accused of being complacent about climate change when they see no effect on them personally (a fact compounded by the lack of any upward trend in average global temperatures this century). However, if they are suddenly affected by unusual weather, be it flood, drought or extremes of temperature, it is quite likely that they would be more receptive to messages about such things being part of a trend.

The story goes on to say that the flooding events which had occurred in the year leading up to the survey (carried out in early 2013) were the things which respondents associated most with climate change, while they perceived that heat waves had become less common in their lifetimes.

The study which forms the basis of this report was published in the journal Risk Analysis under the title Climate change beliefs and perceptions of weather-related changes in the United Kingdom. The researchers, from the University of Leeds, found that people’s belief in climate change was related to extreme weather in their neighborhood, whether it was flooding or heat waves, but it was flooding which had the stronger link. As they say in their abstract, “We link our findings to research in judgment and decision making, and propose that those wishing to engage with the public on the issue of climate change should not limit their focus to heat.”

As this makes clear, the purpose of the research was to see what messages might be most credible when communicating about climate change. This work was part of Defr’s PREPARE programme (programme of research on preparedness, adaptation and risk) which, at a cost of 720,000 pounds, was designed to support the development of strategy on adaptation policy, by improving understanding of:

1. Barriers and enablers to organisational and sectoral adaptive capacity
2. The contribution and role of local and household level adaptation in overall UK adaptation
3. The climate risk resilience and adaptation expectations of the public and the underlying motivations behind this
4. The public acceptability of types of climate adaptation approaches, reasons for this and implications for communications with the public
5. The overall equity and distributional impacts of climate risks, climate change risks and adaptation options for UK citizens

Although the Leeds researchers who contributed to the study have only just published their analysis, the final report of the work for Defra was published by the contractor (Ipsos MORI) over a year ago. This can be downloaded from the PREPARE website (PREPARE CA0513 Public climate risk acceptability - Final report). The researchers carried out over 2,000 interviews and also conducted a total of 14 day-long deliberative workshops; by any standards, this was a thorough piece of work.

Respondents were split on the causes of climate change, 31% attributing it mainly or partly to human factors while 49% said it was due to a combination of natural causes and human factors. Despite the lack of agreement on causes, 68% agreed that the worst effects could be avoided by planning well, even though 60% appreciate the uncertainty of what those effects might be.

Interestingly, there was little concern about heat waves, which were not perceived to have become more common (a key point made in the Leeds paper). This illustrates quite nicely the difference in perception between the public and climate scientists. Lay people have a memory of unexceptional recent summers (although 2012 was, of course, exceptionally wet), while many in the climate change community look at monthly, seasonal and yearly averages plus the output of the computer models they continue to place so much faith in.

The participants in the workshops seem to have taken a pretty balanced view of climate change preparedness. Take this quote from the report, for example: “While a few workshop participants felt the greatest priority was to prepare for events that were likely to happen within the next five years, most felt it was wise to prepare for likely events within the next two decades. Many felt it was not appropriate to prepare for climate events that are expected to have significant impacts for the UK over a longer timeframe (i.e. more than 20 years) as they felt many factors could change within this time period e.g. understanding of the risk and ability to respond.”

All of which leads to something of a dilemma for politicians. It is perfectly rational for people to want to protect their property and community from flooding or drought (people seem to be more fatalistic about coastal erosion) but even then there is a reluctance to support protection measures for events which may only occur 20 years ahead. How much more difficult, then, for a government to convince the voting public that expensive mitigation measures intended to lessen potentially damaging impacts later this century should be taken now.

The concern about language makes a lot of sense in this context, but there will surely be a continuing debate between those who see climate change as an existential threat which must be tackled at all costs and those who would prefer to wait and see while taking sensible measures to protect communities from floods, drought or storms. I’ll leave you with the final paragraph from the Leeds paper which will doubtless help shape official messages:

From a climate policy perspective our findings suggest that those seeking to communicate the risks posed by climate change to the public should not limit their focus to the hot-weather-related events that may be implied by the phrase “global warming.” Highlighting other locally salient weather-related events, such as flooding, that are likely to increase in frequency as a consequence of climate change may serve to increase public engagement with the issues surrounding climate change mitigation and adaptation.

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Devious administration uses public ignorance of science to sway opinion

WSJ/NBC poll found that 67% of respondents either strongly or somewhat support EPA’s new rule, while only 29% oppose it. Americans are also increasingly willing to stomach higher electricity costs in order to cut carbon emissions. More than half of poll respondents 57% said they would support a proposal requiring companies to cut greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming even if it means higher utility bills. That figure is up 9 percentage points since October 2009.

This is because the administration and the media have successfully conflated carbon dioxide (a beneficial gas) with soot (no longer a problem in the U.S. because of scrubbers). Our level of particulates according to the EPA has declined well below standards. The new regulations will force electricity and energy prices sky high without any measurable change in particulates. The Inspector General of the EPA accused them of using fraudulent health data to make their case and they told congress they could no longer find the research data that they used to support the regulation (another hard drive issue no doubt).

Dr. Ross McKitrick commented : “Seems to me the downside for a government of conflating CO2 and criterion air contaminants would arise when people learn the latter are already heavily regulated. If the admin has tried artificially to boost the popularity of the regs by making people think they are about soot, carbonaceous aerosols and carbon monoxide, then it is only fair to point out that, since the end of WWII, in the US, carbon particulate emissions have already been reduced (IIRC) by 90%, carbon aerosol precursors (VOC’s) by about 50%, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from tailpipes by about 97% etc.; and despite their cost these new regs will not improve air quality over and above the improvements to be achieved under existing rules.”

Joe Bastardi reminded us that each breathe we take emits 100 times as much CO2 as is in the air. Norwegian Geologist Tom Segalstad found using isotopes that at least 96% of the current atmospheric CO2 comes from non-fossil-fuel sources, i.e. natural marine and juvenile sources. Hence for the atmospheric CO2 budget marine degassing and juvenile degassing from e.g. volcanic sources must be much more important, and burning of fossil-fuel and biogenic materials much less important, than hitherto assumed.

See Obama’s Climate McCarthyism Demeans Presidential Office.



Jun 19, 2014
Scientist Reveals Inconvenient Truth to Alarmists

By Larry Bell

Dr. Christian Schluchter’s discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.

This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with “a wild landscape and wide flowing river.”

Dr. Schluchter’s report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled “Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest” which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.

Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schluchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, “I wasn’t supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn’t belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an ‘amateur’ had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found.”

Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schluchter points out that “the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned.”

Schluchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is “indeed too short.” His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that “the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years.”

Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Mine Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.

Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schluchter poses several challenging questions: “Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth ‘tip’ in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? ... Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid.”

Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schluchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.

Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schluchter recounts a meeting in England that he was “accidentally” invited to which was led by “someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails.”

As he describes it: “The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively.”

Schluchter’s view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: “Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information.”

As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there’s one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.

Schluchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, “For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me.”

Yes. That should worry everyone.

Larry Bell is a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston, where he directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and heads the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada.

Read here



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