Sloppy Science + Bad Reporting = Fake Scare

 

Abusing science to incite fear is not confined to global warming/climate change. Medical science has also been debased by taking up the appeal to public alarm. The current example being exploitation of ovarian cancer, as explained by Warren Kindzierski writing in Financial Post How weaselly science and bad reporting consistently find cancer links that don’t exist  (Weaselly: Stretching facts with the use of such words as ‘this could,’ ‘can,’ ‘may,’ ‘might,’ ‘probably,’ ‘likely’ cause cancer)

Last month, the Quebec court authorized a class-action suit against two brands of baby powder that alleges that regular use of talc powder by women in their genital area is linked to a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Part of the allegations relate to claims that an ovarian cancer risk from powdered talc use is demonstrated by nearly four decades of scientific studies. Cosmetic talc has certainly been the subject of much scientific debate, study and, increasingly, legal challenge.

However, the cosmetic talc-ovarian cancer link is commonly misunderstood. Published biomedical studies cover both sides, suggesting a talc-ovarian cancer link and showing no link. Even today in prominent journals, letters to the editor — penned by scientists — rage back and forth, defending their studies or attacking the other side’s studies.

Now this is civilized, real science.

This bouncing back and forth of positive versus negative effects between talc and ovarian cancer is referred to as “vibration of effects” by John Iaonnidis, a professor of medicine and of health research and policy at Stanford University. Studies vary depending on how they are done. Why is this? Well, getting scientists to agree on important things like methods, what data to use and how to analyze and interpret effects from subtle human exposures is next to impossible. It would be no problem if one were studying cancer risks in populations receiving large exposures over long durations; but such situations are non-existent.

The truth is that the ability of any biomedical method, epidemiology included, to discriminate cancer risks in people from small exposures to a physical or chemical agent does not exist.

Most cancers are caused by a number of factors. As a result, establishing cancer causation is complex — unless a particular risk factor is overwhelming. Epidemiology studies cannot and do not realistically replicate this complexity, at least not very well. That is why the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute lists a number of key risk factors for ovarian cancer and talc is not one of them.

The institute states that it is not clear whether talc affects ovarian cancer risk. An expert U.S. cosmetic-ingredient review panel assessed the safety of cosmetic talc in 2015. It thoroughly analyzed numerous studies investigating whether or not a relationship exists between cosmetic use of talc in the perineal area and ovarian cancer. The panel determined that these studies do not support a causal link. They also agreed that there is no known physiological mechanism by which talc can plausibly migrate from the perineum to the ovaries. The news coverage of the lawsuit has been silent on that evidence.

Part of the public’s misunderstanding about talc comes from scientists offering opinions about cancer from small exposures. Too many scientists use weasel words to stretch facts: “This could,” “can,” “may,” “might,” “probably,” “likely” cause cancer. Flimsy so-called evidence from their studies that suffer from vibration of effects and their speculations are voraciously inhaled by naïve journalists. Stretched facts miraculously get reported as facts to the public — or worse, misused for litigation purposes.

The woman’s bathroom is a chemical exposure chamber with literally dozens of cosmetic products used at various times. Both skin contact and inhalation regularly occur with grooming products. However, repeated uses of small amounts of cosmetic talc or any other cosmetic product do not amount to overwhelming exposures despite the claims of some scientists and media. Overwhelming exposures — the ones that cause effects — are those that occur with laboratory rats and mice. Underwhelming exposures are what occur to people in the real world.

It is highly speculative that repeated use of small amounts of cosmetic talc is a definitive cause of ovarian cancer. It is not a definitive cause; it is only suggestive. Prominent organizations such as the U.S. National Cancer Institute and expert panels should make clear statements about such cancer risks, but they do not. Selective methods in epidemiology studies, speculation by scientists and inaccurate reporting by news media are ingredients used to transform weak suggestive evidence from underwhelming cosmetic talc exposure into something that is mistakenly claimed to be harmful for the public.

And that is why we end up with class action suits against cosmetic companies.

Warren Kindzierski is an associate professor in The School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.

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Perverse Green Capitalists


Politicians and media pundits like to say that Climate Change is the biggest threat to modern society. I am coming around to agree, but not in the way they are thinking. I mean there is fresh evidence that we can defeat radical Islam, but we are already losing to radical climatism.  I refer to climate alarm and activism, which has come to dominate the environmental movement and impose an agenda for social re-engineering.  And now we have fresh evidence that even capitalists are working to undermine the infrastructure supporting modern civilization.

As we approach the year 2020, we confront the spectacle of financiers raiding shareholder wealth in order to cripple the Energy Industry, seen as threatening the climate.  2020 used to indicate perfect eyesight, so that perceptions could be trusted.  This is the opposite:  People who should know better have drunk climatist koolaid and are now running the asylum.

Dan Eberhart exposes this latest twist in his Forbes article Corporate Resolutions On Social Issues Serve Activists, Not Shareholders  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

America’s growing energy dominance is helping transform our economy and revitalize the forgotten parts of our nation.

Through innovation and free-market principles, America’s oil and natural gas sector have moved us from an age of scarcity to a future of abundance. As a nation, we are once again the world’s biggest producer, with all of the economic, trade and national security benefits that portends.

But there is a move afoot by wealthy investment firms and environmental activists to undermine that success and turn back to a time of scarcity by making climate change an issue in the boardrooms of energy producers big and small. Under the guise of socially responsible investing or ESG – environmental, social and governance – they are attempting to “decarbonize” our economy one corporation at a time.

America’s success in the energy sector is directly attributable to the strength of our economic freedom and competitive markets – just look at Venezuela, Angola, Mexico, Iran, Libya or Russia for the grim alternative.

The numbers are astounding. Domestic oil production reached 10.9 million barrels a day this month and is expected to continue its ascent to record-setting levels well into next year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). By 2019, surging domestic production is expected to drive down our use of imported oil to the lowest level since 1959.

The use of hydraulic fracturing to squeeze ever more oil and gas from tight shale rock is a key driver of the energy boom. Production from America’s seven major shale formations is forecast to hit 7.2 million barrels a day by the end of this month, according to EIA.

It’s the communities in and around these formations – located almost exclusively in what are often derided as “fly-over states”– that are seeing the everyday benefits of jobs, rising wages and increasing confidence in the economy. The resurrection of the energy sector is turning small towns once on the verge of becoming ghost towns into bustling centers of activity.

There’s no guarantee the good times will continue, though, especially if companies stop searching for new supplies of oil and gas. For those who subscribe to the ideas of socially responsible investing, the end of energy dominance can’t come soon enough.

Proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis, ISS and others are increasingly advising their large shareholder clients to turn America’s boardrooms into a battleground over climate change. In the process, they are undermining the financial stability of traditional energy companies by attempting to force directors to invest in renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.

Shareholders are, of course, within their rights to propose resolutions and pursue changes to the way corporations are governed. But, increasingly, the aim of these resolutions has shifted from securing better returns to achieving political change when our political leaders have disagreed with the direction these activists wish to go.

From the perspective of corporate leaders, this new frontier of so-called social responsibility looks more like the age of proxy pirates, who unfurl the Jolly Roger and swing aboard the boardroom deck intent on striking fear in the hearts of the captains of industry.

These attacks on corporate governance and fiduciary responsibility were once rare but are growing in frequency. In the early 2000s during the era of “peak oil” – when many believed our oil supplies were running out on their own – less than 200 shareholder proposals each year focused on environmental or social factors, according to Proxy Preview.

Over the past decade, the number of shareholder proposals motivated purely by political aims has increased in lockstep with our growing energy security. And the trend is growing. According to the Institutional Shareholder Services, more than two-thirds of the proposals filed this year were related to social or environmental pet causes.

The rising prevalence of climate-risk resolutions threatens to destabilize America’s energy sector, reversing the benefits of energy dominance and forcing change regardless of the economic and security costs to society.

Oil and gas projects take years, sometimes decades, to develop. If companies don’t invest today, consumers may find themselves paying more for imported energy.

The efforts of investment firms like BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street are distorting the market and scaring off investment that will, if allowed to continue unanswered, result in future supply shortages and higher prices for consumers.

Dan Eberhart Bio
I am CEO of Canary, one of the largest privately-owned oilfield services companies in the United States. I’ve served as a consultant to the energy industry in North America, Asia and Africa. My commentaries have been published in The Hill, Real Clear Energy, and the Economist. I have appeared on Fox News, CNN and CNBC. I am the author of The Switch. I was honored to be named to Hart Energy’s “30 Under 40” list and to be included on several U.S. trade missions to sub-Saharan Africa. I have undergraduate degrees in economics and political science from Vanderbilt University and a law degree from Tulane Law School. A Georgia-native, I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, with my wife and daughter.

Comment:  I am all for Corporate Responsibility, which used to mean doing due diligence to get the facts and act accordingly as a reasonable good citizen.  Instead, people are falling prey to ideologues and investors are being steered toward con artists.  Behind all of this are the Climatists, true believers in the unproven notion that humans control the climate and not in a good way.

The Climatist Game Plan (From Previous post Climatist Manifesto)

Mission: Deindustrialize Civilization

Goal: Drive industrial corporations into Bankruptcy

Strategy: Cut off the Supply of Cheap, Reliable Energy

Tactics:

  • Raise the price of fossil fuels
  • Force the power grid to use expensive, unreliable renewables
  • Demonize Nuclear energy
  • Spread fear of extraction technologies such as fracking
  • Increase regulatory costs on energy production
  • Scare investors away from carbon energy companies
  • Stop pipelines because they are too safe and efficient
  • Force all companies to account for carbon usage and risk

Progress:

  • UK steel plants closing their doors.
  • UK coal production scheduled to cease this year.
  • US coal giant Peabody close to shutting down.
  • Smaller US oil companies going bankrupt in record numbers.
  • Etc.

Collateral Damage:

  • 27,000 extra deaths in UK from energy poverty.
  • Resource companies in Canada cut 17,000 jobs in a single month.
  • Etc.

For more info on progress see: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-clean-green-and-catastrophic

Summary:

Radical climatism is playing the endgame while others are sleeping, or discussing the holes in the science. Truly, the debate is over (not ever having happened) now that all nations have signed up to the Paris COP doctrine. Political leaders are willing, even enthusiastic dupes, while climatist tactics erode the foundations of industrial society.  Deaths and unemployment are unavoidable, but then activists think the planet already has too many people anyway.

ISIS was an immediate threat, but there is a deeper and present danger already doing damage to the underpinnings of Life As We Know It. It is the belief in Climate Change and the activists executing their game plan.  Make no mistake: they are well-funded, well-organized and mean business.  And the recent behavior of valve-turners, acting illegally to shut off supplies of fossil fuel energy, shows they are willing to go very far to impose their will upon the rest of us.

 

 

Canadian Climate Turns Against Activists

 

In olden days kings ruled by fiat, but nowadays you need the people’s consent,
disappointing to Obama and now Trudeau.

The Liberal federal government led by Justin Trudeau is running up against a deeply ingrained and widespread skepticism in the population.  In a previous post Uncensored: Canadians View Global Warming  I noted that the principle finding in a recent survey was buried in the report and hidden by the media.  Belief in man made global warming is a minority view in Canada, as shown below:
The political implications of that lack of support for climate activism are starting to become manifest.  Ed Whitcomb writes in the Ottawa Citizen Climate change politics are undermining federalism  Excerpts in italics below with my bolds and images

Prime Minister Trudeau between BC Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. The 2 provinces are at war over expanding the oil pipeline.

Canada’s largest province is about to reject the federal climate change policy. Saskatchewan never accepted it and Alberta could reject it in 2019. Maybe it’s time for reflection.

The current policy calls for the provinces to implement a federal government plan. That, however, is a contradiction of federalism, a system which reflects the fact that the feds and the provinces have different interests. Policies to deal with pollution in Ontario may be inappropriate for Newfoundland or Saskatchewan. The current federal government overlooked such differences when it decided that there was only one solution to global warming, a carbon tax, and only two acceptable ways to implement it, cap-and-trade or a carbon levy. Unfortunately, not all Canadians and provinces accept these assumptions, and the consensus is shrinking.

In 2015, Saskatchewan’s then-premier Brad Wall pointed out that his economy was far more dependent on fossil fuels than were other provinces. A carbon tax would be disproportionately costly, which was unacceptable. That dispute is going to court and no one knows what the outcome will be.

Alberta’s NDP government endorsed the federal scheme, providing the federal government got a pipeline built. That linked dealing with climate change to increasing energy production, linked reducing gas emissions to raising them. But the pipeline has not been built, and bitumen is unlikely to flow before a provincial election which could empower the United Conservative Party. The UCP is strongly opposed to the federal climate plan. It, and the incoming Ontario Conservative government, oppose carbon taxes because everyone will pay them whether or not that reduces their consumption of carbon. The two parties believe governments always spend any money that is available (and in fact Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario have not returned all their carbon tax revenue to taxpayers).

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna preaching with Justin Trudeau in the choir.

In challenging Ontario’s upcoming withdrawal from cap-and-trade, the federal government is introducing a new and very dangerous interpretation of federalism. No one questioned that Ontario’s program was within its jurisdiction. Now the federal government is saying that if Ontario repeals its own law, it will be replaced by the imposition of a federal tax exclusively within Ontario’s borders. In effect it will be a “provincial” tax, not a “national” or “federal” one applied to all Canadians.

But the federal government has no mandate to force Ontario to retain one of its own programs if its government wants to repeal it. In effect, the federal level is trying to use its taxation power to make the environment an exclusive federal responsibility.

The courts might uphold the federal government’s right to collect such a tax but the political battle could be fatal. If it can prevent Doug Ford repealing an existing Ontario law, then it can prevent other provinces repealing other provincial laws. In that case, there is no federalism, no division of power, and no independent provincial jurisdiction. Quebec could not repeal its cap-and-trade law – just the threat the separatists need to rise from their death-bed.

The federal government can forge ahead with a series of political and court battles, or it can go back to the drawing board, in which case there seem to be two options. One is co-operative federalism – namely, call a heads-of-government meeting and confirm Canada’s Paris goals; each provinces’ share of those goals; the federal right to implement policies within its jurisdiction; each province’s right to implement their own policies as they wish; and confirm that they will all co-operate to avoid duplication or contradictory policies.

The second option is for the federal government to raise its existing national carbon tax on gasoline and other forms of fossil fuel. It has full constitutional power to do so, can do it any time, the revenue can be returned to taxpayers, and it could be completely transparent. Actually, if it had done this in 2016, Canada would already be on the way to meeting its Paris goals, rather than locked in an increasingly ugly and unnecessary federal-provincial, regional, political and ideological battle.

It’s not too late to get it right but that does mean going back to the drawing board.

Ed Whitcomb is the author of Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces, the contentious history of the Canadian federation, and of short histories of all 10 provinces.

Comment:  Whitcomb does not question the climate change ideology or see the uselessness of the Paris Accord.  In the event Trudeau imposes a widely unpopular federal tax on carbon emissions, the backlash could overturn his administration.

USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

Be not Confused. USCS is not the US Coastal Service, but rather stands for the Union of Super Concerned Scientists, or UCS for short. Using their considerable PR skills and budgets, they have plastered warnings in the media targeting major coastal cities, designed to strike terror in anyone holding real estate in those places. Example headlines include:

Sea level rise could put thousands of homes in this SC county at risk, study says The State, South Carolina

Taxpayers in the Hamptons among the most exposed to rising seas Crain’s New York Business

Adapting to Climate Change Will Take More Than Just Seawalls and Levees Scientific American

The Biggest Threat Facing the City of Miami Smithsonian Magazine

What Does Maryland’s Gubernatorial Race Mean For Flood Management? The Real News Network

Study: Thousands of Palm Beach County homes impacted by sea-level rise WPTV, Florida

Sinking Land and Climate Change Are Worsening Tidal Floods on the Texas Coast Texas Observer

Sea Level Rise Will Threaten Thousands of California Homes Scientific American

300,000 coastal homes in US, worth $120 billion, at risk of chronic floods from rising seas USA Today

That last gets the thrust of the UCS study Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate (2018)

Sea levels are rising. Tides are inching higher. High-tide floods are becoming more frequent and reaching farther inland. And hundreds of US coastal communities will soon face chronic, disruptive flooding that directly affects people’s homes, lives, and properties.

Yet property values in most coastal real estate markets do not currently reflect this risk. And most homeowners, communities, and investors are not aware of the financial losses they may soon face.

This analysis looks at what’s at risk for US coastal real estate from sea level rise—and the challenges and choices we face now and in the decades to come.

The report and supporting documents give detailed dire warnings state by state, and even down to counties and townships. As example of the damage projections is this table estimating 2030 impacts:

State  Homes at Risk  Value at Risk Property Tax at Risk  Population in 
at-risk homes 
AL  3,542 $1,230,676,217 $5,918,124  4,367
CA  13,554 $10,312,366,952 $128,270,417  33,430
CT  2,540 $1,921,428,017 $29,273,072  5,690
DC  – $0 $0  –
DE  2,539 $127,620,700 $2,180,222  3,328
FL  20,999 $7,861,230,791 $101,267,251  32,341
GA  4,028 $1,379,638,946 $13,736,791  7,563
LA  26,336 $2,528,283,022 $20,251,201  63,773
MA  3,303 $2,018,914,670 $17,887,931  6,500
MD  8,381 $1,965,882,200 $16,808,488  13,808
ME  788 $330,580,830 $3,933,806  1,047
MS  918 $100,859,844 $1,392,059  1,932
NC  6,376 $1,449,186,258 $9,531,481  10,234
NH  1,034 $376,087,216 $5,129,494  1,659
NJ  26,651 $10,440,814,375 $162,755,196  35,773
NY  6,175 $3,646,706,494 $74,353,809  16,881
OR  677 $110,461,140 $990,850  1,277
PA  138 $18,199,572 $204,111  310
RI  419 $299,462,350 $3,842,996  793
SC  5,779 $2,882,357,415 $22,921,550  8,715
TX  5,505 $1,172,865,533 $19,453,940  9,802
VA  3,849 $838,437,710 $8,296,637  6,086
WA  3,691 $1,392,047,121 $13,440,420  7,320

The methodology, of course is climate models all the way down. They explain:

Three sea level rise scenarios, developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and localized for this analysis, are included:

  • A high scenario that assumes a continued rise in global carbon emissions and an increasing loss of land ice; global average sea level is projected to rise about 2 feet by 2045 and about 6.5 feet by 2100.
  • An intermediate scenario that assumes global carbon emissions rise through the middle of the century then begin to decline, and ice sheets melt at rates in line with historical observations; global average sea level is projected to rise about 1 foot by 2035 and about 4 feet by 2100.
  • A low scenario that assumes nations successfully limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (the goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement) and ice loss is limited; global average sea level is projected to rise about 1.6 feet by 2100.

Oh, and they did not forget the disclaimer:

Disclaimer
This research is intended to help individuals and communities appreciate when sea level rise may place existing coastal properties (aggregated by community) at risk of tidal flooding. It captures the current value and tax base contribution of those properties (also aggregated by community) and is not intended to project changes in those values, nor in the value of any specific property.

The projections herein are made to the best of our scientific knowledge and comport with our scientific and peer review standards. They are limited by a range of factors, including but not limited to the quality of property-level data, the resolution of coastal elevation models, the potential installment of defensive measures not captured by those models, and uncertainty around the future pace of sea level rise. More information on caveats and limitations can be found at http://www.ucsusa.org/underwater.

Neither the authors nor the Union of Concerned Scientists are responsible or liable for financial or reputational implications or damages to homeowners, insurers, investors, mortgage holders, municipalities, or other any entities. The content of this analysis should not be relied on to make business, real estate or other real world decisions without independent consultation with professional experts with relevant experience. The views expressed by individuals in the quoted text of this report do not represent an endorsement of the analysis or its results.

The need for a disclaimer becomes evident when looking into the details. The NOAA reference is GLOBAL AND REGIONAL SEA LEVEL RISE SCENARIOS FOR THE UNITED STATES NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083

Since the text emphasizes four examples of their scenarios, let’s consider them here. First there is San Francisco, a city currently suing oil companies over sea level rise. From tidesandcurrents comes this tidal gauge record
It’s a solid, long-term record providing a century of measurements from 1900 through 2017.  The graph below compares the present observed trend with climate models projections out to 2100.

Since the record is set at zero in 2000, the difference in 21st century expectation is stark. Instead of  the existing trend out to around 20 cm, models project 2.5 meters rise by 2100.

New York City is represented by the Battery tidal gauge:
Again, a respectable record with a good 20th century coverage.  And the models say:
The red line projects 2500 mm rise vs. 284 mm, almost a factor of 10 more.  The divergence is evident even in the first 17 years.

Florida comes in for a lot of attention, especially the keys, so here is Key West:
A similar pattern to NYC Battery gauge, and here is the projection:
The pattern is established: Instead of a rise of about 30 cm, the models project 250 cm.

Finally, probably the worst case, and well-known to all already is Galveston, Texas:
The water has been rising there for a long time, so maybe the models got this one close.
The gap is less than the others since the rising trend is much higher, but the projection is still four times the past.  Galveston is at risk, all right, but we didn’t need this analysis to tell us that.

A previous post Unbelievable Climate Models goes into why they are running so hot and so extreme, and why they can not be trusted.

Unbelievable Climate Models

It is not just you thinking the world is not warming the way climate models predicted. The models are flawed, and their estimates of the climate’s future response to rising CO2 are way too hot. Yet these overcooked forecasts are the basis for policy makers to consider all kinds of climate impacts, from sea level rise to food production and outbreaks of Acne.

The models’ outputs are contradicted by the instrumental temperature records. So a choice must be made: Shall we rely on measurements of our past climate experience, or embrace the much warmer future envisioned by these models?

Ross McKitrick takes us through this fundamental issue in his Financial Post article All those warming-climate predictions suddenly have a big, new problem Excerpts below with my bolds, headers and images

Why ECS is Important

One of the most important numbers in the world goes by the catchy title of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, or ECS. It is a measure of how much the climate responds to greenhouse gases. More formally, it is defined as the increase, in degrees Celsius, of average temperatures around the world, after doubling the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and allowing the atmosphere and the oceans to adjust fully to the change. The reason it’s important is that it is the ultimate justification for governmental policies to fight climate change.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says ECS is likely between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius, but it can’t be more precise than that. Which is too bad, because an enormous amount of public policy depends on its value. People who study the impacts of global warming have found that if ECS is low — say, less than two — then the impacts of global warming on the economy will be mostly small and, in many places, mildly beneficial. If it is very low, for instance around one, it means greenhouse gas emissions are simply not worth doing anything about. But if ECS is high — say, around four degrees or more — then climate change is probably a big problem. We may not be able to stop it, but we’d better get ready to adapt to it.

So, somebody, somewhere, ought to measure ECS. As it turns out, a lot of people have been trying, and what they have found has enormous policy implications.

The violins span 5–95% ranges; their widths indicate how PDF values vary with ECS. Black lines show medians, red lines span 17–83% ‘likely’ ranges. Published estimates based directly on observed warming are shown in blue. Unpublished estimates of mine based on warming attributable to greenhouse gases inferred by two recent detection and attribution studies are shown in green. CMIP5 models are shown in salmon. The observational ECS estimates have broadly similar medians and ‘likely’ ranges, all of which are far below the corresponding values for the CMIP5 models. Source: Nic Lewis at Climate Audit https://climateaudit.org/2015/04/13/pitfalls-in-climate-sensitivity-estimation-part-2/

Methods Matter

To understand why, we first need to delve into the methodology a bit. There are two ways scientists try to estimate ECS. The first is to use a climate model, double the modeled CO2 concentration from the pre-industrial level, and let it run until temperatures stabilize a few hundred years into the future. This approach, called the model-based method, depends for its accuracy on the validity of the climate model, and since models differ quite a bit from one another, it yields a wide range of possible answers. A well-known statistical distribution derived from modeling studies summarizes the uncertainties in this method. It shows that ECS is probably between two and 4.5 degrees, possibly as low as 1.5 but not lower, and possibly as high as nine degrees. This range of potential warming is very influential on economic analyses of the costs of climate change.***

The second method is to use long-term historical data on temperatures, solar activity, carbon-dioxide emissions and atmospheric chemistry to estimate ECS using a simple statistical model derived by applying the law of conservation of energy to the planetary atmosphere. This is called the Energy Balance method. It relies on some extrapolation to satisfy the definition of ECS but has the advantage of taking account of the available data showing how the actual atmosphere has behaved over the past 150 years.

The surprising thing is that the Energy Balance estimates are very low compared to model-based estimates. The accompanying chart compares the model-based range to ECS estimates from a dozen Energy Balance studies over the past decade. Clearly these two methods give differing answers, and the question of which one is more accurate is important.

Weak Defenses for Models Discrepancies

Climate modelers have put forward two explanations for the discrepancy. One is called the “emergent constraint” approach. The idea is that models yield a range of ECS values, and while we can’t measure ECS directly, the models also yield estimates of a lot of other things that we can measure (such as the reflectivity of cloud tops), so we could compare those other measures to the data, and when we do, sometimes the models with high ECS values also yield measures of secondary things that fit the data better than models with low ECS values.

This argument has been a bit of a tough sell, since the correlations involved are often weak, and it doesn’t explain why the Energy Balance results are so low.

The second approach is based on so-called “forcing efficacies,” which is the concept that climate forcings, such as greenhouse gases and aerosol pollutants, differ in their effectiveness over time and space, and if these variations are taken into account the Energy Balance sensitivity estimates may come out higher. This, too, has been a controversial suggestion.

Challenges to Oversensitive Models

A recent Energy Balance ECS estimate was just published in the Journal of Climate by Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry. There are several features that make their study especially valuable. First, they rely on IPCC estimates of greenhouse gases, solar changes and other climate forcings, so they can’t be accused of putting a finger on the scale by their choice of data. Second, they take into account the efficacy issue and discuss it at length. They also take into account recent debates about how surface temperatures should or shouldn’t be measured, and how to deal with areas like the Arctic where data are sparse. Third, they compute their estimates over a variety of start and end dates to check that their ECS estimate is not dependent on the relative warming hiatus of the past two decades.

Their ECS estimate is 1.5 degrees, with a probability range between 1.05 and 2.45 degrees. If the study was a one-time outlier we might be able to ignore it. But it is part of a long list of studies from independent teams (as this interactive graphic shows), using a variety of methods that take account of critical challenges, all of which conclude that climate models exhibit too much sensitivity to greenhouse gases.

Change the Sensitivity, Change the Future

Policy-makers need to pay attention, because this debate directly impacts the carbon-tax discussion.

The Environmental Protection Agency uses social cost of carbon models that rely on the model-based ECS estimates. Last year, two colleagues and I published a study in which we took an earlier Lewis and Curry ECS estimate and plugged it into two of those models. The result was that the estimated economic damages of greenhouse gas emissions fell by between 40 and 80 per cent, and in the case of one model the damages had a 40 per cent probability of being negative for the next few decades — that is, they would be beneficial changes. The new Lewis and Curry ECS estimate is even lower than their old one, so if we re-did the same study we would find even lower social costs of carbon.

Conclusion

If ECS is as low as the Energy Balance literature suggests, it means that the climate models we have been using for decades run too hot and need to be revised. It also means that greenhouse gas emissions do not have as big an impact on the climate as has been claimed, and the case for costly policy measures to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions is much weaker than governments have told us. For a science that was supposedly “settled” back in the early 1990s, we sure have a lot left to learn.

Ross McKitrick is professor of economics at the University of Guelph and senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

Famine Forecasts Foiled: Climate Increasing Food Production

Gregory Whitestone has the story at CNS Famine Forecasts Foiled: Climate’s Projected Food Production to Increase  Excerpts below with my bolds.

The latest dose of “fake news” about global warming comes from two forecasts of famine due to human activity. Both drew on estimates of extremely high temperatures predicted by the same flawed climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to predict other climate calamities. The climate models used in the studies are estimated to overpredict temperature by 2.5 to 3 times as compared to actually measured temperatures, and both rely on the highest estimates of maximum temperature increase.

The first of the reports warned that future production of vegetables and legumes would decrease by more than 30 percent with an expected rise of 4C. Even the alarmist IPCC says that the most likely case is a rise of about half that.

The primary reason for the prediction of famine is a sharp decrease in water availability, even though recent reports indicate that previously arid portions of the Earth are experiencing a significant net increase in soil moisture due to a combination of increasing precipitation and CO2 fertilization — both effects of our changing climate.

Buried in the report is an admission that contradicts the hysteria engendered by the headlines. According to the authors, a 250-ppm increase in CO2, without the exaggerated temperature increase, would boost crop production by an average of 22 percent! That’s correct, more food as a result of increasing CO2.

The second report projects decreases in corn (maize) production due to increasing heat waves. This increase in extreme heat was based on the same exaggerated 4oC increase in temperature as the first study.

According to the USDA, corn is the largest component of the global grain trade, and the United States is the world’s largest producer. Corn is thus one of the country’s most important agricultural products, processed as sweet corn, cornmeal, tortillas and, thankfully, bourbon. It also is the primary feedstock to fatten cattle, chickens and hogs.

Fortunately, despite a continuing rise in temperatures, the world and America have set new corn records on an annual basis. The world’s remarkable ability to increase food production year after year is attributable to mechanization, agricultural innovation, CO2 fertilization and warmer weather. World grain production figures show that crop and food production has steadily increased, with only positive effects from our changing climate.

World grain production, consumption (LHS) and stocks (RHS) IGC (International Grain Council) data, Momagri formatting

Historically, crop growth has ballooned in times of high temperatures and declined drastically during cold periods. Over the last 4,000 years we find that previous periods of much warmer temperatures coincided with increasing food and prosperity leading to the rise of great civilizations that were relatively rich and well fed. Prosperous periods were interrupted by times of great despair as the Earth plunged into global cooling. With names like the Greek Dark Ages, the Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age, intervening cool periods featured crop failure, famine and mass depopulation.

Corn production in the U.S. presents a conundrum for environmental activists. On the one hand, they engage in fear mongering with predictions of famine based on questionable climate models. On the other hand, as enemies of fossil fuels, the activists promote ethanol production to replace our oil-based transportation fuels. Every acre of corn diverted to ethanol production is an acre that is no longer feeding the world’s hungry. In 2008, Herr Jean Ziegler, the United Nations’ Rapporteur for the Right to Food, claimed that “to divert land from food production to biofuels is a crime against humanity.”

In 2000, the United States imposed the first ethanol mandate, dictating the level of ethanol that must be incorporated into American fuels. At that time, 90 percent of corn production was used for food. Today, only 60 percent of corn produced is used for food, driving up the cost of corn as food. The climate alarmists who claim to care about the world’s hungry could improve their lot overnight by simply canceling the ethanol mandate.

Rising temperatures and increasing carbon dioxide are leading to multiple benefits and perhaps the most important of those is increasing crop production. Sleep well users of fossil fuels; you aren’t causing famine.

Gregory Wrightstone is author of the new book, “Inconvenient Facts: The Science That Al Gore Doesn’t Want You To Know.” Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years of experience researching and studying various aspects of the Earth’s processes. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America.

See also:  Adapting Plants to Feed the World

2018 Graduation Music

This message from the Eagles goes out to all those social justice warriors on campus.

Jordan Peterson: “So the first thing that you might want to know about Postmodernism is that it doesn’t have a shred of gratitude — and there’s something pathologically wrong with a person that doesn’t have any gratitude, especially when they live in what so far is the best of all possible worlds. So if you’re not grateful, you’re driven by resentment, and resentment is the worst emotion that you can possibly experience, apart from arrogance. Arrogance, resentment, and deceit. There is an evil triad for you.”

https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/perverse-postmodern-climate-retreat-from-reason/

Alternative song for sending off graduates comes from Bob Dylan:

 

2018 Update: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

Previous posts addressed the claim that fossil fuels are driving global warming. This post updates that analysis with the latest (2017) numbers from BP Statistics and compares World Fossil Fuel Consumption (WFFC) with three estimates of Global Mean Temperature (GMT). More on both these variables below.

WFFC

2017 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy. 

The reporting categories are:
Oil
Natural Gas
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro
Renewables (other than hydro)

This analysis combines the first three, Oil, Gas, and Coal for total fossil fuel consumption world wide. The chart below shows the patterns for WFFC compared to world consumption of Primary Energy from 1965 through 2017.

WFFC2017

The graph shows that Primary Energy consumption has grown continuously for 5 decades. Over that period oil, gas and coal (sometimes termed “Thermal”) averaged 89% of PE consumed, ranging from 94% in 1965 to 85% in 2017.  MToe is millions of tons of oil equivalents.

Global Mean Temperatures

Everyone acknowledges that GMT is a fiction since temperature is an intrinsic property of objects, and varies dramatically over time and over the surface of the earth. No place on earth determines “average” temperature for the globe. Yet for the purpose of detecting change in temperature, major climate data sets estimate GMT and report anomalies from it.

UAH record consists of satellite era global temperature estimates for the lower troposphere, a layer of air from 0 to 4km above the surface. HadSST estimates sea surface temperatures from oceans covering 71% of the planet. HADCRUT combines HadSST estimates with records from land stations whose elevations range up to 6km above sea level.

Both GISS LOTI (land and ocean) and HADCRUT4 (land and ocean) use 14.0 Celsius as the climate normal, so I will add that number back into the anomalies. This is done not claiming any validity other than to achieve a reasonable measure of magnitude regarding the observed fluctuations.

No doubt global sea surface temperatures are typically higher than 14C, more like 17 or 18C, and of course warmer in the tropics and colder at higher latitudes. Likewise, the lapse rate in the atmosphere means that air temperatures both from satellites and elevated land stations will range colder than 14C. Still, that climate normal is a generally accepted indicator of GMT.

Correlations of GMT and WFFC

The next graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates over the five decades from 1965 to 2017 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST3.

WFFC&GMT2017

Over the last five decades the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 227% from 3.5B to 11.5B oil equivalent tons.  Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.9C over 52 years, 6% of the starting value.

The second graph compares to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST3 for the satellite era from 1979 to 2017, a period of 38 years.

WFFC&UAH&HAD2017

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 87% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.44C, or 3.1% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.58C, or 4.2% up from 1979.  The temperature compounded rate of change is 0.1% per year, an order of magnitude less.  Even more obvious is the 1998 El Nino peak and flat GMT since.

Summary

The climate alarmist/activist claim is straight forward: Burning fossil fuels makes measured temperatures warmer. The Paris Accord further asserts that by reducing human use of fossil fuels, further warming can be prevented.  Those claims do not bear up under scrutiny.

It is enough for simple minds to see that two time series are both rising and to think that one must be causing the other. But both scientific and legal methods assert causation only when the two variables are both strongly and consistently aligned. The above shows a weak and inconsistent linkage between WFFC and GMT.

Going further back in history shows even weaker correlation between fossil fuels consumption and global temperature estimates:

wfc-vs-sat

Figure 5.1. Comparative dynamics of the World Fuel Consumption (WFC) and Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (ΔT), 1861-2000. The thin dashed line represents annual ΔT, the bold line—its 13-year smoothing, and the line constructed from rectangles—WFC (in millions of tons of nominal fuel) (Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003). Source: Frolov et al. 2009

In legal terms, as long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for the set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. The more likely explanation is that global temperatures vary due to oceanic and solar cycles. The proof is clearly and thoroughly set forward in the post Quantifying Natural Climate Change.

Background context for today’s post is at Claim: Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming.

UK Farmers Foot Climate Bill

The Farmer’s Weekly advises UK farmers: Don’t miss out on climate change tax discounts Excerpts below with my bolds.

 

 

The NFU has warned farmers they face rises in climate change taxes unless they register for a discount scheme before the 31 July deadline.

The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a tax charged on gas, electricity, LPG, coal and coke used by UK businesses.

In April 2019, CCL rates levied on energy bills will increase by about 3% for electricity and 7% for gas for any businesses that do not register for a discounted rate under an NFU scheme.

Under the CCL scheme, eligible businesses can receive a discount in return for meeting energy-efficiency or carbon-saving targets. Achieving these targets will enable the business to receive a discount until March 2023, the NFU says.

The NFU CCL scheme gives up to 93% levy reductions on electricity and 78% on gas to qualifying businesses in the pig, poultry and protected horticulture sectors. It is therefore imperative to sign up to the scheme before the deadline of 31 July, the union warns.

Example of annual CCL savings for poultry farm using 350,000 kWh of import electricity and 45,000 litres of LPG

Year Non-member pays CCL member pays Member saving
2012-13 £3,615.50 £1,265.43 £2,350.08
2017-18 £4,608.10 £605.71 £4,002.39
2019-20 £6,907.75 £630.36 £6,277.40

More Good News: Ontario Reversing Carbon Tokenism

The story comes from Bloomberg, where they regard the event as lamentable: Ontario Scraps Carbon-Reduction Plan as It Expands Elsewhere.  Excerpts below with my bolds.

Ontario will scrap the province’s cap-and-trade program and pull out of the carbon-trading market with Quebec and California even as pollution pricing expands in other regions of the world.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives will follow through on a campaign promise to withdraw from the environmental program that required companies to buy credits to offset pollution blamed for global warming. Premier-designate Doug Ford also said he will challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s authority to make local governments put a price on greenhouse-gas emissions.

The move comes as carbon-pricing programs are expanding in the U.S. even as President Donald Trump seeks to ease restrictions on coal companies. Europe already has a large regional cap-and-trade system while China, the world’s biggest polluter, has committed to a national pollution program that could open by 2020.

Ontario’s election results were largely priced into California’s carbon market. Despite Friday’s announcement, emitters in Ontario remain obligated to manage their carbon pollution until the province formally withdraws from the system, said John Battaglia, head of carbon markets at BGC Environmental Brokerage Services LP.

“The market is stable here,” Battaglia said in an interview. “We expect a bit of short-term volatility, but long term, the show will go on.” (Comment:  It is all about the show, isn’t it?)

Ontario’s PCs will be sworn in June 29 after defeating the Liberals in an election earlier this month. Ending what Ford called a job-killing carbon tax was one of his major commitments during the campaign. Ontario will also quit the Western Climate Initiative, Ford said Friday from Toronto.

Trudeau Plan

Eliminating the carbon tax and cap-and-trade is the right thing to do and is a key component in our plan to bring your gas prices down by 10 cents per liter,” Ford said in a statement.

But the move may not spare Ontario from a carbon price. Trudeau’s government is bringing in carbon pricing rules to cover all provinces and a “backstop” for local governments that don’t come up with their own plans this year.

“Ontario is going to still have an obligation under the federal architecture and the cost of meeting that obligation could be higher,” said Dallas Burtraw, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future. “The costs of the cap-and-trade program are small on retail gasoline rates.”

Another wheel comes off the Ontario Green Energy bus.