UK High Court Refuses to Set Carbon Targets

 

ITV reports Environmental campaigners lose High Court battle over carbon target. Excerpts in italics below with my bolds.

Environmental campaigners have lost their High Court challenge against the Government over its policy for tackling climate change.

Charity Plan B Earth brought legal action against the Government’s stance on the 2050 carbon target, set under the Climate Change Act 2008.

The charity and 11 UK citizens aged nine to 79 – including publisher Dame Carmen Callil – wanted to bring a judicial review against Business Secretary Greg Clark over the policy.

But Mr Justice Supperstone rejected Plan B Earth’s case on Friday, saying it was “unarguable”.

Lawyers for the charity previously argued the Government should have, in light of the current scientific consensus, gone further than its original target of reducing carbon levels by 2050 to 80% of those present in 1990.

They said the decision not to amend the 2050 target put the UK in breach of its international obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and was influenced by the Government’s belief that a “more ambitious target was not feasible”.

At a hearing on July 4, Jonathan Crow QC told the court: “The Secretary of State’s belief that he needs to have regard to what is feasible, rather than what is necessary, betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the scheme of the 2008 Act and must be quashed.

“All of the individual claimants are deeply concerned about climate change.”

The barrister argued the Secretary of State’s “continuing refusal” to amend the 2050 target means the UK is playing “Russian roulette with two bullets, instead of one”.

But, refusing permission for a full hearing, Mr Justice Supperstone said Plan B Earth’s arguments were based on an “incorrect interpretation” of the Paris Agreement.

He said: “In my view the Secretary of State was plainly entitled … to refuse to change the 2050 target at the present time.

“I do not consider it arguable that the Secretary of State’s refusal to amend the 2050 target is an unlawful exercise of his discretion.”

Plan B Earth director Tim Crosland said the charity was “surprised and disappointed” by the ruling and plans to appeal.

He said: “We consider it clear and widely accepted that the current carbon target is not compatible with the Paris Agreement.

“Neither the Government nor the Committee on Climate Change suggested during our correspondence with them prior to the claim that the target was compatible.

“Indeed, it was only in January of this year that the Committee published a report accepting that the Paris Agreement was ‘likely to require’ a more ambitious 2050 target.

“Moreover the Government acknowledged in these proceedings that it was uncontroversial’ that the 2050 target was insufficient to meet the 1.5C target, one of the key aspects of the Paris commitment.

“As with other legal campaigns confronting powerful vested interests it takes time to break through, and time is not on our side.

“We’ll be doing everything possible to accelerate the process. Wildfires raging in the Arctic Circle must surely be a wake-up call.”

Regarding wildfires in the Arctic, I recommend he read my post Arctic Hockey Stick Extends Lead

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Battle Over Climate Bias

As noted before, the left uses social pressure to force value-laden decisions onto other people. This has been going on for awhile regarding investment decisions by wealth managers, including huge pension funds. The politically correct (scientifically corrupt) bias is to divest of fossil fuel companies in hopes of ensuring a future climate favorable to humans. Now comes some push back from actuaries seeing this pressure as narrow and subversive of other important social concerns.

Chris Seekings writes in The Actuary (UK) Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association rejects climate change law for investment decisions Excerpts in italics below with my bolds.

The UK’s pension fund trade body has argued that new regulations governing how trustees invest £1.5trn in assets should exclude explicit reference to climate change.

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) said including climate change specifically in a new law could “confuse” trustees by unintentionally narrowing their focus.

This could cause them to disregard other environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations that may be more relevant to their portfolios, such as resource depletion or human rights.

This is despite the PLSA reiterating its belief that climate change poses a substantial risk to the business models of firms in almost every sector, threatening the stability of the financial system.

“It is important that pension schemes consider risks related to climate change as part of their investment strategies, however, this is clearly not the only ESG factor to consider,” the PLSA said.

“We believe that picking out any one factor as a specific example may lead trustees to assume that is the only, or most important, factor to consider, when others might be more relevant.”

This comes in response to a consultation by the Department for Work and Pensions into new sustainability regulations for workplace pension funds, which closed on 16 July.

The PLSA also rejected proposals that would see trustees prepare a statement outlining how they take account of scheme members’ views, saying they were “neither practical nor purposeful”.

It argued that members should not be expected to be investment experts, and that trustees should invest in the best interest of members even if it “runs counter to strongly-held beliefs”.

Lawyers at ClientEarth, which co-produced a climate risk report with the PLSA in 2017, said rowing back on the “crucial” government proposals would be “hugely irresponsible”.

“Major financial institutions and world experts recognise climate risk as the most significant financial risk to the economy,” said ClientEarth finance lawyer, Alice Garton.

“Human rights abuses and resource depletion are crucial ESG issues, but what the PLSA seems to have overlooked, is that a changing climate underpins and intensifies these risks.”

ClientEarth exemplifies the alamist drive to reduce everything down to their one obsession with CO2.  It is good to see them confronted by other well-intentioned people who understand that important problems and concerns suffer from the extreme (and ineffectual) focus on fossil fuels.  Maybe some are listening to Bjorn Lomborg after all.

The UN IPCC climate train wreck is under way.

 

Arctic Hockey Stick Extends Lead

Update July 20, 2018

Arctic day 200 hockey

No one knows how long this divergence of surplus ice will persist, but for now 2018 Arctic ice extent resembles a hockey stick.  OK, the blade angle is drooping, but the gap over previous years is increasing.  At day 200 ice extent this year is 572k km2 above 11 year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive), an addition of ~50k km2 in the last  two days.  2018 solidified its lead of 1M km2 greater than 2007.  The gap over 2007 has more than doubled in the past five days.  More detailed report from July 14 below.

ims1952007to2018

In June 2018, Arctic ice extent held up against previous years despite the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk being ice-free.  The Arctic core is showing little change, perhaps due to increased thickness (volume) as reported by DMI.

The image above shows ice extents on day 195 (July 14) for years 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2018. Note this year ice is strong on both Russian and N. American sides.  Beaufort Sea and Canadian Archipelago are solid. E. Siberian and Chukchi Seas are also solid, despite early melting in Bering Sea.  Hudson and Baffin bays still have considerable ice compared to other years.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in July compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.
Arctic day 195
Note that 2018 started July well above the 11 year average and other recent years.  As of day 195 (yesterday) ice extent is still greater than average and the years 2007 and 2017.  SII 2018 is tracking well below MASIE this month, a gap of 500k km2 at this point.

The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2018 with 11-year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and 2017.

Region 2018195 Day 195 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007195 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 8828959 8549517 279442 8355280 473679
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 993219 826109 167110 845973 147246
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 644989 636401 8588 576079 68911
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1024284 950636 73648 788128 236156
 (4) Laptev_Sea 492172 633149 -140977 575520 -83347
 (5) Kara_Sea 438240 399007 39233 483785 -45545
 (6) Barents_Sea 30629 64124 -33495 75731 -45101
 (7) Greenland_Sea 285428 443318 -157890 472890 -187462
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 489193 305230 183963 343396 145797
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 747737 719112 28626 730629 17109
 (10) Hudson_Bay 619471 381783 237688 248785 370686
 (11) Central_Arctic 3062425 3185383 -122959 3211275 -148850

2018 is 280k km2 above average, mostly due to Hudson and Baffin bays having surplus ice.   Laptev, Greenland Sea and Central Arctic are down, more than offset by surpluses elsewhere.  Since the two bays will melt out soon, the eventual annual minimum remains to be seen.

 

 

 

NYC Lawsuit Against Big Oil: Fugget about it!

Washington Examiner has the story: Federal judge dismisses New York City’s climate change lawsuit against Big Oil Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

A federal judge Thursday dismissed New York City’s lawsuit against major oil companies for their contribution to climate change, the latest in a string of suits filed by cities to be tossed aside.

“Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government,” U.S. District Court Judge John Keenan ruled in dismissing the city’s climate lawsuit, saying the matter should not be handled by the courts. He added that Congress has already delegated to the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s not the job of the courts.

Keenan, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, is an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican.

In January, New York City sued Exxon Mobil, Chevron Corp., BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips to help pay for the costs of climate change, trying to hold them responsible for any damage to the city caused by global warming.

Just last week, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed similar lawsuits filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, stating in an order: “No plaintiff has ever succeeded in bringing a nuisance claim based on global warming.”

Alsup, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

The cities have argued that big oil companies have promoted fossil fuel use and deliberately concealed that they knew climate change could harm coastal cities, meaning they should have to pay for seawalls and other infrastructure to protect against rising sea levels.

Oil companies say that courts cannot rule on broad and speculative issues such as the impact of business decisions on climate change.

Despite the setbacks, environmentalists continue to increase the pressure for similar lawsuits, seeing them as a key tactic to publicly criticize the industry for its role in producing energy that exacerbates climate change.

Earlier this month, Rhode Island became the first state to file such a lawsuit. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin filed the lawsuit in state court against 21 companies that included Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and BP.

JOHN F. KEENAN, United States District Judge Ruling July 19, 2018 Excerpts below in italics with my bolds give the flavor of the judge’s thinking.

Although the amended complaint contains extensive allegations regarding Defendants’ past attempts to deny or downplay the effects of fossil fuel use on climate change, in their motion to dismiss, Defendants do not dispute the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel use have contributed to global warming.

The City alleges that Defendants’ ongoing conduct continues to exacerbate global warming and cause recurring injuries to NewYork City. (Id. ¶ 9.) Defendants continue to produce, market, distribute, and sell fossil fuels in massive quantities; to promote fossil fuel consumption in these massive quantities; and to downplay the threat posed by climate change. (Id. ¶ 131.) This ongoing conduct will cause increasingly severe injuries to New York City, including new and more significant encroachments upon and interferences with City property, and increasingly severe threats to public health.

NYC claims of damages rest upon IPCC models projections of sea level rise 5 times beyond what has been observed.

The City requests compensatory damages for past and future costs incurred by the City to protect its infrastructure and property, and to protect the public health, safety, and property of its residents from the impacts of climate change.

However, regardless of the manner in which the City frames its claims in its opposition brief, the amended complaint makes clear that the City is seeking damages for global-warming related injuries resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, and not only the production of Defendants’ fossil fuels.

From BP Brief: If ever a problem cried out for a uniform and comprehensive solution, it is the geophysical problem described by the complaints, a problem centuries in the making (and studying) with causes ranging from volcanoes, to wildfires, to deforestation to stimulation of other greenhouse gases—and, most pertinent here, to the combustion of fossil fuels.

As an initial matter, it is not clear that Defendants’ fossil fuel production and the emissions created therefrom have been an “unlawful invasion” in New York City, as the City benefits from and participates in the use of fossil fuels as a source of power, and has done so for many decades. More importantly, Congress has expressly delegated to the EPA the determination as to what constitutes a reasonable amount of greenhouse gas emission under the Clean Air Act.

The Court recognizes that the City, and many other governmental entities around the United States and in other nations, will be forced to grapple with the harmful impacts of climate change in the coming decades. However, the immense and complicated problem of global warming requires a comprehensive solution that weighs the global benefits of fossil fuel use with the gravity of the impending harms. To litigate such an action for injuries from foreign greenhouse gas emissions in federal court would severely infringe upon the foreign-policy decisions that are squarely within the purview of the political branches of the U.S.Government. Accordingly, the Court will exercise appropriate caution and decline to recognize such a cause of action.

CONCLUSION
For the reasons stated above, the U.S.-based Defendants’ motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the City’s amended complaint is dismissed with prejudice in its entirety.

Note:  With prejudice indicates NYC cannot file an amended complaint again in this court.  They can appeal to a higher court, but that seems unlikely.  OTOH should one federal district court cave in to climate plaintiffs, then an appeal by the oil companies is highly likely.

Arctic Ice Hockey Stick

Update July 18, 2018

Arctic day 198 hockey

No one knows how long this divergence of surplus ice will persist, but for now 2018 Arctic ice extent resembles a hockey stick.  Presently the ice is 525k km2 above 11 year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and  ~1M km2 greater than 2007.  More detailed report from July 14 below.

ims1952007to2018

In June 2018, Arctic ice extent held up against previous years despite the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk being ice-free.  The Arctic core is showing little change, perhaps due to increased thickness (volume) as reported by DMI.

The image above shows ice extents on day 195 (July 14) for years 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2018. Note this year ice is strong on both Russian and N. American sides.  Beaufort Sea and Canadian Archipelago are solid. E. Siberian and Chukchi Seas are also solid, despite early melting in Bering Sea.  Hudson and Baffin bays still have considerable ice compared to other years.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in July compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.
Arctic day 195
Note that 2018 started July well above the 11 year average and other recent years.  As of day 195 (yesterday) ice extent is still greater than average and the years 2007 and 2017.  SII 2018 is tracking well below MASIE this month, a gap of 500k km2 at this point.

The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2018 with 11-year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and 2017.

Region 2018195 Day 195 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007195 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 8828959 8549517 279442 8355280 473679
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 993219 826109 167110 845973 147246
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 644989 636401 8588 576079 68911
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1024284 950636 73648 788128 236156
 (4) Laptev_Sea 492172 633149 -140977 575520 -83347
 (5) Kara_Sea 438240 399007 39233 483785 -45545
 (6) Barents_Sea 30629 64124 -33495 75731 -45101
 (7) Greenland_Sea 285428 443318 -157890 472890 -187462
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 489193 305230 183963 343396 145797
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 747737 719112 28626 730629 17109
 (10) Hudson_Bay 619471 381783 237688 248785 370686
 (11) Central_Arctic 3062425 3185383 -122959 3211275 -148850

2018 is 280k km2 above average, mostly due to Hudson and Baffin bays having surplus ice.   Laptev, Greenland Sea and Central Arctic are down, more than offset by surpluses elsewhere.  Since the two bays will melt out soon, the eventual annual minimum remains to be seen.

 

 

 

The Art of Rigging Climate Polls

Marketing and social influence makers have used opinion surveys extensively to promote awareness, interest and motivation to engage with their products or preferred policies. I have written before on how this ploy is used regarding global warming/climate change (links at bottom). This post is prompted by a fresh round of climate polls and some further insight into how results are created to support a socio-political agenda.

Of course, any opinion poll on climate as a public policy matter is indicating how much of the blather in the media has penetrated public consciousness, and softened them up for political pitches and financial support. And the continuing samplings and reports need to show progress to keep activist hopes alive.

Just yesterday we had an announcement along these lines. Poll shows consensus for climate policy remains strong is published at Phys.org from Stanford U. (where else, home of the belated Stephen Schneider, among many other leading alarmists). Stanford also happens to be my alma mater, but when I was studying organic chemistry there, we knew life on earth was carbon-based and did not think CO2 was a pollutant.

Climate Public Opinion is a Program of Research by the Stanford Political Psychology Research Group and has done frequent surveys on the question: What do the residents of the United States believe about global warming?

From psy.org article (excerpts in italics with my bolds):

While the United States is deeply divided on many issues, climate change stands out as one where there is remarkable consensus, according to Stanford research.

“But the American people are vastly underestimating how green the country wants to be,” said Jon Krosnick, a professor of communication and of political science at Stanford, about new findings from a poll he led on American attitudes about climate change.

The study was conducted with ABC News and Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. A representative sample of 1,000 American adults nationwide were polled from May 7 to June 11, 2018. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.

The poll showed that Americans don’t realize how much they agree about global warming: Despite 74 percent of Americans believing the world’s temperature has been rising, respondents wrongly guessed 57 percent.

“The majority doesn’t realize how many people agree with them,” said Krosnick. “And this may have important implications for politics: If people knew how prevalent green views are in the country, they might be more inclined to demand more government action on the issue.”

Public belief in the existence and threat of global warming has been strikingly consistent over the last 20 years, even in the face of a current administration skeptical about climate change,” said Krosnick, who has been tracking public opinion about global warming since 1995.

Krosnick has learned from his 20 year experience with this topic, and shares with us some of the tricks of the trade. For example, one paper provides their finding regarding the wording of questions.

1. “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?”

In this traditional MIP question, about 49 percent answered the economy or unemployment, while only 1 percent mentioned the environment or global warming.

2. “What do you think is the most important problem facing the world today?”

Substituting the word “country” with “world” produced a significant change: 7 percent mentioned environmental issues, while 32 percent named the economy or unemployment.

3. “What do you think will be the most important problem facing the world in the future?”

When asked to consider the future of the planet, 14 percent chose the environment or global warming, while economic issues slipped to 21 percent.

4. “What do you think will be the most serious problem facing the world in the future if nothing is done to stop it?”

This time, 25 percent said the environment or global warming, and only 10 percent picked the economy or unemployment.

“Thus, when asked to name the most serious problem facing the world in the future if nothing is done to stop it, one-quarter of all Americans mentioned either global warming or the environment,” Krosnick said. “In fact, environmental issues were cited more often in response to question 4 than any other category, including terrorism, which was only mentioned by 10 percent of respondents.”

Thus it is that survey results are influenced greatly by the design of the questioning process. Helpfully, the Stanford program provides this history of the questions put to participants over the years. Below are the result categories, some showing the evolving form of questioning, and others just the most recent form for brevity. I will comment on the first few, and leave the others for your reflection (my bolds)

1. Global warming is happening. 2012-2013: What is your personal opinion? Do you think that the world’s temperature probably has been going up over the past 100 years, or do you think this probably has not been happening? 2012: What is your personal opinion? Do you think that the world’s temperature probably has been going up slowly over the past 100 years, or do you think this probably has not been happening? 1997-2011: You may have heard about the idea that the world’s temperature may have been going up slowly over the past 100 years. What is your personal opinion on this? Do you think this has probably been happening, or do you think it probably has not been happening?

Fair question with both responses equally acceptable. The earlier form referred to what they may have heard, but wisely dropped that later on. One does wonder what evidence people use for 100 years of reference.

In a separate study Krosnick tested the effect of asking about “global warming” or “climate change” and concluded:
In the full sample, global warming, climate change, and global climate change were all perceived to be equally serious on average. These findings seem to be inconsistent with the claim that people view climate change or global climate change as less serious than global warming. In addition, the distribution of seriousness ratings were equivalent for global warming, climate change, and global climate change.

IMO it is to his credit that he asks about global warming rather than the vacuous “climate change”.

2.Warming will continue in the future. 2012: If nothing is done to prevent it, do you think the world’s temperature probably will go up slowly over the next 100 years, or do you think the world’s temperature probably will not go up slowly over the next 100 years?

Here comes the phrase:  If nothing is done to prevent it . . . The participant gets the suggestion that rising temperatures have human agency, that we can do something to prevent them. As Krosnick explained above, this phrase will help respondents identify the issue as “environmental” and tap their instinct to protect nature. Implanting this subliminal suggestion sets them up for the next question.

3. Past warming has been caused by humans. 2012: Do you think a rise in the world’s temperature is being caused mostly by things people do, mostly by natural causes, or about equally by things people do and by natural causes? 2012: Assuming it’s happening, do you think a rise in the world’s temperature would be caused mostly by things people do, mostly by natural causes, or about equally by things people do and by natural causes?

Now we have some serious distortions inserted into the findings. The end results will reported as “The % of Americans that believe past warming has been caused by humans.” Note that participants have been primed to think warming is preventable by humans, so obviously humans have caused it (logical connection). Moreover, there are the 50-50 responses that will be counted as human causation. The problem is, people who are mostly uncertain and unwilling to say “don’t know” will fall back to the “equally human, equally nature” response.  It is a soft, not affirmative response.

And a further perversion: Those who have said temperatures are not rising are now told to “Assume it is happening.” What? This is no longer an opinion, it is out-and-out speculation. It appears that “Don’t know” and “Not Happening” are disallowed to force a choice with a 67% chance of getting the right answer: “Caused by Humans.”

4.Warming will be a serious problem for the U.S. 2012: If nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future, how serious of a problem do you think it will be for THE UNITED STATES – very serious, somewhat serious, not so serious, or not serious at all? 2012: Assuming it’s happening, if nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future, how serious of a problem do you think it would be for THE UNITED STATES – very serious, somewhat serious, not so serious, or not serious at all?

Again the phrase “If nothing is done to reduce global warming. . .” signaling participants that this is a serious issue, so don’t come with “not so serious” or (God forbid) “not serious at all.” And again, global warming must be assumed to be happening by anyone still unconvinced of it.

5. Warming will be a serious problem for the world. 2012: If nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future, how serious of a problem do you think it will be for THE WORLD – very serious, somewhat serious, not so serious, or not serious at all? 2012: Assuming it’s happening, if nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future, how serious of a problem do you think it would be for THE WORLD – very serious, somewhat serious, not so serious, or not serious at all?

Same comments regarding #4 apply here, only as Krosnick explained, elevating the issue to a “world problem” triggers even more seriousness in responses.

6. Five degrees of warming in 75 years will be bad. 2011-2012: If the world’s average temperature is about five degrees Fahrenheit higher 75 years from now than it is now, overall, would you say that would be good, bad, or neither good nor bad? 1997-2010: Scientists use the term “global warming” to refer to the idea that the world’s average temperature may be about five degrees Fahrenheit higher in 75 years than it is now. Overall, would you say that if the world’s average temperature is five degrees Fahrenheit higher in 75 years than it is now, would that be good, bad, or neither good nor bad?

In the past, interviewers told participants that global warming is defined as 5 degrees warmer, which triggered “bad” as a response. Fortunately, that obvious bias was dropped, and now people are free to say good, bad or neither. Interestingly, this question is not emphasized in the reports, perhaps because it only gets around 50% “Bad”, even in alarmist places like New York and California.

7. The government should limit greenhouse gas emissions. 2012: As you may have heard, greenhouse gasses are thought to cause global warming. In your opinion, do you think the government should or should not limit the amount of greenhouse gasses that U.S. businesses put out? 2008-2011: Some people believe that the United States government should limit the amount of air pollution that U.S. businesses can produce. Other people believe that the government should not limit air pollution from U.S. businesses. What about you? Do you think the government should or should not limit air pollution from U.S. businesses?

Here the older form of the question was more balanced: Some people believe X, some people believe Y, what do you believe? However, the older question was about air pollution which confuses CO2 (natural plant food) with artificial chemicals. The recent question targets “greenhouse gases”, a term nowhere defined. Now the biased question: Greenhouse gases cause global warming, should the government reduce them? Duh!

8.U.S. federal government should do more to address global warming. 2009-2012: How much do you think the U.S. government should do about global warming? A great deal, quite a bit, some, a little, or nothing? 2009-2012: How much do you think the U.S. government is doing now to deal with global warming? A great deal, quite a bit, some, a little, or nothing? 2008: Do you think the federal government should do more than it’s doing now to try to deal with global warming, should do less than it’s doing now, or is it doing about the right amount?

Note the shift from asking about Whether government should do more than now, to How much is government doing now, to present form: How much more should government do.  Compares with: “Have you stopped beating your wife?”

9. U. S. should take action regardless what other countries do. Do you think the United States should take action on global warming only if other major industrial countries such as China and India agree to do equally effective things, that the United States should take action even if these other countries do less, or that the United States should not take action on this at all?

IOW, Should the US wait for others and be a follower, not a leader? Duh!

Series of Government Policy Questions

The real reason for the survey is to develop support for government officials to impose climate policies upon the population. The flavor of these is below with few comments from me until the end.

10. For the next items, please tell me for each one whether it’s something the government should require by law, encourage with tax breaks but not require, or stay out of entirely. Each of these changes would increase the amount of money that you pay for things you buy.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. Favor lowering the amount of greenhouse gases that power plants are allowed to release into the air?

Favor a national cap and trade program. There’s a proposed system called “cap and trade.” The government would issue permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. Companies that did not use all their permits could sell them to other companies. Companies that need more permits can buy them, or these companies can pay money to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that other people or organizations put out. This will cause companies to figure out the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This type of permit system has worked successfully in the past to reduce the air pollution that companies put out. For example, in 1990, the federal government passed a law like this, called the Clean Air Act, which caused companies to put out a lot less of the air pollution that causes acid rain. Would you favor or oppose a cap and trade system to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that companies put out?

Tax breaks to produce renewable energy. Do you favor or oppose the federal government giving companies tax breaks to produce more electricity from water, wind, and solar power?

Tax breaks to reduce air pollution from coal. Do you favor or oppose the federal government giving tax breaks to companies that burn coal to make electricity if they use new methods to reduce the air pollution being released from their smokestacks?

Increase CAFE standards for cars. Favor building cars that use less gasoline?
Build electric vehicles. 2012: Building cars that run completely on electricity?

Build appliances that use less electricity. Favor building air conditioners, refrigerators, and other appliances that use less electricity?

Build more energy-efficient buildings. Favor building new homes and offices that use less energy for heating and cooling?

Tax breaks to build nuclear power plants. Do you favor or oppose the federal government giving companies tax breaks to build nuclear power plants?

Who Pays for all this? It is time for the turkeys to face the pilgrim with the hatchet. How willing are you to pay increased taxes to “fight global warming?”

Increase consumption taxes on electricity. Do you favor or oppose the federal government increasing taxes on electricity so people use less of it?

Most places, majorities of respondents were favorable, up to 80% in some states. Perhaps a tribute to relatively cheap electricity in the U. S.  They are blissfully unaware of what can happen to electricity rates, having been spared so far the “Ontario Experience.”

Increase consumption taxes on gasoline. Do you favor or oppose the federal government increasing taxes on gasoline so people either drive less, or buy cars that use less gas?

Nowhere does this get a majority favorable response. It ranges from 15% to 40%, with most places around 30% in favor of higher gasoline taxes.

And finally, how much do you care and how much do you know?

Warming is extremely important personally (and is likely to influence voting). How important is the issue of global warming to you personally – extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

Less than 17% of people say global warming is personally extremely important, and most places are under 10%

Highly knowledgeable about global warming. How much do you feel you know about global warming – a lot, a moderate amount, a little, or nothing?
Americans rate their global warming knowledge higher than other countries, going up to 60-70% claiming “Highly Knowledgeable.” Other country surveys would report 25% more typically.

Conclusion

An opinion poll is a mirror claiming to show us ourselves. All polls have error margins, and some are purposely bent to a desired distorted outcome.

In modern social democracies, polls and media are used to shape and report public opinions required by ruling elites to impose laws and policies unwanted by the people. A recent example was the distorted Canadian survey on carbon pricing used by Trudeau government to justify a carbon tax. That poll is deconstructed in a post Uncensored: Canadians View Global Warming.

Krosnick said that people taking his climate poll were surprised that the responses were not more skeptical of global warming claims. After seeing how the survey is put together, I am inclined to believe that participants and their neighbors are actually more skeptical than depicted in the results.  This showed up in the low numbers saying global warming is an important personal issue.  Despite agreeing with alarmist talking points, people seem to know this is about virtue signaling and tribal politics.  It is an “everywhere elsewhere” problem.

Finally, in the survey, Americans rate themselves as highly knowledgeable about global warming, up to 60-70% in some states. Other countries doing such climate surveys typically get about 25% of people saying that. For so many to be taken in by such a survey suggests that Americans’ actual knowledge of global warming is highly overrated.

Background:  Another Climate Push Poll

Arctic Ice Beats Odds July 14

ims1952007to2018

In June 2018, Arctic ice extent held up against previous years despite the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk being ice-free.  The Arctic core is showing little change, perhaps due to increased thickness (volume) as reported by DMI.

The image above shows ice extents on day 195 (July 14) for years 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2018. Note this year ice is strong on both Russian and N. American sides.  Beaufort Sea and Canadian Archipelago are solid. E. Siberian and Chukchi Seas are also solid, despite early melting in Bering Sea.  Hudson and Baffin bays still have considerable ice compared to other years.

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired in July compared to the 11 year average and to some years of interest.
Arctic day 195
Note that 2018 started July well above the 11 year average and other recent years.  As of day 195 (yesterday) ice extent is still greater than average and the years 2007 and 2017.  SII 2018 is tracking well below MASIE this month, a gap of 500k km2 at this point.

The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2018 with 11-year average (2007 to 2017 inclusive) and 2017.

Region 2018195 Day 195 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007195 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 8828959 8549517 279442 8355280 473679
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 993219 826109 167110 845973 147246
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 644989 636401 8588 576079 68911
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1024284 950636 73648 788128 236156
 (4) Laptev_Sea 492172 633149 -140977 575520 -83347
 (5) Kara_Sea 438240 399007 39233 483785 -45545
 (6) Barents_Sea 30629 64124 -33495 75731 -45101
 (7) Greenland_Sea 285428 443318 -157890 472890 -187462
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 489193 305230 183963 343396 145797
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 747737 719112 28626 730629 17109
 (10) Hudson_Bay 619471 381783 237688 248785 370686
 (11) Central_Arctic 3062425 3185383 -122959 3211275 -148850

2018 is 280k km2 above average, mostly due to Hudson and Baffin bays having surplus ice.   Laptev, Greenland Sea and Central Arctic are down, more than offset by surpluses elsewhere.  Since the two bays will melt out soon, the eventual annual minimum remains to be seen.

 

 

 

Climate Comics

It takes a properly skeptical mindset to see the humor in the behavior of those believing in global warming/climate change. Here are some cartoons that came to my attention recently.

Paris Accord



Media Climate Reporting

Biased Climate Science


Misguided Climate Policies

b45fee974eb5b959a6718fbac960afbc

the-wind-should-pick-up-any-minute-now

H/T to Lisa Benson, Chip Bok,  Mike Lester, Michael Ramirez  and Gary Varvel.  Work by Rick McKee was featured in a previous post Cavemen Climate Comics

 

 

Facts Omitted by Climatists

 

Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes of climate change: “There is a point at which, once this harm occurs, it cannot be undone at any reasonable cost or in any reasonable period of time. Based on the best available science, our country is close to approaching that point.” Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

One of the world’s top economists has written an expert court report that forcefully supports a group of children and young adults who have sued the federal government for failing to act on climate change. (Source: Inside Climate News  here) Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Stiglitz, a Columbia University economics professor and former World Bank chief economist, concludes that increasing global warming will have huge costs on society and that a fossil fuel-based system “is causing imminent, significant, and irreparable harm to the Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children more generally.” He explains in a footnote that his analysis also examines impacts on “as-yet-unborn youth, the so-called future generations.”

But, he says, acting on climate change now—by imposing a carbon tax and cutting fossil fuel subsidies, among other steps—is still manageable and would have net-negative costs. He argues that if the government were to pursue clean energy sources and energy-smart technologies, “the net benefits of a policy change outweigh the net costs of such a policy change.”

“Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels,” Stiglitz writes. “This urgent action is not only feasible, the relief requested will benefit the economy.”

Stiglitz has been examining the economic impact of global warming for many years. He was a lead author of the 1995 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authoritative assessment of climate science that won the IPCC the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Al Gore.

The Stiglitz expert report submitted to the court is here.

An Example of Intentional Omissions

Since this is a legal proceeding, Stiglitz wrote a brief telling the plaintiffs’ side of the story. In a scientific investigation, parties would assert theories attempting to explain all of the evidence at hand. Legal theories have no such requirement to incorporate all the facts, but rather present conclusions informed by the evidence deemed strongest and most pertinent to one party’s interests.

While the Pope accuses us with the Sin of Emissions, we counter with the Sins of Omissions by him and his fellow activists.

Let’s consider the Stiglitz brief according to the three suppositions comprising the Climatist (Activists and Alarmists) position. Climate change is a bundle that depends on all three assertions to be true.

Supposition 1: Humans make the climate warmer.

As an economist, Stiglitz defers to the IPCC on this scientific point, with references to reports by those deeply involved and committed to Paris Accord and other UN climate programs. In the recent California District Court case (Cities suing Big Oil companies), both sides in a similar vein stipulated their acceptance of IPCC reports as authoritative regarding global warming/climate change.

Skeptical observers must attend to the nuances of what is referenced and what is hidden or omitted in these testimonies. For example, Chevron’s attorney noted that IPCC’s reports express various opinions over time as to human influence on the climate. They noted that even today, the expected temperature effect from doubling CO2 ranges widely from 1.5C to 4.5C. No mention is made that several more recent estimates from empirical data (rather than GCMs) are at the low end or lower.

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations. Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off. In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither Stiglitz nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, Stiglitz and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Supposition 2: The Warming is Dangerous

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus. Stiglitz links to a recent Climate Report that repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims.

Stiglitz: It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.
And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.
Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.

In fact our climate is remarkably stable.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

Climate is Changing the Weather

Stiglitz:  Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

 

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

Supposition 3:  Government Can Stop it!

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.

Stiglitz: Conclusion
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even
irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to
rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate
damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be
incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs,
and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a
low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational
calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate
speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel
projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil
fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

Footnote regarding mention of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

sf-ca-past-projected

dilbert-sins-of-omission-and-comission

June 2018 Ocean SSTs Resume Cooling

globpopThe best context for understanding decadal temperature changes comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature in recent years.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.  More on what distinguishes HadSST3 from other SST products at the end.

The Current Context

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through June 2018.

Hadsst062018

A global cooling pattern has persisted, seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH dropping since last August. Upward bumps occurred last October, in January and again in March and April 2018.  Five months of 2018 now show slight warming since the low point of December 2017, led by steadily rising NH. Since 4/2018 SH and Tropics cooled slightly while NH pulled the Global anomaly upwards. Now in June 2018  lower temps in SH and Tropics more than offset NH warming.

2018 is the coolest June since 2013 in all regions: Global, NH, SH and Tropics.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back below its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added three bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

With ocean temps positioned the same as three years ago, we can only wait and see whether the previous cycle will repeat or something different appears.  As the analysis belows shows, the North Atlantic has been the wild card bringing warming this decade, and cooling will depend upon a phase shift in that region.

A longer view of SSTs

The graph below  is noisy, but the density is needed to see the seasonal patterns in the oceanic fluctuations.  Previous posts focused on the rise and fall of the last El Nino starting in 2015.  This post adds a longer view, encompassing the significant 1998 El Nino and since.  The color schemes are retained for Global, Tropics, NH and SH anomalies.  Despite the longer time frame, I have kept the monthly data (rather than yearly averages) because of interesting shifts between January and July.

Hadsst1995to062018

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

1995 is a reasonable starting point prior to the first El Nino.  The sharp Tropical rise peaking in 1998 is dominant in the record, starting Jan. ’97 to pull up SSTs uniformly before returning to the same level Jan. ’99.  For the next 2 years, the Tropics stayed down, and the world’s oceans held steady around 0.2C above 1961 to 1990 average.

Then comes a steady rise over two years to a lesser peak Jan. 2003, but again uniformly pulling all oceans up around 0.4C.  Something changes at this point, with more hemispheric divergence than before. Over the 4 years until Jan 2007, the Tropics go through ups and downs, NH a series of ups and SH mostly downs.  As a result the Global average fluctuates around that same 0.4C, which also turns out to be the average for the entire record since 1995.

2007 stands out with a sharp drop in temperatures so that Jan.08 matches the low in Jan. ’99, but starting from a lower high. The oceans all decline as well, until temps build peaking in 2010.

Now again a different pattern appears.  The Tropics cool sharply to Jan 11, then rise steadily for 4 years to Jan 15, at which point the most recent major El Nino takes off.  But this time in contrast to ’97-’99, the Northern Hemisphere produces peaks every summer pulling up the Global average.  In fact, these NH peaks appear every July starting in 2003, growing stronger to produce 3 massive highs in 2014, 15 and 16, with July 2017 only slightly lower.  Note also that starting in 2014 SH plays a moderating role, offsetting the NH warming pulses. (Note: these are high anomalies on top of the highest absolute temps in the NH.)

What to make of all this? The patterns suggest that in addition to El Ninos in the Pacific driving the Tropic SSTs, something else is going on in the NH.  The obvious culprit is the North Atlantic, since I have seen this sort of pulsing before.  After reading some papers by David Dilley, I confirmed his observation of Atlantic pulses into the Arctic every 8 to 10 years as shown by this graph:

The data is annual averages of absolute SSTs measured in the North Atlantic.  The significance of the pulses for weather forecasting is discussed in AMO: Atlantic Climate Pulse

But the peaks coming nearly every July in HadSST require a different picture.  Let’s look at August, the hottest month in the North Atlantic from the Kaplan dataset.Now the regime shift appears clearly. Starting with 2003, seven times the August average has exceeded 23.6C, a level that prior to ’98 registered only once before, in 1937.  And other recent years were all greater than 23.4C.

Summary

The oceans are driving the warming this century.  SSTs took a step up with the 1998 El Nino and have stayed there with help from the North Atlantic, and more recently the Pacific northern “Blob.”  The ocean surfaces are releasing a lot of energy, warming the air, but eventually will have a cooling effect.  The decline after 1937 was rapid by comparison, so one wonders: How long can the oceans keep this up?

To paraphrase the wheel of fortune carnival barker:  “Down and down she goes, where she stops nobody knows.”  As recent months show, nature moves in cycles, not straight lines, and human forecasts and projections are tenuous at best.

einsteinalbert-integratesempirically800px

Postscript:

In the most recent GWPF 2017 State of the Climate report, Dr. Humlum made this observation:

“It is instructive to consider the variation of the annual change rate of atmospheric CO2 together with the annual change rates for the global air temperature and global sea surface temperature (Figure 16). All three change rates clearly vary in concert, but with sea surface temperature rates leading the global temperature rates by a few months and atmospheric CO2 rates lagging 11–12 months behind the sea surface temperature rates.”

Footnote: Why Rely on HadSST3

HadSST3 is distinguished from other SST products because HadCRU (Hadley Climatic Research Unit) does not engage in SST interpolation, i.e. infilling estimated anomalies into grid cells lacking sufficient sampling in a given month. From reading the documentation and from queries to Met Office, this is their procedure.

HadSST3 imports data from gridcells containing ocean, excluding land cells. From past records, they have calculated daily and monthly average readings for each grid cell for the period 1961 to 1990. Those temperatures form the baseline from which anomalies are calculated.

In a given month, each gridcell with sufficient sampling is averaged for the month and then the baseline value for that cell and that month is subtracted, resulting in the monthly anomaly for that cell. All cells with monthly anomalies are averaged to produce global, hemispheric and tropical anomalies for the month, based on the cells in those locations. For example, Tropics averages include ocean grid cells lying between latitudes 20N and 20S.

Gridcells lacking sufficient sampling that month are left out of the averaging, and the uncertainty from such missing data is estimated. IMO that is more reasonable than inventing data to infill. And it seems that the Global Drifter Array displayed in the top image is providing more uniform coverage of the oceans than in the past.

uss-pearl-harbor-deploys-global-drifter-buoys-in-pacific-ocean

USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean