Is “Emotional Intelligence” an Oxymoron?

Warning: This post will express sincere thoughts that are politically incorrect, for example accepting that males and females have differing predominant behaviors and traits.

The title refers to a notion that came up in the fields of management science and industrial psychology, coincidental with increasing numbers of women practicing in those disciplines. I am prompted to write about this upon realizing that our present social divide is more fundamental than many think. This century, we see increasing numbers of people choosing to operate from emotions rather than intelligence. This pattern is in contradiction to the trajectory of Western civilization placing reason as primary and individual rights and freedoms as essential.

In a recent article thread (to be excerpted below) a comment caught my attention. “It has been said men rank, women exclude, and that is very true imo. All-female groups are very exclusionary to anyone who does not fit in.” That expression of Ranking vs. Excluding was new to me, and it may be changing this century, what with women competing with other women in sports, and with men as well in the workplace. Still, it points to our present social struggle whereby “diversity” is employed to divide a nation into identity groups to protest prejudice and claim reparations against grievances. The US as usual is the leading example of this culture war. Ironically, tribalism is rearing its ugly head in precisely the nation-state that so successfully created an American tribe that included any and all ethnic and religious groups.

Ranking vs. Excluding also explains such recent events as the Senate hearings on Judge Kavanaugh. Clearly his opponents sought to exclude him not only from the Judiciary, but to banish him from the human race. Their fierce and unrelenting animus to this day is frightening for the republic. Ironically, Kavanaugh prevailed in the process only by an emotional outburst, his outrage finally waking others up to the enormously evil beheading underway. This was out of character for a man by all accounts extremely reasonable and unprejudiced, and even in this testimony his intelligence was evident and in control.

It also shows up in the warfare between Trump and the leftist media. From the moment of Trump declaring candidacy, the left has been focused on excluding Trump from legitimacy, not only as President, but as an human being. Meanwhile, he is focused on the ranking: Winning is what matters, coming in first place. And despite the media’s attempts to paint him racist and sexist, I see no evidence that he excludes losers in a contest. On the contrary, he and Senator Rubio are on the same side pushing back against election fraud in Florida. The media can not recognize Trump is driven by intelligence despite his determined actions pursuing rational policy goals, and unbowed by social pressure and disapproval.

This modern tribalism emerges from the academic world and is now spreading into the wider society as graduates gain employment in private and public sector institutions. However, many of them carry a virus along with whatever knowledge and skills they have been able to acquire in their studies. A recent interview with Camille Paglia offers insight into the conversion of normal Americans into social dissenters. The article in Quillette is Camille Paglia: It’s Time for a New Map of the Gender World written by Claire Lehmann. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Post-structuralism, along with identity politics, made huge gains in the 1970s, as the old guard professors proved helpless against a rising tide of rapid add-on programs and departments like women’s studies and African-American studies. The tenured professoriate seemed not to realize that change of some kind was necessary, and thus they failed to provide an alternative vision of a remodeled university of the future.

Most established professors in the 1970s probably believed that the new theory trend was a fad that would blow away like autumn leaves. The greatness of the complex and continuous Western tradition seemed self-evident: the canon would surely stand, even if supplemented by new names. Well, guess what? Helped along by a swelling horde of officious, overpaid administrators, North American universities became, decade by decade, political correctness camps. Out went half the classics, as well as pedagogically useful survey courses demonstrating sequential patterns in history (now dismissed as a “false narrative” by callow theorists). Bookish, introverted old-school professors were not prepared for guerrilla warfare to defend basic scholarly principles or to withstand waves of defamation and harassment.

The poisons of post-structuralism have now spread throughout academe and have done enormous damage to basic scholarly standards and disastrously undermined belief even in the possibility of knowledge. I suspect history will not be kind to the leading professors who appear to have put loyalty to friends and colleagues above defending scholarly values during a chaotic era of overt vandalism that has deprived several generations of students of a profound education in the humanities. The steady decline in humanities majors is an unmistakable signal that this once noble field has become a wasteland.

As an atheist, I have argued that if religion is erased, something must be put in its place. Belief systems are intrinsic to human intelligence and survival. They “frame” the flux of primary experience, which would otherwise flood the mind. Another persistent proposal of mine has been for comparative religion to become the undergraduate core curriculum, an authentically global multiculturalism.

My substitute for religion is art, which I have expanded to include all of popular culture. But when art is reduced to politics, as has been programmatically done in academe for 40 years, its spiritual dimension is gone. It is coarsely reductive to claim that value in the history of art is always determined by the power plays of a self-referential social elite. I take Marxist social analysis seriously: Arnold Hauser’s Marxist, multi-volume A Social History of Art (1951) was a major influence on me in graduate school. However, Hauser honored art and never condescended to it. A society that respects neither religion nor art cannot be called a civilization.

But politics cannot fill the gap. Society, with which Marxism is obsessed, is only a fragment of the totality of life. As I have written, Marxism has no metaphysics: it cannot even detect, much less comprehend, the enormity of the universe and the operations of nature. Those who invest all of their spiritual energies in politics will reap the whirlwind. The evidence is all around us—the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil.

The headlong rush to judgment by so many well-educated, middle-class women in the #MeToo movement has been startling and dismaying. Their elevation of emotion and group solidarity over fact and logic has resurrected damaging stereotypes of women’s irrationality that were once used to deny us the vote. I found the blanket credulity given to women accusers during the recent U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh positively unnerving: it was the first time since college that I truly understood the sexist design of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, whose mob of vengeful Furies is superseded by formal courts of law, where evidence is weighed.

What I see in both the Women’s March and #MeToo is an atavistic rediscovery by Western women of the joy of their own mutually nurturing solidarity—a primary feature of daily life during 10,000 years of the agrarian era that has been lost over the past two centuries of industrialization. As I have often noted, the sexes throughout human history actually had very little to do with each other. There was the world of men and the world of women, each with its own spheres of influence and activity. Women didn’t take men that seriously, and vice versa. I know this because I am the product of an immigrant family (my mother and all four grandparents were born in Italy), and it wasn’t that long ago that we were tilling the stony soil of the earthquake-prone motherland.

Second, the nuclear family as a standard unit of social life is a relatively new and isolating phenomenon. Wives returning from work to an apartment or house are expecting their husbands to fulfill all the emotional and conversational needs that were once fulfilled by other women of multiple generations throughout the agrarian workday in the fields or at home (where the burdens of childcare and eldercare were group shared).

What I see spreading among professional middle-class women is a bitter resentment toward men that is in many cases unjust and misplaced. With divorce so easy since the sexual revolution, women find themselves competing with younger women in new and cruel ways. Agrarian women gained power as they aged: young women were brainless pawns whose marriages, pregnancies, childcare, cooking, and other chores were acerbically supervised and controlled by the dictatorial crones (forces of nature whom I fondly remember from childhood).

In short, #MeToo from a historical perspective is a cri de coeur from women who are realizing that the sexual revolution that many of us had once ecstatically embraced has in key ways devalued women, confused their private relationships, and complicated their smooth functioning in the workplace. It’s time for a new map of the gender world.

Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her eighth book, Provocations: Collected Essays, was released by Pantheon in Oct. 2018.

Footnote:

Tom Wolfe wrote a book in which he skillfully dissected the descent of rationality and objectivity at the hands of modern academia. And I began to see the connection to climate change hysteria. The ruling force is “political correctness”, which translates into going along to get along in your tribe. And in the extreme, it means subordinating science and rationality to instincts of the herd, their fears, disappointments and desires ruling the day. My synopsis with links is Warmists and Rococo Marxists.

See Also:  Head, Heart and Science

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Will the Courts Shut Off Energy Supplies?

Numerous posts here have reported on efforts by climate lawyers to stop use of fossil fuels (FF) to prevent imaginary global warming. The failure of rising CO2 to cause warming in the atmosphere is confirmed yet again by a detailed study of the last 40 years of satellite measurements. My synopsis with links is Atmospheric Observations Contradict Global Warming Theory.

Despite no apparent global warming, climatists (alarmists/activists) are determined that fossil fuels be “left in the ground.” Actually, everyone knows it is not illegal to sell and use fossil fuel products. Of course there are attempts to change that, the current example being the kids lawsuit, destined eventually to go before the US Supreme Court. See Kid’s Climate Lawsuit Update Nov. 5.

Even before that long-shot case started in 2015, climate lawyers have been busy applying another strategy. Since it is legal (still) to sell and use FF, the idea is to prevent the transport of such energy by pipelines, thereby blocking sale and usage and eventually making extraction and production of FF uneconomic. Hence, numerous legal actions have been mounted to prevent or shut down gas and/or oil pipelines.

An insight into their thinking is provided by the recent Montana District judge stopping the Keystone pipeline project that was expressly approved by President Trump. The District Court Order is published at Sierra Club website, since they are a major employer of climate lawyers. (SEIS means the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; ROD means Record of Decision by the Department authority (State Dept. In this case)). The order (here) is written by Judge Brian Morris, excerpts in italics with my bolds.

2. The Department’s Conclusions on Climate Change

The 2014 SEIS determined that the pipeline would not affect significantly oil extraction in Canada. As a result of this determination, the 2014 SEIS reasoned that the emissions associated with transporting 830,000 bpd of tar sands crude oil (Keystone’s capacity), would occur regardless of the pipeline’s existence. To reach this conclusion, the 2014 SEIS analyzed numerous factors, including the price of oil, transportation costs, and supply and demand for oil.

The Court must limit its review to determining whether the 2014 SEIS took a “hard look” at the effects of Keystone on oil markets. The Department met this “hard look” requirement in its market analysis and its conclusion that Keystone would not impact the rate of tar sands extraction. The Department provided sufficient analysis that went beyond mere assumptions of the rate of oil sands extraction rates in 2014. The Court finds no error in the Department’s 2014 analysis of the rate of tar sands extraction and its impact on climate change.

The Department denied the permit in its 2015 ROD. The Department relied heavily on the United States’s role in climate leadership.

[My Comment: That 2014 Keystone project SEIS statement proved embarrassing to then-President Obama, who was gearing up for the 2015 do-or-die Paris Accord conference. He directed State Dept. to reconsider, and they did in the 2015 ROD.]

The Department issued a new ROD in 2017. The new ROD noted that “there have been numerous developments related to global action to address climate change, including announcements by many countries of their plans to do so” since the 2015 ROD. Moreover, the new ROD suggested that “a decision to approve [the] proposed Project would support U.S. priorities relating to energy security, economic development, and infrastructure.” The Department argues that this about-face constitutes a mere policy shift, and that on its own, cannot be found arbitrary and capricious.

The Department possesses the authority to give more weight to energy security in 2017 than it had in 2015. Kake and State Farm make clear, however, that “even when reversing a policy after an election, an agency may not simply discard prior factual findings without a reasoned explanation.” The Department did not merely make a policy shift in its stance on the United States’s role on climate change. It simultaneously ignored the 2015 ROD’s Section 6.3 titled “Climate Change-Related Foreign Policy Considerations.” Section 6.3 of the 2015 ROD determined that the United States’s climate change leadership provided a significant basis for denying the permit. The Department acknowledged science supporting a need to keep global temperature below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels Id. at 1182-83. The Department further recognized the scientific evidence that human activity represents a dominant cause of climate change. The Department cited transboundary impacts including storm surges and intense droughts. And finally, the Department accepted the United States’s impact as the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter.

[My comment: Note that President’s Obama’s personal desire to be a global leader on climate change is referred to as a “factual finding” and President Trump’s alternate policy is called “capricious.” President Obama’s personal beliefs then serve to justify introducing a bunch of UN-IPCC assertions to override US sovereignty.]

The 2017 ROD initially tracked the 2015 ROD nearly word-for-word. The 2017 ROD, without explanation or acknowledgment, omitted entirely a parallel section discussing “Climate Change-Related Foreign Policy Considerations.” The 2017 ROD ignores the 2015 ROD’s conclusion that 2015 represented a critical time for action on climate change. The 2017 ROD avoids this conclusion with a single paragraph. The 2017 ROD simply states that since 2015, there have been “numerous developments related to global action to address climate change, including announcements by many countries of their plans to do so.”

Once again, this conclusory statement falls short of a factually based determination, let alone a reasoned explanation, for the course reversal. “An agency cannot simply disregard contrary or inconvenient factual determinations that it made in the past, any more than it can ignore inconvenient facts when it writes on a blank slate.”

Blaming FF Pipelines for Global Warming/Climate Change

The Trump administration will be considering the most effective response to the above latest judicial creativity.  Meanwhile, a look into the saga of the Sabal Trail pipeline shows how climate lawyers are beavering away to undermine and blockade FF energy infrastructure. Overview and current pipeline status is from RBN Energy Northeast Gas Pulled South By Florida Power Plants And Sabal Trail. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Florida’s electric utilities are turning to natural gas-fired power and renewables for all their incremental generation needs and as replacements for the older coal units they’ve been retiring. The state’s big bet on natural gas has been spurring the development of new pipelines. And, because of big shifts in where gas is being produced and where it’s flowing, the Sunshine State will soon be receiving an increasing share of its gas needs from the Marcellus region. Today, we discuss the slew of new gas-fired power plants that have come online, the additional plants planned, and gas flows on Sabal Trail, the first new gas mainline into the state in almost two decades.

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

With more than a year of Sabal Trail operational history in the books and Florida’s seasonal weather as hot and humid as modern man and woman can bear, we decided it was time for an update. As we said in Part 1 of this two-part series, Florida is a leading generator of electricity — second only to Texas, in fact — and in recent years its electric utilities have been particularly aggressive in their shift from coal (and nuclear) generation to gas. That spurred the development of the 1.1-Bcf/d Sabal Trail Pipeline, which runs more than 500 miles from an interconnect with Williams’s Transcontinental Gas Pipeline (Transco) in west-central Alabama to the Orlando-area gas hub (black dot in Figure 1). A related pipeline called Florida Southeast Connection delivers gas from that hub into South Florida. Sabal Trail — in service since May 2017 — increased to three the number of gas mainlines serving the state, the other two being the 3.1-Bcf/d Florida Gas Transmission and the 1.3-Bcf/d Gulfstream Natural Gas System.

Obstructing Sabal Trail

Climate lawyers have opposed and obstructed Sabal Trail pipeline for years, and their arguments are seen in the most recent ruling by FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, August 10, 2018 Order Denying Rehearing. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Sierra Club claims that the Commission has entirely ignored downstream emissions. This is not true. The Commission fully considered GHG emissions in the Final SEIS by quantifying them and providing information that put the GHG emissions in context. In this case, having confirmed, following review of the Final SEIS, that the SMP Project remains an environmentally acceptable action, the Commission has no need to effectively re-open its balancing to determine whether the environmental consequences outweigh the previously-identified benefits. The fact that, explained above, the Final SEIS was unable to determine whether the quantified GHG emissions were significant, does not vitiate the fact that we analyzed them and concluded that the identified quantity of GHG emissions does not support a finding that the SMP Project is environmentally unacceptable.

Sierra Club further states that nothing in the NGA (National Gas Act) precludes consideration of downstream emissions. This is correct. We have never suggested to the contrary. Whether such consideration is required by law and whether such consideration compels an outcome of denial of pipeline infrastructure, is a different question. The Commission’s public interest balancing includes a wide-range of factors, but the “principal aim” of the NGA, as determined by Congress, is to “encourag[e] the orderly development of plentiful supplies of . . . natural gas at reasonable prices,” and “protect[] consumers against exploitation at the hands of natural gas companies.” As the Commission explained in the Remand Order, “the public interest that the Commission must protect always includes the interest of consumers in having access to an adequate supply of gas at a reasonable price.”

It is within the policy framework established by Congress in the NGA that the Commission determines whether a proposed project is “environmentally acceptable.” As we explain herein, that determination included consideration of downstream GHG emissions and their secondary effects. We acknowledge that there may be disagreement with the policy choice expressed in the NGA; however, the Remand Order correctly found that “it is for Congress or the Executive Branch to decide national policy on the use of natural gas and that the Commission’s job is to review applications before it on a case-by-case basis.”

57.Congress has not granted the Commission the responsibility to affirmatively establish federal climate policy. Accordingly, we believe the Commission’s proper role is to implement federal climate policies—as established by Congress and those Executive departments to which Congress has delegated the requisite authority—in discharging its duties under the NGA and other statutes the Commission administers, including the Federal Power Act (FPA). The D.C. Circuit has explained that, “[a]s a federal agency, FERC is a ‘creature of statute,’ having ‘no constitutional or common law existence or authority, but only those authorities conferred upon it by Congress.’”

Whether Congress’s directive for the Commission “to encourage the orderly development of plentiful supplies of . . . natural gas at reasonable prices,” is outweighed by the need to address the problem of global climate change is “a question of deep ‘economic and political significance’ that is central to this statutory scheme; had Congress wished to assign that question to an agency, it surely would have done so expressly.” The lack of such an express grant does not necessarily preclude the Commission from considering the impacts of climate change in its assessment of the public interest. But it does mean that the Commission may not flip the NGA on its head, by using it as a vehicle to regulate climate change—and the numerous upstream and downstream activities that contribute thereto—rather than the transportation and sale of natural gas in interstate commerce.

The rehearing requests filed by Sierra Club, G.B.A. Associates, and K. Gregory Issacs are hereby denied. (B) The request for stay filed by Sierra Club is dismissed as moot.

A more precise explanation of the issues in play is provided by a dissenting opinion written by Judge Brown at the DC Court of Appeals in 2017 regarding Sabal Trail pipeline.

Overview of the August 22, 2017 Ruling on Sabal Trail Florida Pipeline Project

Media Report: Activists won a huge victory when a Washington, D.C. appellate court panel sided with the Sierra Club, saying the federal agency that reviewed the project had made a huge error. In the narrow 2-1 decision, U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith wrote that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should have considered the impact of the pipeline’s added greenhouse gas emissions.

BROWN, Circuit Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part (in italics with my bolds)

I join today’s opinion on all issues save the Court’s decision to vacate and remand the pipeline certificates on the issue of downstream greenhouse emissions. Case law is clear: When an agency “‘has no ability to prevent a certain effect due to’ [its] ‘limited statutory authority over the relevant action[],’ then that action ‘cannot be considered a legally relevant cause’” of an indirect environmental effect under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).

Here, FERC declined to engage in an in-depth examination of downstream greenhouse gas emissions because there is no causal relationship between approval of the proposed pipelines and the downstream greenhouse emissions; and, even if a causal relationship exists, any additional analysis would not meaningfully contribute to its decision making. Both determinations were reasonable and entitled to deference.

Regarding causation, the Court is correct that NEPA requires an environmental analysis to include indirect effects that are “reasonably foreseeable,” Freeport, 827 F.3d at 46, but it misunderstands what qualifies as reasonably foreseeable. The Court blithely asserts it is “not just the journey,” it is “also the destination.” Maj. Op. at 18. In fact, NEPA is a procedural statute that is all about the journey. It compels agencies to consider all environmental effects likely to result from the project under review, but it “does not dictate particular decisional outcomes.”

While the Court concludes FERC’s approval of the proposed pipelines will be the cause of greenhouse gas emissions because a significant portion of the natural gas transported through the pipeline will be burned at power plants, see Maj. Op. at 19, the truth is that FERC has no control over whether the power plants that will emit these greenhouse gases will come into existence or remain in operation.

Even if the Court is correct that the Commission has the power to deny pipeline certificates based on indirect environmental concerns, such a denial represents the limit of the Commission’s statutory power. Nothing would prevent the Florida Board from independently approving the construction or expansion of the power plants at issue. In fact, the record shows the Board has already approved some of these projects prior to the Commission reaching a decision on the proposed pipelines. JA 910–11. Moreover, there is also nothing preventing the Intervenors from pursuing an alternative method of delivery to account for the same amount of natural gas. Practical considerations point in the opposite direction. Both the Board and the Commission have concluded Florida has a need for additional natural gas, and nothing in today’s opinion takes issue with those holdings.

Thus, just as FERC in the DOE cases and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Public Citizen did not have the legal power to prevent certain environmental effects, the Commission here has no authority to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases through newly-constructed or expanded power plants approved by the Board.

Summary

Climate lawyers funded by Sierra Club and other activists are attempting to load upon pipelines the guilt by association with fossil fuels. That their global warming fears are unfounded does not deter them. And they attempt to twist regulatory statutes to their purpose rather than what was congressional intent. As Judge Kavanaugh put it in a different DC Court of Appeals ruling: They are jamming a square peg (addressing climate change) in a round hole (eg.limiting ozone-destroying chemicals).

Ocean SSTs Keep Cool

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 October 2018.

Hadsst102018

A global cooling pattern is seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH cycling downward since 2016.  2018 started with slow warming after the low point of December 2017, led by steadily rising NH, which may have peaked in September.  The Tropics have risen steadily since July, and along with a small bump in SH pulled the Global anomaly up slightly.

NH is now slightly higher than 2017, but is still nearly 0.2C lower than 10/2015. The rise in the Tropics is likely due to the weak El Nino, maybe also affecting the SH. Both are still much cooler than 2015 and 2016.

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.

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.

Hadsst95to102018

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.

But the peaks coming nearly every summer in HadSST require a different picture.  Let’s look at August, the hottest month in the North Atlantic from the Kaplan dataset.
AMO August 2018

The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and untrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N. The graph shows warming began after 1992 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since. Because the N. Atlantic has partnered with the Pacific ENSO recently, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

AMO decade 102018

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks. Most recently October 2018 is 0.29C lower than October 2016, and is the coolest October since 2011.

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? If the pattern of recent years continues, NH SST anomalies will likely cool in coming months.  Once again, ENSO will probably determine the outcome.

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

 

Atmospheric Observations Contradict Global Warming Theory

Update Nov. 13, 2018  H/T Yonason for linking to Blair Macdonald’s discussion of CO2 behavior in the atmosphere.  At the end is a video and link to his paper and website.

This paper just published Has global warming already arrived? by C.A.Varotsos and M.N.Efstathiou (H/T Dennis Bird) Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Highlights
•  The global warming during 1978–2018 was not more enhanced at high latitudes near the surface.

•  The intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those in the troposphere.

•  The results obtained do not reveal the global warming occurrence.

Abstract

The enhancement of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases is often considered as responsible for global warming (known as greenhouse hypothesis of global warming). In this context, the temperature field of global troposphere and lower stratosphere over the period 12/1978–07/2018 is explored using the recent Version 6 of the UAH MSU/AMSU global satellite temperature dataset.

Our analysis did not show a consistent warming with gradual increase from low to high latitudes in both hemispheres, as it should be from the global warming theory. In addition, in the lower stratosphere the temperature cooling over both poles is lower than that over tropics and extratropics. To study further the thermal field variability we investigated the long-range correlations throughout the global lower troposphere-lower stratosphere region. The results show that the temperature field displays power-law behaviour that becomes stronger by going from the lower troposphere to the tropopause.

This power-law behaviour suggests that the fluctuations in global tropospheric temperature at short intervals are positively correlated with those at longer intervals in a power-law manner. The latter, however, does not apply to global temperature in the lower stratosphere. This suggests that the investigated intrinsic properties of the lower stratospheric temperature are not related to those of the troposphere, as is expected by the global warming theory.

Conclusions

From the analysis presented above the following conclusions could be drawn:

•  The temperature trend shows a decreasing warming from the lower troposphere up to the tropopause level and then reverses to cooling in the lower stratosphere. This trend at the tropopause can be considered almost zero. The latter can not support the increase in the height of tropopause, a fingerprint of global warming.

•  At the lower stratosphere there is a negative temperature trend which is lower over both poles (compared to tropics and extra-tropics) with the lowest value over the North Pole.

•  In the lower and mid-troposphere the temperature trend decreases with height and latitude

The above-mentioned three results do not agree with the global warming theory, namely, the gradual increase of tropospheric warming with latitude.

The DFA and MDFA analyses conducted on the possible association of warming in the global troposphere with cooling in the global lower stratosphere showed the following:

•  The temperature fluctuations in the global troposphere exhibit power-law behaviour with an exponent gradually increasing with altitude reaching the unity at the tropopause.

•  The global lower stratospheric temperature anomalies do not exhibit long-range correlation behaviour. In particular, the lower stratospheric temperature anomalies over tropics obey power-law behaviour, while it is not the case for the low stratospheric temperature anomalies over both poles. This may be attributed to the ozone dynamics in this region.

The two above-mentioned results lead to the main conclusion that the intrinsic properties of the thermal regime in the lower stratosphere are not associated with the thermal regime in the troposphere.In summary, the tropospheric temperature has not increased over the last four decades, in both hemispheres, in a way that is more amplified at high latitudes near the surface. In addition, the lower stratospheric temperature did not decline as a function of latitude. Finally,the intrinsic properties of the tropospheric temperature are different from those of the lower stratosphere.

Based on these results and bearing in mind that the climate system is complicated and complex with the existing uncertainties in the climate predictions, it is not possible to reliably support the view of the presence of global warming in the sense of an enhanced greenhouse effect due to human activities.

Update Nov. 13, 2018

MacDonald’s paper is Reinterpreting and Augmenting John Tyndall’s 1859 Greenhouse Gas Experiment with Thermoelectric Theory and Raman Spectroscopy 

Climate science’s fundamental premise – assumed by all parties in the great climate debate – says the greenhouse gases – constituting less than 2% of Earth’s atmosphere, first derived by John Tyndall‘s in his 1859 thermopile experiment, and demonstrated graphically today by infrared spectroscopy – are special because of their IR (heat) absorbing property. From this, it is – paradoxically – assumed the (remaining 98%) non-greenhouse gases N2 nitrogen and O2 oxygen are non-heat absorbent.

This paper reveals, by elementary physics, the (deceptive) role thermopiles play in this paradox. It was found: for a special group substances – all sharing (at least one) electric dipole moment – i.e. CO2, and the other greenhouse gases – thermopiles – via the thermoelectric (Seebeck) effect – generate electricity from their radiated IR. Devices using the thermopile as a detector (e.g. IR spectrographs) discriminate, and have misinterpreted IR absorption for anomalies of electricity production – between the sample gases and a control heat source.

N2 and O2 were found to have (as all substances) predicted vibrational modes (derived by the Schrodinger quantum equation) at 1556cm-1 and 2330cm-1 respectively – well within the IR range of the EM spectrum and are clearly observed – as expected – with Raman Spectroscopy – IR spectroscopy’s complement instrument. The non-greenhouse gases N2 and O2 are relegated to greenhouse gases, and Earth’s atmospheric thermoelectric spectrum was produced (formally IR spectrum), and was augmented with the Raman observations.

It was concluded the said greenhouses gases are not special, but typical; and all substances have thermal absorption properties, as measured by their respective heat capacities.

No, CO2 Doesn’t Drive the Polar Vortex

Simulation of jet stream pattern July 22. (VentuSky.com)

We are heading into winter this year at the bottom of a solar cycle, and ocean oscillations due for cooling phases. The folks at Climate Alarm Central (CAC) are well aware of this, and are working hard so people won’t realize that global cooling contradicts global warming. No indeed, contortionist papers and headlines are warning us all that CO2 not only causes hothouse earth, overrun with rats and other vermin. CO2 also causes ice ages when it feels like it.

For example, a recent article by alarmist Jason Samenow at Washington Post is Study: Freak summer weather and wild jet-stream patterns are on the rise because of global warming. Excerpts in italics with my bolds

In many ways, the summer of 2018 marked a turning point, when the effects of climate change — perhaps previously on the periphery of public consciousness — suddenly took center stage. Record high temperatures spread all over the Northern Hemisphere. Wildfires raged out of control. And devastating floods were frequent.

Michael Mann, climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, along with colleagues, has published a new study that connects these disruptive weather extremes with a fundamental change in how the jet stream is behaving during the summer. Linked to the warming climate, the study suggests this change in the atmosphere’s steering current is making these extremes occur more frequently, with greater intensity, and for longer periods of time.

The study projects this erratic jet-stream behavior will increase in the future, leading to more severe heat waves, droughts, fires and floods.

The jet stream is changing not only because the planet is warming up but also because the Arctic is warming faster than the mid-latitudes, the study says. The jet stream is driven by temperature contrasts, and these contrasts are shrinking. The result is a slower jet stream with more wavy peaks and troughs that Mann and his study co-authors ascribe to a process known as “quasi-resonant amplification.”

The altered jet-stream behavior is important because when it takes deep excursions to the south in the summer, it sets up a collision between cool air from the north and the summer’s torrid heat, often spurring excessive rain. But when the jet stream retreats to the north, bulging heat domes form underneath it, leading to record heat and dry spells.

The study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, finds that these quasi-resonant amplification events — in which the jet stream exhibits this extreme behavior during the summer — are predicted to increase by 50 percent this century if emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue unchecked.

Whereas previous work conducted by Mann and others had identified a signal for an increase in these events, this study for the first time examined how they may change in the future using climate model simulations.

“Looking at a large number of different computer models, we found interesting differences,” said Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a co-author of the study, in a news release. “Distinct climate models provide quite diverging forecasts for future climate resonance events. However, on average they show a clear increase in such events.”

Although model projections suggest these extreme jet-stream patterns will increase as the climate warms, the study concluded that their increase can be slowed if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced along with particulate pollution in developing countries. “[T]he future is still very much in our hands when it comes to dangerous and damaging summer weather extremes,” Mann said. “It’s simply a matter of our willpower to transition quickly from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

Mann has been leading the charge to blame anticipated cooling on fossil fuels, his previous attempt claiming CO2 is causing a slowdown of AMOC (part of it being the Gulf Stream), resulting in global cooling, even an ice age. The same idea underlay the scary 2004 movie Day After Tomorrow.

Other scientists are more interested in the truth than in hype. An example is this AGU publication by D.A Smeed et al. The North Atlantic Ocean Is in a State of Reduced Overturning Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Figure 3
Indices of subsurface temperature, sea surface height (SSH), latent heat flux (LHF), and sea surface temperature (SST). SST (purple) is plotted using the same scale as subsurface temperature (blue) in the upper panel. The upper panel shows 24 month filtered values of de‐seasonalized anomalies along with the non‐Ekman part of the AMOC. In the lower panel, we show three‐year running means of the indices going back to 1985 (1993 for the SSH index).

Changes in ocean heat transport and SST are expected to modify the net air‐sea heat flux. The changes in the total air‐sea flux (Figure S4, data obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction‐National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis; Kalnay et al., 1996) are almost all due to the change in LHF. The third panel of Figure 3 shows the changes in LHF between the two periods. There is a strong signal with increased heat loss from the ocean over the Gulf Stream. That the area of increased heat loss coincides with the location of warming SST indicates that the changes in air‐sea fluxes are driven by the ocean.

Whilst the AMOC has only been continuously measured since 2004, the indices of SSH, heat content, SST, and LHF can be calculated farther back in time (Figure 3, bottom). Over this longer time period, all four indices are strongly correlated with one another (Table S5; correlations were calculated using the nonparametric method described in McCarthy et al., 2015). These data suggest that measurement of the AMOC at 26°N started close to a maximum in the overturning. Prior to 2007 the indices show variability on a time scale of 8 to 10 years and no trend is evident, but since 2014 all indices have had values lower than any other year since 1985.

Previous studies have shown that seasonal and interannual changes in the subtropical AMOC are forced primarily by changing wind stress mediated by Rossby waves (Zhao & Johns, 2014a, 2014b). There is growing evidence (Delworth et al., 2016; Jackson et al., 2016) that the longer‐term changes of the AMOC over the last decade are also associated with thermohaline forcing and that the changed circulation alters the pattern of ocean‐atmosphere heat exchange (Gulev et al., 2013). The role of ocean circulation in decadal climate variability has been challenged in recent years with authors suggesting that external, atmospheric‐driven changes could produce the observed variability in Atlantic SSTs (Clement et al., 2015). However, the direct observation of a weakened AMOC supports a role for ocean circulation in decadal Atlantic climate variability.

Our results show that the previously reported decline of the AMOC (Smeed et al., 2014) has been arrested, but the length of the observational record of the AMOC is still short relative to the time scales of important decadal variations that exist in the Atlantic. Understanding is therefore constantly evolving. What we identify as a changed state of the AMOC in this study may well prove to be part of a decadal oscillation superposed on a multidecadal cycle. Overlaying these oscillations is the impact of anthropogenic change that is predicted to weaken the AMOC over the next century. The continuation of measurements from the RAPID 26°N array and similar observations elsewhere in the Atlantic (Lozier et al., 2017; Meinen et al., 2013) will enable us to unravel and reveal the role of ocean circulation in the changing Atlantic climate in the coming decades.

Regarding the more recent attempt to link CO2 with jet stream meanderings, we have this paper providing a more reasonable assessment.  Arctic amplification: does it impact the polar jet stream?  by Valentin P. Meleshko et al.  Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Analysis of observation and model simulations has revealed that northward temperature gradient decreases and jet flow weakens in the polar troposphere due to global climate warming. These interdependent phenomena are regarded as robust features of the climate system. An increase of planetary wave oscillation that is attributed to Arctic amplification (Francis and Vavrus, 2012; Francis and Vavrus, 2015) has not been confirmed from analysis of observation (Barnes, 2013; Screen and Simmonds, 2013) or in our analysis of model simulations of projected climate. However, we found that GPH variability associated with planetary wave oscillation increases in the background of weakening of zonal flow during the sea-ice-free summer. Enhancement of northward heat transport in the troposphere was shown to be the main factor responsible for decrease of northward temperature gradient and weakening of the jet stream in autumn and winter. Arctic amplification provides only minor contribution to the evolution of zonal flow and planetary wave oscillation.

It has been shown that northward heat transport is the major factor in decreasing the northward temperature gradient in the polar atmosphere and increasing the planetary-scale wave oscillation in the troposphere of the mid-latitudes. Arctic amplification does not show any essential impact on planetary-scale oscillation in the mid and upper troposphere, although it does cause a decrease of northward heat transport in the lower troposphere. These results confound the interpretation of the short observational record that has suggested a causal link between recent Arctic melting and extreme weather in the mid-latitudes.

There are two additional explanations of factors causing the wavy jet stream, AKA Polar Vortex.  Dr Judah Cohen of AER has written extensively on the link between Autumn Siberian snow cover and the Arctic oscillation.  See Snowing and Freezing in the Arctic  for a more complete description of the mechanism.

Finally, a discussion with Piers Corbyn regarding the solar flux effect upon the jet stream at Is This Cold the New Normal?

Video transcript available at linked post.

October Cooling by Land, or Cooling by Sea?

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With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for October.   Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. This month I will add a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years.

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The October update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for October. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

UAH Oceans 201810

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

The anomalies over the entire ocean dropped to the same value, 0.12C  in August (Tropics were 0.13C).  Warming in previous months was erased, and September added very little warming back. In October, NH and the Tropics rose, while SH cooled, resulting in slight warming.

Taking a longer view, we can look at the record since 1995, that year being an ENSO neutral year and thus a reasonable starting point for considering the past two decades.  On that basis we can see the plateau in ocean temps is persisting. Since last October all oceans have cooled, with offsetting bumps up and down.

UAHv6 TLT 
Monthly Ocean
Anomalies
Average Since 1995 Ocean 10/2018
Global 0.13 0.17
NH 0.16 0.30
SH 0.11 0.08
Tropics 0.12 0.32

As of October 2018, NH ocean air temps as well as the Tropics are twice the long term average, SH is slightly cooler, and the Global anomaly slightly warmer.   In the Tropics and SH, 2018 is the coolest October since 2014. The Global and NH ocean air temps are the coolest October since 2013.

Land Air Temperatures Plunged in September, then Rose in October

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations record air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for October is below.UAH Land 201810

The greater volatility of the Land temperatures is evident, and also the dominance of NH, which has twice as much land area as SH.  Note how global peaks mirror NH peaks.  In October air over NH and the Tropical land surfaces rose, and SH followed suit.  A table for Land temperatures is below, comparable to the one for Oceans.

UAHv6 TLT 
Monthly Land
Anomalies
Average Since 1995 Land 10/2018
Global 0.21 0.33
NH 0.23 0.33
SH 0.19 0.33
Tropics 0.18 0.39

In September land air temps were below the average since 1995.  As the table shows, in October the land air anomalies jumped up well above average, demonstrating the higher volatility of these measures.  Still last month was much cooler than October 2017 in all regions.

Summary

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  It is striking to now see NH and Global land temps dropping rapidly.  TLT measures started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.

 

Midterms: Voters Rejected Most Climate Energy Propositions


Nevada voters passed Question 6 on Tuesday, which calls for the state to use 50 percent renewable energy by the year 2030. Supporters say Question 6 will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and create thousands of new Nevada jobs (sic)

“Clean energy is putting Nevadans to work, with more than 25,000 strong employed in 2017,” said Ray Fakhoury, state policy manager with the national business group Advanced Energy Economy, in statement. “By increasing the state’s renewable standard, Nevada has set itself up to continue reaping the economic benefits for years to come.”

Major corporations, including casinos and data centers, have recently been investing heavily in renewable energy in Nevada. With the passage of Question 6, Alli Gold Roberts, senior manager of state policy with Ceres, said the state is “poised to continue to attract corporate renewable energy investment.”

Question 6, to boost the RPS to 50 percent, will now have to pass again in 2020 in order to become law. AEE’s Fakhoury said consumers could see benefits sooner than that. “Passing with wide support, the legislature and governor-elect should move forward in the upcoming legislative session to enact this landmark increase,” he said.

Corporate clean energy buyers invested heavily in a separate Nevada ballot measure, Question 3, which sought to deregulate Nevada’s retail electricity market, but the measure was ultimately unsuccessful. Question 3 was the subject of fierce debate. According to the Nevada Independent, it was backed by Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Corp. (Adelson also happens to be a major Republican donor) and the data company Switch, as well as many clean energy and environmental groups.

But there were also concerns about how Question 3 would affect electricity rates and clean energy adoption. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, and Western Resource Advocates came out against deregulating Nevada’s electricity market because of the disruption they said it would cause to the state’s clean energy progress. NV Energy also opposed Question 3, and planned to spend $30 million on defeating it.

Arizona rejects 50% RPS
Arizona voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 127 on Tuesday, a constitutional amendment that would have required 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. It’s a significant victory for the state’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service (APS), which spent heavily to oppose the measure. California billionaire Tom Steyer’s political group NextGen America funded efforts in support of the measure.

Proposition 127 was by far the most expensive ballot initiative in Arizona state history. Opponents said the measure would increase electric bills by forcing utilities to build new solar and wind plants, which would result in the early closure of coal plants and the state’s lone nuclear plant. Supporters argued those claims were unfounded given that renewable energy resources are now competitive with fossil fuels, even when coupled with battery storage.

APS was particularly outspoken about losing the Palo Verde nuclear plant if the RPS measure passed. If that plant goes offline, the utility argued, greenhouse gas emissions in the state would rise.

While Proposition 127 has failed, Arizona regulators are still considering a proposal to increase Arizona’s RPS to 80 percent by 2050 and broaden it to also include nuclear power. APS generally supports that plan.

Colorado votes down a fracking ban
Colorado voters rejected a measure Tuesday that would have blocked new oil and gas drilling within 2,500 feet of homes, schools and other occupied areas.

Proposition 112 stemmed from complaints that fracking was encroaching on populated areas, creating health and safety concerns. An analysis showed that the measure would have blocked new oil and gas wells on 85 percent of nonfederal land in Colorado, which is America’s fifth-largest gas-producing and seventh-largest oil-producing state.

Washington state rejects a carbon price — again
Washington state has failed, once again, to pass a carbon tax. Initiative 1631, the Carbon Emissions Fee Measure, would have set a carbon fee starting at $15 per ton in 2020, rising to around $55 per ton in 2035, depending on inflation.

This is the second major election in a row in which Washington voters have rejected a ballot initiative that would put a price on carbon emissions. The first such ballot was proposed in 2016 and failed.

Tuesday’s loss may cast doubt on the broader narrative that states will lead on climate action in the absence of federal leadership, or it could signal that Americans simply aren’t ready to get behind a carbon tax. Alternatively, it could have all come down to spending. Supporters of Initiative 1631 spent at least $12 million to advance the measure, while opponents spent more than $25 million.

Source: Greentech Media  Midterms 2018: Mixed Results for the Renewable Energy Agenda

Background: Five States to Vote on Futile Climate Proposals

Global Warming Favors Rats over Cute Animals

John Robson writes at Nation Post Why will global warming kill only the cute animals?
Excerpts in italics with my bolds

Only loathsome species will flourish, according to certain studies. Why? Because ‘rat explosion’ is more alarming than ‘two degrees’

Rats! It’s global warming again. Can’t we get a break?

No, literally. Not from the warming part. It’s actually quite chilly outside and there hasn’t been any measurable planetary warming since 1999. From the rats. Big ugly swarms of them spreading disease and biting your kids.

Monday’s Post headline actually said “Explosion of rats feared as climate warms.” So the good news is rats aren’t increasing any more than temperature. The bad news is a further increase in passive-voice predictions of doom.

Before the rats reach your face I’d like to note that this “news” story is remarkable for having the plumbing on the outside. It starts “Scientists have shown that the likely 2 degrees of global warming to come this century will be extremely dangerous, but, you know, ‘2 degrees’ is hardly a phrase from horror films. How about ‘rat explosion?’ ”

Exactly. It’s openly a story about hype not science. “The physics of climate change doesn’t have the same fear factor as the biology.” So cue the Fu Manchu-style mandibles, mould and plague because “it’s the creatures multiplying in outbreaks and infestations that generate horror.”

Beach invaded by red crabs.

It’s also old news. I’ve collected quite the file of creepy-crawly global-warming scare stories over the years including “super-sized, extra-itchy poison ivy” (Ottawa Citizen 2006), “tropical and potentially lethal fungus” (Globe and Mail 2007), venomous jellyfish the size of refrigerators (MSNBC 2009), mass starvation and the extinction of humanity (Globe and Mail 2009), bigger and more frequent kidney stones (Ottawa Citizen 2008), soggy pork chops (Globe and Mail 2009), asthma, allergies and runny noses (NBC 2015) and the conflict in Darfur (Ottawa Citizen 2007). Not to mention drought and flooding and the migration of France’s fabled wine industry to … um… Scotland (all Ottawa Citizen 2007), where they’ll be pairing a fine ruby Loch Ness with rat haggis I suppose. Och aye mon.

I could go on and on. But they already did. And don’t go reading these stories and thinking they offer evidence, or rather speculation, that warmth benefits life generally.

Far from it. Virtually none of these stories has anything cute or cuddly flourishing. Unless you count stray cats in Toronto (National Post 2007). Instead it’s a strangely un-PC combination of lookism and speciesism.

If you want to be a climate alarmist without all that tedious mucking about with facts, here’s how. Make a collage of many living things. Circle everything you’d like to see, up close or from a distance, like coral reefs or polar bears. Now predict their catastrophic decline if it gets two degrees warmer. (Don’t worry about them having somehow staggered through the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Pretend it never happened and hope it’s gone in the morning.)

Now circle all the really hideous stuff. Eyes on stalks, pointy noses, smelly, slimy. Predict a huge increase. Chocolate? Gone. (Globe and Mail 2012.) Diarrhea-inducing vibrio bacteria? Coming soon to an intestine near you. (MSNBC 2011.) Zika, or crabs swarming beaches? Oh yeah. (NBC 2016.) Insomnia, insanity and suicide? You bet. (Washington Post 2017, National Post 2018, Globe and Mail 2018.) Beer? Going going … (Guardian 2018.)

Friends, scientists, countrypersons, lend me your ears before some warmth-surfing pest chews them off. Even if a rapidly warming Earth were bad for man and beast, and our fault, the initial phases, with temperatures well within the range since the last glaciation ended 12,000 years back, can’t bring only bad consequences. No wind is that ill.

Nor is it plausible that every single new study says it’s worse than scientists thought. (Especially if “the science is settled”). If it were real science somebody would occasionally discover there’s a bit more time, climate somewhere will improve in the short run, some species that doesn’t have you fumbling for the Raid will flourish briefly. But no.

Even if climate change is going to have wiped out “sea spiders as large as a dinner plate” (Ottawa Citizen 2002) it’s the tragic loss of a unique species. But mostly it’s bumble bees (NBC 2015) or the coelacanth (Ottawa Citizen 2001), which cruised through the Permian-Triassic and Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinctions but now dangles by a rhetorical thread. Oh, and the emperor penguin gets it too (NBC 2014). Plus plankton (Globe and Mail 2000). And walruses (NBC 2014).

As for the rats, one pregnant female will send 15,000 loathsome offspring a year straight to your suburb. None of their natural enemies will flourish. And “Rats are just the beginning … populations of dangerous crop-eating insects are likely to explode … Similar horrors lurk offshore … a population explosion of purple sea urchins — ‘cockroaches of the ocean’ — is choking out other denizens of Pacific kelp forests … we’re all sharing this warming planet, and at the very least surely we can unite against a future filled with rats.”

Or one filled with imaginary horrors? No? Rats.

See also:Alarmists: Global Warming Destroys Good Bugs and Multiplies Bad Bugs

2018 N. Atlantic the Coolest

RAPID Array measuring North Atlantic SSTs.

For the last few years, observers have been speculating about when the North Atlantic will start the next phase shift from warm to cold.

Source: Energy and Education Canada

An example is this report in May 2015 The Atlantic is entering a cool phase that will change the world’s weather by Gerald McCarthy and Evan Haigh of the RAPID Atlantic monitoring project. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

This is known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and the transition between its positive and negative phases can be very rapid. For example, Atlantic temperatures declined by 0.1ºC per decade from the 1940s to the 1970s. By comparison, global surface warming is estimated at 0.5ºC per century – a rate twice as slow.

In many parts of the world, the AMO has been linked with decade-long temperature and rainfall trends. Certainly – and perhaps obviously – the mean temperature of islands downwind of the Atlantic such as Britain and Ireland show almost exactly the same temperature fluctuations as the AMO.

Atlantic oscillations are associated with the frequency of hurricanes and droughts. When the AMO is in the warm phase, there are more hurricanes in the Atlantic and droughts in the US Midwest tend to be more frequent and prolonged. In the Pacific Northwest, a positive AMO leads to more rainfall.

A negative AMO (cooler ocean) is associated with reduced rainfall in the vulnerable Sahel region of Africa. The prolonged negative AMO was associated with the infamous Ethiopian famine in the mid-1980s. In the UK it tends to mean reduced summer rainfall – the mythical “barbeque summer”.Our results show that ocean circulation responds to the first mode of Atlantic atmospheric forcing, the North Atlantic Oscillation, through circulation changes between the subtropical and subpolar gyres – the intergyre region. This a major influence on the wind patterns and the heat transferred between the atmosphere and ocean.

The observations that we do have of the Atlantic overturning circulation over the past ten years show that it is declining. As a result, we expect the AMO is moving to a negative (colder surface waters) phase. This is consistent with observations of temperature in the North Atlantic.

Cold “blobs” in North Atlantic have been reported, but they are usually a winter phenomena. For example in April 2016, the sst anomalies looked like this

But by September, the picture changed to this

And we know from Kaplan AMO dataset, that 2016 summer SSTs were right up there with 1998 and 2010 as the highest recorded.

As the graph above suggests, this body of water is also important for tropical cyclones, since warmer water provides more energy.  But those are annual averages, and I am interested in the summer pulses of warm water into the Arctic. As I have noted in my monthly HadSST3 reports, most summers since 2003 there have been warm pulses in the north atlantic.
AMO October 2018The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and untrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N.  The graph shows warming began after 1993 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since.  October is the fourth hottest month in the dataset, and note the considerable drop from 2017 to October 2018.  Because McCarthy refers to hints of cooling to come in the N. Atlantic, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

AMO decade 102018

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks.  Most recently October 2018 is 0.29C lower than October 2017, and is the coolest October since 2011.

With all the talk of AMOC slowing down and a phase shift in the North Atlantic, we expect that the annual average for 2018 will confirm that cooling has set in.  Through October the momentum is certainly heading downward, despite the band of warming ocean  that gave rise to European heat waves last summer.cdas-sflux_ssta_atl_1

 

Kid’s Climate Lawsuit Update Nov. 5

 

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As predicted in the previous post (reprinted below), US lawyers are following the Supreme’s lead by again asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case.  At the same time, one motion filed at the Oregon District Court asks for a stay of proceedings there pending a ruling by the Appeals Court.  Another motion asks the Oregon court to again consider narrowing the scope of the lawsuit.  The documents can be accessed at Columbia’s climate litigation website for Juliana vs. United States  Some excerpts in italics with my bolds, followed by the Nov. 2 post.

From Petition to Court of Appeals:

If the district court grants certification and stays all proceedings, as the Supreme Court has signaled that it should, it will obviate the need for this Court’s intervention by way of mandamus. If, however, the district court declines to grant certification (despite the Supreme Court’s clear guidance to the contrary), this Court would need to intervene to provide the pretrial appellate review contemplated by the Supreme Court. 

To be clear, the government hopes that this Court’s intervention through extraordinary relief will not be necessary. The government is doing everything in its power to persuade the district court to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance and to certify its decisions for interlocutory appeal. But if the district court declines to do so, this Court should intervene to provide the relief that the Supreme Court has expressly stated “may be available in” this Court — and that is plainly warranted given the fundamental defects in Plaintiffs’ action. ECF No. 416, at 2.

Previous Post Nov. 2, 2018:  Supremes Kick Kids Lawsuit Down the Road

Last night the US Supreme justices refused the federal government’s petition to end the Oregon district court case. The media headlines will say this action allows the case to start, but that is not what happened. The real story concerns procedural hurdles and comes from Scotusblog, not from the green industry PR department (when did yellow journalism change colors?).

Everyone knows this issue will eventually come to the Supreme Court for a ruling. Some judges in black robes will take the heat for telling the truth about the case’s fatal legal flaws. So the Supremes will allow (not prevent) the lower courts to do their job to declare the suit out of bounds. All the while they know any lower ruling will be appealed by the losing side to the top later on.

As you will see, there are probably two more procedural maneuvers before the case can proceed to address the merits, or lack thereof. Yesterday, the Supremes noted that the Ninth District Court of Appeals twice refused the fed’s petition on grounds that no longer pertain. Thus, they suggest that the Ninth take a third kick at this can, perhaps this time actually engaging the issues.

If, as everyone expects, the Ninth follows their San Francisco-based leftist leanings and summarily grants no relief, then the feds can come back to the Supremes having no longer any recourse at lower levels. BTW, two Supreme Justices said they were ready now to grant the federal petition as it stands.

Amy Howe writes truthfully Justices refuse to block climate-change trial. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

Tonight the Supreme Court declined to intervene to block the trial in a lawsuit filed by a group of children and teenagers who have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order the federal government to prepare and put in place a plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions. Although the justices’ ruling formally cleared the way for a trial in the case to go forward, the court stressed that the government may be able to get the relief that it is seeking in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and it did not foreclose the possibility that the government could return to the Supreme Court yet again.

Text of Supreme Court Order ORDER IN PENDING CASE

This afternoon’s order was the latest chapter in the climate-change lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2015, during the Obama administration. The plaintiffs contend that the federal government’s conduct has led to a “dangerous climate system,” in conflict with their constitutional right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

The federal government first came to the Supreme Court in the case last summer, asking the justices to block discovery and a trial until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could rule on the government’s request to have the case dismissed or, at the very least, put on hold. But the justices declined to step in, describing the government’s request as “premature.” At the same time, the justices acknowledged that the plaintiffs’ claims are “striking” and that there are “substantial grounds for difference of opinion” on whether those claims belong in court at all; they also emphasized that the district court should “take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on” other motions that the government had filed seeking dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims.

With a trial looming, the government returned to the Supreme Court again last week, complaining that the district court had declined to “meaningfully narrow” the scope of the case. It asked the justices to either end the lawsuit altogether or, at a minimum, review the district court’s rulings allowing the case to go forward. Chief Justice John Roberts, who at the time handled emergency requests from the geographic area that includes Oregon, agreed to put discovery and the trial on hold temporarily to give the plaintiffs an opportunity to respond to the government’s application.

In their response, the plaintiffs urged the justices to allow the trial to go forward. They noted that most pretrial fact-finding had already been completed, with the only remaining discovery “extremely limited.” The only harm that the government has cited to justify putting the trial on hold, the plaintiffs argued, is that it would otherwise be required to “participate in the normal process of trial and await appellate consideration until after final judgment” – which, in the plaintiffs’ view, is an “ordinary” burden rather than the kind of irreparable harm necessitating emergency relief. By contrast, they suggested, stopping the trial now “will disrupt the integrity of the judiciary’s role as a check on the political branches and will irreparably harm these children.” Indeed, the plaintiffs asserted, discovery and a trial are essential because the district court can’t decide the questions presented by their lawsuit, involving the plaintiffs’ legal right to bring the lawsuit and the allocation of power between the different branches of government, until the facts have been better developed.

In a reply brief, the federal government pushed back, telling the justices that it had made every possible effort in the lower courts to avoid reaching this point, but had been unsuccessful. The government emphasized that what the plaintiffs are asking the federal courts to do is extraordinary, “nothing less than a complete transformation of the American energy system – including the abandonment of fossil fuels.” Such a request, the government continued, “has no place in federal court,” so that granting the government a reprieve from the upcoming trial would “preserve the judiciary’s essential role under the Constitution.”

The government added that, contrary to the plaintiffs’ assurances, the prospect winning on appeal after an “extensive” trial had already taken place would provide little comfort to the government, because of the enormous amount of resources that would have to be devoted to pretrial preparations and the trial itself.

In an unsigned three-page order issued tonight, the Supreme Court explained that it would block the proceedings in the district court only if the government were likely to prevail on its request for an order of the Supreme Court, in particular, requiring the district court to dismiss the case. But the government cannot meet that standard, the justices continued, because it may be able to get the relief that it is seeking in the 9th Circuit. The court acknowledged that the 9th Circuit has twice turned down requests from the government to order the district court to dismiss the case, but it reasoned that the 9th Circuit did so because of the prospect that the plaintiffs’ claims against the government might eventually be dismissed through more conventional avenues. The justices concluded that those “reasons are, to a large extent, no longer pertinent” with a 50-day trial – which had been scheduled for October 29 – looming.

The court therefore denied the federal government’s request to keep the trial on hold “without prejudice” – that is, leaving open the possibility that the dispute could return to the Supreme Court again. The justices’ earlier order putting the trial on hold temporarily, to give them time to consider the government’s request, is terminated. Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch indicated that they would have granted the government’s request.

Background from previous post Supreme Justice Grants Stay of Kids Lawsuit

On Friday, Chief Justice Roberts stayed the discovery and trial of Juliana vs. US, pending responses from the plaintiffs to issues raised by the defense.  Report from The News Review in italics with my bolds.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday granted a stay in the climate trial, Juliana v. United States, pending a response from the plaintiffs.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to dismiss the case brought by 21 young plaintiffs Thursday.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Meg Ward with Our Children’s Trust said the plaintiff’s legal team is working on its response, which it will file Monday.

The Supreme Court order states a response is due by Oct. 24.

Julia Olson, one of the lawyers representing the young plaintiffs, said the prosecution is confident that once the court receives the response the trial will proceed.

“As the Supreme Court has recognized in innumerable cases, review of constitutional questions is better done on a full record where the evidence is presented and weighed by the trier of fact,” Olson said in a news release.

The lawsuit alleges the federal government has violated young people’s constitutional rights through policies that have caused a dangerous climate.

They have said their generation bears the brunt of climate change and that the government has an obligation to protect natural resources for present and future generations.

The young people say government officials have known for more than 50 years that carbon pollution from fossil fuels was causing climate change and that policies on oil and gas deprive them of life, liberty and property. They also say the government has failed to protect natural resources as a “public trust” for future generations.

The lawsuit wants a court to order the government to stop permitting and authorizing fossil fuels, quickly phase out carbon dioxide emissions to a certain level by 2100 and develop a national climate recovery plan.

The Trump administration got a temporary reprieve on the case after also asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the request in July.

“The latest attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the trial does not appear to be based on any new evidence or arguments. The only new element is an additional Supreme Court justice,” said Melissa Scanlan, a professor at Vermont Law School, who is not involved in the case.

Kavanaugh replaced the more moderate Anthony Kennedy.

Scanlan said the Trump administration is trying to avoid “what they’re expecting to be a 50-day trial focused on climate disruption.” The trial in Eugene was expected to wrap up in January.

CNN added this:

Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the justice to stop any further discovery and the pending trial while the government appeals the lower court opinion.

In his filing, Francisco lambasted the suit, calling it “an attempt to redirect federal environmental and energy policies through the courts rather than through the political process, by asserting a new and unsupported fundamental due process right to certain climate conditions.”

Francisco’s language echoes some of the remarks Attorney General Jeff Sessions made before the conservative Heritage Foundation on Monday. “Judicial activism is therefore a threat to our representative government and the liberty it secures,” Sessions said. “In effect, activist advocates want judges who will do for them what they have been unable to achieve at the ballot box. It is fundamentally undemocratic.”

The filings may be welcomed by some of the justices but they also put others in an uncomfortable position, and there’s a risk of going to the well too often.

“The Supreme Court unquestionably has the authority to provide the extraordinary relief the government is seeking in these cases,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.

“That said, it tends to exercise that authority sparingly,” he added,” and there’s reason to wonder if the government, by repeatedly asking for such unusual relief, might be perceived by at least some of the justices as the boy who cried wolf.”

The text of the  US filing is PETITION FOR A WRIT OF MANDAMUS Contents:

Reasons for granting the petition

A. The government has a clear and indisputable
right to relief from the district court’s refusal to
dismiss this fundamentally misguided suit

1. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by exercising jurisdiction over the suit
2. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by allowing the claims to proceed
outside the binding framework of the APA
3. The district court clearly and indisputably
erred by allowing the claims to proceed on the
merits

B. The government has no other adequate means to
attain relief from a fundamentally misguided and
improper trial

C. Mandamus relief is appropriate under the
circumstances

Excerpt from page 26:

Remarkably, the district court rooted its recognition of a fundamental due process right to “a climate system capable of sustaining human life,” App., infra, 141a, in this Court’s recognition of a fundamental right to samesex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015). There is no relationship, however, between a distinctly personal and circumscribed right to same-sex marriage and the alleged right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life that apparently would run indiscriminately to every individual in the United States. The right recognized by the district court has no relationship to any right as “fundamental as a matter of history and tradition” as the right to marry recognized in Obergefell. Id. at 2602.

Background from previous post Supremes Looking at Kids Lawsuit

An Oregon liberal judge is determined to put climate change on trial in Juliana vs US, scheduled to start on October 29, 2018.  But now another pitfall stands in the way.  The Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to review the legitimacy of the scope of the kids’ claims they have a right to an unchanging favorable climate provided to them by the federal government.  Here is the update from Scotusblog by Amy Howe Government returns in climate change lawsuit  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In July, the Supreme Court declined to intervene in a lawsuit filed by a group of 21 children and teenagers who allege that they have a constitutional right to a “climate system capable of sustaining human life.” The justices rejected the federal government’s request to block discovery and a trial until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could rule on the government’s petition seeking to have the case dismissed or, at a minimum, to block discovery and the trial temporarily. Today the Trump administration returned to the Supreme Court, asking it once again to put discovery and the trial – now scheduled for the end of October – on hold.

The case was originally filed in 2015 against the Obama administration. The plaintiffs argue that the federal government’s actions are causing a “dangerous climate system,” and they have asked a federal district court in Oregon to order various federal agencies to prepare and implement a remedial plan to phase out fossil-fuel emissions.

When the government asked the justices to step in over the summer, they rejected the request, which they described as “premature.” But the justices also seemed to express some skepticism about the “breadth” of the plaintiffs’ claims, calling them “striking” and observing that there are “substantial grounds for difference of opinion” on whether those claims belong in court at all. The justices instructed the district court to “take these concerns into account in assessing the burdens of discovery and trial, as well as the desirability of a prompt ruling on the” federal government’s other pending motions, which could result in dismissal of some or all of the plaintiffs’ claims.

The government is now back at the court, telling the justices that earlier this week the district court “declined to meaningfully narrow” the plaintiffs’ claims, instead rejecting various government motions that would have ended the case. The government is now asking the court to order the district court to “end this profoundly misguided suit” or, at the very least, review the district court’s rulings allowing the case to go forward; moreover, the government again urges, the Supreme Court should put discovery and the trial on hold while it considers these requests. There would be no real harm to the plaintiffs from doing so, the government stresses, because the plaintiffs are claiming that they have been harmed by the cumulative effects of carbon dioxide emissions over several decades.

The government’s request, signed by U.S. solicitor general Noel Francisco, goes to Chief Justice John Roberts, who currently serves as the circuit justice for the 9th Circuit. Roberts can act on the government’s application immediately or refer it to the full court.

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

For an insight into the claims being made on behalf of the kids, here is a reprint of a previous post analyzing a brief filed by an IPCC insider.

Climatists Make Their Case by Omitting Facts

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.
arctic-sept-2007-to-20181

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