Pipeline Justice Grinding Slowly

Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine — Sun Tzu, Art of War

An update on pipeline disruption cases is provided by Blake Nicholson, Associated Press, January 9, 2018, in Great Falls Tribune: Court cases from coordinated 2016 pipeline protest delayed. Excerpts below with my bolds.

BISMARCK, N.D. — Several court cases stemming from a coordinated pipeline protest in four states have been delayed, including one where an appeals court is deciding whether to allow two women to argue their law-breaking was necessary to prevent a greater harm.

Eleven activists with the group Climate Direct Action were arrested on Oct. 11, 2016, when they tried to either shut down pipelines in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Washington state or film the attempts. The activists said they were protesting fossil fuels and supporting people demonstrating against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which was still under construction.

The activists broke into private property and turned shutoff valves at five pipelines that moved oil from Canada to the U.S.

In Minnesota, prosecutors have asked a state appeals court to reverse a judge’s ruling that would allow two women to use the so-called necessity defense. The defense is popular among environmental activists who argue that global warming caused by fossil fuels is the greater harm, though legal experts say it’s a long-shot defense.

The appeal delayed the December trial of Seattle-area residents Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, who are accused of closing valves on two pipelines in northwestern Minnesota. The trial hasn’t been rescheduled, and their attorney said he doesn’t expect a resolution on the appeal until spring.

Sentencing has been delayed for two men who were barred from using necessity-defense arguments. Leonard Higgins of Portland, Oregon, was convicted in November of criminal mischief and trespassing in Montana; his January sentencing was pushed to March 20 after his attorneys asked for more time, according to court documents. Seattle resident Michael Foster also was set for sentencing this month in North Dakota but the hearing was moved to February because of a timing conflict.

A Washington state case was resolved last year when Ken Ward, of Corbett, Oregon, was convicted of burglary and sentenced to two days in jail plus community supervision and community service. He, too, wasn’t allowed to use the necessity defense.

The six other arrested activists were accused of filming the vandalism. Prosecutors dropped charges against two of them in Washington. Trials are pending for two others in Minnesota and one in Montana, and one activist is to be sentenced in North Dakota the same day as Foster.


Actually, I don’t mind them taking it slow, so long as they get it right.  Still, putting global warming on trial during this winter weather would have provided at least poetic justice, less so in springtime.


On civil disobedience by climate activists:

A Valve Turner’s Trial: Mostly guilty

Minnesota judge allows ‘necessity defense’ in pipeline case

On the Judiciary unprepared for such cases: Critical Climate Intelligence for Jurists (and others)



Rise and Fall of CAGW


On January 8, 2018 Ross Pomeroy published  at RealClearScience an interesting article The Six Stages of a Failed Psychological Theory

The Pomeroy essay focuses on theories in the field of psychology and describes stages through which they rise, become accepted, challenged and discarded. It has long seemed to me that global warming/climate change theory properly belongs in the field of social studies and thus should demonstrate a similar cycle.

Formerly known as CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming), the notion of “climate change” is logically a subject of social science rather than physical science. “Climate Change” is a double abstraction: it refers to the derivative (change) in our expectations (patterns) of weather. Thus studies of “Climate Change” are properly a branch of Environmental Sociology.

As a social psychology theory, CAGW/climate change bundles together three interdependent assertions.

From the beginning the claimed science, impacts and policies were bundled, which makes CAGW theory unusual. Psychological theories do not typically give rise to activism for changes in social and political policies. Thus the six stages above focus on the rise and fall of a scientific conclusion, with little or no reference to impacts and policies. At the end of this post are links to resources regarding these latter two points.

Examples of Failed Psychology Theories: The “Backfire Effect” and others

Ross Pomeroy (my bolds):
With the publication of his exhaustingly researched and skillfully reported article, “LOL Something Matters,” science writer Daniel Engber convincingly demonstrated that the “backfire effect,” the notion that contradictory evidence only strengthens entrenched beliefs, does not hold up under rigorous scientific scrutiny. Bluntly stated, the “backfire effect” probably isn’t real.

The debunking of this longstanding psychological theory follows similar academic takedowns of ego depletion, social priming, power posing, and a plethora of other famous findings. Indeed, much of what we “know” in psychology seems to be false.

There’s a good reason for this: psychology, as a discipline, is a house made of sand, based on analyzing inherently fickle human behavior, held together with poorly-defined concepts, and explored with often scant methodological rigor. Indeed, there’s a strong case to be made that psychology is barely a science.

How Theories Advance and Collapse

Seeing how disarray defines psychology, it makes perfect sense that the field’s leading theories are vulnerable to collapse. Having watched this process play out a number of times, a clear pattern has emerged. Let’s call it the “Six Stages of a Failed Psychological or Sociological Theory.”

Stage 1: The Flashy Finding. An intriguing report is published with subject matter that lends itself to water cooler conversation, say, for example, that sticking a pen in your mouth to force a smile makes things seem funnier. Media outlets provide gushing coverage.

Stage 1 CAGW Theory

For Climate Change, by many accounts the flashy finding was James Hansen’s famous 1988 testimony in the US Senate. Hansen’s claim to detect global warming was covered by all the main television network news services and it won for him a New York Times front page headline: “Global warming has begun, expert tells Senate.”

While Hansen’s appearance was a PR coup, he actually jumped the gun.  By 1995 IPCC scientists had not yet agreed that humans are causing global warming.  The story of that problem and the subsequent claim of first detection by John Houghton and Ben Santer is described in detail in Bernie Lewin’s fine historical account. (My synopsis is linked at the end.)

So in this sense, the actual Flashy Finding was published by Santer et al. just before Rio COP in Nature July 1996 entitled: A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere
B. D. Santer, K. E. Taylor, T. M. L. Wigley, T. C. Johns, P. D. Jones, D. J. Karoly, J. F. B. Mitchell, A. H. Oort, J. E. Penner, V. Ramaswamy, M. D. Schwarzkopf, R. J. Stouffer & S. Tett  From the abstract:

The observed spatial patterns of temperature change in the free atmosphere from 1963 to 1987 are similar to those predicted by state-of-the-art climate models incorporating various combinations of changes in carbon dioxide, anthropogenic sulphate aerosol and stratospheric ozone concentrations. The degree of pattern similarity between models and observations increases through this period. It is likely that this trend is partially due to human activities, although many uncertainties remain, particularly relating to estimates of natural variability.

An article published the same month in World Climate Report was entitled:“Clearest Evidence” For Human “Fingerprint?” Results clouded if more complete data used  The WCR essay concluded:

We are frankly rather amazed that this paper could have emerged into the refereed literature in its present state; that is not to say that the work is bad, but that there are serious questions—similar to ours—that the reviewers should have asked.

The inescapable conclusions:

1. The vast majority of the “fingerprints” of the greenhouse effect are found way up in the atmosphere, especially in the stratosphere.

2. The “detection” models that were used either don’t predict very much future warming or were run with the wrong greenhouse effect and produce absurd results when the right numbers are put in.

3.And finally, down here in the lower atmosphere, the evidence is much more smudged and is based upon a highly selected set of data that, when viewed in toto, shows something dramatically different than what the paper purports.

The period that Santer et al. studied corresponds precisely with a profound warming trend in this region. But when all of the data (1957 to 1995) are included, there’s no trend whatsoever! We don’t know what to call this, but we believe that at least one of the 13 prestigious authors on this paper must have known this to be the case.

Stage 2: The Fawning Replications. Other psychologists, usually in the early stages of their careers, leap to replicate the finding. Most of their studies corroborate the effect. Those that don’t are not published, perhaps because the researchers don’t want to step on any toes, or because journal editors would prefer not to publish negative findings.

Stage 2 CAGW Theory

Following the human detection claim, the media increasingly filled its time and pages with reports of “multiple lines of evidence” proving CAGW.  Typically these consisted of :

Global temperature rise
Warming oceans
Shrinking ice sheets
Glacial retreat
Decreased snow cover
Sea level rise
Declining Arctic sea ice
Extreme events
Ocean acidification

However, all of these are equivocal, involving signal and noise issues.  And in any case, the fact of any changes does not in itself prove human causation.

Overview of the structure of a state-of-the-art climate model. From the NOAA website.

As suggested by the Santer et al. flashy finding, the claim of human causation was based upon climate models.  And the effort to substantiate that claim was primarily a campaign to construct and experiment with GCMs.  From History of climate modeling by Paul N. Edwards .

Like ripples moving outward from the three pioneering groups (GFDL, UCLA, and NCAR), modelers, dynamical cores, model physics, numerical methods, and GCM computer code soon began to circulate around the world. By the early 1970s, a large number of institutions had established new general circulation modeling programs. In addition to those discussed above, the most active climate modeling centers today include Britain’s Hadley Centre, Germany’s Max Planck Institute, Japan’s Earth Simulator Centre, and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in the United States..

How many GCMs and climate modeling groups exist worldwide? The exact number can be expanded or contracted under various criteria. About 33 groups submitted GCM output to the Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) in the 1990s.A few years later, however, only about 25 groups contributed coupled AOGCM outputs to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP)—reflecting the greater complexity and larger computational requirements of coupled models.  Notably, while the AMIP models included entries from Russia, Canada, Taiwan, China, and Korea, all of the CMIP simulations came from modeling groups based in Europe, Japan, Australia, and the USA, the historical leaders in climate modeling.

The difficulties and uncertainties with climate models have been long understood, and have not been overcome  through the decades, as indicated by the failure to reduce the range estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2.  From Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties Willie Soon et al.

Specifically, we review common deficiencies in general circulation model (GCM) calculations of atmospheric temperature, surface temperature, precipitation and their spatial and temporal variability. These deficiencies arise from complex problems associated with parameterization of multiply interacting climate components, forcings and feedbacks, involving especially clouds and oceans. We also review examples of expected climatic impacts from anthropogenic CO2 forcing.

Given the host of uncertainties and unknowns in the difficult but important task of climate modeling, the unique attribution of observed current climate change to increased atmospheric CO2 concentration, including the relatively well-observed latest 20 yr, is not possible. We further conclude that the incautious use of GCMs to make future climate projections from incomplete or unknown forcing scenarios is antithetical to the intrinsically heuristic value of models. Such uncritical application of climate models has led to the commonly held but erroneous impression that modeling has proven or substantiated the hypothesis that CO2 added to the air has caused or will cause significant global warming.

Stage 3: A Consensus Forms. The finding is now taken for granted, regularly appearing in pop psychology stories and books penned by writers like Malcolm Gladwell or Jonah Lehrer. Millions of people read about it and “armchair” explain it to their friends and family.

Stage 3 CAGW Theory  

The Claims of 97% Consensus of scientists on the question of CAGW stem from five papers, conveniently referenced on NASA’s website.

The first claim of 97% came from a survey sample of 77 climate scientists who said “Yes” to 2 statements: “It has warmed since 1850.”; “Human activity has contributed to the warming.” That survey questionnaire was deliberately not sent to those known to be skeptical: scientists not employed by government or universities; astronomers; solar scientists; physicists; meteorologists.

Another paper noted by NASA on their website is by W. R. L. Anderegg, at the time a PhD student in the department of Biology at Stanford University. He went on to become a professor at Princeton and Utah Universities in the field of ecology and biological sciences, studying the effects of global warming on forests.

Two papers were produced by John Cook  who has an undergraduate education in physics from the University of Queensland and a post-graduate honors year studying solar physics, worked as a self-employed cartoonist before founding a website pushing climate alarmism. For this he was given the title of the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. He is currently completing a PhD in cognitive psychology, researching how people think about climate change.

Finally, a key paper was from Naomi Oreskes who received her PhD degree in the Graduate Special Program in Geological Research and History of Science at Stanford in 1990. Her fields are History of Science and Economic Geology, and she is a prominent activist for IPCC activities.

All five of these papers have been extensively criticized in the peer-reviewed literature for their poor quality. For example:

Regarding Anderegg et al. and climate change credibility, PNAS, Dec. 28, 2010 by Lawrence Bodenstein

The study by Anderegg et al. (1) employed suspect methodology that treated publication metrics as a surrogate for expertise.

In the climate change (CC) controversy, a priori, one expects that the much larger and more “politically correct” side would excel in certain publication metrics. They continue to cite each other’s work in an upward spiral of self-affirmation.

Here, we do not have homogeneous consensus absent a few crackpot dissenters. There is variation among the majority, and a minority, with core competency, who question some underlying premises. It would seem more profitable to critique the scientific evidence than count up scientists, publications, and the like.

Regarding purely scientific questions, it may be justified to discount nonexperts. However, here, dissenters included established climate researchers. The article undermined their expert standing and then, extrapolated expertise to the more personal credibility. Using these methods to portray certain researchers as not credible and, by implication, to be ignored is highly questionable. Tarring them as individuals by group metrics is unwarranted.

Publication of this article as an objective scientific study does a true disservice to scientific discourse. Prominent scientific journals must focus on scientific merit without sway from extracurricular forces. They must remain cautious about lending their imprimatur to works that seem more about agenda and less about science, more about promoting a certain dogma and less about using all of the evidence to better our understanding of the natural world.

A more complete list of published papers refuting these studies is here: All “97% Consensus” Studies Refuted by Peer-Review

More inclusive surveys with more pointed questions show much more diverse opinions. Most scientists agree it has warmed since 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age. Geologists have evidence that the earth was warmer than now during the Medieval Warm Period, more warm during the Roman Warm Period, warmer still in the Minoan period. So the overall trend is a cooling over the last 11,500 years.

Most agree that human land use, such as making dams, farming, building cities, airports and highways, all affect the climate in those locations. The idea that rising CO2 is causing dangerous warming is controversial, with dissenters a large minority.

Stage 4: The Rebuttal. After a few decades, a new generation of researchers look to make a splash by questioning prevailing wisdom. One team produces a more methodologically-sound study that debunks the initial finding. Media outlets blare the “counterintuitive” discovery.

Stage 4 CAGW Theory  

There have been many rebuttals of CAGW theory and in the blogosphere they are proclaimed and shared among skeptics.  But it is still rare for mass media outlets to acknowledge any finding that contradicts the prevailing “consensus” view of CAGW.  On the multiple lines of evidence, the NIPCC series of reports provide references to a trove of peer-reviewed literature that do not support CAGW.  The most recent report is Climate Change Reconsidered II and the list of scientists, authors and reviewers includes people who have objected to CAGW over the years.

An important proof against the CO2 global warming claim was included in John Christy’s testimony 29 March 2017 at the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The text below is from that document which can be accessed here.

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.

Main Point: IPCC Assessment Reports show that the IPCC climate models performed best versus observations when they did not include extra GHGs and this result can be demonstrated with a statistical model as well.

More discussion on this rebuttal is at Warming from CO2 Unlikely

But the mass media is still in thrall of the catastrophic theory (bad news is good for business).

Stage 5: Proper Replications Pour In. Research groups attempt to replicate the initial research with the skepticism and precise methodology that should’ve been used in the first place. As such, the vast majority fail to find any effect.

Stage 5 CAGW Theory

In the case of climate change, the rewards are all skewed in favor of CAGW.  Not only is that bundle of beliefs politically correct, the monopoly of research funding for consensus projects leaves contrarian scientists high and dry.  And to the degree that the case rests on complex and expensive computer climate models, few centers are in a position to challenge the conventional wisdom, and almost none would be rewarded for doing so.

Despite this, every year there are hundreds of new research papers published challenging CAGW.  Kenneth Richard at No Tricks Zone has done yeoman work compiling and summarizing and linking to such studies. His most recent review is  485 Scientific Papers Published In 2017 Support A Skeptical Position On Climate Alarm

The papers are sorted into four categories of views questioning climate alarm.

N(1) Natural mechanisms play well more than a negligible role (as claimed by the IPCC) in the net changes in the climate system, which includes temperature variations, precipitation patterns, weather events, etc., and the influence of increased CO2 concentrations on climatic changes are less pronounced than currently imagined.

N(2) The warming/sea levels/glacier and sea ice retreat/hurricane and drought intensities…experienced during the modern era are neither unprecedented or remarkable, nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability, as clearly shown in the first 150 graphs (from 2017) on this list.

N(3) The computer climate models are not reliable or consistently accurate, and projections of future climate states are little more than speculation as the uncertainty and error ranges are enormous in a non-linear climate system.

N(4) Current emissions-mitigation policies, especially related to the advocacy for renewables, are often ineffective and even harmful to the environment, whereas elevated CO2 and a warmer climate provide unheralded benefits to the biosphere (i.e., a greener planet and enhanced crop yields).

As for climate models, there is a single center (the Russian Institute of Numerical Mathematics), working on GCMs that produce unalarming results.  Out of 33 CMIP5 generation models the INMCM4 appears in the earlier graph above as the only one tracking close to temperature observations.  And reports of the upgrade to INMCM5 appear promising.  For more on this topic:

Climate Model Upgraded: INMCM5 Under the Hood

Stage 6: The Theory Lives On as a Zombie. Despite being debunked, the theory lingers on in published scientific studies, popular books, outdated webpages, and common “wisdom.” Adherents in academia cling on in a state of denial – their egos depend upon it.

Stage 6 CAGW Theory 

Clearly, we are still a long ways from CAGW going to zombie status.  There is still way too much money and fame attached to climate advocacy. But it is fair to say that the position of CAGW has become more precarious.  The presence of a skeptical US President, and the withdrawal of funding and political support for alarmists makes it possible for others to express doubts and explore flaws in the consensus theory.  The collapse of green energy schemes in places like Germany and Australia may also portend the onset of stage six.

Of course, the only sure sign of a theory’s failure is when it becomes the butt of jokes and ridicule in mainstream media.  For that I do appreciate the work of cartoonist Rick McKee of the Augusta Chronicle:

More humor at Cavemen Climate Comics for Sunday

Background Articles

The Flashy Finding: Progressively Scaring the World (Lewin book synopsis)

The Fawning Replications: Climate Models Explained

A Consensus Forms: Talking ClimateNASA and Climate Dogma

The Rebuttal: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

Proper Replications: Climate Reductionism

Zombie CAGW:  Climate Policies Failure, the Movie

Postscript: Charles MacKay on Collective Delusions

Of course the classical masterwork in this field is the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds By Charles MacKay 1841.  Title is link to full pdf text.  Excerpts below with my bolds.

In the present state of civilization, society has often shown itself very prone to run a career of folly from the last-mentioned cases. This infatuation has seized upon whole nations in a most extraordinary manner. France, with her Mississippi madness, set the first great example, and was very soon imitated by England with her South Sea Bubble. At an earlier period, Holland made herself still more ridiculous in the eyes of the world, by the frenzy which came over her people for the love of Tulips. Melancholy as all these delusions were in their ultimate results, their history is most amusing. A more ludicrous and yet painful spectacle, than that which Holland presented in the years 1635 and 1636, or France in 1719 and 1720, can hardly be imagined.

Some delusions, though notorious to all the world, have subsisted for ages, flourishing as widely among civilized and polished nations as among the early barbarians with whom they originated, — that of duelling, for instance, and the belief in omens and divination of the future, which seem to defy the progress of knowledge to eradicate entirely from the popular mind. Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper. To trace the history of the most prominent of these delusions is the object of the present pages. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

MacKay’s study was exhaustive for its time, comprising three volumes;

VOL I. Considered National Delusions, including:

VOL. II described Peculiar Follies, including:

VOL. III compiled more general popular madnesses under three categories:
BOOK I: Philosophical Delusions, down through history with particular recent attention to Alchemists
BOOK II: Fortune Telling
BOOK III: The Magnetisers, a fad only subsiding when the book was written.

Okhotsk Shuffle Jan. 9

Click on image to enlarge.

Coinciding with the Siberian air freezing Niagara Falls and extending frigid temperatures as far south as Carolina, Arctic ice extent got quite variable in the North Pacific, especially in Okhotsk on the left.  The image above shows how ice in that basin shuffled forward, backward and forward again.

Mid-December Okhotsk Sea on the left began growing ice steadily to reach half of 2017 March max, then inexplicably lost over 300k km2 of ice in just four days. In the last nine days it more than gained back the loss.  Meanwhile, Chukchi (upper right) was frozen completely, then retreated, and now closed again.  Bering Sea on the right has been advancing steadily but more slowly than average.

Ice extents for January appear in the graph below; 2018 is shown to date, other years for the full month.  11 year average is 2007 to 2017 inclusive.

Note that 2007 catches and exceeds the 11 year average ending the month tied.  2017 and 2018 are adding ice at nearly average rate but started with deficits to average. SII 2018 has fallen further behind.

Below is the analysis of regions on day 008.  Average is for 2007 to 2017 inclusive.

Region 2018008 Day 008 
2017-Ave. 2017008 2018-2017
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13019244 13560397 -541153 13194225 -174981
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1070178 267 1070445 0
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 965971 966005 -34 966006 -35
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087120 1087136 -16 1087137 -18
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897842 3 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 888549 920916 -32367 917704 -29156
 (6) Barents_Sea 343580 486463 -142883 306884 36696
 (7) Greenland_Sea 551915 599604 -47690 518372 33543
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1044045 1063947 -19902 1199200 -155154
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 853040 69 853214 -106
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260838 1241598 19240 1260887 -49
 (11) Central_Arctic 3202818 3207336 -4518 3125131 77687
 (12) Bering_Sea 212150 544302 -332152 165702 46449
 (13) Baltic_Sea 18026 42662 -24636 22885 -4859
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 593649 537888 55760 783663 -190014

Note that 2018 deficit to average comes mostly from Bering and Barents Seas. The recovering ice in Okhotsk is now above average but still below last year, when Okhotsk accounts for the difference.

Background:  Updated Winter Forecast by Dr. Judah Cohen, January 8, 2018

Dr. Judah Cohen of AER published his current Arctic Oscillation and Polar Vortex Analysis and Forecast on January 8, 2018. His comments are always enlightening, and particularly so this time. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

A minor but regionally very impactful stratospheric PV disruption promoted persistent cross polar flow that emptied Siberia of its cold air and carried it on a direct route to Southeastern Canada and the Northeastern US over the past two weeks. The historic cold of the past two weeks has placed the Eastern US in a position to finish with a cold winter but in no way, has guaranteed the outcome. I am of the opinion that for the winter in the Eastern US to finish with an overall cold solution then at least one other stratospheric PV is necessary but still may not be sufficient. Given the magnitude of the most recent cold air outbreak either a minor or major PV disruption could be enough to ensure a cold winter in aggregate over the three months from December through February.

I would argue that whether the winter will finish in the warm or cold column is science vs. art (at least my own artistic rendition). The science says that the second half of winter will be warm across the Eastern US including the remainder of January and all of February. All dynamical forecasts including most climate forecast system (CFS) forecasts, the national multi-model ensemble (NMME) and the European models all forecast warm see Figure i).

My own instinct tells me the winter will end in the cold column. Of course, the AER winter forecast predicts a cold winter based on Siberian snow cover, Arctic sea ice and tropospheric precursors. But my instinct or gut feeling is based on different metrics – the period of cold, northeastern snowfall and temperature records.

There have been some famously cold Decembers followed by a relatively mild remainder of winter. The two that most readily come to my mind are winters 1983/84 and 1989/90. One more recent but not as dramatic was winter 2005/06. And if my recollection is correct, those cold Decembers transitioned from cold to mild around the holiday season. I cannot recall a mild winter when the cold from December extended into January.

The second is significant snowfall in the I95 corridor. Again, I can’t recall a snowstorm this early in the season of the magnitude of this week’s blizzard occurring during mild winters. I certainly can’t recall any in 1983/84, 1989/90 or 2005/06, though in that last winter there was significant snowfall in February.

Finally, are record temperatures mostly in January. It seems to me that record cold or warm temperatures are an early indication of the overall winter anomaly. Record warm temperatures occur in an overall warm winters and record cold temperatures in an overall cold winter and less so vice versa. I do believe fairly strongly that Nature likes to foreshadow and those are some of the foreshadowing markers that I follow.

Interestingly below normal or convergence of vertical Wave Activity Flux (WAFz) is predicted in the troposphere for next week. This actually favors increased high latitude blocking and may explain the return of strong Alaska ridging with downstream eastern North America troughing and cold weather. But rather than a committed turn to the cold path this appears to be more of a head fake and more mild weather is predicted for the third week of January. Therefore, the return to mild weather in the Eastern US makes me believe we still remain situated at the fork in the road without a full commitment to either the mild or warm path. Though if the GFS forecast of cold reloading in Canada is correct, I think that it is almost inevitable for that cold to slide down into the lower 48 with time.

Put in other words the fork can be represented by the divergence in the polar cap geopotential heights (PCHs) between the troposphere and the stratosphere. PCHs are overall warm/positive in the troposphere while PCHs are overall cold/negative in the stratosphere. In probably overly simplistic terms I am waiting for convergence of either warm or cold PCHs throughout the troposphere and the stratosphere before claiming winter has fully committed to a cold (universal warm PCHs) or mild (universal cold PCHs) winter.

Whichever fork the ice takes, the Polar Bears had a very happy New Years Day.



Museum Offends Warmists: Tweetstorm Ensues

Correction January 9, 2018:
My terminology in the title is off.  The event is more properly called a “twitstorm.”

Wonderful example of leftist conspiracy ideation explodes when warmists are exposed to historical truth.  At the American Museum of Natural History in New York a plaque in place for 25 years has been attacked as though it were a Confederate statue. The whole story comes from a sympathetic source, the Verge:
The climate change misinformation at a top museum is not a conservative conspiracy.

The article describes a  fine dust-up of political correctness.  (Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.)

Over the weekend, Twitter users — including some climate scientists — were upset by a plaque at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, which seems to be spreading misinformation about climate change. The panel, titled “Recent Climatic Changes and Extinctions,” misstates the role that human emissions of greenhouse gases play in causing global warming. It also says that, although we’re currently living in one of Earth’s warm periods, “there is no reason to believe that another Ice Age won’t come.” But it turns out, the panel was put up 25 years ago, according to the museum, so it contains outdated information that reads very differently today.

From an exhibit on Recent Climatic Changes and Extinctions:

The Offensive Text on the Plaque

Images of the sign were first tweeted by environmental economist Jonah Busch, and were shared over 2,000 times. Busch tweeted that the panel is at the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing, which was funded by right-wing philanthropist and fossil fuel magnate David H. Koch, and asked the museum to “separate this panel from its donor’s interest.” The tweet sparked outrage among scientists and the general public: “Dear @AMNH I bring my young kids to visit regularly because science & natural history is fascinating, inspiring and fun,” one tweet read. “Please do not misguide their curious minds. If we can’t even trust the AMNH to give us the facts who can we? Very sad.”

But the sign is actually located in the Hall of Advanced Mammals in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of Mammals and Their Extinct Relatives, and was installed “many years before David Koch supported the Dinosaur Halls,” says Kendra Snyder, a spokesperson for the AMNH, in an email to The Verge. Busch says he didn’t realize that hall was separate from the dinosaur wing because both are on the same floor. Because some of the permanent exhibitions at the AMNH were funded by Exxon as well as the Koch brothers, which are known funders of climate deniers, “it makes it that much harder to give them the benefit of the doubt,” Busch tells The Verge. But Snyder says that at the AMNH, “scientific and educational content is determined by scientists and educators. That is not the role of donors.”

The sign reflects the scientific data available at the time, Snyder says, adding that today, that same information is “clearly subject to misinterpretation.” “If that label copy were written today it would likely come with a different context and emphasis, including more recent scientific data,” Snyder says. “This happens sometimes in permanent halls and we do review existing content — this is a case where we will do that.”

The journalist adds her spin to the story:
The dinosaur wing at the AMNH still bears his name. But the plaque in question is not in that wing, according to Snyder. The sign explains what causes ice ages, Earth’s cyclical periods when temperatures drop and glaciers spread. The sign says that, “There is no reason to believe that another Ice Age won’t come. In the past, warm cycles lasted about 10,000 years, and it’s been that long since the last cool period.” But that’s probably wrong, based on what we know today. Because we pump heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the world is warming up — and that is messing up Earth’s cycles of cold and warm spells. In fact, our CO2 emissions will delay the onset of the next ice age by at least 100,000 years.

The sign in the dinosaur wing also says that, “Human-made pollutants may also have an effect on the Earth’s climatic cycle.” Today, using the word “may” is misleading: the role our greenhouse gas emissions play in causing climate change is well established. Virtually all scientists agree that human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are to blame for the warming up of our planet. In fact, the entire world — except the United States — is working together to cut emissions in order to curb global warming.


Such a tragedy that a supposedly safe space like a museum would mention cooling in the future. Our CO2 emissions prohibit anything but a warmer future.  Human CO2 ensures that the next ice age is postponed almost indefinitely, and that should be on a big sign that everyone can see. And wishy-washy words like “may” have no place in the world as warmists know it.

Can anything in the building be trusted?  Everyone be vigilant! (sarc/off)

Will Lawyers Destroy Science?

Justice: Blind and scientifically illiterate. (Credit: Storyblocks)

Several posts on this blog report on legal maneuvers as anti-fossil fuel activists turn to the courts to advance their agenda.  Now we have an article questioning whether legal thinking is relevant to scientific issues.  From Alex Berezow, editor of RealClearScience: (Full text below in italics with my bolds)

Will Lawyers Destroy Science?

Scientists and lawyers do not get along. There’s a reason for that. Simply put, scientists and lawyers do not think alike.

I was smacked in the face by this reality when I was called into jury duty in 2011. The case involved a car accident, and the standard in Washington State for the jury to decide in favor of the plaintiff is a “preponderance of evidence,” which is a fancy way of saying, “51 percent.” Essentially, a coin toss decides if the plaintiff wins a bunch of money.

The judge asked if any of the potential jurors objected to that. I did. “I’m a scientist,” I explained, “and I need more evidence than that.” So, I was shown the door.*

That experience taught me that scientists and lawyers live in two completely different worlds. Scientists want 95% confidence and margins of error; lawyers want 51% confidence. Scientists want all evidence to be considered; lawyers do everything in their power to dismiss evidence they don’t like. Scientists rely on reports written by experts; lawyers often consider them inadmissible hearsay. At their best, scientists pursue truth; at their best, lawyers pursue the truth, so long as it benefits the client.

These are fundamentally irreconcilable worldviews that are forever destined to be in conflict. And the lawyers are winning.

Scales of justice Alaska Commons

Will Lawyers Destroy Science?

Consider Mark Jacobson, the climate scientist who is suing a prestigious journal for $10 million because it hurt his feelings. There is good reason to believe that the lawsuit will be dismissed, but not before lawyers have collected a nice fee for themselves. Jacobson’s attorneys and the journal’s attorneys can both make a lot of money arguing with each other, even if the suit never actually goes to trial. Routinely, lawyers are required to solve problems that they themselves created. If something like this were to occur in any other area of life, it would be called racketeering.

Recently, RealClearScience wrote an article that covered a paper published in the journal Case Reports in Gastrointestinal Medicine about how a particular herbal tea was linked to acute liver failure. The maker of the tea threatened to sue RealClearScience, which pulled the article because it didn’t want to deal with a lawyer.

In both examples, the scientific enterprise is collateral damage. The mere threat of a lawsuit can be used to shut down scientific debate. This is deeply troubling.

A Lawsuit-Happy Nation

Unfortunately, there are no signs of such lawsuit abuse stopping. Researchers at Harvard’s John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business published a report that showed that the number of lawsuits filed in the United States far exceeds those of similar countries:

On a per capita basis, the lawsuit rate in the U.S. is higher than Canada (by 4 times), Australia (3.8x), Japan (3.3x), France (2.4x), and the UK (1.6x).

Beware, science. A lawsuit-happy nation turns its eyes to you.

*Note: Mission accomplished. I didn’t want to be there, anyway.

Dr. Alex Berezow is the Founding Editor of RealClearScience and Assistant Editor of RealClearWorld. He also is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors. Furthermore, he co-authored the book Science Left Behind, which sold more than 5,000 copies. His work regularly appears in USA Today and The Economist, among other publications. In 2010, he earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Washington.

See Also:

Critical Climate Intelligence for Jurists (and others)

Climate Scientist Sues Over Hurt Feelings


Arctic Ice Mixed Signals

Click on image to enlarge.

With 2017 ice extent estimates complete we can look at the year in perspective.  Above is a graph showing the annual average extents since 2007, comparing MASIE and SII (v3.0).  Obviously, the trend in MASIE could not be flatter, while SII shows a decline.  The first five years the two indices were nearly the same, and since then SII shows less ice, about 260k km2 each year.  Note also how small is the variance year over year: Standard deviation is +/- 260k km2, or about 2.5% of the average annual extent.  This holds for both indices.  Note also a pattern of three higher years followed by two lower years.

A previous post Sea Ice Index Updates to v.3.0 reported on the newest SII version, and we can see how it compares with MASIE over this last year.

Click on image to enlarge.

The first four months show more diversity, both in the 10 year averages and in 2017 results. From May on MASIE 2017 tracks closely to its average, while SII shows 2017 below its average every month. For those who want to see the numbers a table is provided below.

Units 2007
to 2016
2017 2007
to 2016
Jan 13.921 13.503 13.686 13.174
Feb 14.841 14.478 14.553 14.112
Mar 15.053 14.509 14.815 14.273
Apr 14.353 13.941 14.206 13.760
May 12.763 12.838 12.757 12.618
June 10.906 10.975 10.938 10.720
July 8.359 8.383 8.107 7.901
Aug 5.955 6.006 5.657 5.472
Sept 4.663 4.832 4.676 4.797
Oct 6.630 6.804 6.734 6.715
Nov 9.897 9.697 9.718 9.458
Dec 12.235 11.972 12.063 11.752
Annual Ave. 10.798  10.661  10.659  10.396 

Some are proclaiming dire warnings about melting ice and imagining various dangerous impacts. Some fluctuations do appear but not very large and somewhat cyclical. Since 2007 it resembles a plateau more than anything else.

Background on MASIE Data Sources

MASIE reports are generated by National Ice Center from the Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System (IMS). From the documentation, the multiple sources feeding IMS are:



Summary: IMS Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Analysis

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NOAA/NESDIS) has an extensive history of monitoring snow and ice coverage.Accurate monitoring of global snow/ice cover is a key component in the study of climate and global change as well as daily weather forecasting.

The Polar and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs (POES/GOES) operated by NESDIS provide invaluable visible and infrared spectral data in support of these efforts. Clear-sky imagery from both the POES and the GOES sensors show snow/ice boundaries very well; however, the visible and infrared techniques may suffer from persistent cloud cover near the snowline, making observations difficult (Ramsay, 1995). The microwave products (DMSP and AMSR-E) are unobstructed by clouds and thus can be used as another observational platform in most regions. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery also provides all-weather, near daily capacities to discriminate sea and lake ice. With several other derived snow/ice products of varying accuracy, such as those from NCEP and the NWS NOHRSC, it is highly desirable for analysts to be able to interactively compare and contrast the products so that a more accurate composite map can be produced.

The Satellite Analysis Branch (SAB) of NESDIS first began generating Northern Hemisphere Weekly Snow and Ice Cover analysis charts derived from the visible satellite imagery in November, 1966. The spatial and temporal resolutions of the analysis (190 km and 7 days, respectively) remained unchanged for the product’s 33-year lifespan.

As a result of increasing customer needs and expectations, it was decided that an efficient, interactive workstation application should be constructed which would enable SAB to produce snow/ice analyses at a higher resolution and on a daily basis (~25 km / 1024 x 1024 grid and once per day) using a consolidated array of new as well as existing satellite and surface imagery products. The Daily Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice Cover chart has been produced since February, 1997 by SAB meteorologists on the IMS.

Another large resolution improvement began in early 2004, when improved technology allowed the SAB to begin creation of a daily ~4 km (6144×6144) grid. At this time, both the ~4 km and ~24 km products are available from NSIDC with a slight delay. Near real-time gridded data is available in ASCII format by request.

In March 2008, the product was migrated from SAB to the National Ice Center (NIC) of NESDIS. The production system and methodology was preserved during the migration. Improved access to DMSP, SAR, and modeled data sources is expected as a short-term from the migration, with longer term plans of twice daily production, GRIB2 output format, a Southern Hemisphere analysis, and an expanded suite of integrated snow and ice variable on horizon.



Some people unhappy with the higher amounts of ice extent shown by MASIE continue to claim that Sea Ice Index is the only dataset that can be used. This is false in fact and in logic. Why should anyone accept that the highest quality picture of ice day to day has no shelf life, that one year’s charts can not be compared with another year? Researchers do this, including Walt Meier in charge of Sea Ice Index. That said, I understand his interest in directing people to use his product rather than one he does not control. As I have said before:

MASIE is rigorous, reliable, serves as calibration for satellite products, and continues the long and honorable tradition of naval ice charting using modern technologies. More on this at my post Support MASIE Arctic Ice Dataset

Arctic Year End: Okhotsk Surprise.

Arctic ice extent grows slowly this time of year since many regions are already covered completely.  In recent days 2017 reached 84% of the maximum last March, but dropped below the 10 year average.  As we can see, most of the action was a dramatic seesaw in Okhotsk Sea, a Siberian basin in the North Pacific.

Mid-December Okhotsk Sea on the left began growing ice steadily to reach half of 2017 March max, then inexplicably lost over 300k km2 of ice in just four days.  Meanwhile, Chukchi (upper right) froze completely, then retreated somewhat.  Bering Sea on the right has been advancing steadily but more slowly than average.

The overall effect in December is shown in the graph below:
Note that 2007 matches the 10 year average, while 2012 is well above.  Lagging behind are 2016, 2017 and SII 2017.  This year’s deficit to average appears in the last 11 days, mostly due to Bering and the Okhotsk year end surprise.
Most of the month combined Bering and Okhotsk (B&O) extents were average, until the inexplicable drop starting day 361. Except for those two seas, the month was unremarkable.
At year end, 2017 NH ice, excluding B&O, is down about 200k km2, or 2% of average.  Below is the analysis of regions on day 365.

Region 2017365 Day 365
2017-Ave. 2007364 2017-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 12628187 13148939 -520752 13049737 -421550
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070445 1070225 220 1069711 734
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 943883 966001 -22118 965971 -22089
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087120 1087134 -14 1087120 0
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897841 4 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 892689 888842 3848 871851 20839
 (6) Barents_Sea 331819 448769 -116950 334577 -2758
 (7) Greenland_Sea 555757 584649 -28892 666135 -110378
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 978074 1025197 -47123 1074827 -96753
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853109 853054 55 852556 553
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1260838 1227587 33251 1260856 -19
 (11) Central_Arctic 3191526 3207659 -16133 3199726 -8200
 (12) Bering_Sea 194350 446066 -251716 373942 -179592
 (13) Baltic_Sea 13345 34329 -20984 9972 3374
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 336595 387522 -50928 371241 -34646

Most of 2017 deficit is in Bering and Barents, less so in Okhotsk with yesterday’s recovery.  Perhaps the Polar Vortex sent frigid air into the US and Canada and replaced it with warmer southern air, and ice receded as a result.  I have reported on Arctic incursions in a post Arctic Inversions and Intrusions but the speed of the effect on ice (if that is the phenomenon) is still surprising.  We shall see if it persists or not.

Background:  Winter Forecast by Dr. Judah Cohen, Dec. 25

On Christmas Day Dr. Judah Cohen published his updated Arctic Oscillation and Polar Vortex Analysis and Forecast  Excerpts below

As I have been discussing the past two blog posts I continue to believe that this is the most critical period of the winter and will ultimately determine the character of the winter. In my opinion, we have approached a fork in the road and the atmosphere can take two possible paths one is a path where the rest of the winter is relatively mild across the mid-latitudes of the NH and the second is a colder path or solution. The tropospheric polar vortex has been relatively weak for much of the month of December as illustrated by the relatively warm polar cap geopotential heights (PCHs) for the first half of December that then boomeranged off the mid-stratosphere and after a short respite with colder tropospheric PCHs, warmer PCHs in the troposphere are predicted through the end of the month and into early January.

Based on the easterly phase of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) I have been favoring a significant PV disruption most likely in January for much of the fall.  A significant stratospheric PV disruption would then be followed by an extended period of severe winter weather across the mid-latitudes of the NH.  However, I have to admit as of yet there are no signs of this scenario.  There is still time but not much.  However, there is another scenario that could still yield a relatively cold winter and that is one analogous to what happened in the winter of 2013/14 where no significant disruptions of the stratospheric occurred but rather repeated minor disruptions that yielded a cold winter for central and eastern North America. Though at first, I acknowledged this possibility I was hesitant to favor this scenario.  However, the longer the delay in a major disruption of the stratospheric PV the more I favor this scenario.

The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is currently slightly positive and is predicted to trend slowly negative through the end of the week towards neutral. The forecast is for the AO to remain close to neutral next week, likely a sign of uncertainty.

Figure 7. Forecasted snowfall anomalies (mm/day; shading) from 31 December 2017 – 4 January 2018. The forecasts are from the 00Z 18 December 2017 GFS ensemble. Note the new projection to provide finer resolution.

The current positive AO is reflective of mixed pressure/geopotential height anomalies across the Arctic and mostly positive pressure/geopotential height anomalies across the mid-latitudes. The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is also currently slightly positive with weak pressure/geopotential height anomalies across Greenland and Iceland and positive pressure/geopotential height anomalies across the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic.

A return to Ural ridging/blocking at the turn of the calendar year favors active energy transfer from the troposphere to the stratosphere. Another pulse is predicted to commence this week and peak the first few days of January. The pulse itself is likely related to relaxation of the pattern and mild temperatures across North America. However, the predicted resultant perturbation to the stratospheric polar vortex (PV) especially the building of heights over northwestern North America in my opinion could once again favor the return of cold temperatures across eastern North America later in January.

Figure 9. Forecasted snowfall anomalies (mm/day; shading) from 5 – 9 January 2018. The forecasts are from the 00Z 25 December 2017 GFS ensemble. Troughing and/or cold temperatures will support the potential of additional snowfall across Eastern Europe, Siberia, West and East Asia, Alaska, Canada and the Northwestern US. Despite below normal temperatures, temperatures warm sufficiently to support snowmelt across the Eastern US (Figure 9).

Ice did not grow this past week on the North Pacific side of the Arctic basin, still I expect the negative ice anomalies in the region to shrink.  Sea ice is below normal in the Barents-Kara Seas as well and with time the greatest negative sea ice anomalies will likely reside in this region.  As I have been writing for much of the fall I do believe that the record low sea ice anomalies in the Chukchi and Bering Seas has focused ridging/blocking in this region.  Though model forecasts do not predict a return of the blocking in the foreseeable future.

Recent research has shown that regional anomalies are important and the sea ice region most highly correlated with the winter AO is the Barents-Kara Seas region where low Arctic sea ice favors a negative winter AO and a cold Eurasia.  Below normal sea ice in this region may be contributing to more active Wave Activity Flux/poleward heat transport predicted in the models that eventually could result in a negative AO.

As we have seen, the Polar Vortex did indeed return to North America, freezing Niagara Falls in the process.

Whichever fork the ice takes, the Polar Bears had a Merry Christmas



How Cold Is It? Niagara Falls Froze.

Visitors take photographs at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. AARON LYNETT / THE CANADIAN PRESS

From the Ottawa Citizen:

The teeth-shattering temperatures threatening to put New Year’s Eve festivities on ice have even managed to freeze part of Niagara Falls.

With the bone-chilling, record-smashing temperatures, tens of millions in Canada and the northern United States are suffering through the cold snap expected to continue another week.

On New Year’s Eve day, Ottawa is to see a high of just -19 C and a low of -28. And it’s to be even colder as we ring in 2018. On New Year’s Day, it won’t get any “warmer” than -22, with the low dropping all the way to -32. That’s an actual temperature, folks, not a wind chill.

The record low for Dec. 31 (1938-2010) is listed by Environment Canada as -26.1 C in 1962, with the Jan. 1 Ottawa record (1939-2011) at -27.2 in 1947.

“2017 is about to end with the coldest air of the year,” Environment Canada said in a news release. “A fresh surge of record-breaking Arctic air is forecast to encompass the entire province in its icy grip. A trough of low pressure currently over Southern Ontario will drop south of the Great Lakes tonight, opening the door to an even colder northerly wind.”Already, New Year’s Eve events planned for Ottawa and Toronto have been curtailed because of the cold.

Ottawa 2017 organizers have moved New Year’s Eve events into city hall. The only outside event will be the torch lighting set for 8:17 p.m. Sunday..

Visitors take photographs at the brink of the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Friday. AARON LYNETT / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The freezing temperatures in the U.S. are being blamed on a number of deaths on the road and people exposed to the cold.

• Icy road conditions in central Michigan triggered more than 30 crashes Friday, including a pileup involving 40 cars.

• South Carolina endured a rare bout of freezing rain that shut bridges that needed to be de-iced.

• Two thresher sharks washed up near Cape Cod, Mass., frozen to death.

• In South Dakota, an 83-year-old woman died from exposure when her car crashed. Earlier, three others froze to death near Lake Erie when their car slid off the road.

• Across the Great Lakes, in Erie, Pa., help lines have “been ringing off the hook” after the city — two hours west of Buffalo — was plastered by a massive 165-cm dump of snow.

“This is a crippling snow event,” Zach Sefcovic, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told Reuters. “They are no strangers to snow in that part of the state, but this much snow in that short a time is just unprecedented.”

For the current winter forecast from Dr. Judah Cohen see: Arctic Fork in the Road Dec. 25

Where are we going with this?


h/t Paolo Macera

It’s so cold even this Quebec snowman is headed south.

Judge delivers crushing blow to Washington Clean Air Rule

h/t GWPF for breaking this story  The WSJ article is parywalled, so here is an article from the Bellevue Reporter Judge delivers crushing blow to (Governor) Inslee’s Clean Air Rule Full text below with my bolds

Twenty-seven months ago Gov. Jay Inslee set out to curb emission of carbon pollutants through a sweeping rewrite of the state’s clean air rules.

A week ago a Thurston County judge said Inslee’s executive fiat went too far.

Superior Court Judge James Dixon concluded the governor’s Department of Ecology exceeded its authority with the regulatory scheme it developed and had been taking steps to put in place.

Inslee didn’t issue a statement on receiving this legal lump of coal.

His spokeswoman, Jaime Smith, said in an email that the ruling is “disappointing” and they are looking into options the department can pursue.

The rule targeted the state’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, such as natural gas distributors, petroleum product producers and importers, power plants, metal manufacturers, and landfill operators. Large manufacturing operations, such as the Boeing Co. plant in Everett, also made the list of those expected to be affected at some point in the future.

Inslee wanted to require those large polluters to reduce carbon emissions by an average of 1.7 percent annually. Initially, the rule would apply to those that release at least 100,000 metric tons of carbon a year. Every three years the threshold would drop and as a result more companies would be subject to the requirements.

From the outset, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) opposed the approach as an overreach from the executive branch. Two years and 29,000 pages of legal filings later, a judge agreed.

Dixon, ruling from the bench, concluded the department’s regulatory reach is limited to those companies that directly introduce contaminates into the air, said Bob Battles, AWB’s general counsel. It lacked authority to regulate suppliers of natural gas and petroleum products because they are not an emitting party, he said.

This is a crushing blow for the governor.

The clean air rule is the centerpiece of Inslee’s legislative and political crusade against climate change. He’s called it “the nation’s first Clean Air Rule, to cap and reduce carbon pollution.” He touted it on college campuses around the state and at international conferences around the globe.

Now it’s gone.

There may be an appeal. Ecology’s lawyers want to see if at least the portion of the rule applying to emitters such as refineries can go forward.

But adjudicating this matter further will take time. If there are appeals, it’s unlikely the regulation as now written could be enforced before the end of the governor’s second, and possibly last, term as governor.

At this point, he’s got to be looking to the Legislature or the electorate for an assist.

Democratic lawmakers could provide it by using their majorities in the House and Senate to send him legislation directing new regulations be imposed on carbon polluters.

And it’s probably just a happy coincidence that Dec. 14, one day before the judge put the kibosh on his rule, Inslee said he’ll put forth a new carbon pricing scheme sometime next month which they’ll be able to consider.

But Dems have struggled mightily to agree among themselves on what to do on climate change so don’t count on 2018 being much different.

Voters seem like the best bet at this point.

If environmentalists can get a measure on next November’s ballot and wealthy Inslee friends like billionaire Tom Steyer cq JC pony up enough dough, it could pass.

That certainly would ease the sting of getting the lump of coal.

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

Alarmists Anonymous

The latest example of arctic hysteria comes from the usual suspects published at the usual venue, Inside Climate News. Polar Ice Is Disappearing, Setting Off Climate Alarms

Excerpts below with my bolds: The short-term consequences of Arctic (and Antarctic) warming may already be felt in other latitudes. The long-term threat to coastlines is becoming even more dire.

“When you’re taking out 30, 40, almost 50 percent of the ice cover, that’s a big change in the environment,” Meier said. “Whether we’re seeing it yet, there’s still some debate, but whether there will be an effect as we continue to lose ice, I think that’s pretty obvious.”

“There’s no evidence that anything is recovering here,” said Mark Serreze, the director of the NSIDC. “What we’ve seen historically is a downward trend in ice extent in all months. Superimposed on that are the ups and downs of natural variability. We’re going to continue to head downward.

“We are looking at an ice-free Arctic Ocean sometime in the 2040s,” said Serreze. “There’s no evidence that we’ve seen anything like this before.”

Ted Scambos, lead scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said that while the current pace of melting is not alarming, a series of papers “has led to a realization that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may already be in an irreversible retreat.

Greenland is melting, too—for now, it’s the biggest threat. “Greenland has become Loserville,” said Jason Box, who tracks ice for the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

“New observations from many different sources confirm that ice-sheet loss is accelerating,” the United States Global Change Research Program said in its comprehensive special report on climate science. “Up to 8.5 feet of global sea level rise is possible by 2100” in a worst-case emissions scenario. That’s almost 2 feet more than scientists expected just a few years ago.

“So we’re guaranteed significant sea level rise no matter what we do, even under the optimistic Paris scenario,” Box said. “We had better prepare.”

These warnings of wolves are starting to sound the same: “It never happened before, is not happening now, but it will surely destroy us in the future if we don’t do something.”

Meanwhile the facts on the ground are not alarming: For example September minimums:
More details at Overachieving September Arctic ice

And the refreezing is not at all unusual:
The AAs (Arctic Alarmists) are putting their faith in the BBs (Barents and Bering), the only two basins below average this year. Both are marginal to the Arctic Ocean and both are heavily affected by human marine activities, including shipping, navies, fishing, tourism and sea floor extraction.

These outrageous appeals by alarmists in the face of contrary facts remind me of the story defining the term “chutzpuh.” A young man is convicted of killing his parents, and later appears before the judge for sentencing. Asked to give any last words, he replies: “Go easy on me, your Honor, I’m an orphan.”
Fortunately, there is help for climate alarmists. They can join or start a chapter of Alarmists Anonymous. By following the Twelve Step Program, it is possible to recover and unite in service to the real world and humanity.

Step One: Fully concede (admit) to our innermost selves that we were addicted to climate fear mongering.

Step Two: Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves causes weather and climate, restoring us to sanity.

Step Three: Make a decision to study and understand how the natural world works.

Step Four: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, our need to frighten others and how we have personally benefited by expressing alarms about the climate.

Step Five: Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our exaggerations and false claims.

Step Six: Become ready to set aside these notions and actions we now recognize as objectionable and groundless.

Step Seven: Seek help to remove every single defect of character that produced fear in us and led us to make others afraid.

Step Eight: Make a list of all persons we have harmed and called “deniers”, and become willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine: Apologize to people we have frightened or denigrated and explain the errors of our ways.

Step Ten: Continue to take personal inventory and when new illusions creep into our thinking, promptly renounce them.

Step Eleven: Dedicate ourselves to gain knowledge of natural climate factors and to deepen our understanding of nature’s powers and ways of working.

Step Twelve: Having awakened to our delusion of climate alarm, we try to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


With a New Year close at hand, let us hope that many climate alarmists take the opportunity to turn the page by resolving a return to sanity. It is not too late to get right with reality before the cooling comes in earnest.