The pandemic has sucked the air out of the climatism scare, so the usual suspects are stirring the pot this Halloween season. Of course many are joining to make up this witches brew, but take for example this CBS News report today: For many climate change finally hits home. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
2020 has been a year of nonstop crises. For a while there, it was almost possible to forget an ongoing crisis that used to have our attention: climate change. But Nature found a way to remind us.
In the Midwest, punishing 100-mile-per-hour winds. In the Southwest, a brutal succession of floods and droughts. On the coasts: a freakish number of devastating hurricanes.
And in our Western states, historic mega-fires that sent a plume of ash and smoke all the way to the East Coast. More than four million acres have burned in California alone. To put that into perspective, that is larger than the state of Connecticut.
In the last 20 years, we’ve experienced twice the number of weather disasters as we did in the previous 20 years. Cost so far? About $3 trillion.
Yes, climate change is back in the headlines.
Wallace-Wells said climate change is not just about warmer weather: “It changes the whole system. Rainstorms are gonna be more intense. The oceans are heating up, which means that hurricanes are gonna become more intense and more frequent, as they already are. There are gonna be extreme droughts, as well as extreme rainfalls.
“It’s just a kind of a scrambling of what had been a very stable system on which we’ve erected all of human civilization.” And it’s not just unstable weather, it’s unstable us.
“Agricultural yields could fall by half or more over the course of the century if we don’t change course,” said Wallace-Wells. “It affects respiratory illnesses, cancer. It affects cognitive performance, development of children.”
So, there is some good news: more people are talking about the climate crisis; more countries are doing something about it (even China); and last year, for the first time, the price of clean, renewable energy actually fell below the price of burning coal.
On the other hand, we’re getting started far too late.
Pogue asked David Wallace-Wells if the latest developments give him any hope: “If you’re hoping to preserve the planet of our grandparents, there’s no reason for hope,” he replied. “If you’re hoping to preserve the climate as we know it today, there’s really no reason for hope there, either.
The antidote to this feverish litany of climate cliches is to remember the facts which contradict the alarmists’ appeal to feelings. A previous post explains why the media persists in this behavior and why they abuse our trust in their slanting of the news. From
Climate Hype is a Cover Up.
Background and Context
Back in 2015 in the run up to Paris COP, French mathematicians published a thorough critique of the raison d’etre of the whole crusade. They said:
Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.
- Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
- Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
- Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.
The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper presenting a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis with links to the entire document is at COP Briefing for Realists
Even without attending to their documentation, you can tell they are right because all the media climate hype is concentrated against those three points.
Finding: Nothing unusual is happening with our weather and climate.
Hype: Every metric or weather event is “unprecedented,” or “worse than we thought.”
Finding: Proposed solutions will cost many trillions of dollars for little effect or benefit.
Hype: Zero carbon will lead the world to do the right thing. Anyway, the planet must be saved at any cost.
Finding: Nature operates without caring what humans do or think.
Hype: Any destructive natural event is a result of humans burning fossil fuels.
How the Media Throws Up Flak to Defend False Suppositions
The Absurd Media: Climate is Dangerous Today, Yesterday It was Ideal.
Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus. A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:
It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.
Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.
Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.
Alarming Weather and Wildfires
But: Weather is not more extreme.
And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.
Litany of Changes
Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.
We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.
When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.
We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.
The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.
Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.
We’re seeing more intense storms.
But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.
But: All of these are within the range of past variability.
And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.
The Impractical Media: Money is No Object in Saving the Planet.
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.
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
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
The Irrational Media: Whatever Happens in Nature is Our Fault.
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.
The hype is produced by computer programs designed to frighten and distract children and the uninformed. For example, there was mention above 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
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 the media nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.
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, advocates 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.
Say what you want about the liberal arts, but they’ve found a cure for common sense.
By Robert Curry writes at American Thinker Making Sense of Common Sense. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
As we all know, acquiring common sense can be a matter of life and death. I’m thinking, for example, of the teenage boy who swallowed a garden slug on a dare, became paralyzed, and died recently. Because children lack common sense, parents must do what they have always done, trying to instill common sense in their children while at the same time using their own common sense to encompass the growing child.
Becoming a person of common sense has always been a life-defining challenge, but acquiring common sense has gotten a lot more difficult for young people in our time, especially if they have spent some time in our institutions of higher learning. My witty friend Robert Godwin has this to say about that: “Say what you want about the liberal arts, but they’ve found a cure for common sense.”
When I headed off to college, my high school teacher who was my mentor offered me two commonsense rules to follow: “Take care to stay well, and choose professors, not courses.” Because of my high regard for him, I took his words to heart. Later, when I saw the problems my fellow students brought on themselves by not getting enough sleep and generally being careless about their health, I understood the practical wisdom of what he had told me. And the second rule helped me more quickly understand the value of navigating my way through college by who was teaching the course rather than by the course title.
For years, I handed on the same commonsense wisdom to young folks I knew when they headed off to college. But I have not offered that advice for some years now. Here is what I tell them now: “They are going to try to knock common sense out of you; don’t let them.”
Post script: From the comments below, Otto was pushing for info regarding volcanoes and the Holocene Climate Optimum. I responded thus:
Otto, I don’t see volcanoes causing the HTM (Holocene Thermal Maximum).
The HTM ended at different times in different parts of the world, but it had ended everywhere by 4,000 BP (BP here means the number of years before 2000) and the world began to cool. Your link refers to the Santorini eruption ending the Minoan warming as well as that civilization.
From Renssen et al. 2012:
“The Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM) was a relatively warm climatic phase between 11 and 5 ka BP, as indicated by numerous proxy records (Kaufman et al., 2004; Jansen et al., 2007, 2008; Wanner et al., 2008; Miller et al., 2010a; Bartlein et al., 2011). The relatively warm conditions during the HTM are commonly associated with the orbitally-forced summer insolation maximum (Wanner et al., 2008; Bartlein et al., 2011). However, proxy records suggest that both the timing and magnitude of maximum warming varied substantially between different regions across the globe, suggesting involvement of additional forcings and feedbacks (Jansen et al., 2007; Bartlein et al., 2011). One important additional factor affecting the early Holocene climate is the remnant Laurentide Ice sheet (LIS).
From this we learn three things:
Climate warms and cools without any help from humans.
Warming is good and cooling is bad.
The hypothetical warming from CO2 would be a good thing.
It’s just common sense, after all.