Crunching Climate $$$

The Paris agreement involves estimates of future damages because of global warming assumed to be caused by burning of fossil fuels. Looking into the numbers raises a surprising predicament, as explained by Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine. The title of his article points to the problem:

Climate Change Will Reduce Incomes in 2100 from $97,000 to $95,000

Global per capita income now is $10,000. How much should we spend to prevent climate change losses in 2100?

Set aside the flawed science claiming CO2 is the climate control knob, even the damage estimates pale in comparison with the march of prosperity. Bailey works with the numbers from alarmist economists Nordhaus and Moffatt. Excerpt below with my bolds.

The Yale economist William Nordhaus has spent decades using a combination of econometric and climate models to estimate global warming’s future effects. He isn’t the only researcher who’s been attempting to make such projections, and Nordhaus’ latest study considers a range of different estimates. (Get your salt shaker ready.)

In a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Nordhaus and his colleague Andrew Moffatt survey 36 different estimates (derived from 27 studies) of climate change’s impact on gross world product by the year 2100. Nordhaus and Moffatt note that “there are many studies of theoretical temperature increases in the 2 to 4°C range, and that they cluster in the range of a loss of 0 to 4% of global output.” After crunching the numbers, they report:

The estimated impact from the preferred regression is 1.63% of income at 3°C warming and 6.53% of income at a 6°C warming. We make a judgmental adjustment of 25% to cover unquantified sectors….With this adjustment, the estimated impact is -2.04 (+ 2.21)% of income at 3°C warming and -8.16 (+ 2.43)% of income at a 6°C warming.

The authors note that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report declined to make an estimate of future losses, but in the Fourth Report, the panel stated that “Global mean losses could be 1 to 5% of GDP for 4°C of warming.” This means that Nordhaus and Moffatt’s findings are broadly in line with the climate change consensus.

So what do these findings portend for people lucky enough to be alive in 2100? Let’s consider the best-case scenario first. Annual gross world product is currently somewhere around $75 trillion, which without adjustments means that global income stands at around $10,000 per capita. Assume 3 percent economic growth from now until 2100, and a global population that year of 9 billion. Without climate change, world GDP would rise to $872 trillion and income would be $97,000 per capita. Assuming a 3°C increase in average temperature, that would reduce global GDP from $872 trillion to $854 trillion, and income to $95,000 per capita. At 6°C, the figures would be $800 trillion and $89,000 per capita.

In the unlikely event that global economic growth dawdles along at only 2 percent per year for the rest of this century, gross world product would rise to only $388 trillion and income to $43,000 per capita without warming. A 3°C rise in average temperature would reduce global GDP to $380 trillion and income to $42,000 per person; a 6°C increase would cut global GDP to $360 trillion and income to $40,000 per person.

The Nordhaus and Moffatt survey of studies also found “no indication from the damage estimates of a sharp discontinuity or high convexity.” In other words, the studies do not identify threshold effects in which damages from climate change accelerate in the future.

These calculations bring up this question: How much should people living today making an average of $10,000 apiece spend in order to prevent the future incomes from falling from $97,000 to $95,000 per capita?

Now is the time to get out your salt shaker and liberally apply the sodium chloride to these calculations.

See also post Climate Policies Gouge the Masses

Excerpt: David R. Henderson, public policy economist at the Stanford Hoover Institution, puts the issue this way:

Claims that human-caused global warming will raise average temperatures by 2C to 5C over the next 100 years and cause serious harm to society are controversial. However, assuming that global warming will be a big problem, there are two important questions: (1) What should be done about it? and (2) When should it be done?

There is much debate about what discount rate to use when comparing environmental costs and benefits. Generally, the more one values today’s dollars over tomorrow’s, the higher is one’s discount rate. At one extreme, an infinitely high discount rate would imply that we place almost no value on future consumption. Conversely, using a discount rate of zero means that benefits today are no more valuable than benefits 100 years from now..

However, the choice of which discount rate to use is not about the weight given to the well-being of future generations but about opportunity costs. Investments people make today are likely to increase the wealth of their descendants, giving future generations greater resources to exercise their preferences regarding environmental protection.

The higher the rate of return that can be earned by investing a dollar today, the more wealth future generations are deprived of if the money is spent now. Thus, Kevin Murphy of the University of Chicago argues that we should use the market interest rate as the discount rate because that is the opportunity cost of climate mitigation. Interestingly, even Stern’s own model assumes that people 200 years from now will have real incomes that are more than 10 times incomes today. This means that if the government taxes people today explicitly or through regulations to reduce climate change 200 years from now, the government will be taxing the poor to help the rich.

 

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Sorry Climate Science

h/t Scottish Skeptic for referring to this article by James Delingpole in the Sun UK

How scientists got their global warming sums wrong — and created a £1TRILLION-a-year green industry that bullied experts who dared to question the figures

The summary puts the point clearly.  The scientists who produce those doomsday reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finally come clean. The planet has stubbornly refused to heat up to predicted levels.  Read the whole thing.  Favorite excerpts below with my bolds.

I’VE just discovered the hardest word in science.

Not pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis (inflammation of the lungs caused by inhalation of silica dust). Nor palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (a lipid bilayer found in nerve tissue).

No, the actual hardest word — which scientists use so rarely it might as well not exist — is “Sorry”.

Which is a shame because right now the scientists owe us an apology so enormous that I doubt even a bunch of two dozen roses every day for the rest of our lives is quite enough to make amends for the damage they’ve done.

Thanks to their bad advice on climate change our gas and electricity bills have rocketed.

So too have our taxes, our car bills and the cost of flying abroad, our kids have been brainwashed into becoming tofu-munching eco-zealots, our old folk have frozen to death in fuel poverty, our countryside has been blighted with ranks of space-age solar panels and bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes, our rubbish collection service hijacked by hectoring bullies, our cities poisoned with diesel fumes . . .

And all because a tiny bunch of ­scientists got their sums wrong and scared the world silly with a story about catastrophic man-made global warming.

This scare story, we now know, was at best an exaggeration, at worst a ­disgraceful fabrication. But while a handful of reviled and derided sceptics have been saying this for years, it’s only this week that those scientists have fessed up to their mistake.

One scientist has described the ­implications of the new Nature Geoscience report as “breathtaking”. He’s right. What it effectively does is scotch probably the most damaging ­scientific myth of our age — the notion that man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) is causing the planet to warm at such dangerous and ­unprecedented speeds that only massive government intervention can save us.

For a quarter of a century now — it all really got going in 1992 when 172 nations signed up to the Rio Earth Summit — our politicians have believed in and acted on this discredited theory.

Doomsday was predicted, but midnight passed without disaster.

In the name of saving the planet, war was declared on carbon dioxide, the benign trace gas which we exhale and which is so good for plant growth it has caused the planet to “green” by an extraordinary 14 per cent in the last 30 years.

This war on CO2 has resulted in a massive global decarbonisation industry worth around $1.5trillion (£1.11trillion) a year. Though it has made a handful of green crony capitalists very rich, it has made most of us much poorer, by forcing us to use expensive “renewables” instead of cheap, abundant fossil fuels.

So if the science behind all this ­nonsense was so dodgy, why did no one complain all these years?

Well, a few of us did. Some — such as Johnny Ball and David Bellamy — were brave TV celebrities, some — Graham Stringer, Peter Lilley, Owen Paterson, Nigel (now Lord) Lawson — were ­outspoken MPs, some were bona fide scientists. But whenever we spoke out, the response was the same — we were bullied, vilified, derided and dismissed as scientifically illiterate loons by a powerful climate alarmist establishment which brooked no dissent.

Unfortunately this alarmist establishment has many powerful media allies. The BBC has a huge roster of eco-activist reporters and science “experts” who believe in man-made global warming, and almost never gives sceptics air time.

It comes as little consolation to those of us who’ve been right all along to say: “I told you so.”

In the name of promoting the global warming myth, free speech has been curtailed, honest science corrupted and vast economic and social damage done. That ­apology is long overdue.

Footnote:

For a short course in how climate science was exploited, Richard Lindzen provides details and names in this post Climate Science Was Broken

Climate Thought Control

Being “framed” is slang when someone is blamed for something they did not do, i.e. being set up by means of false evidence and witnesses.

Jennifer Good is a communications professor explaining how the media is expected to mold public opinion in favor of climate activism. Her article in the Toronto Star Putting hurricanes and climate change into the same frame is revealing, especially the subtitle A study shows network Hurricane coverage this month did not link an increase in extreme weather to global warming.

The prof is disappointed that climate change was not more frequently mentioned in stories about the recent hurricanes. She considers it an opportunity missed.  Some excerpts below with my bolds.

I have analyzed two weeks of broadcast news stories that appeared on America’s seven largest TV networks as well as Canada’s CTV network. In just over 1,500 stories about hurricanes, “Trump” was discussed in 907 of those stories (or about 60 per cent), while “business” was discussed in 572 of those stories (or about 38 per cent).

“Climate change” was discussed in just 79 of the hurricane stories — or about five per cent.

What’s Wrong with Professional, Objective Reporting?

The fundamental answer is that climate change and extreme weather (i.e., hurricanes) need to be framed together more often. As scientists have pointed out, while climate change is not causing the weather, it is definitely exacerbating the weather. But increasingly adding climate change to the extreme weather frame is only the tip of the (yes, melting) iceberg. Alternatives to “business as usual” need to be part of the media’s, and our, extreme weather frames.

Of those 1,500 broadcast news stories involving hurricanes, only four also mentioned “fossil fuels,” and not a single news broadcast discussed “alternative energy.”

Similarly, while “economy” is discussed in 187 of the hurricane news stories, only 18 stories discussed hurricanes, the economy and climate change together; and not one story explored the links between an economic model based on endless growth, and the implications of this endless growth for the planet and climate change.

The Purpose of Media is to Manipulate Public Opinion

In his seminal 2010 paper “Why It Matters How We Frame the Environment,” published in the journal Environmental Communication, the American linguist and philosopher George Lakoff offered that the world is made up of frames. “Framing” is how our neural system defines a concept by grouping together what goes with — or gets framed with — that concept. Our brains are wired this way.

For example, when you read “climate change,” your brain immediately frames the concept of climate change with certain words and concepts. Everyone cognitively frames “climate change” somewhat differently, but there might also be large overlaps. Terms like “fossil fuels” and “human activity” might be in many people’s climate change frames, although frames can differ widely. (Think, for example, of climate change skeptics.)

Not surprisingly, the news media plays a significant role in how our brains frame concepts. The more the media frames a story by associating it with certain words and concepts, the more likely we are to use those same words and concepts in our own framing.

And conversely, if the news media never framed a story using certain concepts, there is “hypocognition,” or as Lakoff proposed, a “lack of ideas we need.”

In times of crisis, there are many immediate and urgent stories that need to be told about lives and loss, bravery and struggle. But crisis also provides an opportunity for change — an opportunity to shift our frames and include the ideas we desperately need.

So far, that opportunity seems to have been missed. Meanwhile, the oceans get warmer.

The Other Side of the Story

While the prof is totally convinced she knows what the public needs to know about weather and climate, actual weather scientists disagree with her.  In fact, the efforts to link storms and fossil fuels were present way too often and hindered the public from understanding these events.

For instance, Hurricane scientist Dr. Ryan Maue ripped climate ‘hype’ on Irma & Harvey in his WSJ article Climate Change Hype Doesn’t Help.

As soon as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall in the U.S., scientists, politicians and journalists began to discuss the role of climate change in natural disasters. Although a clear scientific consensus has emerged over the past decade that climate change influences hurricanes in the long run, its effect upon any individual storm is unclear. Anyone trying to score political points after a natural disaster should take a deep breath and review the science first.

As a meteorologist with access to the best weather-forecast model data available, I watched each hurricane’s landfall with particular interest. Harvey and Irma broke the record 12-year major hurricane landfall drought on the U.S. coastline. Since Wilma in October 2005, 31 major hurricanes had swirled in the North Atlantic but all failed to reach the U.S. with a Category 3 or higher intensity.

Even as we worked to divine exactly where the hurricanes would land, a media narrative began to form linking the devastating storms to climate change. Some found it ironic that states represented by “climate deniers” were being pummeled by hurricanes. Alarmists reveled in the irony that Houston, home to petrochemical plants, was flooded by Harvey, while others gleefully reported that President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago might be inundated by Irma.

By focusing on whether climate change caused a hurricane, journalists fail to appreciate the complexity of extreme weather events. While most details are still hazy with the best climate modeling tools, the bigger issue than global warming is that more people are choosing to live in coastal areas, where hurricanes certainly will be most destructive.

Summary

Actual scientists are calling for less, not more manipulative journalism.

And as for the oceans getting warmer, Prof. Good, that is due to the oceans storing and releasing solar energy, nothing to do with burning fossil fuels.  The oceans heat the atmosphere, and not the other way around.  See Empirical Evidence: Oceans Make Climate

Footnote:  If Framing doesn’t work, what’s next?

Again Falsely Linking Smoking and Climate Science

Sarah Myhre is at it again, claiming climate science links storms to CO2 as certainly as smoking causes cancer.  Fossil fuel activists are obsessed with the smoking analogy, not least because oil companies have even deeper pockets than tobacco companies.

The analogy actually works against her on both sides.  Storms and CO2 are not correlated in the statistics, and she exaggerates the extent to which smoking results in cancer.  A previous post explains.

Original Post:  Climate Risky Business

A new theme emerging out of the IPCC Fifth Report was the emphasis on selling the risk of man-made climate change. The idea is that scientists should not advocate policy, but do have a responsibility to convince the public of the risks resulting from burning fossil fuels.

An article illustrates how this approach shapes recent public communications in support of actions on global warming/climate change.  Treading the Fine Line Between Climate Talk and Alarmism (Op-Ed)  By Sarah E. Myhre, Ph.D. | June 23, 2017.  Excerpts:

What is our role in public leadership as scientists? I would suggest a few action items: Work to reduce risk and cost for the public; steward the public’s interest in evidence; and be steady and committed to the scientific process of dissent, revision and discovery. This means communicating risk when necessary. We would never fault an oncologist for informing patients about the cancer risks that come with smoking. Why would we expect Earth scientists to be any different, when we’re just as certain?

As a public scholar with expertise in paleoclimate science, I communicate alarming, difficult information about the consequences to Earth and ocean systems that have come with past events of abrupt climate warming. As the saying goes, the past is the key to the future. 

We are living through a crisis of trust between the American public and climate scientists, and we must extend ourselves, as scientists and public servants, to rebuild transparency and trust with the public. I will start: I want the global community to mitigate the extreme risk of the warmest future climate scenarios. And, I want my kid to eat salmon and ski with his grandkids in the future. I am invested in that cooler, safer, more sustainable future — for your kids and for mine. Just don’t call me an alarmist.

This provides a teachable moment concerning the rhetorical maneuver to present climate as a risky business. The technique typically starts with a particular instance of actual risk and then makes a gross generalization so that the risk is exaggerated beyond reason.  From the article above:

Climate scientists are just as certain as oncologists are.

Herein lies the moral of this tale. The particular risk is the convincing epidemiological evidence linking lung cancer to smokers. The leap was claiming second-hand smoke puts non-smokers at risk of cancer. The statistical case was never conclusive, but the public was scared into enacting all kinds of smoke-free spaces.

Very few passive smoking/lung cancer studies are published these days compared to the glut of the 1980s and 1990s, but the handful that have appeared in recent years continue to support the null hypothesis. For all the campaigners’ talk of “overwhelming evidence”, the link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer has always been very shaky. It tends to be the smaller, case-control studies which find the associations while the larger, cohort studies do not (and, as the JNCI report notes, case-control studies “can suffer from recall bias: People who develop a disease that might be related to passive smoking are more likely to recall being exposed to passive smoking.”)

Gerard Silvestri, MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina, a member of NCI’s PDQ Screening and Prevention Editorial Board said (here):

“We’ve gotten smoking out of bars and restaurants on the basis of the fact that you and I and other nonsmokers don’t want to die,” said Silvestri. “The reality is, we probably won’t.”

To be clear, I don’t want smokers fouling my space in restaurants, and the policies are beneficial to me esthetically. But there was never any certainty about my risk of cancer, just the spoiling of clean air around me.  What was a matter of opinion and personal preference was settled politically by asserting scientific certainty of my health risk.

To draw the point finely, secondhand smoke shows how science is used by one group (anti-smoking activists) against another group (smokers) by mobilizing support for regulations on the basis of a generalized risk, raising concerns among the silent majority who otherwise were not particularly interested in the issue.

Climate as a Risky Business

Environmentalists have often employed risk exaggeration, beginning with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring full of innuendo about DDT without any actual epidemiological proof. Currently Junk Science provides a list of EPA exaggerations about environmental pollution, for example The scientific fraud that claims air pollution is killing people

In the climate field, any flat Polynesian island is of course at risk of flooding, and thus by extension they produce images of Manhattan under water. Global risk is trumpeted, ignoring all the local particularities of land subsidence, tidal gauge records, terrain drainage features, infrastructure, precipitation patterns, etc.

Any storm, drought, flood, or unusual weather likewise presents a particular risk in the locale where it occurs. The gross exaggeration is to claim that we are increasing the risk of all these events, and by stopping burning fossil fuels we can prevent them from happening.

Sarah Myhre’s research focuses on ocean dead zones (oxygen-depleted waters), which is a real and long-studied risk. Then comes her leap into the fearful future:

The surface and deep ocean will continue to absorb heat and CO2 from the atmosphere. The heating of the ocean will increase the stratification of water (i.e. ocean mixing will be reduced, as will the strength of thermohaline circulation). Ocean heating will also drive the thermal expansion of the interior of the ocean – this is one of the primary contributors to sea level rise.

The absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere will drive changes in the chemistry of surface and deep waters – there are significant biological consequences to acidifying the global surface ocean. Basically, we are looking at the fundamental reorganization of biological communities and ecological provinces in the ocean. These physical drivers (warming, stratification, acidification) all area associated with significant biological consequences.

This is a continuation of a scare called Climate Change Is Suffocating The Oceans.  Once again climate alarmists/activists have seized upon an actual environmental issue, but misdirect the public toward their CO2 obsession, and away from practical efforts to address a real concern. Some excerpts from scientific studies serve to put things in perspective.  See Ocean Oxygen Misdirection

As a paleoclimate expert the author knows the climate and sea levels have changed many times in the past, and often shifted quickly in geological terms.

And yet the evidence shows clearly that CO2 follows as an effect of changing temperatures, not the cause.

Summary

Warmists are of the opinion that because of burning fossil fuels, our modern climate no longer compares to paleoclimates, a claim in fact that humans are overriding natural forces. But the message from the ice cores is clear: Through the ages, CO2 responds to temperatures and not the other way around.

The other message is also clear: Climates change between warm and cool, and warm has always been good for humans and the biosphere. We should concern ourselves with Adaptation, preparing for the cold times with robust infrastructure and reliable, affordable energy.

See also CO2 and Climate Change for the Ages

See also Claim: Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming
Updated 2017  Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

Footnote:

Actuaries are accountants specialized in risk statistics like morbidity and mortality, usually working in the insurance industry.

Question:  What is the difference between an Actuary and an Auditor?
Answer:  The Auditor is the one with a sense of humor.
(Old joke from days working at KPMG)

See also:  Cavemen Climate Comics

Lomborg Warns: Don’t Be Distracted by Climate Change

A woman stands in the flood water in Sariakandi, Bangladesh, on Aug. 20.PHOTO: TURJOY CHOWDHURY/ZUMA PRESS

Lomborg lucidity is again on display in his recent WSJ article The Climate-Change Distraction
It’s confusing, causally incorrect and diverts resources from real solutions to real problems. By Bjorn Lomborg  Sept. 7, 2017. Full text with my bolds

Climate change has been blamed for a dizzying array of absurd woes, from the dwindling number of customers at Bulgarian brothels to the death of the Loch Ness monster. Most of us can see through these silly headlines, but it’s far harder to parse the more serious claims when they’re repeated in good faith by well-meaning campaigners.

Consider the recent assertion by Unicef’s Bangladesh head of mission that climate change leads to an increase in child marriages. Between 2011 and 2020 globally, more than 140 million girls under the age of 18 will become brides, leading to curtailed education and reduced lifetime earnings, more domestic violence, more deaths from complications due to pregnancy and increased mortality for the young brides’ children. By all accounts, child marriage must be taken seriously.

In Bangladesh, nearly 75% of women between the ages of 20 and 49 reported that they were married before they turned 18, giving the country the second-highest rate of child marriage in the world. As the Unicef head tells it, climate change has been a major cause, as warmer weather has worsened the flooding, pushing people to the cities, leading to more child marriages.

This entire string of logic is wrong. The frequency of extreme floods in Bangladesh has increased, it’s true, but studies show their magnitude and duration have in fact decreased. And Bangladesh is far better at adapting today than it was a generation ago. In 1974, a flood killed 29,000 people and cost 7.5% of the country’s gross domestic product. A slightly larger flood in 2004 killed 761 people and cost 3.3% of GDP.

Nor is Unicef right to claim a connection between flooding and urbanization. A study published in the Journal of Biosocial Science found that living in cities doesn’t increase the likelihood of child marriages in Bangladesh. Rather, it was “significantly higher among rural women.” According to another study, published in the Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment, the average age of marriage in cities is 16.15 years, compared to 15.08 years in rural areas.

This isn’t surprising. Across the world, there’s a convergence between low urbanization rates and higher child-marriage rates. In Africa, the three worst countries for child marriage—Chad, Mali and Niger—also have the lowest levels of urbanization.

Given the weak links between warming, flooding, urbanization and the contrary link between urbanization and child marriage, climate policies would be the least effective in addressing the problem. Copenhagen Consensus research shows that we need to focus instead on nutrition and education, political opportunities for girls and women, and improving women’s rights to inherit and start a business.

A program in southern Bangladesh run by Save the Children, for example, has demonstrated the significant effects of even a modest financial incentive: The program regularly gave cooking oil to parents of unmarried girls between the ages of 15 and 17, conditional upon confirmation that the girls remained unmarried. The program found that these girls were up to 30% less likely to marry before the age of 16 and up to 22% more likely to remain in school. Each dollar spent on such conditional transfer programs does about $4 of social good.

It’s these kinds of efforts that make it more likely girls will continue in school and engage in productive jobs, reducing child marriage. Talking about climate is confusing, causally incorrect and diverts important resources away from more effective interventions.

A similar argument can be made for another challenge often linked to global warming: malaria. In this case, the science is unambiguous. Rising temperatures mean that malaria-carrying mosquitoes can become endemic in more places.

But looking mainly to global-warming policies means missing the most important levers of tackling malaria. Malaria is a consequence of poverty: The worst affected are those poorer households in rural areas with less ability to purchase mosquito nets and treatment. Focusing on what we could achieve in the future through global-warming policies takes our attention away from what we could accomplish today.

Over the past 15 years, more than six million lives have been saved from malaria. This didn’t happen because we cut CO 2 and managed to marginally change temperatures.

If climate policies like the Kyoto Protocol had been fully enacted, temperature reductions would have saved just 1,400 lives from malaria each year, at a price tag of about $180 billion a year. By contrast, just $500 million spent in one year on direct antimalaria measures such as mosquito nets, sprays and treatment could save 300,000 lives.

None of this means that we should ignore climate change. But to respond properly we need to stick to the facts and maintain a sense of perspective, avoiding tenuous connections and ineffective solutions that ultimately divert resources away from fixing the real problems.

Mr. Lomborg is the president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and the author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” and “Cool It.”

See more at Lomborg Lucidity

Bjorn Lomborg knows what works to alleviate and address actual human suffering rather than modelled future disasters.  With his focus on the here and now, and realistic assessment of relief programs, he should be the UN spokesperson, not Dicaprio.

More from Bjorn Lomborg and the Copenhagen Consensus Center at Watching a UN Train Wreck

Cavemen Climate Comics for Sunday

 

This storm season is frightening and has climatists freaking out.  Perhaps some comic relief is in order. This post is a collection of cartoons that put modern awarenesses into cavemen conversations. It was inspired by a great cartoon from Rick McKee of the Augusta Chronicle which appears near the end.  H/T  WUWT.

As we shall see, some modern ideas aren’t far removed from stone age thinking.  For example, the cartoon above portrays the invention of environmentalism to repudiate technology advances

Then we have the inevitable social pressure to put down backward people.

Virtue signaling provides a way for the unevolved to fit in.

Eventually, social media overwhelms scientific progress.

Of course climate social discourse depends on magical thinking.

Rick McKee of the Augusta Chronicle H/T  WUWT.

Footnote:

Postmodern social media also have unfortunate side effects.

Postscript

On a more serious note, these events remind me what Michael Crichton wrote in State of Fear (2004).

Our planet is five billion years old, and it has been changing constantly all during that time. […] Our atmosphere is as violent as the land beneath it. At any moment there are one thousand five hundred electrical storms across the planet. Eleven lightning bolts strike the ground each second. A tornado tears across the surface every six hours. And every four days, a giant cyclonic storm, hundreds of miles in diameter, spins over the ocean and wreaks havoc on the land.

The nasty little apes that call themselves human beings can do nothing except run and hide. For these same apes to imagine they can stabilize this atmosphere is arrogant beyond belief. They can’t control the climate.

The reality is, they run from the storms.

More at In Praise of Michael Crichton

Canada  Ends Probe Against Climate Change Doubters

Billboard in Calgary Alberta gives rise to complaint to Canada’s Competition Bureau.

The vigilantes report on their setback in this National Observer article Feds halt probe of climate doubters.  Some excerpts give the flavor of their perspective.

After more than a year of investigating, the Competition Bureau abruptly dropped its inquiry earlier this summer into three groups that had displayed information in public raising doubts about the international scientific consensus on climate change.

The groups put up websites and billboards that promoted statements like, “the sun is the main driver of climate change,” and “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant,” according to an application filed with the bureau, a Canadian independent law enforcement agency.

Those views are contrary to mainstream climate science and the government of Canada itself, which states that “changes in solar irradiance have contributed to climate trends over the past century but since the industrial revolution, the effect of additions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere has been over 50 times that of changes in the sun’s output.”

From the Bureau letter to the Complainant:

The inquiry concerned allegations that Friends of Science Society, International Climate
Science Coalition and Heartland Institute made misleading representations regarding climate change on their respective websites and, in the case of Friends of Science Society, on billboards.

At this time, considering the available evidence, the assessment of the facts in this case, and
to ensure the effective allocation of limited resources, the Commissioner has discontinued the
inquiry. 

A statement was provided to National Observer by Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition, but was incompletely quoted in the article. The full statement posted at International Science Coalition is below:

“The complainants apparently think that they know the truth about the causes and consequences of climate change. But this makes no sense. This is not just because the science is enormously complicated with scientists holding at times radically different points of view. It is also because scientific hypotheses, and even scientific theories, are not truth; they can be, and often are, wrong. Truth applies to things like mathematics or chess in which we write the rules. But truth never applies to our findings about nature, which are merely educated opinions based on scientists’ interpretations of observations.”

“When authorities promote truth about science, progress stops. I am glad the Competition Bureau did not fall into this trap. Its time to open up, not shut down, the debate about climate change, one of the most complex and costly issues of our age.”

More complete account of this encounter from Friends of Science:  Responding to the National Observer Article on the Competition Bureau/Ecojustice Call for Inquiry

Key Points:

  • First, Ecojustice asked for an honest debate. We provided one.[1] They never responded.
  • Secondly, presently there is no such thing as a ‘low-carbon economy’ because everything in the modern world is made from or powered by fossil fuels – even hydro dams, nuclear facilities and geothermal require fossil fuels to create the power plant.
  • Thirdly, climate change is mostly driven by natural factors and might only be marginally mitigated by the Paris Agreement.
  • Fourthly, despite claiming humans caused most of the recent warming, the IPCC, perhaps inadvertently, revealed in its 2013 AR5 report that climate change was mostly due to natural factors. (This point is more fully explained in post Warming from CO2 Unlikely
  • Finally, the Paris Agreement targets are unattainable and if attempted, would lead to the complete destruction of the Canadian economy. This is contrary to the UN Charter’s explicit principles. 

These are our opinions, protected by the Charter of Rights.

For examples of proven false advertising by climate activists, see Truth in Climate Advertising

Summary

The complaint was filed by an “ecojustice” lawyer. Free speech about a matter of opinion is attacked as false advertising. Sad. We are still waiting for the evidence supporting global warming claims. Keep on firing away, Tom Harris and Friends of Science.

 

 

CO2 Also Explains Fair Weather?

Typical weather on Miami Beach

Ross McKitrick raises some interesting questions in his Washington Examiner article Despite Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, science has no idea if climate change is causing more (or fewer) powerful hurricanes  h/t GWPF

Why is global warming/climate change invoked only to explain bad weather (storms)? What about crediting CO2 for storms that didn’t happen? And how is a storm that could not be predicted proof of something after the fact? Do storms in 2017 fulfill predictions made every year since Katrina in 2005?  Excerpts below (my bolds)

After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, it didn’t take long for climate alarmists to claim they knew all along it would happen. Politico’s Eric Holthaus declared “We knew this would happen, decades ago.” Naomi Klein stated “these events have long been predicted by climate scientists.” Joe Romm at ThinkProgress wrote, “the fact is that Harvey is exactly the kind of off-the-charts hurricane we can expect to see more often because of climate change.”

According to these and other authors, rising greenhouse gas levels are at least partly to blame for the occurrence and severity of Harvey, and probably for Hurricane Irma as well. But after-the-fact guesswork is not science. If any would-be expert really knew long ago that Harvey was on its way, let him or her prove it by predicting what next year’s hurricane season will bring.

Don’t hold your breath: Even the best meteorologists in the world weren’t able to predict the development and track of Hurricane Harvey until a few days before it hit.

This is why the idea of climate science being “settled” is so ludicrous, at least as regards the connection between global warming and tropical cyclones. A settled theory makes specific predictions that can, in principle, be tested against observed data. A theory that only yields vague, untestable predictions is, at best, a work in progress.

The climate alarmists offer a vague prediction: Hurricanes may or may not happen in any particular year, but when they do, they will be more intense than they would have been if GHG levels were lower. This is a convenient prediction to make because we can never test it. It requires observing the behaviour of imaginary storms in an unobservable world. Good luck collecting the data.

Climate scientists instead use computer models to simulate the alternative world. But the models project hundreds of possible worlds, and predict every conceivable outcome, so whatever happens it is consistent with at least one model run. After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, some climate modelers predicted such storms would be more frequent in a warmer world, while others predicted the opposite, and still others said there was no connection between warming and hurricanes.

What ensued was an historically unprecedented 12-year absence of major (category 3 or higher) hurricanes making landfall in the United States, until Harvey, which ties for 14th-most intense hurricane since 1851. The events after 2005 were “consistent with” some projections, but any other events would have been as well.

The long absence of landfalling hurricanes also points to another problem when opinion writers connect GHGs to extreme weather. Science needs to be concerned not only with conspicuous things that happened, but with things that conspicuously didn’t happen. Like the famous dog in the Sherlock Holmes story, the bark that doesn’t happen can be the most important of all.

It is natural to consider a hurricane a disruptive event that demands an explanation. It is much more difficult to imagine nice weather as a disruption to bad weather that somehow never happened.

Suppose a hurricane would have hit Florida in August 2009, but GHG emissions prevented it and the weather was mild instead. The “event,” pleasant weather, came and went unnoticed and nobody felt the need to explain why it happened. It is a mistake to think that only bad events call for an explanation, and only to raise the warming conjecture when bad weather happens. If we are going to tie weather events to GHGs, we have to be consistent about it. We should not assume that any time we have pleasant weather, we were going to have it anyway, but a storm is unusual and proves GHG’s control the climate.

I am grateful to the scientists who work at understanding hurricane and typhoon events, and whose ability to forecast them days in advance has saved countless lives. But when opinion writers tacitly assume all good weather is natural and GHGs only cause bad weather, or claim to be able to predict future storms, but only after they have already occurred, I reserve the right to call their science unsettled.

Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph and an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.

Another claim people are making: Several major storms in a row for sure proves global warming/climate change.  Well, no.  Not according to Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  He explains in a NYT article First Harvey, Then Irma and Jose. Why? It’s the Season. h/t GWPF Excerpts below.

Hurricane experts say that the formation of several storms in rapid succession is not uncommon, especially in August, September and October, the most active months of the six-month hurricane season.

“This is the peak,” said Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with the Climate Prediction Center, a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “This is when 95 percent of hurricanes and major hurricanes form.”

Dr. Bell and his team at NOAA had forecast that this season would be a busy one, and that is how it is playing out, he said.

“With above normal seasons, you have even more activity mainly in August through October,” he said. “We’re seeing the activity we predicted.”

Dr. Bell said that in the late summer and early fall, conditions in the tropical Atlantic off Africa become just right for cyclonic storms to form. Among those conditions, he said, are warming waters, which fuel the growth of storms, and a relative lack of abrupt wind shifts, called wind shear, that tend to disrupt storm formation.

“There’s a whole combination of conditions that come together,” he said.

Storms that form in the Gulf of Mexico, as Katia did this week, are also not uncommon, Dr. Bell said.

Dr. Bell said his group does not consider climate change in developing its forecasts.

Instead, he said, they consider longer-term cycles of hurricane activity based on a naturally occurring climate pattern called the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation, which affects ocean surface temperatures over 25 to 40 years.

Footnote

boat-climate-change

Pleasure craft spotted in a marina near Miami.

Bret Stephens on Harvey: Wealth and Resilience

Bret Stephens again writes insightfully regarding society and climate matters, this time in his recent article Hurricanes, climate and the capitalist offset  published in NYT reprinted in Tampa Bay Times.  Entire text below.

Texans will find few consolations in the wake of a hurricane as terrifying as Harvey. But here, at least, is one: A biblical storm has hit them, and the death toll — 38 as of this writing — is mercifully low, given its intensity.

This is not how it plays out in much of the world. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch ripped through Central America and killed anywhere between 11,000 and 19,000 people, mostly in Honduras and Nicaragua. Nearly a decade later Cyclone Nargis slammed into Myanmar, and a staggering 138,000 people perished.

Nature’s furies — hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, droughts, infectious diseases, you name it — may strike unpredictably. But their effects are not distributed at random.

Rich countries tend to experience, and measure, the costs of such disasters primarily in terms of money. Poor countries experience them primarily in terms of lives. Between 1940 and 2016, a total of 3,348 people died in the United States on account of hurricanes, according to government data, for an average of 43 victims a year. That’s a tragedy, but compare it to the nearly 140,000 lives lost when a cyclone hit Bangladesh in 1991.

Why do richer countries fare so much better than poorer ones when it comes to natural disasters? It isn’t just better regulation. I grew up in Mexico City, which adopted stringent building codes following a devastating earthquake in 1957. That didn’t save the city in the 1985 earthquake, when we learned that those codes had been flouted for years by lax or corrupt building inspectors, and thousands of people were buried under the rubble of shoddy construction. Regulation is only as good, or bad, as its enforcement.

A better answer lies in the combination of government responsiveness and civic spiritedness so splendidly on display this week in Texas. And then there’s the matter of wealth.

Every child knows that houses of brick are safer than houses of wood or straw — and therefore cost more to build. Harvey will damage or ruin thousands of homes. But it won’t sweep away entire neighborhoods, as Typhoon Haiyan did in the Philippine city of Tacloban in 2013.

Harvey will also inflict billions in economic damage, most crushingly on uninsured homeowners. The numbers are likely to be staggering in absolute terms, but what’s more remarkable is how easily the U.S. economy can absorb the blow. The storm will be a “speed bump” to Houston’s $503 billion economy, according to Moody’s Analytics’ Adam Kamins, who told the Wall Street Journal that he expects the storm to derail growth for about two months.

On a global level, the University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Jr. notes that disaster losses as a percentage of the world’s GDP, at just 0.3 percent, have remained constant since 1990. That’s despite the dollar cost of disasters having nearly doubled over the same time — at just about the same rate as the growth in the global economy. (Pielke is yet another victim of the climate lobby’s hyperactive smear machine, but that doesn’t make his data any less valid.)

Climate activists often claim that unchecked economic growth and the things that go with it are principal causes of environmental destruction. In reality, growth is the great offset. It’s a big part of the reason why, despite our warming planet, mortality rates from storms have declined from 0.11 per 100,000 in the 1900s to 0.04 per 100,000 in the 2010s, according to data compiled by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser. Death rates from other natural disasters such as floods and droughts have fallen by even more staggering percentages over the last century.

That’s because economic growth isn’t just a matter of parking lots paving over paradise. It also underwrites safety standards, funds scientific research, builds spillways and wastewater plants, creates “green jobs,” subsidizes Elon Musk, sets aside prime real estate for conservation, and so on. Poverty, not wealth, is the enemy of the environment. Only the rich have the luxury of developing an ethical stance toward their trash.

The paradox of our time is that the part of the world that has never been safer from the vagaries of nature seems never to have been more terrified of them. Harvey truly is an astonishing storm, the likes of which few people can easily remember.

Then again, as meteorologist Philip Klotzbach points out, it’s also only one of four Category 4 or 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States since 1970. By contrast, more than twice as many such storms made landfall between 1922 and 1969. Make of that what you will, but remember that fear is often a function of unfamiliarity.

Houston will ultimately recover from Harvey’s devastation because its people are creative and courageous. They will rebuild and, when the next storm comes, as it inevitably will, be better prepared for it. The best lesson the world can take from Texas is to follow the path of its extraordinary economic growth on the way to environmental resilience.

Stephens is one of a few journalists who writes lucidly about weather and climate.  Let’s see how the progressive NYT readers enjoy his clarity.

Update: What Stephens writes is largely confirmed by a news report today from the Mayor of Houston. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Thursday that the city is now “mostly dry,” after having taken an aerial tour of the city.  He also said: “One year from now when people visit Houston, they will not see signs of Harvey.”

See also Climate Adaptive Cities: The Smart Way Forward

Partying in Paris instead of Preparing in Houston

Waves pound the shore from approaching Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017 in Corpus Christi, Texas.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“We are not ready for a return to 1950’s weather, let alone something unprecedented.”

As evidence of the above, we have Hurricane Harvey as a case in point.  While elected officials blather about “zero-carbon” footprints, nothing is done to prepare for weather events that have happened before and can always happen again. International accords and conferences like the last one in Paris do nothing for a vulnerable place like Houston.

Consider this article A Texas newsroom predicted a disaster. Now it’s close to coming true. published at Columbia Journalism Review.  Excerpts below.

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE AND PROPUBLICA last year published a multi-part investigation looking at what would happen if Houston was hit by a major hurricane.

The reporters partnered with scientists at several universities in Texas to conduct simulations, gaming out various storm scenarios for the country’s fourth-largest city, with its rapidly growing population, huge stores of oil and natural gas, and a major NASA facility.

The conclusion: The city and region were woefully unprepared for a major hurricane, with inadequate infrastructure for evacuation and flood control. A major storm would inflict catastrophic damage, bringing “economic and ecological disaster.” The series won awards, including a Peabody and an Edward R. Murrow, but it didn’t lead to substantive policy changes or big new investments in infrastructure.

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the country. It’s home to the nation’s largest refining and petrochemical complex, where billions of gallons of oil and dangerous chemicals are stored. And it’s a sitting duck for the next big hurricane. Learn why Texas isn’t ready. March 3, 2016

A house is engulfed in flames as water and waves inundate homes on Galveston Island as Hurricane Ike approaches the coast Sept. 12, 2008.

Now the same journalists are watching nervously as Hurricane Harvey inches closer to the Texas shoreline. While landfall is expected between Corpus Christi and Houston, one of their worst-case scenarios could still come true.

“Unfortunately it might take a disaster,” Shaw adds, “before Texas wakes up and realizes we need to send some real money to protect one of the nation’s biggest ports, where we keep most of our oil and chemicals.” If Houston was directly hit by a storm of Harvey’s magnitude, Shaw says, the environmental damage would exceed the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

After the series appeared, the reporters reached out to the state’s entire congressional delegation and both of its US senators, one of whom, Ted Cruz, ran for president. “So none of them can say nobody could anticipate the calamity a large storm could inflict upon their constituencies,” Klein wrote.

“Ike was supposed to be that wake-up call to do something about this,” Shaw says. “All I can hope for is that this will be another wake-up call, and Texas will ask for more action before the ‘big one.’”

A short video explaining in 2011 how to protect the area from the next big one.

See also Climate Adaptive Cities: The Smart Way Forward