Category Archives: Global Warming

Can we trust the climate scientists?

Unherd  7/26/2021

There’s a problem with writing about science — any science — which is that scientists are human like the rest of us. They are not perfect disembodied truth-seeking agents but ordinary, flawed humans navigating social, professional and economic incentive structures.

Most notably, scientists, like people, are social. If they exist in a social or professional circle that believes X, it is hard to say not-X; if they have professed to believe Y, they won’t want to look silly and admit not-Y. It might even be hard to get research funded or published if it isn’t in line with what the wider group believes.

All this makes it very hard, as an outsider, to assess some scientific claims. You can ask some expert, but they will be an expert within the social and professional milieu that you’re looking at, and who will likely share the crony beliefs of that social and professional milieu. All of which often makes it hard to disentangle why scientists do and say the things they do. Especially when it comes to scientific claims that are politically charged, claims on hot-button topics like race, sex, poverty — and of course climate.

I couldn’t help thinking about that as I was reading Steven Koonin’s new book, Unsettled. Koonin is (as it says, prominently, on the front of the book) the “former Undersecretary for Science, US Department of Energy, under the Obama administration”. The publishers are obviously very keen to stress the Obama link: “…under the Trump administration” might not have carried the same heft.

Koonin came to public attention a few years ago, after he wrote a controversial opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal headlined “Climate science is not settled”. It was a response to what he considered the widely held opinion among policymakers and the wider public that, in fact, climate science is settled. His particular concern was that we can’t yet accurately predict what the future climate shifts will be. The book itself is best thought of as the extended version of that op-ed, with added graphs.

We can break down his thesis into, roughly, three areas. One, is that despite “the mainstream narrative among the media and policymakers”, it is hard to be sure that the climate has changed in meaningful ways due to human influence. In particular, floods, rainfall, droughts, storms, and record high temperatures have not become more common, and although the climate is unambiguously warming and sea levels have gone up, it’s hard to confidently separate human influence from natural variability.

Two, he says, climate models are highly uncertain and struggle to successfully predict the past, let alone the future, so we shouldn’t trust confident claims about the climate future. And if we do accept the IPCC’s predictions, they aren’t of imminent catastrophe. Instead, they point to slow change which humanity can easily adapt to, and, broadly speaking, to humanity continuing to prosper.

And three, he continues, there is basically nothing we can do about it anyway, partly because carbon dioxide hangs around in the atmosphere for so long, but mainly because the developing world is developing fast, and using ever more carbon to do so, and actually that’s a good thing.

These are — according to Koonin — all, by and large, only what the IPCC assessment reports and other major climate analyses say. The public conversation, which he says is full of doom and apocalypse and unwarranted certainty, has become unconnected from the state of the actual science. And he blames scientists — and policymakers, the media and the public — for that disconnection.

So is he right? Certainly he has a case when it comes to Point One: I think he is correct that the media narrative about climate change is not especially well correlated with the IPCC’s own central assessments. For instance, I think it’s fair to say that the recent floods in London, China and Germany have been held up as examples of a changing climate. But the IPCC’s most recent assessment report, 2014’s AR5, found studies showing evidence for “upward, downward or no trend in the magnitude of floods” (see p214 of the AR5 Physical Science Basis document; be warned it’s a big PDF), and concluded that they were unable to be sure whether, globally, river floods had become more or less likely.

Similarly, I think there is a perception among many commentators and policymakers that storms, hurricanes, and droughts are all more common as a result of climate change, but the IPCC’s own report (see p.53 of AR5) has “low confidence” that those things are more common than they were 100 years ago. I know some scientists think the IPCC is overoptimistic, but it is the closest we have to consensus climate science.

That said, there is some fairness in accusing Koonin of cherrypicking. He spends a lot of time arguing about extreme daily temperatures, convincingly (to my mind) debunking a claim in the 2017 Climate Science Special Report (CSSR), the flagship US government climate science assessment, that US extreme daily temperature records have gone up. In fact, CSSR is comparing the ratio of extreme high temperatures to extreme low temperatures, and what in fact has happened is that extreme low temperatures have become less common. Which is interesting.

But the IPCC does think extreme daily temperatures have gone up globally (see p53 again). In his chapter on “Hyping the Heat”, Koonin doesn’t mention the IPCC, and the IPCC outranks the CSSR. His detective work is interesting, but he is fighting a henchman, not the end-of-level boss. Maybe the IPCC is wrong as well, but we don’t learn that here.

On Point Two, I don’t feel competent to assess the models; certainly it seems highly plausible to me that there are enormous uncertainties in predicting something as inherently chaotic as the climate, especially when to do so you first have to predict something as inherently chaotic as people. But my non-expert understanding is that broadly speaking the models have been getting it about right.

That said, I think he is right that, if you were to ask the average person in my social circle, you would hear that climate change will lead to catastrophe in the near future. And I think that is overstating what the IPCC reports actually say. For instance, it is true that the IPCC predicts more people will go hungry than otherwise would have: it says that almost 140 million children will be undernourished, in a world where climate change goes unmitigated, compared to 113 million in a world where there is no climate change (see p730 of this IPCC report). But that is still fewer than went hungry in 2000 – almost 150 million, out of a much smaller population. The IPCC predicts that a world with climate change will be worse than one without; but not so much worse that other things, such as economic growth and technological progress, won’t broadly keep the big things, like life expectancy and human health, improving. That does seem worth saying.

And Koonin’s Point Three is worth making too. If India were to increase its per capita emissions to those of Japan, “one of the lowest emitting of the developed countries”, he says, then that change alone would raise global emissions by 25%1. Realistically, we’re not going to be able to stop India — or China, or Brazil, or Mexico, or any of the other middle-income countries — from developing, and development at the moment means carbon.

More importantly: we don’t want them to stop developing. Richer countries have healthier, longer-lived citizens and are better able to cope with a changing climate. Even huge, swingeing cuts to Western emissions — politically unrealistic — would only go some way to offsetting the inevitable growth in the developing world. Those cuts may be worth doing, but there are limits to how much good they can do.

But even if Koonin is right about almost everything — if the best guess of the science is that we’re heading towards things merely getting better more slowly, rather than getting worse — then I think he’s missing a major point. That is, climate change models are uncertain. In fact Koonin claims they’re even more uncertain than we think. So they could easily be erring on the side of optimism.

And the one thing we should have learnt from the Covid pandemic is that it’s not enough to say “the most likely outcome is that it’ll be fine, so let’s act as if it’ll be fine.” The correct thing to say is “the most likely outcome is that it’ll be fine, but if there’s a 10% chance that it’ll be completely awful, then we need to prepare for that 10% chance.” Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world reduces the chance of some unforeseen but plausible disaster: as a happy bonus, it makes our cities more pleasant places in which to live. It will come at some cost, but hopefully not too high, because green technology is getting so cheap and effective these days.

Reviews by climate scientists have been unimpressed. “I would normally ignore a book by a non-climate scientist,” starts one review, which goes on to not ignore it. Another accuses him of cherry-picking his fights (not entirely unfairly, as I said). A third says the book is “distracting, irrelevant, misguided, misleading and unqualified”.

But none that I’ve read really addresses the nitty-gritty of his arguments — which is hard to do in a 900-word review, of course, but still. They usually pick some line out of the first chapter or two, disagree with it, and then say the whole book is therefore rubbish. But I wanted a bit more meat to the objections.

The third review, for instance, quotes Koonin as saying “The warmest temperatures in the US have not risen in the past fifty years,” and then asks “According to what measure?” Well, Koonin tells you the measure, at length: absolute record extreme daily temperatures. Maybe he’s wrong, but he does answer that in the book. (And your next sentence is “Highest annual global averages?” He’s talking about the US! You just quoted that bit!)

Similarly, it complains that Koonin says that the sea is only rising about a foot per century, saying “The trouble is that while seas have risen eight to nine inches since 1880, more than 30 percent of that increase has occurred during the last two decades.” But again: Koonin addresses this, for pretty much an entire chapter. His point is that most of the rest of the rise came during an (unexplained by climate models, according to him) period of rapid warming from 1910 to 1940, before human influence should have been relevant. That, he says, is good evidence that natural variation is driving the current acceleration. Is he right? I don’t know. But the reviewer is not attacking Koonin’s argument at its strongest point.

In fact, none of them seem to: they just want to dismiss the book. They attack Koonin’s credibility and credentials, his temperament. They say he was only hired by the Obama Energy Department because of his contrarian views; they call him a “climate denier”, which seems de trop since he accepts most of the central claims of the climate consensus. The response felt more like a circling of the wagons than a serious effort to counter a serious argument. After all, it is unpleasant to hear reasons why you might be wrong about something: cognitive dissonance is painful.

I started this book confident that climate change is a serious concern, and I finished it only slightly less confident; Koonin has not persuaded me. But I’m glad Unsettled, flawed though it is, has been written. As I said at the beginning, science in a politically charged environment is very hard to assess. Scientists are as prone to groupthink and motivated reasoning as anyone else, and I know very well that there are some who feel they need to keep heterodox views quiet. The reviews, which make so little effort to engage with the substance of the arguments, do not reassure me that climate science is a uniquely groupthink-free discipline.

One thing Koonin suggests is a so-called “Red Teaming” of climate scientists: getting scientists to act as adversarial critics of the existing consensus, a method used by superforecasters, among others, to improve their accuracy by actively hunting out flaws in their reasoning. Science can only progress if assumptions are tested. Red teams in climate institutions — any institutions — seem like a good idea, and I’d support them.

Whether it’s possible or not, of course, is tricky to say. The climate debate is so highly charged, so borderline toxic, that it might be difficult for any climate scientist to take on the red-team role without making their own life more difficult. According to Koonin, one senior climate scientist told him “I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, but I don’t dare say that in public.” The old “in my emails, everyone agrees with me” line is hardly a new one, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s a bit of truth in it.

But if the Catholic Church was able to stomach someone advocating for the Devil, then climate science should be able to stomach one doing it for the sceptics. And in the meantime, this book does an acceptable job.

FOOTNOTES
  1.  He’s right. Japanese people emit about nine tons per capita, and Indians about two, so if 1.3 billion Indians started emitting seven extra tons a year, that’d be about nine billion tons on top of 2019’s 38 billion or so

https://unherd.com/2021/07/the-corrosive-tribalism-of-climate-science/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups[0]=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=c1772088ed&mc_eid=0ff3e7ea29

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Climate Media vs. Climate Science

WSJ  4/13/2021  By   Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

Joe Biden has put a presidential imprimatur on climate change being an existential threat, and he doesn’t mean in the Jean-Paul Sartre sense of man’s search for meaning in an uncomforting universe.

He means the end of humanity, a claim nowhere found in climate science.

This is odd because the real news today is elsewhere. Its movement may be ocean-liner-like, the news may be five years old before the New York Times notices it, but the climate community has been backing away from a worst-case scenario peddled to the public for years as “business as usual.”

A drumroll moment was Zeke Hausfather and Glen Peter’s 2020 article in the journal Nature partly headlined: “Stop using the worst-case scenario for climate warming as the most likely outcome.”

This followed the 2017 paper by Justin Ritchie and Hadi Dowlatabadi asking why climate scenarios posit implausible increases in coal burning a century from now. And I could go on. Roger Pielke Jr. and colleagues show how the RCP 8.5 scenario was born to give modelers a high-emissions scenario to play with, and how it came to be embraced despite being at odds with every real-world indicator concerning the expected course of future emissions.

In a simple model of the world, authority figures say absurd and false things, and the media calls them out. The reverse happened this time, with the climate crowd reacting to the media’s botched coverage of the Fourth National Climate Assessment in 2018, itself a strained compilation of extreme worst-case scenarios that still couldn’t deliver the desired global meltdown.

Even David Wallace-Wells, the author of 2019’s climate-crisis book “The Uninhabitable Earth,” was moved to call on fellow activists to revise their advocacy “in a less alarmist direction.”

To this day, the print edition of the New York Times has never mentioned RCP 8.5, the unsupported emissions scenario on which so many of its climate jeremiads rest.

The Washington Post has used it twice, once to say it portended a climate disaster and more recently to suggest its falling out of favor didn’t mean the climate wasn’t headed for disaster.

How did we get from reality to Greta Thunberg, Joe Biden and a Bloomberg columnist who says Exxon “threatens the continuation of human life on earth”? Decades ago, casual theorizing suggested global warming might cause the oceans to stop circulating and North America to freeze over, giving rise to the 2004 cinematic and scientific disaster of a movie known as “The Day After Tomorrow.”

Al Gore touted the same scenario but later dropped it, and climate catastrophism has had to survive ever since without scientific underpinning.

The strain of holding realism at bay is starting to tell. John Kerry, the new climate czar, recently blurted out that the Biden green agenda will have no effect on climate unless countries like China and India join, which they already declared they won’t.

A bigger moment of truth will come with a book by Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist and chief scientist of the Obama Energy Department, demonstrating what the science—the plain, recognized, consensus science—says about climate change: It won’t be catastrophic. It’s unlikely to be influenced in a major way by policy actions. The costs will be large in relation to everything except the future, richer economy that will easily pay for them.

***

Let’s turn to a nearby letter from Tom Gjelten that breezes past the substance of his own NPR report as well as my criticism of it: his failure to tell listeners that 40% of U.S. refugee slots in 2020 went unclaimed because of the pandemic. Mr. Gjelten’s real focus is to defend a bureaucratic trope. His “refugees” are people under the care of friendly governments and aid groups whom the U.S. agrees to resettle, when the vast majority who seek succor in the U.S. nowadays are those he calls “asylees,” tens of thousands fleeing violence in our own hemisphere who show up directly at our border with only the U.S. accepting any responsibility for them.

His pet refugee program, known as USRAP, admitted just 801 people in 2019 from all of South and Central America, when more than 250,000 were known to have fled Honduras alone. It boggles Mr. Gjelten’s bureaucratic sense of propriety that I use the term refugees for people who are, you know, refugees. And the parody continues: Catherine Rampell, in the Washington Post, now accuses Mr. Biden of being the “most anti-refugee president in history” even as he adds to a 600,000-plus backlog of people admitted while their claims of persecution are being vetted.

There are terms that apply—reification fallacy, equivocation fallacy—for a journalism that loses sight of the world and plain meanings in its quest to situate itself among prefab talking points. Let this process run away with itself, and that’s how you get a climate journalism more founded in fantasy than in science, with Joe Biden feeling the need to blather about the end of the world.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-media-vs-climate-science-11618355224?mod=opinion_featst_pos3

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A Mom’s Research (Part 2): Texas Freezing and Global Warming

Very nicely written article. Very informative and well documented. mrossol

The Epoch Times. 2/21/2021

Commentary

A few days ago, my husband and I were chatting about the freezing weather in Texas and the resulting blackouts. My daughter got grumpy when she heard us and said, “So you don’t believe in global warming?”

“Not necessarily. If you want to convince me, answer my questions,” my husband said. “First, is it true that we have global warming? See how cold Texas gets and how much snow we are getting.”

“Scientists said these are caused by global warming! I can find out,” said my daughter.

“OK. Second, if global warming is true, is it caused by carbon dioxide or by human activities? Third, would it help if the United States and Europe stopped emitting carbon dioxide while China can do whatever it wants? You know, the emissions from China are more than those from the United States and Europe combined.”

“Global warming is an interesting topic for my writing, I guess,” I interjected.

“No! You can write about anything but global warming!” my daughter yelled.

“Why?”

“Because it’s stupid!”

“Why is it stupid? I am going to research it.”

“The scientists… the United Nations… NASA said global warming is true! If you doubt it, it is like you are saying the earth is flat!”

“Well, I don’t think the earth is flat, and I will do some research on global warming,” I said.

“But what you write is about socialism stuff. That’s politics. Global warming is SCIENCE!”

“OK, if it is a science, people should be allowed to debate about it based on evidence and data, right? Why are you so upset? I am just curious to find answers to your dad’s questions. I don’t think you would be upset if I wrote about whales and sea turtles, and checked which of them swims faster.”

At that point, I made up my mind to do the research and find out why my daughter was so nervous about this topic.

Explaining Texas Freezing as a Symptom of Global Warming

Since my daughter mentioned NASA, I researched NASA first. They’ve published a video showing the global surface temperature changes from 1880 to 2020. It looks like the global surface temperatures are getting higher, especially since 2005. The temperature increase at the North Pole is most obvious.

But why is Texas, in the Sunshine Belt, getting so cold? According to mainstream media, like the New York Times, a warmer Arctic Sea and thinner Arctic sea ice is the reason for colder continents in lower latitudes of the northern hemisphere. This is because the warmth weakens the circulating “jet stream” holding the cold polar air, so the frigid air escapes to the lower latitude areas.

Although this is the media’s standard answer, in scientific circles it is still considered a hypothesis and has been challenged by prominent climate scientists:

“It’s an interesting idea, but alternative observational analyses and simulations with climate models have not confirmed the hypothesis, and we do not view the theoretical arguments underlying it as compelling.

 … Coincidence does not in itself constitute a strong case for causality. Cold air outbreaks even more severe than occurred this winter affected the United States in the early 1960s, the late 1970s (most notably 1977), and in 1983, back when the Arctic sea ice was thicker and more extensive than it is today.”

—John Wallace, Isaac Held, David Thompson, Kevin Trenberth, and John Walsh, in a 2014 letter published in Science.

 “Over the past six or so years, there has been a surge of modelling studies ­­suggesting only a weak influence of Arctic warming on mid-latitudes. The magnitudes of the simulated responses are consistently weaker than observations might imply, for reasons that are uncertain and contentious.”

—Russell Blackport and James A. Screen, in a 2020 letter published in Nature.

Apparently, scientists haven’t found a compelling explanation for the extreme winter chill in Texas in the context of global warming. That is quite inconvenient for climate apocalypse advocates.

Global warming has been held as the culprit for all kinds of miseries, like hurricanes, droughts, flooding, wildfires, heatwaves, malaria, and rising sea levels. Therefore, extreme winter cold has to be caused by global warming somehow, right? Just as Liz Sherwood-Randall, President Biden’s homeland security adviser, told reporters on Feb. 18, “The extreme weather events that we’re experiencing this week … do yet again demonstrate to us that climate change is real and it’s happening now, and we’re not adequately prepared for it.”

Global Warming vs. Hurricanes

“Hurricanes have been depicted as the literal poster-child of the harmful impacts of global warming.”

—Christopher Landsea, American meteorologist

Thanks to Chapter Sixteen (Parts I and II) of The Epoch Times book “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World,” I was shown a gateway to an ocean of knowledge about climate change.

Christopher Landsea is an American meteorologist and hurricane expert. On his webpage on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, I found an article on the relationship between hurricanes and global warming.

In the article, Dr. Landsea indicates that he believes that global warming has occurred, and human activities have contributed to the warming. However, according to his research, “the overall impact of global warming on hurricanes is currently negligible and likely to remain quite tiny even a century from now.”

Global warming increases both ocean temperature and air temperature. According to Dr. Landsea, higher ocean temperature contributes to the formation of tropical storms or hurricanes, while higher air temperature aloft impedes the storms. Other factors—like air moisture, thunderstorms, and wind—might play bigger roles than ocean temperature.

Dr. Landsea’s prediction is—if the global temperature increases by a significant 2–3°C (4–6°F) by 2100—that the number of hurricanes may decrease by 25 percent, the intensity may increase slightly (approx. 3 percent), storm surges may increase by 3 percent, and rainfall may increase by 10 percent per hurricane.

Wait a second! Aren’t we getting more hurricanes and bigger damage in recent years? Some studies showed that the number of hurricanes and tropical storms has increased from 6–8 per year in the 1870s to 14–16 per year in the 2000s, while the sea surface temperature increased by over 0.78°C (1.5°F) during the 100-year period.

Dr. Landsea argued that the increase of hurricanes can be attributed to the more advanced technologies to detect and monitor hurricanes. Tropical storms and hurricanes form above the oceans. Most or all of their power would be dissipated above the oceans. Nowadays, researchers have aircraft, satellites, radar, buoys, and automated weather stations to monitor hurricanes. Many of these technologies were not available decades ago. Therefore, it is impossible to get accurate historical data on the actual number of hurricanes.

An alternative way to evaluate the trend is to check those storms and hurricanes that have struck land. By this measure, more hurricanes made landfall in 1933 than in 2005, and the long-term upward trend in numbers disappears significantly.

As for the increased damage by the hurricanes, Dr. Landsea explained that it is caused by more wealth we own per capita, and much more population on the U.S. coastlines. From Maine to Texas, the coastal population has increased from 10 million in 1900 to almost 50 million in 2000. If these factors are taken into consideration, or, if we calculated the damage of the historical hurricanes based on today’s society, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was not as powerful as the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926, and the hurricane damage from 1996 to 2005 would be equivalent to that between 1926 to 1935. “There have been no peer-reviewed studies published anywhere that refute this. However, this normalized record of damages does provide us with some indications of hurricane climate variations that likely are unrelated to global warming,” Landsea wrote.

Inconvenient Truth

In his celebrated 1974 “Cargo Cult” lecture, the late Richard Feynman [1965 Nobel Prize in Physics Laureate] admonished scientists to discuss objectively all the relevant evidence, even that which does not support the narrative. That’s the difference between science and advocacy.

—Steven E. Koonin, Theoretical Physicist, Director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York Univ.

Dr. Steven E. Koonin is the former undersecretary for science of the U.S. Department of Energy. In an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in November 2017, he lamented that many climate scientists show data out of complete historical context in order to support their narratives. This practice, however, violates “basic scientific norms.”

He pointed out that, in the U.S. government’s Climate Science Special Report to be published in November, the description of sea-level rise was questionable. “The report ominously notes that while global sea level rose an average 0.05 inch a year during most of the 20th century, it has risen at about twice that rate since 1993. But it fails to mention that the rate fluctuated by comparable amounts several times during the 20th century. The same research papers the report cites show that recent rates are statistically indistinguishable from peak rates earlier in the 20th century, when human influences on the climate were much smaller.”

This is not the only example of misleading omission in the report. “The report’s executive summary declares that U.S. heat waves have become more common since the mid-1960s, although acknowledging the 1930s Dust Bowl as the peak period for extreme heat. Yet buried deep in the report is a figure showing that heat waves are no more frequent today than in 1900.”

This governmental report was written by a team of about 30 scientists. The artifice revealed by Dr. Koonin also appeared in other official climate reports for the U.S. government and the United Nations.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations has promoted the theory that malaria and other insect-borne diseases are getting more widespread as the climate warms. However, according to a 2011 Forbes article, “The World Health Organization reports global malaria deaths have declined by nearly 40% during the past decade, even as the earth experienced its ‘hottest decade on record.’” An article published in Nature in 2011 presented a scientific study that found that “warmer temperatures seem to slow transmission of malaria-causing parasites, by reducing their infectiousness.”

As for the relationship between droughts and global warming, David Legates, former Director of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Delaware, testified to a Senate committee in 2014 that “droughts in the United States are more frequent and more intense during colder periods.”

William Happer, a research physicist and former vice president for research at Princeton University, testified to a Senate subcommittee that “In spite of the drumbeat of propaganda, CO2, is not ‘carbon pollution,’” but brings “increased agricultural yields.” He also pointed out that “various mainstream climate models have predicted much more warming than observed.”

Current climate researchers rely almost entirely on computer models to do their studies, because the complexity of the climate problem makes it impossible to experiment and validate under controlled conditions in the laboratory. However, the climate models are far from perfect. According to Joanne Simpson, an award-winning NASA atmospheric scientist, “We all know the frailty of models concerning the air-surface system.”

The late Princeton physicist, Freeman Dyson, pointed out that, while clouds are a very important factor that affects the climate, climate models cannot simulate them realistically because they are “far too small and too diverse.” He also said, “You can learn a lot from [models], but you cannot learn what’s going to happen 10 years from now.”

Global Warming vs. Carbon Dioxide vs. Humans

The earth has gone through cycles of warming and cooling throughout history. According to Dr. Takuro Kobashi and other Japanese researchers, 11,270 years ago the temperatures in the northern hemisphere rose about 4°C (7°F) within a few years. 8,000 years ago, the Greenland temperature cooled by about 3°C (5°F) in less than 20 years, followed by a warming that lasted for about 70 years.

Chinese scientist Zhu Kezhen pointed out that the annual average temperature in China 3000 years ago was about 2°C (4°F) higher than the current temperature. Elephants were roaming the plains at the same latitude as Little Rock, Arkansas. One thousand years ago, Europe experienced 300 years of the Medieval Warm Period. It was followed by a 400-year cold period called the “Little Ice Age,” which resulted in a wide range of food shortages and famines.

Whether the current warming is largely caused by humans, or part of a natural climate fluctuation, is a debatable topic in scientific circles. Some scientists believe that galactic cosmic ray flux or solar activities play bigger roles in climate change than man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

In addition, according to “Modeling Climatic Effects of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Unknowns and Uncertainties,” a research paper published in the Climate Research journal in November 2001, scientists found that the warming effect of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) can be mitigated by factors like stratus clouds. “A 4% increase in the area of stratus clouds over the globe could potentially compensate for the estimated warming of a doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration.”

In 2013, Dr. Hans von Storch, a German climate scientist reported a phenomenon that cannot be explained by the current climate models: “Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25°C (0.45°F) over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06°C (0.11°F).”

The Sacred ‘Consensus’ and the Canceled Scientists

IPCC’s establishment in 1988 signified the entry of global warming into the political realm.

Every five years, IPCC publishes an authoritative report for policymakers involved in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The objective of the UNFCCC is “to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system …” Apparently, the assumption here is that humans are the culprit creating “interference with the climate system.”

In her testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2017, Dr. Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech Univ. pointed out that, with the mandate of the UNFCCC, “the climate community has prematurely elevated a scientific hypothesis on human-caused climate change to a ruling theory through claims of a consensus.”

Dr. Frederick Seitz, the 17th president of the United States National Academy of Sciences, published an article in the Wall Street Journal in 1996 that criticized the newly released IPCC Assessment Report. He discovered that the published report did not contain any statements expressing uncertainty about humans’ roles in climate change although these statements were in the final peer-reviewed version approved by the contributing scientists.

Forbes report revealed that the report “used selective data, a doctored graph,” in addition to the omissions mentioned by Dr. Seitz. It also mentioned that “several tens of thousands of scientists have lodged formal protests regarding unscientific IPCC practices. Some critics include former supporters.”

With practices like this, a “consensus” is established: Climate change is caused by human activities; extreme weather events will result; substantial and increasing damage will occur.

Dr. Stephen Schneider, an advocate of the “consensus,” and a Lead Author of IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, was quoted by Jonathan Schell in a 1989 Discover magazine article talking about the strategy for spreading the “consensus”: “We need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

As science becomes the servant of politics, scientists who stood their ground against the “consensus” tasted the chilling cancel culture. Quite a lot of examples were given in the book “How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World.”

Physicist Michael Griffin, then the administrator of NASA, expressed in an interview with NPR in 2007 that higher temperatures are not necessarily bad for humans. He was immediately criticized by the media and some climate scientists, and had to apologize for the controversy to NASA employees the following week.

Swedish meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson, then the director of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, received intense repercussions in 2014 because he joined the board of The Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank promoting open-mindedness on the science of global warming. He had to resign from the foundation within two weeks due to tremendous pressure.

The late David Bellamy, a famous British botanist, stated publicly that he did not believe in the “consensus.” As a result, in 2004 he lost his leadership roles in Plantlife International and the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. The BBC also stopped working with him on nature programs. He was even spat on in a London street by activists.

Similarly, Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, a Dutch meteorologist, lost his position as the director of research at the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute in 1995, after publishing an article criticizing the accuracy of climate models.

The list goes on. Many researchers also lost their funding because of their stance against the “consensus.”

In a 2015 Senate hearing, Dr. Judith Curry testified that “A climate scientist making a statement about uncertainty or degree of doubt in the climate debate is categorized as a denier or a ‘merchant of doubt,’ whose motives are assumed to be ideological or motivated by funding from the fossil fuel industry.” Dr. Curry herself was labeled as a “climate heretic” because of her expression of concerns on the “consensus.”

What Is Behind the Political-Scientific Alliance on Climate Change?

Now I started to understand my daughter’s fear. A label of “denier” of climate change make people think of Holocaust deniers. “How dare you not care about the future of mankind? How dare you not worry about a scorching earth with rampant fires and horrific hurricanes?” Also, the risk of being “canceled” socially or professionally is scary.

But what is behind the very obvious political-scientific alliance on climate change?

In a 2010 interview, IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer gave some startling confessional statements: “Basically it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization … One must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy … One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole.”

Sound familiar? Globalization. Wealth Redistribution. Green New Deal. The Great Reset. Climate Change is their common denominator.

This is a new form of socialism. Actually, not that new. Eco-marxism and eco-socialism are not new concepts. From the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, British scientist Arthur Tansley, who originated the concept of ecology, and Darwinian zoologist Ray Lankester, were both Fabian socialists. Lankester was even a friend of Karl Marx. While Marx labeled capitalists as the enemies of workers, Tansley and Lankester labeled capitalism as the enemy of nature. Environmentalism is a convenient storefront for communists to continue the fight against the free world.

The Paris Climate Agreement is the result of climate change advocacy. According to the agreement, by 2025, developed countries must commit $100 billion annually to developing countries to help them “reduce emissions” and “adapt to climate change.” This is a brilliant wealth redistribution strategy.

Besides, the United States, which has 12 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, is supposed to cut emissions by 26–28 percent by 2025, while China, which has the highest share (23 percent) of emissions, is only required to “PEAK carbon emissions no later than 2030.” In other words, the Chinese Communist Party can do whatever it wants until 2030, without an upper limit for emissions. This kind of rule would definitely weaken the economy of the free world while boosting Chinese communist power.

Concepts like carbon neutrality (balancing carbon dioxide emissions with removal), carbon credit (tradable permit for emission), and carbon market are floating around and gaining momentum. A developed country whose carbon credits are used up can buy carbon credits from developing countries. This carbon credit can be a new form of currency, and it is a new way for wealth redistribution!

In November 2019, Bloomberg published an article with a chilling title: “Climate Changed. Earth Needs Fewer People to Beat the Climate Crisis, Scientists Say. More than 11,000 experts sign an emergency declaration warning that energy, food and reproduction must change immediately.”

Apparently, the social movements driven by the climate change theory are changing the world. Based on a glorified hypothesis and computer models, it is becoming a tyranny, a way to take away our freedom. I am going to share my research results with my daughter, and I hope it helps you to know more about it as well.

Jean Chen is originally from China, and writes under a pen name in order to protect her family in China.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/a-moms-research-part-2-texas-freezing-and-global-warming_3705225.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-02-22-3

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Wildfire Sanity. Why’d it take this long?

I guess painful loss creates an incentive, and incentives matter. mrossol.

WSJ – 9/15/2020. by Daniel Henninger

Wow. Overnight, apparently there’s nobody who does not understand that climate policy is not an answer to California’s wildfire crisis.

Even the do-gooder, nonprofit news group ProPublica plaintively asks in a headline, “They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?” The article goes on to assert: “The pattern is a form of insanity: We keep doing overzealous fire suppression across California landscapes where the fire poses little risk to people and structures. As a result, wildland fuels keep building up.”

I guess when thousands of people might be burned out of their homes, it concentrates the mind.

But then why was California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s most quoted response to the fires “Never have I felt more of a sense of obligation . . .to face climate change head on”?

Confusion abounds. One admirable New York Times article makes clear the immediate answer does not lie in climate policy: “Millions of Americans are moving into wildfire-prone areas outside of cities, and communities often resist restrictions on development. A century of federal policy to aggressively extinguish all wildfires rather than letting some burn at low levels, an approach now seen as misguided, has left forests with plenty of fuel for especially destructive blazes.”

But another Times article on the same day insists that “the mechanism driving the wildfire crisis is straightforward: Human behavior, chiefly the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil.”

Such sentences are a counsel purely of despair. People who take an interest in global warming can only conclude fires are unstoppable and must be endured as a result of our accumulated planet sins.

I promise no long foray into social psychology, but take the most textbook finding of behavioral economics: “prospect theory,” or the observed tendency of human beings irrationally to overvalue a bird in the hand vs. multiple birds in the bush.

 

This discovery really tells us that people, in their mind’s eye, overweight a potential loss against a potential gain because the loss might be visible to others. Human beings are intensely social creatures even in the ways they systematically misconstrue their own interests. This is also why it’s such an enormous, heavy lift to get past virtue-signaling before we can speak rationally about key matters. We have to spend 20 minutes talking about climate change before we can spend one minute talking about policies that would actually affect wildfires.

But, as I say, their houses burning down are an incentive for people to grow up.

A bit of history: It’s been nearly 32 years since climate change became a mainstream political cause—I date the beginning to then-NASA scientist James Hansen’s public fight with the first Bush White House in 1989. In the decades that followed, as nature dictates, climate politics became institutionalized. Institutionalized means interest groups and business lobbies becoming self-sustaining based on the money that climate fears generate. A cynic might note that during this time the world’s greenhouse emissions rose more steeply than ever. Problems that become institutionalized aren’t solved. They become a multigenerational meal ticket by not being solved.

And yet 32 years have taught us a few things. It was always implausible that the world’s politicians and electorates would require their economies to forgo the advantages of fossil fuels and so it has proved. But we also have discovered a lot about the likely track of future emissions. The world seems to be adhering to RCP 4.5, the second-lowest of the CO2 scenarios sketched by scientists. And not because of penny-ante handouts to solar panels and electric cars, but because of very large social and economic megatrends: urbanization, slower population growth, a shift to service- and digitally-based economies, advancing technology and a declining energy intensity of GDP. One example: Fracking led to a multiyear decline in U.S. greenhouse gas output. Last year, before the pandemic hit, global emissions would have been flat if not for China’s.

Though this column has frequently mentioned the virtues of a carbon tax, nothing is more important for climate change than making sure this socioeconomic progress continues.

Progress in politics is harder to come by, but I can point to some. In the past 24 months, it likely has become impossible for government and private agencies to continue peddling dire climate forecasts, as they have in recent years, based on an unrealistic, worst-case RCP 8.5 emissions scenario.

A surprising thing has happened: Even greens have become embarrassed at the institutionalized dishonesty of such forecasts. (I cited a significant example in a column here in January.)

If we can start being rational about fire-suppression policy, we can start being rational about climate change too.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/finally-wildfire-sanity-11599856913?mod=opinion_featst_pos2

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