June 7, 2009
ICCC Three Brings Climate Reality To Washington DCBy Marc Sheppard
A mere twelve weeks had passed since he gaveled the close of the second International Conference on Climate Change in NYC. Yet last Tuesday found Joseph Bast already delivering the opening speech to its follow-up event, again featuring an elite group of scientists, economists and politicians gathered to discuss climate science and policy. But this time he stood in DC’s Washington Court Hotel, just blocks away from the chamber in which Democrats will soon attempt to pass the very legislation compelling this urgent session – the Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade bill.
While both public opinion and the planet’s climate have cooled these past three months, the Left’s green fever has taken a desperate turn in the opposite direction. In April, EPA chief Lisa Jackson made good on her promise to pursue endangerment status and subsequent pollutant regulation of CO2 and five other greenhouse gases, an act likely crafted to coerce accelerated legislative action. It worked -- just weeks ago, such legislation -- the American Clean Energy Security Act (HR 2454) -- cleared its first hurdle by passing Waxman’s own House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Considering the bill’s meritless substance, potential influence on a future global accord, and outrageous price tag (hundreds of billions of dollars annually) the Heartland Institute recognized the need to once again remind the world of the “widespread dissent to the asserted ‘consensus’ on the causes, consequences, and proper responses to climate change” and that “immediate action to reduce emissions is not necessary.” Hence, an abbreviated (single day) ICCC III: Scientific Debate and Economic Analysis was quickly organized -- and Bast was now addressing over 250 attendees who came to hear and spread the vital message.
Bast wasted no time attacking the consensus canard and cited the mainstream media’s (MSM) success in keeping the existence of tens of thousands of scientists that dispute the notion of manmade global warming mostly secret as its foundation. He likened anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hysteria to the type of crowd madness that 19th century writer Charles MacKay coined as “an Extraordinary Popular Delusion,” in which even highly intelligent people can get swept up in a fad or idea which in retrospect was obviously false.” Such crowd madness led to debacles such as the 1920’s Florida Land Boom, the uranium crash of the 1950’s and, of course, the 2001 portfolio-decimating Dot Com bubble burst. Not a bad analogy, as AGW fits both the group-think and greed-driven special-interest-group rewarding aspects associated with all such folly.
And the fiery madness is fueled by a number of complicit and self-serving groups. First and foremost, the thousands of scientists that depend upon government grants to fund their climatology research, which would disappear should they fail to find either a human connection to or some new negative impact of climate change. Then there are the environmental organizations that depend upon sounding the alarm to keep the donation coffers full. And the journalists who see a “free ride” to nab front-page newspaper positions by echoing the alarmists. And the Capitalists who see, well – capital, prompting huge corporations to jump on board to exploit renewable energy subsidies and R&D grants from the federal government. Meanwhile, politicians see a great opportunity to posture about “knowing something about science” and to appear concerned for the long term and about public health and environment. And that, explained Heartland’s president and CEO, is what we’re up against in battling the bad-legislation-breeding hysteria.
With that, Joe introduced MIT’s Richard Lindzen, who explained the allure of spreading the alarm felt by climate scientists over the past 20 years. It’s no surprise that alarmists are more easily published and better funded than their colleagues. But the professor added that pro-AGW work that would normally be regarded as weak can suddenly earn its author unwarranted authority. And that they whose specialties lie outside common physics can still receive funding by relating their specialty to GW. These factors artificially swell the number of scientists who “support alarmist views.”
And with it, the claim of consensus, which as former astronaut Harrison Schmitt would later explain, usually reveals an absence of fact.
IPCC’s Faulty Models are Driving Faulty Policy
Addressing the scientific debate, Lindzen drew the line between the mostly accepted issues (CO2’s rise from 280ppmv to 380ppmv since start of industrial age, global mean temperature anomaly increase of 0.5-0.8°C in that time, etc) and those in conflict, such as whether the warming is sufficiently large to exclude natural origin and are the proposed policies of relevance to climate per se. Lindzen insists that the public discussion conflates the non-serious with the serious issues “to the detriment of significant meaning,” and offers Gore’s slide show as an example of “this intentional and misleading confusion.”
Lindzen explained why the process behind the U.N’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) claim of man’s responsibility for the warming since 1954 is “an embarrassment.” First they created a number of models which could not “reasonably simulate known patterns of natural behavior (such as El Niño (ENSO), the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)), claiming that such models nonetheless accurately depicted natural internal climate variability.” Then, when those models failed to replicate the warming episode from the mid seventies through the mid nineties, they proclaimed it proof that “forcing was necessary and that the forcing must have been due to man.” And they relied upon those same “existing poorly performing models” which are fraught with “errors in the feedback factors” to make their argument that “sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 could be anything from 1.5 to 5°C based on the claimed range of results from different models.”
What we see, then, concludes Lindzen, is that the very foundation of the issue of global warming is wrong.
S. Fred Singer added that once you recognize that we’re dealing with natural and not human forces all the to-do about this is nonsense. Attempts to mitigate CO2 -- which is not a pollutant – are pointless, very expensive and completely ineffective. They’ll have no effect on the climate and in fact will have little effect on the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Singer challenged the IPCC for proof of its claim that AWG was 90-99% certain, and to respond to the many “disputed and unsolved problems.” These included the true figure for climate sensitivity, whether water vapor and clouds represent positive or negative feedback, the impacts of natural forcings (internal oscillations, volcanism and solar), atmospheric CO2 residence time and rate of sea level rise (SLR), which Singer states has been an unalarmingly constant 7 inches per century for 3000 years.
He highlighted the U.N’s intellectual dishonesty by projecting graphs from early IPCC reports that included the Little Ice Age (LIA) and Medieval Warm Period (MWP) then those from TAR (IPPC Third Assessment Report) in which they both mysteriously vanished. Another graph depicted temperatures decreasing over the past 10 years while CO2 climbed, meaning “the relationship is meaningless” – a point repeated by several speakers over the course of the day. And addressing the models, Singer showed slide after slide in which he plotting observed v. projected temperatures and the latter always trended significantly higher. The IPCC’s explanation: Maybe there’s something wrong with the observations.
Above the laughter this elicited, Singer explained that the observations used were those published by the IPCC itself.
Carbon Dioxide is not the culprit
When Solar expert Willie Soon took the stage, he insisted that CO2 is not an “air pollutant,” but rather food for plants and marine life. And that its atmospheric levels are controlled by temperature and other biological/chemical variables -- not the other way around (quipped the astrophysicist: Lung Cancer does not cause smoking). But most of all, a magical CO2 knob for controlling weather and climate simply does not exist.
Soon pondered the possible effect that forcing down CO2 levels may have on plants and ergo the food supply, and this observer couldn’t help pondering the Ethanol debacle (that would later be addressed by Christopher Monckton). Soon also questioned CO2’s GW involvement based upon the absence of winter warming in places like Salt Lake City where a phenomenon called the CO2 Urban Dome is caused by an “ineffective CO2 sink during nighttime and during winter” when the biosphere is less active. As a result, a chart of SLC CO2 levels from 2002-to-present show winter swings as high as 600 ppmv (current average is around 380). Yet there’s never been any rise in winter temperatures there. Hmmm.
On the other hand, graphs Soon displayed plotting Solar Total Irradiance against Arctic, Greenland and even Sun-Royal Oak, MD surface temperatures in the past century are remarkably well aligned. As was Willie’s final graph plotting Sunshine Duration against Japanese and Northern Hemisphere Temperatures over the same period. Hmmm again.
Soon was the first, but actually not the last, presenter to offer this apropos quote from Einstein:
And Dr. Roy Spencer’s lunchtime lesson on climate “feedbacks” emphasized why policy makers should heed Einstein’s wisdom.
Were warming due only to CO2, it would be a non-issue. But all climate models exhibit “Positive Feedback” (responses to the warming by clouds, water vapor, etc) -- some by moderate and others by catastrophic amounts. IPCC models use an algorithm whereby CO2-caused warming causes a decrease in clouds, which lets in more sunlight and leads to more warming.
But Spencer offers another possibility -- perhaps weak warming actually increases clouds, letting in less sunlight and leading to less warming. After all, PDO phasing appears to correspond to periods of cloud cover and thereby both warming and cooling.
Now, the IPCC believes in Positive Cloud Feedback because warmer years often coincide with fewer clouds than cooler years. But, asks Spencer, just how do they know that warming causes less clouds rather than less clouds (perhaps caused by a change in ocean circulations) causes warming? The answer – they don’t. And this mix-up can cause “The Illusion of Positive Feedback” (aka a “sensitive” climate system).Spencer analyzed this in a 2008 IPCC-model-expert reviewed paper he coauthored titled Potential Biases in Feedback Diagnosis from Observational Data: A Simple Model Demonstration [PDF]. Any guesses why Spencer’s press release on the paper generated not one inquiry?
Here’s Spenser’s: The “mix-up” means that AGW is a false alarm (0.6°C by 2100 instead of 3.0°C). But then what has caused the warming in the past 100 years? Perhaps the climate can warm all by itself. All you need is to alter cloudiness by 1% (an amount technology can only recently determine) for an extended period of time and you’ve got global warming or global cooling. In other words: The system forces itself. In fact, Spencer believes that a full 75-80% of warming could be due to cloudiness changes due to PDO.
To drill the point home, Spencer repeated loudly: Without positive feedback manmade global warming becomes a non-issue.John Theon, who 12 weeks prior had this to say about James Hansen, “I think the man is sincere, but he is suffering from a bad case of megalomania,” reminded us that his former employee’s alarming 1988 Senate testimony was “an embarrassment to NASA” as it did not reflect the agency’s policy. It did, however, prompt the now famous NY Times headline Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate. The former NASA supervisor also challenged the “unprecedented warming” lie by reminding us why now-frozen Greenland was so named (it was quite warm there during the MWP). He then disputed the credibility of the “peer review” process and used Mann’s Hockey Stick (MBH98) debacle as the perfect example. Theon subscribes to the warming oceans expel CO2 and cause atmospheric elevation theory (the reverse of the alarmist claim that CO2 drives the warming) and submitted a compelling example: Open a cold can of soda and watch it get flat as it approaches room temperature.
Craig Idso took on the alarmist issue of reef destruction from carbon-driven ocean acidification, explaining that rising CO2 and water temperatures have not been anywhere near as catastrophic to corals as models predicted – the sea-life simply adapts. In fact, the growth rate of modern corals is 31-34% greater than that of ancient specimens. And policymakers should be paying much more attention to real world observations than to theoretical projections.
Idso’s conclusion summed it up well: Rising CO2 levels are not the bane of the biosphere, but actually the boon.
Bad Data, Bad Reporting, and False versus Real Dilemmas
Anthony Watts, editor of the fabulous WUWT, reported the latest data in his ongoing evaluation of highly-critical upstream temperature data collection – and the results are nothing less than startling. His team found more than half of the 1,221 stations audited to be inaccurate by at least 2°C. These discrepancies were attributed to various data corrupting violations, including stations located on dark albedo gravel or directly in proximity to hot AC exhaust (both of which bias readings to the upside).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) rules dictate stations be at least 100 feet away from heat sources and radiative surfaces and the number of stations disregarding this metric (90%) is breathtaking. Watts also discussed how “smoothing” adjustments are used by both the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and NOAA to “homogenize” station data to that of surrounding stations. This actually makes temperature increase appear even steeper. In fact, Watts displayed a graph depicting NOAA’s adjustments to raw temperature data between 1940 and 1999 to be 0.5°F to the positive. That accounts for almost one half of the 1.2°F warming over the last century – think about that.
And this -- Cato’s Patrick Michaels explained the Climate of Extremes being used to promote AGW, and with it -- Waxman-Markey, by offering the false dilemma of either “There’s no such thing as Global Warming” or “We’re all going to die.” Such extremes even exist among alarmists, with Al Gore warning of a 1 meter SLR in 10 years while the IPCC puts the rise at 1.26 inches. He disproved overstatement examples of drought extent, California fire causes and other climate “catastrophes” that are reported without fact-checking. And he deftly debunked the “Robins in the Arctic” myth that there is no Eskimo word for Robin, as, before global warming-caused bird migration, Eskimos had never seen one. The MSM and many politicians (including John McCain) have floated that fallacy as a sign of unprecedented warming. Guess what? Michaels found plenty of Eskimo language references to the birds in literary quotes dating back to 1913.
Bob Carter warned that the real climate change problem is that of natural weather and climate events, and that these shift by locale. Nobody lives in a world climate. For instance, while New Zealand and San Francisco run high risks of earthquakes and volcanic eruption, other regions face a greater chance of suffering the effects of wildfires and hurricanes.
Plan A – The IPCC plan – will obviously not stop climate change. Even if we could force CO2 abatement through heavy taxation, the current logarithmic decreasing curve of CO2’s warming effect proves it would be meaningless. Even if we doubled and redoubled, that warming is not going to be dangerous.
Our Plan B must therefore be preparation for and adaptation to real natural climate change. Thusly, hypothetical human-caused climate change, should it occur, is automatically accommodated. Will 2020 be more like the LIA or the MWP?
The truth is – affirms Carter -- no one really knows.
Cap and Trade is Cap and Tax
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis), who insists that C&T be called what it really is – cap-and-tax, believes this administration is bent on signing a treaty in Copenhagen in December and he fears they’ll do so simply for the sake of signing a treaty rather than insisting that the treaty be a good one – which means of world wide application and not significantly hurting the American economy. But their messages are mixed. On May 27th Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said we may accept targets for reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in an international treaty even if China doesn’t. Yet just a month earlier, Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the imperative that any agreement include significant commitments from all nations. Asks the congressman -- What is American Policy on the issue?
For the record, Sensenbrenner doesn’t oppose carbon mitigation. He does, however, strongly oppose cap-and-tax, and believes emissions should be reduced through technology (which the notorious intellectual-property thieves in China expect us to share). And as the lone Republican to accompany Pelosi’s delegation to China a few days before, what he heard from all China interlocutors, from top on down, is that the Chinese will never go along with an international treaty that mandates the reduction of GHG, but will instead reduce GHG their own way. They demand that the developed world contribute 1% of GDP (that’s 140B from US) to a U.N controlled fund to help with their GHG reduction.
So then -- We’d borrow $140B a year from the Chinese to give the Chinese $140B a year. Readers can imagine the laughter this one induced.
Furthermore, the economic impact of C&T would be devastating. In his state (which relies on coal-fired plant for 67% of its power), he predicts a 170% increase in electric rates, 130% in natural gas rates and between 8 and 10 dollars gas at the pump. That’s not a typo.
The congressman warned that there’s no way American industry can compete against India and China if energy costs are raised so high. He refers to the idea as “economic unilateral disarmament.” And he further warns that the very same people who push the bill the most (Pelosi, Markey, Waxman, Kerry, etc) will be the ones who bring utility executives before Congress to berate them for raising rates to pay for the carbon offset credits. And they will also be the first to complain when manufacturing jobs disappear completely when whatever we have left goes to China and India.
He calls it a “Cynical political game” which will have “devastating economic consequences.” He emphasized that “we need to inform the people this is not a free lunch but a very expensive one so that we can beat this in the Congress.”
When Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) took the podium, he opened with one of the event’s funniest lines: “I know a little bit about science. I know there are protons, electrons, neutrons … and MORONS.” His presentation was rich with personal anecdotes, including of an in-your-face encounter with Jacques-Yves Cousteau and a group of students. Overhearing the pupils being lectured that “within 10 years the oceans will be dead black goo,” the congressman decided to challenge the French oceanographer’s prediction. Rohrabacher’s reenactment of Cousteau’s arrogant “because I say so” reply marvelously lampooned the “Case closed, no more questions” attitude of the Gore and his fellow alarmists.
But on a more serious note, Rohrabacher posed a few questions he feels must be answered before taxes are raised and lives are controlled. For instance, why do AGW charts tend to use an 1850’s baseline? Could it be because that’s when the LIA ended? And what’s the big deal about a few degrees temperature rise from such historic lows? Good question, indeed.
Senator James Inhofe (R-Ok) all but assured us that Waxman-Markey would never pass the Senate. Sure, Pelosi will pass anything, so it’s likely to get through the House. And Reid has promised to bypass the Senate committee process and take the bill straight to floor. But it won’t pass the Senate, where the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the 2003 Lieberman-McCain, the 2005 McCain-Lieberman and the 2007 Lieberman-Warner were all defeated. They simply will not pass a bill that doesn’t include developing nations.
Let’s hope that the congressman from Wisconsin and the Senator from Oklahoma are both correct in their assessments.
Economist David Tuerck, who believes that cap-and-trade can be done right, delivered a more detailed, albeit rushed, analysis of why Waxman-Markey is C&T done wrong. Borrowing from a similar term used to describe bad science he referred to the bill as “junk economics.”
And so, apparently, was Spain’s approach.
You may recall that in January of this year, Obama held out the energy policies of Spain as a shining example of how successful a “government-aided” cap-and-trade plan could be. On Tuesday, Dr. Gabriel Calzada shredded that model. The Spanish economist revealed the devastating 18 percent “green unemployment” such policies have created. And the “green bubble” inflated by a perpetuating yet unsustainable cycle of government subsidies for “green jobs,” ($771,000 for each – also not a typo) which in reality result in a net loss of two traditional jobs for every green one created. Not to mention the fact that the majority of these “green” jobs are temporary in nature, further decimating the Spanish workforce as they sunset. And while the government continues to pump more money into inadequate power sources, energy prices skyrocket, driving industry to cheaper ground, and the job market to even lower levels.
The Marshall Institute’s Jeff Kueter called Waxman-Markey a path to energy rationing, and ultimately rationing of food and even regulation of food choices. And the doctor wisely reminded us that:
And Finally -- Lord Christopher Monckton
Once again, Heartland recruited the Mariano Rivera of conference closers to deliver the final pitch. And once again, Monckton charmed the crowd right out of the bullpen, this time with a hysterical Pelosi quote:
Now, it appears that Joe Bast asked his Lordship to refrain from calling the alarmists “Bed-wetters,” so he instead referred to them as “people who have difficulty containing certain very personal bodily functions when they are [horizontally inclined].” Anyway -- The day before yesterday, those people called it “global warming.” Yesterday they called it “climate change.” Today they call it “energy security” and tomorrow – thanks to those in this room -- they will call it what it is – absolute rubbish.
He displayed and intellectually destroyed the now alarmist staple graph of 19th and 20th century global mean temperatures which has appeared everywhere from AR4 to Al Gore’s film to the recent EPA CO2 pollution ruling. Monckton calls the statistical technique behind its steep rise in the past 50 years – particularly relating to the selection of endpoints for drawing linear-regression trends -- entirely bogus and states that no respectable scientist or authority would ever have used it. Of course, IPCC has a record of employing flim-flam visuals – as the famous “Hockey Stick” graph which dishonestly obliterated both the LIA and the MWP in an effort to label modern warming “unprecedented” attests.
He then took on Kofi Annan’s recent grotesque claim of 300,000 deaths per year caused by GW.
There is a clear cooling trend in the data, yet GW is killing 300,000 people a year? And the MSM unquestionably reported this as fact.
Monckton then had fun with Steven Chu’s absurd suggestion that painting rooftops and roads white would have the same effect on global warming as taking all the cars in the world off the world's roads for 11 years, and, again, the MSM’s uncritical reporting of it. First scientifically – 75% of Earth’s surface is covered in water or ice, leaving 25%. Of which maybe 2% has roofs or roads on it. At most then we can paint 0.5% of the Earth’s surface. But most of the buildings and roads are not in the tropics where most of the sunlight arrives and needs reflecting back. Added to other pitfalls he delineates, Monckton estimates the paintfest will forestall a whopping 0.1% of GW. Of course the media was nonetheless eager to report the plan without attempting to verify its efficacy.
Then there’s the fiscal problem. Calculating the amount of paint required to be 168 Trillion sq. meters of paint divided by 10 sq. meters per liter to give you 17 Trillion liters of paint, which even if you go to Wal-Mart and get it at a dollar a liter, you’re spending $17 Trillion Dollars to save 0.0008 to 0.008 F° of GW by 2100. And that is a Bargain compared to the Markey-Waxman Bill.
And here’s why.
To prevent just 2.0°F of warming, we must forgo 2 to 20 trillion tons of CO2 emissions. The annual W/M cuts are 5 of the 6 billion tons being emitted, so the cooling per year that will be achieved will have saved 0.0005-0.005 F° per year. At that rate it would take between 1600 and 16000 years to prevent the 8°F predicted by the UN till 2100. At the $180 Billion a year the administration has leaked -- the cost of this modest proposal will be 300 to 3000 Trillion Dollars. “And it won’t start to work till we’re well into the next Ice Age anyway. If then.”
He then questioned how the warming a given increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration would cause is derived. And why it wasn’t mentioned in either of the past 2 IPCC reports. And made a rather technical yet easy to follow argument why the IPCC’s central estimate of climate sensitivity (3.3°C) is off by nearly an order of magnitude. And warned that:
And then this brilliant citizen of Great Britain placed more faith in the American spirit than do most American Liberals:
Many thanks to the folks at Heartland for boldly and adroitly bearing the torch once again. I, for one, exited Tuesday’s proceedings more confident in the failure of both the American and Copenhagen boondoggles than when I arrived.
Inhofe believes Obama needs to carry some type of victory with him to the December summit, and that it won’t be an American C&T bill. The Senator also assured us that the EPA threat isn’t going work, as Obama won’t want his fingerprints on such regulation should the projected economic devastation materialize, and that the Senate can “easily stall it until we get a different president.” Let’s hope he’s right: The failure of Waxman-Markey would leave the American delegation with nothing more than the “promise of US regulation” with which to pressure China and India. Good luck with that, guys.
Therefore, the defeat of HR 2454 is key. For all of the reasons expressed by Tuesday’s brilliant speakers -- plus this one: While Waxman-Markey would attempt to cut US carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the EU is seeking to lower them to 20 percent below 1990 levels by that year. And according to an MIT study, Waxman-Markey “could cost the average household more than $3,900 per year.” Imagine the potential “negative feedback” effects an international accord might have on Waxman-Markey’s already destructive emission goals.
At ICCC II, Monckton asserted that “There is no climate crisis. There was no climate crisis. There will be no climate crisis” and that therefore “the correct policy response to the non-problem of climate change is to have the courage to do nothing.”
His declaration twelve weeks to the day later that we “must not fail” accurately underscores the urgency of exacting such courage from our policymakers.
Reality must prevail. This bill must die.