Civil Defense Perspectives January 2013, Vol. 29 No. 2
The Happy New Year news is that Kyoto is dead. It expired at the end of 2012, leaving the world with 58% more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the 5% reduction sought.
The second phase started Jan 1, 2013. Russia decided to discontinue its participation, and Ukraine and Belarus may follow suit. Canada is officially out. The U.S., China, and India have not committed to reducing emissions (Voice of Russia 12/31/12, quoted in CCNet 1/2/13). Because 195 nations at the UN conference at Doha in Qatar agreed to pretend that the “global” agreement lives on (in a nonbinding statement signed by 37 nations and covering 15% of emissions), a Kyoto “extension” exists as a zombie (Toronto Sun 1/1/13).
Nature is distressed: “The world can go back to emitting greenhouse gases with abandon,” now that it is “without any international climate regulation.” The world is “awash in carbon”—the fathers of the Kyoto Protocol severely underestimated the amount of hydrocarbons buried in the ground. And “making energy more expensive is a political liability everywhere,” stated Roger Pielke (Nature 11/29/12).
From Warming to Extreme Weather
Climate alarmists keep changing their rhetoric from global cooling to global warming to climate change to climate disruption and now to “extreme weather.” It is still assumed that “we” could “contain” the global temperature rise to within 2 °C of preindustrial temperatures by limiting emissions (ibid.). But in case people aren’t sufficiently afraid of warmth, there’s worse.
“When the weather gets weird, as happens a lot these days, one question inevitably arises from reporters, politicians and the general public alike: is this global warming?” writes Quirin Schiermeier (Nature 9/8/11). Previously, climate researchers have shied away from attributing an episode of bad weather to climate change. This reluctance has started to fade. “My thinking has evolved,” states Gavin Schmidt, climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies.
A coalition called ACE—Attribution of Climate Events—uses statistical tools with climate models to carry out “fractional attribution” of extreme events: how much was each influenced by human-caused emissions, and how much by natural causes. Use of people’s experience with vivid events helps to increase their willingness to support measures to reduce emissions (ibid.).
“Sandy proves climate change is a national challenge,” writes Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. We had two once-in-a-century storms within a decade. Q.E.D.: “The traditional dodge—that no one weather event can definitively be attributed to global warming—doesn’t work any more.” After all, it “quacks like a duck” and is “floating through your living room.”
Warmists are going “full tabloid climatology,” reports Marc Morano. “The ‘new normal’ for climate activists is…exploiting any weather event to promote their religious like cause.” A storm like Sandy is shamelessly used to gin up fear” (climatedepot.com).
In fact, the frequency of major hurricanes is now about half what it was 60 years ago, and the most intense hurricane ever to hit the U.S. occurred in 1935 (http://tinyurl.com/8vulazn). Sandy barely qualified as a Category 1 storm when it made landfall. The 1821 Norfolk and Long Island hurricane was a Category 3 when it laid waste to lower Manhattan, and the 1938 New England hurricane was a Category 3 when it battered Long Island (WSJ 11/2/12, http://tinyurl.com/bfbte5u).
While Sandy set a record for the lowest central pressure of any storm north of North Carolina, it is not a harbinger of a “new normal,” writes Roger Pielke. “This historic storm should remind us that planet Earth is a dangerous place, where extreme events are commonplace” (WSJ 11/1/12).
“Frankenstorms” and Medieval Blame Games
Sandy was branded a “Frankenstorm” by none other than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), suggesting that a storm can somehow become an unnatural, sentient monster, with something to tell us: “A wounded earth is speaking—are you listening?” The monster storm is an “assault from the amped-up forces of the not-so-natural world”—our unnatural behavior, our carbon-reliant lifestyles. The radical website Climate and Capitalism writes, “How the 1% created a monster” (Daily Telegraph 10/30/12, http://tinyurl.com/al2ye6t).
For the warmist camp, filled with gloom and doom over the news of stable temperatures for 16 years, the monster was a mighty blast of good news—even a previously neglected election issue. It didn’t matter that the IPCC itself said it had little science to back claims of man-made extreme weather: the media machine was on it. “Frankenscience” was unleashed (Financial Post 10/30/12, http://tinyurl.com/arjz53y).
Scientists Urged to Be Extreme
While the scientific case for manmade climate disaster grows weaker every day, writes David Rothbard of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), “no one should ever underestimate the desperation, audacity, and political brilliance of those who have staked their careers, their reputations, salaries and pensions on the notion that our energy use and quest for improved living standards for all humanity have somehow usurped the natural forces that have driven climate changes from time immemorial” (http://tinyurl.com/atq7xvc).
Financier Jeremy Grantham, who boasts of having warned of investment bubbles in Japan in 1989 and the U.S. in 2000 and 2007, now warns of an impending “resource crisis exacerbated by global warming.” We’re rapidly approaching a “cliff.”
Grantham says we must drastically reduce the use of fertilizer, lest we starve, as we’re about to run out of potash. (The WSJ of Jan 3 shows mountains of it piling up for lack of demand.) He also claims that most of James Hansen’s predictions have proved conservative. He speaks admiringly of Hansen’s recent arrest in Washington, D.C., while protesting a Canadian pipeline.
“For climate change, uniquely, understatement is even riskier [than overstatement] and therefore, arguably, unethical.” Scientists need to sound a more desperate note on global warming: “Be brave. Be arrested.” It is the “crisis of our species’ existence,” he asserts (Nature 11/15/12).
Global Warming Stopped 16 Years Ago
This was announced by the Mail last October based on data on land surface-air temperature released by the Hadley Centre. “Too short a period to draw conclusions,” said Phil Jones of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had predicted an increase of at least 3°C over that period (The Week That Was 10/20/12).
Looking at a much longer period, on the basis of 91 proxies, the peak of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) in the latter part of the 10th century was equal to or greater than mid-20th century warming, and the summers of the Roman Period in the first century A.D. were warmer still. Data from the Greenland Ice Sheet Project show another, higher peak in the Late Bronze Age (13th-11th century B.C.). Atmospheric CO2 hovered between 275-285 ppm over this period until its recent 40% increase (from CCNet 10/18/12, http://tinyurl.com/bghxxkj). More than 700 scientists in 40 countries have presented peer-reviewed evidence that the MWP was real and warmer than the present.
To create the infamous Hockey Stick, James Hansen and Michael Mann erased the MWP and the Little Ice Age, cooled the 1930s, and warmed more recent years. For a detailed discussion and a transcript of the BBC debate between Mann and Marc Morano, see climatedepot.com, http://tinyurl.com/bpp8mx2.
Based on information leaked about the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report, we now have observational data, not unproven models, about the sensitivity of temperature to CO2 concentration. A further rise of no more than 1.6 °C by 2100 is likely from an IPCC scenario assuming a doubling of CO2. (WSJ 12/19/12).
Skeptic Calendar a “KochMachine” Conspiracy
When Anthony Watts sent Michael Mann and three others a free 2013 Skeptic Calendar, Mann sent a Tweet “Where did #AnthonyWatts (#WUWT) get funds for widely distributed #climatechange#denier calendar?…#KochMachine.” Watts used his credit card (http://tinyurl.com/d4ltea8).
Teachers Feeling Heat
Disagreements about climate change are “seeping” into K-12 education. Teachers have to “learn how to defend themselves against parents or administrators wearing ‘ideological blinders,’” stated Joshua Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education. Staging debates over science in schools or Congress is “madness,” he believes. “Science is not about providing balance to every viewpoint that’s out there.” It might “sow confusion.”
Science teachers in Wisconsin refused to participate in a debate organized by “Tea Party activists” pitting them against “climate change deniers David Legates and Willie Soon” in front of students from 200 high schools. One of the teachers, Andrew Milbauer, corresponded on a blog for a time until someone wrote that he was “passing on to our youth this monstrous hoax as gospel truth.” He thinks there is “lynch-mob hate against any teacher trying to teach climate change.”
Climate change is now rivaling evolution as a topic triggering outside concerns. The problem is said to be acute in Louisiana, because of a 2008 law that allows teachers and students to challenge “controversial” ideas in the classroom, including climate change and evolution, “without fear of reprisal” (Science 8/5/11).
What might happen if we allowed freedom of thought?!
About the 98%
In their hatchet job on skeptics, the American Geophysical Union, the National Academy of Sciences, and Frontline state that “97–98% of climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of Anthropogenic Climate Change.” That percentage is 75 of 77 of alleged experts, culled from 10,257 Earth scientists invited to participate in a survey, who agreed that mean global temperatures have risen since the pre-1800s [the end of the Little Ice Age] and that “human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.” The chosen 75 had published papers in journals that routinely reject the work of skeptics. The poll was published in a University of Illinois master’s thesis (The Energy Advocate, November 2012).
Doha Wealth Redistribution Process Goes On
While crying over the “bitter failure” to get a binding treaty, the more than 7,000 climate alarmists representing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) at the Doha conference will still get billions of taxpayer dollars annually, and more all-expense-paid trips to 5-star resorts. A promise was made that, starting in 2020, at least $100 billion per year would flow from “rich” countries to “poor” countries to help them cope with climate change and extreme weather (Rothbard, op. cit.).
Coal Is the Villain
Since the mid-1990s, the amount of primary energy supplied by coal has risen from 25% to almost 30%. There is no prospect of running out. At the current rate of consumption, supplies will last for at least a century. India and China together add three coal-fired generating stations per week. Many European countries, including Germany, are switching from gas and nuclear to coal (Nature 11/29/12).
Believing James Hansen’s characterization of coal plants as “factories of death,” Obama and the U.S. EPA’s Lisa Jackson are trying to kill the U.S. coal-fired utility industry. Jackson’s team proposes to designate coal ash as hazardous waste, at a cost of $50 billion, though 40% of it is recycled into bricks, drywall, asphalt, and cement. EPA headquarters was built with cement containing coal ash. EPA regulations could mean the loss of 2.5 million jobs, and $1,200 annually from household income. Losses to U.S. GDP could peak at $500 billion per year in 2030 (Steve Goreham, Wash Times 1/2/13, http://tinyurl.com/ap4d7cc).
Bottom-Up v. Top-Down Regulation
The Kyoto approach of emissions caps having failed, Dieter Helm suggests shifting the focus to consumption, through taxing the “carbon” embedded in the goods and services each person consumes [presumably the CO2 emitted throughout the process of manufacturing]. “Global warming takes no account of national boundaries,” he writes. If a customer buys a car, it matters little whether the steel was made in China or the U.S. The UK, for example, may have shown a 15% drop in carbon production from 1990 to 2005, but carbon consumption went up by 19% when imports are taken into account. This taxation approach will help avoid “free riding” and the immediate problem of coal burning. We need bottom-up action, not just more talk, he believes (Nature 11/29/12).