Cruz Climate Hearing Puts Data over Dogma

Published December 12, 2015

Climate Change Weekly #195

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, convened a hearing on December 8 titled “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.”

A number of noted scientists gave presentations at the hearing and I thought I’d summarize a few of their remarks. Yahoo news quotes Cruz saying, “climate change [is] a ‘pseudo-scientific theory’ by liberals seeking to impose government control over the economy and ‘every aspect of our lives,'” and the scientists who testified reinforced his point.

John Christy, of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, testified scientists have limited understanding of how recent human greenhouse gas emissions affect the climate. Clear evidence shows the models have a strong tendency to over-warm the atmosphere relative to actual observations. On average, climate models display three times as much warming as is actually recorded. If we follow the scientific method, Christy says, we can conclude “models do not accurately represent at least some of the important processes that impact the climate because they were unable to ‘predict’ what has already occurred.” Since climate models fail the simple task of telling us what has already happened, Christy told the committee, they shouldn’t be trusted to provide a confident answer to what may happen in the future or why.

Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry testified she has become increasingly concerned the integrity of climate research is being compromised by the politicization of the science. This state of affairs is healthy for neither science nor sound public policy. Curry says there is considerable disagreement about the most consequential issues: whether the warming since the late 1800s has been dominated by human causes versus natural variability, how much the planet will warm in the twenty-first century, and whether warming is “dangerous.” She noted climate scientists making statements about uncertainty or degrees of doubt in the climate debate are labeled as “deniers” whose motives are assumed to be ideological or motivated by funding from the fossil fuel industry. Such ad hominem labeling, she said, results in enormous and unwarranted pressure – from politicians, federal funding agencies, universities, professional societies, and even other scientists – for climate scientists to conform to a so-called consensus dangerous anthropogenic warming is occurring.

For William Happer, a physicist at Princeton and Columbia Universities, the key question is not whether carbon dioxide affects temperature, but rather how sensitive Earth’s temperature is to changes in carbon dioxide levels. Happer, who directed funding to the earliest climate models, testified there are credible estimates the temperature rise we might expect from a doubling of carbon dioxide from pre-industrial levels could be as low as 0.5° Celsius, just a sixth of the sensitivity assumed by most climate models. While the temperature impact of a doubling of carbon dioxide is likely to be small, Happer says the impact on agriculture could be tremendous. Pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million (ppm) were barely above the 150 ppm threshold below which many plants die from carbon dioxide starvation. Thousands of peer-reviewed studies show almost all plants grow better (and land plants are more drought resistant) at atmospheric carbon dioxide levels two to three times higher than at present. Accordingly, Happer argues, policies limiting carbon dioxide emissions are likely to cause far more harm than good.

The hearing provided several important take-away messages. Two of the most critical ones:

  • Politics is corrupting climate science
  • Earth is benefitting from, not being harmed by, rising carbon dioxide levels.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Yahoo News; John Christy testimony; Judith Curry testimony; and Will Happer Testimony, all before the Senate Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Science and Transportation


Obama Paris speech wrong on climate facts, again!China won’t accept binding carbon dioxide emission cuts in ParisUK climate negotiators lose jobs after ParisRain, snowfall are not increasingCarbon dioxide limitations are destructive


The first day of the United Nations’ COP-21 climate conference in Paris was set aside for world leaders to make opening statements. Marita Noon details the distortions and misstatements President Barack Obama made in his speech including, “…the sea is already swallowing villages…” As Noon explains, the barrier islands Obama was describing are constantly changing due to a variety of natural factors. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s tide gauge station closest to the islands Obama flew over show no sea level rise in that region of Alaska. In addition, Obama’s claim “… glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times” is not true for the glaciers he visited on his trip to Alaska in August. The Exit Glacier’s retreat has slowed from more than 300 feet per year in 1918, long before human carbon dioxide emissions started to rapidly rise, to approximately 187 feet annually today, and the melting of Glacier Bay’s glaciers has slowed substantially from their peak retreat in the 1860s. While Obama obfuscated in his presentation, Christina Figueres, the UN’s top climate change official, got to the truth of what the climate conference was really about: “The meeting isn’t ‘about the temperature’ — which she said ‘is just a proxy.’ Instead, she revealed: it ‘is about the decarbonization of the economy’ — which means ending the use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, and coal.”

SOURCE: American Spectator


Patricia Adams, an economist and executive director of Probe International, a Toronto-based non-governmental organization that has tracked and publicized the environmental movement in China since its beginnings, has written a report examining the chances China will submit to meaningful restrictions on its carbon dioxide emissions at the Paris climate talks. China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, relies heavily on imported fossil fuels for energy. It is aiming to reduce fossil-fuel consumption to 80 percent of its energy mix by 2030, but officials there say they will not forsake national economic growth to satisfy Western climate fears. Adams says the highest priority of China’s Communist Party is to maintain high economic growth rates to continue bringing the country’s people out of poverty – and this economic growth depends upon the use of fossil fuels for energy. While China’s government is under intense domestic pressure to clean up its air pollution, which by some estimates kills as many as half a million people each year, cutting carbon dioxide emissions won’t solve China’s air pollution problems. Abating air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide using proven, relatively inexpensive, technologies will allow China’s continued use of fossil fuels.

SOURCE: Global Warming Policy Foundation


The UK’s majority Tory government is planning £37 billion in spending cuts over the next five years in order to wipe out the country’s deficit by 2020. To meet this goal, many of the UK’s climate diplomats currently in Paris could be greeted with pink slips when they get back home. The UK’s climate diplomats were told to plan for cuts as they were leaving for negotiations in Paris. About 200 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff, 79 full-time, work on climate-related initiatives, including climate attachés and senior officials at British embassies in Brazil, China, India, and Nigeria. More than 100 climate-related diplomatic posts are threatened by recently announced budget cuts of 25 to 40 percent between 2019 and 2020. Those cuts are in addition to 39 percent reductions to the diplomacy budget in 2011–2013, representing cuts of £7.5 million to £4.5 million, and a 10 percent reduction made in the office of chief climate diplomat Sir David King in 2015.

“The rumors – so we have been told – are they are going to axe the climate posts once the COP [Paris climate summit] is over,” said Barry Gardiner, the Labour party’s shadow climate minister. In addition to the cuts in the foreign office, the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has been told to expect a 22 percent cut in its daily operations budget.

SOURCE: Climate Change News


A comprehensive new study in the Journal of Hydrology finds the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is likely wrong by a factor of 10 or more in its claim precipitation increased in some regions by as much as 1 percent in each decade of the twentieth century. Using more than 1.5 million monthly precipitation totals from 1,000 measuring stations in 114 countries, the researchers determined there has been “No significant global precipitation change from 1850 to present.” While data for some stations extend back to the 1700s, most of the data come from stations that have existed since 1850, with all stations providing data for more than 100 years.

The researchers plotted the percentage of annual precipitation change relative to the years 1961 to 1990 for six continents, as well as for stations at different latitudes and those experiencing low, moderate, and high annual precipitation totals. They found no substantial differences for stations located in northern, tropical, or southern latitudes. From 1850 to 2000 the percentage rate of precipitation change was –1.2 ± 1.7 per century, or less than 0.09 mm per decade – far less than the 1 percent per decade change claimed by IPCC.

SOURCES: Science Direct and Bishop Hill Blog


Energy and environmental policy analysts Roger Bezdek and Paul Driessen say the proposed carbon restrictions believed necessary to keep future global temperature increases to 2º Celsius (3.5º F) would be immoral, indefensible, and inhumane. Bezdek and Driessen note there is a strong causal relationship between gross domestic product (GDP) and fossil energy consumption, with the use of fossil fuels facilitating successive industrial revolutions and enabling billions to live better than royalty did a century ago – allowing average incomes to increase elevenfold and average global life expectancy to climb from less than 30 years of age in 1870 to 71 years today. Attempting to limit the use of fossil fuels ignores the benefits they have provided and whitewashes the harm such cuts would cause. Bezdek and Driessen say the proposed climate treaty under development, which seeks a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to 80 percent below actual 1990 levels, would require fossil fuel energy reductions of 96 percent below currently forecasted 2050 levels. Eliminating this amount of energy would reduce 2050 world per-capita GDP to less than what Americans “enjoyed” in 1830, resulting in a catastrophic shrinking of developed economies and stunting economic progress in the developing world with lethal results for millions of people in poor nations who would be denied the blessings of electricity and fossil fuels for decades to come.

SOURCE: Investor’s Business Daily

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