Obama’s Climate Obsession Loses Allies to China

Published April 27, 2015

Climate Change Weekly #169

President Barack Obama’s climate obsession is costing U.S. commercial interest and influence all over the globe.

The United States has pressured the World Bank to cease funding coal-fired power plant projects in developing countries. According to World Bank Executive Director Whitney Debevoise, “The Obama Administration believes that the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have a potentially critical role to play in the future international framework for climate finance, and, in particular, to assist developing countries in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and … build demand for no or low carbon resources.”

The World Bank bowed to U.S. pressure. That decision dramatically affected Pakistan’s Thar Coal and Energy Project, which depended on World Bank financing for construction. China stepped in to replace the World Bank’s withdrawn financing, agreeing to provide up to $37 billion in investment for energy projects to generate 16,400 MW of power in Pakistan. Most of the money will fund coal-fired power plants. China’s commitment exceeds the $31 billion the United States has given to Pakistan since 2002. Moreover, two-thirds of the U.S. funding was for security, supporting Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terrorism, not infrastructure.

The Heartland Institute is in Rome this week to advise Pope Francis on climate change. Click herefor more information.

In a more profound and more permanent move, China is leading the development of a new financing institution, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, using initial capital of $50 billion to invest in roads, cellphone towers, railways, airports, power plants, and other infrastructure projects across Asia.

Embarrassingly, despite the desperate, obvious need people in developing countries have for energy to reduce the grinding poverty crushing them, the U.S. fiercely lobbied its allies not to join the new bank. Yet in another show of the U.S.’s fading influence in world affairs under the Obama administration, nearly all U.S. major allies and funding partners – including Australia, Britain, and South Korea – have joined China and many fast-growing developing countries in rejecting the White House’s pleas, agreeing to join the Chinese-led effort.

As Eduardo Porter wrote for The New York Times, the new Asian infrastructure bank serves a need not being filled by Western-controlled financing institutions:

The reason for the defiance is not hard to find: The West’s environmental priorities are blocking their access to energy.

A typical American consumes, on average, about 13,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. The citizens of poor countries – including Nepalis, Cambodians and Bangladeshis – may not aspire to that level of use, … [b]ut they would appreciate assistance from developed nations, and the financial institutions they control, to build up the kind of energy infrastructure that could deliver the comfort and abundance that Americans and Europeans enjoy.

Too often, the United States and its allies have said no.

“It is about pragmatism, about trade-offs,” said Barry Brook, professor of environmental sustainability at the University of Tasmania in Australia. “Most societies will not follow low-energy, low-development paths, regardless of whether they work or not to protect the environment.”

If billions of impoverished humans are not offered a shot at genuine development, the environment will not be saved. And that requires not just help in financing low-carbon energy sources, but also a lot of new energy, period. Offering a solar panel for every thatched roof is not going to cut it.

There you have it: an administration driven by climate alarmism and antipathy towards free markets, wrecking the environment it hopes to save, burning diplomatic bridges and forgoing commercial opportunities in the process. China undoubtedly has self-serving motives for helping developing countries to prosper. Still, in this instance, it also has the moral high ground.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Times of India; Reuters; Los Angeles Times; and New York Times


Government tampers with temperature data … Hans Von Storch: Honest scientist … Climate scientist Curry testifies concerning president’s climate plan … Hurricanes at 45-year lows … Ways to think about climate debate


Engineer Steve Goddard combed through 95 years of National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) data and discovered actual temperature measurements show afternoon temperatures, typically the warmest time of day, have fallen substantially over the past century. Goddard points out the raw data are not what gets reported. Rather, NCDC adjusts the data, “mak[ing] the long-term US cooling trend appear to be warming, and release[s] the altered data to the public.” Goddard argues, “Altering data to actually reverse a trend (and not prominently making clear that is what you are doing) would get someone immediately fired and likely prosecuted in most industries, but in US government climate science it is just business as usual.”

SOURCE: Steven Goddard


In a 2013 interview in the popular German news magazine Der Spiegel – I’m including it here because it’s refreshing and may not have been noticed by the new readers of Climate Change Weekly – noted climate scientist Hans von Storch displays honesty rare among those who believe humans are causing dangerous climate change. Von Storch is no stranger to controversy since he sided with skeptics in their criticism of climate scientists linked to the Climategate scandal rather than their defenders. In the Der Speigel interview von Storch discusses the weaknesses with the dominant climate meme attributing dangerous climate change to human actions.

According to von Storch, “So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break. We’re facing a puzzle. 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 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, … the increase was … a value very close to zero.”

When Der Speigel asked if computer models ever predict lengthy periods with no temperature rise as Earth is currently experiencing, von Storch replied: “Yes, but only extremely rarely. At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase. If the models can’t get this basic fact right then everything they do must be problematic”

Von Storch argues there are two possible explanations for why models fail to track actual climate conditions, neither comforting for alarmists. First, Earth could be less sensitive to carbon dioxide than assumed by climate modelers. Second, IPCC and fellow travelers have underestimated the extent natural factors cause climate fluctuations.

For me, the most interesting part of the interview comes when he discusses some climate scientists’ attempts to end the debate concerning the causes and consequences of climate change:

Unfortunately, some scientists behave like preachers, delivering sermons to people. What this approach ignores is the fact that there are many threats in our world that must be weighed against one another. If I’m driving my car and find myself speeding toward an obstacle, I can’t [simply] yank the wheel to the side without first checking to see if I’ll instead be driving straight into a crowd of people. Climate researchers cannot and should not take this process of weighing different factors out of the hands of politics and society.

SOURCE: Spiegel online international


On April 15, climatologist Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, testified before a U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology during a hearing on President Barack Obama’s U.N. Climate Pledge. Curry agrees human activities are influencing the climate but nevertheless is attacked by climate alarmists because her research shows humans are likely not the primary driver of climate change.

Curry testified:

Recent data and research supports the importance of natural climate variability and calls into question the conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of recent climate change. This includes:

  • The slow down in global warming since 1998
  • Reduced estimates of the sensitivity of climate to carbon dioxide
  • Climate models that are predicting much more warming than has been observed so far in the 21st century

She continued, “The inadequacies of current policies based on emissions reduction are leaving the real societal consequences of climate change and extreme weather events largely unaddressed, whether caused by humans or natural variability.”

For Curry, commitment to speaking the truth about the state of climate science, even in the face of significant attempts to silence her, trumps fealty to the climate alarmist dogma clung to by so many of her peers working with the IPCC.

SOURCES: House Science Testimony and Climate Etc.


The world, not just the United States, is in a hurricane drought. Data provided by meteorologist Ryan Maue, Ph.D. show, as he tweeted, “5-year running sum of number of global tropical cyclones (1970-2015) Stuck at 400 — lowest in this 45-year record.” Not only is the number of tropical cyclones and hurricanes low, so is the number of category 3 or higher storms. As of April 22, it has been 3,467 days, more than nine years, since a category 3 storm (Wilma on October 24, 2005) has made landfall in the United States. Roger Pielke, Jr. points out this is the longest period between major hurricane landfalls in the United States since 1900. Pielke reports, “Over the past century the average time between intense landfalls in Florida has just about doubled, from about 3 years to 6 years.” Climate models and IPCC forecasts failed to project this hurricane drought.

SOURCE: Watts Up With That


On Earth Day, Max Borders, editor of The Freeman, offered 22 points to consider when thinking about the climate change debate. Among the points Borders offers is “Models are not evidence.” Models present simulations of complex processes, Borders notes, and when model projections diverge from the evidence, they, not the evidence, are not to be trusted. Additionally, Borders notes, “Forecasts are not observation.” In the beginning IPCC admitted this, Borders notes: “In the first IPCC assessment of 1992, the authors wrote, ‘Scenarios are not predictions of the future and should not be used as such.'” In recent years, IPCC seems to have forgotten its earlier caution. About trusting forecasts, IPCC was right in 1992 and wrong today.

While Borders makes many fine points, among the most under-appreciated are two I believe are inexorably linked. Climate is complex, thus climate models simulating it are also invariably complex as well. The more complex the model, the easier it is to introduce errors, and model outputs are only as good as the inputs. “Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO)” must always be guarded against. The problem is, as climate modelers admit, there are many climate factors the models cannot take into account, including cloud cover, persistent periodic climate patterns like El Niño, volcanic eruptions, solar activity, and long-term ocean circulation patterns. GIGO enters the modeling process from the get-go. This doesn’t mean modeling is a useless exercise, only that we should take model outputs with extreme caution. As Borders writes, “…the lower ‘res’ [resolution or scale] the model, the less it conforms to reality’s details. The higher ‘res’ the model, the more likely it is to be infected with errors. This is one of the great paradoxes of modeling.”

SOURCE: The Freeman

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