Climate Change Weekly #192
The goal of COP-21 – the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 21st Conference of the Parties – in Paris at the end of November is to produce an international agreement to ensure greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by an amount necessary to prevent a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperature this century. With that as a goal, the conference is doomed to failure. Three reasons why:
- Six of the top 10 greenhouse-gas-emitting countries, including three of the four countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, have not set goals to cut their emissions. Rather, China, India, and the Russian Federation have stated their emissions will continue to grow for at least the next 15 and in India’s case 35 years. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, even if all countries keep their climate pledges, the pledges would amount to only about half of the greenhouse gas emission cuts needed to stabilize warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
- Representatives of developing countries have said their signature on any climate agreement in Paris will depend on developed countries financing as previously promised a green climate fund, which, at the behest of President Barack Obama, developed countries agreed to support through technology transfers and financing at $100 billion per year beginning in 2020. Thus far pledges to the fund are less than $10 billion. The United States has not contributed a dime, with Congress vowing to deny Obama any money for the fund. India’s environment and forests minister, Prakash Javadekar, said, “… if [the] developed world doesn’t walk the talk on [the] issue of finance, there will be a problem for the Paris outcome.” Due largely to lack of funding commitments for the green climate fund, 134 developing countries rejected the draft climate agreement provided to them before the most recent round of negotiations in Bonn.
- The Obama administration, through Secretary of State John Kerry, has gone on record stating Paris will not deliver a legally binding treaty requiring countries to cut carbon emissions. Kerry stated, “It’s definitively not going to be a treaty. … They’re not going to be legally binding reduction targets like Kyoto or something.” That’s the final nail in the Paris treaty’s coffin. As Thomas Hobbes stated long ago, “Covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength …” Without a binding law, the next president can walk away from, or Congress can choose not to fund, any climate commitments Obama makes in Paris, without penalty.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there will be no agreement coming out of Paris. At the last minute, I fully expect countries will agree, at the very least, to keep the gravy train rolling. They will commit to sending thousands of delegates on various junkets to exotic locations throughout 2016 to negotiate a treaty around the same time next year, call it COP-22. As far as stopping climate change, however, COP-21’s agreement will amount to, in the immortal words of William Shakespeare, “a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
— H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
Science guy anti-science, anti-free-speech … Responding to attacks on satellite data … Campus divestment movement a fraud … Climate fears result in UK power shortages … Warming pause alive and well … With your help, sound science and common sense will be heard at COP-21 in Paris
According to Bill Nye, the popular children’s science entertainer, the time for debate is over. “We know exactly why the climate is changing–it’s human activity!” he said in an interview at Salon. According to Nye, climate realists, whom he labels derogatorily “deniers,” must be silenced in order to motivate individuals and government to fight climate change. “[Get] the deniers out of our discourse,” Nye said. “You know, we can’t have these people–they’re absolutely toxic. And so part of the message in this book is to get the deniers out of the picture.”
Nye himself denies at least one simple fact at every turn: Climate alarmists have been wrong and climate realist proven right. Climate models say global temperature should climb right along with the rise in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, yet temperatures fell while emissions rose from the 1940s through the 1970s. For the past two decades, while CO2 emissions rose, global satellites show temperatures have been in a holding pattern.
Climate models predicted more intense hurricanes, yet for nearly a decade the United States has experienced far fewer hurricanes than the historic average, and they have been no more powerful than previously experienced. Sea-level rise has slowed, polar bear numbers have increased, Antarctica is gaining ice, the Arctic is back to average ice levels for the decade, and crop production continues to set records year over year. Each of these points contradicts predictions made by IPCC and other climate alarmists.
Climate scientist Roy Spencer has responded to global warming alarmist bloggers’ attacks on the satellite temperature reconstruction he and colleague John Christy assemble. Contrary to bloggers’ claims, Christy and Spencer do not shift temperature model anomalies upward at the point satellite measurements begin to increase the discrepancy between the model outputs and the temperatures measured by the satellites, rather the model projections themselves significantly increase at the time the satellites first began recording data from 1979 to 1983. Contrary to bloggers’ assertions, it does not matter whether the five-year running mean of temperatures begins in 1983 or 1981: The discrepancy between model outputs and observations remains the same, and the anomalies measured are measured against the same 30-year running mean as a baseline. As Spencer points out, what is important are temperature trends and the warming trends produced by models are in almost all instances significantly greater than observed temperatures.
A new report by the National Association of Scholars exposes the movement to get universities to divest fossil-fuel-related stocks from their endowments as an “astroturf” movement led by professional activists and climate alarmists’ fellow travellers, funded by left-wing billionaires and foundations with vested interests in government-subsidized green industries who pay students to protest on college campuses. Professors in the movement have given college credit for working on divestment campaigns and taught classes focused on fossil fuel divestment. Despite more than 1,000 campus-based fossil fuel divestment campaigns, only 30 American colleges and universities have “divested,” and only 34 percent of them have fully purged their endowments of fossil fuel stocks. Four universities, including Oxford, that claim to have divested have not shed any fossil fuel company stocks. Of those actually divesting, fossil fuels made up less than 1 percent of their portfolios.
SOURCE: National Association of Scholars
In early November, despite the fact the first serious cold spell has yet to hit, the United Kingdom is already facing electric power outages. The national grid operator was sufficiently fearful of electricity shortages on November 4 it requested industry reduce power consumption. Companies responded by reducing industrial demand by 40 megawatts. At one point, the grid was paying Severn Power £2,500 per megawatt hour; the usual going rate is £60. If the UK can run short of electricity on a warm day in early November, Charles Moore asks, “Is the Western policy elites’ obsession with global warming itself a threat to civilized life on the planet?”
Moore argues Britain’s present energy crisis is self-inflicted. Due to EU regulations adopted by the UK to fight global warming, coal-fired power stations are closing down and no new gas-fired power stations are coming on stream. The Financial Times has estimated Britain will need a capacity of 56 gigawatts in 2016–17, but will have only 53 gigawatts.
Like most people – possibly everyone – who take part in the global-warming debate, I do not know what will happen to the temperature of the Earth in a century’s time. What I do know, because it is plainly visible, is that the attempt to run the world as if we can control our eco-fate 100 years hence is statistically fantastical, politically impossible, economically ruinous and morally bogus. “The lights are going out all over Europe,” lamented Sir Edward Grey in 1914. That was because of a war. Now we are doing our best to put them out all over again, in the name of the common good.
Georgia Tech climate scientist Judith Curry has provided a powerful review of the controversy over whether a hiatus in warming temperatures has occurred. Having looked at all data sets, providing an apples-to-apples comparison, she notes all the data sets show pretty close agreement on the interannual variations and magnitude of trends over this period, with all the decadal trends sufficiently small to be thought of as a hiatus. She notes even the June reanalysis and temperature reconstruction by NOAA claiming to find no hiatus showed only minimal warming, “at the bottom envelope of the climate model simulations.” The source of the difference between NOAA’s reconstruction and every other data set, all of which show an extended pause in warming, lies almost entirely in the way NOAA accounted for ocean data, choosing to adjust temperatures measured by ocean buoys to more closely correspond to data from ships’ engine intake vents corrupted by a localized heat island effect.
Curry concludes, “The uncertainties in the various global temperature data sets are substantial relative to defining the existence (or not) of a warming hiatus and in assessing whether the observed trends are significantly lower than the model projections. … So it is premature to declare the hiatus dead.”
SOURCE: Climate Etc.
One of the most important battles in the history of the global warming debate will be fought this December at a United Nations climate conference in Paris. It’s called COP-21 – the twenty-first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Heartland Institute is working with other leading think tanks and advocacy groups to make sure our voice – the voice of sound science and economics, of energy consumers and taxpayers in America – is heard. Please consider donating to this effort today; every dollar helps!
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