Massachusetts v. EPA: Where are we now? (the left view)

Pamela King reports for the Green Wire Massachusetts v. EPA: Where are we now?.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Environmentalist David Bookbinder:  We’re in a really good position because we’ve defined a word (“air pollutant”), and courts are reluctant to redefine a word.”

In a scathing dissent yesterday, Justice Elena Kagan rebuked her conservative colleagues for chipping away at a key 2007 finding that is foundational to environmental law.

Kagan rebuked her conservative colleagues who formed the six-member majority in West Virginia v. EPA, which said that the federal government exceeded its authority with the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which set systemwide requirements aimed at shifting the power sector from coal to renewable generation.

To reach its conclusion, the majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, applied the major questions doctrine, which says Congress must speak clearly when allowing agencies to decide matters of “vast economic and political significance”.

Climate activists protesting outside the Supreme Court yesterday after the court announced its decision in West Virginia v. EPA. Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO

Kagan punctuated her introductory sentence with a citation: Massachusetts v. EPA.

West Virginia did not overturn Massachusetts, which in 2007 recognized greenhouse gases as “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act and that states can sue EPA if it fails to regulate them.

Kagan cites or refers to Massachusetts five times in her dissent. Neither the majority nor a concurring opinion by Justice Neil Gorsuch mentions the case at all.

But West Virginia did take off the table one regulatory option for EPA — the power to determine under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act that the “best system of emission reduction” was for coal-fired plants to either reduce production or shift to renewable generation sources.

The Obama administration had taken that approach in the Clean Power Plan, which was put on hold by the Supreme Court in 2016 and never actually took effect. The Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday invalidated the regulation.

“A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body,” Roberts wrote for the majority.

Lisa Heinzerling, a Georgetown University law professor who crafted the winning argument for states and environmentalists in Massachusetts, said she is “struck by how far we’ve come” since the 2007 case. “And I don’t mean that in a good way,” she added.

Heinzerling said that while she doesn’t expect the Supreme Court to overturn Massachusetts, the conservative wing seems willing to strip away meaningful avenues for EPA to regulate emissions from the power sector, the second-biggest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gases.

And the implications go far beyond EPA, she said.

“Any agency rule right now that takes on a new problem in a creative way has a bull’s-eye on it,” she said.

Paul Seby, a shareholder at the firm Greenberg Traurig who represented North Dakota in the West Virginia case, said the Peace Garden State and other challengers have “no bone to pick” with Massachusetts.

It is well-established that greenhouse gas emissions are air pollutants subject to regulation by EPA and the states, he said. The question in this case, he added, concerned states’ role under Clean Air Act Section 111(d) in making greenhouse gas regulatory decisions for existing sources within their borders.

EPA’s role, Seby said, is to issue guidelines for emissions control by the states and provide support and information about tools to achieve the Clean Air Act’s aims — not act as a national energy regulator.

“We accept the premise of Massachusetts v. EPA,” Seby said. “It’s just a question of who implements that in the provisions of the statute.”

‘Hard look’ at EPA

The Supreme Court has taken on other EPA climate cases in the years since Massachusetts.

In the 2011 case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court said EPA authority’s climate authority preempted a litany of public nuisance lawsuits against corporations for greenhouse gas emissions. And in 2014’s Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, the Supreme Court cabined the agency’s authority by finding that its regulation of vehicle emissions did not automatically trigger permitting requirements for stationary sources.

Yesterday’s ruling in West Virginia is in keeping with the trajectory of these cases, said Allison Wood, a partner at the firm McGuireWoods who was involved in Massachusetts, AEP and UARG.

“The court is willing to allow the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act — that’s Massachusetts — but it’s going to take a hard look at what EPA tries to do under the Clean Air Act and make sure that it hews closely to the statute,” she said. “And here in the West Virginia case, they found that what the Obama EPA was trying to do in the Clean Power Plan went too far.”

But environmental lawyers have expressed concern that the Supreme Court’s six-justice conservative majority could find ways in future cases to upend the Massachusetts decision.

Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the lawyer whose lower court victory in Massachusetts was later overturned by the Supreme Court, wrote on Twitter yesterday that West Virginia was “a July 4th birthday present” for the nation.

As head of the Justice Department’s environment division under former President Donald Trump, Clark oversaw the defense of the Affordable Clean Energy rule, which gutted the Clean Power Plan and was later struck down by a federal appeals court, paving the way for the West Virginia case.

He now faces allegations that he worked with the former president to pursue baseless fraud claims in the 2020 election (E&E Daily, June 24).

[Baseless?  Take your heads out of the sand!]

Clark added on Twitter yesterday that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Massachusetts might have “come out the other way” under the major questions doctrine and called for the case to be “reconsidered.”

Concerns about the stability of settled law were heightened last week after the court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent recognizing the constitutional right to an abortion (Greenwire, June 24).

Massachusetts is “slowly becoming insulated as precedent, but we’ve seen what this court thinks about precedent,” said David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center. “I’d be more confident about that if Dobbs hadn’t been decided last week.”

But Bookbinder, who represented environmentalists in Massachusetts, drew a distinction between constitutional issues in cases like Dobbs and fights over the definitions of terms in statutes — such as “air pollutant” in the Clean Air Act.

“Dobbs makes me uneasy because they’re really cavalier about precedent,” he said, “but we’re in a really good position because we’ve defined a word, and courts are reluctant to redefine a word.”

Postscript

So CO2, the stuff of life for plants and animals, including humans, lawyers now term an “air pollutant.”  Add it to the list of things that have been turned upside down by progressive would-be tyrants playing word games.

Progressive, instead of Socialist or Marxist

Woke, instead of Brainwashed

They, instead of Gender Confused

Mansplain, instead of Point Taken

Latinx, instead of Hispanic

Antifa, instead of Leftist Hoodlums

Inclusive, instead of Tolerant

Social Justice, instead of Endless Conflict

Top Surgery and Bottom Surgery, instead of Sexual Mutilation

Unvaccinated, instead of Herd Immunity

Racist, instead of Color Blind

Birthing Person, instead of Mother

And so on, and so on. . .

 

 

2022 Arctic Ice Usual June Swoon

The image above shows melting of Arctic sea ice extent over the last half of June 2022.  As usual the process of declining ice extent follows a LIFO pattern:  Last In First Out.  That is, the marginal seas are the last to freeze and the first to melt.  Thus on the extreme left of the image, the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk seas are entirely open water.  Meanwhile on the lower right, Hudson Bay ice retreats 400k km2 from north to south.  Note center right Gulf of St. Lawrence turns blue.  At the top center Barents Sea ice retreated down to 40k km2 or 5% of its last maximum. Kara Sea upper left lost 340k km2 down to 45% of its last max.  Center left Laptev has melted somewhat, but still retains 76% of its maximum ice extent. The central mass of Arctic ice is intact with some fluctuations back and forth, and as well as Beaufort Sea and CAA (Canadian Arctic Archipelago) were slow to melt in June, retaining 97% of maximum ice in each basin.

The graph below shows the ice extent retreating during June compared to some other years and the 16 year average (2006 to 2021 inclusive).

The chart black line shows that on average in June Arctic ice extent goes down 1.8M km2.  2020, as well as 2007 started June above average, but ended the month matching average. SII was higher than MASIE some days, but ended up the same.  Since Hudson Bay melts the most at this time, the dark green line shows the Arctic total excluding Hudson Bay (HB).  The light green is 2022 minus HB, showing that most of the surplus to average ice was in Hudson Bay starting June, and then retreated to average in the second half of June.  Again note that Hudson Bay is outside the Arctic circle and will be open water soon.

The table shows where the ice is distributed compared to average.  Bering and Okhotsk are open water at this point and are dropped from this and future monthly updates. 

Region 2022181 Day 181 Average 2022-Ave. 2020181 2022-2020
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 9732940 9751345  -18405  9164791 568149 
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1033264 921004  112260  983906 49358 
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 717500 723606  -6105  734107 -16607 
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1060947 1006910  54037  879242 181705 
 (4) Laptev_Sea 690688 700482  -9794  522834 167855 
 (5) Kara_Sea 416591 550493  -133903  292013 124578 
 (6) Barents_Sea 48841 121301  -72460  145978 -97137 
 (7) Greenland_Sea 480208 501184  -20976  422780 57427 
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 647844 505146  142698  479013 168831 
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 828864 777527  51337  772844 56020 
 (10) Hudson_Bay 618405 712913  -94508  687820 -69416 
 (11) Central_Arctic 3181467 3205732  -24265  3235700 -54234 

The main deficits to average are in  Kara, Barents and Hudson Bay,  offset by surpluses in  Beaufort, East Siberian, Baffin Bay and CAA.

Illustration by Eleanor Lutz shows Earth’s seasonal climate changes. If played in full screen, the four corners present views from top, bottom and sides. It is a visual representation of scientific datasets measuring Arctic ice extents.

Huge: EPA Loses–America Wins

Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday called for the Supreme Court to be abolished after the High Court reined in the EPA’s power to regulated greenhouse gases.

Scotusblog reports on this latest return to sanity by the US Supreme Court. Supreme Court curtails EPA’s authority to fight climate change  Once again the court refuses to legislate an issue that belongs to Congressional deliberation. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

In a 6-3 decision that may limit agency power across the federal government, the court held that Congress did not clearly authorize the EPA to adopt broad rules to lower carbon emissions from power plants.

The Supreme Court on Thursday truncated the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. The ruling may hamper President Joe Biden’s plan to fight climate change and could limit the authority of federal agencies across the executive branch.

By a vote of 6-3, the court agreed with Republican-led states and coal companies that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was wrong when it interpreted the Clean Air Act to give the EPA expansive power over carbon emissions. The decision, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, was handed down on the final opinion day of the 2021-22 term.

Two different and conflicting sets of regulations – neither of which is currently in effect – were at issue in the case, known as West Virginia v. EPA. In 2015, the Obama administration adopted the Clean Power Plan, which sought to combat climate change by reducing carbon pollution from power plants – for example, by shifting electricity production to natural-gas plants or wind farms. The CPP set individual goals for each state to cut power-plant emissions by 2030. But in 2016, the Supreme Court put the CPP on hold in response to a challenge by several states and private parties.

In 2019, the Trump administration repealed the CPP and replaced it with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which gave states discretion to set standards and gave power plants flexibility in complying with those standards. The Trump administration argued that it was required to end the CPP because it exceeded the EPA’s authority under Section 7411 of the Clean Air Act, which gives the EPA the power to determine the “best system of emission reduction” for buildings that emit air pollutants. That provision, the Trump administration contended, only allows the EPA to implement measures that apply to the physical premises of a power plant, rather than the kind of industry-wide measures included in the CPP.

Last year the D.C. Circuit vacated both the Trump administration’s repeal of the CPP and the ACE Rule, and sent the case back to the EPA for additional proceedings. Section 7411, the court of appeals explained, does not require the more limited view of the EPA’s authority that the Trump administration adopted.

The Supreme Court on Thursday reversed the D.C. Circuit’s ruling. Roberts’ 31-page opinion began by considering whether the Republican-led states and coal companies challenging the D.C. Circuit’s decision had a right to seek review in the Supreme Court now. Because the Biden administration plans to issue a new rule on carbon emissions from power plants, rather than reinstating the CPP, the administration had argued that the case did not present a live controversy for the justices to decide. But a decision by the government to stop the conduct at the center of a case does not end the case, Roberts emphasized, “unless it is ‘absolutely clear that the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected to recur.’” And in this case, Roberts stressed, because the Biden administration “vigorously defends” the approach that the Obama EPA took with the CPP, the Supreme Court can weigh in.

Turning to the merits of the case, Roberts wrote that the EPA’s effort to regulate greenhouse gases by making industry-wide changes violated the “major-questions” doctrine – the idea that if Congress wants to give an administrative agency the power to make “decisions of vast economic and political significance,” it must say so clearly.

Section 7411 of the Clean Air Act, Roberts reasoned, had been “designed as a gap filler and had rarely been used in the preceding decades.” But with the CPP, Roberts observed, the EPA sought to rely on Section 7411 to exercise “unprecedented power over American industry.” “There is little reason to think Congress assigned such decisions to” the EPA, Roberts concluded, especially when Congress had previously rejected efforts to enact the kind of program that the EPA wanted to implement with the CPP.

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’” Roberts wrote. But only Congress, or an agency with express authority from Congress, can adopt a “decision of such magnitude and consequence.”

Roberts’ full-throated embrace of the major-questions doctrine – a judicially created approach to statutory interpretation in challenges to agency authority – likely will have ripple effects far beyond the EPA. His reasoning applies to any major policymaking effort by federal agencies.

In a concurring opinion that was joined by Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch emphasized that the dispute before the court involved “basic questions about self-government, equality, fair notice, federalism, and the separation of powers.” The major-questions doctrine, Gorsuch wrote, “seeks to protect against ‘unintentional, oblique, or otherwise unlikely’ intrusions on these interests” by requiring federal agencies to have “clear congressional authorization” when they address important issues. Whether coal- and gas-fired power plants “should be allowed to operate is a question on which people today may disagree, but it is a question everyone can agree is vitally important.”

The Ruling WEST VIRGINIA v. EPA

Background  Supremes to Review EPA Authority Over GHGs

Footnote from CO2 Coalition

EPA loses – America Wins

Victory for citizens and businesses alike

In what is likely the most damaging setback ever dealt to those advocating for overzealous enforcement actions against greenhouse gas emissions, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of constitutional limitations on unelected regulators.

This morning SCOTUS ruled in favor of the plaintiff states in WV v. EPA. This was an important “separation of powers” case. Over 20 states allege EPA improperly used very narrow statutory language as the basis for a national CO2 cap-and-trade program.

The constitutional principle of separation of powers requires that only Congress—through legislation—is authorized to decide major policy issues, not federal agencies. The related legal “Major Question Doctrine” holds that federal agencies must have a clear authorization from Congress before exercising new and significant regulatory power.

According to the ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts: “But the only interpretive question before us, and the only one we answer, is more narrow: whether the “best system of emission reduction” identified by EPA in the Clean Power Plan was within the authority granted to the Agency in Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. For the reasons given, the answer is no.”

This is why we fight.

Statement on the ruling by CO2 Coalition Chair William Happer:

“The decision is a very welcome reaffirmation of the Constitutional rights of citizens of the United States. Untouched is the question of whether the Constitution allows Congress to make scientifically incorrect decisions by majority vote, for example: that carbon dioxide, a beneficial gas that is essential to life on Earth, is a pollutant.”

Democratic Socialists Party Platform

Everyone can see that a kind of Star Chamber hides in Biden’s shadow and dictates what he says and signs. Over the last year and a half, the game plan has been revealed by the exercise of authority assumed by federal and state Democratic Socialistic party.  The platform below summarizes what we have witnessed from these political operatives.

Establish Wokeism as the new state religion.

Under the guise of “Diversity-Inclusion-Equity, the doctrine is to eliminate pluralism from American Life. Critical Race and Gender Theories, among others, are to be asserted as secular truths, and all other beliefs are to be banned from the public square in the name of separation of church and state.

In the cult of Woke, adherents have a “critical consciousness” and are able to see the “problematics” in everything. This includes in speech, writing, institutions, thoughts, people, systems, knowledge, history, one’s past, and society itself. Society is broken into different groups or classes (social group identity) that are oppressive on one side, oppressed on the other, and in conflict over this. That is, conflict theory is the belief that different social groups in society are always in conflict with one another for power and dominance.  And rather than working together in complex, dynamical ways that can be mutually beneficial, they are at war.

Any criticism or questioning of Woke Doctrine is: racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, imperialistic, hateful, bigoted, unjust, evil, ignorant, wrong, and a crime against humanity.

Purge Public and Private Institutions of customs and symbols adverse to Wokeism.

To facilitate the dominance of Woke doctrine, the heritage of previous widely adopted beliefs must be purged. Thus monuments of past American heroes must be destroyed, and doubt must be cast over the documents and writings of the founders of the American Republic. Rituals like the Pledge of Allegiance or prayers at public events must be replaced with pride rainbows or kneeling to BLM flags.

Persecute and prosecute individuals whose speech and/or actions are contrary to Wokeism, or who are less than enthusiastic.

To achieve Woke totalitarian dominance, dissenters must be reviled as heretics. And if unrepentent, they must be incarcerated or otherwise excommunicated by removing their reputations and employment. Any spokespersons for alternative opinions to Woke views of history and identity politics must be driven out of public awareness and discourse.

Expand the administrative bureaucracy to extend social and economic control and to deepen dependency upon the state.

By declaring states of emergency, a la Covid or Climate, Executive agencies will create more rules regulating enterprises, indeed all employees public and private, constraining personal choices to align with Woke doctrines. Expanding the regulatory authorities will greatly increase numbers on the public payroll, and shift financial power away from the private sector.

Strip the citizenry of firearms to prevent resistance to the force of governmental edicts.

To complete the state’s monopoly of coercion force over the populace, citizens’ right to self-defense must be rendered mute by confiscating guns and ammunition.

Rig the election process so that the Woke party is always returned to power.

In line with Marxist theory, Woke doctrine includes believing that only one political party is legitimate; that is the one representing the victims of oppression. All others are illegitimate, and cannot be allowed to form the government by means of a free and fair election. The illusion of voters choosing will be maintained, but political communication will be slanted to heavily favor the Woke appointed candidates. Also the collecting and counting of ballots will be coordinated to ensure the right outcome.

Neutralize Congress and Supreme Court as checks upon Executive authority.

With the centralizing of governance in the Executive branch. Congress and the Courts must be relegated to advisory roles. Deliberation will occur in the agencies with Executive oversight, while congressional discussions will give the appearance of representation for the electors. The courts will limit themselves to reaffirming Woke doctrine against heresies arising from time to time.

Postscript

I have used satirical images to poke holes in this mistaken political movement, but this is a serious moment in the struggle for the soul and future of the American Republic.  For example, note these statements excerpted from a recent fundraising email from Ron DeSantis, addressing these same points in resolute language. The Appeal of Ron DeSantis

Our country is currently facing a great threat. A new enemy has emerged from the shadows that seeks to destroy and intimidate their way to a transformed state, and country, that you and I would hardly recognize.

This enemy is the radical vigilante woke mob that will steamroll anything and anyone in their way. Their blatant attacks on the American way of life are clear and intensifying: stifling dissent, public shaming, rampant violence, and a perverted version of history.

A group that will, literally, tear down monuments and buildings but — perhaps in an even more sinister way — tear down the American spirit itself.

To destroy America, they go after the family unit, parental rights, traditional moral values, the church, and fact-based education.

Over the past few years, we’ve watched horrified as this group has attempted to brainwash our children into thinking we live in an evil, racist, irredeemable country.

With regard to Covid, we listened to them deny science and data to exert political theater all the while trampling over personal liberties enshrined in the Constitution.

We saw them take to the streets for an entire summer like outlaws burning, looting, and destroying everything in sight while being told they were “mostly peaceful” and “passionate.”

We watched Big Tech moguls in Silicon Valley be the arbiters of truth – deciding who gets to speak and who gets silenced through the digital public square.

We The People still have a say. We know the truth, you and I, about America and the country she is and can be. We must fight to defeat these false pretenses and predetermined narratives.

I am choosing to counter this enemy with faith, with reason, and with freedom. As Governor of the Free State of Florida, I have chosen to lead with a vision that builds America up rather than tears it down.

Together we can ensure that our children are raised to know they live in the greatest state in the nation, the greatest country in the world and that they have an opportunity to continue making them even greater.

Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don’t. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do.

The World Is Not Over, But On The Wrong Track

Jeff Thomas writes at International Man It’s Not the End of the World with some advice for those of us watching the governance train wrecks around the world. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T Tyler Durden.

Periodically, I’ll encounter someone who has read one of my essays and has decided not to pursue them further, stating, “You’re one of those ‘End of the world’ guys. I can’t be bothered reading the writings of someone who thinks we’re all doomed. I have a more positive outlook than that.”

In actual fact, I agree entirely with his latter two comments. I can’t be bothered reading the thoughts of a writer who says we’re all doomed, either. I, too, have a more positive outlook than that.

My one discrepancy with such comments is that I don’t by any means think that the present state of events will lead to the end of the world, as he assumes.

But then, neither am I naïve enough to think that if I just hope for the best, the powers that be will cease to be parasitical and predatory out of sympathy for me. They will not.

For any serious student of history, one of the great realisations that occurs at some point is that governments are inherently controlling by nature. The more control they have, the more they desire and the more they pursue. After all, governments actually produce nothing. They exist solely upon what they can extract from the people they rule over. Therefore, their personal success is not measured by how well they serve their people, it’s measured by how much they can extract from the people.

And so, it’s a given that all governments will pursue ever-greater levels of power over their minions up to and including the point of total dominance.

It should be said that, on rare occasions, a people will rise up and create a governmental system in which the rights of the individual are paramount. This was true in the creation of the Athenian Republic and the American Constitution, and even the British Magna Carta.

However, these events are quite rare in history and, worse, as soon as they take place, those who gain power do their best to diminish the newly-gained freedoms.

Such freedoms can almost never be destroyed quickly, but, over time and “by slow operations,” as Thomas Jefferson was fond of saying, governments can be counted on to eventually destroy all freedoms.

We’re passing through a period in history in which the process of removing freedoms
is nearing completion in many of the world’s foremost jurisdictions.
The EU and US, in particular, are leading the way in this effort.

Consequently, it shouldn’t be surprising that some predict “the end of the world.” But, they couldn’t be more incorrect.

Surely, in 1789, the more productive people of France may have felt that the developing French Revolution would culminate in Armageddon. Similarly, in 1917, those who created prosperity in Russia may well have wanted to throw up their hands as the Bolsheviks seized power from the Romanovs.

Whenever a deterioration in rule is underway, as it is once again now, the observer has three choices:

Declare the End of the World

There are many people, worldwide, but particularly in the centres of the present deterioration – the EU and US – who feel that, since the situation in their home country is nearing collapse, the entire world must also be falling apart. This is not only a very myopic viewpoint, it’s also quite inaccurate. At any point in civilization in the past 2000 years or more, there have always been empires that were collapsing due to intolerable governmental dominance and there have always concurrently been alternative jurisdictions where the level of freedom was greater. In ancient Rome, when Diocletian devalued the currency, raised taxes, increased warfare and set price controls, those people who actually created the economy on a daily basis found themselves in the same boat as Europeans and Americans are finding themselves in, in the 21st century.

It may have seemed like the end of the world, but it was not. Enough producers left Rome and started over again in other locations. Those other locations eventually thrived as a result of the influx of productive people, while Rome atrophied.

Turn a Blind Eye

This is less dreary than the above approach, but it is nevertheless just as fruitless. It is, in fact, the most common of reactions – to just “hope for the best.”

It’s tempting to imagine that maybe the government will realise that they’re the only ones benefitting from the destruction of freedom and prosperity and they’ll feel bad and reverse the process. But this clearly will not happen.

It’s also tempting to imagine that maybe it won’t get a whole lot worse and that life, although not all that good at present, might remain tolerable. Again, this is wishful thinking and the odds of it playing out in a positive way are slim indeed.

Accept the Truth, But Do Something About It

This, of course, is the hard one. Begin by recognising the truth. If that truth is not palatable, study the situation carefully and, when a reasonably clear understanding has been reached, create an alternative.

When governments enter the final decline stage, an alternative is not always easy to accept. It’s a bit like having a tooth pulled. You want to put it off, but the pain will only get worse if you delay. And so, you trundle off to the dentist unhappily, but, a few weeks after the extraction, you find yourself asking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

To be sure, those who investigate and analyze the present socio-economic-political deterioration do indeed espouse a great deal of gloom, but this should not be confused with doom.

In actual fact, the whole point of shining a light into the gloom is to avoid having it end in doom.

It should be said here that remaining in a country that is tumbling downhill socially, economically and politically is also not the end of the world. It is, however, true that the end result will not exactly be a happy one. If history repeats once again, it’s likely to be quite a miserable one.

Those who undertake the study of the present deterioration must, admittedly, address some pretty depressing eventualities and it would be far easier to just curl up on the sofa with a six-pack and watch the game, but the fact remains: unless the coming problems are investigated and an alternative found, those who sit on the sofa will become the victims of their own lethargy.

Sadly, we live in a period in history in which some of the nations that once held the greatest promise for the world are well on their way to becoming the most tyrannical.

If by recognizing that fact, we can pursue better alternatives elsewhere on the globe, as people have done in previous eras. We may actually find that the field of daisies in the image below is still very much in existence, it’s just a bit further afield than it was in years gone by.

And it is absolutely worthy of pursuit.

2022 Update: Fossil Fuels ≠ Global Warming

gas in hands

Previous posts addressed the claim that fossil fuels are driving global warming. This post updates that analysis with the latest (2021) numbers from BP Statistics and compares World Fossil Fuel Consumption (WFFC) with three estimates of Global Mean Temperature (GMT). More on both these variables below.

WFFC

2021 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy. 

The reporting categories are:
Oil
Natural Gas
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro
Renewables (other than hydro)

Note:  British Petroleum (BP) now uses Exajoules to replace MToe (Million Tonnes of oil equivalents.) It is logical to use an energy metric which is independent of the fuel source. OTOH renewable advocates have no doubt pressured BP to stop using oil as the baseline since their dream is a world without fossil fuel energy.

From BP conversion table 1 exajoule (EJ) = 1 quintillion joules (1 x 10^18). Oil products vary from 41.6 to 49.4 tonnes per gigajoule (10^9 joules).  Comparing this annual report with previous years shows that global Primary Energy (PE) in MToe is roughly 24 times the same amount in Exajoules.  The conversion factor at the macro level varies from year to year depending on the fuel mix. The graphs below use the new metric.

This analysis combines the first three, Oil, Gas, and Coal for total fossil fuel consumption world wide (WFFC).  The chart below shows the patterns for WFFC compared to world consumption of Primary Energy from 1965 through 2021.

The graph shows that global Primary Energy (PE) consumption from all sources has grown continuously over 5 decades. Since 1965  oil, gas and coal (FF, sometimes termed “Thermal”) averaged 88% of PE consumed, ranging from 93% in 1965 to 82% in 2021.  Note that in 2020, PE dropped 23 EJ (4%) below 2019 consumption, then increased 31 EJ in 2021.  WFFC for 2020 dropped 26 EJ (5%), then in 2021 gained back 26% to match 2019 WFFC consumption. For the 56 year period, the net changes were:

Oil 184%
Gas 540%
Coal 176%
WFFC 236%
PE 282%
Global Mean Temperatures

Everyone acknowledges that GMT is a fiction since temperature is an intrinsic property of objects, and varies dramatically over time and over the surface of the earth. No place on earth determines “average” temperature for the globe. Yet for the purpose of detecting change in temperature, major climate data sets estimate GMT and report anomalies from it.

UAH record consists of satellite era global temperature estimates for the lower troposphere, a layer of air from 0 to 4km above the surface. HadSST estimates sea surface temperatures from oceans covering 71% of the planet. HADCRUT combines HadSST estimates with records from land stations whose elevations range up to 6km above sea level.

Both GISS LOTI (land and ocean) and HADCRUT4 (land and ocean) use 14.0 Celsius as the climate normal, so I will add that number back into the anomalies. This is done not claiming any validity other than to achieve a reasonable measure of magnitude regarding the observed fluctuations.

No doubt global sea surface temperatures are typically higher than 14C, more like 17 or 18C, and of course warmer in the tropics and colder at higher latitudes. Likewise, the lapse rate in the atmosphere means that air temperatures both from satellites and elevated land stations will range colder than 14C. Still, that climate normal is a generally accepted indicator of GMT.

Correlations of GMT and WFFC

The next graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates over the five decades from 1965 to 2021 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST4.

Since 1965 the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 236% from 146 to 490 exajoules.  Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.8C over 56 years, 6% of the starting value.

The graph below compares WFFC to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST4 for the satellite era from 1980 to 2021, a period of 41 years.

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 90% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.49C, or 3.4% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.48C, or 3.5% up from 1979.  The temperature compounded rate of change is 0.1% per year, an order of magnitude less than WFFC.  Even more obvious is the 1998 El Nino peak and flat GMT since.

Summary

The climate alarmist/activist claim is straight forward: Burning fossil fuels makes measured temperatures warmer. The Paris Accord further asserts that by reducing human use of fossil fuels, further warming can be prevented.  Those claims do not bear up under scrutiny.

It is enough for simple minds to see that two time series are both rising and to think that one must be causing the other. But both scientific and legal methods assert causation only when the two variables are both strongly and consistently aligned. The above shows a weak and inconsistent linkage between WFFC and GMT.

Going further back in history shows even weaker correlation between fossil fuels consumption and global temperature estimates:

wfc-vs-sat

Figure 5.1. Comparative dynamics of the World Fuel Consumption (WFC) and Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (ΔT), 1861-2000. The thin dashed line represents annual ΔT, the bold line—its 13-year smoothing, and the line constructed from rectangles—WFC (in millions of tons of nominal fuel) (Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003). Source: Frolov et al. 2009

In legal terms, as long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for the set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. The more likely explanation is that global temperatures vary due to oceanic and solar cycles. The proof is clearly and thoroughly set forward in the post Quantifying Natural Climate Change.

Footnote: CO2 Concentrations Compared to WFFC

Contrary to claims that rising atmospheric CO2 consists of fossil fuel emissions, consider the Mauna Loa CO2 observations in recent years.

Despite the drop in 2020 WFFC, atmospheric CO2 continued to rise steadily, demonstrating that natural sources and sinks drive the amount of CO2 in the air.

See also: Nature Erases Pulses of Human CO2 Emissions

Temps Cause CO2 Changes, Not the Reverse

Why The Protests Over Abortion and Guns?

As Jimbob notes in this cartoon, the people in the streets are nearly always leftists appealing to the state to take away someone else’s freedom.  This latest round is triggered by Supreme Court decisions confirming American constitutional rights, contradicting the left’s agenda.  They respond with outbursts of emotion and rage, rather than  by reading and understanding what they have gotten wrong.

Bruce Pardy explained the dynamics in his National Post article Meet the new ‘human rights’ — where you are forced by law to use ‘reasonable’ pronouns.  Excepts in italics with my bolds.

Human rights were conceived to liberate. They protected people from an oppressive state. Their purpose was to prevent arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and censorship, by placing restraints on government. The state’s capacity to accommodate these “negative rights” was unlimited, since they required only that people be left alone.

If only arm twisting were prohibited beyond the ring.

But freedom from interference is so 20th century. Modern human rights entitle. We are in the middle of a culture war, and human rights have become a weapon to normalize social justice values and to delegitimize competing beliefs. These rights are applied against other people to limit their liberties.

Freedom of expression is a traditional, negative human right. When the state manages expression, it threatens to control what we think. Forced speech is the most extreme infringement of free speech. It puts words in the mouths of citizens and threatens to punish them if they do not comply. When speech is merely restricted, you can at least keep your thoughts to yourself. Compelled speech makes people say things with which they disagree.

Traditional negative human rights give people the freedom to portray themselves as they wish without fearing violence or retribution from others. Everyone can exercise such rights without limiting the rights of others. Not so the new human rights. Did you expect to decide your own words and attitudes? If so, human rights are not your friend.

Then, some comments about the abortion street theater from Rajan Laad’s American Thinker article Decoding the Democrat protestors after Roe.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The recent ruling from the Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade launched a thousand protests, which the Democrats called “The Night of Rage.”

In Washington D.C., hundreds of pro-abortion ‘activists’ marched, shouted slogans, and held signs outside the Supreme Court building and beyond.

Crowds ‘demonstrated’ before the federal building in downtown Chicago. The cacophony of ‘protests’ was also witnessed at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta, the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, and in Flint, Michigan.

There were ‘marches’ in downtown Seattle, Philadelphia, Boston, and Los Angeles.

There were ‘demonstrations’ in Richmond, Virginia; Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina, and Topeka, Kansas.

In Phoenix, ‘protesters’ managed to break the doors of the Arizona Senate building.

Some of these ‘demonstrations’ involved road blockades while obscenities were shouted elsewhere.

Enraged ‘protesters’ also descended before the homes of the six conservative Supreme Court justices.

Also, this week the Senate passed a gun control bill, that among other things, enables the confiscation of guns on the basis of suspicion. But conservatives didn’t hit the streets demonstrating that their rights were encroached upon.

For decades, since the beginning of the Nixon era, the Democrats have been the party of “demonstrations.” The operation has become so smooth now that they can muster raucous nationwide protests for any issue in a matter of hours. It is almost as if they have a sleeper cell that can be activated on command.

Democrats use these groups like disposable commodities. They will be cheered as a group but overlooked as individuals. They will always be part of the crowds. but never be allowed on stage. The stage is reserved for the Hollywood star or the pop singer or the politician. If they secure a victory, the Democrat ‘elites’ will enjoy the fruits of power and receive invites to galas. The activist will always be out on the streets.

Comment:

The protests are about purifying the population of the “wrong thinkers”.  It means cancelling any woman (yes, they do know what one is) concerned about ending the life of her unborn child.  It means forcing doctors and caregivers to act against their principles to do procedures to abort an embryonic human life because someone couldn’t manage their sexual practices to prevent it.

The guns thing is even more obvious.  Responsible gun owners are to have their self-defense removed so that outlaws can roam freely without fear of lethal confrontation.  Urban snowflakes want rural folks disarmed so they can feel safer in their crime ridden neighborhoods, even though they aren’t.

And on it goes.  Anyone who has a longer and higher quality life because of fossil fuel products must be deprived of it to “save the planet.”  Anyone thinking otherwise is to be silenced and ostracized.  There is only one right way to think; all others must be cast aside.

 

 

Abortion Should Be Safe, Legal and Rare

Now in the US, it will up to lawmakers state by state to decide what if any limits to put on abortion procedures.  Why it matters is suggested by the image above.  The unborn has already his/her own heartbeat typically detectable by week six or seven, and by 12 weeks the rate reduces to a sustainable level for the rest of the pregnancy.

So the Supreme Court affirmed the Mississippi state law that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks.  Women in Mississippi have the right to choose to end their pregnancy in the first trimester, but after 15 weeks the unborn has a right to life.  There are many ways to practice birth control–abortion should be a last resort in extreme circumstances.

One More Time: Shooters Are Disordered Personalities

One more time:  These shooters assaulting their fellow citizens are disordered personalities, not people suffering from emotional problems who can be helped by counseling therapy.

John Dale Dunn, M.D. explains in his American Thinker article Don’t assume school shooters are mentally ill.  Excerpts in italics below with my bolds.

There is a lot of mumbo jumbo psych talk circulating around the dead bodies in Uvalde, a town I knew pretty well because I consulted frequently with their hospital administrator.

I want to remind readers of the problem of personality disorders (PD) and distinguish PD from mental illness.

PD is pattern of anti-social or dysfunctional behavior that is not caused by mental illness but by bad manners and bad social adaptation. There are 3 groups of personality disorders. In the Emergency Medicine part of my life,

I taught residents that PDs are the weird, the wild, and the withdrawn.

The killers and criminals are usually in the wild group, who are the most anti-social and disruptive.

Here is a typical listing available from a search at: https://psychone.net/list-of-personality-disorders.php

Class A (The Weird)

Odd or eccentric disorders

·         Paranoid personality disorder 

Characterized by suspiciousness and a deep mistrust of people, paranoid personalities often think of others as manipulative, cunning or dishonest. This kind of a person may appear guarded, secretive, and excessively critical. More..

·         Schizoid personality disorder 

People with schizoid personalities are emotionally distant and tend to prefer to be alone. They are generally immersed in their own thoughts and have little interest in bonding and intimacy with others. More..

·         Schizotypal personality disorder 

This disorder is characterized by odd and unusual “magical” beliefs. These individuals may have an eccentric way of behaving or dressing. They also tend to display outlandish beliefs such as believing that they can see the future or travel to other dimensions.

People with this condition often have difficulty connecting with others and establishing long term relationships. Overtime, they may develop a fear of social gatherings. More..

Class B (The Wild)

Dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders (wild) 

·         Antisocial/psychopath personality disorder

Individuals with this disorder are known to be manipulative, irresponsible, and have a history of legal difficulties. They show little respect for the rights of others and feel no remorse for their actions. They also leave a trail of unfulfilled promises and broken hearts.

Antisocial personalities are also at high risk for drug abuse (e.g., alcoholism; meth) since many are rush seekers. While they seldom suffer from depression or anxiety, they often use drugs to relieve boredom and irritability. More..  (Dunn note–this PD is male dominant) 

·         Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personalities are impulsive and have extreme views of people as either all good or bad.

These people are unstable in relationships and have a strong fear of abandonment. They may form an intense personal attachment with someone they barely know and end it without no apparent reason. They might also engage in a pull and push behavior that usually ends with their partner leaving permanently.

Self-mutilation, suicidal gestures or attention-seeking destructive behaviors are not uncommon. Borderline personalities are three times more likely to be female. More..

·         Histrionic personality disorder

People with this condition engage in persistent attention-seeking behaviors that include innapropriate sexual behavior and exaggerated emotions. They can be oversensitive about themselves and constantly seek reasurrance or approval from others.

Excessive need to be the center of attention, low tolerance for frustration, blaming others for failures are also characteristics of the histrionic personality. More..

·         Narcissistic personality disorder 

Narcissistic personalities have a blown up perception of themselves and an excessive desire for attention and admiration. Individuals with this disorder have a false sense of entitlement and little respect for other people’s feelings. They are oversensitive to criticism and often blame others for their failures.

Prone to outbursts of anger and irritability, the narcissistic personality tends to be manipulative in interspersonal relationships. But deep beneath the surface lies a vulnerable self-esteem, susceptible to depression and feelings of inferiority. More..

Class C (The Withdrawn)

Anxious or fearful disorders 

·         Avoidant personality disorder 

This disorder is described by chronic social withdrawal, feelings of inferiority, over-sensitivity and social withdrawal.

People with avoidant personality disorder are constantly fearful of rejection and ridicule. They form relationships only with people that they trust. The pain of rejection is so strong that these individuals prefer to isolate rather than risk disappointment. More..

·         Dependent personality disorder 

Individuals with this condition have an abnormal desire to be nurtured that leads to submissive and clinging behavior. Dependent personalities have difficulty making their own decisions and seek others to take over most important areas in their lives.

They will often go to great length to obtain nurturance from others, have separation anxiety when alone and desperately seek another partner when a close relationship ends. More..

·         Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

Not to be confused with OCD. People with OCPD are perceived as strict and demanding by others. They have a persistent preoccupation with perfectionism, orderliness, and efficiency, at the expense of interpersonal relationships. They also show an excessive devotion to work, productivity and exhibit rigidness and stubbornness.

People with OCPD usually have a negative view of life and often become withdrawn and depressed.

I was a corrections physician for almost 30 years as a contribution to our hometown and local law enforcement/incarceration services. I know a little about criminals. Here are three essays, two short, one long, on the issue of criminality and mental disorders.

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/02/mental_illness_and_misconduct.html

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/03/personality_disorders_and_mass_murder.html

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/02/senator_cornyn_and_the_inmates.html

Consider my warning: PDs are not a mental illness, they are a culturally dysfunctional behavior problem. PD individuals are not psychotic or out of touch with reality — they just have a bad set of behavior and social controls. They got messed up on the way to adulthood and functional good behavior.

My Comment:

Dr. Dunn puts analytic rigor to confirm a suspicion many of us have, that these violent acts by individuals demonstrate the breakdown of socialization in our societies.  Current political initiatives aim to denigrate and defund law enforcement, and to not prosecute criminal behavior.  Educators are proudly replacing family values with ego-centric pleasure gratification.  How can this be anything but a concerted effort to infect free societies with more and more mal-adjusted, disordered personalities?  And social media adds fuel to the fire.

The wokeness destruction of our institutions must be reversed, and families must function to raise children to care about and respect others.  Otherwise, when the social bonds are completely dissolved, the jack boots will come in.

See also Hey Groomers, Leave Those Kids Alone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much Ado About Marine Heat Waves

The latest promotion of this scare was published this week at Nature by Barkhordarian et al. Recent marine heatwaves in the North Pacific warming pool can be attributed to rising atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases.  This post will unpack the reasons to distrust this paper and its claims.  First the Abstract of the subject and their declared findings in italics with my bolds.

Abstract

Over the last decade, the northeast Pacific experienced marine heatwaves that caused devastating marine ecological impacts with socioeconomic implications. Here we use two different attribution methods and show that forcing by elevated greenhouse gases levels has virtually certainly caused the multi-year persistent 2019–2021 marine heatwave. There is less than 1% chance that the 2019–2021 event with ~3 years duration and 1.6 ∘C intensity could have happened in the absence of greenhouse gases forcing. We further discover that the recent marine heatwaves are co-located with a systematically-forced outstanding warming pool, which we attribute to forcing by elevated greenhouse gases levels and the recent industrial aerosol-load decrease. The here-detected Pacific long-term warming pool is associated with a strengthening ridge of high-pressure system, which has recently emerged from the natural variability of climate system, indicating that they will provide favorable conditions over the northeast Pacific for even more severe marine heatwave events in the future.

Background on Ocean Warm Pools

Wang and Enfield study is The Tropical Western Hemisphere Warm Pool Abstract in italics with my bolds.

Abstract

The Western Hemisphere warm pool (WHWP) of water warmer than 28.5°C extends from the eastern North Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, and at its peak, overlaps with the tropical North Atlantic. It has a large seasonal cycle and its interannual fluctuations of area and intensity are significant. Surface heat fluxes warm the WHWP through the boreal spring to an annual maximum of SST and areal extent in the late summer/early fall, associated with eastern North Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activities and rainfall from northern South America to the southern tier of the United States. SST and area anomalies occur at high temperatures where small changes can have a large impact on tropical convection. Observations suggest that a positive ocean-atmosphere feedback operating through longwave radiation and associated cloudiness is responsible for the WHWP SST anomalies. Associated with an increase in SST anomalies is a decrease in atmospheric sea level pressure.

Chou and Chou published On the Regulation of the Pacific Warm Pool Temperature:

Abstract

Analyses of data on clouds, winds, and surface heat fluxes show that the transient behavior of basin-wide large-scale circulation has a significant influence on the warm pool sea surface temperature (SST). Trade winds converge to regions of the highest SST in the equatorial western Pacific. The reduced evaporative cooling due to weakened winds exceeds the reduced solar heating due to enhanced cloudiness. The result is a maximum surface heating in the strong convective and high SST regions. The maximum surface heating in strong convective regions is interrupted by transient atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Regions of high SST and low-level convergence follow the Sun. As the Sun moves away from a convective region, the strong trade winds set in, and the evaporative cooling enhances, resulting in a net cooling of the surface. We conclude that the evaporative cooling associated with the seasonal and interannual variations of trade winds is one of the major factors that modulate the SST distribution of the Pacific warm pool.

Comment:

So these are but two examples of oceanographic studies describing natural factors driving the rise and fall of Pacific warm pools.  Yet the Nature paper claims rising CO2 from fossil fuels is the causal factor, waving away natural processes.  Skeptical responses were already lodged upon the first incidence of the North Pacific marine heat wave, the “Blob” much discussed by west coast US meteorologists.  One of the most outspoken against the global warming attributionists has been Cliff Mass of Seattle and University of Washington.  Writing in 2014 and 2015, he observed the rise and fall of the warming blob and then posted a critique of attribution attempts at his blog.  For example, Media Miscommunication about the Blob.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Blob Media Misinformation

One of the most depressing things for scientists is to see the media misinform the public about an important issue.

During the past few days, an unfortunate example occurred regarding the warm water pool that formed over a year ago in the middle of the north Pacific, a.k.a., the blob. Let me show how this communication failure occurred, with various media outlets messed things up in various ways.

The stimulant for the nationwide coverage of the Blob was a very nice paper published by Nick Bond (UW scientist and State Climatologist), Meghan Cronin, Howard Freeland, and Nathan Mantua in Geophysical Research Letters.

This publication described the origin of the Blob, showing that it was the result of persistent ridging (high pressure) over the Pacific. The high pressure, and associated light winds, resulted in less vertical mixing of the upper layer of the ocean; with less mixing of subsurface cold water to the surface. Furthermore, the high pressure reduced horizontal movement of colder water from the north. Straightforward and convincing work.

The inaccurate press release then led to a media frenzy, with the story going viral. And unfortunately, many of the media got it wrong.

There were two failure modes. In one, the headline was wrong, but the internal story was correct. . . In the second failure mode, the story itself was essentially flawed, with most claiming that the Blob off of western North America was the cause of the anomalous circulation (big ridge over West Coast, trough over the eastern U.S.). (The truth: the Blob was the RESULT of the anomalous circulations.) That the Blob CAUSED the California drought or the cold wave in the eastern U.S. These deceptive stories were found in major outlets around the country, including the Washington Post, NBC News, and others.

Blob Returns,  Attribution Misinformation

When the Blob returned 2020-2021, Cliff Mass had cause to again lament how the public is misled.  This time misdirection instigated by activist scientists using flawed methods.  His post Miscommunication in Recent Climate Attribution Studies.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

This attribution report, and most media stories that covered it, suggested a central role for global warming for the heatwave. As demonstrated in my previous blog, their narrative simply does not hold up to careful examination.

This blog will explain why their basic framing and approach is problematic, leading readers (and most of the media) to incorrect conclusions.

For the heatwave, the attribution folks only examine the statistics of temperatures hitting the record highs (108F in Seattle), but avoid looking at the statistics of temperature exceeding 100F, or even the record highs (like 103F in Seattle). There is a reason they don’t do that. It would tell a dramatically different (and less persuasive) story.

In the attribution studies, the main technology for determining changed odds of extreme weather is to use global climate models. First, they run the models with greenhouse gas forcing (which produces more extreme precipitation and temperature), and then they run the models again without increased greenhouse gases concentrations. By comparing the statistics of the two sets of simulations, they attempt to determine how the odds of extreme precipitation or temperature change.

Unfortunately, there are serious flaws in their approach: climate models fail to produce sufficient natural variability (they underplay the black swans) and their global climate models don’t have enough resolution to correctly simulate critical intense, local precipitation features (from mountain enhancement to thunderstorms). On top of that, they generally use unrealistic greenhouse gas emissions in their models (too much, often using the RCP8.5 extreme emissions scenario) And there is more, but you get the message. ( I am weather/climate modeler, by the way, and know the model deficiencies intimately.)

Vaunted Fingerprinting Attribution Is Statistically Unsound

From Barkhordarian et al.

Unlike previous studies which have focused on linking the SST patterns in the North Pacific to changes in the oceanic circulation and the extratropical/tropical teleconnections2,12,17,18,20,24,26, we here perform two different statistical attribution methodologies in order to identify the human fingerprint in Northeast Pacific SST changes both on multidecadal timescale (changes of mean SST) and on extreme SST events on daily timescale (Marine Heatwaves). Evidence that anthropogenic forcing has altered the base state (long-term changes of mean SST) over the northeast Pacific, which is characterized by strong low-frequency SST fluctuations, would increase confidence in the attribution of MHWs27, since rising mean SST is the dominant driver of increasing MHW frequency and intensity, outweighing changes due to temperature variability1,2.

In this study, we provide a quantitative assessment of whether GHG forcing, the main component of anthropogenic forcings, was necessary for the North Pacific high-impact MHWs (the Blob-like SST anomalies) to occur, and whether it is a sufficient cause for such events to continue to repeatedly occur in the future. With these purposes, we use two high-resolution observed SST datasets, along with harnessing two initial-condition large ensembles of coupled general circulation models (CESM1-LE28,29 with 35 members, and MPI-GE30 with 100 members). These large ensembles can provide better estimates of an individual model’s internal variability and response to external forcing31,32, and facilitate the explicit consideration of stochastic uncertainty in attribution results33. We also use multiple single-forcing experiments from the Detection and Attribution Model Intercomparision Project (DAMIP34) component of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 6 (CMIP635).

From Barkhordarian et al. References

 

The IPCC’s attribution methodology is fundamentally flawed

The central paper underpinning the attribution analysis was assessed and found unreliable by statistician Ross McKitrick’s published evaluation. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

One day after the IPCC released the AR6 I published a paper in Climate Dynamics showing that their “Optimal Fingerprinting” methodology on which they have long relied for attributing climate change to greenhouse gases is seriously flawed and its results are unreliable and largely meaningless. Some of the errors would be obvious to anyone trained in regression analysis, and the fact that they went unnoticed for 20 years despite the method being so heavily used does not reflect well on climatology as an empirical discipline.

My paper is a critique of “Checking for model consistency in optimal fingerprinting” by Myles Allen and Simon Tett, which was published in Climate Dynamics in 1999 and to which I refer as AT99. Their attribution methodology was instantly embraced and promoted by the IPCC in the 2001 Third Assessment Report (coincident with their embrace and promotion of the Mann hockey stick). The IPCC promotion continues today: see AR6 Section 3.2.1. It has been used in dozens and possibly hundreds of studies over the years. Wherever you begin in the Optimal Fingerprinting literature (example), all paths lead back to AT99, often via Allen and Stott (2003). So its errors and deficiencies matter acutely.

Abstract

Allen and Tett (1999, herein AT99) introduced a Generalized Least Squares (GLS) regression methodology for decomposing patterns of climate change for attribution purposes and proposed the “Residual Consistency Test” (RCT) to check the GLS specification. Their methodology has been widely used and highly influential ever since, in part because subsequent authors have relied upon their claim that their GLS model satisfies the conditions of the Gauss-Markov (GM) Theorem, thereby yielding unbiased and efficient estimators.

But AT99:

  • stated the GM Theorem incorrectly, omitting a critical condition altogether,
  • their GLS method cannot satisfy the GM conditions, and
  • their variance estimator is inconsistent by construction.
  • Additionally, they did not formally state the null hypothesis of the RCT nor
  • identify which of the GM conditions it tests, nor
  • did they prove its distribution and critical values, rendering it uninformative as a specification test.

The continuing influence of AT99 two decades later means these issues should be corrected. I identify 6 conditions needing to be shown for the AT99 method to be valid.

In Conclusion,  McKitrick:

One point I make is that the assumption that an estimator of C provides a valid estimate of the error covariances means the AT99 method cannot be used to test a null hypothesis that greenhouse gases have no effect on the climate. Why not? Because an elementary principle of hypothesis testing is that the distribution of a test statistic under the assumption that the null hypothesis is true cannot be conditional on the null hypothesis being false. The use of a climate model to generate the homoscedasticity weights requires the researcher to assume the weights are a true representation of climate processes and dynamics.

The climate model embeds the assumption that
greenhouse gases have a significant climate impact.

Or, equivalently, that natural processes alone cannot generate a large class of observed events in the climate, whereas greenhouse gases can. It is therefore not possible to use the climate model-generated weights to construct a test of the assumption that natural processes alone could generate the class of observed events in the climate.