Obsessing Over Global Temperatures


Reification is the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness. It is a mental process by which someone comes to believe that an abstraction (idea or concept) is a material, physical object in the real world. Mike Hulme observes that many people are obsessing over global temperatures, not realizing they are abstractions and not things to be feared. He provides calm and sensible views regarding global temperature reporting. The post at his blog is Climatism and the Reification of Global Temperature. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Over the last 40 years global-mean surface air temperature – ‘global temperature’ for short – has gained an extraordinary role in the science, politics and public discourse of climate change. What was once a number crudely calculated through averaging together a few dozen reasonably well-spaced meteorological time series, has become reified as an objective entity that simultaneously measures Earth System behaviour, reveals the future, regulates geopolitical negotiations and disciplines the human imagination. Apart perhaps from GDP rarely can so constructed an abstract entity have gained such power over the human world.

All of this is very nicely illustrated in a new paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, titled ‘Predicted chance that global warming will temporarily exceed 1.5°C’. Doug Smith and 32 colleagues set out to develop a new capability to predict the likelihood that global temperature will exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, for a variety of durations upwards from a month, in the coming five years. The assumed importance of the study is suggested by the author team mobilising climate modelling and analysis capabilities at 17 institutions in 9 different countries.

But why is such an early warning system deemed necessary or useful? What power is being imputed to small increments of global temperature to alert future danger?

Smith and colleagues argue that forewarning of temporary excursions of global temperature above a certain threshold—1.5°C is the normative threshold aspired to in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, even though 2°C is the threshold formally agreed—for periods even a little as a month is relevant for policy-makers. To make such a claim requires an extraordinary degree of abstraction.

Global temperature does not cause anything to happen. It has no material agency. It is an abstract proxy for the aggregated accumulation of heat in the surface boundary layer of the planet. It is far removed from revealing the physical realities of meteorological hazards occurring in particular places. And forecasts of global temperature threshold exceedance are even further removed from actionable early warning information upon which disaster risk management systems can work.

Global temperature offers the ultimate view of the planet—and of meteorological hazard—from nowhere.

I have argued elsewhere about the dangers of climate reductionism, a form of reasoning that lends disproportionate power in political and social discourse to climate model-based descriptions of the future. The adoption of forecasts of global temperature exceedance as an early warning index is a clear case of the related phenomenon of climatism. Similar to explanations of scientism—“the phenomenon whereby authority is implicitly granted to scientific and technical experts to define the meaning, scope and, by extension, [the] solution for public policy concerns”—climatism grants authority to an abstracted global climate, in this case to global temperature, to guide, direct and discipline human actions in the world.

The authors of this new study claim to have developed an operational system with annually updated forecasts of the likelihood of near-term global temperature threshold exceedance. The value of such forecasts is claimed to lie in the general media and public interest they would generate. Issuing such forecasts to the world at large may or may not generate public interest. But they would certainly reinforce the growing ideology of climatism. It is another step toward putting abstract and unsituated descriptions of a globalised climate at the heart of world affairs.

Offering forecasts of global temperature threshold exceedance as an operational proxy for risk and disaster management seems bizarre. Such early warnings would seem to assume that small fluctuations in global temperature contain meaningful and actionable information. But why is it significant to know that the chance of global temperature exceeding 1.5C for two months during the period 2019-2023 is, say, 25% rather than 10%?

Such nuanced differences in the likelihood of a threshold exceedance tell us nothing about the likelihood of real meteorological hazards faced by real people and structures in real places. At the very least the proposed forecasts fail to discriminate between the different causes of global temperature fluctuations—e.g. greenhouse gas accumulation, aerosol loading, ENSO events, solar variability. Each of these causes carry very different implications for the geographical distribution of meteorological hazards, even if global temperature is identical.

Humans are now agents of significant influence in the Earth System and human development trajectories carry a range of profound implications. But offering annual forecasts of near-term global temperature fluctuations as early warnings to (re-)direct these trajectories fails to recognise the situated and differentiated polities, values and visions that shape the world.

GDP has acquired the power to account for the economic health of nations and for the implied well-being of individuals. It has become the hegemonic index which national policies seek to maximise and an index which in turn passes judgement on the performance of governments. In a similar way, the ideology of climatism—aided by the reification of global temperature—narrows actions by the world’s governments to minimise this one index of planetary health.

This new paper by Smith et al. reinforces this reductionist move and discloses the powerful performativity of global temperature in the contemporary world.

Mike Hulme, 24 October 2018

Mike Hulme has been studying climate change for over thirty years and is today one of the most distinctive and recognisable voices speaking internationally about climate change in the academy, in public and in the media. He is currently Professor of Human Geography at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Pembroke College. Previously, Mike Hulme was professor of climate change in the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Group in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. He is author of Why We Disagree About Climate Change (2009) and Exploring Climate Change Through Science and In Society (2013). Website: http://www.mikehulme.org.

See also his common sense review of the science attributing extreme weather events to human agency. X-Weather is Back! Kerala edition

See Also Climate Reductionism

Climate Change Chumps

Definition “chump”: A foolish or easily deceived person.

Why are so many people taken in by climate alarms? The question is often on my mind, especially when tens of thousands attend UN conferences like Katowice, or when hearing the caterwauling in the media over the climate scare of the week. Last night while watching a football game, my escape from the issue was interrupted by a commercial break that included a flaming earth on the screen for a few seconds. It was an ad for Discovery Channel including the image above.

[Old joke:  I don’t know if they are using subliminal advertising, but yesterday I went and bought a tractor.]

And in a flash I realized how several factors are driving warming suckers into a fearful frenzy.

Firstly, The power of images over words and thinking.
A picture is worth a thousand words. (Sometimes attributed to Chinese)
The Asian attribution is doubtful, but Confucius did say something similar:

Second, We are immersed in imaging technology, entrancing the public. I have no interest in post modern philosophers, but in this sense they are onto something perverse: We are mistaking images for realities.

Third, Pied Pipers are using the media to put us under their spell.
A key point in the fable is the piper’s ability to put a spell on the children, and thereby rob the village of their future.  And he did this to get leverage over the council when they refused to pay for exterminating the rats. Our children have been brainwashed with environmental activism since preschool, and educators have taken Confucius to heart:  The process goes beyond preaching, to videos, posters and projects.

Fourth, Our embrace of mass and social media makes us suckers for fake news, including climate claims.

Note that the majority are not confident to discern fake from real news.  Even worse, today’s “fact checkers” operate out of spin rooms.

Fifth, Social proof is now all that matters.

Climate lemmings rushing over the cliff.

Finally, the drumbeat of climate alarms imprints ever more deeply a false assumption.

It doesn’t matter if any particular climate claim is false or exaggerated, the communications continuously reinforce the underlying myth of the Garden of Eden:  Nature is perfect and eternal so long as humans don’t mess it up.

The reality is more subtle and complex.  Humans are also a force of nature, and with our self-awareness we have the ability and responsibility to add order and purpose to the rest of nature.  Go to Kyoto and watch the landscapers labor for hours to fashion an exquisite Japanese garden, the fruition of collaboration between humans, plants, water and rocks.  Humans can and do improve on nature by taming destructive natural forces to preserve and enhance living structures.

The UN IPCC process is a blind alley, a path to nowhere.  It plays upon fears and guilt feelings.  Worse, it distracts from rational programs of actual environmental stewardship.  I fear it will only get worse in the next 12 years:



Arctic Pacific Flash Freezing in December

BO2018338to349Eleven Days in Pacific Arctic are shown in the above animation.  In the upper center, Chukchi finally froze completely, adding 260k km2 of ice to reach 99.8% of maximum.  (Disregard the blue jagged arc as a sensor artifact.)  Meanwhile, serious freezing began in the two Pacific basins.  Bering to the south of Chukchi went from 57k km2 to 195k, now 43% of maximum.  Okhotsk to the left went from 58k km2 to 223k, now 19% of maximum.

The graph below shows December progress in ice extent recovery.

Arctic2018349From days 335 to 339, 2018 extents were flat and went below average.  Now freezing has resumed as shown in the animation above and tracking close to average again in the graph.  At day 349 (Dec. 15) MASIE shows 2018 1 day behind average (100k km2),  200k km2 greater than SII 2018,  140k km2 greater than 2007 and 358k km2 more than 2016.


The central Arctic and Eurasian shelf seas are completely frozen, typical for this time of year.  The Pacific was a little slower than usual to start, but is now coming on strong.  The Canadian side froze early and is of course locked in for the winter.  The only remaining deficit of note is Barents Sea which hasn’t added ice in the last two weeks.


Gender Ideology and Science

A fresh report from the front lines comes from (who else) Jordan Peterson: The gender scandal – in Scandinavia and Canada   Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Men and women are similar. But importantly different. No matter what Sweden’s feminist foreign minister says.

Part One (Scandinavia)

Over the past few weeks, I have been in Oslo, twice; Helsinki, twice; Stockholm, twice; and Copenhagen, once. One of the trips to Stockholm was only for press interviews and television. The other six trips were part of my 12 Rules for Life tour, which has now covered 100 cities. The reason for the dual visits? We arranged relatively smaller venues for the lectures in those Scandinavian towns and they sold out immediately. Scandinavians are interested in what I am saying. They are radically over-represented among those who view my YouTube lectures.

In the last lecture, in Helsinki, it was Finland’s Father’s Day, so I talked about masculine virtue. In Stockholm, I concentrated more on what has come to be known as the “gender paradox.” Here is the paradox in a nutshell: as societies become more gender equal in their social and political policies, men and women become more different in certain aspects, rather than more similar.

Had you asked any group of social scientists — left-wing, centrist, conservative (if you could find them) — 30 years ago “Will egalitarian social policies in wealthy countries produce men and women who are more similar or more different?” the majority would have certainly said, “more similar.” And, to some degree, that has happened. Women have entered the workforce en masse, and are participating at levels approaching or exceeding equality in many of the domains that were male majority prior to the 1960s. But …

And this is a major but. We seem to have reached the point of diminishing, or even reversing returns. Over the last five decades or so, psychologists have aggregated great numbers of descriptions of personality traits, using adjectives, phrases and sentences, throwing virtually every descriptor contained in human language into the mix, in a remarkably atheoretical manner. The method? Describe people every which way imaginable, and then use large samples and powerful statistics to sort out the resulting mess. The results? Something approaching a consensus among psychologists expert in measurement, known as psychometricians (or, less technically, personality psychologists). The latter happens to be my field, in addition to clinical psychology. When you ask thousands of people hundreds of questions (or ask them to rate themselves using descriptive adjectives such as “kind,” “competitive,” “happy,” “anxious,” “creative,” “diligent,” etc.) powerful statistics can identify patterns. People who describe themselves as “kind” tend not to consider themselves “competitive,” for example, but are likely to accept “cooperative” and “caring.” Likewise, creative types might regard themselves as “curious” and “inventive,” while the diligent types are also “dutiful” and “orderly.”

Once a relatively standard model had been agreed upon, and been deemed reliable and valid, then differences, such as those between the sexes, could be investigated. What emerged? First, men and women are more similar than they are different. Even when men and women are most different — in those cultures where they differ most, and along those trait dimensions where they differ most — they are more similar than different. However, the differences that do exist are large enough so that they play an important role in determining or at least affecting important life outcomes, such as occupational choice.

Where are the largest differences? Men are less agreeable (more competitive, harsher, tough-minded, skeptical, unsympathetic, critically-minded, independent, stubborn). This is in keeping with their proclivity, also documented cross-culturally, to manifest higher rates of violence and antisocial or criminal behavior, such that incarceration rates for men vs women approximate 10:1. Women are higher in negative emotion, or neuroticism. They experience more anxiety, emotional pain, frustration, grief, self-conscious doubt and disappointment. This seems to emerge at puberty.

There are other sex differences as well, but they aren’t as large, excepting that of interest: men are comparatively more interested in things and women in people. This is the largest psychological difference between men and women yet identified. And these differences drive occupational choice, particularly at the extremes. Engineers, for example, tend to be those who are not only interested in things, but who are more interested in things than most people, men or women.

It’s very important to remember that many choices are made at the extreme, and not the average. It’s not the average more aggressive/less agreeable male that’s in prison. In fact, if you draw a random man and a random woman from the population, and you bet that the woman is more aggressive/less agreeable, you’d be correct about 40% of the time. But if you walked into a roomful of people everyone of whom had been selected to be the most aggressive person out of a 100, almost every one of them would be male.

So even though men and women are more the same than they are different, the differences can matter.

What happens if you look at sex differences in personality and interest by country? Are the differences bigger in some countries and smaller in others? Would the differences between men and women be larger or smaller in wealthier countries? In more egalitarian countries? The answer: the more egalitarian and wealthier the country, the larger the differences between men and women in temperament and in interest. And the relationship is not small. The most recent study, published in Science (by researchers at Berkeley, hardly a hotbed of conservatism and patriarchy) showed a relationship between a wealth/egalitarian composite measure and sex differences that was larger than that reported in 99% of published social science studies. These are not small-scale studies. Tens of thousands of people have participated in them. And many different groups of scientists have come to the same conclusions, and published those results in very good journals.

Given that differences in temperament and interest help determine occupational choice, and that differences in occupational choice drives variability in such things as income, this indicates that political doctrines that promote equality of opportunity also drive inequality of outcome.

This is a big problem — particularly if the goal of such egalitarian policies was to minimize the differences between men and women. It’s actually a fatal problem for a particular political view. The facts can be denied, but only at the cost of throwing out social science in its entirety and a good bit of biology as well. That is simply not a reasonable solution.

The best explanation, so far, for the fact of the growing differences is that there are two reasons for the differences between men and women: biology and culture. If you minimize the cultural differences (as you do with egalitarian social policies) then you allow the biological differences to manifest themselves fully. I have seen social scientists struggle to offer a cultural explanation, but I haven’t heard any such hypothesis that is the least bit credible, and have been unable to formulate one myself.

There are also those who insist that we just haven’t gone far enough in our egalitarian attempts — that even Scandinavia and The Netherlands, arguably the world’s most egalitarian societies, are still rampantly patriarchal — but that doesn’t explain why the sex differences have grown, rather than shrunk, as those cultures have become demonstrably more equal in social policy.

Those who adopt this viewpoint, despite its apparent logical impossibility, maintain that we must redouble our efforts to socialize little boys and girls in exactly the same manner — rendering all toys gender-neutral, questioning even the idea of gender identity itself — and believe that such maneuvering will finally bring us to the ideal utopia, where every occupation and every strata of authority within every occupation is manned (so to speak) by 50% men and 50% women. Why should we launch large-scale experiments aimed at transforming the socialization of children when we have no idea what the outcome might be? And why should we presume that we know how to eliminate gender identity among young children? Finally, why exactly is it a problem if men and women, freed to make the choices they would make when confronted with egalitarian opportunities, happen to make different choices?

So, this is the Scandinavian conundrum — one that also affects the broader Western world (and the rest of the world, soon enough). Policies that maximize equality of opportunity make equality of outcome increasingly impossible. The doctrine, ever more radically and loudly insisted upon by the politically correct, that sex differences are only socially constructed is wrong. Get it? Wrong.

It’s no wonder that when I came bearing this news the Swedish Foreign Minister (a proud member of the world’s only self-proclaimed feminist government) suggested publicly that I crawl back under my rock, and that one of Sweden’s leading female politicians objected on prime time TV that her daughter could be raised to be anything she wants to be. But facts is facts, I’m afraid, and no amount of neo-Marxist leftist postmodern suggestion that social science is a patriarchal construction is going to make the ugly truth disappear: Men and women are similar. But they are importantly different.

The differences matter, particularly at the extremes, particularly with regard to occupational choice and its concomitants. There are going to be more male criminals, and more male engineers, and more females with diagnoses of depression and anxiety, and more female nurses. And there are going to be differences in economic outcome associated with this variance.

Game over, utopians.

And that’s why the information I shared during my visit to Scandinavia caused a scandal that continues to reverberate.

Part Two (Canada)

Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet awaits the new Prime Minister at Rideau Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. Tony Caldwell/ Postmedia Network

We all remember that our current Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau, decided early on when he formed his government to make his cabinet 50% women, because “it was 2015.” He got a hall pass for this, no doubt because of his boyish charm and modern mien. But it was a mistake of unforgivable magnitude and here are some of the reasons why:

The job of the federal government is important, necessary and difficult.

• To make important, difficult decisions properly, competence is necessary.

• There is no relationship between sex and competence. Men and women are essentially equal in their intelligence, and they differ very little in conscientiousness (which is the second-best predictor of success, after intelligence). Thus, selection for competence should optimally be sex-blind, if competence is the most important factor.

• The possibility of identifying a competent person increases as the pool of available candidates increases.

• Only 26% of the elected MPs in Trudeau’s government were women.

• By selecting 50% of his cabinet from 26% of the pool of available candidates, Prime Minister Trudeau abdicated his responsibility to rank-order all of his elected officials by competence (which could have been done by blind, multi-person rating of their resumes, including education and accomplishments) and staffing his cabinet from the most qualified person downward.

Given that only 26% of the elected MPs were women, the selection of half the cabinet from this pool means that it is a statistical certainty that the cabinet members chosen were not the most competent available.

It might also be pointed out that such a move is particularly appalling given its source. Let’s assume (which I don’t) that there is patriarchy, and with it, generally undeserved privilege. Let’s even assume (which I don’t) that much of this is accrued unfairly by straight white men, as the identity politics players, such as our Prime Minister, self-righteously and vociferously insist.

Is it truly unreasonable to point out that the absolute poster boy for such privilege is none other than our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau — a man who dared run for the highest office in the land despite his utter lack of credentials (other than good looks, charm and a certain ability to behave properly in public) merely because his father, Pierre, turned the Trudeau name into the very epitome of status unearned by his sons?

Is it also unreasonable to point out that the women who accepted those positions, granted to them unfairly, in a prejudiced and discriminatory manner, took that as their due, despite the unlikelihood, statistically, of their suitability for the positions in question, and thus betrayed themselves, men and women everywhere striving fairly for advancement, and their country? All in the name of redress for some hypothetical prejudice, a consequence of the patriarchal tyranny, experienced in large measure by vaguely apprehended women of the past and definitely other than themselves.

Appalling. All of it. Appalling.

Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. His blog and podcasts can be found at jordanbpeterson.com

Why People Hate Energy Taxes (and why Politicians prefer Trading Schemes)

The French uproar happened because direct taxation of fuels was announced, and the wallet impact was obvious. USC professor Matthew Kahn is a leading microeconomist, meaning he studies behavior of buyers and sellers in market economies. His recent post on the French uprising is The Substitution and Income Effects Induced by Introducing Carbon Taxes. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The protests in France over raising gasoline taxes there highlights that middle class people understand that higher carbon taxes have income effects. If you drive 15,000 miles a year and if your vehicle achieves 30 miles per gallon and if the price of gasoline increases from $4 to $4.40 due to a 10% increase in the gas tax, then your disposable income declines each year by (15000/30)*.4 = $200.

Economists celebrate the substitution effects induced by the carbon tax — that people who drive will demand more fuel efficient vehicles and drive them less. On the supply side, the tax will nudge firms such as Tesla to engage in induced innovation to create even more fuel efficient vehicles.

Since voters are smart and do not want to be poorer (as their purchasing power declines due to the tax), economists have pondered how to offset the income effect through policies such as “tax and dividend” or by lowering income taxes and raising carbon taxes (see Gib Metcalf’s 2007 Hamilton Project paper).

A deep issue arises here. Who has the property rights to pollute? If the incumbent polluters have this right, then the designed policy must fully offset the negative income effect I sketched above. Recall that in the 1990 Clean Air Amendments that created the so2 sulfur dioxide market that utilities received free allotments of permits. This meant that they had the property right to pollute and this must have angered some environmental groups. But, the tight cap on total emissions and the incentive effect of being able to sell unused permits created an incentive for these polluters to reduce their emissions.

In my work with Jonathan Eyer, (see our 2017 paper) , we explore how states and local governments have tried to protect their coal interests in the face of increased federal government regulation and market conditions favoring using natural gas for generating electricity. On some level, this is a battle over property rights.

Do fossil fuel consumers and producers have the property rights to engage in this activity? If they do, then those who seek to mitigate the challenge of climate change must compensate them for their income loss associated with carbon pricing. Are progressives willing to identify themselves and pay for this property? If these polluters do not have this property right, then they will suffer an income loss from this new well intended policy and they will use their full arsenal of strategies (including protests) to oppose a change from the status quo.

Given that every American differs with respect to her current production/consumption of fossil fuels, how does a smart public finance economist design a carbon tax and refund policy that induces the substitution effect of carbon pricing without the income effect?

The political economy of climate change mitigation and adaptation has not been fully explored by academic environmental economists who in recent years have focused on creating computable general equilibrium IAM models (see Nordhaus) or on reduced form empirical studies examining the “cause and effect” relationship between climate effects and economic outcomes. Such reduced form “cause and effect” studies should play a key role in determining which voters support carbon taxes. For example, if my home will be flooded because of climate change then I have strong asset protection incentives to vote in favor of a carbon tax. The role of self interest (beyond ideology) in spurring support for carbon taxes should be explored more in new research.

What else do we know about the political support for carbon pricing? Riley Dunlap has been the leader in environmental sociology studying long run trends in support among republicans and democrats.
Michael Greenstone released an optimistic contingent valuation study a few years ago. I tend to be skeptical about such survey evidence. I wish that his survey is right. My results in my 2013 paper on the voting on the Waxman-Markey Carbon Tax bill in Congress and my 2015 paper on California’s voting on introducing carbon pricing tell a different story. High carbon area voters oppose such taxes. This dovetails with this blog post’s main theme.

Soren Anderson has new research on this subject; Here is his preliminary paper. Read the abstract and you will see that his paper’s findings are consistent with this blog post’s main themes and with my past research findings. In studying recent voting on Washington state’s proposed carbon tax he finds;

” Support (for carbon taxes) is weaker in precincts with larger shares of car commuters, bigger homes, and workers in carbon-intensive industries and stronger in precincts with larger shares of young people, racial and ethnic minorities, college educated adults, and voters that are ideologically aligned with the left’s broader policy agenda.”

This is the challenge that we environmental economists face as we try to implement incentives to combat climate change. Let the competition to design a proposal that induces substitution effects without negative income effects begin!

UPDATE; A fundamental question in microeconomics asks; “who is at the margin?” In the case of supporting carbon pricing a given person will support the policy if her expected present discounted value of benefits from the policy exceeds the expected present discounted value of the costs she will incur from the policy.

In an economy where people differ on many attributes such as location, asset ownership, industry, education — it is difficult to quantify these factors and include them in a voting regression. After all, we do not observe how individuals vote on election day; instead we rely on precinct level data and face the ecological regression fallacy.

This is a long winded way of saying that if the costs faced by suburbanites for voting in favor carbon taxes decline then more suburbanites will vote for carbon taxes and support Representatives who vote in favor of these policies. Our 2017 paper explored how the private choice of buying solar panels bundled with electric vehicles could flip some suburban voters toward supporting carbon pricing because the income effect they would face would shrink to zero.

My Comment:

French PM Macron wanted to virtue-signal his leadership regarding the Climate file. But France is powered mostly by emission-free nuclear electricity. So to up the emission reduction ante, Macron went after the transportation sector, i.e. taxes on gasoline and diesel. For everyone outside of the La métropole (Parisians enjoy public transit), this was effectively a tax on personal mobility. And as we are seeing, totally unacceptable in a modern society. Prof. Kahn explains how suburbanites and exurban folks recognize immediately how this policy diminishes them and their lifestyle.  As an environmental economist, Kahn does not question the claim that fossil fuels cause global warming, unfortunately.  So he and his colleagues face the task of convincing the public that raising carbon prices is in their personal interests.

It is why politicians like the EU and Gov. Brown (and Schwarzenegger before him) preferred carbon trading schemes. Such schemes are stealth pricing programs, since they force companies to pay more for energy, who then pass on the cost to consumers when they buy goods or services. But the government’s hand in your pocket is hidden, and the cost of living inflation is spread out by price increases on everything, not just fuel purchases. So the public grumbles about how expensive life is becoming, while the policymakers are shielded by skimming on top of all commercial transactions. And politicians still get money coming into “green funds”, which can be distributed to their friends and supporters in the form of grants and subsidies.



No GHG Warming Fingerprints in the Sky

For several years I have pored over comments from Kristian (okulaer) and gained understanding from the effort. Here is his recent article on the absence of  “AGW warming” fingerprints in the CERES satellite data.  How the CERES EBAF Ed4 data disconfirms “AGW” in 3 different ways  by okulaer November 11, 2018. Excerpts below with my bolds.  Kristian provides more detailed discussion at his blog (title in red is link)

Background: The AGW Hypothesis

For those of you who aren’t entirely up to date with the hypothetical idea of an “(anthropogenically) enhanced GHE” (the “AGW”) and its supposed mechanism for (CO2-driven) global warming, the general principle is fairly neatly summed up here.

I’ve modified this diagram below somewhat, so as to clarify even further the concept of “the raised ERL (Effective Radiating Level)” – referred to as Ze in the schematic – and how it is meant to ‘drive’ warming within the Earth system; to simply bring the message of this fundamental premise of “AGW” thinking more clearly across.
Then we have the “doubled CO2” (t1) scenario, where the ERL has been pushed higher up into cooler air layers closer to the tropopause:

So when the atmosphere’s IR opacity increases with the excess input of CO2, the ERL is pushed up, and, with that, the temperature at ALL ALTITUDE-SPECIFIC LEVELS of the Earth system, from the surface (Ts) up through the troposphere (Ttropo) to the tropopause, directly connected via the so-called environmental lapse rate, i.e. the negative temperature profile rising up through the tropospheric column, is forced to do the same.

The Expected GHG Fingerprints

How, then, is this mechanism supposed to manifest itself?

Well, as the ERL, basically the “effective atmospheric layer of OUTWARD (upward) radiation”, the one conceptually/mathematically responsible for the All-Sky OLR flux at the ToA, and from now on, in this post, dubbed rather the EALOR, is lifted higher, into cooler layers of air, the diametrically opposite level, the “effective atmospheric layer of INWARD (downward) radiation” (EALIR), the one conceptually and mathematically responsible for the All-Sky DWLWIR ‘flux’ (or “the atmospheric back radiation”) to the surface, is simultaneously – and for the same physical reason, only inversely so – pulled down, into warmer layers of air closer to the surface. This latter concept was explained already in 1938 by G.S. Callendar. Feldman et al., 2015, (as an example) confirm that this is still how “Mainstream Climate Science (MCS)” views this ‘phenomenon’:

The gist being that, when we make the atmosphere more opaque to IR by putting more CO2 into it, “the atmospheric back radiation” (all-sky DWLWIR at sfc) will naturally increase as a result, reducing the radiative heat loss (net LW) from the surface up. And do note, it will increase regardless of (and thus, on top of) any atmospheric rise in temperature, which would itself cause an increase. Which is to say that it will always distinctly increase also RELATIVE TO tropospheric temps (which are, by definition, altitude-specific (fixed at one particular level, like ‘the lower troposphere’ (LT))). That is, even when tropospheric temps do go up, the DWLWIR should be observed to increase systematically and significantly MORE than what we would expect from the temperature rise alone. Because the EALIR moves further down.

Conversely, at the other end, at the ToA, the EALOR moves the opposite way, up into colder layers of air, which means the all-sky OLR (the outward emission flux) should rather be observed to systematically and significantly decrease over time relative to tropospheric temps. If tropospheric temps were to go up, while the DWLWIR at the surface should be observed to go significantly more up, the OLR at the ToA should instead be observed to go significantly less up, because the warming of the troposphere would simply serve to offset the ‘cooling’ of the effective emission to space due to the rise of the EALOR into colder strata of air.

What we’re looking for, then, if indeed there is an “enhancement” of some “radiative GHE” going on in the Earth system, causing global warming, is ideally the following:

OLR stays flat, while TLT increases significantly and systematically over time;
TLT increases systematically over time, but DWLWIR increases significantly even more.
Effectively summed up in this simplified diagram.

Figure 4. Note, this schematic disregards – for the sake of simplicity – any solar warming at work.

However, we also expect to observe one more “greenhouse” signature.

If we expect the OLR at the ToA to stay relatively flat, but the DWLWIR at the sfc to increase significantly over time, even relative to tropospheric temps, then, if we were to compare the two (OLR and DWLWIR) directly, we’d, after all, naturally expect to see a fairly remarkable systematic rise in the latter over the former (refer to Fig.4 above).

Which means we now have our three ways to test the reality of an hypothesized “enhanced GHE” as a ‘driver’ (cause) of global warming.

Three Tests for GHG Warming in the Sky

The null hypothesis in this case would claim or predict that, if there is NO strengthening “greenhouse mechanism” at work in the Earth system, we would observe:

1. The general evolution (beyond short-term, non-thermal noise (like ENSO-related humidity and cloud anomalies or volcanic aerosol anomalies))* of the All-Sky OLR flux at the ToA to track that of Ttropo (e.g. TLT) over time;
2. The general evolution of the All-Sky DWLWIR at the surface to track that of Ttropo (Ts + Ttropo, really) over time;
3. The general evolution of the All-Sky OLR at the ToA and the All-Sky DWLWIR at the surface to track each other over time, barring short-term, non-thermal noise.

* (We see how the curve of the all-sky OLR flux at the ToA differs quite noticeably from the TLT and DWLWIR curves, especially during some of the larger thermal fluctuations (up or down), normally associated with particularly strong ENSO events. This is because there are factors other than pure mean tropospheric temperatures that affect Earth’s final emission flux to space, like the concentration and distribution (equator→poles, surface→tropopause/stratosphere) of clouds, water vapour and aerosols. These may (and do) all vary strongly in the short term, significantly disrupting the normal temperature↔flux (Stefan-Boltzmann) connection, but in the longer term, they display a remarkable tendency to even out, leaving the tropospheric temperature signal as the only real factor to consider when comparing the OLR with Ttropo (TLT). Or not. The “AGW” idea specifically contends, resting on the premise, that these other factors (and crucially also including CO2, of course) do NOT even out over time, but rather accrue in a positive (‘warming’) direction.)

Missing Fingerprint #1

The first point above we have already covered extensively. The combined ERBS+CERES OLR record is seen to track the general progression of the UAHv6 TLT series tightly, both in the tropics and near-globally, all the way from 1985 till today (the last ~33 years), as discussed at length both here and here.

Since, however, in this post we’re specifically considering the CERES era alone, this is how the global OLR matches against the global TLT since 2000:
Figure 5.

This is simply the monthly CERES OLR flux data properly scaled (x0.266), enabling us to compare it more directly to temperatures (W/m2→K), and superimposed on the UAH TLT data. Watch how closely the two curves track each other, beyond the obvious noise. To highlight this striking state of relative congruity, we remove the main sources of visual bias in Fig.5 above. Notice, then, how the red OLR curve, after the 4-year period of fairly large ENSO-events (La Niña-El Niño-La Niña) between 2007/2008 and 2011/2012, when the cyan TLT curve goes both much lower (during the flanking La Niñas) and much higher (during the central El Niño), quickly reestablishes itself right back on top of the TLT curve, just where it used to be prior to that intermediate stretch of strong ENSO influence. And as a result, there is NO gradual divergence whatsoever to be spotted between the mean levels of these two curves, from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015.

Missing Fingerprint #2

The second point above is just as relevant as the first one, if we want to confirm (or disconfirm) the reality of an “enhanced GHE” at work in the Earth system. We compare the tropospheric temperatures with the DWLWIRsfc ‘flux’, that is, the apparent atmospheric thermal emission to the surface:

Figure 9. Note how the scaling of the flux (W/m2) values is different close to the surface than at the ToA. Here at the DWLWIR level, down low, we divide by 5 (x0.2), while at the OLR level, up high, we divide by 3.76 (x0.266).

We once again observe a rather close match overall. At the very least, we can safely say that there is no evidence whatsoever of any gradual, systematic rise in DWLWIR over the TLT, going from 2000 to 2018. If we plot the difference between the two curves in Fig.9 to obtain the “DWLWIR residual”, this fact becomes all the more evident:

Figure 10.

Remember now how the idea of an “enhanced GHE” requires the DWLWIR to rise significantly more than Ttropo (TLT) over time, and that its “null hypothesis” therefore postulates that such a rise should NOT be seen. Well, do we see such a rise in the plot above? Nope. Not at all. Which fits in perfectly with the impression we got at the ToA, where the TLT-curve was supposed to rise systematically up and away from the OLR-curve over time, but didn’t – no observed evidence there either of any “enhanced GHE” at work.

Missing Fingerprint #3

Finally, the third point above is also pretty interesting. It is simply to verify whether or not the CERES EBAF Ed4 ‘radiation flux’ data products are indeed suggesting a strengthening of some radiatively defined “greenhouse mechanism”. We sort of know the answer to this already, though, from going through points 1 and 2 above. Since neither the OLR at the ToA nor the DWLWIR at the surface deviated meaningfully from the UAHv6 TLT series (the same one used to compare with both, after all), we expect rather by necessity that the two CERES ‘flux products’ also shouldn’t themselves deviate meaningfully overall from one another. And, unsurprisingly, they don’t:

Figure 14.  Difference plot (“DWLWIR residual”)

Again, it is so easy here to allow oneself to be fooled by the visual impact of that late – obviously ENSO-related – peak, and, in this case, also a definite ENSO-based trough right at the start (you’ll plainly recognise it in Fig.14); another perfect example of how one’s perception and interpretation of a plot is directly affected by “the end-point bias”. Don’t be fooled:

If we expect the OLR at the ToA to stay relatively flat, but the DWLWIR at the sfc to increase significantly over time, even relative to tropospheric temps, then, if we were to compare the two (OLR and DWLWIR) directly, we’d […] naturally expect to see a fairly remarkable systematic rise in the latter over the former (refer to Fig.4 above).

Looking at Fig.14, and taking into account the various ENSO states along the way, does such a “remarkable systematic rise” in DWLWIR over OLR manifest itself during the CERES era?

I’m afraid not …

Four Lines of Evidence Against GHG Warming Hypothesis

The lack of GHG warming in the CERES data is added to three previous atmospheric heat radiation studies.

  1.  In 2004 Ferenc MIskolczi studied the radiosonde datasets and found that the optical density at the top of the troposphere does not change with increasing CO2, since reducing H2O maintains optimal radiating efficiency.  His publication was suppressed by NASA, and he resigned from his job there. He has elaborated on his findings in publications as recently as 2014. See:  The Curious Case of Dr. Miskolczi

2.  Ronan and Michael Connolly  studied radiosonde data and concluded in 2014:

“It can be seen from the infra-red cooling model of Figure 19 that the greenhouse effect theory predicts a strong influence from the greenhouse gases on the barometric temperature profile. Moreover, the modeled net effect of the greenhouse gases on infra-red cooling varies substantially over the entire atmospheric profile.

However, when we analysed the barometric temperature profiles of the radiosondes in this paper, we were unable to detect any influence from greenhouse gases. Instead, the profiles were very well described by the thermodynamic properties of the main atmospheric gases, i.e., N 2 and O 2 , in a gravitational field.”

While water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the effects of water vapour on the temperature profile did not appear to be related to its radiative properties, but rather its different molecular structure and the latent heat released/gained by water in its gas/liquid/solid phase changes.

For this reason, our results suggest that the magnitude of the greenhouse effect is very small, perhaps negligible. At any rate, its magnitude appears to be too small to be detected from the archived radiosonde data.” Pg. 18 of referenced research paper

See:  The Physics Of The Earth’s Atmosphere I. Phase Change Associated With Tropopause

3.  An important proof against the CO2 global warming claim was included in John Christy’s testimony 29 March 2017 at the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The text and diagram below are from that document which can be accessed here.

IPCC Assessment Reports show that the IPCC climate models performed best versus observations when they did not include extra GHGs and this result can be demonstrated with a statistical model as well.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

N. Atlantic SST Plunging

RAPID Array measuring North Atlantic SSTs.

For the last few years, observers have been speculating about when the North Atlantic will start the next phase shift from warm to cold.

Source: Energy and Education Canada

An example is this report in May 2015 The Atlantic is entering a cool phase that will change the world’s weather by Gerald McCarthy and Evan Haigh of the RAPID Atlantic monitoring project. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

This is known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and the transition between its positive and negative phases can be very rapid. For example, Atlantic temperatures declined by 0.1ºC per decade from the 1940s to the 1970s. By comparison, global surface warming is estimated at 0.5ºC per century – a rate twice as slow.

In many parts of the world, the AMO has been linked with decade-long temperature and rainfall trends. Certainly – and perhaps obviously – the mean temperature of islands downwind of the Atlantic such as Britain and Ireland show almost exactly the same temperature fluctuations as the AMO.

Atlantic oscillations are associated with the frequency of hurricanes and droughts. When the AMO is in the warm phase, there are more hurricanes in the Atlantic and droughts in the US Midwest tend to be more frequent and prolonged. In the Pacific Northwest, a positive AMO leads to more rainfall.

A negative AMO (cooler ocean) is associated with reduced rainfall in the vulnerable Sahel region of Africa. The prolonged negative AMO was associated with the infamous Ethiopian famine in the mid-1980s. In the UK it tends to mean reduced summer rainfall – the mythical “barbeque summer”.Our results show that ocean circulation responds to the first mode of Atlantic atmospheric forcing, the North Atlantic Oscillation, through circulation changes between the subtropical and subpolar gyres – the intergyre region. This a major influence on the wind patterns and the heat transferred between the atmosphere and ocean.

The observations that we do have of the Atlantic overturning circulation over the past ten years show that it is declining. As a result, we expect the AMO is moving to a negative (colder surface waters) phase. This is consistent with observations of temperature in the North Atlantic.

Cold “blobs” in North Atlantic have been reported, but they are usually a winter phenomena. For example in April 2016, the sst anomalies looked like this

But by September, the picture changed to this

And we know from Kaplan AMO dataset, that 2016 summer SSTs were right up there with 1998 and 2010 as the highest recorded.

As the graph above suggests, this body of water is also important for tropical cyclones, since warmer water provides more energy.  But those are annual averages, and I am interested in the summer pulses of warm water into the Arctic. As I have noted in my monthly HadSST3 reports, most summers since 2003 there have been warm pulses in the north atlantic.
AMO November 2018The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and not detrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N.  The graph shows warming began after 1993 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since.  November 2016 set a record at 21.75C, but note the plunge down to 21.24C for  November 2018, the coldest since 1996.  Because McCarthy refers to hints of cooling to come in the N. Atlantic, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

AMO decade 112018

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks.  Most recently November 2018 is 0.5C lower than November 2017, and is the coolest November since 1996.

With all the talk of AMOC slowing down and a phase shift in the North Atlantic, we expect that the annual average for 2018 will confirm that cooling has set in.  Through November the momentum is certainly heading downward, despite the band of warming ocean  that gave rise to European heat waves last summer.


2018: Trump Winning, IPCC Losing

Trump vs IPCC
Don’t take it from me, this is the state of affairs according to IPCC insiders. This report comes from a carbon alarmist who is dismayed by recent developments in the battle against global warming.

The Paris Climate Agreement versus the Trump Effect: Countervailing Forces for Decarbonisation  by Joseph Curtin, Senior Fellow, Institute of International and European Affairs.  Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

In this publication, IIEA Senior Fellow Joseph Curtin argues that the “Trump Effect” has created a powerful countervailing force acting against the momentum which the Paris Agreement on climate change hoped to generate.

At the heart of the Agreement is an “ambition mechanism”, under which Parties are required to make progressively more ambitious pledges to reduce emissions following global “stocktakes” every five years. This mechanism was designed to catalyse greater efforts over the coming decades, but the Trump Effect has applied a brake via three distinct channels:

  • US Federal rollbacks have increased the attractiveness of fossil fuel investments globally;
  • The US decision to withdraw from the Agreement has created moral and political cover for others to follow suit; and
  • Goodwill at international negotiations has been damaged.

Domestic regulatory rollbacks are increasing the cost of ambition

The widespread rollback of Federal regulations is reducing risk premiums associated with investing in dirty technologies. It is true that market fundamentals and sub-Federal initiatives will ameliorate some of the damage. However, at the very least years of stasis, litigation and uncertainty can be anticipated. We can already see an impact. Following Paris, there was a plunge in investment in the dirtiest fossil fuel investments (coal and tar sands) in 2016, but the Trump Effect reversed the trend in 2017, while investment in renewables has declined. Given the size of the US economy, slower deployment of green technologies flattens learning curves globally, making it harder for other Parties to take on more ambitious pledges in the future.

In the first case, withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and the concurrent roll-back of domestic regulation, is slowing the rate of investment in green technologies at a time when rapid scaling up is required. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), meeting agreed global targets will require an estimated $3.5 trillion in energy-sector investments each year until 2050, about double the current level of investment. US withdrawal has the potential to undermine the “ambition mechanism” over time.

The first steps have been taken to repeal the Clean Power Plan, and to freeze fuel efficiency standards for vehicles at 2020 levels, among many other environmental policy roll-backs. Some have argued that these reversals have not yet taken effect, and, in any case, that their impact will be marginal if they ever do, because many clean investments are underpinned by market fundamentals, such as cheap natural gas prices and the falling costs of renewable energy. This view is supported by others who have argued that the Trump Effect will be ameliorated by the sub-Federal responses amalgamated under the “We Are Still In” initiative. Former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, and the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, have even argued that these efforts would “put the country within striking distance of the 26% reduction in greenhouse gases, by 2025, that the United States promised to hit in Paris”. 

However, these noble efforts and associated pronouncements not only put the brightest possible spin on city, state and business initiatives, they also understate the impact of Federal reversals. At the very least,years of stasis, regulatory process and subsequent litigation await, creating considerable uncertainty and affecting the risk perceptions. This in turn feeds into the cost of capital—a central determinant of the pace of technology deployment in the marketplace.

By creating uncertainty, the Trump Effect has already changed the calculus facing investors. Following Paris, in 2016 there was a plunge in investment in dirty assets like coal and tar sands, reflecting their increasing risk profiles as investors sought to determine if political leaders were serious about their stated intentions. This is because fossil fuels investments face “stranding” risk in a carbon-constrained world, potentially inducing very significant financial losses, and this is particularly the case for the most emissions-intensive sources of energy. However, the Trump Effect has reduced the risk premium associated with these investments by creating the impression that the era of fossil fuels may not be drawing to a close, or at least not as rapidly as the Agreement in Paris had suggested. Analysis has found that a sharp flight from the dirtiest fossil fuels investments was reversed in 2017, and that American banks led a race back into unconventional energy. For example, JPMorgan Chase quadrupled its tar sands investments. In the coal sector, among 36 banks surveyed in the same study, investment increased by 6% in 2017 after a 38% drop in 2016. The other side of the same coin is that, according to the IEA, investment in renewables declined by 7% in 2017. Its Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol, ascribed this to the uncertainties created by politics.

In the long-run, the Trump Effect may not fundamentally challenge the underlying logic or the economic case for decarbonisation, but in the short-run its impact is already evident. Given the size of the US economy, slower deployment of green technologies not only affects the pace of decarbonisation in the US, but it also somewhat flattens “learning curves” for green technology globally. This in turn could damage the “ambition mechanism” of the Paris Agreement, although the importance and magnitude of these impacts remains speculative.


US withdrawal creates political and moral cover for further defections

While major players including the EU, India and China remain committed to the Paris Agreement, and are on track to achieve their pledges, the Trump Effect has emboldened others to shirk their commitments. The Russian Federation and Turkey have abandoned plans to ratify, while Australia abandoned measures to comply with the Agreement, all citing President Trump. Most significantly, the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has promised to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, following in footsteps of President Trump.

Social psychologists like Jonathan Haidt have suggested that evolutionary dynamics hardwire a sense of fairness and reciprocity into the human psyche.  Research has uncovered a tendency for parties to step away from negotiations when commonly held principles of fairness are perceived to have been transgressed,  and this applies even for beneficial deals.  Needless to add, the moral authority of the US to punish defection from the Paris consensus has also been sacrificed. Withdrawal therefore creates political space for other wealthy countries to follow suit—if the wealthiest and most powerful of all is not playing ball, they may well ask, then why should they?

The Trump Effect therefore leaves a moral vacuum at the heart of the Agreement, which makes building new global norms around decarbonisation more challenging. . . It has been reported by several media (not least the New York Times and Washington Post) that most national governments are falling far short on promises to curb GHGs, creating the impression of an Agreement in crisis.

COP Where's my money

Goodwill at international negotiations is being damaged

At ongoing international climate negotiations, the Trump Effect is slowing progress. The Trump Administration has reneged on a pledge to the Green Climate Fund, leaving an outstanding liability of $2 billion, and has opposed stringent rules for reporting on efforts to scale up financial commitments from rich countries. These decisions have aggravated distrust between developed and developing countries, which is a necessary ingredient for progress. Meanwhile, the EU, China and India, which have room to take on more ambitious commitments in 2020, are unlikely to play their cards in the absence of a similar commitment from the US. In this manner, the Trump Effect could grind the Paris “ambition mechanism” to a halt.

Following withdrawal, US officials have continued to attend, and have even played a constructive role at times. Negotiations have moved on to considering the rulebook to monitor pledge implementation. Key differences remain over the accounting rules to be used; the information to be included; and the extent to which the same rules should be universally applied. China and other emerging economies proposed that some elements of these updates should only be compulsory for developed countries. The Umbrella Group (led by the US, and supported by the EU) opposes any differentiation, and the US delegation remains resolutely opposed to providing funding for “loss and damage” associated with climate impacts. But these positions are holdovers from the Obama Administration.

However, when it comes to climate finance there has been a Trump Effect. Pledges of hard grant-aid have always lubricated the wheels of international agreements between wealthy and poorer countries. While the Obama Administration promised $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund, which was established in 2009 as a conduit for funds, the Trump Administration has reversed this decision, leaving an outstanding liability of $2 billion.

Controversy has surrounded the workings of the Green Climate Fund, and while the funding gap created by the Trump administration has been a key problem, it has faced other unrelated governance and administrative challenges. . . Developed countries, including the US, are opposed to reporting on climate finance as part of their pledge updates. They oppose stringent rules and want more private capital to meet their commitments, whereas developing countries are calling for more grant-aid. Observers to negotiations are concerned that the Trump administration’s uncompromising position on finance may be influencing other developed countries, which in turn may be feeding into a broader divide and sour negotiations.

At the time of writing, it is unclear if this process will yield any increases in pledge ambition in 2020. In previous cases “horse-trading” of increased ambition took place. For example, the US and China jointly agreed their pledges and prior to that the EU promised to increase its ambition (for 2020) if similar pledges were forthcoming from other parties. The EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete, has indicated a willingness to increasing the EU’s Paris pledge to a 45% GHGs cut by 2030,51 although Germany and Poland are opposed to any increased ambition on competitiveness grounds. There also appears to be technical scope for India and China to increase pledges based, but in both cases there would also be domestic opposition to pledge increases to be overcome. We therefore see these Parties as unlikely to play their cards in the absence of a similar move from the US. On this basis, it is unlikely that more ambitious pledges will be forthcoming before the end of 2020.


In this analysis, we uncover considerable evidence of a distinct Trump Effect, which is counteracting the momentum created by the Paris Agreement. The US economy is large enough to affect global technology learning curves, and the uncertainty created by the withdrawal has already altered the risk profiles associated with green versus fossil fuel technologies. Furthermore, withdrawal appears to violate commonly held perceptions of fairness, and there are reduced reputational, political and economic risks for turning one’s back on the Agreement, as already evidenced by the decisions of Turkey and Australia; and the EU, China and India are perhaps less likely to play their hands and increase ambition before the end of 2020, given the posture of the US. Finally, there has been a Trump Effect at international negotiations, particularly in the area of climate finance, which has diminished goodwill between developing and developed country Parties – an intangible commodity, but nonetheless a vital ingredient for progress.

“The Paris Accord is not dead, it is just resting.”

And there is more evidence that the Paris Accord is a dead parrot.  Lawrence Solomon of Energy Probe writes in the Financial Post: Paris is dead. The global warming deniers have won. Excerpts below with my bolds.

As Solomon sees it, events are unfolding in a way that proves Trump’s wisdom in withdrawing the US from the failing Paris Accord.

Huge Expansion of Coal-fired Power Plants

The Global Coal Plant Tracker portal confirmed that coal is on a tear, with 1600 plants planned or under construction in 62 countries. The champion of this coal-building binge is China, which boasts 11 of the world’s 20 largest coal-plant developers, and which is building 700 of the 1600 new plants, many in foreign countries, including high-population countries such as Egypt and Pakistan that until now have burned little or no coal.

China builds UHV projects across regions allowing coal-fired power stations to be built near coal reserves, away from population centers

All told, the plants underway represent a phenomenal 43 per cent increase in coal-fired power capacity, making Trump’s case that China and other Third World countries are eating the West’s lunch, using climate change as a club to kneecap us with expensive power while enriching themselves.

Sagging Investment in Renewables

As reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, renewables investment fell in 2016 by 18 per cent over the peak year of 2015, and nine per cent over 2014. In the first two quarters of 2017, the trend continued downward, with double-digit year-over-year declines in each of the first two quarters. Even that paints a falsely rosy picture, since the numbers were propped up by vanity projects, such as the showy solar plants built in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In the U.K., renewable investment declined by 90 per cent.

None of the Bloomberg data represents hard economic data, however, since virtually all renewables facilities are built with funny money — government subsidies of various kinds. As those subsidies come off, a process that has begun, new investment will approach zero per cent, and the renewables industry will collapse. Even with Obama-sized subsidies, the clean-energy industry has seen massive bankruptcies, the largest among them in recent months being Europe’s largest solar panel producer, SolarWorld, in May, and America’s Suniva, in April.

Renewables are Environmental Hazards

As reported in July in Daily Caller, solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per kilowatt-hour than nuclear reactors — they are laden with lead, chromium, cadmium and other heavy metals damned by environmentalists; employ hazardous materials such as sulfuric acid and phosphine gas in their manufacture; and emit nitrogen trifluoride, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100-year time period.


Climate Doom and Gloom Predictions Prove Unreliable

One recent admission comes from Oxford’s Myles Allen, an author of a recent study in Nature Geoscience: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models,” he stated, saying that erroneous models produced results that “were on the hot side,” leading to forecasts of warming and inundations of Pacific islands that aren’t happening. Other eye-openers came in the discovery that the Pacific Ocean is cooling, the Arctic ice is expanding, the polar bears are thriving and temperatures did indeed stop climbing over 15 years.


Public Opinion Manipulated by Fake Evidence

As the Daily Caller and the Wall Street Journal both reported in April, Obama administration officials are admitting they faked scientific evidence to manipulate public opinion. “What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” former Energy Department Undersecretary Steven Koonin told the Journal, in explaining how spin was used, for example, to mislead the public into thinking hurricanes have become more frequent.


The evidence against Paris continues to mount. Paris remains dead.  

Brazil’s Brave Eco-Realism

Ricardo de Aquino Salles, former São Paulo’s Secretary of Environment, has been appointed by Jair Bolsonaro to head the Ministry of Environment Divulgação

Climate Change Is a Secondary Issue, Says Future Minister Of Environment is published at Folha de S.Paulo, December 8 2018. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Ricardo Salles says that until now, Brazilian environment policy decisions have been based on “guesswork”

Appointed on Sunday (9th) by president-elect Jair Bolsonaro (PSL), the future Minister of Environment Ricardo Salles classifies the debate around climate change as “pointless” at the moment.

Salles, a lawyer, told Folha that his goal is to “develop Brazil. We will preserve the environment with no ideology and in a very reasonable matter.”

“We will respect all those who work and bring Brazil forth, not only in farming but also in all industries, including infrastructure,” he said.

The future minister also said that there are practical issues to be addressed at the beginning of the administration, such as the preservation of soil and water, and recovering areas affected by deforestation. However, he declined to talk about climate change. “Right now this debate is pointless.”

Salles ran for House Representative for right-wing party Partido Novo in the 2018 elections but didn’t gain a seat. He is one of the founders of the conservative movement “Endireita Brasil” (Straighten Up, Brazil). When asked about how his relationship with environmentalists, Salles said: “Everyone will be respected and heard.”

Bolsonaro’s ideas for the Ministry of the Environment have been the target of controversy even before the election. During the campaign, he promised to merge the department with the Ministry of Agriculture but eventually backed out of the idea after pressure from environmentalists and ruralists.

Salles appointment comes in the wake of negative repercussions generated by the Brazilian government’s withdrawal from hosting the UN Climate Conference COP25 in 2019. Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared that the reason was lack of budget, Folha reported that those issues had already been resolved.

Footnote from Climate Home:

Salles served as secretary of environment in Sao Paulo state government, when centrist Geraldo Alckmin was governor and had ample support from Brazilian industry and agriculture groups to become minister. He leads a business-friendly organisation in Brazil called Movimento Endireita Brasil, that backs less bureaucracy and lower taxes.

The ministry of environment oversees hundreds of protected areas, which encompass almost 10% of Brazil’s territory. Most of them are in the Amazon. It also controls Ibama, an environmental agency which acts as a police force and is also in charge of the licensing process for oil wells, federal highways and hydroelectric plants.

Asked if Bolsonaro’s government would abandon the Paris Agreement, Salles said: “Let’s examine carefully the most sensitive points and, once the analysis is over [we will make the decision], remembering that national sovereignty over territory is non-negotiable”.

Salles ministry does not directly oversee Brazil’s participation in the Paris Agreement, but it works closely with the foreign office on the issue.

The appointed minister Salles said defending the environment was of “unquestionable value”. But said protections must comply with the rule of law and due legal process, echoing Bolsonaro’s view that the ministry of environment is controlled by a “militant ideology” that persecutes agribusiness.


This reminds of the uproar after Scott Pruitt was appointed to lead the US EPA.  In his hearings he rejected the false dichotomy:  If you are for the environment, you are against development; and if you are for development, you are against the environment.  Eventually Pruitt was forced out, partly due to his own missteps, but mostly due to his ideological enemies.  Let’s see how Salles fares against the same unbending opposition.


Arctic Ice Machine Back on

Can2018325to342Seventeen Days in Hudson Bay are shown in the above animation.  In the lower center, Hudson Bay pushed its ice extent up to 1.24M km2, 98% of maximum.  Just to the northeast, Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay are completely frozen over, with Baffin Bay reaching down.  At the top left you can see Chukchi Sea growing ice toward Bering Strait.

The graph below shows recent progress in ice extent recovery.

Arctic2018342From days 330 to 339, 2018 extents were flat and went below average.  Now freezing has resumed as shown in the animation above and nearing average again in the graph.  At day 342 (Dec. 8) 2018 is 540k km2 greater than 2007 and 400k km2 more than 2016.


The table below shows the distribution of ice in the various Arctic basins.

Region 2018342 Day 342 
2018-Ave. 2007342 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 11502523 11629820 -127297 10963264 539259
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070498 1069593 905 1062538 7960
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 790911 866476 -75565 649261 141650
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1082340 4798 1043563 43574
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 897834 11 897845 0
 (5) Kara_Sea 783104 815899 -32796 809723 -26620
 (6) Barents_Sea 109526 309994 -200468 215095 -105568
 (7) Greenland_Sea 499296 567272 -67976 479113 20183
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 868077 783249 84828 740590 127487
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853337 853057 280 852556 781
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1237622 844887 392735 948899 288723
 (11) Central_Arctic 3126752 3204662 -77910 3174734 -47982
 (12) Bering_Sea 82425 197632 -115207 39832 42593
 (13) Baltic_Sea 2859 7895 -5037 2898 -39
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 90248 122364 -32116 45331 44917


The table shows how early is the freezing in Hudson Bay nearly offsetting slower ice buildup in Bering and Barents Seas.  It appears that the Pacific ice extents in Bering and Okhotsk Seas may again be slower than average this year.  The deficits there match the overall 2018 deficit to average.