FERC Aims to Decarbonize, Shoots Down Energy Security

Marlo Lewis explains the Biden regime push to undermine critical energy supply in pursuit of climate virtue in his CEI article Why FERC’s Greenhouse Gas Regulatory Policy Cannot Pass a Cost-Benefit Test.  Excerpt in italics with my bolds.

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) proposal to consider climate change impacts in reviews of infrastructure projects under the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The comments were jointly submitted by my CEI colleague Patrick Michaels; Heritage Foundation Chief Statistician, Data Scientist, and Senior Research Fellow Kevin Dayaratna (commenting as an independent scholar rather than as a representative of any organization); and yours truly.

We submitted comments back in January on FERC’s November 2021 technical conference on the same issues. We advised FERC to steer clear of climate policy, for three main reasons.

1.  Decarbonizing Goals Conflict with Natural Gas Act Purpose

First, the Biden administration’s NetZero agenda to decarbonize and degasify the U.S. electric power sector cannot lawfully be aligned with the Natural Gas Act. Biden’s goals conflict with the NGA’s “principal purpose,” which is to:

 “encourage the orderly development of plentiful supplies
of electricity and natural gas at reasonable prices.”

In addition, climate change is not a factor Congress authorized FERC to consider. The words “climate,” “carbon,” “greenhouse,” “global,” “warming,” “mitigate,” or any of their cognates do not occur in the Act.

2.  Infrastructure Emissions Do Not Threaten the Environment

Second, although the direct and indirect emissions of natural gas infrastructure may be “reasonably foreseeable,” the climate effects are not. FERC’s project reviews are governed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires scrutiny of major federal actions “significantly affecting the human environment.” Even the emissions of the largest natural gas projects are too small to discernibly affect global climate, and no project’s “carbon footprint” is big enough to influence the fate or fortunes of any community, business, or human being anywhere in the world.

3.  Social Cost of Carbon Is Speculative and Subjective

Third, the social cost of carbon (SCC)—an estimate of the present value of the cumulative climate damages of an incremental ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—is too speculative and subjective, and too easily manipulated for political purposes, to be weighed in the same scales with an infrastructure project’s estimated economic benefits. The Biden administration’s SCC estimates are egregiously biased in favor of climate alarm and regulatory ambition, rendering any agency action that relies on them arbitrary and capricious.

Unsurprisingly, FERC did not take our advice, and proceeded in February to adopt an “interim” policy statement on NGA project review and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That stirred up controversy, including pushback by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY). As a result, FERC in March demoted its GHG policy statement from “interim” to “draft,” and extended the comment period until today, April 25.

Unlike several presenters at FERC’s November 2021 technical conference, the draft GHG policy statement does not advocate requiring SCC analysis in NGA determinations of public convenience and necessity. Neither, however, does FERC disavow an intent to require it in later policy statements. The Commission may simply be waiting for the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) to finalize its interim SCC estimates, or for courts to resolve Louisiana’s challenge to federal agencies’ use of those metrics.

The Commission’s draft GHG policy statement establishes a “rebuttable presumption that proposed projects with 100,000 metric tons per year of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) emissions will be deemed to have a significant impact on climate change.” FERC also implies that it may condition project approval on the sponsor’s plans to “mitigate all or a portion of the project’s climate change impacts.”

The camel’s nose is already under the tent.

It is not hard to guess where this is going if FERC does not quickly reverse course. The usual suspects will pressure the Commission to:

(1) progressively lower climate significance thresholds,
(2) monetize undetectably small project-related climate “impacts” using agenda-driven SCC estimates, and
(3) either reject needed natural gas infrastructure projects outright or impose mitigation requirements that render them uneconomic.

This is bad policy, as Michaels, Dayaratna, and I explained in our January 7 comments. If an infrastructure project is commercially viable and helps ensure plentiful supplies of electricity and natural gas at reasonable prices (the NGA’s principal purpose), the Commission knows in advance that the project’s economic benefits far exceed its climate-related externalities. Therefore, no further investigation of the project’s GHG emissions is required, nor does it make sense to condition the certificate of public convenience and necessity on the project’s adoption of mitigation measures.

Conclusion

New research by Dayaratna (hereafter “Heritage analysis”) further confirms that conclusion. Using the U.S. government’s leading energy and climate policy models, the Heritage analysis demonstrates that banning construction of new U.S. pipelines would have a negligible effect on U.S. annual CO2 emissions through 2050 and, thus, a similarly negligible effect on global temperatures through 2100. The policy implication for FERC is clear. No level of overregulation or prohibition that regulators might apply to the development of U.S. natural gas pipelines could meaningfully affect the Earth’s climate.

Consequently, no regulation or prohibition of new natural gas pipelines could possibly be worth the economic losses imposed on construction companies, natural gas producers, and energy consumers.

See Also Seeking Climate and Energy Security

Supply Chains Doomed by Carbon Accounting

Vince Bielski explains how proposed SEC accounting for CO2 emissions will grind product supply chains to a halt.  His Real Clear Investigations article is The Green U.S. Supply-Chain Rules Set to Unspool and Rattle the Global Economy. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Making a box of Cocoa Puffs is a complicated global affair. It could start with cocoa farms in Africa, corn fields in the U.S. or sugar plantations in Latin America. Then thousands of processors, transporters, packagers, distributors, office workers and retailers join the supply chain before a kid in Minnesota, where General Mills is based, pours the cereal into a bowl.

Now imagine the challenge that General Mills faces in counting the greenhouse gas emissions from all of these people, machines, vehicles, buildings and other products involved in this Cocoa Puff supply chain – then multiply that by the 100-plus brands belonging to the food giant.

Thousands of public companies may soon have such a daunting task to comply with a new set of climate rules proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hailed by prominent environmental groups as a long sought victory, the sweeping plan released in late March would force companies to grapple with the unpredictable impact of climate change by disclosing reams of new information to investors. What are your company’s climate risks, such as severe weather, and the possible financial impacts? How have the threats affected your business strategies and what’s the plan to avoid the dangers? The most consequential and controversial piece of the SEC’s proposed regulations would require corporations to calculate their total greenhouse gas footprint, including from the supply chain.

The regulations also carry political weight for Democrats in the runup to the midterms in November. The Biden administration and centrist Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are trying once again to breathe life into clean energy legislation that died earlier this year amid a feud between them. If this latest effort at compromise fails – with Manchin reportedly looking for federal support for fossil fuels as well as renewable energy – then much of President Biden’s ambitious climate agenda will be left riding on the SEC proposal.

SEC head Gary Gensler says shareholders are demanding climate risk disclosures to make smarter investment decisions and hold companies accountable for “greenwashing” their operations. The regulations will also provide investors in the Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) movement more leverage in their ongoing campaigns to pressure companies to reduce their carbon footprints.

While many companies like Walmart and business groups like the Chamber of Commerce generally support the idea of required climate disclosures, they object to what they see as the SEC’s heavy-handedness in standardizing rules across the economy. The Chamber is calling for flexibility so companies can customize their climate disclosures based on what’s relevant to their businesses and investors.

Measuring the global supply chain is a tall order — “mind-boggling and certainly unprecedented.” Pixabay

The biggest beef from companies is the rule that would require them to calculate and disclose supply chain emissions, called Scope 3.

Big companies have thousands of suppliers operating in hundreds of countries, making the task of coming up with a reasonable accounting enormously complicated. First of all, many suppliers of products and services are private companies not under the control of the SEC. They may refuse to cooperate in a count because of the costs and the implications that they might have to change their business practices to reduce emissions, said Professor Gerald Patchell, who has analyzed the problems of supply chain reporting.

Another obstacle is that many smaller suppliers, like General Mills’ cocoa farmers in Africa, don’t have the capacity to measure the emissions from their own fertilizers, tractors and farming practices. So companies will have to rely on broad country or industry averages that likely don’t reflect the actual emissions created by the suppliers, according to researchers.

“The data that companies will be asked to collect from thousands of suppliers is mind-boggling and certainly unprecedented,” said Patchell, who researches environmental policy and business. “It’s an idealized concept of what can actually be done by a company.”

The upshot is that regulations meant to bring clarity to investors on climate risk may end up providing highly unreliable emissions disclosures, leaving them “worse off,” wrote SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, a Trump appointee who voted against the 500-page proposal. It “forces investors to view companies through the eyes of a vocal set of stakeholders, for whom a company’s climate reputation is of equal or greater importance than a company’s financial performance.”

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” — Ronald Reagan

Resources

SEC Agency Aims to Legislate US Climate Policy

SEC Warned Off Climate Disclosures Rule

 

 

US Federal Court Rules Against Social Cost of Carbon

Following a Biden Executive Order, in April 2021 several states went to Louisiana District Court to stop implementation of Social Cost of Carbon with respect to federal regulations.  The Memorandum Ruling regarding that case is State of Louisiana et al Versus Joseph R. Biden Jr. et al.  The Plaintiff States are Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.  H/T Francis Menton

The Issues

The Plaintiff States seek injunctive and declaratory relief on three grounds. First, they assert that the SC-GHG Estimates violate the procedural requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) as a substantive rule that did not undergo the requisite notice-and-comment process. See 5 U.S.C. § 553.

Second, the Plaintiff States claim that President Biden, through EO 13990, and the IWG lack the authority to enforce the estimates as they are substantively unlawful under the APA and contravene existing law. See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A)–(C).

Third, the Plaintiff States maintain that the Government Defendants acted beyond any congressional authority by basing regulatory policy upon global considerations.

The Plaintiff States request a preliminary injunction:
(1) ordering Defendants to disregard the SC-GHG Estimates and prohibiting them from adopting, employing, treating as binding, or relying upon the work product of the Interagency Working Group (“IWG”);
(2) enjoining Defendants from independently relying upon the IWG’s methodology considering global effects, discount rates, and time horizons; and
(3) ordering Defendants to return to the guidance of Circular A-4, explained infra, in conducting regulatory analysis.

To be clear, the Court is ruling only on the actions of the federal agencies and whether the agencies, by implementing the estimates and considering global effects— violate the APA and whether President Biden upon signing EO 13990, violated the separations of powers clause of the United States Constitution. The Court has the authority to enjoin federal agencies from implementing a rule—mandated by an executive order or not—that violates the APA or violates the separation of powers clause. Importantly, the Court is not opining as to the scientific issues regarding greenhouse gas emissions, their effects on the environment, or whether they contribute to global warming.

The Findings

The Court is persuaded that the Biden Administration’s agencies are using the SCGHG. The Court finds that the Plaintiff States have established injury-in-fact.

Plaintiff States argue that the SC-GHG Estimates “affect[] the states’ ‘quasi-sovereign’ interests by imposing substantial pressure on them to change their” practices and laws to remain in compliance with federal standards. Id. at 153. The Court finds that the Plaintiff States also have standing as they are entitled to special solicitude in the standing inquiry.

The Court finds that EO 13990 contradicts Congress’ intent regarding legislative rulemaking by mandating consideration of the global effects. The Court further finds that the President lacks power to promulgate fundamentally transformative legislative rules in Case 2:21-cv-01074-JDC-KK Document 98 Filed 02/11/22 Page 33 of 44 PageID #: 4175 Page 34 of 44 areas of vast political, social, and economic importance, thus, the issuance of EO 13990 violates the major questions doctrine.

The Court finds that EO 13990 was promulgated without complying with the APA’s notice and comment requirements.

The Plaintiff States thus argue that they have demonstrated multiple independently sufficient grounds to vacate the SC-GHG Estimate and therefore have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits. The Court agrees and finds that the Plaintiff States have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits.

Plaintiff States have sufficiently identified the kinds of harms to support injunctive relief. Moreover, the Court finds that the Plaintiff States have made a clear showing of an injury-in-fact, and that such injury “cannot be undone through monetary remedies,” Louisiana v. Biden, 2021 WL 2446010, at *21 (W.D. La. June 15, 2021), such that they need immediate relief now, lest they be unable to ever obtain meaningful judicial relief in the future.

The Court finds that the balance of the injuries weighs substantially in favor of the Plaintiff States.

The Court agrees that the public interest and balance of equities weigh heavily in favor of granting a preliminary injunction.

CONCLUSION For the reasons set forth herein above, the Motion for Preliminary Injunction will be granted in its entirety.

Comment from Manhattan Contrarian

On taking office, the Trump administration took steps to neutralize the SCC, so that not much has been heard from it for a while. But Biden’s EO 13990 caused the Obama-era version to get re-instated. The Biden people claim that they are working on further tweaks to the regulations, but meanwhile a large group of Republican-led states went ahead and commenced litigation.

With a regulatory initiative obviously intended to force a gigantic transformation of the economy without statutory basis, the Biden people defended against the Complaint using every shuck and jive and technicality known to man. The SCC rules were not “final” because the administration was still working on a few more tweaks (and then a few more, and then a few more); the state plaintiffs lacked “standing” because the harm was to citizens rather than the state itself; and so forth. The court was having none of it.

The heart of the court’s decision is its determination that the SCC falls under the Supreme Court’s “major questions doctrine,” under which the bureaucracy cannot on its own authority impose “new obligations of vast economic and political significance” unless Congress “speaks clearly.” The states had identified some 83 pending projects involving something in the range of $447 and $561 billion dollars as affected by the SCC rule. That impressed the court as easily within the concept of “major questions.”

We are at the beginning of what could be a very long battle. The bureaucracy has many ways to wear down its opponents. For example, a permit can simply be delayed indefinitely, without any reason being stated, as occurred for example with the Keystone XL pipeline. But at least here battle lines have finally been drawn.

Supremes to Review EPA Authority Over GHGs

Amy Howe writes at scotusblog Justices agree to review EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Climate change regulation

The litigation over the EPA’s authority comes to the court in a quartet of environmental cases on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The D.C. Circuit vacated both the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the 2015 Clean Power Plan, which established guidelines for states to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and the Affordable Clean Energy Rule that the Trump administration issued in its place.

Urging the justices to hear the case, one of the challengers, the North American Coal Corporation, acknowledged that the issue of climate change and how to address it has “enormous importance,” but the company stressed that “[t]hose debates will not be resolved anytime soon.” What the court should resolve, it continued, “as soon as possible is who has the authority to decide those issues on an industry-wide scale — Congress or the EPA.” Unless the justices weigh in, the company warned, “these crucial decisions will be made by unelected agency officials without statutory authority, as opposed to our elected legislators.”

The Biden administration told the justices that there was no need for them to step in now, because the Clean Power Plan “is no longer in effect and EPA does not intend to resurrect it.” Instead, the government explained, it intends to issue a new rule that takes recent changes in the electricity sector into account. “Any further judicial clarification of the scope of EPA’s authority,” the government suggested, “would more appropriately occur” after the agency has actually issued the new rule.

After considering the cases at four consecutive conferences, the justices granted review and ordered the cases to be argued together. The justices’ decision in the case, which is expected by summer 2022, could have an impact well beyond environmental law because it could impose new limits on Congress’ ability to delegate authority to all regulatory agencies.

The lead case is West Virginia v. EPA. It is consolidated with North American Coal Corp. v. EPA, Westmoreland Mining Holdings v. EPA, and North Dakota v. EPA.

Background at previous post 

Latest Court Ruling re EPA and CO2

My comment: I much appreciate Judge Walker’s reprise of the historical journey. After earning my degree in organic chemistry, I am still offended that a bunch of lawyers refer to CO2 as a “pollutant” as though it were an artificial chemical rather than the stuff of life. And it annoys me that the American Lung Association fronted this legal attack, as though CO2 was causing breathing problems in addition to a bit of warming during our present ice age. And that list of ailments solved by reducing CO2 emissions rivals any snake oil poster ever printed.

Observers noted that this ruling produces a kind of limbo: Obama’s Clean Power Plan is out of order, and now Trumps Affordable Clean Energy program is shot down. Likely Biden will try to return to CPP as though Trump never happened, but the same objections will still be raised. Clearly Judge Walker sees the issue headed for the Supreme Court as the stakes are too high for anyone else. After their lack of courage on the 2020 election scandal, who knows what the Supremes will do.

Footnote: See post The Poisonous Tree of Climate Change

The roots of this poisonous tree are found in citing the famous Massachusetts v. E.P.A. (2007) case decided by a 5-4 opinion of Supreme Court justices (consensus rate: 56%). But let’s see in what context lies that reference and whether it is a quotation from a source or an issue addressed by the court. The majority opinion was written by Justice Stevens, with dissenting opinions from Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia. All these documents are available at sureme.justia.com Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007). The linked post summarized the twisted logic that was applied.

Briefing for Glasgow COP 2021

 

Presently the next climate Conference of Parties is scheduled for Glasgow this November, Covid allowing.  (People used to say “God willing”, or “Weather permitting”, but nowadays it’s a virus in charge.)  Actually, climate hysteria is like a seasonal sickness.  Each year a contagion of anxiety and fear is created by disinformation going viral in both legacy and social media in the run up to the autumnal COP (postponed last year due to pandemic travel restrictions).  Now that climatists have put themselves at the controls of the formidable US federal government, we can expect the public will be hugely hosed with alarms over the next few months.  Before the distress signals go full tilt, individuals need to inoculate themselves against the false claims, in order to build some herd immunity against the nonsense the media will promulgate. This post is offered as a means to that end.

Media Climate Hype is a Cover Up

Back in 2015 in the run up to Paris COP, French mathematicians published a thorough critique of the raison d’etre of the whole crusade. They said:

Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.

  • Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
  • Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
  • Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.

The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper presenting a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis with links to the entire document is at COP Briefing for Realists

Even without attending to their documentation, you can tell they are right because all the media climate hype is concentrated against those three points.

Finding: Nothing unusual is happening with our weather and climate.
Hype: Every metric or weather event is “unprecedented,” or “worse than we thought.”

Finding: Proposed solutions will cost many trillions of dollars for little effect or benefit.
Hype: Zero carbon will lead the world to do the right thing.  Anyway, the planet must be saved at any cost.

Finding: Nature operates without caring what humans do or think.
Hype: Any destructive natural event is blamed on humans burning fossil fuels.

How the Media Throws Up Flak to Defend False Suppositions

The Absurd Media:  Climate is Dangerous Today, Yesterday It was Ideal.

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus.  A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:

 It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.


And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.

post-glacial_sea_level

Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.In fact our climate is remarkably stable, compared to the range of daily temperatures during a year where I live.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

The Impractical Media:  Money is No Object in Saving the Planet.

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.

 

An Example:
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs, and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

The Irrational Media:  Whatever Happens in Nature is Our Fault.

An Example:

Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

The hype is produced by computer programs designed to frighten and distract children and the uninformed.  For example, there was mention above of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations.

Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off.

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.

In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither the media nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, advocates and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Summary:  From this we learn three things:

Climate warms and cools without any help from humans.

Warming is good and cooling is bad.

The hypothetical warming from CO2 would be a good thing.

 

Climatist Insurrection Enters New Phase

Previously the insurrection by climate anti-fossil fuel acitvists took the form of sabotaging oil and gas infrastructure, led notably by the “valve turners”, who were arrested and mostly let off the hook in a series of high profile trials.  This phase broke down after numerous states enacted serious penalties for attacks on energy projects and infrastructure. Also, with the Biden administration climatists hoped for swift federal action to shut down oil and gas production and supply. See Securing Pipelines Against Disrupters

Disappointed with lack of progress on their “leave it in the ground” agenda, activists are now attempting to occupy federal buildings to intimidate public officials into action.  This could be a precursor of more insurrection events far more serious than anything happening on Jan.6, 2021.

Michael Austin reports at The Western Journal  ‘Insurrection’? Climate Change Protesters Attempt to Storm Interior Department Building.  H/T John Ray.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Jan. 6 Capitol incursion was not an insurrection, as many left-wing politicians and pundits have claimed.  Sure, some of those present during the incursion were rioters who broke the law. They should be punished accordingly.

 On Thursday, Oct. 14,  a large group of climate change protesters tried to enter the Department of the Interior, according to Ellie Silverman, a reporter for The Washington Post.

“Climate protesters are now rallying outside the Department of the Interior. They’re trying to get inside but police are blocking the entrance. I can see a few Indigenous women through the doorway who are sitting on the floor inside the building and linking arms,” Silverman tweeted.

She further noted that “protesters are remaining on the steps and won’t move out of the doorway where several police are blocking passage into the building.”

If these activists happened to be conservatives protesting against vaccine mandates or Bidenflation, the media would be covering it ad nauseam.

Panicky headlines declaring the return of the Jan. 6 “insurrectionists” would spread like wildfire across social media.

But instead, since the protesters happen to be supporting a cause backed by the establishment elite, the media has remained largely silent.

P.S. I don’t think of these protesters or those at the capital 6/1/21 as “insurrectionists.” But if that is the term used to imprison 6/1/21 participants and remove their civil rights, then it should also be applied here. We do not know whether these disturbances will evolve into riots like those in Portland where the Federal Courthouse was vandalized by insurrectionists, never held accountable.

Scottish High Court Dismisses Greenpeace “End-Use Emissions” Argument

The Guardian reports on the ruling in its article Greenpeace loses North Sea Vorlich field legal challenge.  H/T Tallbloke’s Talkshop  Excerpts in my bolds.

Permission to drill the Vorlich site off Aberdeen was given to BP in 2018.

Greenpeace argued in Scotland’s highest civil court there had been “a myriad of failures in the public consultation” and the permit did not consider the climate impacts of burning fossil fuel.

The Court of Session ruling means operations will continue at the field. Greenpeace plans to appeal.

Production from the development started in November after BP was granted approval by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) in 2018.

The UK government welcomed the outcome.

The text of the ruling is Opinion of the Court Greenpeace Ltd. vs. BP Ltd.  

The procedural complaints were dismissed as being without merit.  The excerpts below (in italics with my bolds) address the activist theory of disallowing oil production and transportation based upon CO2 emissions of the end users consuming the energy products.

[38] The indirect emissions challenge was res judicata. Permission to proceed had been refused by the High Court. In any event, the challenge was without merit. The Directive was concerned with the effect of the individual project, not the use of material extracted in the course of a project. The focus was on the particular “project”. The definitions provided no support for the contention that the end use of raw materials, after further processes such as refinement to create a different product, was a relevant consideration (R (Finch) v Surrey County Council, at paras [101]-[102] and [109-112]).

[39] Direct emissions from the end use of oil and gas in the UK were considered and taken into account in the UK’s Annual Statement of Emissions. These were matters for political judgment (R (Plan B Earth) v Secretary of State for Transport [2021] PTSR 1901 at paras [2] and [281]), which were not challengeable in an appeal under regulation 16. The determination of a carbon budget for the UK was a complex, high-level strategic decision.  Indigenous oil and gas development was an important part of the transition to a low carbon economy. This was all part of the existing framework, which sought to manage the UK’s progressive decarbonisation up to the year 2050 (cf R (Packham) v Secretary of State for Transport [2021] Env LR 10 at paras 83 and 87).

[40] The production of oil from the Vorlich field did not increase the use of oil. The appellants’ position, that as a matter of principle there should be no new oil, conflated and confused different questions. The scope of an EIA was a matter of judgment, so long as the information in it was accurate.

The environmental effects of the consumption of oil and gas

Merits

[63] The relevant considerations which require to be taken into account in an environmental impact assessment, notably when the applicant is preparing his Environmental Statement, are set out in regulation 3A. So far as is relevant to the current appeal, the applicant is required to assess the direct and indirect significant effects of the project on, amongst other elements, the climate and the operational effects of the relevant project. In this area, regulation 3A(2) mirrors the terms of the Directive (Art 3.1). Again, there is no issue concerning any lack of adequate transposition.

[64] The question is whether the consumption of oil and gas by the end user, once the oil and gas have been extracted from the wells, transported, refined and sold to consumers, and then used by them are “direct or indirect significant effects of the relevant project”. The answer is that it is not. The exercise which the applicant had to carry out, and the Secretary of State had to assess, was a determination of the significant effects of drilling the two wells and removing the oil and gas. That involved considering the effects of depositing and operating an exploration rig or rigs on site. The ultimate use of a finished product is not a direct or indirect significant effect of the project. It is that effect alone which, in terms of the Regulations, must be assessed.

[65] The court agrees with the reasoning in R (Finch) v Surrey County Council [2021] PTSR 1160 in which Holgate J reached the same conclusion in relation to what is a direct or indirect effect of a “development”; in that case the drilling of new oil and gas wells on land.  As Holgate J stated (at para 101):

“The extraction of a mineral from a site may have environmental consequences remote from that development but which are nevertheless inevitable. …[T]he true legal test is whether an effect on the environment is an effect of the development for which planning permission is sought. An inevitable consequence may occur after a raw material extracted on the relevant site has passed through one or more developments elsewhere which are not the subject of the application… and which do not form part of the same ‘project’.”

However broad and purposive an interpretation of the Regulations or the Directive might be attempted, the clearly expressed wording of the legislation cannot be disregarded (ibid at paras 103-104). It is the effect of the project, and its operation, that is to be considered and not that of the consumption of any retailed product ultimately emerging as a result of a refinement of the raw material.

[68] It would not be practicable, in an assessment of the environmental effects of a project for the extraction of fossil fuels, for the decision maker to conduct a wide ranging examination into the effects, local or global, of the use of that fuel by the final consumer.  Although the appellants’ aspiration is for such extraction to cease, it does not appear to be contended that the UK economy is not still reliant in a number of different ways on the consumption of oil and gas. At present, a shortage of oil and gas supplies is a matter of public concern. The argument is, in any event, an academic one. It is not maintained that the exploitation of the Vorlich field would increase, or even maintain, the current level of consumption. Unless it did so, it is difficult to argue that it would have any material effect on climate change; even if it is possible to arrive at a figure for its contribution by arithmetical calculation relative to the production of oil and gas overall. The Secretary of State’s submission that these are matters for decision at a relatively high level of Government, rather than either by the court or in relation to one oilfield project, is correct. The issue is essentially a political and not a legal one.

My Comment

Recent years have seen an huge increase in legal attacks funded by woke wealthy people with deep pockets against the supply of fossil fuels.  At the same time governments have loaded up regulatory regimes that impede or prevent additional development of FF energy resources. Instead of appreciating how essential are these fuels to modern societies, policy makers, and in many cases judges, are motivated by the slogan “keep it in the ground.”  As in the opinion above, shortages in fossil fuels supply are a public concern, and especially worrisome as we approach winter. Despite this, the activist strategy is to cut off supply of affordable, reliable energy even when alternatives like renewables will not replace them, and let the people do without.

At least in this ruling the judiciary got it right.

 

 

Climate Tyranny By Way of Criminal Law

Dr. Lucas Bergkamp writes at Real Clear Energy The Legal Doctrine of “Carbon Crimes”—Torturing Law and Reason to Rid the Planet of Climate Change Deniers.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.

Abstract

The climate movement has discovered criminal law as a tool for conducting climate politics. To complement civil lawsuits against states and corporations, the movement’s activists intend to invoke torture and a newly proposed crime of “ecocide” to target corporate executives, politicians, and others who stand in the way of their preferred policies. In pushing their agenda, these activists receive assistance from the judiciary—specifically, the European Court of Human Rights.

The use of criminal law to pursue climate politics is a further step in the radicalization of the climate movement and poses a threat to economic and political freedoms, the rule of law, and democracy.

If the movement is able to realize its plans, all those who do not support ambitious climate policies would have to fear prosecution and imprisonment. Conversely, threatening criminal sanctions against politicians and corporate executives will create powerful incentives to adopt ambitious climate policies and the dominant pro-climate narrative.

Lucas Bergkamp explains how criminal law, in the climate movement’s vision, should supplement civil and administrative law to eliminate any and all opposition to its plans for the realization of a climate utopia.

European government of judges

Over several decades, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has evolved into a European government in itself. Based on doctrines designed to enable it to expand its powers at its discretion, the Court has enacted a series of mandates for new laws and policies for Europe. There is little democratic control over the Court’s role in advancing progressive politics. Once the Court has spoken, national parliaments are unable to undo its pontification because a human right trumps national law; national judiciaries are compelled to execute the Court’s judgments, even if their own national law provides otherwise.

While imposing its high moral demands on executive governments, the Court believes itself to be quite exempt from any moral or legal constraints. In a previous contribution, I discussed how climate change litigation before the Court has undermined the rule of law, the separation of powers, and democracy. In this article, I focus on the Court’s role in criminalizing the climate debate. Its reckless disregard of judicial impartiality, the right to a fair trial, and judicial restraint is another manifestation of the Court’s support for the progressive movement.

The rationale supporting criminalization

The argument for criminalizing “climate denial” typically boils down to the following argument articulated by Jeremy Williams:

Given what we know and have known for decades about climate change, to deny the science, deceive the public, and willfully obstruct any serious response to the climate catastrophe is to allow entire countries and cultures to disappear. It is to rob … the poorest and most vulnerable on the planet of their land, their homes, their livelihoods, even their lives—and their children’s lives, and their children’s children’s lives. For profit. And for power…. These are crimes. They are crimes against the earth, and they are crimes against humanity.

This emotional outcry is not only an impenetrable amalgamation of factual and moral reasoning but also assumes what must be proved. To prevent disaster, rationality needs to be brought back into the analysis. Unfortunately, as the ECHR demonstrates, we cannot rely on the judiciary to do so.

“Climate emergency”

The European Court of Human Rights, to which its president refers as the “European Climate Change Court,” has used the opportunity presented by the climate litigation that it invited to take the lead in criminalizing the climate debate. It has done so in a number of ways. First, the Court’s president and one of its vice presidents have declared publicly that “we are facing a dire emergency that requires concerted action by all of humanity” and that “we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security.” Thus, the Court’s leaders have openly and unreservedly endorsed the climate movement’s alarmist rhetoric. They have done so not based on science but on alarmist declarations by Sir David Attenborough, a well-known biologist and climate activist.

Second, to prevent any argument on the facts, the judges added: “No one can legitimately call into question that we are facing a dire emergency that requires concerted action by all of humanity.” They also committed the Court to the cause: “For its part, the European Court of Human Rights will play its role within the boundaries of its competences as a court of law, forever mindful that Convention guarantees must be effective and real, not illusory.”

No right to a fair trial for deniers

By issuing these warnings, the Court effectively closed down any debate on climate change and climate science before any trial has even begun. In doing so, it deprived defendant states of an important argument to defend themselves against allegations that their climate policies are inadequate to fight the alleged climate crisis. Before they could present the relevant scientific evidence showing that there is no such thing as climate emergency or climate crisis, the Court’s leading judges told the defendant states that they should not dare to deny.

By labeling any argument that there is no climate crisis “illegitimate,” these leading European judges, who should serve as examples of judicial impartiality, have endorsed the climate movement’s climate-denier rhetoric. This rhetoric is an inappropriate, unethical play on Holocaust denial. Simultaneously, and directly relevant to this contribution’s subject, the Court’s “illegitimacy” label also raises the specter of criminal prosecution.

There is no climate crisis

It is hard to think of any judicial conduct that shows greater partisanship and disregard for the principle of judicial impartiality than the conduct of these European human rights judges. The right to a fair trial, guaranteed by article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has effectively been set aside for climate deniers. The question should be asked whether, given the opinions expressed by its leaders, the ECHR can legitimately rule in any climate case.

The Court’s denial of justice is all the more shocking in light of the science, which does not support the proposition that there is a climate crisis. The European Commission has stated: “The term ‘climate emergency’ expresses the political will to fulfil the obligations under the Paris Agreement.” In almost 4,000 pages, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 report does not once employ the terms “climate crisis” or “climate emergency” because these terms do not belong to the scientific terminology (they occur only in a descriptive section on communication). Rather, they are political slogans, as the Commission suggested. To the point, the undefined “climate emergency” is an invention by activists.

Judicial threats

Corporate executives of companies deemed to be responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, politicians that do not support ambitious climate policies, and everyone else who advocates against the climate movement’s agenda would be exposed to criminal prosecution and imprisonment of up to 30 years. This is not a far-fetched interpretation of the relevant law but, as explained below, a fairly straightforward application. Obviously, the ECHR was well aware of what it was doing by slipping in “torture,” but it nevertheless felt comfortable proceeding in this manner.

Needless to say, the threat of life imprisonment is a very powerful disincentive. As an academic author for UNESCO put it:

Criminal sanctions are the most potent tools we have to mark out conduct that lies beyond all limits of toleration. Criminal conduct violates basic rights and destroys human security. We reserve the hard treatment of punishment for conduct that damages the things we hold most fundamentally valuable. Climate change is causing precisely such damage.

This seems to be exactly what the judges on the ECHR believe. Corporate executives will have to think twice about corporate climate policies and will be inclined to cave in to activists’ demands. Likewise, politicians skeptical of the current climate policies may feel compelled to give up their resistance. All other dissenters may also be inclined to choose personal security over honesty.

Economic freedom, political freedom, and freedom of speech would be obliterated.

Is this what the Court’s president means when he says that the European Convention guarantees must be “effective and real, not illusory”? The Court’s inexplicable decision to add torture to the charges in the first climate case only adds to the concern that human rights protect only those who endorse progressive causes, not those who have other political preferences.Ecocide

By invoking the crime of torture in the climate debate, the ECHR may also have intended to assist the efforts to get ecocide recognized as a crime. “Ecocide” refers to the “devastation and destruction of the environment,” but no official legal definition yet exists. For decades, greens have been trying to get ecocide recognized as an international crime—but so far, to no avail. In the last two years, however, due to the rise of the climate crisis narrative, they have made significant progress. There now is much activity aimed at persuading international organizations to legislate on ecocide.

In June 2021, an expert panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation published a definition of “ecocide” intended to serve as the basis for an amendment to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Once the Rome Statute is amended to include ecocide, individuals suspected of having committed ecocide can be tried before the ICC.

Moreover, the Rome Statute applies equally to all persons, without any distinction based on official capacity; specifically, elected representatives and government officials are not exempt from criminal responsibility.

Thus, politicians, corporate executives, thought leaders, and anyone else can be subject to criminal prosecution if they express an opinion or pursue a policy deemed to be “anti-climate” that therefore may result in ecocide. In the fight against climate denial, this tool would be of incalculable value.

European Union “leadership”

The European Parliament has referred to ecocide in two recent reports and expressed the wish to recognize ecocide under EU law and diplomacy. To prepare the adoption of an EU directive on ecocide, the European Law Institute launched a project on ecocide. Taking advantage of the momentum, even before this project is finished, the ecocide movement is now pushing to get ecocide included in the EU Environmental Crimes Directive, which is currently being revised.

EU member states control a significant portion of the votes necessary for an amendment of the Rome Statute and can provide incentives to secure the additional votes necessary to get the crime of ecocide adopted. The consequences of such an amendment could be enormous if the ICC follows the example of the ECHR and jumps onto the climate activists’ bandwagon.

Climate change is ecocide

Make no mistake: while the definition of ecocide is broad and vague, the primary target of the ecocide movement is climate change. Civil liability law and human rights law give climate activists the tools to force governments and companies to comply with their demands, but this kind of litigation is expensive and takes time. The new crime of ecocide would give them a powerful instrument to shortcut the process by threatening criminal sanctions against corporate directors and officers, as well as reluctant politicians and opinion leaders, and to force them to change their ways.

Climate activists also believe that the term “ecocide” will have an emotive and stigmatizing effect that “causing climate change” does not have. As one author puts it:

The term “ecocide” sounds dramatic. It is more emotive than “contributing to pollution” or “increasing greenhouse gas emissions” or “investing in fossil fuels.” It communicates the gravity and urgency of the irreversible destruction being inflicted on the environment. It unambiguously casts major polluters as “villains,” perpetrators of a crime (emphasis added).

No protection

National laws do not protect the suspects. Under the proposed definition of the international panel, ecocide means “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts.” Note that “unlawful,” which is broader than “illegal,” is the gateway to disregarding permits for emissions and compliance of activities and products with national laws.

The main trick is that this definition does not require any actual damage; knowledge of likely damage in the future is enough—which is a given, in light of the “settled science” set forth in the IPCC reports. Fundamental principles of criminal law are merely an afterthought, if they are on the radar screen at all.

Torturing human rights and criminal law

Needless to say, the ECHR’s suggestion that governments “torture” their citizens by implementing “inadequate climate policy” is both insulting to torture victims and unlawful. The inclusion of torture in a climate-policy lawsuit is the culmination of the Court’s progressive move away from a human rights adjudicator to a social policymaking institution. This activism has not only harmed the Court’s reputation as an impartial court of law but has also created serious problems for national legislatures faced with the often unhinged policy mandates imposed by the Court.

To be sure, we do have a torture problem, but it is not the European climate policymakers who are doing the torturing. Rather, the Court itself has tortured the law to fit its own ideology.

The Court tortured the European Convention on Human Rights until it confessed that it is a program for progressive politics. It tortured the right to life and several other human rights until they agreed to include within their scope a whole series of so-called positive obligations, which only the Court gets to define. Perhaps most egregious, the Court tortured the Convention until it gave the Court the right to waive essential requirements imposed by the Convention to eliminate any limits on its jurisdiction, which then allowed the Court to move forward with the first climate change case, which it so desperately wanted.The crime of climate change

The use of criminal law to pursue climate politics is a new chapter in the climate-litigation saga. Climate activists have discovered criminal law as a tremendously effective tool for climate politics. Governments and corporations can be subordinated through civil and human rights law, but to put pressure on corporate executives and politicians, criminal law is much more effective. Criminal law is the crowbar that pries open the doors to the boardrooms and the chambers where policy decisions are made.

What is remarkable is that the activists include not only the nongovernmental organizations that claim to “fight for the climate” but also Europe’s highest judges at the European Court of Human Rights. Are the limits on its authority really lifted by the self-declared crisis?

Lock them up!

In totalitarian states, political dissidents are controlled in three ways: they are removed from public life as a “danger to public order”; they are placed in psychiatric hospitals, since they suffer from mental illness; or they are imprisoned because they have committed crimes. The climate movement’s latest move pursues this third route of “delegitimization” and “denormalization” of its political opponents and those who disagree with the movement.

According to the climate movement, the alleged climate crisis would require urgent action to avert the impending catastrophe and save the planet and humanity. In its view, this requires that democracy, fundamental principles of law, and the limits of judicial power are set aside. In this struggle for survival, the climate movement has concluded that greenhouse gas emissions must be criminalized so that climate deniers can be locked up. Unfortunately, the ECHR has fallen victim to the emotional appeal of the movement’s rhetoric.

Threats to freedom

The climate movement’s strategy is clear: torture and ecocide must be part of its toolbox so that the sinners can be converted, deniers can be punished, and climate utopia can be realized. Inevitably, however, “climatism” results in the suppression of freedom and opens the path to climate totalitarianism. Ironically, the ECHR, which was created in the aftermath of the destruction of the Nazi totalitarian regime to act as a legal bulwark safeguarding individual liberty, has placed itself as the judicial enabler of this process.

See also Q&A Why So Many Climate Skeptics

 

 

Lord Monckton Fires Back at Climatist Hit Job

Monckton emblem

The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

H/T to Climate Depot for reporting that Lord Monckton has issued an extensive rebuttal as well as threatening legal action against a libelous article calling him a “liar” multiple times. The entire document is enjoyable to read, given his English fluency and writing style. In this post I will focus on several substantial points regarding climate science, whereby consensus suppositions are falsified in the response.
The rebuttal is Letter before claim in libel

Overview

From Monckton to the defendants’ editor: (in italics with my bolds)

Sir, – I have received two offensive emails – dated 3 April and 27 May 2021 – from one S. Bishop, who says he is writing an article, inferentially about global warming and my research interest therein. Bishop appears intent on seeking to maintain that I have changed my position from skepticism of global warming to acceptance of it, even though I have expressly told that it is the other way about.

The tactic of falsely alleging that those who had disagreed with the orthodoxy have come to agree with it after all (when in my case precisely the reverse is true) is one that I have seen before. The last time this happened, a silly article was published in a national newspaper. I complained. The “journalist” in question – actually a far-Left activist – was deservedly dismissed.

Therefore, I thought it fair to alert you at once to Bishop’s dishonest attempt to deploy the same technique of artful but wilful misrepresentation, inferentially as part of a doomed attempt to convey the false impression that there is no legitimate scientific debate about the extent of the anthropogenic contribution to global warming, or about the expected impacts of warmer weather worldwide.

Discussion

There follows description of instances where S. Bishop made statements that misrepresent what he himself knew contrary to what he wrote. Then Monckton copies his response to S. Bishop’s memo:

One of the nasty tactics used by climate Communists is the attempt to suggest that skeptics have changed their stance from skepticism to acceptance of the Party Line. I once had to have a journalist fired from a national newspaper for writing a silly piece suggesting what you are now unpleasantly and inaccurately suggesting.

In my case, it is precisely the other way about. At first I went along with the Party Line: but then, in 2006, the CEO of a boutique hedge-fund in London asked me to investigate the global warming question. When I did so, I found that the world had been misled. I reported accordingly, and a summary of my 80-page report eventually appeared in a national newspaper, drawing hundreds of thousands of hits in just two hours (after which the newspaper’s website crashed). That report, and all subsequent articles, papers and speeches by me, acknowledged what is self-evident – namely, that returning to the atmosphere some of the CO2 that was formerly present there (7000 ppmv in the Neoproterozoic, 420 ppmv today) might be expected to cause some warming, if one waited long enough. The question is not whether or not there has been or will be warming: there has been, and there will be. The question is how much – or, rather, how little.

Monckton then dismisses item by item the assertions of lies. Many of them are rhetorical tricks, such as taking statements out of the historical context, or hiding remarks made to audiences; some so-called “lies” involve changing the wording of what Monckton wrote or said.

The Essential Dichotomies: Facts on the Ground which Climatists Deny

Polar Bears Are Thriving

In 2016 Monckton had told a Montana audience: ‘So you don’t have to worry about the cuddly polar bears. They are going to be just fine.”

Monckton2

Monckton2aI had made my remarks in the context of Al Gore’s movie, in which he had said polar bears were drowning due to loss of ice in the Beaufort Sea. However, in the period immediately before he began making his movie – the period during which he said polar bears had died – sea-ice concentration in the Beaufort Sea had increased (above).

Greenland Ice Sheet is Not Melting

In New Zealand, Monckton claimed: “In Greenland, the ice did not melt 8000 years ago and it isn’t melting today.”

Monckton3a

From 1991-2003, above 1500 the ice in Greenland had thickened by 2 feet. There had been little change below 1500 m (above).

Monckton3b

Over the past 8000 years, temperature at the summit of the Greenland ice sheet has fallen by 1.5 degrees, notwithstanding CO2 concentration increasing from 260 ppmv to 420 ppmv today. Once again the defendants have sought to use evidence, from one side of the debate only, some of it unavailable at the time when I spoke.

Temperature Trends Have Been Inflated by Adjustments to the Terrestrial Temperature Dataset

Monckton4

The above graph shows how many times the GISS global mean surface temperature anomaly for January 1910 and January 2000 were altered between May 2008 and May 2021, with the overall effect of making it appear that the warming between the two dates was close to 50% greater than the original measurements had suggested.

Great Barrier Reef Not Threatened by Global Warming

Monckton7

The graph above shows the sea surface temperatures in the Great Barrier Reef. It shows no trend for almost 30 years – the period before I made the speech in question. I cannot fairly be accused of lying about trends that may have occurred after I spoke.

Extreme Heat Was a Problem Back in the 1920s and 30s

Monckton8

Hansen Wildly Exaggerated Future Warming in His 1988 US Senate Testimony

Monckton5

Hansen’s graph was indeed exaggerated (see above). In 1988, in now-notorious testimony before the U.S. Senate, he predicted global warming at a rate equivalent to 3.2 C° per century (broadly equivalent to equilibrium sensitivity to doubled CO2) on a business-as-usual emissions scenario (and it is the business-as-usual emissions scenario that has happened since). However, anthropogenic warming has proven to be little more than a third of his predicted business-as-usual rate (red curve and trend above). Indeed, it is below even the unrealized scenario (green) in which the world was supposed to cease all emissions of CO2 from 2000 onwards (it did no such thing). The trend in observed warming is overlaid on Hansen’s red, yellow and green scenarios in blue. The anthropogenic 70% fraction (Wu et al., 2019) of the observed warming is shown in purple.

Today is Not Warmer than Medieval Times

Monckton6

Temperatures in the mediaeval climate optimum were at least as warm as, and usually warmer than, the present. The fact that grapes now grow in very small quantities in lowland Scotland and in the Hebrides, influenced by the Gulf Stream, merely emphasize that temperatures are beginning to recover towards those attained in the mediaeval climate optimum, when grapes were even grown in the Great Glen, a part of the Highlands where it would be very difficult to grow grapes in today’s colder conditions.

Globe No Longer Warming

There has now been no global warming for about six years. The short bursts of warming that occur every five and a half years or so are associated with the naturally-occurring positive cycles of the el Nino Southern Oscillation, which appears to be driven chiefly by crustal deformation in the tropical Eastern Pacific, where the tectonic subduction rate is noticeably greater than anywhere else. The deformation is caused by local solar-system celestial mechanics, and the resultant warming comes from below, through subocean volcanism along the subduction line. It is then distributed worldwide via the thermohaline circulation, which, contrary to some silly reports, cannot cease to operate while the wind blows and the Earth rotates.

My image and comment:

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby. These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event. The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4. This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C. Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C. Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate. On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supremes Asked to Rule on EPA Energy Authorities

wrecking_ball_destroyEPABackground from Reed Smith lawyers The fall of Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the strengthened EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds

The Affordable Clean Energy Rule

The EPA promulgated the ACE Rule in 2019 under the CAA, replacing the Obama administration’s 2015 Clean Power Plan (CPP). Both rules sought to reduce GHG emissions from the power sector; but where the CPP implemented broader industry-wide mechanisms, the ACE Rule limited reduction efforts to the actual source power plants.

The 2015 CPP offered “beyond the fenceline” tools for states to reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and participating in emissions credit-trading programs; however, in February 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the CPP pending litigation in the D.C. Circuit. During the stay and subsequent freeze of litigation, the Trump administration rescinded the CPP and promulgated the ACE Rule.

In promulgating the ACE Rule, the Trump EPA took an alternative view of the CAA than the Obama EPA and reasoned that the CAA expressly limited the EPA’s power to only “at the source” emissions reduction options, such as heat rate improvement technologies. As a result, the Trump administration removed all of the CPP’s “beyond the fenceline” options and limited emissions restrictions to those applied directly to power plants.

DC Circuit Court of Appeal Ruling January 19, 2021

Judges Millett and Pillard of the D.C. Circuit Court disagreed with the (Trump) EPA’s interpretation. In the majority opinion, the Court concluded that there is “no bases—grammatical, contextual, or otherwise—for the EPA’s assertion” that its authority was limited to “at the source” controls. In the end, the Court vacated the ACE Rule and remanded it back to the EPA just in time for the Biden administration to take over.  The Court’s decision appears to clear the way for the Biden administration to regulate GHG emissions from the power sector.

In his first week in office, President Biden has taken a number of actions to undo many of the Trump administration’s environmental policy decisions, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. The new Biden EPA has also requested that the Department of Justice have all Trump-era litigation seeking judicial review of any EPA regulation promulgated between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021. Based on the Court’s show of support and the Biden Administration’s actions within the first week, we may see some of the Obama-era or similar regulation brought back to life in the coming months.

Petitions to Supreme Court April 29 and 30, 2021

The May Update at Columbia Climate Law Blog reports the latest development bringing the issue to Supreme Court attention:  States and Coal Company Sought Review of D.C. Circuit Decision Vacating Affordable Clean Energy Rule  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Two petitions for writ of certiorari were filed in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the D.C. Circuit’s January opinion vacating EPA’s repeal and replacement of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan regulations for controlling carbon emissions from existing power plants. The first petition was filed by West Virginia and 18 other states that had intervened to defend the repeal and replacement rule, known as the Affordable Clean Energy rule. The states’ petition presented the question of whether Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act constitutionally authorizes EPA “to issue significant rules—including those capable of reshaping the nation’s electricity grids and unilaterally decarbonizing virtually any sector of the economy—without any limits on what the agency can require so long as it considers cost, nonair impacts, and energy requirements.” They argued that Congress had not clearly authorized EPA to exercise such “expansive” powers and that the D.C. Circuit majority opinion’s interpretation was foreclosed by the statute and violated separation of powers. The states argued that the Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan while it was under review by the D.C. Circuit in 2016 signaled that the legal framework for the Clean Power Plan “hinges on important issues of federal that EPA then—and the court below now—got so wrong this Court was likely to grant review.” The states contended that further delay in the Court’s resolution of these “weighty issues” would have “serious and far-reaching costs.”

The second petition was filed by a coal mining company. The coal company’s petition presented the question of whether Section 111(d) “grants the EPA authority not only to impose standards based on technology and methods that can be applied at and achieved by that existing source, but also allows the agency to develop industry-wide systems like cap-and-trade regimes.” The company argued that the D.C. Circuit erred by “untethering” Section 111(d) standards from the existing source being regulated. Like the states, the company contended that Supreme Court had already recognized the critical importance of this question when it stayed the Clean Power Plan.

The company argued that debates regarding climate change and policies to address climate change “will not be resolved anytime soon” but that “what must be resolved as soon as possible is who has the authority to decide those issues on an industry-wide scale—Congress or the EPA.”

EPA’s response to the petitions is due June 3, 2021. West Virginia v. EPA, No. 20-1530 (U.S. Apr. 29, 2021); North American Coal Corp. v. EPA, No. 20-1531 (U.S. Apr. 30, 2021).

Comment:  The question of decision authority seems especially urgent since no one knows who is the actual decider for the Executive Branch.