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Climate and Climate Change

Climate and Climate Change

Climate Change

Two days before Halloween, 2011, New England was struck by a freak winter storm. Heavy snow descended onto trees covered with leaves.  Overloaded branches fell on power lines.  Blue flashes of light in the sky indicated exploding transformers.  Electricity was out for days in some areas and for weeks in others. Damage to property and disruption of lives was widespread.

That disastrous restriction on human energy supplies was produced by Nature.  However, current and future energy curtailments are being forced on the populace by Federal policies in the name of dangerous “climate change/global warming”.  Yet, despite the contradictions between what people are being told and what people have seen and can see about the weather and about the climate, they continue to be effectively steered away from the knowledge of such contradictions to focus on the claimed disaster effects of  “climate change/global warming” (AGW, “Anthropogenic Global Warming”). 

People are seldom told HOW MUCH is the increase of temperatures or that there has been no increase in globally averaged temperature for over 18 years.  They are seldom told how miniscule is that increase compared to swings in daily temperatures. They are seldom told about the dangerous effects of government policies on their supply of “base load” energy — the uninterrupted energy that citizens depend on 24/7 — or about the consequences of forced curtailment of industry-wide energy production with its hindrance of production of their and their family’s food, shelter, and clothing. People are, in essence, kept mostly ignorant about the OTHER SIDE of the AGW debate.

Major scientific organizations — once devoted to the consistent pursuit of understanding the natural world — have compromised their integrity and diverted membership dues in support of some administrators’ AGW agenda.   Schools throughout the United States continue to engage in relentless AGW indoctrination of  students, from kindergarten through university.  Governments worldwide have been appropriating vast sums for “scientific” research, attempting to convince the populace that the use of fossil fuels must be severely curtailed to “save the planet.”  Prominent businesses — in league with various politicians who pour ever more citizen earnings into schemes such as ethanol in gasoline, solar panels, and wind turbines — continue to tilt against imaginary threats of AGW.  And even religious leaders and organizations have joined in to proclaim such threats.   As a consequence, AGW propaganda is proving to be an extraordinary vehicle for the exponential expansion of government power over the lives of its citizens. 

Reasoning is hindered by minds frequently in a state of alarm.  The object of this website is an attempt to promote a reasoned approach; to let people know of issues pertaining to the other side of the AGW issue and the ways in which it conflicts with the widespread side of AGW alarm (AGWA, for short).  In that way it is hoped that all members of society can make informed decisions.

Blue/Green New Deal #3

This commentary and those that follow will analyze the programs in each policy proposal which focus directly on minimizing climate change and its effects on society.

 

Green Stimulus Policy Menu

 

2. Transportation Workers, Systems and Infrastructure

Only one provision of this policy relates directly to climate change. That policy provision would fund grants and loans to local transit agencies and school boards for the purchase of electric railcars, rail engines and electric transit and school buses with the intent to eliminate purchases of diesel engine vehicles for these uses. Funding would also be provided to support electric bus and railcar manufacturing in the US. Again, there is no estimate of the funding levels proposed or required to achieve the objectives of this policy.

The policy includes numerous other provisions related to transit subsidies, affordable housing, transit project funding, and a “Fix It First” mandate for infrastructure spending including commuter rail infrastructure. Again, there is no estimate of the funding levels proposed or required to achieve the objectives of this policy.

 

3. Labor, Manufacturing and Just Transition for Workers and Communities

This policy would provide grants and no-interest loans to support US manufacturing of electric vehicles of all types and energy-efficient electric appliances.

It would implement a Green Durable Goods policy to support funding of continued production of green (electric) products, including direct government mass purchases.

It would create a “Cash for Clunkers” program for appliances to accelerate replacement of old, particularly gas, appliances with new electric appliances.

It would create a “public option” for electric appliance, vehicle and other durable goods procurement by other levels of government, cooperatives and NGOs.

The policy would create a “feebate” program to transfer pollution surcharge revenues to purchasers of “cleaner” products.

The policy would provide training opportunities for disadvantaged American “green entrepreneurs.

The policy would provide transition benefits for energy industry employees displaced by the move away from fossil fuels including wage replacement, health insurance and job training and placement, plus support for early retirement.

The policy would replace tax revenues lost by states and communities as the result of the discontinuation of fossil fuel exploration and production and assist in identifying economic development strategies.

This policy includes numerous provisions supporting worker cooperatives, union apprenticeship programs, recycling, low income preferences and women’s training and entrepreneurial support.  Again, there is no estimate of the funding levels proposed or required to achieve the objectives of this policy.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Highlighted Article: There is no Climate Emergency!

  • 5/28/20 at 06:00 AM

 

From: edmhdotme

Date: May 22, 2020

 

There is no Climate Emergency!

 

What if there is no Catastrophic Risk from Man-made Global Warming ?

What if Man-made CO2 emissions are not the “Climate Control Knob” ?

What if Man-made CO2 emissions really are a non-problem ?

 

But what if there is a real Global Cooling Catastrophe in the offing ?


It is the propaganda of Catastrophic Global Warming / Climate Change alarmists that has illogically conflated Carbon Dioxide, the beneficial trace gas that sustains photosynthesis and thus all life on earth and which may cause some minor warming, with real and dangerous pollutants to create the “Great Global Warming Scare / Climate Change Scare / Climate Emergency / etcetera”, with their “we are all going to fry in the next few years” narrative”.

 

There is no Climate Emergency!

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Blue/Green New Deal #2

This commentary and those that follow will analyze the programs in each policy proposal which focus directly on minimizing climate change and its effects on society.

Green Stimulus Policy Menu

1. Housing, Buildings, Civic Infrastructure and Communities

This policy proposes massive expansion of the federal Weatherization Assistance Program, as well as support and funding for state level and community level initiatives to promote weatherization of existing buildings. These programs are essentially limited to caulking, weatherstripping, the addition of insulation in attics and over crawl spaces, and the installation of insulation in cavity walls where none exists currently.

The policy also proposes funding for the construction of new, “no-carbon mixed income social housing”.

The policy proposes doubling of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit for the construction of affordable housing, while mandating a zero-carbon standard for the construction process and a low-carbon standard for building materials used in the construction.

The policy proposes funding school building retrofits intended to remove fossil fueled appliances and equipment and replace it with electric heat pumps and other electric appliances and equipment, resulting in “zero-emission” schools.

The policy would require that all government-funded construction projects take into account the potential future effects of sea level rise and increased flood potential resulting from heavy precipitation events.

The policy would require states to adopt the most advanced building codes, including what are referred to as “reach codes”, such as the “Zero Code” for commercial, institutional and multi-story residential buildings.

The policy would develop a subsidy and loan program to support decarbonizing buildings and spur development and commercialization of high efficiency electric heat pumps and heat pump water heaters, heat recovery ventilation units, energy efficient lighting.and advanced building controls.

The policy would develop a subsidy and loan program to support decarbonizing construction and advancing carbon sequestration in construction materials.

Finally, the policy would create a Climate Justice Resiliency Fund to “ensure communities are protected from the unavoidable impacts of climate change, beginning with a national survey to identify areas likely to be impacted.

This policy includes numerous other provisions related to utility shutoffs, rental evictions, mortgage and rental payment suspensions, LIHEAP funding, public housing retrofits, creating markets for green building materials, minority and Native American housing, rent-controlled housing, federal zoning regulation reform, green rental subsidies, a green mortgages program, a public housing operating fund, promotion of union jobs, and funding to support unemployed artists and designers. These programs are targeted primarily at the disabled and disadvantaged and would create or expand government at all levels and fund numerous NGOs to achieve their objectives.

The discussion of this policy in the Blue/Green New Deal identifies funding levels for some of the specific policies, but does not make any estimate of the total level of federal funding which would be required to achieve the stated objectives. There is also no estimate of the costs of these policy objectives to those private sector entities, such as building contractors, landlords, electric equipment manufacturers, etc.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Highlighted Article: Greening the planet and slouching towards Paris?

  • 5/21/20 at 06:00 AM

 

From: Climate Etc.

By: Patrick J. Michaels

Date: May 14, 2020

 

Greening the planet and slouching towards Paris?

 

"A new paper finds higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations.  The paper predicts that the Earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was predicted by the IPCC AR5.


Earlier this month, I posted a short piece about an explosive paper on planetary greening that appeared in the journal Global Change Biology. I’ve since mused that it deserves a considerably longer, more contextual post.

The innocuously titled paper, “Higher than expected CO2 fertilization inferred from leaf to global observations”, by Vanessa Haverd (of Australia’s CSIRO) and eight coauthors uses a biophysical model and observed climate to back-calculate global primary productivity (GPP; the net change in standing vegetation per year), and to forward-calculate it using climate model forecasts.

Abstract.  “Several lines of evidence point to an increase in the activity of the terrestrial biosphere" ...

 

Greening the planet and slouching towards Paris?

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Blue/Green New Deal #1

A group of climate change activists and anti-capitalists has sent an “Open Letter and Call to Action to Members of Congress entitled “A Green Stimulus to Rebuild Our Economy”. The green stimulus they propose is built upon the Green New Deal developed by the Green Party in the US and the Blue New Deal developed by the New Economics Foundation in the UK. The authors of the Open Letter acknowledge that the ideas in the Letter draw on proposals put forth or supported by eight of the candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The group asks for a mere $2 trillion in the first year of the Green Stimulus, followed by allocations equal to 4% of US GDP (~$850 billion) in succeeding years “until the economy is fully decarbonized and the unemployment rate is below 3.5%. A rough estimate of the total funding requested for these efforts is $27.5 trillion, which represents approximately 25% of the total cost of the proposed programs. These funds would be in addition to the $2.2 trillion authorized by Congress to assist the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic response in the US and any such future additional recovery funding.

The Letter presents a Green Stimulus Policy Menu comprising eight sections:

  1. Housing, Buildings, Civic Infrastructure, and Communities
  2. Transportation Workers, Systems, and Infrastructure
  3. Labor, Manufacturing, and Just Transition for Workers and Communities
  4. Energy System Workers and Infrastructure
  5. Farmers, Food Systems, and Rural Communities
  6. Green Infrastructure, Public Lands, and the Environment
  7. Regulations, Innovation, and Public Investment
  8. Green Foreign Policy

The authors assert that the US faces “three converging crises: the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession; the climate emergency; and extreme inequality. While the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be a true emergency, climate change is not an emergency and the actions proposed by the authors would not “protect” the US from the impact of climate change. Extreme inequality is not defined in the Letter, but inequality pre-existed the pandemic and its relationship to climate change, if any, is unclear.

The programs proposed represent a transition toward bigger and more intrusive government, socialism/communism and authoritarianism and away from liberty and freedom. The individual elements of each of the policies listed above will be discussed in a series of commentaries following this broad introductory commentary.

It seems highly likely that the policies presented in the Letter will form a substantial portion of the Democratic Party platform for the 2020 presidential election regarding these issues, since they have been supported earlier in the campaign by nearly half of the early candidates and are similar to the proposed policies of the remaining candidate. However, the substantial underestimate of the funding required to achieve the stated objectives suggests that the costs would be downplayed during the campaign. Those costs could expect to increase dramatically as the programs are rolled out, as is typical with government programs in the US.

The fact that the proposed programs would not protect the US from the impacts of climate change, if that were necessary or possible, seems of little concern relative to the opportunities for societal restructuring.

 

Tags: Green New Deal

Climate Objectives

One of the persistent objectives of climate change alarmists is concentrating populations in cities, in smaller dwelling units, close to public transportation and places of employment. Their objective is to reduce energy demand and consumption for space conditioning and miscellaneous energy end uses and reduce transportation energy consumption for commuting.

One obvious disadvantage to this objective is that many people prefer the suburban or rural lifestyle and must be coerced into compliance. Another is that urban development leads to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, increasing the average temperature to which the population is exposed, aggravating the existing warming, to the extent that warming is an actual concern.

The current COVID-19 pandemic exposes another downside to the urbanization strategy. Living in close quarters and traveling by elevator, escalator, bus, light rail or subway makes “social distancing” during an epidemic or pandemic extremely difficult, if not impossible. Even walking on crowded sidewalks or in crowded markets raises exposure risk. Several large cities are currently requiring “sheltering in place” during the COVID-19 pandemic, since “social distancing” is far less practical than in suburban and rural settings.

This leads us to another of the persistent objectives of climate change alarmists and Malthusians – population control and population reduction. Reducing the population would reduce the ultimate population density of the cities, while also reducing the land area required to grow the food necessary to feed that population.

Numerous approaches to population reduction have been identified and several have been tried. All have been successful in reducing the population for a time, but overall population has continued to grow. History has shown that plagues and pandemics are highly effective but non-selective and difficult to manage population reducers. They are most effective in densely populated cities in which avoiding contact with the infected is most difficult.

Climate change alarmists tend to be globalists and socialists. Socialism’s less nuanced cousins, national socialism and communism, have used mass slaughter as an approach to population control and even genocide. This approach is more selective than plague or pandemic and far easier to control. However, it leaves societal revulsion in its path. This revulsion requires ruthless authoritarianism for its control.

The communist regime in China has controlled population growth and composition through stringent regulations on births per couple and selective abortion. However, they allowed parental sex selection, which resulted in a severe shortage of young females. Parental selection is now being permitted in several other nations, in addition to abortion for convenience and for the elimination of Down Syndrome and other birth defects.

Several nations are also permitting euthanizing the aged and infirm, in some cases against their will. There is also currently discussion of allowing the aged to die untreated as the result of COVID-19 infection, as an approach to preserving available hospital beds for younger and otherwise healthier patients.

Some climate change activists have suggested that euthanizing the old or allowing them to die untreated is one way to eliminate old climate change skeptics so that their cause can be advanced more readily.

 

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Highlighted Article: Some Dilemmas of Climate Simulations

  • 5/7/20 at 06:00 AM

 

From: Watts Up With That?

By: Wallace Manheimer

Date: April 27, 2020

 

Some Dilemmas of Climate Simulations

 

"A great deal of the recommendation that the world should modify its energy infrastructure to combat climate change, costing tens to hundreds of trillions of dollars, is based on computer simulations. While this author is not what is called a ‘climate scientist’, a great deal of science is interdenominational, and experience from one field often can fertilize another.  That is the spirit in which this opinion is offered.  The author has spent a good part of his more than 50-year scientific career developing and using computer simulations to model complex physical processes.   Accordingly, based on this experience, he now gives his own brief explanation of his opinion, on what computer simulations can and cannot do, along with some examples. He sees 3 categories of difficulty in computer simulations, where the simulations go from mostly accurate to mostly speculative.  He makes the case that the climate simulations are the most speculative.

First consider the case where the configuration and equations describing the complex system are known," ...

 

Some Dilemmas of Climate Simulations

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Juxtaposition - A Tale of Two “Crises”

Over the past year, there have been growing efforts to label climate change a “crisis” and begin dealing with it on that basis. These efforts have largely been ignored by the general public, primarily because there is no clear indication that the climate change which has been occurring is now, or is likely to become, a “crisis”. The two primary signals of climate change, near-surface temperature increases of 0.013°C and sea level rise of 3.0 mm per year, are undetectable without instruments and not easily detectable with them. The cumulative increases of approximately 1°C and 0.4 meters over the past 140 years have not resulted in any adverse impacts which are broadly perceived as a “crisis”.

Over the past 4 months, there has been growing global concern regarding the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus, its communicability, the severity of the infection and its growing lethality. The World Health Organization has declared the growing spread of the virus as a pandemic. The general public has not been allowed to ignore state and national government efforts to inhibit the spread of the virus. The rapidly growing numbers of infected and dead has occasioned requirements to “shelter in place” and practice “social distancing” to reduce potential exposure. The experience of approximately 60,000 deaths from the virus in the past 100 days has been impossible to ignore.

The contrast of global, national and public reaction to an obvious current global health crisis of pandemic proportions and the reaction to a potential “crisis” in the long-term future has been stark. The climate change issue has virtually disappeared in the media and from presidential politics, replaced by the global health crisis.

Climate change activists have had several interesting reactions to the shift in attention from climate change to COVID-19. Some have attempted to make a connection between climate change and the viral pandemic. However, flu viruses are largely cold season afflictions, so any connection to global warming is tenuous at best.

Others have pointed out the effects of government restrictions on a broad range of activities on global carbon dioxide emissions, suggesting the existence of a “silver lining” to the pandemic. However, this “silver lining” is not apparent to the afflicted.

Still others have suggested that the magnitude of the global response to the pandemic demonstrates a global ability to deal with the potential future climate “crisis” on some accelerated schedule. There have even been suggestions that the magnitude of the financial response to the pandemic indicates an ability to meet the goals and schedule of the Green New Deal in the US and the Green Deal in the UK. This position ignores the two order of magnitude difference in the funding involved.

Clearly, the obvious threat of the current pandemic has overwhelmed the far less obvious potential threat of continuing gradual climate warming and sea level rise in the attention of both global governments and their citizens. Equally clearly, the economic losses resulting from the pandemic and government efforts to control its spread will affect funding for climate change programs for the foreseeable future. Perhaps the most obvious funding “victim” will be the UN Green Climate Fund.

 

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Highlighted Article: Climate Change – Ebb and Flow of the Tide

  • 4/30/20 at 06:00 AM

 

From: Watts Up With That?

By: Dr. Kelvin Kemm

Date: March - April 2020

 

Climate Change – Ebb and Flow of the Tide

Part 1 - March 27, 2020
Part 2 - April 16, 2020
Part 3 - April 20, 2020

 

"Emotional, agenda-driven politics confronts sound, evidence-based science

Dr Kelvin Kemm

The topic of global warming and climate change is far more scientifically complex than the public is led to believe.

Myriads of newspaper, magazine and TV items over decades have tended to simplify the science to the point at which the general public believes that it is all so simple that any fool can see what is happening. Public groups often accuse world leaders and scientists of being fools, if they do not instantly act on simple messages projected by individuals or public groups.

One often hears phrases like: ‘The science is settled.’ It is not. Even more worrying is that the reality of the correct science is actually very different to much of the simple public perception.

An additional complicating factor is that there are political groupings wanting to change the world social order and who are using the climate change issue as a vehicle to achieve these objectives. They want the ‘science’ to say what they want it to say and are not interested in the truth. Sections of the public, with noble good intentions, then frequently do not realise that they are being induced by such elements to unwittingly support a political agenda, which in reality is unrelated to the climate issue." ...

 

Climate Change – Ebb and Flow of the Tide

Part 1 - March 27, 2020
Part 2 - April 16, 2020
Part 3 - April 20, 2020

 

 

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Signal / Noise Ratio (Climate Change)

 

“Signal-to-noise ratio (abbreviated SNR or S/N) is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise.”, everything.explained.today

 

Previous commentaries (here, here, and here) have dealt with the signal to “noise” ratio of the primary climate change signals: temperature, sea level and extreme weather. The temperature signal has a significant natural noise component as well as a significant noise component resulting from “adjustment” of the temperature data. The sea level signal has a significant noise component, primarily because the surface of the global oceans is constantly disturbed by the effects of wind, tides and storms. The noise associated with extreme weather is largely the result of the episodic nature of extreme weather events which makes signal detection problematic.

The outputs of the climate models are frequently treated as signals. However, they are actually noise. Each of the many models produces varying outputs depending on the inputs used in each model run, so no individual model produces a signal. Each of the climate models produces different results, even when provided with the same inputs, so the ensemble of models does not produce a signal. This is the result of several factors, including the fact that none of the models have been verified and none have demonstrated predictive capability. The model outputs also vary because of the noise introduced by the ranges of values of the various inputs to the models.

Discussions of “tipping points” are noise, because the conditions required to trigger a “tipping point” are undefined and currently incapable of being defined. This is not to suggest that there is no such thing as a “tipping point’, as illustrated by the major cycles identified in paleoclimatic history. Something caused the earth to descend into the various ice ages; and, something caused the earth to recover from these ice ages. These triggers can be referred to as “tipping points”, though we do not understand what constituted the “tipping point”. In more recent history, we do not know what triggered the Little Ice Age or caused it to end. Politicians frequently warn about future possible “tipping points” being reached but are incapable of identifying the necessary conditions.

Projections of potential future events based on the climate models are also noise, because the outputs of the models are noise. Predictions of permanent droughts, excessive precipitation, stronger or more frequent storms, island submergence, crop failures, the end of snow and the emergence of an ice-free Arctic are noise in the absence of any clear underlying signal.

Efforts to attribute differences between storm frequency and intensity over time to climate change using attribution models are noise, because the models are unverified; and, the various attribution studies estimate very different climate change impacts on the storms studied.

Strident statements regarding the time remaining for precipitous action before a “tipping point” is reached and descriptions of current climate change as a crisis, or an existential threat, are also noise in the absence of a climate signal.

Arguably, the reports of the IPCC working groups, while noisy, are far less noisy that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers. The working group reports are intended to inform, though the information they present is not comprehensive or totally objective. The Summary for Policymakers is intended to influence its audience to incite action, yet another form of “noise”.

 

Tags: Climate Models, Climate Science

Highlighted Article: How the Green New Deal’s Renewable Energy Mining Would Harm Humans and the Environment

  • 4/23/20 at 06:00 AM

 

From: The Heartland Institue

By: Paul Driessen

Date: April 2020

 

How the Green New Deal’s Renewable Energy Mining Would Harm Humans and the Environment

 

Executive Summary

 

"The Green New Deal (GND)—promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and several other prominent elected officials—aims to replace all fossil fuels and nuclear energy with so-called “renewable” energy sources, primarily wind and solar.

The justification for this extreme policy proposal is based primarily on the fear that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from oil, natural gas, and coal will cause catastrophic global warming, as well as concerns about the alleged dangers of nuclear power sources.

The scientific case that manmade global warming poses an “existential threat” to humanity is highly questionable, according to many scientists, and the safety record for nuclear power in this country thoroughly belies the claims against it.

However, what is beyond dispute is that eliminating fossil fuels and nuclear power would require literally millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, and several billion batteries like the half-ton power sources used in Tesla vehicles. This, in turn, would require a massive worldwide increase in mining for lithium, cobalt, copper, iron, aluminum, and numerous other raw materials.

Current mining operations to supply materials for today’s comparatively small amount of renewable power technology—plus batteries for laptop computers, smartphones, and electric cars—are already causing supply difficulties and serious problems for the ..."

 

How the Green New Deal’s Renewable Energy Mining Would Harm Humans and the Environment

 

Tags: Highlighted Article

Signal / Noise Ratio (Extreme Weather)

“Signal-to-noise ratio (abbreviated SNR or S/N) is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise.”, everything.explained.today

In the previous commentaries on signal / “noise” ratio regarding temperature and sea level we discussed ongoing phenomena monitored by frequent measurements which displayed large measurement to measurement “noise” relative to the magnitude of the ongoing phenomena.

In the case of extreme weather, we are dealing with episodic events such as tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods and droughts. These events are counted and/or measured on a seasonal, annual or multi-year basis, since they occur relatively infrequently. The  frequency of occurrence of these phenomena and their intensity or duration varies widely from year to year, as shown in the bar chart below for tropical cyclones.

 

North Atlantic Cyclone Activity 1950-2015

 

There is no clear trend in the data and there are order of magnitude year to year variations.

Tornadoes do not demonstrate the magnitude of year to year variation exhibited by hurricanes. However, they do present an interesting anomaly. Annual tornado reports show a positive trend, in part because of improved reporting of less intense tornadoes. However, the frequency of intense (F3-F5) tornadoes shows a declining trend.

 

Tornado Reports 1950-2006

 

The “noise” in the total tornadoes data is significantly greater than in the severe (F2-F5) tornadoes data.

Drought data displays very large variations in drought conditions, but with no trend toward increasing drought frequency, duration or severity.

 

Average Drought Conditions US 1895-2014

 

Precipitation data displays characteristics similar to the drought data, as expected, though with a slightly increasing trend.

 

US Precipitation Oct - Sept

 

The data for these episodic events, like the data for the near-surface temperature and sea level rise, provide no support for the existence of a crisis or emergency, particularly one caused by anthropogenic climate change.

The magnitude and apparent randomness of the year-to-year variations in these episodic events show no correlation with increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, or with the near-surface temperature and sea level rise data, no less any indication of potential causation. The tropical cyclone, drought and precipitation hint at long term cyclical variations, but the length of the data records are short relative to the periods of the major ocean oscillations, for example.

All of this indicates that there is much we do not currently understand about global or regional climate and the natural cycles which influence the climate, clearly indicating that the science is hardly “settled”. However, it does suggest high priority areas for future climate research, including study of the cyclical ocean phenomena such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, both of which are long period phenomena which have not been thoroughly documented over multiple cycles.

 

Tags: Severe Weather

Environmentalists Should Hope for Quick Economic Rebound

  • 4/17/20 at 09:48 AM

Guest Post

From: International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

By: Dr. Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

Across the world, environmentalists are celebrating the huge reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that has accompanied the shutdown in economic activities due to the COVID19 pandemic. On April 11th, the UK’s The Guardian newspaper quoted Carolina Urrutia, Bogotá, Columbia’s district environment secretary as saying “Without a doubt this pandemic is helping us improve air quality. With the city shut down, we are able to focus our efforts on other environmental factors.”

Similarly, writing on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website (updated on April 7), Canadian environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki cheered the environmental effects of the COVID-19-induced slowdown and asked, "will we celebrate the passing of the pandemic with an orgy of consumption and a drive to get back to the way things were before the crisis?”

Others seem to be taking a similar tack and indeed the COVID-19 emergency is already being presented in some circles as a dry run for the systemwide changes supposedly needed to address climate change.

But this is a serious mistake. No one is encouraging society to engage in "an orgy of consumption," of course. But, for society to properly protect the environment, Suzuki, Urrutia and indeed everyone concerned about the state of our air, land and water should hope that we "get back to the way things were before the crisis." If we can't, then few people will care much about environmental protection.

Only when we are affluent do we have the luxury to engage in environmental protection. While poor communities are usually willing to make sacrifices for some very basic components of environmental improvement such as safe drinking water and waste disposal, greater protections are not often instituted. However, as income rises, citizens raise their environmental goals and willingness to pay for a cleaner environment.

As early as 1943, prominent American psychologist Abraham Maslow showed that, once the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met in a society, people may demand less critical options such as greater environmental protection. These might deal with such things as cleaner air and rivers, recreation and the setting aside of protected wildlife areas. These less-personal demands are usually more community-focused. Clearly, with higher incomes, citizens place a greater priority on their environment. This is precisely what happened in America following the post–World War II economic expansion.

This powerful correlation between increasing affluence and the emergence of quality of life issues was first documented in the 1950s by American economist and statistician, Simon Kuznets, the winner of the 1971 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. It led to the development of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) which shows that, as development begins, environmental degradation increases until a per-capita income tipping point is reached, after which the environment begins to improve.

The EKC was well illustrated by a study by Grossman and Krueger (1995) that showed that air quality tends to deteriorate until per-capita income reaches between $6,000 and $8,000 per year (in 1985 dollars), after which it begins to improve sharply. A study by D. Coursey in 1992, found that the willingness of citizens to spend and sacrifice for a better environment rose twice as fast as per-capita income. Later research has shown similar relationships for a wide range of countries and various measures of environmental protection.

There is not a single EKC relationship between wealth and environmental improvement for all pollutants, places and times, of course, but the general relationship is always closely adhered to.

Strident environmentalists have long ignored, misunderstood or downplayed these issues. They instead have mistakenly viewed economic growth as the cause rather than the solution to environmental problems.

Factors such as strength of democratic institutions, levels of educational achievement, and income equality also play important roles in environmental protection.However, prosperity obviously has a beneficial effect on these variables. It is essentially a positive feedback mechanism.

In the final analysis, the productivity and wealth of nations depends more on their institutions, laws, incentives and regulations than on their natural resources. Countries where private property rights are defined, protected and tradable have significantly greater per capita wealth, economic growth rates and rising standards of public health along with environmental quality. Clearly, environmentalists, David Suzuki and Carolina Urrutia included, should be hoping our economies rebound quickly after the immediate crisis.

Tags: Guest Post
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