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Climate Change 2017 Year in Review

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Dec 19, 2017 at 6:21 AM
Climate Change

The year 2017 was a good year regarding climate change in the US, at least from the perspective of this skeptic. The US inaugurated a President with a healthy skepticism regarding CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) and climate alarmism. The new President appointed an EPA Administrator with a healthy skepticism regarding CAGW and climate alarmism.

The President has withdrawn the US from the Paris Accords, ending an “all pain and no gain” commitment to emissions reductions and environmental transfer payments which would have hampered US economic growth. The President has also halted future payments into the UN Green Climate Fund. Unfortunately, the President has not yet withdrawn the US from the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), as required by current statute. This withdrawal would also speed US withdrawal from the Paris Accords.

The President’s budget proposal showed a 35% reduction in the EPA budget, largely representing a reduction in EPA’s climate change activities. There has already been a reduction of approximately 40% in federal government awards for research dealing with climate change. This should result in a significant reduction in the number of model-based scary scenario studies fed to the media. There was also a significant reduction of the US presence at COP23 (United Nations Conference of Parties).

The EPA Administrator placed the previous Administration’s Clean Power Plan on hold, potentially avoiding the premature closing of coal-fired power plants and the resulting disruption of the US electric industry.

The EPA Administrator ended the “sue and settle” practice at EPA, under which the agency cooperated with environmental interests in preparing and pursuing lawsuits against EPA, which the Agency then settled on terms acceptable to both the environmental interests and Agency staff.

The EPA Administrator has also expressed interest in attempting to modify or reverse the EPA Endangerment Finding regarding CO2 and other “greenhouse gases”. The Administrator has expressed the belief that the science cited in support of the Endangerment Finding is faulty; and, that the science was not developed by EPA, as required by statute, but was taken in large measure from work reported by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Regrettably, the Administrator has apparently taken no actions so far regarding the Endangerment Finding.

The EPA Administrator suggested structuring a Red Team / Blue Team exercise to review and debate the current status of climate change research and of the climate models on which the CAGW concern is based. However, no action has apparently been initiated regarding this process. This effort would require significant cooperation from both NASA and NOAA. The President has nominated individuals to the Administrator positions in these agencies, but neither has been confirmed.

US emissions of “greenhouse gases” have continued to decline, despite US withdrawal from the Paris Accords. Emissions by other signatory countries to the Paris Accords have not necessarily followed suit. Several countries which expected to receive funds from the US Green Climate Fund to support low emissions economic development have threatened to abandon their plans if the funding is not forthcoming.

The global temperature anomaly products continue to report observed “adjusted” anomalies significantly below the scenarios produced by the CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) climate models. This trend is expected to continue, as a growing number of climate studies are reporting lower climate sensitivities to “greenhouse gas” concentrations in the atmosphere than the climate sensitivities used by the IPCC.

Finally, it appears highly unlikely that 2017 will be “the warmest year evah”. Whew!