Review of Cato’s ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Earlier this week I pointed out how the atmosphere went beserkers over this report in Unable to effectively refute the contents, the alarmosphere resorts to calling a new report ‘counterfeit’. That’s still going on, for example in the Washington Post late Thursday, an article titled A meltdown over climate change which said:

The original report was called “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” and it was printed with a blue cover that featured an image of North America. The Cato report, now in draft form, is called “ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” and its cover is nearly identical to the original report. (Check out the side-by-side images at bit.ly/reportcovers .)

Hey, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

I was sent an unsolicited advance copy of the bound draft version of the report, as you can see on my desk below:

Both the Washington Post article and the slew of alarmosphere articles from earlier assume one thing of the reader: you can’t read and can only interpret the pretty pictures as being indistinguishable from the original report from NOAA.

But that all falls apart once you read the front and back cover:

How anyone with even limited intelligence could get the idea that the report is from the US Government/NOAA is truly laughable, because if they can’t read “Cato Institute” clearly printed on the front and back cover, then they probably aren’t capable of reading and interpreting the original report either.

All that pointless carping about the design aside, I will say that Cato should have chosen a better first word for the title than “Addendum”.

Rebuttal, Errata, or Corrigenda – any of those would have been more appropriate, but that’s water under the bridge now.

Since none of the angry articles thus far have done much beyond judging the book by its cover, I thought I’d share some points about the content. After all, it is the content that matters, right?

Some of my impressions from reading the Cato GCCIUS report:

1. The book is easily readable by laymen. The way it is written and illustrated makes for an easy read. Few scientific reports can pull this off.

2. It is well illustrated, with nearly every page having a descriptive image or graphic, for example here are the pages on the National Temperature trend for the last century:

The graph on the right is from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

3. In fact the majority of the graphs in the Cato CCIUS are from NOAA and its different divisions, the remainder are from peer reviewed publications. I was hard pressed to locate references to “grey literature” such as has been rife with IPCC reports. One photo, showing small Eldarica pine trees with a man holding up signs for “Ambient, +150, +300, and +450″ ppm of CO2 concentration (plus signs signify added to the Ambient of ~ 390ppm) I thought sure was grey literature sourced, but turned out to be provided by the Dept. of Agriculture Water Resources Lab, Phoenix, AZ.

4. The information, data, graphs, pictures, and illustrations are all well sourced. The section on Agriculture for example had 5 filled pages of 144 unique references to journal articles and government science reports at the end of it. The section on Agriculture itself was only 10.5 pages long, which works out to be about 13.7 references per page. That’s a factually rich environment.

5. Even with all the references, it is still easy to read, because the language isn’t stuffy like some science reports I’ve read where you have to run to a dictionary or science encyclopedia every few paragraphs to figure out what they are talking about. Rather than lecture to you, the report talks to you in an educational way.

6. In this Cato addendum report, you won’t find any photoshopped flooded houses like skeptics found in the original Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States from NOAA:

==============================================================

NCDC: Photoshopping the climate change report for better impact

Last week on Friday August 1st you may recall that I commented on the release of the Draft report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

In that post I mentioned that “The draft document reads more like a news article in many places than it does a scientific document, and unlike a scientific document, it has a number of what I would call “emotionally based graphics” in it that have nothing to do with the science.”

One of those graphics that tug at your heartstrings turns out to be a fabrication, pure and simple. Here is page 58 of the NCDC authored report:

Click for a larger image. Note the arrow pointing to this photo:

Image above taken directly from the CCSP report.

Simply go to IstockPhoto.com, where you can buy this photo online:

Click image for original source location

But apparently, the NOAA/NCDC authors of the report didn’t see the caveat that comes with the photo:

==============================================================

That photo was removed after we called out NOAA/NCDC on it, and the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States was delayed and rewritten. Our collection of naysayer bloggers and journalists seem to have forgotten this major faux pau by NOAA in the original in their zeal to condemn the Cato addendum.

7. Finally, there are the key findings.

=============================================================

Key Findings

1. Climate change is unequivocal and human activity plays some part in it.
There are two periods of warming in the 20th century that are statistically indistinguishable in magnitude. The first had little if any relation to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, while the second has characteristics that are consistent in part with a changed greenhouse effect. (p. 16)

2. Climate change has occurred and will occur in the United States.
US temperature and precipitation have changed significantly over some states since the modern record began in 1895. Some changes, such as the amelioration of severe winter cold in the northern Great Plains, are highly consistent with a changed greenhouse effect (pp. 34-55, 189-194)

3. Impacts of observed climate change have little national significance.
There is no significant long-term change in US economic output that can be attributed to climate change. The slow nature of climate progression results in de facto adaptation as, as can be seen with sea level changes on the East Coast. (pp. 44-45, 79-81, 157-160, 175-176)

4. Climate change will affect water resources.
Long-term paleoclimatic studies show that severe and extensive droughts have occurred repeatedly throughout the Great Plains and the West. These will occur in the future, with or without human-induced climate change. Infrastructure planners would be well-advised to take them into account. (pp. 56-71)

5. Crop and livestock production will adapt to climate change.
There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates substantial untapped adaptability of US agriculture to climate change, including crop-switching that can change the species used for livestock feed. In addition, carbon dioxide itself is likely increasing crop yields and will continue to do so in increasing increments in the future. (pp. 102-118)

6. Sea level rises caused by global warming are easily adapted to.
Much of the densely populated East Coast has experienced sea level rises in the 20th century that are more than twice those caused by global warming, with obvious adaptation. The mean projections from the United Nations will likely be associated with similar adaptation. (pp. 175-176)

7. Life expectancy and wealth are likely to continue to increase.
There is little relationship between life expectancy, wealth and climate. Even under the most dire scenarios, people will be much wealthier and healthier than they are today in the year 2100.(pp. 141-147, 160-162)

8. Climate change is a minor overlay on US society.
People voluntarily expose themselves to climate changes throughout their lives that are much larger and more sudden than those expected from greenhouse gases. The migration of US population from the cold North and East to the much warmer South and West is an example. Global markets exist to allocate resources that fluctuate with the weather and climate. (pp. 156-171)

9. Species and ecosystems will change with or without climate change.
There is little doubt that some ecosystems, such as the desert west, have been changing with climate, while others, such as cold marine fisheries, move with little obvious relationship to climate. (pp. 119-140)

10. Policies enacted by the developed world will have little effect on global temperature.
Even if every nation that has obligations under the Kyoto Protocol agreed to reduce emissions over 80 percent, there would be little or no detectable effect on climate on the policy-relevant timeframe, because emissions from these countries will be dwarfed in coming decades by the total emissions from China, India, and the developing world. (pp. 27, 212)
___________________
1National Climatic Data CCenter, U.S. Department of Commerce, at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

===============================================================

Those key findings seem quite reasonable and pragmatic to me, and Cato came to those conclusions without needing photoshopped floods or emotional imagery like the original.

The only negative things I could say about this book are the choice of the word addendum in the title, and the lack of a word topic index at the end, making it hard to find specific references. Since what I was sent was bound draft copy, that may change in the final version when it is published.

Overall, my opinion is that Cato wrote an eminently readable and well sourced document, and I recommend it. Warmists of course won’t like it for the most part, even though there are many things in it they should be agreeing with since a good portion is sourced in the peer reviewed and government literature. But I doubt if few have even read it, since the modus operandi for discrediting it so far seems to be all about judging this book by its cover.

-30-

You can read the draft version of the report, free, here:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/Global-Climate-Change-Impacts.pdf

Footnote: I’m not a member of Cato, nor was I remunerated in any way for this review. The book showed up on my doorstep (like so many books do these days from hopeful climate authors) and if that was the sum total of my exposure to it, I probably would not taken the time to review it. But, since so many in the alarmosphere seem to gone beserkers over its existence, I decided to give it a look.  – Anthony

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46 thoughts on “Review of Cato’s ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

  1. God forbid that the report is easily read by the public.
    Since climate change has been around longer than humans it seems obvious that we will adapt in the future as we did in the past. Though given the attitude of the alarmists I doubt that they are willing to or are even able to adapt.

  2. Anthony,
    Tried to follow CATO link and was rewarded with:
    Page Not Found

    The document you were looking for at this address has either been moved or deleted. Please use the search box below to see if it is still located in the Cato Institute web site. If you have any questions, please email the Webmaster.

  3. “I’m not a member of Cato, nor was I renumerated in any way for this review.”

    That’s right, you’re still number one ;)

  4. Hmmm. So that NOAA / NCDC are pretty much saying (taking each point as it comes):

    1. We think CO2 is responsible for the warming in the second half of the century.

    2. We’ve been thru this before, and things get Better when warmer.

    3. Not much will happen.

    4. We’ve always had droughts, we Will always have droughts, no matter what (might!) cause climate change.

    5. Plants and animals will have NO problem adapting.

    6. Sea level changes are not a problem and will not be a problem.

    7. Life will get Better with climate change (warming).

    8. Any human-induced climate change is marginal at best; we’ve been thru much worse.

    9. Species will adapt, seeing as they’ve been adapting for millions of years AND ARE USED TO DOING SO.

    10. Attempts to do something about natural climate change, WILL WASTE TRILLIONS which could be spent on Real problems.

    ——-

    Did I miss anything? No. But I would like to hear from one of the authors of the document, telling me why I might be getting it wrong.

    Will the press miss anything?… pretty much ALL of it.
    Will the politicians who believe in AGW, miss anything? God, Yes!
    Will the AGW Hystericysts miss anything? Need you ask? They are already having fits in those smoke-filled back rooms where they figure out how to spin positives into negatives.

  5. “One photo, showing small Eldarica pine trees with a man holding up signs for “Ambient, 150, 300, and 450″ ppm of CO2 concentration”

    Wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong.
    The signs says +150, +300 and +450.
    The pines are grown in 390, 540, 690 and 840 ppm of CO2 respectively.

    REPLY: Thanks, that’s a distinction with a difference, and I’ll make that clear – Anthony

  6. Extreme weather is normal weather. Unprecedented weather is normal weather. All natural weather related disasters are normal occurrences. And though witches didn’t cause crops to fail in the past, they were still convicted and burned for it. Let us hope that at least a few fearful folks read this and reconsider the torches they carry…

  7. Thanks for the review, Anthony. I have a feeling we’ll hear a lot more about this in the coming weeks.

  8. Link to the draft version as a .pdf is producing a 404 page not found error. I have tried searching on their site but it appears to have been removed at present.

    I was looking forwards to reading through that.

  9. Overall, my opinion is that Cato wrote an eminently readable and well sourced document, and I recommend it. Warmists of course won’t like it for the most part, even though there are many things in it they should be agreeing with since a good portion is sourced in the peer reviewed and government literature. But, I doubt if few have even read it, since the modus operandi for discrediting it so far seems to be all about judging this book by its cover.

    Which last proves that Cato’s decision satirically to emulate the cover format of the alarmists’ aggregation of hype and hysteria was strategically sensible and just plain Good Art.

  10. But front pages are *important*. Remember the furor over “hide the decline”, a simplified figure on the cover of a WMO-report!

  11. Even if there is a greenhouse effect (GHE) by CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere, its effects are 10ths to 100ths of a degree compared to without them. Ignoring the fact that water vapor and the water cycle has a huge cooling effect as an atmospheric heat engine, our 3% contribution to the CO2 makes our effect 10ths to 1000ths of a deg C. THis is meaningless and undetectable, and any report that there must be a human effect on climate is an opinion with no factual or observational basis.

    The simple fact is that the upper troposphere is much colder than the surface and thus cannot warm the surface. It cannot go against the laws of thermodynamics. Although the GHE appears logical, the laws describe the real world and nature’s nature, not logic. The GHE as they describe it cannot exist.

  12. John Silver says:
    October 26, 2012 at 4:20 am

    “One photo, showing small Eldarica pine trees with a man holding up signs for “Ambient, 150, 300, and 450″ ppm of CO2 concentration”

    Wrong, wrong, wrongety wrong.

    I would have said Right, wrong, wrongety wrong.


    Also, speech to text glitch in opening sentence?

    > Earlier this week I pointed out how the atmosphere went beserkers over this report

    atomsphere –> alarmosphere?

  13. Should the first sentence read: Earlier this week I pointed out how the alarmosphere went beserkers…?

    REPLY: Spell checker didn’t recognize the word, does now thanks – Anthony

  14. Great review, minor typos in first para 5 ” I’ve read where you have to run to a dictionary or science encyclopedia ever few paragraph”. Should be “every few paragraphs”

    REPLY: Fixed thanks, this is the result of my being tired and writing this late last night – Anthony

  15. In response to:

    higley7 says:
    October 26, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Hi higley7,
    Your comment sounds troll like. i.e. You make statements that are incorrect and imply that those illogical statements is the so called skeptics position. What you imply is not correct.

    There are multiple observations and analysis published in peer review journals that supports the assertion that the warming due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will be less than 1C with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes which will cause the biosphere to expand.
    The extreme warming paradigm requires that the planet amplify the warming due to CO2. Unaltered data and unbiased analysis does not support the extreme AGW paradigm. Lindzen and others, have unequivocally shown that the planet resists warming due to increased CO2 in the atmosphere by increasing cloud cover in the tropics thereby reflecting more sunlight off in to space, which is called negative feedback. If there is negative feedback as opposed to amplification (positive feedback) a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C warming. The IPCC have stated that there goal is to limit the planet’s warming due to atmospheric CO2 increases to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 to 2C. Mission accomplished. A doubling of at atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C warming. 1C warming will not cause the ice sheets to melt, massive storms, dangerous sea level increases, and so on. There is no crisis that justifies spending trillions of dollars on green scams which not significantly reduce the carbon dioxide rise.

    As most are aware commercial greenhouse inject CO2 into the greenhouse to increase yield and to reduce growing times. A doubling of CO2 results in a roughly 40% increase in cereal crop yields for example. CO2 is not a poison. Life on this planet is carbon based.

    http://www.johnstonanalytics.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/LindzenChoi2011.235213033.pdf

    On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
    Richard S. Lindzen1 and Yong-Sang Choi2

    We estimate climate sensitivity from observations, using the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent fluctuations in the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) outgoing radiation from the ERBE (1985-1999) and CERES (2000- 2008) satellite instruments. Distinct periods of warming and cooling in the SSTs were used to evaluate feedbacks. An earlier study (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) was subject to significant criticisms. The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper where the various criticisms are taken into account. The present analysis accounts for the 72 day precession period for the ERBE satellite in a more appropriate manner than in the earlier paper. We develop a method to distinguish noise in the outgoing radiation as well as radiation … …we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. ….

    …The heart of the global warming issue is so-called greenhouse warming. This refers to the fact that the earth balances the heat received from the sun (mostly in the visible spectrum) by radiating in the infrared portion of the spectrum back to space. … ….However, warming from a doubling of CO2 would only be about 1C (based on simple calculations where the radiation altitude and the Planck temperature depend on wavelength in accordance with the attenuation coefficients of well mixed CO2 molecules; a doubling of any concentration in ppmv produces the same warming because of the logarithmic dependence of CO2’s absorption on the amount of CO2) (IPCC, 2007). This modest warming is much less than current climate models suggest for a doubling of CO2. Models predict warming of from 1.5C to 5C and even more for a doubling of CO2. Model predictions depend on the ‘feedback’ within models from the more important greenhouse substances, water vapor and clouds. Within all current climate models, water vapor increases with increasing temperature so as to further inhibit infrared cooling.

    If you are interest the following is a reasonable summary of some of the so called “skeptics” arguments.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/10/man-made-global-warming-disproved/

  16. “The pines are grown in 390, 540, 690 and 840 ppm of CO2 respectively.”

    So we need to aim at least 700ppm for REALLY good plant growth :-)

  17. Anthony, the link to the document just above your “Footnote” is wrong, it reads “www.cato.org/pubs/Global-Climate-Change-Impacts.pdfhttp://”

    REPLY: Fixed thanks – Anthony

  18. Excellent review Anthony.

    The graphic along the bottom of the Cato version shows a quite different temperature trend than the hockey stick graphic on the Center’s version. It reflects the cooling “pause” of the last decade and a half. Is the Cato version from a peer reviewed source as well?

  19. Key finding #10 seems problematic: Even if every nation that has obligations under the Kyoto Protocol agreed to reduce emissions over 80 percent, there would be little or no detectable effect on climate on the policy-relevant timeframe, because emissions from these countries will be dwarfed in coming decades by the total emissions from China, India, and the developing world.
    Even if every country in the world reduced emissions, no matter how drastically, the effect on climate would be minimal. There would be little, if any benefit to mankind on the climate side, and a hugely negative effect on economies world-wide, resulting in lowered standards of living, and ultimately millions of deaths.

  20. Ric Werme:
    I borrowed that expression from Adam Savage, Mythbuster.
    (He is also known to have said: “I reject your reality and substitute my own”.)

  21. I’m very happy to hear that the content of the draft report is well reasoned and fact-based. I look forward to reading it.

    I’d still encourage Patrick Michaels and CATO to change the title and cover art before releasing the final report.

  22. The report is on US climate. Therefore we showed US temps in the last twenty years. It’s sourced in the endnote for the Front Material. Source: NCDC.

  23. I can understand why the alarmists are going ballistic over this:

    1. It makes eminent good sense.

    2. It is in no way scary.

    3. It threatens to derail the Global Warming Industry’s gravy train.

    4. It makes the obvious point to any thinking person that climate change is always with us and has been with us for hundreds of millions of years.

    5. it makes the obvious point that plants and animals will readily adapt to any change in climate just like they have always done in the past.

    6. For a CAGW cult member, thus document represents an extreme heresy, so perhaps we should expect street book burning parties.

    7. It unfortunately does not ask the question of what do we do with the imminent flood of unemployed ‘climate scientists’. Finding something useful for these individuals to do could be a wonderful and life fulfilling experience for most of them.

  24. The most depressing thing about the list of conclusions is how parochial they are (‘US’, ‘national’, East Coast’). The US used to be a global leader, clearly that time has gone …

  25. Good review Anthony, Thanks.

    I think a simple change in the background cover colour is all that’s needed – perhaps green? :-))

  26. peter Miller says:
    October 26, 2012 at 8:10 am

    “I can understand why the alarmists are going ballistic over this:
    [...]

    7. It unfortunately does not ask the question of what do we do with the imminent flood of unemployed ‘climate scientists’. Finding something useful for these individuals to do could be a wonderful and life fulfilling experience for most of them.”
    ========================
    If Romney is elected, there will be plenty of openings in the U.S. coal, oil, and gas industries ;o)

  27. William says:
    October 26, 2012 at 6:38 am
    In response to:

    higley7 says:
    October 26, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Hi higley7,
    Your comment sounds troll like. i.e. You make statements that are incorrect and imply that those illogical statements is the so called skeptics position. What you imply is not correct.

    William, I think you misread higley7. Were you thinking his mention of 100ths of a degree was 100s of degrees? If not I just might have a comment back to you. My problem is that there are standing scientific papers perfectly agreeing with his stand and my stand is basically in line with his. Please let us know which way.

  28. ADDENDUM:While U.S. population is projected to increase
    by nearly 50% between 2005 and 2050,3 that
    increase will is likely to be larger in the south.
    “Addendum, page 180″

    Did you catch the “will is likely to” typo?
    Should be ‘will be larger’ or ‘is likely to be larger’.

  29. The nod to anthro factors in the second ‘warming’ is invalidated by the actual “rise-pause” sequence, which is incompatible statistically, logically, and every other way with linear CO2 increase. And, as per Salby, it is dubious that human emissions are responsible for any of that, whether CO2 is a “forcing” agent or not.

    The pusillanimous lukewarmist ceding of that which need not be ceded is tiresome.

    I wish I was like Mr. Glass.

    There once was a fellow named Glass
    Whose balls were made out of brass.
    When he rubbed them together
    They played Stormy Weather
    And lightning shot out of his ass!

    I’d know where to aim it!

  30. Washington Post now will claim they’re misrepresenting themselves as O.J. Simpson’s lackey, Kato Kaelin.

  31. Perhaps they should change the title to read “ADDENDUM: Local Weather Variability Impacts in the United States”

  32. Thomas says:
    October 26, 2012 at 4:50 am
    “But front pages are *important*. Remember the furor over “hide the decline”, a simplified figure on the cover of a WMO-report!”

    Of course they’re important. Look what CATO did. They made the LSM go into huffing and cuffing screaming forgery, and made them judge a book by its cover. Good attention-getter, and exposes hypocrites for what they are.

  33. “Hey, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

    Generally, copying someone else’s work is called “plagiarism”, it’s not usually referred to as “flattery.”

  34. “statistically indistinguishable in magnitude”

    what in the world does that mean? as a statistician, i have to call bullshit.

    (also, just because something is written in simpleton language does not automatically make it true. just saying.)

  35. While I don’t like “Addendum”, because it is somewhat misleading, and because it allows an easy straw man argument. The literal meaning, something added, is apt.

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