Some pushback against Obama's ridiculous climate remarks at the Coast Guard commencement

This is a follow up to our earlier story: Does the ‘leader’ of the free world really know so little about climate?
Current Wisdom: Did Human-Caused Climate Change Lead to War in Syria?

Did human-caused climate change lead to war in Syria?Based only on the mainstream press headlines, you almost certainly would think so.

Reading further into the articles where the case is laid out, a few caveats appear, but the chain of events seems strong.

The mechanism? An extreme drought in the Fertile Crescent region—one that a new study finds was made worse by human greenhouse gas emissions—added a spark to the tinderbox of tensions that had been amassing in Syria for a number of years under the Assad regime (including poor water management policies).

It is not until you dig pretty deep into the technical scientific literature, that you find out that the anthropogenic climate change impact on drought conditions in the Fertile Crescent is extremely minimal and tenuous—so much so that it is debatable as to whether it is detectable at all.

This is not to say that a strong and prolonged drought didn’t play some role in the Syria’s pre-war unrest—perhaps it did, perhaps it didn’t (a debate we leave up to folks much more qualified than we are on the topic)—but that the human-influenced climate change impact on the drought conditions was almost certainly too small to have mattered.

In other words, the violence would almost certainly have occurred anyway.

Several tidbits buried in the scientific literature are relevant to assessing the human impact on the meteorology behind recent drought conditions there.

It is true that climate models do project a general drying trend in the Mediterranean region (including the Fertile Crescent region in the Eastern Mediterranean) as the climate warms under increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.  There are two components to the projected drying. The first is a northward expansion of the subtropical high pressure system that typically dominates the southern portion of the region. This poleward expansion of the high pressure system would act to shunt wintertime storm systems northward, increasing precipitation over Europe but decreasing precipitation across the Mediterranean.  The second component is an increase in the temperature which would lead to increased evaporation and enhanced drying.

Our analysis will show that the connection between this drought and human-induced climate change is tenuous at best,  and tendentious at worst.

An analysis in the new headline-generating paper by Colin Kelley and colleagues that just appeared in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences shows the observed trend in the sea level pressure across the eastern Mediterranean as well as the trend projected to have taken place there by a collection of climate models. We reproduce this graphic as Figure 1.  If the subtropical high is expanding northward over the region, the sea level pressure ought to be on the rise. Indeed, the climate models (bottom panel) project a rise in the surface pressure over the 20th century (blue portion of the curve) and predict even more of a rise into the future (red portion of the curve). However, the observations (top panel, green line) do not corroborate the model hypothesis under the normative rules of science. Ignoring the confusing horizontal lines included by the authors, several things are obvious. First, the level of natural variability is such that no overall trend is readily apparent.

[Note: The authors identify an upwards trend in the observations and describe it as being “marginally significant (P < 0.14)”. In  nobody’s book  (except, we guess, these authors) is a P-value of 0.14 “marginally significant”—it is widely accepted in the scientific literature that P-values must be less than 0.05 for them to be considered statistically significant (i.e., there is a less than 1 in 20 chance that chance alone would produce a similar result). That’s normative science. We’ve seen some rather rare cases where authors attached the term “marginally” significant to P-values up to 0.10, but 0.14 (about a 1 in 7 chance that chance didn’t produce it) is taking things a bit far, hence our previous usage of the word “tendentious.”]

Whether  or not there is an identifiable overall upwards trend, the barometric pressure in  the region during the last decade of the record (when the Syrian drought took place) is not at all unusual when compared to other periods  in the region’s pressure history—including periods that took place long before large-scale greenhouse gas emissions were taking place.

Consequently,  there is little in the pressure record to lend credence to the notion that human-induced climate change played a significant role in the region’s recent drought.

Figure 1. Observed (top) and modeled (bottom) sea level pressure for the Eastern Mediterranean region (figure adapted from Kelley et al., 2015).

Another clue that the human impact on the recent drought was minimal (at best) comes from a 2012 paper in the Journal of Climate by Martin Hoerling and colleagues. In that paper, Hoerling et al. concluded that about half of the trend towards late-20th century dry conditions in the Mediterranean region was potentially attributable to human emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols.   They found that climate models run with increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols produce drying across the Mediterranean region in general. However, the subregional patterns of the drying are sensitive to the patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) variability and change. Alas, the patterns of SST changes are quite different in reality than they were projected to be by the climate models. Hoerling et al. describe the differences this way “In general, the observed SST differences have stronger meridional [North-South] contrast between the tropics and NH extratropics and also a stronger zonal [East-West] contrast between the Indian Ocean and the tropical Pacific Ocean.”

Figure 2 shows visually what Hoerling was describing—the observed SST change (top) along with the model projected changes (bottom) for the period 1971-2010 minus 1902-1970. Note the complexity that accompanies reality.

Figure 2. Cold season (November–April) sea surface temperature departures (°C) for the period 1971–2010 minus 1902–70: (top) observed and (bottom) mean from climate model projections (from Hoerling et al., 2012).

Hoerling et al. show that in the Fertile Crescent region, the drying produced by climate models is particularly enhanced (by some 2-3 times) if the observed patterns of sea surface temperatures are incorporated into the models rather than patterns that would otherwise be projected by the models (i.e., the top portion of Figure 2 is used to drive the model output rather than the bottom portion).

Let’s be clear here.  The models were unable to accurately reproduce the patterns of SST that have been observed as greenhouse gas concentrations increased.  So the observed data were substituted for the predicted value, and then that was used to generate forecasts of changed rainfall.  We can’t emphasize this enough: what was not supposed to happen from climate change was forced into the models that then synthesized rainfall.

Figure 3 shows these results and Figure 4 shows what has been observed. Note that even using the prescribed SST, the model predicted changes in Figure 3 (lower panel) are only about half as much as has been observed to have taken place in the region around Syria (Figure 4, note scale difference). This leaves the other half of the moisture decline largely unexplained.  From Figure 3 (top), you can also see that only about 10mm out of more than 60mm of observed precipitation decline around Syria during the cold season is “consistent with” human-caused climate change as predicted by climate models left to their own devices.

Nor does “consistent with” mean “caused by” it.

Figure 3. Simulated change in cold season precipitation (mm) over the Mediterranean region based on the ensemble average (top) of 22 IPCC models run with observed emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols and (bottom) of 40 models run with observed emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols with prescribed sea surface temperatures. The difference plots in the panels are for the period 1971–2010 minus 1902–70 (source: Hoerling et al., 2012).

For comparative purposes, according to the University of East Anglia climate history, the average cold-season rainfall in Syria is 261mm (10.28 inches).  Climate models, when left to their own devices,  predict a decline averaging about 10mm, or 3.8 per cent of the total.  When “prescribed” (some would use the word “fudged”) sea surface temperatures are substituted for their wrong numbers, the decline in rainfall goes up to a whopping 24mm, or 9.1 per cent of the total.  For additional comparative purposes, population has roughly tripled in the last three decades.

Figure 4. Observed change in cold season precipitation for the period 1971–2010 minus 1902–70. Anomalies (mm) are relative to the 1902–2010 (source: Hoerling et al., 2012).

So what you are left with after carefully comparing the patterns of observed changes in the meteorology and climatology of Syria and the Fertile Crescent region to those produced by climate models, is that the lion’s share of the observed changes are left unexplained by the models run with increasing greenhouse gases. Lacking a better explanation, these unexplained changes get chalked up to “natural variability”—and natural variability dominates the observed climate history.

You wouldn’t come to this conclusion from the cursory treatment of climate that is afforded in the mainstream press.  It requires an examination of scientific literature and a good background and understanding of the rather technical research being discussed. Like all issues related to climate change, the devil is in the details, and, in the haste to produce attention grabbing headlines, the details often get glossed over or dismissed.

Our bottom line: the identifiable influence of human-caused climate change on recent drought conditions in the Fertile Crescent was almost certainly not the so-called straw that broke the camel’s back and led to the outbreak of conflict in Syria. The pre-existing (political) climate in the region was plenty hot enough for a conflict to ignite, perhaps partly fuelled by recent drought conditions—conditions which are part and parcel of the region climate and the intensity and frequency of which remain dominated by natural variability, even in this era of increasing greenhouse gas emissions  from human activities.


Hoerling, M., et al., 2012. On the increased frequency of Mediterranean drought. Journal of Climate, 25, 2146-2161.

Kelley, C. P., et al., 2015. Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi:10.1073/pnas.1421533112

The Current Wisdom is a series of monthly articles in which Patrick J. Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science, reviews interesting items on global warming in the scientific literature that may not have received the media attention that they deserved, or have been misinterpreted in the popular press.


125 thoughts on “Some pushback against Obama's ridiculous climate remarks at the Coast Guard commencement

      • What are you talking about? He’s totally right. Holdren said it. Two minutes of it.

    • Global warming/ climate change makes everything worse and nothing better. It makes ice cream melt faster causing kids to cry when their ice cream melts and it causes ice cream to stay so cold that it gives kids brain freeze causing them to cry. Life was the Garden of Eden until man started using fossil fuels.

      • Interesting research has come up on the Garden of Eden. There is equivalent evidence as the AGW – Syria connection that the dead sea scrolls correct the story of Genesis.
        It was not a garden snake causing the fall (how silly), it was more plausibly climate change. Unfortunately the fossil fuel industry is suppressing this information from the general public.

    • So much for expecting less cold as warming increases! Well if it’s going to get colder as it gets warmer then maybe nothing changes.

      • The next catastrophic prediction will be that human activities are about to cause a new era of Extreme Sameness where past climate patterns continue to reoccur.

    • Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, The Phoenicians, even ol’ King Solomon and the king of Tyre and not last the Roman Empire were the ones that done it. Chopped down all the cedar trees that stretched from the Mediterranean to Mesopotamia. Lost the water storage and ground cover / shade and changed it all to desert. It was the killing of the timber guard Humbaba and not CO2.

      • The construction of Persepolis contributed to the loss of the last really big cedars. Then Alexander the Great (pyromaniac) burned it all to the ground.

    • “””””…..[Note: The authors identify an upwards trend in the observations and describe it as being “marginally significant (P < 0.14)”. In nobody’s book (except, we guess, these authors) is a P-value of 0.14 “marginally significant”—it is widely accepted in the scientific literature that P-values must be less than 0.05 for them to be considered statistically significant (i.e., there is a less than 1 in 20 chance that chance alone would produce a similar result). ….."""""
      I shouldn't need to point out that it is the "statistics", to which the expression; "marginally significant" applies; not to the data, which is quite real.

    • According to Holdren, anthropogenic greenhouse gasses are not only responsible for global warming, but for global cooling as well as any and every other type of weather imaginable.
      Holdren is a true Witch Doctor in every sense of the term.

    • To quote: “I believe” that just about sums it up. No evidence but only “I believe”. What a miserable waste of time that well produced piece of propaganda worked out to be. And who paid for it? Probably you and I. Alternatively Soros.

    • Of the many times I have heard that all-to-common phrase “A growing body of evidence suggests…”, I have never even ONCE heard an accompanying list of just what this growing body of evidence consists of. This is a bull$hit phrase pure and simple. Oh god how I wish I could be present when someone utters that bs phrase so I could do what any journalist with a sack would do and call them out on it, ask them to describe exactly what this body of evidence consists of and then let em have it when they can’t provide a good answer.

      • Their evidence is like the “missing heat” which isn’t there. Kinda reminds me of this poem.
        Yesterday, upon the stair,
        I met a man who wasn’t there.
        He wasn’t there again today,
        I wish, I wish he’d go away…
        When I came home last night at three,
        The man was waiting there for me
        But when I looked around the hall,
        I couldn’t see him there at all!
        Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
        Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…
        Last night I saw upon the stair,
        A little man who wasn’t there,
        He wasn’t there again today
        Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

    • Mike
      Thanks for the news clipping reference
      Colder weather in the mid latitude was happening 1900-1930 and again 1958-1985 when global warming was not an issue , so Holdren’s theory that global warming recently causes colder winters in United States is again suspect in my opinion. ..

    • I get it. The 2 minute tutorial has convinced me. It’s all caused by ‘waviness’!
      Just one problem. I can’t find it in the dictionary.

  1. The title misled me. I was hoping the mainstream media had looked critically at Obama’s words and complained at his lack of veracity and maybe did some journalistic work and saw he and his green friends stand to gain from his all in on ‘Global Warming.’ He will make a bundle on his speaking fees after he is out of office. Spouting more of his lies and obfuscations.

  2. Maybe Obama should draw another “line in the sand” like the last one he drew. Everyone knows he really means what he says then.

    • I’m quite sure that when Khufu build his pyramid at Giza, the biggest problem was dragging all those stone blocks through all that jungle that was growing there. The Sierra club, must have raised Kane with all that trail damage to their pristine rain forest.

    • It’s time the voters drew a line in the sand and kicked his sorry butt back over onto the otherside !

    • Who wrote it? A climate kook wrote the speech. Apparently a climate kook delivered the speech as well.

  3. It is so sad that there is so much evidence that the root cause of most of the problems of this world is a lack of property rights. From the story of Muhamad Atta the 911 ring leader on it is so clear as to where the problems lie. This is why it fries me to see the world put resources into a non problem of global warming when just working on legal institutions is what we need more than anything. In my humble opinion, this should be required reading:
    The Capitalist Cure for Terrorism
    Military might alone won’t defeat Islamic State and its ilk. The U.S. needs to promote economic empowerment
    It is widely known that the Arab Spring was sparked by the self-immolation in 2011 of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year-old Tunisian street merchant. But few have asked why Bouazizi felt driven to kill himself—or why, within 60 days, at least 63 more men and women in Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Egypt also set themselves on fire, sending millions into the streets, toppling four regimes and leading us to today’s turmoil in the Arab world.

    • I agree. If no property rights, what’s the use of working hard to buy property or working hard to build a business or wealth ? Some strongman will just come along and take it.
      Passion moves from wealth accumulation to other forms of ego centric activity. Or like the old saying devil finds work for idle hands. Which is an ironic saying in this situation because here the devil found a religion for the idle hands.

    • The US doesn’t need to promote anything.
      Free peoples all over the world have pulled themselves up by their own shoe laces. They haven’t all become high technology power houses; but most of them have evolved social structures that fit their lifestyle with the assets that they have to deal with.
      Success does not mean tinkling on facebook, or walking onto a train track while engrossed with one’s finger toys.
      You are talking about a people that are swimming in oil riches, and have mostly chosen to create mayhem, instead of prosperity for themselves.
      A horse may not drink, even if you lead it to water (or a camel).

      • George
        Dead on, it is the battle for individual liberty that is important. political liberty, economic freedom and civil society come from individual liberty not the other way around.

    • In my opinion, you can’t examine this chain of events without also looking at biofuel production. It’s all very well talking about a drought in the region, but Egypt, Tunisia and others have long been net importers of grain. The biofuel expansion is well documented with an increase in grain prices. People get angry and go on the streets when they can’t feed their families even more so than a lack of property rights.
      I’ve always maintained the current mess has origins in climate change – because ridiculous ‘climate’ policies lead to diversion of crop production for fuels instead of people, and that priced the poorest people in the world out of the food market. A local drought is minor because these regions have been importing food for a long time.

      • I would agree.
        “Egypt, Tunisia and others have long been net importers of grain”.
        And we have contributed to their increased “cost of living” for what? An illusion….who will be the next volunteer to stick their figure in the dike?
        If starvation is the impetus behind revolution (e.g. France and “let them eat cake”) the MENA region is not going to be stable for quite some time. Who was it that quoted “Keep your powder dry” (*) as I suspect we are on the cusp. Did we create this (developing nations starvation) situation with ill advised policy? Time for a re-think? Personally, yep, we need a re-think.
        (*) There is a well-authenticated anecdote of Cromwell. On a certain occasion, when his troops were about crossing a river to attack the enemy, he concluded an address, couched in the usual fanatic terms in use among them, with these words – ‘put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry’.”

    • So it had nothing to do with the CIA and Hillary’s announcement that she as going to recreate the Middle east? Huh. Just a correlation I guess.

    • So, nothing to do with western ‘crusader invasions’ of late, I guess.Just Bouazizi and a can of petrol, eh.

  4. The regional drought that the alarmist apologists are refering to was not unusual in intensity, duration or the period between its occurrance and the droughts prior to it.

    • Yes but listening to Climate change claims is like watching Mad Max Fury Road.
      To enjoy a movie like Mad Max, The Avengers or other super action movies, requires suspension of disbelief. Everyone knows getting hit in the head multiple times with a 10lb wrench is not something where you just shake your head, wipe your nose and jump back into the fight, but they suspend disbelief so they can enjoy the movie.
      Obamas only job is to infuse some level of “human interest” into climate change. Facts, common sense, evidence, history is just not required, all that is required is suspension of disbelief.

      • “.. requires suspension of disbelief.” Yeah, gasoline is really scarce in the future, so everyone chases each other at 90 miles per hour.

      • All you needed in The Avengers was Diana Rigg, no plot needed, just her

      • I don’t think the plot in the first Mad Max film was about scarce fuel. It was more to do with lawlessness, biker gangs and the like. May have been the second or third films that jumped on the “fuel shortage” and chasing everyone over the desert in vehicles with large dispacement engines at 90mph, with superchargers and nito kits.
        I have not seen the latest installment but I think not chosing Mel Gibson to play “Max” was a mistake IMO.

  5. After Obozo’s climate speech, the green, ectoplasmic climate ooze was everywhere. Who you gonna call?
    Climate Busters!

  6. “……More false claims being made just to keep us afraid,
    And dare question you become a denier;
    A shocking display to use fear in this way,
    But remember that fear is a liar!
    Scepticism’s at the core of real scientific law,
    The need to challenge what we think we know;
    With what they enthrall there’s no real science at all,
    Just politicians promoting mumbo-jumbo.
    A “consensus”, how absurd, that’s no scientific word,
    And “settled”, the one thing science is never.
    Our ignorance being used, and science being abused,
    By politicians in their dishonest endeavour.”
    Read more:

  7. Add the Coast Guard to the watch list of agencies distracted from doing their real jobs. While the VA was busy adding solar panels to the buildings in AZ, the administration was busy falsifying reports inside those buildings on wait times for services to veterans.

  8. Folks, folks, folks. It is pointless to respond rationally to Obama’s lies. He does not communicate with facts, reason, or logic. He lies. He lies all the time. He is a demagogue, and his primary interest is advancing the power of government – local, national, and international.
    All of his BS can be easily swept away by the facts in front of our noses. In the last 20 years, human industry has added 50% of all the CO2 ever added to the atmosphere by mankind – – and yet global temperatures have not risen at all. AT ALL!
    Any credible scientist will conclude that the hypothesis of CO2 control of global temperature is FALSE.
    Everything else is POLITICS, not SCIENCE

  9. Who knew. I always thought the middle east wars were about oil, borders, and sectarian differences.
    Good thing White house national security strategic thinking now focuses on climate change. There is no question that if the White House was more strategically focused on climate change the ISIS insurgency could have been averted with solar panels.

    • Oh how wrong your thoughts are, It is who God is speaking to, I got tat from the
      guy with the big bead and a funny hat, when he has got that sorted out they are going to kill all the Christians (that is if the climate ( God ) lets them )

  10. Science has discovered everything with a p-Value of 0.05 or less, so if you want new discoveries, you will have to live with the newer higher p-Values. After all Higher is better, isn’t it.

  11. The War in Syria is mostly a result of the Obama administration’s continuous attempts to destabilize the Assad regime. Assad is not a nice guy. Neither was Gadahfi in Libya. But both were successful in keeping the radicals in their countries in check until Obama set out to replace them with more democratic replacements that simply don’t have what it takes to suppress the nutcases.
    If I were Obama, and were responsible for unleashing ISIS and ISIL on the world, I’d try to blame it on the weather too.

    • The same reasoning could apply to Bush decding to get rid of Sadam. So, there is plenty of blame to go around. The righties, the Isreal lobby and to some extent the military coplex are always looking for an excuse to get us into another war in the ME. That said, I agree the rush to go after Asad was naive on Hillaary’s part. He is actually half way civilized compared to ISIS.However blaming Obama for ISIL is rediculous. It all goes back to the triumphalist, American exceptionalism notion pushed by Wolfowitz/Cheney types that the US can manipulate other countries to behave the way we think they should

      • Obama unlawfully launched over 100 cruise missiles into Libya in support of the rebels seeking to oust Gadahfi. And that was AFTER Gadahfi turned over his nuclear program after seeing what happened to Saddam. If anything, his culpability in Libya is even greater than in Syria.
        I agree that ousting Saddam turned out badly, but Obama went on to repeat the mistake after it was apparent. Twice. At some point you have to stop doing the same thing and expecting different results.

      • For someone who ‘won’ the Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize, the unintended consequences of Obama’s decisions and indecisions has certainly left a lot of blood on his hands, and blaming it on the weather diverts his supporter’s attention to that fact and assuages his own ‘conscience.’

  12. In the beginning of the we were all encouraged that the “Arab Spring” was a good thing.
    When the MSM (and their idiot followers) figured out that social instability/war is actually, in almost all cases, a BAD thing they stopped calling it the arab spring; then they started to try to connect the BAD thing to something else they don’t like ….
    If Assad had been gently removed, and the good folks that inhabit the Syrian lands had quickly and smoothly moved into a free representative government, and it was a wonderful enticing to model for all of the surrounding countries, no one would have tried to connect “global warming” to the event.
    Make an emotional decision and then do whatever they can to rationalize it … what is the underlying psychological cause for this type or behavior? Is it triggered when someone checks the ‘D’ when they first register to vote?
    Do those with “socialist leanings” grow into this behavior, or does this behavior create the former?

    • In my view, as a left-of-center Democrat, it is incredible (and highly insulting) that some on the Right will continue to insist that the association of worthless or harmful memes with a political party can, for some unidentified reason, refer only to the Left. And since Pres. Nixon saw the founding of the EPA, and 30 years on, G.W. Bush did nothing to rein it in (no one on the Left did, either, of course), I’d say that Presidents, not parties or any specific kind of political ideology, have tended since the ’70’s to accede to the political scientists of the EPA on matters Scientific.
      I’m not saying this is not a really screwed up mess we find ourselves in, but it is not because X, Y, or Z was a Democrat, it’s because because X, Y, and Z are useful idiots, or useful idiots-savants. Suggesting anything more detailed than this level of analysis is not much more than ad hominem attacks that do nothing for the causes of truth, fact, or the scientific method.
      The party-line division between alarmists and skeptics in the US House and Senate has, I believe, more to do with party politics than to do with policy or truth or science, period. If it is going to require 2/3 of each house to govern (by which I mean pass laws and overturn vetoes), then you know that none of the debate and voting in either house is based on anything other than power.
      I write this because using climate skepticism as a platform for party bashing really makes some of the comments seem kind of, well, onside-troll-like. It is distracting to me to try to understand and encourage and enjoy proper scientific skepticism, especially in the context of policy options, to have, for instance, “Obamacare” intrude inappropriately into every discussion of the EPA and CO2. Over the last dozen or so years, 7 of which I spent at the Oregon Department of Transportation, I found that none of my liberal friends have much use for Radical Environmentalism, and that those on the right appear to be less skeptical than cynical. One of my hugest sources of cognitive dissonance over the previous 6 years has been the fact that Oregon’s just-resigned Gov. Kitzhaber, who ran as a Democrat but governed as a right-of-center Republican might/would/should, in all matters except the green/Green ones. I’d say his political ideology was entirely moderate-to-conservative (we had to wait for Kate Brown to bring some leftist thinking back to the Governor’s Office), but Kitzhaber’s ideology did nothing to frame his apparent love for the Federal Department of Largesse (look it up!). If this paints him as confused and confusing, I would suggest that any application of the principles[!] of Lewandowsky to any president, party, or political ideology, adds as much value as any paper by Lewandowsky related to the climate.

      • Well I seem to recall that the State of Oregon, once had a very progressive Governor, and later Senator Mark Hatfield. While he held sway in Salem, he instituted the cleanup of the Willamette river; and he did it with the eventual support of all the polluters on the river. (those nasty lumber and paper pulp industries). He showed them they could save money by cleaning up the river that they all polluted, and that turned the Willamette from a biologically dead cess pool, into a thriving living river.
        Dunno if it still is with all the California lefties having moved up there to mess up the place.
        But these days the Giga money bags can afford to buy all of the politicians of all parties; so it matters not who gets in, the neo money grubbers get them to do their bidding.
        So maybe the real problem lies elsewhere; other than the fact that influence has always been a commodity for sale.

      • The same reasoning could apply to Bush decding to get rid of Sadam. So, there is plenty of blame to go around. The righties, the Isreal lobby and to some extent the military coplex are always looking for an excuse to get us into another war in the ME. That said, I agree the rush to go after Asad was naive on Hillaary’s part. He is actually half way civilized compared to ISIS.However blaming Obama for ISIL is rediculous. It all goes back to the triumphalist, American exceptionalism notion pushed by Wolfowitz/Cheney types that the US can manipulate other countries to behave the way we think they should

      • Sorry for my double post. it ws a mistake. I would just like to agree in response to this post that as a liberal on a lot of issues it is painful to see the climate debate so politicized. I do accept that the liberal side was too quick to jump on the global warming bankwagon. As for Obama, and Hillary also, I think they have picked highly biased advisers and, as a result are likely to make bad desicions. The right has their memes also, theories they are prediposed to accept uncritically, but in this case the left has got it bad and from my perspective that is most unfortunate.

      • If I may, your opening sentence describes the issue: “In my view, as a left-of-center Democrat, it is incredible (and highly insulting) that some on the Right will continue to insist that the association of worthless or harmful memes with a political party can, for some unidentified reason, refer only to the Left.”
        Just provide an example of one prominent Left Wing Socialist Democrat residing in WDC that categorically refutes or even suggests that AGW is an unproven hypothesis, just one will do.

      • @Newsel, please re-read what he wrote. Use your finger to track the words on the screen if you want to. Mr. Newkirk answered your question. That you’re asking it illustrates the need to read carefully.

      • “Climate change” is primarily politics.
        Politics is left & right issues. (pick a side and stay on that side regardless of all of external input if you choose, it is up to you; I just wonder why it is so).
        Left of center in Oregon is socialist wacko in Oklahoma (I had a client from Minnesota that moved to Oregon; said that he was a proud lifelong left-wing democrat in Minnesota, but you people in Oregon are leftist nuts).
        Calling Kitzhaber a right-of-center Republican is baffling … his first two terms (with a republican house/senate majority) he vetoed the most bills ever. I don’t recall a single veto in his last two terms (given a democrat house/senate majority). Kitzhaber was voted into his last term with the entire State of Oregon knowing about his involvement in influence peddling (the people of his party affiliation had already made an emotional decision about him and they stuck with it regardless of the new information … and shortly after the election he had to resign because of that same information).
        When Kate Brown supported Gov. Kitzhaber in the election, knowing very well what he had been doing over the last couple years, but stopped supporting him immediately after the election (as Secretary of State she was first in line for the job if it was vacated), it showed that she wasn’t forever attached to an emotional decision. She was able to change. So, I apologize for framing it as a Democrat flaw. Maybe it is only a useful idiot flaw (where do most of the useful idiots hang out?).

      • @ Jake (and Newsel)
        At your suggestion, I did read again and follow through with my finger/cursor. There is no mention of any Washington Democrat (left wing socialist or otherwise); and there is no referenced democrat (Washington or otherwise) that questions the AGW hyp(othesis).
        I suggest to readers that they don’t waste their time with Jake’s suggestions in the future … I am sorry that I did.

  13. I understood that grain prices rose in response to the redirection of US grain to the ethanol market, resulting in price hikes in the Arab world, leading to the so-called “Arab Spring” which turned out to be disastrous for all the world.

    • Robert, “Grain” is a start and I would concur that diverting “food” to HC’s was and is a fools errand just from a price equivalency basis. But (wrt to the Arab Spring) also, try the Cairo speech as a starting point closely followed by Libya then Benghazi…and Morsi is now on Death Row as he should be after he let loose the MB on the general Egyptian population and lets not forget the killings / murder of Egyptian Jews and the Copts that he is responsible for. The so called Arab Spring was a political diversionary tactic exploited by an ill-moralistic administration. Apologies if I transgressed into the apolitical arena but Benghazi really upsets me and I cannot forget. 🙁

    • And diversion of grain to ethanol was in response to the inflated prices of crude oil. So if we point to the real cause of the problem it looks like the ME shot themselves in the foot. “Climate change” is just another red herring.

  14. Lets get real here people. The major challenge for Syria is a very rapid rise in population that has simply outstripped the available resources. The government has not been up to meeting that challenge.
    Year Population
    1950 3,252,000
    1960 4,565,000
    1970 6,305,000
    1980 8,704,000
    1990 12,116,000
    1995 14,186,000
    2015 22,087,048
    Israel has had a similar rate of population growth but has managed things MUCH better, One of the classic causes of rebellion is the growth of a disadvantaged population who have no other outlet for their unhappiness than rebellion. As in most historical examples the trigger for revolt is people feeling that they have nothing to lose and no other way out.

    • My countries and population programme says that Syria’s population doubling time is (was) 19 years.
      Now they are fleeing to Italy. Italy’s population doubling time was 800 years. I wonder what it will be in five years.

  15. That part of the world gets drought during cooling events. In the 4.2 ky Event it caused empires to fall:
    That would be Bond Event 3. An extreme cold plunge.
    Bond Event 2 was “drought in the Mediterranean” and the collapse of late Bronze Age cultures.
    Bond Event 1 was the Migration Era Pessimum about 1.4 kya, also known as the Dark Ages.
    The wiki claims that the Little Ice Age was Bond Event Zero, but they are wrong. These things come around ever 1470 or so years. 540 AD onset of Dark Ages, plus 1470, gives 2010 … or just about now…
    Oh, and The Dark Ages was a half Bond cycle… we get modest dips then. Yes, the LIA was “modest”…
    So when there is severe drought in the Levant and Middle East, and severe drought in California, it’s a cold time, not warm, that’s causing it.

    • The old events are well noted. Now, the claim in the paper is that if it gets warmer it will get drier and there are very specific mechanisms touted.
      So, in 5000 BC when it was a couple of degrees warmer than now, was this region the cradle of civilisation and agriculture or Sahara Desert East?

      • @Crispin in Waterloo:
        5000 BC, or 7000 BP? In Africa, the Sahara was a lush green savana about then:

        Around 12,500 BC, the amount of dust in the cores in the Bølling/Allerød phase suddenly plummets and shows a period of much wetter conditions in the Sahara, indicating a Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) event (a sudden warming followed by a slower cooling of the climate). The moister Saharan conditions had begun about 12,500 BC, with the extension of the ITCZ northward in the northern hemisphere summer, bringing moist wet conditions and a savanna climate to the Sahara, which (apart from a short dry spell associated with the Younger Dryas) peaked during the Holocene thermal maximum climatic phase at 4000 BC when mid-latitude temperatures seem to have been between 2 and 3 degrees warmer than in the recent past. Analysis of Nile River deposited sediments in the delta also shows this period had a higher proportion of sediments coming from the Blue Nile, suggesting higher rainfall also in the Ethiopian Highlands. This was caused principally by a stronger monsoonal circulation throughout the sub-tropical regions, affecting India, Arabia and the Sahara. Lake Victoria only recently became the source of the White Nile and dried out almost completely around 15 ka

        So yeah, hotter makes the place lush. That’s why there are abandoned cities scattered through the deserts around there.

        The Neolithic Subpluvial began during the 7th millennium BC and was strong for about 2,000 years; it waned over time and ended after the 5.9 kiloyear event (3900 BCE). Then the drier conditions that prevailed prior to the Neolithic Subpluvial returned; desertification advanced, and the Sahara Desert formed (or re-formed). Arid conditions have continued through to the present day.

        But that’s more Africa focused and you wanted to know about Mesopotamia. While one could generalize from Africa, there is also specific information about it:
        (Yes, that Stanford…)

        After a millenium, the end of the Younger Dryas (9500 BC) came about almost as quickly as it had begun, warmth returned to the North, and water to the deserts of the Near East. Again about 6000 BC, another abrupt cooling in Greenland, (6200 BC) this a short lived cycle, then a warming for two thousand years the sun shining, a great green spring in the northern lands, the wolves retreating, as the planet entered the the mid Holocene altithermal.

        6200 BC is the 8.2 kilo-year event, 8200 years before present, or Bond Event 5. (These things are pretty regular…) so cold and dry, then warm and wet returned In “the Near East”.

        Consider Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers: warm and wet, interrupted by the aformentioned severe cold drought (6200 BC) Again, warm conditions returned and the sea rose again, now at about 50 feet below present level.
        Illustration: We place the “Garden of Eden” in the lower Tigris-Euphrates (most recently the scene of the Gulf War) at the time of 8000 to 6000 yrs. BP (6000-3500 BC) at which time the temperature is warming culminating in an era warmer than present, when equatorial weather patterns may have reached farther north than at present, and the westerly storms of the north would have been confined to latitudes higher than at present.
        In those warm wet years a kind of Eden in Egypt (7000 BC) , Reported (5500 BC) Mid-Holocene flooding of Baltic Sea. a time of canoes and elephants. (3000 BC) This period the Atlantic or altithermal or hypsithermal, (4000 BC) with temperatures 5 degrees warmer than at present, raining all the time, Lake Chad one hundred feet higher until 3000 BC. The desert now supports game allowing hunting and herding or nomadic pastoralism. Predynastic Nagada (Naqadah) cultures. Evidence for this “Garden of Eden” can oddly enough be found almost everywhere; in California, the rings of bristlecone pines (4850 BC) near the Nevada border grew fat in the wet heat. By 4500 BC the favorable climatic conditions and stabilized lower alluvial plains favoring territorial control and mound building (4500 BC) among native Amercan groups in the lower valleys. Slowing sea level rise at 10-15 below present level, beginning of meander belts on (4000 BC) Mississippi River. In the San Francisco Bay area we begin to see a transition from hunter-gatherer to sedentary cultures. (3000 BC) In Santa Barbara the Mid Holocene Atlantic wet period features high human population growth (3300 BC) with increasing hunting, sea fishing, residential bases, status ranking, mortar and pestle use for large pulpy seeds, technology in general. This seems to be reflected as well in the central coast (3600 BC) as well as santa barbara basin off the coast (3250 BC) ; some principal evidence locally exhibited in the Stanford man (3020 BC) and Sunnyvale girl (3160 BC) burials in the San Francisco Bay area. Photos of the “Stanford Man” skull can be seen on “the skull”. (3020 BC)
        Elsewhere in the Mississippi valley we see a proliferation of native american mounds (3000 BC) starting at about 7000 BCE; See also sticks in boston (3100 BC) ; In New England coastal areas we find warmth and plenitude as represented by the great Boylston Street fish wier (3100 BC) discoovered in the 1940s some 15 feet below sea level, In Europe, early agriculture (3500 BC) appears.
        Toward the end of the fourth millenium ominous signs in the North. The upper treeline in alps (3500 BC) drops 100 meters in 3500 BC then rises to 2500 BC indicating a northern cold spell (and corresponding Near Eastern drought) at 3500. See alsothe startling iceman of the alps ( BC) ; In the alps we see an Iceman; (3150 BC) see also iceman of the alps (3150 BC) ; At the same time the irish elm decline (4000 BC) occurs.

        So a very consistent pattern with warmer being good times, advance of societies and cultures, plenty of food; always followed by a sudden plunge of temperatures into a collapse of societies as dry cold deserts make food dear. That last cold plunge is a bit unclear on the exact dating, using a 1000 year span and all, but Bond Event 4 was called the 5.9 Kilo-year-event, and was in 3900 BC. That gives it 400 years of ‘error band’ or perhaps just a long plunge to depth in 3500 BC starting a couple of hundred earlier.
        What’s very clear in all cases: It is s a cycle. It is natural. It WILL happen again. Rain and plenty comes with warmth and civilization builds. Cold brings drought, crop failures and the collapse of civilizations. The last one was The Dark Ages starting about 535 BC to 540 BC (hazy as records were lost in collapse of the Western Roman Empire). It’s now “just about time”… (The good news is that there’s about 100 years error on some of the Bond Event timing, so we might have a few more decades. Maybe even up to 300 years as one author finds the average is 1470 years but it has some shorter near 1200 and some longer near 1800… or maybe it’s just the error in dating things that far back…)
        The other thing that is clear is that increased drought in the Sahara and Levant into the Middle East and Near East is a sign of cold, not warmth.
        So don’t worry though. Just because the sun is taking a nap, the lunar tidal cycle is shifting on it’s regular 1500 to 1800 year wander of tides, and the atmospheric height has shortened from lower UV, that to me looks like it is causing lots of early and late snow in the mountains (and Boston 😉 and it is just exactly on schedule for Bond Event Zero, that’s no reason at all to expect things to get very very cold. The IPCC tells us it will be warm ;sarc>

      • With 70% of the Earth’s surface being water, one should expect an increase in average humidity when average global temperature increases – unless temperatures increase only over dry land and decrease over water – highly unlikely.

  16. Yes, I’m sure there’d be nothing but Frisbee in the Middle East if not for the vicious 100 ppm of extra CO2 floating around. There is so much pre-industrial sociology that shows ubiquitous peach and harmony up until the CO2 increase.

  17. Chip and Patrick wrote: “The authors identify an upwards trend in the observations and describe it as being “marginally significant (P < 0.14)”
    It is also worth noting that there are many possible regions with conflicts that might be attributed climate change. If there are five conflict regions like Syria, there is a 50% likelihood – (6/7)^5 – that climate change with p = 0.14 caused caused one of them!

  18. scientists laid the blame for it on a century-long trend toward warmer and drier conditions….
    really?? so they are saying these people are so backward that even with a 100 year dust up, they can’t prepare

  19. It’s noteworthy how consistently the observed field of temperature or precipitation shows much stronger regional contrasts than the modeled field. This points unmistakably to the fuzzy inadequacies of the modeling premises.

  20. One can’t help wonder if Obama’s public “obsession” with climate change is a means to hide the real and serious issues facing the country from its people.

    • Why would you wonder? I have been watching CNBC et al today on both Policing and ISIS. There is serious stuff out there that this POTUS is choosing to ignore for ideological reasons while being aided and abetted by his minions.

      • Yeah, it’s not other threats he’s deflecting attention from, it’s the ones he’s complicit in.

  21. It is embarrassing, really, to hear that much idiotic prattle, or lying, from our President. That really is more than what politics should countenance. If he believes what he said he’s ignorant, if not, he’s immoral.

  22. so if we cease all fossil fuel energy production, droughts will never again happen and wars become a thing of the past?
    these people have lost their minds
    as anyone considered that CO2 may cause brain damage, not atmospheric warming?

  23. The climate can change and the sea ice can be altered to open up a shipping passage to Russia. However this could happen regardless of co2. There is no evidence that i see that this will happen in the very near future. We also could be slammed by a massive asteroid. Where is the military defense for that? I’m pretty sure this is a way to get the public slowly ready for military forced global climate action. Slowly but surely.

  24. Choosing to blame the conflict on climate (or any other root cause) is a shameful tactic to distract public attention from the politics that sustains and extends this brutal conflict. The fact is that ISIS is a relatively small force that would be swept from the field in weeks by boots on the ground by any western military. If occasional air strikes could destroy terrorist organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah would have ceased to exist long ago. Occasional air strikes are for show.
    More people have died in this conflict than in all the Arab-Israeli wars combined. Yet the west sits on its hands even as the media ceases reporting the deaths as tens of thousands and begins reporting them in the hundreds. Must it reach the millions before the west takes action? The fact of the matter is that the middle east is a quagmire that nobody wants to get sucked into. But worse than that, is that it is a quagmire whose very existence is a benefit to a lot of countries.
    Turkey – much of the battle against ISIS is being carried by the Kurds. Turkey is resisting arming them and is constraining their supply lines across the Turkish border. A strong and autonomous Kurdish enclave in Syria and Iraq would ultimately try and unite with separatist minded Kurds in Turkey. The longer Kurdish strength is sapped by ISIS, the less Turkey has to worry about confronting separatist Kurds on their own soil.
    Israel – Hezbollah is being bled dry in both fighters and munitions as they rush to the defense of Assad. The longer the better from Israel’s point of view, as Hezbollah cannot possibly start anything with Israel while fully engaged in Syria. As an added bonus for Israel, Iran cut funding to Hamas after Hamas refused their request for fighters to support Hezbollah and Assad.
    Lebanon – doesn’t want to get caught in the cross fire of another Israel-Hezbollah dust up, so watching Hezbollah bleed in Syria is just fine with them, the longer the better.
    Syria – ISIS has been a stroke of luck for Assad. He is a brutal and viscous dictator who would have been removed from power by now except that his enemy has metastasized into something so much more brutal and viscous than he is, that he looks almost acceptable by comparison.
    Iran – while the war isn’t to Iran’s benefit per se, it is important to understand why they sustain Assad. Without their support, he’d be long gone, so what does Iran get out of keeping him in power? The answer is access to the Syrian border with Israel which they want to turn into a staging area for war. They already control Israel’s border with Lebanon through Hezbollah, and they are attempting to repair their frayed relationships with Hamas in order to control the border with Gaza as well. In brief, Iran has no special place in their heart for Assad, they just want access to that border and Assad is the easiest path to that.
    The West – you think the rest of us aren’t culpable also? Western governments make a big show of preventing would be jihadists from leaving the west to join ISIS. They argue those jihadists would get training and experience and potentially return to be a threat from within western countries. Bullsh*t. Most of the jihadists that get to Syria never return. They die right there. Most of the attacks and attempted attacks we’ve seen recently in western countries have been carried about by jihadists that were inspired by ISIS but couldn’t find their way to Syria to join them. Western police forces will shed few tears for those that slip through their fingers and wind up dying in Syria or Iraq.
    The bottom line is that there are an awful lot of vested interests who don’t much care if the carnage continues for decades. We should be collectively ashamed of ourselves. The hand wringing about the root cause possibly being climate related is as shameful as could possibly be. As I said above, more people have died in this mess than all the Arab-Israeli wars combined. The effort put forth by the UN and western countries in general to end this horror is a fraction of what they have spent on the two state solution.
    For Shame.

    • Remember Libya and the Right 2 Protect (R2P) Doctrine that we were all force fed by Rice, Clinton et al as the reason for going into Libya in the first place (and Cameron shame on you). I agree with you (dhm) 100% and rather than we “should be ashamed”, I am.
      Remember this hog wash…”Right to Protect” as THE excuse for going into Libya?
      Now take a look at these pictures, this time from Iraq and the ISIS mayhem currently ongoing. Where are Rice, Clinton et al and their mealy mouthed BS today. What a disgusting bunch of LW delusional numb nuts.

    • “dmh
      May 21, 2015 at 7:11 pm
      Bullsh*t. Most of the jihadists that get to Syria never return. They die right there.”
      I’d agree with this. Here in Australia we have had known “fighters” leave for Syria to fight with ISIS. many were known to “authorities”. Who knows why they were not stopped at the border, one or two used fake passports (Apparently). Now, those that left the relative safety of Australia for Syria, want the Aussie Govn’t to help them get out and back home. Seriously? They leave a safe country to go to a war zone to fight in a war? What did these people expect? I have a feeling they are stuck there and will suffer the consequences of their choices! Reality really does suck!

  25. Anyone who says climate has always changed is a climate change denier…….somehow….

  26. But, we don’t have accurate CO2 measurements older than 150 years ago. Thousands of direct, from the atmosphere, analysis have been made since then which prove that ice cores are not even close enough for the study of recent levels. Over 800 thousand years, the accuracy should be laughed at.
    At one time, covering approximately 2 billion years, there was little oxygen and an estimated 70% CO2.
    So, the “point of no return” from carbon hell “happened” at 350 ppm…. but, we made it just fine from 700,000 ppm
    Ice cores under report levels of CO2…a fact every climate modeler / anti-observer needs to be confronted with.
    Why was the accuracy of ice cores as a source of data never vetted?
    What kind of serious research can be conducted using faulty data?
    What kind of chemist measures the results of a reaction, but does not measure the quantity of reactants?
    I know not what they are called.
    But, a baker that never bothers to measure ingredients….
    an HVAC tech that doesn’t measure pressure or pounds .of refrigerant…
    or a doctor that never checks vital signs,
    are traditionally called un-employable.

  27. Cooling and drying makes droughts. And if natural variability can dominate anytime, at “the drop of a hat”, then it is always in charge.

  28. After his Civics lessons from Fidel, O is apparently taking Science lessons from Kim Jong Un.

  29. I’ve been following the AGW story for a couple of years now but I still have’nt heard a convincing explanation as to why so many prominent politicians are prepared to prostitute themselves to the CAGW meme. Can anybody help?

    • Its taken me more than a couple of year to begin to understand. This blog has completely changed my view of the world and to those whom don’t agree with me. Tim said it above; divide and conquer. The CAGW meme is a convenient tool to pit neighbor against neighbor globally, class warfare, left vs right, however you want to frame it. Doing so serves several purposes for politicians.
      Neighbor pointing the finger against Neighbor for politicians is better than neighbor with neighbor pointing the finger at them, the way it should be. Neighbor against neighbor is also solved politically by more state power. Liberty only survives where class envy does not reign supreme.
      I am seeing a major change taking place in this blog that seems to sense or recognize that and this thread is most refreshing to see that taking place. The climate change hoax is so blatant and potentially costly (profit to a few) that it just might be the catalyst that starts to reunite neighbor with neighbor.
      Obama has done a wonderful job of pitting American against American leading to the socialist answer. To me socialism is the ultimate in crony capitalism and that brings us to the money.
      Only by stopping these senseless fights with each other and putting the blame where it belongs do we stand a chance to hang onto liberty and the right to pursue our own destiny.

    • MONEY, MONEY, Money… in the form of a carbon tax.
      These politicians want more money. A carbon tax would be a windfall for them. Do you think the powers of the UN actually care about anything but money?
      That’s why the CAGW argument is now political, the refutation of the CAGW theory must be down-played with ever more shrill doom-saying.

  30. The US Coast Guard Academy has an honor code. It does not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing. Obama would have been dismissed on day 1 for lying. The same honor code as the other 3 service academies. It is sad to me that our men and women in uniform in the US have a pathological liarvas their commander in chief.
    Sadly, those CG midshipmen had to sit through their CiC’s blatant lies. Obama lies like the sunrise everyday, an expectation.
    PS. I graduated from the the USAF Academy and went on to serve 20 yrs of service to my country. If I had lied just once like Obama does on record almost everyday, I would have been dismissed. Thankfully for myself, I never had to serve under a CIC who lied so easily (Clinton wasclose though).

    • In his address to the Academy he said “… we have to act and act now … “.
      He was acting (putting on a show). It would have been priceless if someone from the audience would have pointed this out.

  31. Everything Politicians say is absolutely true, except for the rare subject of which you happen to have in-depth knowledge.

  32. For some time now we’ve had people peddling the myth that the major cause of war and conflict is religion. Now we have another myth to go along with it: that wars are caused by climate change. Maybe sooner or later we’ll have people claiming that climate change is caused by religion.Perhaps Richard Dawkins could write a book called, ‘The Climate Change Delusion’. It would be as reliable as his other well-known book, ‘The God Delusion’, and inform us that climate change is not caused by carbon emissions but by belief in God.

  33. Why wait 100 years?…. thes sea-level in my creek has risen four feet TWICE, …. TODAY!

  34. Mr. Obama is a complete and total embarrassment. He’s such a big liar I can’t stand to hear him speak.

  35. In Fig 1, the simulated baseline pressure is off (biased) so they just want to mention the trends. Second, at the peak of warming of the Holocene (up to 6000 yrs ago), the entire Sahara desert was a grassland/woodland with some huge lakes, which the models can’t simulate.

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