By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
I often get emails asking me to comment in detail on an article on global warming that pretends the “problem” is worse than it is. Here is my reply to one such request.
Earth is a wilder [no], warmer [no] place since last climate deal made in 1997
By SETH BORENSTEIN, November 29, 2015 [At least he got the date right]
PARIS (AP) — This time, it’s a hotter [Satellites show no global warming for the 223 months (i.e., 18 years 7 months) since April 1997], waterier [Water vapour is difficult to measure, but some records show no change in water vapour except in the vital mid-troposphere, where it has actually declined], wilder Earth [The IPCC, both in its 2012 Special Report on Extreme Weather and in its 2013 Fourth Assessment Report, says there has been no particular overall trend in storminess, floods or droughts] that world leaders are trying to save [They are not trying to save the world: Bjorn Lomborg has reliably calculated that the effect of honouring all nations’ Paris pledges will be to reduce global temperature by 0.05-0.17 C° by 2100 compared with having no pledges, and the cost of getting that reduction will be $1 trillion].
The last time that the nations of the world struck a binding agreement to fight global warming was 1997, in Kyoto, Japan [It wasn’t binding: any nation had the right to give a year’s notice and just walk away, and one or two have done so]. As leaders gather for a conference in Paris on Monday to try to do more, it’s clear things have changed dramatically over the past 18 years [But according to the mean of the RSS and UAHv6 satellite records there’s been no global warming in all that time, so none of the changes that have occurred could have been caused by warming].
Some differences can be measured: degrees on a thermometer [a zero trend since April 1997], trillions of tons of melting ice [global sea-ice shows little change in extent or trend since satellite monitoring began 37 years ago], a rise in sea level of a couple of inches [the ENVISAT satellite showed that sea level is rising at a rate equivalent to 1.3 inches per century]. Epic weather disasters, including punishing droughts [declining for the past 30 years globally], killer heat waves [but killer cold snaps kill far more] and monster storms [nothing unprecedented], have plagued Earth [But no more than usual].
As a result, climate change is seen as a more urgent and concrete problem than it was last time [on no evidence: the rate of global warming since 1990, on all datasets, is well below the least rate predicted with “substantial confidence” by the IPCC in that year, and is only half to one-third of its central prediction].
“At the time of Kyoto, if someone talked about climate change, they were talking about something that was abstract in the future,” said Marcia McNutt, the former U.S. Geological Survey director who was picked to run the National Academies of Sciences. “Now, we’re talking about changing climate, something that’s happening now. You can point to event after event that is happening in the here and now that is a direct result of changing climate.” [The climate has been changing for 4 billion years: time to get used to it. Since there has been no global warming for 18 years 7 months, the extreme-weather events that are now occurring must be of natural and not manmade origin].
Other, nonphysical changes since 1997 make many experts more optimistic than in previous climate negotiations [for instance, Professor Richard Tol has said no net harm will occur unless there is at least 3.5 C° warming, but modellers’ reductions in their estimates of how the climate responds to direct warming caused by CO2 imply that not more than 0.5 C° of global warming will occur by 2100, even if we do very little to mitigate warming].
For one, improved technology is pointing to the possibility of a world weaned from fossil fuels, which emit heat-trapping gases [But the gases don’t trap anything like as much heat as was originally thought]. Businesses and countries are more serious about doing something, in the face of evidence that some of science’s worst-case scenarios are coming to pass [There is no evidence that worst-case scenarios are coming to pass, for the good and sufficient reason that for almost two decades, despite a considerable increase in Man’s emission of greenhouse gases, there has been no global warming at all to trigger those “worst-case scenarios”].
“I am quite stunned by how much the Earth has changed since 1997,” [except that global temperature has not changed since 1997, so any other changes were not caused by rising temperature] Princeton University’s Bill Anderegg said in an email. “In many cases (e.g. Arctic sea ice loss [which has been more or less matched by gains in Antarctic sea ice], forest die-off due to drought) [The most comprehensive recent drought survey, conducted just last year, found that the fraction of the Earth’s land surface suffering drought has declined throughout the period of record], the speed of climate change is proceeding even faster than we thought it would two decades ago.”[In 1995 the IPCC had issued predictions of warming that were in some respects even more extreme than those it had made in 1990: but there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1990, and none at all since 1997]
Some of the cold numbers on global warming since 1997 [There has been no global warming since 1997]:
—The West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets have lost 5.5 trillion tons of ice, or 5 trillion metric tons, according to Andrew Shepherd at the University of Leeds, who used NASA and European satellite data [Even if this were true, and there is plenty of evidence that it is not, it was not caused by global warming because there has not been any, and the analysis omits the 80% of global land-based ice that is on the East Antarctic ice sheet, and the ice there has been growing].
—The five-year average surface global temperature for January to October has risen by nearly two-thirds of a degree Fahrenheit, or 0.36 degrees Celsius, between 1993-97 and 2011-15, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [The correct statistical approach is to maximize degrees of freedom by using as many data points as possible, and the monthly NOAA global temperature data from 1995 to the present show a warming of less than 0.3 C°, equivalent to just 1.6 C°/century; however, until two years ago the NOAA data showed no warming since the late 1990s, just as the satellite data did, but NOAA tampered with the record in preparation for Paris and suddenly a warming trend has appeared: Congress is investigating, as is the former vice-chancellor of Buckingham University in the UK].
In 1997, Earth set a record for the hottest year, but it didn’t last. Records were set in 1998, 2005, 2010 and 2014, and it is sure to happen again in 2015 when the results are in from the year, according to NOAA [Its results have been tampered with in a manner that, when set against the satellite record, seems suspicious: hence the Congressional investigation. The satellites do not show 2014 as the warmest year, and will not show 2015 as the warmest year either. Besides, the weather was warmer in the mediaeval, Roman, Minoan, Old-Kingdom, and Holocene warm periods, so there is nothing special about today’s temperatures].
—The average glacier has lost about 39 feet, or 12 meters, of ice thickness since 1997, according to Samuel Nussbaumer at the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Switzerland [but that organization has taken measurements of mass balance at only 230, or one-seventh of one per cent, of the world’s 160,000+ glaciers. It has done very little work in Antarctica, which contains about 90% of the world’s ice mass, and which, except for a small area of West Antarctica, has not warmed or lost ice mass throughout the satellite era].
—With 1.2 billion more people in the world, carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels climbed nearly 50 percent between 1997 and 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The world is spewing more than 100 million tons of carbon dioxide a day now [and yet, 265 years after the Industrial Revolution began, to the nearest tenth of one per cent there is no CO2 in the atmosphere at all, for the atmosphere is big and our emissions are small by comparison].
—The seas have risen nearly 2 1/2 inches, or 6.2 centimeters, on average since 1997, according to calculations by the University of Colorado [However, the GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites showed no sea-level rise at all from 2003-2008, and the ENVISAT satellite showed sea level rising at a rate equivalent to 1.3 inches/century from 2004 to 2012, and the sea-level rise found by the University of Colorado is smaller than the intercalibration errors between the series of laser-altimetry satellites it relies upon; the sea level rise comes chiefly from an artificial and unjustifiable “glacial isostatic adjustment”; and Professor Mörner’s best estimate is that sea level is rising no faster this century than last – i.e., at about 20 cm/century].
—At its low point during the summer, the Arctic sea ice is on average 820,000 square miles smaller than it was 18 years ago, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. That’s a loss equal in area to Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona combined [But, compared with the large annual summer-to-winter fluctuations, the loss is quite small, and it is largely compensated by an increase in Antarctic sea-ice extent].
—The five deadliest heat waves of the past century — in Europe in 2003, Russia in 2010, India and Pakistan this year, Western Europe in 2006 and southern Asia in 1998 — have come in the past 18 years, according to the International Disaster Database run by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster in Belgium [The centre, inferentially for political reasons connected with its funding, has not made any studies of loss of life caused by extreme cold, which, however, kills roughly 20 times as many people as extreme heat. Warmer weather would actually bring about fewer deaths than colder weather. In a single cold winter in just one country, the UK, four years ago, there were 31,000 excess deaths; the European heatwave may have killed 35,000-70,000 across Europe as a whole. The centre’s website returns only one search result for the word “cold” on its database, and that is a reference to the “Cold War”].
—The number of weather and climate disasters worldwide has increased 42 percent, though deaths are down 58 percent [This increase, to the extent that it exists, for no reference is provided, is likely to be attributable to better reporting: the IPCC is quite clear that there is no evidence for increased extreme weather in almost all categories]. From 1993 to 1997, the world averaged 221 weather disasters that killed 3,248 people a year. From 2010 to 2014, the yearly average of weather disasters was up to 313, while deaths dropped to 1,364, according to the disaster database [In fact, the annual number of deaths from extreme weather worldwide is at its lowest point in the satellite era, according to the Global Warming Policy Foundation: and that is what we should expect, given better forecasting of individual extreme events and a small increase in warmer weather, which reduces temperature-related deaths].
Eighteen years ago, the discussion was far more about average temperatures, not the freakish extremes. Now, scientists and others realize it is in the more frequent extremes that people are truly experiencing climate change [The reason why mean temperatures were the topic 18 years ago is that they had increased for 20 since 1976, largely influenced by the phase-change in that year from the cooling to the warming phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation Index, and the reason why Mr Borenstein does not want to focus on mean temperatures now is that they have not increased, and, since they have not increased, there is no reason to blame Man for any consequential increase in extreme temperatures].
Witness the “large downpours, floods, mudslides, the deeper and longer droughts, rising sea levels from the melting ice, forest fires,” former Vice President Al Gore, who helped negotiate the 1997 agreement, told The Associated Press. “There’s a long list of events that people can see and feel viscerally right now. Every night on the television news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” [But Al Gore is no scientist and, when his claims of disaster were subjected to court scrutiny in the London High Court in 2007 Mr Justice Burton said, “The Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not based on any scientific view.”]
Studies have shown that man-made climate change contributed in a number of recent weather disasters. Among those that climate scientists highlight as most significant: the 2003 European heat wave that killed 70,000 people in the deadliest such disaster in a century [even if one accepts the tampering by which the original estimate of 35,000 deaths (probably an exaggeration in itself) was doubled, just three typical British winters will cause more excess deaths than that one-off Europe-wide heatwave, which is known to have been caused not by global warming but by a blocking high]; Hurricane Sandy, worsened by sea level rise, which caused more than $67 billion in damage and claimed 159 lives [Sandy was also not caused by global warming but by a rare coincidence of three storms from different directions over a major population centre, and sea level at the New York Battery tide-gauge shows just 11 inches’ increase in 100 years, most of that before Man could have had any influence]; the 2010 Russian heat wave that left more than 55,000 dead [such events are neither new nor more commonplace now than formerly: the great multi-decadal drought in the Great Plans of the US before 1950 was far worse]; the drought still gripping California [the IPCC has repeatedly said one should not assign blame for individual weather events to global warming, and Hao et al. 2014 showed that the fraction of the globe under drought has been declining for 30 years]; and Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 in the Philippines in 2013 [but recorded history shows many far worse storms: in 1881, for instance, more than 20,000 corpses were recovered from the shoreline near Manila after a typhoon, and in those days the population was far smaller than today].
Still, “while the Earth is a lot more dangerous on one side [except that, on the evidence it isn’t: and, to this day, the believers have been unable or unwilling to state what the ideal global mean surface temperature is, and what variance either side of that temperature is net-beneficial], the technologies are a lot better than they were,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Solar and wind have come down tremendously in price [but they are still up to 20 times costlier per MWh generated than coal], so much so that a Texas utility gives away wind-generated electricity at night [That is because every wind turbine has to be backed up by a fossil-fuelled power station running at inefficient, highly-CO2-emitting idle-speed, so that, according to Professor Hughes of Edinburgh University, under most operating conditions wind power actually emits more CO2 than a coal-fired power station: accordingly, a grid surplus arises every time the wind blows, particularly when electricity demand is low at night-time].
Another big change is China. In Kyoto, China and developing countries weren’t required to cut emissions. Global warming was seen as a problem for the U.S. and other rich nations to solve. But now China — by far the world’s No. 1 carbon polluter — has reached agreement with the U.S. to slow emissions and has become a leader in solar power. [In fact, China has made no definite commitment of any kind; has absolutely refused to allow any international monitoring or control of its emissions; already emits one-third of all CO2 worldwide; has recently been found to have understated its emissions by as much as one-sixth; has built hundreds of surplus coal-fired power stations so that in a few years it can get the kudos for announcing a halt to its building programme; and is a “leader” in solar power only to the extent that, at huge environmental cost and using rigged low wages, it manufactures cheap and often unreliable solar panels for export].
“The negotiations are no longer defined by rich and poor,” Gore said. “There’s a range of countries in the middle, emerging economies, and thankfully some of them have stepped up to shoulder some of the responsibility.” [That’s as may be, but the “countries in the middle” will make little difference to global emissions either way, and in any event there will be no cuts in global CO2 emissions before mid-century at the earliest because China and India, the world’s two largest populations, will continue to burn cheap coal in ever-larger quantities, and have already begun to gain a massive commercial advantage by supplying coal-fired electricity at prices not more than one-third of the mean Western electricity price].
U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said there’s far less foot-dragging in negotiations: “There is not a single country that tells me they don’t want a good Paris agreement.” [And I want motherhood and apple pie too, but whatever happens in Paris will, on Bjorn Lomborg’s calculations, and on those of Professor Tol, make a barely measurable difference at a huge cost, and will not be necessary even if the predicted warming actually occurs, which on the record of the past couple of decades it will not].
Figueres said that while the Kyoto agreement dictated to individual nations how much they must cut, what comes out of Paris will be based on what the more than 150 countries say they can do. That tends to work better, she said. [Yeah, right: translate this as “The questioners have won, the consensus is absent, the science isn’t there, even if it was it would be cheaper to let warming happen and adapt the day after tomorrow than to try to prevent it today, and we can’t get a binding agreement anyway”].
It has to, Figueres said. “The urgency is much clearer now than it used to be.” [No, it isn’t. How can it be, given that on all terrestrial and satellite temperature records there has been at most half the warming that the IPCC originally predicted in 1990? The IPCC itself has been compelled almost to halve its predictions of medium-term warming, so there is far less “urgency” than there was. Indeed, there is now no urgency at all. The climate scare has died, but it will not be given a decent burial until the corpse smells so foul that the profiteers of doom can no longer make any money out of it at taxpayers’ expense].