Guest post by David Middleton
Is Seth Borenstein a journalist or a political activist? This should matter to the Associated Press, but it clearly doesn’t.
When I opened up the Real Clear Energy webpage this morning, I found the usual mix of articles relevant to energy (~20%) and environmental nonsense (~80%), including a particularly ignorant rant from Seth Borenstein. When did energy and climate science become conflated? If climate science is actually science, shouldn’t it be on the Real Clear Science webpage?
Anyway, back to Seth Borenstein’s amazingly ignorant rant…
WHY IT MATTERS: Climate Change
By SETH BORENSTEIN
Aug. 29, 2016 2:30 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — WASHINGTON (AP) — THE ISSUE: It’s as if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump live on two entirely different Earths: one warming, one not.
Clinton says climate change “threatens us all,” while Trump tweets that global warming is “mythical” and repeatedly refers to it as a “hoax.” Measurements and scientists say Clinton’s Earth is much closer to reality.
As heat-trapping gases in the air intensify and hot temperature records shatter, global warming is taking a toll on Americans’everyday life : their gardens, air, water, seasons, insurance rates and more.
WHY IT MATTERS
Dozens of measurements show Earth is warming. And it’s worsening. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists and nearly every professional organization of scientists have said climate change is real, man-made and a problem.
Hold on there a minute Seth… Dozens of measurements show that Earth has warmed since the mid-1800’s and all of the non-Hockey Stick climate reconstructions show that this warming began around 1600 AD (plus or minus a couple of decades). However, there is no basis to claim that “it’s worsening.” The data demonstrate that the rate of warming has actually slowed down…
While “every professional organization of scientists have said climate change is real” (even the AAPG)… None say that it is exclusively “man-made” and most say that computer models predict that it could become “a problem.” Maybe it’s a verb conjugation issue… Warmed becomes “warming”, could be becomes “is.” Whatever the conjugation, this is noting but argumentum ad verecundiam.
Borenstein: The last 15 months in a row have set records globally for heat, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Here are the 15 hottest months in the UAH 6.0 satellite temperature record:
1) 2016.08 0.832
2) 1998.25 0.743
3) 2016.17 0.734
4) 2016.25 0.715
5) 1998.08 0.653
6) 1998.33 0.643
7) 1998.42 0.575
8) 2016.33 0.545
9) 2016 0.541
10) 1998.58 0.516
11) 2010.17 0.514
12) 1998.5 0.511
13) 2010 0.502
14) 1998 0.479
15) 1998.17 0.475
Only 5 of the 15 hottest months “on record” fall within the “last 15 months in a row.” 8 of the hottest months on record occurred 18 years ago.
Borenstein: The world is on pace to break the record for hottest year, a record broken in 2010, 2014 and 2015. The five hottest years recorded have all been from 2005 on and it is about 1.8 degrees warmer than a century ago.
The world appears a lot less likely “on pace to break the record for hottest year, a record (not) broken in 2010, 2014 and 2015.
The 1998 record appears to be intact and might just survive the monster El Niño of 2015-16.
Borenstein: But it’s more than temperatures. Arctic sea ice keeps flirting with record low amounts.
*Arctic* sea ice keep “flirting with record low amounts” while Antarctic sea ice keeps “flirting” with record high amounts. (My Marine Science professor used to castigate anyone who used the word “amounts” when discussing quantities.)
The sea ice record only dates back to 1979 and the flirtations with record lows are barely exceeding 2 standard deviations (AKA natural variability).
Furthermore, the Arctic has been ice-free during the summer throughout much of the Holocene.
Borenstein: Hot water has been killing coral as never before seen. Scientists have connected man-made climate change to extreme weather, including deadly heat waves, droughts and flood-inducing downpours.
Unsubstantiated, unquantified drivel.
Borenstein: They even have connected it as one of several factors in the Syrian drought and civil war that led to a massive refugee crisis.
The region has been drying out since the Medieval Warm Period.
Borenstein: Climate change is causing the seas to rise, which threatens coastlines. Sea level has risen a foot in the waters around New York City in the past century, worsening flooding from Superstorm Sandy.
Here is that 1 foot of sea level rise plotted at the same scale as the Statue of Liberty…
Sea level, as measured by tidal gauges, is currently doing exactly what it is has been doing since at least 1850…
Regarding Frankenstorm Sandy, the 1 foot of sea level rise is totally insignificant relative to the normal tidal ranges and worse storm surges hit the region long before Seth Borenstein started propagandizing for the Warmunists.
Borenstein: And it is making people sicker with worsened allergies and asthma, heat deaths, diseases spread by ticks and mosquitoes, dirtier air and more contaminated water and food, a federal report said in April.
More unsubstantiated, unquantifiable, unverifiable drivel.
Borenstein: Changing the world’s economy from burning fossil fuel, which causes global warming, has a huge price tag. So does not doing anything. The world’s average income will shrivel 23 percent by the year 2100 if carbon dioxide pollution continues at the current pace, according to a 2015 study out of Stanford and the University of California Berkeley.
Even more unsubstantiated, unquantifiable, unverifiable drivel.
The price tag of decarbonization is in the range of $20 trillion (just for the U.S.) to avert a 10% chance “of an utterly catastrophic finale to humanity’s atmospheric experiment.”
Two Harvard economists, after trawling through voluminous, authoritative research, said last year that the odds of an utterly catastrophic finale to humanity’s atmospheric experiment is about 10 percent. That’s a conclusion that can focus minds pretty quickly—and perhaps turn the expenditure of trillions of dollars over three decades into only a tough, but manageable, problem.
Jacobson researches how states (PDF) and countries can achieve 100 percent renewable energy systems—even more ambitious than the cuts President Barack Obama wants by 2050 and which informed Heal’s study. What Jacobson calls a mistake in his colleague’s paper concerns the overall estimate, which accounts only for reductions from electricity generation, transmission, and storage.
But electricity makes up only 30 percent of U.S. carbon emissions. To account for the other two-thirds of energy use—transportation, industry, and residential and commercial use—that total should be much higher, Jacobson said.
By his measure, that would leave an economy-wide, 100 percent renewable price range of between $5.3 trillion and $22 trillion by 2050, closer to Jacobson’s own central estimate of about $14.6 trillion, he said.
Once Jacobson expanded Heal’s estimate so that it covered 100 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from all key sectors, their approaches stood about $8 trillion apart.
Heal did estimate that electrifying American transportation—cars, trucks, trains—would require approximately $620 billion in additional generation capacity. Beyond that, he didn’t go into non-electricity costs because the numbers would be smaller (billions, not trillions). “These costs will be small relative to the massive numbers associated with energy production and storage,” he said.
My back-of-the-envelope calculations put the price tag closer to $40 trillion, just for U.S. electricity generation… Whatever the number, it’s in the trillions and it will avert a 10% chance of catastrophe. That’s idiotic – Particularly since the 10% chance is based on computer models using the RCP 8.5 scenario… Models that have failed 95% of the time.
Borenstein: Just the Obama administration’s efforts to cut carbon pollution from 1,000 power plants projects to cost about $8 billion a year, but save several times more than in reduced health problems.
Apart from the very real $8 billion per year, more unsubstantiated, unquantifiable, unverifiable drivel.
Borenstein: The world’s largest general scientific society warns of “abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.”
Argumentum ad verecundiam, based on projections from computer models that have failed 95% of the time. “Same as it ever was”…
Featured image borrowed from Climate Depot.