Guest post by David Middleton
Trump Nominees Distance Themselves From His Climate Rhetoric
By Bill Murray
January 20, 2017
Rick Perry, questioned by senators Thursday vetting him as a potential energy secretary, was the fourth of Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to repudiate some of the president-elect’s most controversial statements on climate change and environmental protection during their confirmation hearings.
Trump, in 2012 on Twitter, famously called climate change a “hoax” created by the Chinese, an assertion he denied when asked about it last year during a presidential debate with Hillary Clinton.
Firstly, Trump’s “Climate Rhetoric” basically consists of a 2012 Tweet.
Secondly, Trump’s nominees are accurately characterizing climate change, which annoyed the schist out many of the Senate Democrats…
Trump nominees share a less urgent climate-change line
By Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney January 19 at 8:00 PM
No so long ago, Rick Perry described the science behind human-caused climate change as a “contrived phony mess.” On Thursday, during his confirmation hearing to become the next head of the Energy Department, the former Texas governor expressed a markedly different view — one that has begun to sound very familiar in recent days.
“I believe the climate is changing,” he told lawmakers. “I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is caused by man-made activity. The question is how we address it in a thoughtful way that doesn’t compromise economic growth.”
Almost to a person, the people whom President-elect Donald Trump has picked to run key federal agencies have echoed strikingly similar views about the warming planet and what to do, or not do, about it. Their position, which has proven maddening to many climate scientists, acknowledges three points: Yes, the climate is changing. Humans probably have some role. But it’s likely not the country’s most urgent problem.
Interior secretary nominee Ryan Zinke: “I do not believe it is a hoax. . . . I think where there’s debate on it is what [the human] influence is, what can we do about it.”
Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions: “I don’t deny that we have global warming. . . . It’s the question of how much is happening and what the reaction would be to it.”
Environmental Protection Agency administrator nominee Scott Pruitt: “Science tells us that the climate is changing, and human activity in some matter impacts that change. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact and what to do about it are subject to continuing debate and dialogue, and well it should be.”
As for predictions, scientists don’t have a crystal ball, and their climate change “model” projections aren’t perfect. But what they’re fundamentally doing is applying what is known about the climate system, which is that carbon dioxide warms it on a grand scale and will continue to do so in the future.
“Their climate ‘change model’ projections” have been dead-wrong…
Environmental advocates worry that a lack of urgency within the new administration will translate into efforts to slow down or halt efforts by the Obama administration to tackle the problem, which Obama called “one of the most urgent challenges of our time.” They fear a rollback of regulations aimed at reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, slashed funding for clean energy technologies and an indifference or hostility toward government climate research.
Earth’s climate is always changing. Humans contribute to that change. It is impossible to quantitatively differentiate human from natural causes. If it was possible to do so, the models would have been predictive. There simply is no evidence that it is an urgent threat, all of the proposed solutions would cost 10’s of trillions of dollars and there is no evidence that those expenditures would have any significant mitigating effect on climate change.
Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels summed it up best…
He’s an agnostic on the science of global warming but says his views don’t matter. “I don’t know if the CO2 zealots are right,” he said. “But I don’t care, because we can’t afford to do what they want to do. Unless you want to go broke, in which case the world isn’t going to be any greener. Poor nations are never green.”
Appendix: A Second Opinion on Models
See the Upper Air Temperature Measurement page for details about how the atmospheric temperature datasets are produced. Here we present applications of this dataset to climate change analysis.
There are three tropospheric temperature datasets available from RSS, TLT (Temperature Lower Troposphere), TMT (Temperature Middle Troposphere), and TTT (Temperature Tropical Troposphere, after Fu and Johansen). Using these datasets, we can investigate whether there have been significant changes in the tropospheric temperature over the last 35 years, and whether or not the spatial patterns of these changes agree with those predicted by climate models.
Over the past decade, we have been collaborating with Ben Santer at LLNL (along with numerous other investigators) to compare our tropospheric results with the predictions of climate models. Our results can be summarized as follows:
- Over the past 35 years, the troposphere has warmed significantly. The global average temperature has risen at an average rate of about 0.13 degrees Kelvin per decade (0.23 degrees F per decade).
- Climate models cannot explain this warming if human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are not included as input to the model simulation.
- The spatial pattern of warming is consistent with human-induced warming. See Santer et al 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012 for more about the detection and attribution of human induced changes in atmospheric temperature using MSU/AMSU data.
- The troposphere has not warmed quite as fast as most climate models predict.
To illustrate this last problem, we show several plots below. Each of these plots has a time series of TLT temperature anomalies using a reference period of 1979-2008. In each plot, the blue band is the 5% to 95% envelope for the RSS V3.3 MSU/AMSU Temperature uncertainty ensemble. (For a detailed explanation of the uncertainty ensemble, see Mears et al. 2011.) The yellow band shows the 5% to 95% envelope for the results of 33 CMIP-5 model simulations (19 different models, many with multiple realizations) that are intended to simulate Earth’s Climate over the 20th Century. For the time period before 2005, the models were forced with historical values of greenhouse gases, volcanic aerosols, and solar output. After 2005, estimated projections of these forcings were used. If the models, as a whole, were doing an acceptable job of simulating the past, then the observations would mostly lie within the yellow band. For the first two plots (Fig. 1 and Fig 2), showing global averages and tropical averages, this is not the case. Only for the far northern latitudes, as shown in Fig. 3, are the observations mostly within the range of model predictions.