Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org) The Science and Environmental Policy Project
THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President
Where’s the Theory? Last week’s TWTW discussed the report by the National Association of Scholars presenting the causes, consequences, and recommendations for reforms in the failure to be able to reproduce studies in the medical profession. The report touched on climate science and other fields, but strongly focused on medical studies. Errors creating the inability to reproduce studies can occur in numerous areas including: 1) logic; 2) methodology (procedures used); 3) improper data; and 4) extraneous data (leading to biases).
The primary focus of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its parent organization, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is assessing the influence on greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), on global temperatures. The Paris Agreement, signed by countries of the UNFCCC, reflects this concern. (President Trump has announced the US will pull out of the Paris Agreement, which is his choice, because it was not approved by the US Senate, only the prior administration.)
The highly influential 1979 Charney Report published by the US National Academy of Sciences recognized that increasing CO2 would have a small positive influence on global temperatures. However, it discussed speculative claims by climate modelers that the small influence by CO2 would be dramatically amplified by an increase in water vapor, the dominant greenhouse gas. The report gave a total sensitivity from a doubling of CO2 of 3ºC plus or minus 1.5 ºC, a range of 1.5 to 4.5 ºC (3 to 8 ºF).
It is very interesting to note, that in the latest IPCC reports, amplification from increased water vapor has been dropped, but the values obtained by using water vapor have been retained. One can see this in the EPA’s “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, 1990-2016” (April 12, 2018). Water vapor (H2O) is not listed in “Table ES-1: Global Warming Potentials (100-Year Time Horizon) Used in this Report”. The report stated: “UNFCCC reporting guidelines for national inventories require the use of GWP values from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) (IPCC 2007).”
There appears to be no theoretical justification for calculating values for a warming from increasing CO2 greater than that which can be derived from decades of direct laboratory experiments. However, the IPCC, and its followers such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), apparently believe they do not need a theoretical basis or an empirical basis for claiming dangers of carbon dioxide. See link under Defending the Orthodoxy.
Quote of the Week. “It is not only by dint of lying to others, but also of lying to ourselves, that we cease to notice that we are lying.”– Proust, from “Why We Cheat” by Ferric C. Fang and Arturo Casadevall.
Failure in Reproducibility: Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry have revised their 2015 paper on estimates of the sensitivity of the global climate to increasing atmospheric CO2. They address a range of concerns that arose from their 2015 paper. Using various sets of surface data, some dating as early as 1850, but mostly dating to 1869, they estimate that the sensitivity of global temperatures from a doubling of CO2 would be about one-half of that estimated in the Charney Report, stated above, and used by the IPCC and its followers. These findings apply to the models used by the IPCC and their followers, including the EPA in its finding that CO2 emissions endanger public health and welfare. The Lewis/Curry paper was published in the Journal of Climate.
What makes these estimates important is that Lewis and Curry follow the databases and methodology of the IPCC and address the uncertainty in these. They find the IPCC estimates greatly overstate CO2-caused warming. The IPCC work is not reproducible. As stated in the March 24 and 31 TWTWs, Professors Happer, Koonin, and Lindzen (Three Profs) demonstrate that the IPCC methodology can yield an infinite set of solutions. There is no logical reason to assume that the IPCC bureaucratic science is superior to the science of Lewis and Curry.
Further, it is important to note that Lewis and Curry found that using infilled temperature data (calculated data where no actual measurements exist) produces higher estimates of warming than estimates from ignoring these data. This indicates that NOAA and NASA, which infill (calculate) temperature data, create a warming bias. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
Arbitrary Start Date: On his web site, Roy Spencer makes important comments:
“I’d like to additionally emphasize overlooked (and possibly unquantifiable) uncertainties: (1) the assumption in studies like this that the climate system was in energy balance in the late 1800s in terms of deep ocean temperatures; and (2) that we know the change in radiative forcing that has occurred since the late 1800s, which would mean we would have to know the extent to which the system was in energy balance back then.
“We have no good reason to assume the climate system is ever in energy balance, although it is constantly readjusting to seek that balance. For example, the historical temperature (and proxy) record suggests the climate system was still emerging from the Little Ice Age in the late 1800s. The oceans are a nonlinear dynamical system, capable of their own unforced chaotic changes on century to millennial time scales, that can in turn alter atmospheric circulation patterns, thus clouds, thus the global energy balance. For some reason, modelers sweep this possibility under the rug (partly because they don’t know how to model unknowns).”
Spencer’s comments do not reduce the importance of the work of Lewis and Curry. Spencer recognizes turbulence of the earth’s climate system, as discussed by the Three Profs and in the paper by Lehr, Haapala, Frank, and Moore (April 14 TWTW). There is no reason to assume that earth is ever in balance, even though it may be constantly adjusting towards one. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
Stagnant Science? As stated above, IPCC science seems to be failing in four major areas: 1) logic; 2) methodology (procedures used); 3) improper data; and 4) extraneous data (leading to biases). The failure in logic comes from the IPCC’s elimination of increased water vapor amplifying any warming caused by increasing CO2 and the work of Monckton, et al. illustrates a logical error. Failure in methodology is illustrated by the work of the Three Profs (discussed above) and the recent work of Lewis and Curry. Failure in proper data has been long demonstrated by John Christy, most recently in an April 6 paper published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing. The greenhouse effect occurs in the atmosphere, and greenhouse gases are not warming it as claimed by the IPCC. Failure in eliminating extraneous data creating biases is demonstrated by Wallace, et al. (2017) discussed in the April 29, 2017, TWTW. The El Niño Southern Oscillation and volcanos have a clearly established direct influence on surface and atmospheric temperatures. The solar influence is imputed from the 1977 Pacific Climate Shift, for which existing data is incomplete.
Further questions of data integrity were discussed by Fred Singer (TWTW Apr 7).
A science that does not adjust to changing data and theory is stagnant, bureaucratic. Will western climate science continue to stagnate under past assumptions demonstrated to be wrong? That is unknown, but the EPA needs to revisit its finding the greenhouse gases, especially CO2, endanger human health and welfare. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and in TWTWs mentioned above.
Secret Science: On April 24, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed proposed rules requiring that science used by the agency be fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information be publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation. According to the press release:
“’The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,’ said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. ‘The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.’
“This proposed rule is in line with the scientific community’s moves toward increased data sharing to address the ‘replication crisis’—a growing recognition that a significant proportion of published research may not be reproducible. The proposal is consistent with data access requirements for major scientific journals like Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences as well as recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Science for Policy Project and the Administrative Conference of the United States’ Science in the Administrative Process Project.”
The reactions by environmental groups and organizations such as the American Lung Association, which have long made medical claims that cannot be verified, were swift and predictable. They do not want transparent science.
However, EPA veteran Alan Carlin supported the action, writing:
“EPA’s regulations must be based on the best possible scientific evidence. Allowing the possibility that the producers have deliberately or accidentally depended on ‘secret science’ is simply unacceptable.”
An interesting objection came from the Center for American Progress, which claimed the new action “Threatens Reproductive and Environmental Justice for Women.” It supported the claim by arguing that the regulations would result in: 1) Rolling back crucial air quality standards; 2) Reducing access to clean water; 3) Increasing exposure to toxic chemicals; and 4) Undermining efforts to address the urgent threat of climate change. How assuring transparency in science threats justice is not explained.
Perhaps the first use of secret science by the EPA occurred when the first EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, banned the use of DDT in the US by claiming it may cause cancer, without offering evidence. This was quickly used to promote banning DDT in many countries, even though the indoor spraying DDT was the most cost-effective way of controlling malaria and outdoor spraying was used to eradicate malaria in the southern US. Generally, malaria kills those most vulnerable, pregnant women and children. It appears that such secret science is not compatible with “Reproductive and Environmental Justice for Women.” See links under Change in US Administrations and Science, Policy, and Evidence
Variability in the Grid: Environmental activist Michael Schellenberger, a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” asks the question that if wind and solar power are becoming so cheap, as their proponents claim, why is electricity becoming so expensive in Europe? The candidate for governor of California gives a partial answer, variability in wind and solar generation require others to provide electricity or take electricity, when needed. He then blames reporters for not competently investigating the issue. As easily, one can blame promoters and politicians. Future TWTWs will explore the issue further. See links under Questioning European Green and Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind.
California Whiplash: Cliff Mass exposes one of the latest marketing gimmicks used to create fear of CO2, weather whiplash in California as discussed in “Nature, Climate Change.” Mass writes:
“This “whiplash” frenzy in the media shows a major failure mode in our conversations about global warming. Some researchers analyze purely model results. They don’t compare the model output with observations. They find some modest changes in the model projections and somewhat inflate the importance in their paper. The media and certain interest groups hype up the results with big headlines.
“As a result, the public is exposed to essentially incorrect information and gets turned off by another apocalyptic prediction. And such poor communication gets in the way of properly dealing with climate change, a serious issue, in a rational, fact-based way.”
Cliff Mass believes the CO2 will cause significant warming, but he understands the need to report weather properly. In the comments section, Physicist Gordon Fulks writes:
“Thank you, Professor Mass. I for one appreciate the fact that you continue to take a good hard look at all the climate nonsense that is published these days and then echoed and amplified so many times in hysterical media.
“Statistical studies that find slightly positive correlations in what may well be completely random data should never be published. (Completely random data are never perfectly smooth.) And studies using less than perfect models (meaning all of them) have to clearly state that the tiny effects claimed may be artifacts of the model and not real.
“Such shortcomings are hardly limited to the paper you discuss or even to climate science. There is a disturbing tendency among researchers to claim significant results when all they have really identified are problems with their own techniques.
“Peer-review is obviously failing big time. They should ask you to review more of these papers before they get published. Real researchers want thoughtful criticism, so they can avoid instant embarrassment. Careers may be temporarily propelled forward by uninformed media hype, but that attention quickly fades when people realize that poor quality science was involved.”
The integrity exhibited by Cliff Mass is sorely lacking. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Number of the Week: 3 Billion People: Global warming promoters appear to be in a race for the greatest hyperbole – extreme exaggeration. The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007) claimed the Himalayan Mountain glaciers will melt in the 2030s. When this was challenged in a report by glacial experts in India, the IPCC claimed it was a typo, and should have been 2300. Now, California governor Jerry Brown gets in the race and in a press conference at the National Press Club (DC) predicts if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced 3 billion will die from fatal heat events and 1 billion will be subjected to vector borne diseases they are not subject to now. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
SEPP’S APRIL FOOLS AWARD
SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:
· The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
· The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
· The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
· The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
The six past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, Ernest Moniz, John Holdren and Christiana Figueres aka Cruella de Ville are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on July 30. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you. The award will be presented at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in August.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Apr 27, 2018
“Given all the scientific evidence, isn’t it reasonable to conclude that the sun has a significant effect on the earth’s climate?”
The Scientific Importance of Free Speech
By Adam Perkins, Quillette, Apr 13, 2018 [H/t GWPF]
“Editor’s note: this is a shortened version of a speech that the author was due to give last month at King’s College London which was canceled because the university deemed the event to be too ‘high risk’.”
This Is Not A Post About Global Warming
By Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian, Apr 27, 2018
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science
Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2013
Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2014
Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming
The NIPCC Report on the Scientific Consensus
By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, NIPCC, Nov 23, 2015
Download with no charge
Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate
S. Fred Singer, Editor, NIPCC, 2008
New Data Imply Slower Global Warming
By Staff Writers, GWPF, Apr 24, 2018
Link to paper, No Access: The impact of recent forcing and ocean heat uptake data on estimates of climate sensitivity
By Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry, Journal of Climate, AMS, Apr 23, 2018
“These results imply that high ECS and TCR values derived from a majority of CMIP5 climate models are inconsistent with observed warming during the historical period.”
Some More Insensitivity about Global Warming
By Patrick Michaels, CATO, Apr 25, 2018
Link to manuscript: The impact of recent forcing and ocean heat uptake data on estimates of climate sensitivity
By Nicholas Lewis and Judith Curry, Apr 12, 2018
Impact of recent forcing and ocean heat uptake data on estimates of climate sensitivity
By Nic Lewis, Climate Etc. Apr 24, 2018
New Lewis & Curry Study Concludes Climate Sensitivity is Low
Global warming “problem” cut by 50%
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Apr 14, 2018
Global Warming Likely to Be 30 to 45 Percent Lower Than Climate Models Project
A new study in the Journal of Climate compares global temperature data trends since 1850 with model outputs.
By Ronald Bailey, Reason, Apr 24, 2018 [H/t GWPF]
Here’s One Global Warming Study Nobody Wants You To See
Editorial, IBD, Apr 25, 2018
Which is the Most Accurate Satellite-Derived Temperature Dataset?
Christy, J.R., Spencer, R.W., Braswell, W.D. and Junod, R. 2018. Examination of space-based bulk atmospheric temperatures used in climate research. International Journal of Remote Sensing 39: 3580-3607. Apr 6, 2018
Comment on the Irreproducibility Crisis: Henry H. Bauer
By Henry H. Bauer, Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences, and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Science Studies, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, National Association of Scholars, Apr 25, 2018 [H/t GWPF]
Link to book: Science Is Not What You Think
How It Has Changed, Why We Can’t Trust It, How It Can Be Fixed
By Henry H. Bauer, McFarland, 2018
“In some respects, society’s views about science, the conventional contemporary wisdom about science, would not be so inaccurate about early modern science, but they are badly misleading about contemporary science. In a seriously oversimplified nutshell:”…huge government funding creating a “bureaucratic corporate-industry-government behemoth.”
Did official climatology know its predictions were nonsense?
Guest opinion by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, WUWT, Apr 24, 2018
The Sky Is Not Falling
Long, slow, positive trends don’t make it to the front page or to water-cooler conversations. So we develop peculiar misperceptions, especially the idea that a preponderance of things are going wrong.
By Bjørn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, Apr 23, 2018
18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year
By Mark Perry, AEIdeas, Apr 21, 2018
Defending the Orthodoxy
By Staff Writers, EPA, April 12, 2018
California has worst US air pollution: report
By Staff Writers, AFP, Apr 19, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Link to press release: More than 4 in 10 Americans Live with Unhealthy Air According to 2018 ‘State of the Air’ Report
American Lung Association’s 19th annual air quality report finds ozone pollution worsened significantly, 133.9 million people at risk from air pollution
By Staff Writers, ALA, Apr 17, 2018
“Technically known as PM2.5, these microscopic particles lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, cause lung cancer and shorten life.”
Key Findings: The State of the Air 2018
[SEPP Comment: Unable to link to any actual reports to discover the medical research substantiating the Key Findings.]
Christiana Figueres Imagines A Fossil Fuel Free World
By Paul Homewood Not a Lot of People Know That, Apr 24, 2018
[SEPP Comment: Apparently the billions of dollars are not rolling to the group founded by last year’s recipient of the SEPP April Fool’s Award.]
Canada Takes the Lead on Methane Emissions
By Scott Vaughan and Durwood Zaelke, Project Syndicate, Apr 27, 2018
“In the fight against climate change, one of the most damaging greenhouse gases is also one of the least regulated. Unless new strategies are developed to measure and reduce atmospheric methane, the targets set by the Paris climate agreement are unlikely to be met.”
“According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 as a heat-trapping gas over a 20-year period, and is responsible for about a fifth of the warming caused by humans.”
[SEPP Comment; Fighting for the myth that adding methane to today’s atmosphere will cause significant global warming.]
The energy transition going global
By Staff Writers, Energiewende direct, Germany, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Apr 19, 2018
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Climate change not the key driver of human conflict and displacement in East Africa
Press Release, University College London, Via Science Daily, Apr 24, 2018
Link to paper: Assessing the relative contribution of economic, political and environmental factors on past conflict and the displacement of people in East Africa
By Erin Owain & Mark Maslin, Nature, Palgrave Communications, Apr 24, 2018
“This study found that climate variations as recorded by the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and the global temperature record did not significantly impact the level of regional conflict or the number of total displaced people (TDP).”
Eco-Imperialism in North America and the World
Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball, WUWT, Apr 26, 2018
Unstoppable Change, Stasis, and Climatism
By Charles Battig, Master Resource, Apr 24, 2018
Four Reasons Alarmists Are Wrong on Climate Change
By Vijay Jayaraj, Master Resource, Apr 26, 2018
UK to review climate target raising hopes of a zero emissions pledge
The government pledged in 2016 to enshrine a zero target in law to meet its Paris commitments, but has yet to pass any legislation
By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, UK, Apr 17, 2018
Michael Bloomberg Pays USA’s Paris Agreement Tithe
Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Apr 22, 2018
[SEPP Comment: The Obama administration made a commitment, America did not.]
To lead on climate, countries must commit to zero emissions
The UK’s climate laws forged a path for others to follow. But as progressive nations commit to zero emissions, it must reclaim its leading role, writes Sweden’s deputy prime minister
By Isabella Lövin, deputy prime minister of Sweden, and minister for international development, cooperation and climate. Guardian, UK, Apr 17, 2018
EPA Administrator Pruitt Proposes Rule To Strengthen Science Used In EPA Regulations
Press Release, EPA, Apr 24, 2018
Secret Science at EPA Is Coming to an End: Scott Pruitt Signs Data Transparency Rule
By Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, Apr 24, 2018 [H/t Apr 24, 2018] http://dailycaller.com/2018/04/24/pruitt-signs-data-transparency-rule/
Pruitt signs proposed rule to erase ‘secret science’ from EPA
By Miranda Green, The Hill, Apr 24, 2018
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: Delete Decades Of Science In The Name Of ‘Transparency’
By Trevor Nace, Forbes, Apr 24, 2018
EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Fends Off Democrat Critics, Makes Case for Deregulation in Testy Hearings
By Kevin Mooney, The Daily Signal, Apr 26, 2018
Social Benefits of Carbon
Happy Earth Day!
By Patrick Michaels, CATO, Apr 22, 2018
“According to the Zhu et al., 91% of the greening is attributable to human activity. Perhaps it’s best to simply quote from the paper:
“’Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau.’”
Fossil Fuels — Curse or Blessing?
By Marlo Lewis, CEI, Apr 20, 2018
Problems in the Orthodoxy
Maldives Government: Where’s Our Climate Cash?
Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Apr 26, 2018
[SEPP Comment: We need it for the new runway to handle the world’s largest passenger airplanes. If we don’t get it soon, people may not believe us when we claim we will be underwater in a few years.]
Seeking a Common Ground
Billions of gallons of water saved by thinning forests
Too many trees in Sierra Nevada forests stress water supplies, scientists say
By Cheryl Dybas, NSF, Apr 23, 2018
Why Pruitt’s Decision to End EPA “Secret Science” Is So Important
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Apr 27, 2018
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science
A Marine Pteropod’s Response to Undersaturated Waters
Peck, V.L., Oakes, R.L., Harper, E.M., Manno, C. and Tarling, G.A. 2018. Pteropods counter mechanical damage and dissolution through extensive shell repair. Nature Communications 9: 264, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02692-w., Apr 27, 2018
[The authors say their research adds] “to the growing body of evidence that many polar calcifiers, exposed to undersaturated waters, can withstand and repair damage to their shells, perhaps on account of natural exposure to heightened physical and chemical variability, which have resulted in organisms developing or exhibiting an inherent resilience strategy.”
Four Decades of Bird Range Change Along an Altitudinal Gradient
Kirchman, J.J. and Van Keuren, A.E. 2017. Altitudinal range shifts of birds at the southern periphery of the boreal forest: 40 years of change in the Adirondack Mountains. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129: 742-753. Apr 26, 2018
“In any event, one thing is for certain, the 40-year warming of the Adirondack region has led to increased bird species richness and a general expansion and upslope shift in their ranges, which findings are a far cry from the concerns of climate alarmists who predict the birds’ extinction by being pushed off the tops of their altitudinal ranges due to rising temperatures!”
The Exceptional Resilience of Oyster Reefs to Sea Level Rise
Ridge, J.T., Rodriguez, A.B. and Fodrie, F.J. 2017. Evidence of exceptional oyster-reef resilience to fluctuations in sea level. Ecology and Evolution 7: 10409-10420. Apr 25, 2018
Model Uncertainties Too Great To Reliably Advise Policymakers, German Scientists Say
German scientists Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt — and new recent studies — show climate models have a long way to go before they can be used for advising policymakers.
Climate sciences cannot reliably advise policymakers as long as model uncertainties cannot be reduced
By Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, (German text translated by P Gosselin), No Tricks Zone, Apr 25, 2018
Link to paper: Climate Models Are Uncertain, but We Can Do Something About It
Model simulations of many climate phenomena remain highly uncertain despite scientific advances and huge amounts of data. Scientists must do more to tackle model uncertainty head-on.
By Kenneth S. Carslaw, Lindsay A. Lee, Leighton A. Regayre, and Jill S. Johnson, EOS, Feb 26, 2018
Measurement Issues — Surface
A Look at the Shape of Temperature Change Over Time
Guest essay by Mark Fife, WUWT, Apr 25, 2018
Reconstructing a Temperature History Using Complete and Partial Data
Guest analysis by Mark Fife, WUWT, Apr 19, 2018
Mississippi River Megafloods – Worst in 500 years!!!
Guest post by David Middleton, WUWT, Apr 19, 2018
Mississippi River flooding worse now than any time in past 500 years
Efforts to control the river’s flow with levees and other structures have increased the risk of dangerous floods.
By Emma Marris, Nature, Apr 4, 2018
“Both dating techniques are relatively new and hadn’t yet been brought to bear on this most famous of American rivers.”
The 60-year oscillation revisited
Guest Post by Javier, WUWT, Apr 26, 2018
Shift in ocean circulation triggered the end of the last ice age
“This gives us an example of the way that different parts of the climate system are connected, so that changes in circulation in one region can drive changes in CO2 and oxygen all the way over on the other side of the planet,” researcher Will Gray said.
By Brooks Hays, UPI, Apr 24, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Link to paper: Deglacial upwelling, productivity and CO2 outgassing in the North Pacific Ocean
By William R. Gray, et al. Nature Geoscience, Apr 23, 2018
[SEPP Comment: Highly questionable.]
Uniformitarian Impact Craters… “Same as it ever was.”
Guest essay by David Middleton, WUWT, Apr 25, 2018
[SEPP Comment: In the search for oil, not everything is uniformly understood.]
Microbes in underground aquifers beneath deep-sea Mid-Atlantic Ridge ‘chow down’ on carbon
Tracking process in deep-sea aquifers increases knowledge of the carbon cycle
By Cheryl Dybas, NSF, Apr 23, 2018
New Camera Tech Reveals Underwater Ecosystems from Above
By Andrea Martin, NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office, Apr 20, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Less Svalbard polar bear habitat during the early Holocene than now
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Apr 21, 2018
Polar bear habitat update early spring 2018
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Apr 27, 2018
“Spring in the Arctic is April-June (Pilfold et al. 2015). As late April is the peak of this critical spring feeding period for most polar bear populations, this is when sea ice conditions are also critical. This year, as has been true since 1979, that sea ice coverage is abundant across the Arctic for seals that are giving birth and mating at this time as well as for polar bears busy feeding on young seals and mating.”
Polar bears not starving, says Nunatsiavut wildlife manager
Jim Goudie says there are lots of bears the in northern Labrador/Quebec region
By Geoff Bartlett, CBC News, Can. Apr 21, 2018 [H/t GWPF]
Curious Circles in Arctic Sea Ice
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Apr 20, 2018
Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine
EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
The world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields within six months, to protect both wild and honeybees that are vital to crop pollination
By Damian Carrington, Guardian, US, Apr 27, 2018
Krugman Misleads on Renewables
By Robert Murphy, Institute for Energy Research, Apr 25, 2018 [H/t Cooler Heads]
BBC withdraws Human Planet series after whale hunt scenes exposed as more fakery
By Anita Singh, Telegraph, UK, Apr 26, 2018
BBC Forget About Oil And Gas
By Paul Homewood Not a Lot of People Know That, Apr 25, 2018
“The contribution from wind/solar/hydro has only increased from 1.5% to 3.0% of primary energy consumption since 2013.”
The PBS Newshour Whale Oil Myth
By Andy May, WUWT, Apr 24, 2018
CBS: Climate Change ‘Making Allergy Season Worse’
By Thomas Williams, Breitbart, Apr 22, 2018
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
NFU’s Guy Smith’s Latest Fake Climate Claims
By Paul Homewood Not a Lot of People Know That, Apr 24, 2018
Slew Of Recent Published Findings Show Man’s Share Of Arctic Ice Melt Grossly Exaggerated, And Uncertain!
By P. Gosselin, Not Tricks Zone, Apr 22, 2018
Study: Light from energy saving LED’s may be giving us cancer
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Apr 25, 2018
Link to paper: Evaluating the Association between Artificial Light-at-Night Exposure and Breast and Prostate Cancer Risk in Spain (MCC-Spain Study)
By Ariadna Garcia-Saenz, et al, Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2018
“Conclusion: Both prostate and breast cancer were associated with high estimated exposure to outdoor ALAN in the blue-enriched light spectrum.”
Link to article: Blue light has a dark side
Exposure to blue light at night, emitted by electronics and energy-efficient lightbulbs, can be harmful to your health.
By Staff Writer, Harvard Health Letter, Dec 30, 2017
“Results obtained for both cities show that participants exposed to higher levels of blue light had a 1.5 and 2-fold higher risk of developing breast and prostate cancer, respectively, as compared to the less-exposed population.”
[SEPP Comment: Hardly compelling!]
Jerry Brown: 3 Billion Will Die from Global Warming
By Melanie Arter, CNSNews, Apr 19, 2018
Is “Weather Whiplash” Increasing In California?
By Cliff Mass, Weather and Climate Blog, Apr 26, 2018
Link to paper: Increasing precipitation volatility in twenty-first-century California
By Swain, Langenbrunner, Neelin & Hall, Nature Climate Change, Apr 23, 2018
A New Low in the Media’s War on Fracking
By Staff Writers, Institute for Energy Research, Apr 20, 2018
Link to report: Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking – Fifth Edition
By Staff Writers, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 2018
According to Rolling Stone: “Drawing on news investigations, government assessments and more than 1,200 peer-reviewed research articles, the study finds that fracking – shooting chemical-laden fluid into deep rock layers to release oil and gas – is poisoning the air, contaminating the water and imperiling the health of Americans across the country.”
[SEPP Comment: The actual study was not found. According to its web site, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is a U.S. affiliate of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), recipient of the 1985 Nobel Price for Peace.]
More than 1,000 tropical islands may become ‘uninhabitable’ soon due to climate change: study
By Brett Samuels, The Hill, Apr 26, 2018
Link to paper: Most atolls will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century because of sea-level rise exacerbating wave-driven flooding
By Curt D. Storlazzi, et al. Science Advances, Apr 25, 2018
Humans Are Causing Mammals to Shrink!
Guest commentary by David Middleton, WUWT, Apr 20, 2018
Link to paper: Body size downgrading of mammals over the late Quaternary
Felisa A. Smith, Rosemary E. Elliott Smith, S. Kathleen Lyons, Jonathan L. Payne, Science, Apr 20, 2018
[SEPP Comment: The base line starts more than 65 million years before modern humans existed!]
If Solar And Wind Are So Cheap, Why Are They Making Electricity So Expensive?
By Michael Shellenberger, Forbes, Apr 23, 2018 [H/t WUWT]
Link to paper: The Market Value of Variable Renewables: The Effect of Solar and Wind Power Variability on their Relative Price
By Lion Hirth, Published in Energy Economics, 2013
Germany’s Green Energy Transition Is Losing Its Risk Buffer
By Von Daniel Wetzel, Wirtschaft, Via GWPF, Apr 24, 2018
“Renewable energy can no longer rely on the protection of conventional power-plants, Germany’s electricity sector has warned. To avert a shortfall, the government must act immediately. Otherwise, Germany’s network stability is endangered.”
Germany’s Wind Energy Mess: As Subsidies Expire, Thousands Of Turbines To Shut Down…Environmental Nightmare!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Apr 24, 2018
Green Failure: German Solar Industry Crashes And Burns…Solar Jobs See Blood Bath!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Apr 21, 2018
The world’s biggest wind turbine – nearly three times the height of Big Ben – is to be built off the North-East coast… but JAMES DELINGPOLE says the idea these giants will solve our energy problems is simply hot air
By James Delingpole, Daily Mail, Apr 25, 2018
“As the Renewable Energy Foundation’s John Constable explains: ‘All this is designed to give the illusion that there has been massive technological progress in the industry when in fact the major problems remain unsolved: the energy in the wind is of low quality. Turning it into high quality, reliable energy for the consumer is still very expensive indeed.’” [Boldface added.]
Questioning Green Elsewhere
The Great Earth Day Yawn
By Steven Hayward, Power Line, Apr 23, 2018
Who’s Afraid Of Global Warming?
By Robert J. Samuelson, IBD, Apr 25, 2018
The only thing you need to know about Earth Day
By Tim Worstall, Washington Examiner, Apr 21, 2018
As Boulder Sues, 15 States – Including Colorado – Oppose Global Warming Lawsuits
By John O’Brien, Forbes, Apr 20, 2018
Louisiana Follows Liberal New York City’s Lead In Going After Oil Companies
By Christopher Horner, IBD, Apr 27, 2018
“During the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court dismissed lawsuits filed against several Midwest power companies by states and conservation groups seeking damages for global warming. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in a unanimous opinion that American businesses cannot be sued under state or local “nuisance” ordinances due to the fact that global warming is a global issue and rightfully falls under the jurisdiction of Congress and the EPA.”
Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes
Carbon Tax: A Bad Idea Whose Time Should Never Come
Editorial, IBD, Apr 27, 2018
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
How Venezuela has resorted to importing oil as its core industry faces collapse
‘They are importing barrels that cost $80 to $90 and selling them at $0’
By Paula Rincon, Independent, UK, Apr 16, 2018 [H/t Energy Matters]
“The long queues for food and medicine in Venezuela are now well documented, but lines of cars waiting outside petrol stations – something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago, when petrol cost $0.01 (0.7p) per litre – are becoming more common.”
[SEPP Comment: The US wind industry used IEA study of fuel subsidies in petrostates, including Venezuela, to justify subsidies for wind in the US.]
Energy Issues – Non-US
Variability on their Relative Price
By Lion Hirth, Published in Energy Economics, 2013
[SEPP Comment: Capital costs of wind and solar are not the issue, stability of the grid is the issue.]
German government confirms plan to add LNG infrastructure
By Andreas Franke, Platts, Apr 20, 2018
The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2018
By Kerstine Appunn, Sven Egenter, Julian Wettengel, Clean Energy Wire, Apr 18, 2018 [H/t Dennis Ambler]
“Carbon pricing penalises coal usage and it can create revenue which finance ministers around the world can use,” Edenhofer argued [Ottmar Edenhofer professor from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)]
[SEPP Comment: Expanding the bureaucracy supporting bureaucratic science?]
Energy Issues — Australia
Even AEMO head admits solar panels are a big “disrupter” in Australia – fears big players may abandon grid [Australian Energy Market Operator]
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Apr 25, 2018
Watching Zibelman, you might also think that complexity has no price, simplicity has no value, and the Bureau of Meteorology has an important role in driving our energy policy.
Our Socialist Electricity Grid works perfectly for everyone except consumers
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Apr 20, 2018
What destroys a grid faster than a socialist electricity system? A semi-socialist system that pretends to be a free market.
Labor warns Government’s National Energy Guarantee will lead to renewables lag
By Louise Yaxley, ABC, AU, Apr 20, 2018
Link to announced policy: The Clean Energy Target is gone, so what have we got instead? And what does a National Energy Guarantee mean for consumers?
By Louise Yaxley and Lucy Sweeney, ABC, AU, Nov 21, 2017
“It will not encourage uptake of renewables. It will not provide investment certainty. The only certainty it provides is no large-scale projects will be built.”
[SEPP Comment: With wind and solar power, the only certainty is that it will fail.]
Energy Issues — US
A brief review of the New England electricity sector
By Roger Andrews, Energy Matters, Apr 25, 2018
“Constructing the additional lines needed to bring the power in may also be problematic in the face of the same kind of BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) opposition that has hindered the development of gas pipelines.”
“What does the future hold for New England? Will it march forward into an economy based on clean, green, sustainable electricity or will the lights go out long before it reaches this point? It seems certain that the lights will go out first, but it’s difficult to say when because grids seem to be past masters in the art of scraping up a few extra MW when things get desperate. Barring a miraculous advance in energy storage technology, however, the chances that New England will ever succeed in converting its electricity sector to 100% renewables are effectively zero.”
Report highlights impact of US nuclear plant closures
By Staff Writers, WNN, Apr 17, 2018 [H/t Energy Matters]
Link to report: Impact of Announced Nuclear Closures in Ohio and Pennsylvania
By Dean Murphy and Mark Berkman, The Brattle Group, April 2018
“The total zero-emission generation of the four plants – and therefore the fossil emissions avoided by them – is considerably greater than all solar and wind generation in the PJM electricity market in which they operate, the study found.”
[SEPP Comment: Higher costs to 65 million customers on the PJM grid.]
Permian Basin Is Growing Into the Largest Oil Patch in the World
By Jessica Summers and Sheela Tobben, Bloomberg, Apr 24, 2018
The Craziest Regulatory Episode in US History: The 1970s Oil Reselling Boom
By Robert Bradley Jr., Master Resource, Apr 25, 2018
[SEPP Comment: The speculation ended with elimination of price controls.]
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
US Shale Companies Strick [Strike[ Cash on Higher Crude Prices
By Staff Writers, Financial Times, Via GWPF, Apr 23, 2018
“Andrew McConn of Wood Mackenzie said the larger US shale oil companies needed a crude price of about $53 a barrel to generate free cash. Benchmark US crude was $68 a barrel on Friday.”
China is getting better at fracking, the technology that sparked the US natural gas boom
China will nearly double its natural gas production from shale basins over the next two years, energy research firm Wood Mackenzie forecasts.
By Tom DiChristopher, CNBC, Apr 18, 2018
Nuclear Energy and Fears
Global demand rising for Russian-built nuclear power plants
By Staff Writers, RT, Mar 10, 2018
Belgium to double offshore wind energy capacity as it exits nuclear power
By Staff Writers, Reuters, Apr 20, 2018
[SEPP Comment: Planned grid instability]
Bringing the “Unruly Sun” to Heel: Is Solar Energy Worth the Candle
By John Constable, GWPF, Apr 24, 2018
[SEPP Comment: The book review is summed with: “Simply, then, very little is known about the feasability or desirabilty of the electricity system transformation required to accommodate large scale solar energy, and no one has any idea if there is a viable let alone an attractive sunshine fuelled economy at the end of it.”]
Microsoft’s record solar purchase lowers risks for smaller offtakers
By Neil Ford, New Energy Update, Apr 11, 2018
“Microsoft’s agreement to buy 315 MW from a 500 MW solar project in Virginia simplifies the acquisition of additional offtakers as falling costs attract new corporate buyers, Brian Janous, Microsoft’s General Manager of Energy, told New Energy Update.”
[SEPP Comment: Who will pay if the project fails to deliver in winter – the general consumers?]
Installed Wind Capacity Braggadocio
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Apr 24, 2018
“The amount of electricity actually produced from the huge investment in wind power is very small.
“Electricity from wind is not only unreliable, it’s expensive.”
Renewables Generated 103 Percent of Portugal’s Electricity Consumption in March
By Staff Writers, Institute for Energy Research, Apr 27, 2018
“Portugal’s grid operated on 100 percent renewable energy for only relatively short periods—just two 70-hour spans.”
[SEPP Comment: It matters how one counts numbers!]
New Mexico sets fastest US wind growth in 2017; US launches largest ever wind asset database
By Staff Writers, New Energy Update, Apr 25, 2018
“Massive Damage”…Large-Scale Engineering Debacle Threatens As North Sea Wind Turbine Breaks Apart!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Apr 27, 2018
[SEPP Comment: Salt spray is very corrosive.]
Energy & Environmental Newsletter: April 23, 2018
By John Droz, Jr. Master Resource, Apr 23, 2018
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy – Storage and Back-up
Lockheed Martin to Deliver 17 MWh of GridStar™ Lithium Energy Storage Systems to Peak Power Inc.
Press Release, Lockheed Martin, Apr 19, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
“Peak Power Inc. will use its own intelligent Synergy™ software, combined with GridStar Lithium energy storage systems, to forecast the most expensive peak demand events and shift energy consumption for its customers during these peak moments. This results in a reduced amount of peak demand on the grid and lower electricity costs for customers.”
[SEPP Comment: Good for avoiding premium-priced power demands, but not for days at a time.]
Balancing nuclear and renewable energy
By Cathy Milostan, Argonne National Laboratory, WUWT, Apr 25, 2018
“Nuclear power plants typically run either at full capacity or not at all. Yet the plants have the technical ability to adjust to the changing demand for power and thus better accommodate sources of renewable energy such as wind or solar power.”
[SEPP Comment Getting less out of the system? Using nuclear for peak shaving is absurd.]
The world needs to store billions of tons of carbon. It could start in a surprising place.
By Chris Mooney, Washington Post, April 23, 2018
Near-term deployment of carbon capture and sequestration from biorefineries in the United States
By Daniel L. Sanchez, PNAS, Apr 23, 2018
Browned off: $90m ‘clean coal’ program ends as final project collapses
By Royce Millar & Ben Schneiders, Sydney Morning Herald, Apr 18, 2018
Study: California to get “climate whiplash” between drought and floods
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Apr 23, 2018
Link to paper: Increasing precipitation volatility in twenty-first-century California
By Swain, Langenbrunner, Neelin & Hall, Nature, Climate Change, Apr 23, 2018
FLASHBACK: Twenty years ago today, the infamous “hockey stick” was published in Nature
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Apr 23, 2018
[SEPP Comment: To be repeated by NOAA / NASA accelerating sea level change?]
The “Environmentalists” Have Indeed Gone Mad and Probably Will Continue to Do So
By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Apr 21, 2018
Britain to ban Disposable Plastic – Cotton Buds, Drink Stirrers, Drinking Straws…
Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Apr 20, 2018
Cotton buds and plastic straws could be banned in England next year
Consultation to start later this year as Theresa May continues drive against single-use plastic waste
By Anne Perkins, Guardian, US, Apr 19, 2018 [H/t WUWT]
The Connection Between Russia and 2 Green Groups Fighting Fracking in US
By Kevin Mooney, The Daily Signal, Apr 22, 2018
Other Scientific News
Nanoporous membrane centrifuge enables reverse osmosis without fouling
By Staff Writers, Washington DC (SPX), Apr 20, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Link to paper: A scale-up nanoporous membrane centrifuge for reverse osmosis desalination without fouling
By Qingsong Tu, et al. Technology, March 2018\
[SEPP Comment: Industrial scale rather than municipality scale as used in Israel?]
TanSat delivers first global map of atmospheric CO2
By James Holloway, New Atlas, Apr 19, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
Beavers have been too busy
By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions.org, Apr 23, 2018
“A study found that the beaver is playing an increasing part in climate change because the dams they build for shelter create shallow, stagnant ponds of water which allow biological material to build up on the bottom of the river.
“The production of methane is accelerated because stationary pools of water contain much less oxygen than a flowing river interacting with the atmosphere and microbes thrive in low-oxygen environments.
“The study, by the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, estimates that beavers are indirectly producing 200 times more methane today than they were in 1900, when fur hunting had largely wiped out the populations in North American, Europe and Asia.”
The Independent, 17 Dec 2014
1. Climate Activists Are Lousy Salesmen
From turgid battle cries to hypocritical spokesmen, it’s no wonder they turn so many Americans off.
By Stewart Easterby, WSJ, Apr 25, 2018
SUMMARY: The former sales executive writes:
“Politicians, bureaucrats, activists, scientists and the media have warned Americans for decades that the Earth is headed toward climate catastrophe. Yet surveys consistently show that less than half of U.S. adults are “deeply concerned” or “very worried” about climate issues. If, as Leonardo DiCaprio insists, climate change is the “most urgent threat facing our entire species,” why do a large percentage of Americans not share his fear? Climate crusaders tend to lay fault with nonbelievers’ intransigence. But this is its own form of denial and masks the real reason: poor salesmanship.
“The promotional efforts of the climate catastrophists have lacked clarity, credibility, and empathy. These are the cornerstones of effective persuasion. Successful advocacy campaigns use lucid names to frame and sell their issues—“living wage,” “welfare queen” or “death tax.” Climate can be confounding; it is long-term weather, but environmentalists chide anyone who dares call it that. Since Earth’s climate is always fluctuating, the word “change” muddles it with redundancy. Swapping between “climate change” and “global warming” confuses the public.
“A good battle cry can rally the troops, but the Paris Agreement’s aim is “to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” That is a far cry from ‘Remember the Alamo!’ And Americans are always turned off by the use of metric units. In the U.S., Toyota wisely markets the 2018 Prius’s fuel economy as 52 miles a gallon, not 22 kilometers a liter.”
After discussing the success of Carl Sagan and the hypocrisy of the life style of Al Gore, the author continues:
“Scientific impropriety has triggered a popular backlash against the climate change activists. The hockey stick chart, Climategate and questions about the integrity of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate data have all fueled public suspicion. Only 39% of Americans believe climate scientists can be trusted a lot to give full and accurate information on causes of climate change according to Pew.
“Failed forecasts diminish believability. A Wall Street firm with multiple wrong market calls would lose clients. The actual rate of warming has come in below what climate models projected, casting doubt on future calculations. Likewise, claims that anyone can precisely estimate what global average temperatures will be decades from now don’t pass muster with the average person. There are currently no betting odds for Super Bowl CX in 2076 or S&P 500 futures with December 2099 expiration dates.
“The burden of proof in the climate debate lies with those claiming rising temperatures stem primarily from human activity and not other factors. While the prosecution may feel it has a winning case, the jury’s verdict is what counts. Labeling dissenting jurors ‘deniers’—an insidious association with Holocaust denial—is a losing courtroom strategy. Most people are naturally disinclined to obsess daily about a phenomenon that started long before they were born and won’t reach fruition until long after they die.
“It’s true that almost all climate scientists believe human-caused global warming is real. Similarly, American adults understand that expert opinions can change or turn out to be spectacularly wrong. Think of the recently overturned consensus on the link between egg consumption and coronary heart disease, or the reports during the 1970s that a new ice age was imminent. Against this backdrop, calling skeptics ‘anti-science’ is counterproductive, especially since skepticism is the essence of the scientific method.
“From 2006 to 2016, China increased its annual carbon dioxide emissions 37% while America’s yearly output decreased far more than any other country. In the Paris Agreement, China pledged to begin reducing emissions around 2030, meaning it can spew even more greenhouse gas for years to come. The U.S. vowed to reduce its 2025 emissions by 28% from 2005 levels. Yet questioning if the accord is fair to America or will forestall global warming is reliably met with sanctimonious scorn.
“My advice to the activists is this: you will attract more supporters to your cause if you can pick a name and stick with it, create a clear call to action, enlist a convincing spokesman with a small carbon footprint, tone down the alarmism, and fix the computer models. Most important, listen to the doubters, don’t lambaste them.”
2. Unappointed ‘Judges’ Shouldn’t Be Trying Cases
The SEC’s tribunals run afoul of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has a chance to remedy that.
By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman, WSJ, Apr 22, 2018
SUMMARY: The attorneys writer:
“President Trump promised to nominate judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia, and that thought was no doubt foremost in his mind when he chose Neil Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s vacant seat. On Monday Justice Gorsuch and his colleagues will consider whether the hiring of adjudicators deciding cases within federal agencies will also be subject to the kind of accountability that making an appointment entails.
“So-called administrative law judges are not ‘principal officers,’ so they are not subject to Senate confirmation under the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. The question in Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission is whether they are ‘inferior officers.’ In that case, the clause requires them to be appointed by principal officers, such as commissioners acting collectively or a cabinet secretary, themselves appointed by the president. The alternative is that they are mere employees, who can be hired by lower-level managers with no presidential responsibility.
“The dividing line, the Supreme Court has explained, is whether the position entails the exercise of ‘significant authority.’ There shouldn’t be much doubt on which side of that line the SEC’s judges fall.”
After going into some detail in the case, the attorneys conclude:
“There’s no reason to fear disruption if the justices rule in Mr. Lucia’s favor. Every agency employing ALJs already has the legal authority to leave their appointment to the top officer, as the Constitution requires. And in only a handful of pending cases has the appointments issue been raised. If necessary, the high court could clarify that its decision applies only prospectively—just as it did when it held that bankruptcy courts lacked authority to decide certain kinds of claims.
“What it should not do is permit agencies to shirk what Justice James Wilson identified as the principle underlying the Appointments Clause: ‘The person who nominates or makes appointments to offices, should be known. His own office, his own character, his own fortune should be responsible.’”