Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #340

The Week That Was: 2018-12-15 (December 15, 2018)

Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)

The Science and Environmental Policy Project

 

Quote of the Week: “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” – Carl Sagan

Number of the Week: 0% since 2005

THIS WEEK:

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

With a Whimper? The 24th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice Poland (COP24), has apparently ended. Given the lack of anxious articles in main stream media, it ended “Not with a bang, but a whimper.” (T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men). If one believes press releases, then according to UN Climate Change News, Katowice, 15 December:

“Governments have adopted a robust set of guidelines for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

 

“The implementation of the agreement will benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable.

 

“The agreed ‘Katowice Climate Package’ is designed to operationalize the climate change regime contained in the Paris Agreement. Under the auspices of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, it will promote international cooperation and encourage greater ambition.

 

“The guidelines will promote trust among nations that all countries are playing their part in addressing the challenge of climate change.

 

“The President of COP24, Mr. Michal Kurtyka of Poland, said: “All nations have worked tirelessly. All nations showed their commitment. All nations can leave Katowice with a sense of pride, knowing that their efforts have paid off. The guidelines contained in the Katowice Climate Package provide the basis for implementing the agreement as of 2020”.

 

“The Katowice package includes guidelines that will operationalize the transparency framework.

 

“It sets out how countries will provide information about their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that describe their domestic climate actions. This information includes mitigation and adaptation measures as well as details of financial support for climate action in developing countries.

 

“The package also includes guidelines that relate to:

 

· The process for establishing new targets on finance from 2025 onwards to follow-on from the current target of mobilizing USD 100 billion per year from 2020 to support developing countries

· How to conduct the Global Stocktake of the effectiveness of climate action in 2023

· How to assess progress on the development and transfer of technology

The report included many bureaucratic niceties, then concluded with:

“Many made key announcements, that were critical to build momentum. These include:

· The World Bank’s pledge of $200 billion in climate action funding for the period 2021-2025;

· The MDBs announcement to align their activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement;

· The commitment by fifteen international organizations to make their operations climate neutral;

· The announcement by the C40 Cities coalition, which includes cities across the globe, to work with the IPCC to identify how the Global Warming of 1.5C report can apply to cities’ climate actions.

 

Many more announcements were made, and inspiring examples of climate action showcased at the Global Climate Action High-level events (For more information, see here [see original]).

 

The next United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Chile and consultations will provide clarity on the city and exact date of the conference in due course.

Those who believe the five assessment reports (AR’s) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicating that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may cause dire global warming, with a warming in the range of 3℃ plus or minus 1.5℃, may be disappointed with the bureaucratic niceties and lack of “concrete” accomplishments.

Those who accept the claims of future warming of 5℃, or more, no doubt are greatly disappointed, and will continue to insist that humanity is destroying the planet.

Others are skeptics, often called climate change deniers, or worse. Many in this group recognize that despite spending tens of billions on climate science, with the US spending over $40 billion, the range of plus or minus 50% has not been substantially changed since the first IPCC AR in 1990. Further, this estimate dates to estimates by modelers in the 1979 Charney Report. In effect the science has stagnated for almost 40 years, despite a wealth of information in the form of accurate measurement of global temperature trends in the bulk atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect occurs.

TWTW does not speak for others, but it appears that a doubling of CO2 will not cause a warming greater than 1℃ and likely will be less. The 1℃ can be calculated from experiments on the “optical depth” of atmospheric gases conducted by numerous experiments in laboratories around the world starting in the 1920s. The warming starting about 1850 is largely from natural variation, which the IPCC ignores, much to its shame. Further, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) also ignores natural variation, contrary to its mandate, and much to its discredit.

Why the IPCC and the USGCRP ignore comprehensive atmospheric temperature trends, which became available in 1990, is known only to them. Greenhouse gas warming occurs in the bulk atmosphere, not on the surface or in the oceans. The failure to address these important data is just another indication on how bureaucratic climate science has stagnated.

It is becoming increasingly clear, based on hard evidence of actual data, not models, that any warming from human greenhouse gas emissions is insufficient to stop an ice age, which is likely to occur in the future. The entire UNFCCC exercise should stop, which is unlikely. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy.

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Finger-Pointing: The finger-pointing, blame, of what went wrong at COP24 began even before the conference. The developed countries have not put up the $100 billion per year promised to the developing countries; China, India, etc. are not doing their share to control emissions; the protest in France upset the procedures; former President Obama misled the world in Paris in 2015; the refusal by key countries “to accept” the latest IPCC report; etc. Below are some of the articles illustrating the finger pointing and the delusion of the activists.

The proposed solution to the claimed problem of human-caused climate change is wind and solar, along with some unspecified “other.” However, by their very capricious nature, they are physically incapable of delivering the reliable electric power that modern civilization needs. Pretending that they do is little more than illusions, “smoke and mirrors [no comma]” from the promoters, and political favors to interest groups. Many countries, such as China and India, see through this. Government officials in western countries must finally come to recognize that “smoke and mirrors” no longer work. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, After Paris! and After Paris! – COP-24.

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Problems with Surface Temperature Data: The great fluid on the surface of the earth, the oceans, are in chaotic motion. It may take a thousand years for oceans to reveal past global warming and cooling. Thermometer readings from the oceans are extremely sparse. The same can be said for much of the land area especially for the Tropics and the Southern Hemisphere, particularly so before 1950. For these and other reasons, TWTW does not focus on research using surface temperatures. We place much more stock in readings taken by satellites, which cover the earth uniformly.

However, Nic Lewis, a dedicated researcher, has another post on Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. exploring the global climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide emission using surface measurements. He brings up the concept of transient response to carbon emissions (TCRE), which “measures the change in global mean surface temperature (GMST) at the end of a period, typically of the order of a century long, during which CO2 is emitted smoothly.” Another concept is the “(ERCE). This measures the equilibrium change in GMST (Global Mean Surface Temperature) per 1000 GtC of CO2 emissions.”

The concepts are from global climate modelers and are excessively complex. Given the chaotic motion of the oceans, when equilibrium is reached is anyone’s guess. The work of Lewis is difficult and dedicated. However, TWTW focuses on the atmosphere and atmospheric temperature trends, where the greenhouse effect occurs. Thus, excessively complex concepts such as transient response to carbon emissions and equilibrium response to carbon emissions are not needed. Of course, some precision may be lost, but what precision is there in understanding the chaotic motion of the oceans? See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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Scientific Method: Many students learned about the scientific method in secondary school, which could be summarized as induction, deduction, and verification. One could think of explaining a cause for a certain event as induction, a guess. Then, logically deduce some way of testing whether the guessed at cause was true. Finally, execute the test to see if the expected result occurs. Many problems may occur, but the method is a way of trying to understand the natural world and, possibly, human behavior.

Last week in American Thinker, Jay Lehr, science director of The Heartland Institute, wrote:

“All problems can be viewed as having three stages, observation, modeling, and prediction. Perhaps the most active area for mathematical modeling is the economy and the stock market. No one has ever succeeded in getting it right and there are far fewer variables than occur in determining the climate of our planet.”

In correspondence, Apollo team meteorologist Tom Wysmuller added two additional steps: verification and validation. The resulting five steps are: 1) observation; 2) modeling, 3) prediction 4) verification, and 5) validation. Wysmuller stated:

“’Verification’ involves seeing if predictions actually happen, and ‘validation’ checks to see if the prediction is something other than random correlation. Recent CO2 rise correlating with industrial age warming is an example on point that came to mind.”

These are good operational definitions for the complex problems of verification and validation. Reproducibility of experiments or statistical tests is critical. “Cold fusion” is another example of reported events that could not be verified and validated by replication. The global climate models relied upon by the IPCC and the USGCRP have not been verified and validated. John Christy has tested the models against bulk atmospheric warming and found, as a group, they greatly overestimate atmospheric warming. Thus, they should be discarded for any policy considerations. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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Censorship Continues: Judith Curry has a post on the efforts by the University of Washington to silence Cliff Mass. Mass has been a member of the faculty of the Atmospheric Sciences Department since 1982. Weekly, TWTW visits Mass’s web site. He gives no nonsense explanations of weather events along the West Coast. Apparently, Mass is not sufficiently strident in blaming carbon dioxide (CO2) for all the bad weather events such as California fires, lack of snow in the winter, etc. A student publicly complained about Mass and his failure to embrace the Washington State carbon dioxide tax. Mass thought the tax was “hard wired” to benefit special interests.

Students complained to the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion who responded with a mass email to the department without bothering to check the validity of accusations. In true Orwellian fashion, apparently, this Assistant Dean believes Diversity requires uniformity to the Assistant Dean’s beliefs.

Curry notes, a Ph.D. candidate, Alex Lenferna, “…wrote a blog post that is basically a ‘hit-job’ on Cliff Mass, owing to his failure to support I-1631, [the Washington State carbon dioxide tax law] including playing the ‘racism’ card. The blog post includes an image: Cliff Mass ‘hearts’ oil.”

The “Atmospheric Sciences Department Chair (Dale Durran) sent a mass email to the Department faculty including the link to Lenferna’s post, and voicing concern about Mass’s behavior and ‘racism’ and including the image Mass ‘hearts’ oil.”

Grace and toleration in higher education long disappeared from those involved in climate change. Curry experienced similar grace and toleration at Georgia Tech. Her comments are appropriate.

Although they disagree with his views on global warming / climate change, Anthony Watts and Charles Rotter of WUWT have proposed that readers write to the University in support of Cliff Mass. Outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown has publicly questioned whether the green movement has gone too far. Perhaps we may be seeing illustrations of his heart of oil. See links under Censorship and California Dreaming.

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Corn and Soybeans: Several readers expressed surprise that central Brazil, in the tropics at about 16⁰ South latitude, is a major competitor in soybean and corn (maize) exports with the Midwest, about 41⁰ North latitude (the tall grass prairie).

According to 2017 statistics, the major producers of soybeans are 1) USA, (108.0 million metric tons); 2) Brazil (86.8 million metric tons); and 3) Argentina (53.4 million metric tons); 4) China (12.2 million metric tons); and 5) India (10.5 million metric tons). The major exporters of corn are 1) United States: US$9.6 billion (32.3% of total corn exports); 2) Brazil: $4.6 billion (15.6%); 3) Argentina: $3.9 billion (13.1%). According to the USDA, in 2017 the highest value US agriculture exports were: 1) Soybeans: $21.6 Billion; 2) Corn: $9.1 Billion; 3) Tree Nuts: $8.5 Billion.

That the Fourth Assessment Report of the USGCRP claimed global warming will adversely affect agriculture production in the Midwest is probably the most glaring of its many deficiencies. See links under Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine.

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Number of the Week: 0% since 2005. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2005 US Electricity Net Generation totaled 4,055,423 Million kWh for all sectors, including renewables. In 2017, US Electricity Net Generation it totaled 4,034,288 Million kWh. This is a negative growth of 0.5%.

Using numbers from Statista, energy expert Donn Dears has a post showing a 1% growth since 1975. TWTW prefers using EIA numbers, but agrees with the assertions by Dears.

In a small part, the increases in electricity costs are from population shifts, as people move to the warmer climates. The regional demands and distribution costs change. And to some degree, increases in electricity costs are due to increasing costs of fuels.

However, the 1978 Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act restricted the use of oil and natural gas for new power plants. Fortunately, it was repealed in 1987, permitting the use of modern gas turbine. and especially efficient combined-cycle gas-powered plants. Oil never returned as a primary source of generating electricity. Using modern high efficiency coal-fired power plants was prohibited by regulations under the Obama administration. Blaming increasing electricity prices on fossil fuels is not valid.

Politicians foolishly believe that wind and solar are viable alternatives to fossil fuels, and have written laws that keep pricing mechanisms from responding to grid reliability considerations. See links under Energy Issues – US and https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec7_5.pdf

NEWS YOU CAN USE:

Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?

Solar Cycle 25 Will Not Lead to Cooling of the Global Temps, Study Predicts

By Staff Writers, GWPF, Dec 8, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/no-global-cooling-miracle-solar-activity-will-speed-up-soon-researchers-predict/

Link to paper: “Prediction of the strength and timing of sunspot cycle 25 reveal decadal-scale space environmental conditions”

By Bhowmik, P., and Nandy, D. 2018, Nature Communications

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07690-0.epdf

Climategate Continued

A Fabricated ‘Uptick’? Marcott’s 2013 Hockey Stick Graph Debunked By Marcott’s Own 2011 Ph.D Thesis

By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Dec 13, 2018

http://notrickszone.com/2018/12/13/a-fabricated-uptick-marcotts-2013-hockey-stick-graph-debunked-by-marcotts-own-2011-ph-d-thesis/

Censorship

Cliff Mass: victim of academic political bullying

By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Dec 12, 2018

https://judithcurry.com/2018/12/12/cliff-mass-victim-of-academic-political-bullying/#more-24557

Let’s help Cliff Mass

Opinion by Anthony Watts and Charles Rotter, WUWT, Dec 14, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/14/lets-help-cliff-mass/

Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science

Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2013

https://www.heartland.org/media-library/pdfs/CCR-II/CCR-II-Full.pdf

Summary: http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/ccr2a/pdf/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts

Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, 2014

http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/ccr2b/pdf/Full-Report.pdf

Summary: https://www.heartland.org/media-library/pdfs/CCR-IIb/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf

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

http://climatechangereconsidered.org/

Download with no charge

https://www.heartland.org/policy-documents/why-scientists-disagree-about-global-warming

Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

S. Fred Singer, Editor, NIPCC, 2008

http://www.sepp.org/publications/nipcc_final.pdf

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels

By Multiple Authors, Bezdek, Idso, Legates, and Singer eds., Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, Draft Summary for Policymakers, NIPCC, Oct 3, 2018

http://climatechangereconsidered.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10-05-18-DRAFT-CCRII-Fossil-Fuels-Summary-for-Policy-Makers.pdf

Challenging the Orthodoxy

Climate-Modeling Illusions Not Based on Reality

By Jay Lehr, American Thinker, Dec 7, 2018

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/12/climate_modeling_illusions_not_based_in_reality.html

Renewables and Climate Policy Are on a Collision Course

By John Constable, GWPF, Dec 9, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/renewables-and-climate-policy-are-on-a-collision-course/

“This is what policy failure looks like. At what point do those sincerely concerned to see prompt and sustainable emissions reductions begin to wonder whether the renewables industry is a liability and an obstacle to the aim of climate change mitigation?”

There’s Less Than Meets The Eye

By William O’Keefe, Reality Based Policy, Dec 10, 2018

http://realitybasedpolicy.com/theres-less-than-meets-the-eye/

Link to paper: Some thoughts on the public discourse over climate change.

By Richard Lindzen, CO2 Coalition, April 2017

http://co2coalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/For-over-30-years.pdf

Breaking The Rules Of Science: Potsdam Researchers Concoct, Blame Extreme Cold On Global Warming!

The non-falsifiable climate catastrophe: No matter if it’s hot or cold – it always has got to be global warming

By Die kalte Sonne, (Text translated by P Gosselin), No Tricks Zone, Dec 14, 2018

http://notrickszone.com/2018/12/14/breaking-the-rules-of-science-potsdam-researchers-concoct-blame-extreme-cold-on-global-warming/

Link to paper: The different stratospheric influence on cold-extremes in Eurasia and North America

By Marlene Kretschmer, et al., Nature, Nov 22, 2018

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0054-4

Climate sensitivity to cumulative carbon emissions

By Nic Lewis, Climate Etc. Dec 11, 2018

https://judithcurry.com/2018/12/11/climate-sensitivity-to-cumulative-carbon-emissions/

Defending the Orthodoxy

New Era of Global Climate Action To Begin Under Paris Climate Change Agreement

Contact: Alexander Saier, Communications and Outreach, UN Climate Change (UNFCC), Dec 15, 2018

https://unfccc.int/news/new-era-of-global-climate-action-to-begin-under-paris-climate-change-agreement-0

Right to end life on Earth: Can corporations that spread climate change denialism be held liable?

If a corporation’s propaganda destroys the world, doesn’t that conflict with our right to live?

By Matthew Rozsa, Salon, Dec 10, 2018 [H/t Dennis Ambler]

https://www.salon.com/2018/12/09/right-to-end-life-on-earth-can-corporations-that-spread-climate-change-denialism-be-held-liable/

[SEPP Comment: What about “experts” who exaggerate risk, such as the Himalayas will be ice free by the 2040s?]

The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before. It Wiped Out Almost Everything.

In some ways, the planet’s worst mass extinction — 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian Period — may parallel climate change today.

By Carl Zimmer, NYT, Dec 7, 2018

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/07/science/climate-change-mass-extinction.html?emc=edit_th_181211&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=598318591211

As the Siberian volcanoes flooded the virtual atmosphere with carbon dioxide, the atmosphere warmed. The ocean warmed, too — and according to the model, it began losing oxygen.

[SEPP Comment: Apparently the author is unaware that drastic warming occurred at the beginning of the Holocene, the current warm period, about 11,700 year ago. The Siberian volcanoes probably flooded the atmosphere with something other than CO2 – sulfuric acid.]

Questioning the Orthodoxy

The List Grows – Now 85 Scientific Papers Assert CO2 Has A Minuscule Effect On The Climate

By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Dec 10, 2018

http://notrickszone.com/2018/12/10/the-list-grows-now-85-scientific-papers-assert-co2-has-a-minuscule-effect-on-the-climate/

Lessons from the failure of the climate change crusade

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website., WUWT, Dec 14, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/14/lessons-from-the-failure-of-the-climate-change-crusade/

[SEPP Comment: Kummer does not address the major problem: the influence of CO2 on temperatures is logarithmic, increasing at an ever-decreasing rate. Yet the warming advocates produce graphs that the relationship is exponential, the converse, increasing at an ever-increasing rate. With the CO2 level today, the rate of increase is extremely important.]

Fossil Fuels: Villain or Hero?

By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Dec 11, 2018

http://ddears.com/2018/12/11/fossil-fuels-villain-or-hero/

When Will It Be OK To Laugh At The Climate Campaigners?

By Francis Menton, Manhattan Contrarian, Dec 12, 2018

https://www.manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2018-12-12-when-will-it-be-ok-to-laugh-at-the-climate-campaigners

U.N. conference climate alarmists out of touch with energy reality as world’s nations embrace increased use of fossil fuels

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin, WUWT, Dec 15, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/15/u-n-conference-climate-alarmists-out-of-touch-with-energy-reality-as-worlds-nations-embrace-increased-use-of-fossil-fuels/

After Paris!

About Those French Protests: 5 Insights

Ordinary people loathe carbon taxes – and might bring down your government.

By Donna Laframboise, Big Picture News, Dec 10, 2018

https://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2018/12/10/about-those-french-protests-5-insights/

India, BASIC Block Oppose Developed Nations’ Attempt to Backslide on Paris Agreement

By Vishwa Mohan, Times of India, Via TWC, Dec 12, 2018 [H/t GWPF]

https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2018-12-13-india-basic-nations-paris-agreement

How John Prescott Defended China–Copenhagen 2009 Flashback

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 14, 2018

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/how-john-prescott-defended-china-copenhagen-2009-flashback/#more-36799

“John Prescott has defended China’s role in the climate change summit, saying the blame for its flawed outcome must lie with the United States and Barack Obama.

“The former deputy prime minister helped negotiate the Kyoto protocol in 1997, and was in Copenhagen acting as an informal bridge between the Chinese delegation and others.”

Paris riots over fuel taxes dim hopes for climate fight

By Seth Borenstein and Angela Charlton, AP, Dec 6, 2018

https://www.njherald.com/article/20181206/AP/312069927#

After Paris! – COP-24

Attenborough and the deluded elites of Katowice

By Euan Mearns, Energy Matters, Dec 10, 2018

http://euanmearns.com/attenborough-and-the-deluded-elites-of-katowice/#more-22834

“’If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.’”

Winning: Huge UN Climate junket only attracts four leaders

By Jo Nova Her Blog, Dec 13, 2018

http://joannenova.com.au/2018/12/winning-huge-un-climate-junket-only-attracts-four-leaders/

Climate hysteria not welcome: USA, KSA, RF, Kuwait

By Luboš Motl, The Reference Frame, Dec 10, 2018

https://motls.blogspot.com/2018/12/climate-hysteria-not-welcome-usa-ksa-rf.html

Climate change: COP24 fails to adopt key scientific report

By Matt McGrath, BBC, Dec 8, 2018

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46496967

“We hope that the rest of the world will rally and we get a decisive response to the report,” said Yamide Dagnet.

“I sincerely hope that all countries will fight that we don’t leave COP24 having missed a moment of history.”

Document this: Climate change talks in Katowice split over question

The answer could decide if the Paris Agreement can be selectively rewritten in future yet again.

By Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, India, Dec 8, 2018

https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/document-this-climate-change-talks-in-katowice-split-over-question-118120701173_1.html

“Should the Paris Agreement rulebook be one omnibus document or should it be accepted by the countries gathered at Katowice as dozens of different documents, each reflecting one element of the rulebook?

“The question may sound ordinary, but the answer will decide if developed countries are able to further dilute their obligations under the Paris Agreement.”

China’s Great Leap Backward on climate change

By Gary Mason, The Globe and Mail, Canada, Dec 13, 2018 [H/t Cooler Heads]

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-chinas-great-leap-backward-on-climate-change/

China Was the Climate Champion of Paris. Now It’s Doing a Complete U-Turn

By Patricia Adams, Financial Post, Dec 12, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/china-was-the-climate-champion-of-paris-now-its-doing-a-complete-u-turn/

China Demands USA Give Money to China Because Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 14, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/14/china-demands-usa-give-money-to-china-because-climate-change/

Europe stuck on climate ambition at COP24

By Claire Stam, EurActiv, Dec 11, 2018 [H/t GWPF]

https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/europe-stuck-on-climate-ambition-at-cop24/

Bush 41 and Climate Policy: Launching a Mistake (1992 Rio Summit haunts us today)

By Robert Bradley Jr. Master Resource, Dec 10, 2018

https://www.masterresource.org/bush-george-h-w/bush-41-climate-policy/

COP24 Summit: First day of ministerial meetings fails to resolve deadlock

The issues under discussion here are mainly procedural in nature and deal with the details of the processes and mechanisms through which the provisions of the Paris Agreement will be implemented.

By Amitabh Sinha, The India Express, Dec 11, 2018 [H/t GWPF]

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/first-day-of-ministerial-meetings-fails-to-resolve-deadlock-paris-agreement-5487446/

COP24 In Large Part An Expensive Taxpayer Funded Junket For Third World Delegates

406 Guinea Delegates Make Junket To Katowice Climate Conference

By Die kalte Sonne, (German text translated/edited by P. Gosselin), No Tricks Zone, Dec 11, 2018

http://notrickszone.com/2018/12/11/cop24-in-large-part-an-expensive-taxpayer-funded-junket-for-third-world-delegates/

Change in US Administrations

Germany’s environmental minister takes on Trump over cost of pulling out of Paris deal

By Aris Folley, The Hill, Dec 14, 2018

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/421370-germany-blasts-trump-for-bragging-about-saving-money-by-pulling-out

[SEPP Comment: The minister does not mention the $100 Billion per year in revenue distribution.]

Problems in the Orthodoxy

Global warming should be called global heating, says key scientist

UK Met Office professor tells UN summit Earth’s ‘energy balance’ is changing

By Jonathan Watts, Guardian, UK, Dec 13, 2018[ H/t Dennis Ambler]

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/13/global-heating-more-accurate-to-describe-risks-to-planet-says-key-scientist

[SEPP Comment: To be more accurate: Is global cooling slowing?]

EU talks to set CO2 emission limits for cars founder

By Staff Writers, The Straits Times, Dec 11, 2018 [H/t GWPF]

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/eu-talks-to-set-co2-emission-limits-for-cars-founder

Climate Leader China Plans 200 more Airports

By Paul Mathews, Climate Scepticism, Dec 12, 2018 [H/t GWPF]

https://cliscep.com/2018/12/12/climate-leader-china-plans-200-more-airports/

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science

A Coccolithophore’s Response to Ocean Acidification

Liu, Y.-W., Eagle, R.A., Aciego, S.M., Gilmore, R.E. and Ries, J.B. 2018. A coastal coccolithophore maintains pH homeostasis and switches carbon sources in response to ocean acidification. Nature Communications 9: 2857, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04463-7. Dec 14, 2018

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V21/dec/a7.php

“The positive results of this study add to the many encouraging findings published by multiple other researchers on this topic (see the multiple reviews we have posted in our Subject Index under the topic of Ocean Acidification). And given these many positive and encouraging findings, it appears that the widespread negative projections of an ocean acidification-induced disaster are themselves dissolving away.”

A Bright Future for U.S. Loblolly Pine Forests

Burkhart, H.E., Brooks, E.B., Dinon-Aldridge, H. Sabatia, C.O., Gyawali, N., Wynne, R.H. and Thomas, V.A. 2018. Regional simulations of loblolly pine productivity with CO2 enrichment and changing climate scenarios. Forest Science 64: 349-357. Dec 13, 2018

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V21/dec/a6.php

The Impact of the Urban Heat Island on Temperature in Manchester, UK

Levermore, G., Parkinson, J., Lee, K., Laycock, P. and Lindley, S. 2018. The increasing trend of the urban heat island intensity. Urban Climate 24: 360-368. Dec 12, 2018

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V21/dec/a5.php

“Think about the above results. A 1.5 to 11% reduction in green space over a ten-year period was significant enough to raise temperatures in the Manchester record by an average of 0.42°C. That spurious warming is about half the magnitude of warming that the world has seen globally since the end of the Little Ice Age over a century ago. Clearly, correcting for urbanization effects is a knotty issue of climate science and, if not done correctly, will add spurious warming unrelated to natural or anthropogenic trends. And that is one of the reasons that satellite-derived temperature data are considered to be superior to data collected at near-surface land-based locations.”

The Positive Influence of Ocean Acidification on Atlantic Herring Larave Survival

Sswat, M., Stiasny, M.H., Taucher, J., Algueró-Muñiz, M., Bach, L.T., Jutfelt, F., Riebesell, U. and Clemmesen, C. 2018. Food web changes under ocean acidification promote herring larvae survival. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2: 836-840. Dec 10, 2018

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V21/dec/a4.php

Measurement Issues — Surface

Examples of How the Use of Temperature ANOMALY Data Instead of Temperature Data Can Result in WRONG Answers

By Bob Tisdale, WUWT, Dec 13, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/13/examples-of-how-the-use-of-temperature-anomaly-data-instead-of-temperature-data-can-result-in-wrong-answers/

“…it is the change in temperature compared to what we’ve been used to that matters.” – Part 2

By Bob Tisdale, WUWT, Dec 15, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/15/it-is-the-change-in-temperature-compared-to-what-weve-been-used-to-that-matters-part-2/

Surprise: CO2 Warming Signal Absent in Japan …Number of “Cold Days” Rising Over Past 30 Years

By Kirye, No Tricks Zone, Dec 8, 2018

http://notrickszone.com/2018/12/08/surprise-co2-warming-signal-absent-in-japan-number-of-cold-days-rising-over-past-30-years/

Changing Weather

Atlantic Hurricane Season – 2018

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 8, 2018

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/atlantic-hurricane-season-2018/

‘Glimmer Of Hope’ For Great Barrier Reef As Study Shows Tolerance To Climate Change

Last year’s oceanic heat wave wasn’t as destructive as one the year before, scientists said.

By Nick Visser, HuffPost US, Dec 10, 2018

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/great-barrier-reef-climate-change-bleaching_us_5c0de357e4b0ab8cf694ae16?guccounter=1&guce_referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cudGhlZ3dwZi5jb20v&guce_referrer_cs=4a86_JzlPUWvIqS0uuQBxQ

Link to paper: Ecological memory modifies the cumulative impact of recurrent climate extremes

By Terry Hughes, Nature Climate Change, Dec 10, 2018

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0351-2

[SEPP Comment: The abstract starts: “Climate change is radically altering the frequency, intensity and spatial scale of severe weather events, such as heatwaves, droughts, floods and fires. As the time interval shrinks between recurrent shocks the responses of ecosystems to each new disturbance are increasingly likely to be contingent on the history of other recent extreme events.”]

North America sets all-time record snowfall in November

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Dec 10, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/10/north-america-sets-all-time-record-snowfall-in-november/

Climate change and wildfires. An Interview with An Imperfect Union

By Jim Steele, WUWT, Dec 9, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/09/climate-change-and-wildfires-an-interview-with-an-imperfect-union/

NOAA: El Niño is expected to form and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19

By Antony Watts, WUWT, Dec 13, 2018

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/12/13/el-nio-is-expected-to-form-and-continue-through-the-northern-hemisphere-winter-2018-19/

When Snow Prayers Work Too Well

By Cliff Mass, Weather and Climate Blog, Dec 10, 2018

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2018-12-12T00:30:00-08:00&max-results=2

Changing Seas

Peter Ridd: Crying Wolf Over the Great Barrier Reef

By Peter Ridd, Australia, GWPF, Dec 12, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/peter-ridd-crying-wolf-over-the-great-barrier-reef/

Alarmist Sea Rise Scenarios Unlikely, Says Climate Scientist Judith Curry

By Staff Writers, The Australian, Dec 12, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/sea-rise-scenarios-barely-possible-says-climate-scientist-judith-curry/

Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice

Arctic hits second warmest temperatures on record in 2018

By Miranda Green, The Hill, Dec 11, 2018

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/420793-arctic-hits-second-warmest-temperatures-on-record-in-2018

Arctic Report Card: Update for 2018: Effects of persistent Arctic warming continue to mount

Executive Summary by E. Osborne, J. Richter-Menge, & M. Jeffries, NOAA, 2018

https://arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card/Report-Card-2018/ArtMID/7878/ArticleID/772/Executive-Summary

“Despite the growth of vegetation available for grazing land animals, herd populations of caribou and wild reindeer across the Arctic tundra have declined by nearly 50% over the last two decades.”

[SEPP Comment: Why have herds of grazing land animals declined]

It’s snowing more in Antarctica ‘because of global warming’, say scientists

Researchers say analysis of 53 ice cores from across the continent showed that snowfall had stopped seas rising by 10mm.

By Staff Writers, Sky News, Dec 10, 2018

https://news.sky.com/story/its-snowing-more-in-antarctica-because-of-global-warming-say-scientists-11577478

“The team behind the findings published in the Nature Climate Change journal found the increased snowfall and its distribution pattern was consistent with a warming atmosphere, which can hold more moisture.”

[SEPP Comment: Why don’t atmospheric temperature trends over Antarctica show wide-spread warming? As discussed in the past two TWTWs, the surface records show a warming, but they appear to be made-up – where there are no instruments.]

Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine

Top U.S. Agricultural Exports in 2017

By Staff Writers, USDA, 2017

https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/top-us-agricultural-exports-2017

10 Countries With Largest Soybean Production

World leaders in soya production based on annual data released by FAOSTAT, the USA leads the way, followed by Brazil.

By James Karuga, World Atlas, Aug 30, 2018

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/world-leaders-in-soya-soybean-production-by-country.html

Corn Exports by Country

By Daniel Workman, World’s Top Exports, Aug 5, 2018

http://www.worldstopexports.com/corn-exports-country/

Lowering Standards

Climate Change Is Shrinking BBC’s Credibility

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 13, 2018

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/climate-change-is-shrinking-bbcs-credibility/

Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.

Climate change researcher warns ‘so-called superpowers’ against arguing with ‘the laws of physics’

By John Bowden, The Hill, Dec 12, 2018

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/421126-climate-change-researcher-warns-so-called-superpowers-against

[SEPP Comment: What law of physics states human emissions of CO2 will cause dangerous global warming?]

Is There Anything Environmentalists Won’t Blame On Climate Change?

Editorial, IBD, Dec 12, 2018

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/environmentalists-climate-change-blame/

Santa says renewables “push down prices”. Sydney Morning Herald believes him.

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, Dec 12, 2018

http://joannenova.com.au/2018/12/santa-says-renewables-push-down-prices-sydney-morning-herald-believes-him/

Expanding the Orthodoxy

Sports world must join climate change crusade, says IOC

By Staff Writers, AFP, Dec 13, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

https://www.manilatimes.net/sports-world-must-join-climate-change-crusade-ioc/481897/

“Unreliable snow and warm winters are threatening winter sports, while rising temperatures and unpredictable weather are challenging summer-sport athletes, spectators and organizers.”

[SEPP Comment: Constant CO2 will make the weather as reliable as the weather?]

Questioning European Green

The solar panel trap that means you can’t sell your home

By Sam Meadows, The Telegraph, UK, Via GWPF, Dec 9, 2018

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/bills-and-utilities/renewable-energy/solar-panel-trap-means-cant-sell-home/

Questioning Green Elsewhere

The Chinese “Leadership” in Renewables Is Crumbling

By Alan Carlin, Carlin Economics and Science, Dec 13, 2018

http://www.carlineconomics.com/archives/4712

[SEPP Comment: Was it green propaganda, or were the greens fooled?]

Colorado energy company Xcel goes crazy green

By David Wojick, The Heartland Institute, Dec 13, 2018

https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/colorado-energy-company-xcel-goes-crazy-green

Funding Issues

Infrastructure Bill Should Attack Climate Red Tape, Not Increase It

By Ben Lieberman, CEI, Dec 13, 2018

https://cei.org/blog/infrastructure-bill-should-attack-climate-red-tape-not-increase-it

Investors with $32 trillion at stake sound the alarm on climate change

By Ivana Kottasová, CNN Business, Dec 10. 2018

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/10/business/climate-change-investors-cop24/index.html

[SEPP Comment: Not if they lose money! It’s not the noise but the action that is important.]

Cap-and-Trade and Carbon Taxes

Macron’s Carbon Tax Disaster

By Kenny Stein, Institute for Energy Research, Dec 5, 2018

https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/international-issues/macrons-carbon-tax-disaster/

Justin Trudeau Is Facing a Climate Tax Backlash. He’s Not Alone

By Ian Austen, New York Times, Via GWPF, Dec 8, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/justin-trudeau-is-facing-a-carbon-tax-backlash-hes-not-alone/

Lessons of the Failure of Initiative 1631, the Washington State Carbon Fee, Part 1: Election Analysis

By Cliff Mass, Weather and Climate Blog, Dec 8, 2018

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2018/12/lessons-of-failure-of-initiative-1631.html

“I believe that the bottom line is that 1631 lost because most Republicans were against it, low income, construction/labor, and minority groups were wary of its economic impacts on their lives, and a significant proportion of climate-concerned folks, many of them long-term Democrats, were uncomfortable with aspects of the policy.”

“Why Greens are Turning Away from a Carbon Tax” (POLITICO documents a turning point)

By Robert Bradley Jr. Master Resource, Dec 2, 2018

https://www.masterresource.org/carbon-tax/carbon-tax-politically-toxic/

EPA and other Regulators on the March

EPA to pursue final ‘science transparency’ rule in 2019

By Timothy Cama, The Hilll, Dec 14, 2018

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/421479-epa-to-pursue-final-science-transparency-rule-in-2019

Energy Issues – Non-US

Britain’s oldest coal plants called on to avoid running out of power as cold sets in

By Jillian Ambrose, Telegraph, UK, Via GWPF, Dec 8, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/britains-oldest-coal-plants-called-on-to-avoid-running-out-of-power-as-cold-sets-in/

“Britain’s oldest coal-fired power plants prepared to fire up their hoppers for a price of almost £1,000 per megawatt-hour on Tuesday to avert a power shortfall as temperatures across the country plunge and wind power wanes.”

Coal Power Capacity Update

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 11, 2018

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/coal-power-capacity-update/

[SEPP Comment: More detailed look than link immediately above.]

Energy Issues – US

Building Unnecessary Power Plants

By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Dec 14, 2018

http://ddears.com/2018/12/14/building-unnecessary-power-plants/

Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?

Private Governance in Oil & Gas: Permian Strategic Partnership

By Robert Bradley, Master Resource, Dec 11, 2018

https://www.masterresource.org/private-governance/private-governance-in-oil-gas-permian-strategic-partnership/

Return of King Coal?

World Biggest Investors Raise Coal Holdings (Despite Their Green PR Campaigns)

By Staff Writers, Financial Times, Via GWPF, Dec 9, 2018

https://www.thegwpf.com/world-biggest-investors-raise-coal-holdings-despite-their-green-pr-campaigns/

Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Storage

The Key For Tesla’s Future Is Batteries, Not Cars

By Enrique Dans, Forbes, Dec 7, 2018

https://www.forbes.com/sites/enriquedans/2018/12/07/the-key-for-teslas-future-is-batteries-not-cars/#69fb4cf40612

[SEPP Comment: Electricity storage is needed for vehicles, solar and wind power, etc. Affordable solutions are critical for their success. See link immediately below.]

Powering the Tesla Gigafactory

By Roger Andrews, Energy Matters, Dec 12, 2018

http://euanmearns.com/powering-the-tesla-gigafactory/#more-22824

“One is that Tesla has apparently chosen not to use the approach used by other companies that claim to have gone 100% renewable, which is to purchase enough power from a distant renewable plant to cover their annual electricity consumption through Guarantees Of Origin or Renewable Energy Certificates and pretend that this makes them 100% renewable even though they continue to depend on fossil fuel power from the local grid. Apple and Google, discussed in this 2017 post, are examples.”

Carbon Schemes

Carbon capture industry says Trump EPA is wrong to underestimate them

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, Dec 11, 2018

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/carbon-capture-industry-says-trump-epa-is-wrong-to-underestimate-them

“’Of course, CCS has been adequately demonstrated,’ Julio Friedmann, former principal deputy assistant of the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, told the Washington Examiner. ‘We know the costs, performance, risks, and timeline for construction. How much demonstration do you need?’”

[SEPP Comment: No solid reference of a successful, commercially viable demonstration!]

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology

Forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet

By Han de Groot, Scientific American, Dec 5, 2018

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-best-technology-for-fighting-climate-change-isnt-a-technology/

California Dreaming

Jerry Brown Says Dems Are Becoming Too Extreme — Ocasio-Cortez Proves Him Right

Editorial, IBD, Dec 13, 2018

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/jerry-brown-democrats-extremists-ocasio-cortez/

California commits to 100 percent electric bus fleet by 2040

By Miranda Green, The Hill, Dec 14, 2018

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/421438-california-commits-to-100-percent-electric-bus-fleet-by-2040

Health, Energy, and Climate

The Lancet & Climate Change

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 12, 2018

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/the-lancet-climate-change/

“5) Food insecurity

“The Lancet claim that:

“Worldwide, more than sufficient food is produced to feed the global population. The causes of food insecurity and undernutrition are hence both complex and multifactorial, driven by factors beyond total food availability.

“However, food production is already being compromised by extremes of weather that are predicted to become more frequent and extreme; yield potentials are decreasing globally, and many countries are already experiencing falling yields.”

[SEPP Comment: The Lancet lacks objectivity. A medical journal should not be making policy recommendations. Homewood takes the false claims apart.]

Oh Mann!

Another Manntastic law footnote: the process is the punishment

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Dec 13, 2018

Another Manntastic law footnote: the process is the punishment

[SEPP Comment: The saying “Justice delayed is justice denied” does not apply to litigation involving Mr. Mann.]

Other Scientific News

Taming turbulence: Seeking to make complex simulations a breeze

By Terry Devitt, Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, Dec 11, 2018 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

https://news.wisc.edu/taming-turbulence-seeking-to-make-complex-simulations-a-breeze/

Link to paper: Role of stable modes in driven shear-flow turbulence

By A. E. Fraser, M. J. Pueschel, P. W. Terry, and E. G. Zweibel, Physics of Plasmas, Dec 10, 2018

https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5049580

“Put simply, shear flow occurs when two fluids — where fluids are a liquid, a gas or a plasma (the amorphous superhot gas that makes up stars like our sun or that occurs in a fusion device) — pass by one another such as when wind flows over a lake or hot gas jets from a galaxy. The turbulent chaos that occurs as a result of the interacting fluids can be exceedingly difficult to recreate in the numerical models scientists use to describe and understand a wide range of phenomena.”

The Talented Gribble

By Chuck Dinerstein, ACSH, Dec 5, 2018

https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/12/05/talented-gribble-13644

Other News that May Be of Interest

Did supernovae kill off large ocean animals at dawn of Pleistocene?

By Staff Writers, Science Daily, Dec 11, 2018

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181211112941.htm

Link to paper: Hypothesis: Muon Radiation Dose and Marine Megafaunal Extinction at the End-Pliocene Supernova

By Adrian L. Melott, Franciole Marinho, Laura Paulucc, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, Nov 27, 2018

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2018.1902

BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:

Half of Adélie Penguins Could Be Wiped Out by Global Warming

By Tia Ghose, Live Science, June 29, 2018

https://www.livescience.com/55239-antarctica-penguin-populations-declining.html

Link to paper: Projected asymmetric response of Adélie penguins to Antarctic climate change

By Megan Cimino, et al. Nature, Scientific Reports, June 29, 2016

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep28785

“… best working hypothesis is that the population decline there is probably also due to climate change.”

How This Supercolony of 1.5 Million Penguins Stayed Hidden for Nearly 3,000 Years

By Yasemin Saplakoglu, Live Science, Dec 12, 2018

https://www.livescience.com/64282-hidden-adelie-penguin-supercolony.html?utm_source=deployer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ConservativeFWD+Daily&utm_content=20181215052951

[SEPP Comment: Does this mean the models predicting extinction may have an error? See link immediately above.]

Oysters

By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions.org, Dec 12, 2018

http://climatechangepredictions.org/uncategorized/10203

“Thinking about a romantic seafood dinner for two? Often touted as an aphrodisiac food, oysters may not be on the menu for much longer.

“According to a recent Grist article, the acidification of the ocean is threatening the Pacific Northwest’s famed oyster industry.

“Since the Industrial Revolution, ocean acidity has increased 30%, and projections are saying it could be 150% more acidic by the end of the century. Prevention, 12 Apr 2013”

Cookies

By Staff Writers, Climate Change Predictions.org, Dec 11, 2018

http://climatechangepredictions.org/uncategorized/10201

“Some must-have ingredients for cookies and other baked goods are already feeling the climate change pinch.

“Peanut butter prices are spiking after the southern US saw one of the worst harvests in decades, thanks to out-of-the-ordinary extreme heat over the summer.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the peanut harvest is down nearly 15% compared to last year.

“Likewise, extreme temperatures in Texas have hampered pecan production, while a recent study published in the journal Science found that yields of wheat are down about 5% since the 1980s. Prevention, 12 Apr 2013” [Boldface added.]

ARTICLES:

1. The Supreme Court May Begin to Tame the Administrative State

A 1997 precedent requires judges to defer to agencies’ interpretations of their own ambiguous rules.

By Peter J. Wallison, WSJ, Dec 13, 2018

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-supreme-court-may-begin-to-tame-the-administrative-state-11544744606

SUMMARY: The senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to Rein in the Administrative State” writes:

“Sometimes little things mean a lot when it comes to the Constitution. The Supreme Court agreed this week to hear Kisor v. Wilkie, an obscure dispute between a former Marine and the Department of Veterans Affairs. It could be a step toward significantly limiting the powers of the federal administrative state.

 

“The case arose when the VA denied benefits to James Kisor, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. The VA found the evidence he submitted wasn’t ‘relevant’ within the meaning of that term in the VA’s regulations. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the meaning of ‘relevant’ in the regulation was ambiguous. It therefore sided with the VA, applying a Supreme Court precedent, Auer v. Robbins (1997), that generally requires federal courts to accept an administrative agency’s interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations—a rule known as Auer deference.

 

”In his appeal, Mr. Kisor asked the high court to overturn Auer or to establish some other rule of construction for cases like this. The justices accepted only the more basic question of whether to do away with Auer deference. That suggests they’re moving toward a more assertive judicial role in reviewing and interpreting administrative decisions. That would be consistent with the rule of law, which depends on the public’s ability to understand the rules it has to follow. If agencies can change their rules simply by reinterpreting them, how can citizens be expected to comply?

 

“If the court overturns Auer, a logical next step would be to reconsider deference for agency interpretations of the statutes that authorize their actions. In Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984), the justices directed lower courts to defer to any agency interpretations of laws enacted by Congress, so long as the interpretation is deemed ‘reasonable.’ Chevron deference has engendered significant opposition, with critics arguing that agencies will always opt for a broader rather than a narrower view of the statutes they administer and that judicial deference also gives government agencies an unfair advantage in litigating with private parties.

 

“In addition, [the] Chevron [deference] helped enable a vast expansion of administrative rule making. Since 1993, the agencies of the administrative state have issued more than 100,000 rules, and never fewer than 3,000 in a year, according to Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This avalanche of rules and regulations is beyond the ability of the president or Congress to control. It is also a challenge to the rule of law.

 

“The strongest argument for curtailing deference is that the judiciary’s hands-off approach under Chevron and Auer has enabled the agencies of the executive branch to assert power Congress never gave them. In many cases, unelected agency heads and bureaucrats have become America’s main lawgivers. The court may have come to recognize that the only way to halt this process is for the judiciary to take a more active role in limiting administrative authority.

 

“An unchecked administrative state flies in the face of the Constitution’s structure. The Framers had seen in their own time that tyranny resulted when the same person or institution held the power both to make laws and to enforce them. That’s why they developed a structure in which all lawmaking power belongs to Congress, while the executive branch has the authority only to administer and enforce laws. Over time, however, and particularly since Chevron, effective lawmaking power has been accumulating in the agencies of the executive branch.

 

“And in decisions like Chevron and Auer, the judiciary handed over to the executive branch a great deal of its own responsibility to interpret the laws. ‘It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is,’ Chief Justice John Marshall observed in Marbury v. Madison (1803). It would not be surprising if the court now sought to reclaim that authority.

 

“Several of today’s justices have made clear in earlier cases that they believe the court has a duty to preserve the separation of powers by stepping in when the elected branches—responding perhaps to political pressures—disregard the structure of the Constitution. In a 2013 dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts cited the ‘obligation of the Judiciary not only to confine itself to its proper role, but to ensure that the other branches do as well.’

 

“If the court does overturn its precedents requiring deference, critics may describe it as ‘judicial activism.’ That’s a misuse of the term. Activism consists in judges’ making policy decisions that should be made by the legislative branch. In reasserting the judiciary’s authority to interpret the law, the court would be preserving the constitutional structure and fulfilling its own proper role.

The author concludes with an argument against an unchecked administrative state.

*******************

2. Trump’s Regulatory Dredging

A new EPA rule would limit regulation to ‘navigable’ waters.

Editorial, WSJ, Dec 11, 2018

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-regulatory-dredging-11544571902

SUMMARY: The editorial states that business confidence remains high because the Trump administration is reducing regulations such as the previous rule on Waters of the U.S.. The editorial continues: :

“In 2015 the Obama overlords attempted a massive land grab by redefining tens of millions of acres as “waters of the U.S.” subject to federal jurisdiction. Congress in the 1972 Clean Water Act authorized the federal government to regulate “navigable waterways” such as the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.

 

“Yet federal regulators have sought to extend their jurisdiction time and again. In Rapanos v. U.S. (2006), the Supreme Court split 4-1-4 over whether a Michigan landowner could be imprisoned because he failed to obtain permits to move dirt on his sometimes-saturated land.

 

“The Court’s conservatives led by Justice Antonin Scalia repudiated the government’s argument that it could regulate land 11 to 20 miles from the nearest navigable waterway. But Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested that any property with a “significant nexus” to waters under U.S. jurisdiction could be within the government’s purview. This in theory could apply to the entire U.S. land mass.

 

“Invoking Justice Kennedy’s muddled opinion, the Obama EPA claimed all land within a 100-year floodplain and 1,500 feet of the high-water mark or 4,000 feet of waters already under its jurisdiction—namely, rivers, tributaries and adjacent wetlands. Ditto “ephemeral” ponds, ditches and creeks that occasionally fill with storm runoff. The Hudson River is less murky than the Obama rule.

 

“Courts gave a reprieve for homebuilders, farmers and other businesses by staying the rule in 28 states that sued. The EPA is now proposing a bright-line test that excludes from federal regulation land that contains water only after rainfall such as farm and roadside ditches. Groundwater recharge and wastewater recycling basins would also be exempt. Tributaries would be covered only if they connect to navigable waters. Lakes and ponds could be regulated only insofar as they are navigable, as in the Clean Water Act. Imagine: Adhering to the statute.

 

“While states could continue to regulate waters within their borders, businesses would have an easier time navigating the federal regulatory landscape. If Democratic states sue the EPA, as is their wont, the Supreme Court might welcome the opportunity to clarify the limits on regulatory power.”

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9 thoughts on “Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #340

  1. “Governments have adopted a robust set of guidelines for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

    “The guidelines will promote trust among nations that all countries are playing their part in addressing the challenge of climate change.

  2. “The 1℃ can be calculated from experiments on the “optical depth” of atmospheric gases conducted by numerous experiments in laboratories around the world starting in the 1920s. ”

    Pseudoscientific nonsense.

    “Optical depth”, or its cousin, optical depth, produces no warming. Placing more insulation between a heat source and a thermometer does not make the thermometer hotter.

    Nature has been conducting an experiment with the Earth for four and a half billion years or so. The resulting surface cooling (from molten, to not-so-much, shows that neither optical depth nor “optical depth” has been able to suspend the operation of the laws of thermodynamics.

    What tosh!

    Cheers.

  3. Climate science ? Science ?
    When was the last time mathematicians lobbied for official binding validation of their theories and results by executive government bodies?

    Anyone flown, driven, transported or otherwise contributed to the presence of particle physics crazed NGO’s to a congress of physicists ? Like thousands of them on one spot?

    If it smells lie, feels like, then it is, no need to taste.

  4. “’Of course, CCS has been adequately demonstrated,’ Julio Friedmann, former principal deputy assistant of the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, told the Washington Examiner. ‘We know the costs, performance, risks, and timeline for construction. How much demonstration do you need?’””

    The relationship between emissions and warming is established with the TCRE (Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Emissions) but this metric is specious because it is derived from a spurious correlation.
    Please see
    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/05/06/tcre/

    When this statistical error in the TCRE is corrected, the relationship between the rate of emissions and the rate of warming disappears leaving no evidence that emission reduction will change the rate of warming (the assumed necessary condition for climate action)
    Please see
    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/14/climateaction/

  5. Another source of CO2 and methane for the IPCC to factor into their calculations …
    TERMITES!
    Here’s some termites the UN-IPCC have not factored into their original calculations as they’ve only just been found.
    From https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/cp-4tm111318.php

    As they say “4,000-year-old termite mounds found in Brazil are visible from space”

    Researchers reporting in Current Biology on November 19 have found that a vast array of regularly spaced, still-inhabited termite mounds in northeastern Brazil — covering an area the size of Great Britain — are up to about 4,000 years old.

    The mounds, which are easily visible on Google Earth, are not nests. Rather, they are the result of the insects’ slow and steady excavation of a network of interconnected underground tunnels. The termites’ activities over thousands of years has resulted in huge quantities of soil deposited in approximately 200 million cone-shaped mounds, each about 2.5 meters tall and 9 meters across.

    “These mounds were formed by a single termite species that excavated a massive network of tunnels to allow them to access dead leaves to eat safely and directly from the forest floor,” says Stephen Martin of the University of Salford in the UK. “The amount of soil excavated is over 10 cubic kilometers, equivalent to 4,000 great pyramids of Giza, and represents one of the biggest structures built by a single insect species.”

    [my bold]

    Is it not reasonable to think that these industrious little critters would be a little less industrious during cold periods (like during the LIA) and more productive during warm periods?
    And wouldn’t this slowdown be true generally for all life and decomposition on the planet during cooler/colder times? Of course during cool/cold periods more CO2 can be dissolved into the cooling oceans.

    IMO the natural world has many more surprises up it’s sleeve, it is not human’s fault that CO2 levels have risen, as that tendency often happens quite naturally especially when the earth’s climate changes over from warm to cooler periods. CO2 just like Arctic ice amounts varies considerably over climatic periods, humans do NOT govern (barely affect) the process natural events do.

  6. Others are skeptics, often called climate change deniers, or worse. Many in this group recognize that despite spending tens of billions on climate science, with the US spending over $40 billion, the range of plus or minus 50% has not been substantially changed since the first IPCC AR in 1990.

    And that’s the proof CO2 has little to do with climate science.

    Whilst IPCC has nothing to do with climate science.

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