Climate science and the Supreme Court

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on October 16, 2020 by curryja

by Judith Curry

An alternative assessment of U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s statements on climate change.

For those of you not in the U.S., confirmation hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court are currently underway.  There are many very political issues surrounding this nomination and its timing.  Lets put all that aside for the moment, and consider her statements on climate change.

Barrett’s statements [link]:

“I will not express a view on a matter of public policy, especially one that is politically controversial.”

“I don’t think my views on climate change or global warming are relevant to the job I would do as a judge. Nor do I feel like I have views that are informed enough.”

“I’m certainly not a scientist,” she said when asked by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) whether she had a personal opinion on the issue. “I mean, I’ve read things about climate change. I would not say I have firm views on it.”

“I don’t think I’m competent to opine on what causes global warming or not.”

The twitterati are hysterical over these statements.  From a Washington Post article:

“The judge’s exchange on climate change was short, but her critics say it is disqualifying”

“It is a requirement that a Supreme Court Justice be able to review evidence to make a decision,” he said. “The scientific evidence of climate change is beyond reasonable doubt or debate, yet Amy Coney Barrett refused to acknowledge reality.”

“A climate change case is already on the Supreme Court’s docket next year. It will hear a case involving several oil companies, including Dutch Royal Shell, being sued by the city of Baltimore, which is seeking to hold them financially responsible for their greenhouse gas contributions. Barrett’s father spent much of his own career as a lawyer for Shell. “

An article in the Esquire is entitled: Amy Coney Barrett’s answer on this climate change question is completely disqualifying.

“Put simply, this is just totally disqualifying for any official holding public office in the year 2020. This isn’t even an up-to-date Republican bullshit line on the topic. “I’m not a scientist” is so 2014, maybe because even the Elite Political Media—pockets of which are just today allowing themselves to be hoodwinked by another Emails caper—caught on to how dumb it is. Does Judge Amy Coney Barrett accept the scientific consensus that gravity is keeping her in that chair? If so, why? She’s not a scientist, so how could she possibly know?”

There are two issues here that deserve discussion:

  1. Whether  ‘belief’ in climate change actually means anything when spouted by politicians and other non-scientists
  2. What judges should be expected to know about climate science.

“I believe in climate science”

I think that Amy Coney Barrett’s answers to the climate question was admirable.  She wanted to stay out of a contentious political debate.  But more importantly she wasn’t going to pass a judgement on something for which she had not carefully evaluated the evidence and did not find herself qualified to make a judgement on.  I thought her stance on this showed wisdom and humility.

In the 2016 presidential debates, Hillary Clinton said: “And I believe in science” , with specific reference to climate change.

In the political debate on climate change, ‘I believe in climate science’ is a statement generally made by people who don’t understand much about it. They use such statements  as a way of declaring belief in a scientific proposition that is outside their knowledge and understanding. The belief of individuals making such a statement is often more akin to believing in Santa Claus than relating to actual understanding of science. In the case of Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the U.S. Democratic National Convention, Clinton’s appeal to science was a partisan rallying cry that was coupled to the mockery of Donald Trump and his supporters as ‘anti-science.’

In the context of the climate change, ‘I believe in science’ uses the overall reputation of science to give authority to the climate change ‘consensus’, shielding it from questioning and skepticism. ‘I believe in climate science’ is a signifier of social group identity that supports one particular solution:  massive government legislation to limit or ban fossil fuels. ‘Belief in  climate science’ makes it look as though disagreement on this solution is equivalent to a rejection of the scientific method and worldview. When exposed to science that challenges their political biases, these same ‘believers’ are quick to claim ‘pseudo-science,’ without considering (or even understanding) the actual evidence or arguments.  An excellent summary of all this is provided in a previous blog post discussing an article by Robert Tracinski.

In my albeit limited experience, very few politicians have made a serious attempt to understand climate science, beyond being able to parrot talking points provided to them by advocacy groups.

Here is what we are left with: One side attacks science and the other side uses science for political attacks. Neither side actually cares about or understands the science.

Kudos to Amy Coney Barrett for providing an appropriate answer to the climate change questions

Supreme Court

A New York Times article discusses why judge’s ‘opinions’ on climate change are relevant to the Supreme Court.  The EPA endangerment finding may be facing a challenge in a future Republican administrations.  There are also lawsuits against the U.S. government and oil companies that could make it the Supreme Court.

The Wikipedia has a good overview on the Juliana case against the U.S. government as well as previous cases.  Apart from procedural issues, I don’t see what kind of ruling by the Supreme Court on climate change that would hinge on the Justices’ understanding or ruling on details of the science.

The Dutch Urgenda ruling accepted the authority of the IPCC assessment reports.  This was an unusual ruling based upon the U.S. court system, which leaves matters of policy to the legislative and executive branches.

110 thoughts on “Climate science and the Supreme Court

  1. Opinions are not science. Science is not a conclusion built on a multilayered foundation of assumptions. The justices work is to interpret the law not to validate flawed assumption presented as scientific fact.

    • More to the point, they are asking her to prejudice herself and attempting to require her to legislate from the bench. This is no different than requiring that she prejudge any LGBT or Roe-Wade issue. In all of these cases, her opinion on the hypothetical is irrelevant. Only Compliance to constitutional truths matter. In this she has shown high competence and principles.

      • A judge is supposed to make a judgement based on the evidence presented and existing law and legal precedence. As such her response is totally appropriate. On the contrary, if she were to declare that she already has a personal “belief” that would bias her judgement: THAT may be called “disqualifying”.

        She refused to drawn into the Dems’ trap. Her response was perfect.

    • I tweeted that same message to the authors:
      https://twitter.com/ncdave4life/status/1317522634519793666

      Unfortunately, I’m shadowbanned by Twitter (usually by “reply deboosting”). So the WaPo authors will probably never see my tweet. I would be grateful if someone who is not in Dutch with the Twitter thought police would tweet to the article’s primary author, @dino_grandoni, a tweet which includes a link to my tweet, in reply to his tweet, here:
      https://twitter.com/dino_grandoni/status/1316352531195400192

    • Sorry, Dave, but I am one to voice that I have reasonable doubt that “manmade climate change is real”.

      I am anxiously awaiting the first science-based paper that establishes that fact beyond any reasonable doubt. Been waiting for such over the last 20 or so years.

      Any such scientific paper must address the fundamental cause of the global cooling that occurred from about 1945 to 1975 and the documented hiatus (aka “pause”) in global warming that occurred from about 1998-2015, given the constantly-increasing rate of rise in atmospheric CO2 that was MEASURED over these same long time spans (ref. Keeling curve).

      • We might assume that human activity has SOME effect on climate, but there is no convincing evidence that human CO2 emissions are detectibly warming the earth. There is no solid evidence that atmospheric CO2 levels are a product of human emissions rather than due to ocean warming (which is more likely), but if were true, then we could point to the greening of the earth as a rather benevolent result of those emissions.

        • In all probability a doubling of CO2 would only result in a few tenths of a degree of warming. Given the fact that global temperatures have changed more than a degree since the bottom of the Little Ice Age, it is impossible to detect such a small signal amongst all that noise.
          Not being able to detect a signal is not proof that there is no signal.

      • I suspect that the only possible effect humans can have on the climate would be through land use changes–ie. massive citys where there was once forest or prairie.

        • There is no doubt that urban and other land use activities have some small LOCAL effects,

          The words used are “GLOBAL warming” which is meant to be from human released atmospheric CO2

          ……. and that is very much UNPROVEN.

        • Also pollution in the oceans. Has agriculture increased dissolved silica run-off? If so it will change the balance of phytoplankton in the spring — diatoms, which fix carbon in a C3 like process and thus pull down relatively more of the heavy carbon isotopes, dominate when they have enough silica, supressing the growth of of the calcareous phytos. The later bloom of the calcareous sort means DMS production will be less, less stratocu, more insolation.

          Then there is artificial nitrogen fixation for agriculture. A lot of that ends up in the oceans which is possibly changing phyto populations.

          Has anyone checked?

          JF

          • Florida University Miami? Marine research published (2019/2020) evidence corals/symbionts death are a result of excessive Nitrogen fertilizer runoff. The IMAX Film Cuba! shown at the DMNS last year reveals Marine Biologists agree that Coral Reefs in Cuba are among the healthiest in the world. Cored samples confirm the year was 1992 when Agricultural Chemicals Aid from Russia ended and Cuba’s retired farmers were recruited to teach sustainable Organic Farming. If one cares, Cornell research finds America’s Soils are Sulfate deficient, again thankfully since stratospheric volcanoes are rare, and the EPA began enforcing the removal of Sulfur Emissions from fossil fuels. Australian Marine Scientists have identified sulfate deficiency essential to Cellular homeostasis is an issue in Corals adaptability to warming waters, or heat resilience. Cell Biophysicists work has led to discovery that, the world’s most widely used herbicide and pesticide, Glyphosate inhibits the transulfurisation in the Methionine Cycle, a vital key to prevention of sulfur deficiency, cellular homeostasis and carcinogenesis. All except the IMAX are points read from Science published.

        • I’m sure solar panels soaking up energy from the sun and windmills pulling energy from the wind can have no effect.

      • Mr. Dressler I owe you an apology I mistook you for some else.

        I retract my comment from the other day.

        I apologize for the error.

      • Dresser, the 1940 to 1975 cooling will soon be adjusted away — it’s almost “gone” already in spite of being negative 0.3 to negative 0.5 degrees C . back in the semi-honest good old days. I guess you could call the adjustments and infilling “man made global warming”?

        • Richard,
          Great comment about “man-made” global warming!

          Yes, I am well aware of all of the CAGW-biased “scientists” efforts to erase the 1940-1975 cooling period, as well as the the 1998-2015 global warming “hiatus”.

          Fortunately, the objective data is out there for all to see . . . if only they would look.

      • Gordon: ‘Climate, Inc’ itself agreed that climate cooling didn’t fit the meme so they removed it! Steven Mosher of BEST was made to understand the ‘apparent’ cooling was some sort of discontinuity. They found a way to cut the record at the depth of the cooling, slide the low end up 0.5C and push the 1930s-40s’ 20th Century temperature high stand down 0.5C. Nevermind the press, or Leonard Nimouy’s famous video doc on this fearful time on these real climate extremes.

        I delivered newspapers on a very long street some distance from my home in Winnipeg late 40s to 50s. My mother came with me on evenings when I had to collect for the paper because she worried I could freeze to death! It was real and worldwide – see real pre-homogenized temps even from South Africa, Paraguay, Ecuador and the probably destroyed real record from Australia which, too, was hottest in the 1930s.

        Here’s Capetown’s unhomogenized record.

        https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/clip_image0022.gif
        It is indistinguishable from those of US, Canadian, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, etc. Australia’s too but BOM has butchered the record without restraint and less artfully as has NZ where a court challenge was lost by NIWA who finally admitted that their handiwork shouldnt be used.

    • What physical theory of climate allows one to calculate the effect of a 0.035 W/m^2 annual tropospheric perturbation, Dave?

      And what observational system has the resolution to detect the effect?

    • “There is no reasonable doubt about the fact that the scientific evidence shows that manmade climate change is real”

      Gordon Dressler is spot on. Dave Burton’s evocative claim is accepted by the impassioned but uncritical. Except for CO2, there has been no consistent change in anything, not even global temperature.

      In fact, the (slight) increases in temperature during the last 50 years have occurred with El Ninos – which have nothing to do with CO2, let alone man.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/01/20/does-the-climate-science-industry-purposely-ignore-a-simple-aspect-of-strong-el-nino-events-that-causes-long-term-global-warming/

    • Simon would declare that since a few of your links are to non “scientific organizations”, that he won’t bother reading any of them.

  2. There certainly is no scientific consensus. Even those that believe in AGW disagree significantly on temperature sensitivity to co2.

  3. Given ACB’s originalist approach legal interpretation, I would suspect that her personal opinion would be irrelevant. There are several lectures and interviews by her on youtube she explains her views on being a judge. She is as they say “one smart cookie” and is very qualified in my view for the supreme court, my humble opinion.

  4. I agree–Ms. Barrett’s knowledge and thoughtful reply to every question is outstanding. I suspect that if and when a case dealing with “climate science” comes before the court. Judge Barrett will research, all the available literature, and base her ruling on the constitution, which as far as I know does not address science in anyway.
    I do hope she is confirmed soon as we need more “originalists” on the courts at all levels, and a return to our constitutional republic form of government which in my opinion is far superior to what the current rioter’s and their supporters would like.

    • YES!
      Everyone (including apparently some who have commented) is forgetting that the technical aspects of whatever is meant by “Climate Change” is irrelevant (or should be) to a case brought before the SCOTUS.

      They would not be asked if the “theory” (whatever that is) is correct or not; they will not rule on whether “Climate Change” is beneficial or not to the country. It will be because the Constitutionality of an action or a law associated with “Climate Change” is in question. The subject matter could be “Black Holes”, the Rosetta Stone or an econometric model.

      BTW, I know that if I drop a rock from the height of my nose it will hit the ground. I bet the Judge shares that understanding. But I’m not clear on WHY that happens.

      Maybe some of the smart alecks who mock the Judge can explain the physics of the CAUSE of gravity, just like they seem to know the cause of the wildly accepted rise in temperature since 1850.

  5. Thanks for your informative comments about Judge Barrett.

    I have just completed a paper on 30 years of atmospheric measurements at my Central Texas site. Total ozone has recovered to the 1990-91 pre-Pinatubo levels. Aerosol optical depth has declined by nearly 4%. Air quality here has definitely improved. Total water vapor has declined by 0.45%–that’s -0.15%/decade. The IPCC claims in AR5 (for which I was an expert reviewer) that total water vapor, the primary greenhouse gas, is increasing. Yet NASA’s improved NVAP-M global water vapor project finds no robust trend in global water vapor, which increased from 1988 to 1998 and declined to 2010. Thus, the IPCC contention about water vapor is far off the mark. CO2 is definitely increasing. I’ve watched the Scripps and NOAA CO2 instruments in operation at the Mauna Loa Observatory every year since 1992. But water vapor is not increasing, at least not globally.

    • I’m a big fan of your electronic circuitry booklets. I miss a lot about Radio Shack.

      Quick question, is it possible to measure water down to ppm by spectrophotometry in a flow cell in real time?

      • The basic answer is yes.

        In Figure 3 of the above link, concentration is given in mg/L. One mg/L is one part per million.

        It also matters what you’re trying to measure.

        It also matters how you define real time.

        • I’d like to measure it with a time constant on the order of 1 second or less and in a short path cell, say no more than 1 meter. Sensitivity is not an issue when the path length is a km, but it will be in what I am desiring.

        • I should have added that Forrest Mims is well known for his utilization of semiconductor devices as light sources and detectors to make inexpensive measurement devices.

          • Ten or fifteen years ago, I built spectrometers using CDs and DVDs as diffraction gratings and cheap web cams as sensors. There were several annoyances and gotchas. It wasn’t too hard to get accurate wavelengths but accurate amplitudes were another story. It helps to cool the sensor but at some point condensation becomes a problem … and so on and so forth.

            Technology has improved a lot in the last 10 – 15 years. I’m playing with the high quality camera for the Raspberry Pi. Its sensor is remarkably less noisy than the cameras and web cams I used to use (even with cooling).

            Some folks in the amateur astronomy community have built very successful spectrometers. That said, I don’t recall that they were worried about amplitudes.

            If you’re doing this for work, and your labor is worth something, you’re probably better off finding a commercial product that will work.

    • Without the assumed positive water vapor feedback, climate sensitivity would be just 1.1 degree C. per doubling of CO2, rather than Charney and IPCC’s 1.5 to 4.5 degrees.

    • Forrest, I have a few questions.
      1. Do CO2 data taken at Mauna Loa represent the entire earth’s atmosphere?
      2. If so, how can you explain that one data point represents CO2 but no other atmospheric property can be specified by observations at a single point? If this is possible, then why do we have a NOAA, Weather Bureau, and other organizations taking data on a global scale?
      Thank you,

      • CO2 is also measured at other locations and now from space. But the idea is that CO2 on Earth isn’t a condensing gas, so gets well mixed, unlike water vapor, a molecule of which weighs only 9/22 as a CO2 molecule, using the most common isotopes of the constituent atoms.

  6. Barret is the most qualified jurist in the entire U.S. Court System. She is extremely consistent is evaluating cases as a matter of the legitimacy of procedure, seperation of powers, and enablement or proscription under the U.S. Constitution. She refuses to get pulled into the arguments surrounding the merit of the case based on extra-legal arguments. That scares the crap out of progressives and their desire to legislate through the courts.

  7. I’m working in an academic institute that is principally involved in environmental chemistry and climate change. Comparing academia today vs when I graduated with a Ph.D. in the late 1980’s, the system is more greatly corrupted by politics and, hence, money. Quality of research is poorer and very highly susceptible to groupthink. Funding is of primary importance, otherwise administrators and staff, which consume over a third of funding, could not be employed.

    I believe in science (it’s a methodology) but today researchers are often more likely to be activists who are more interested in a desired result than an accurate result.

    If it were up to me, I would shift research priorities away from activism toward applied research to address industrial needs working in partnership with industry. I’d include a large emphasis on teaching with industry partners via internships, mentorships, adjunct appointments, etc.

    • The current government grant-funding system is going to have to catastrophically collapse first for that to happen. From the ashes of a US government grant collapse for academia would be a necessity driven re-alignment of research priorities. What we have now are the continually emerging politicized science dangers that the late Dr Michael Crichton wrote of 16 years ago in his essay* “Why Politicized Science is Dangerous.”

      * Published as Appendix One in his Book, “State of Fear.” Internet searches will also find it.

      • Thanks for the comment.

        CV19 is certainly disruptive to education and teaching traditions are going to be abandoned. The grant system probably will not be impacted much and with all this money creation, may get worse.

    • Scissor,
      What makes you think that academia is an essential in assistance to industry? In the 1980s in my discipline (exploration geochemistry) the bulk of the relevant science was conducted by industry. Now and then we would engage academics, esp if they had expensive gear like mass spectrometers that were outside our kit.
      History shows it to be a mini golden era, adding significant new mineral wealth and products to the pockets of all people.
      Nothing except the dogma of control prevents a repeat of this golden age. Geoff S

      • I agree you, but businesses and industry need competent employees. It seems that education is becoming more expensive and the end product is in many cases is getting worse. It would be beneficial to employees and employers to address this in a mutually beneficial manner.

    • I performed electro-physics research from 1975 -1993. My main funding came from DARPA although I did get some internal support from the aerospace company where I was employed. In 1994, after AGore introduced his “re-invention of the government” and his GLOBE initiative, DARPA and internal R&D funding ended. An effort funded by the USAF ended as well. Amazing co-incidence. Everyone remembers Ike’s military industrial warning but few are aware of his science funding caveat.

  8. ACB is worthy of SCOTUS and has more political acumen than most politicians yet keeps it out of the picture where it belongs for a judge. The “science is real” narrative is just one of the many being pushed by the media in support of the Left. Part of the “Rule for Radicals” Communist manifesto says to accuse the opposition of what you are guilty of doing but do it first to gain the upper hand.

    • Mark, I heartily agree that she belongs on the SCOTUS. Some of you may be aware that she graduated magna cum laude from Rhodes College (a highly-rated liberal arts college) but that a number of alumni signed a letter opposing her nomination. That letter to the Judiciary Committee offended my sensibilities however, fortunately, a counter-campaign was started that produced a letter for alumni supporting Judge Barrett’s nomination including an opportunity to comment. As an alumnus of Rhodes, then known as Southwestern at Memphis, I had the privilege of signing the document supporting her nomination and I will take great solace as she transitions to that high court.

  9. That the opinion of a judge not on the law but on climate opinion is cited as a disqualifying factor says everything about modern politics and Democrats.
    God help freedom if they take the Senate..

  10. “Does Judge Amy Coney Barrett accept the scientific consensus that gravity is keeping her in that chair? If so, why? She’s not a scientist, so how could she possibly know?””

    Empirical evidence, dumbass.

  11. Judy Curry, “In my albeit limited experience, very few politicians have made a serious attempt to understand climate science…

    In my fairly extensive experience, very few climate scientists have made a serious attempt to understand climate science.

    The basic problem is that so few people who portray themselves as climate scientists give evidence of actually being scientists.

    • In the US, Climate Change science stopped being about actual science circa 1995.
      That’s when Ben Santer was allowed to get away with his IPCC SAR human-attribution statement dishonesty, under the protective cover of White House anti-science climate policy being controlled by Vice President Al Gore.

      • Joel, thanks, I didn’t get interested in the global warming/climate change/ ethanol is the (wrong) answer discussions until 2000. Sounds like you nailed the political slaughter date of honest climate reporting. Twenty five years of this insanity is enough, we need to move on.

      • To follow that trail see the report “London Spreads Blood and Gore” about the David Blood and Al Gore hedge fund Generation Investment Management.

        The question is, since Gore worked for London’s Blair and Brown, has the former Vice President properly registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as an agent of a foreign government, under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act?

        Now that just might be a question for Barrett.

  12. In the 16th century, during the trial of Galileo, the science of Ptolemaic Epicycles was settled beyond reasonable doubt too, and had been for millenia. It was still incorrect and fell once more evidence came in and a new paradigm formulated.

  13. The Left-Democrats want judges to be activists for their Causes that they cannot get through Legislative action and a Presidential signature. This extends far beyond climate change matters.

    Judge Barrett infuriates them because she, like Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Sam Alito, and Clarence Thomas will make their case decisions based not on opinions of what the science says or what they wish it said (i.e. judicial activism) , since they are not qualified scientists, but rather a judges of what relevant Federal statutes(passed by Congress as laws) and the US Constitution say.
    That 5 of 9 majority of course means the swing vote of “Don’t Rock the Democrats’ Crazy-filled Boat” Chief Justice Roberts and his flip-flopping ways get nullified.

    Amy Coney Barrett’s age differential with Chief Justice Roberts (17 years, she is 48, he is 65) means that if he retires in 10 years (age 75), then the then SCOTUS-experienced and uber-intelligent Associate Justice AC Barrett would be a supremely ideal choice to be the first woman Chief Justice of the US. And that further scares the Liberals with their anti-Constitution Marxist schemes.

    • In Canada this is a feature.
      Probably why we are so messed up
      Progressive judges installed under cover of the night
      Government funded Court Challenges Program whereby tax dollars pay for leftists to challenge laws with activist judges always going along.

      Allows liberals to state they had no choice because LAW
      So they can get the change they want without running on it to get elected
      Zero principle

  14. It’s time for the SCOTUS to reevaluate its decision in 2007(?) in Massachusetts vs. EPA- which forced the EPA to declare (a finding) CO2 a pollutant. I believe it was a 5 to 4 decision in favor of Mass.

    • Our socialist governance has fallen into a fascistic mode: energy companies are forced to implement unscientific and uneconomic policies for the power generation. This abrogation of authority from the producers makes one mindful of the Soviet scourge of Lysenkoism. It is here with us in the form of global warming hysteria. Our Lady of Fatima predicted the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world. And so they have; rampant divorce, abortion, women forced to work outside the home, atheism, anti-theism, cancel culture, self incrimination, Leviathan central government. Global Warming hysteria is just one of the many heads of the beast.

  15. Senator Kennedy’s comment “The scientific evidence of climate change is beyond reasonable doubt” is like saying “The scientific evidence of Astronomy is beyond reasonable doubt”. Both are hopelessly vague. Both disciplines are also very large. There are certain aspects of both fields that are settled and many which are not settled science.

  16. Lets follow the logic of the CAGW idiots a case with Quantum Mechanics is to go on trial. Amy Coney Barrett is asked does she believe in Quantum Mechanics and she says I have heard a few stories about it but have not formed a view. So it follows Amy Coney Barrett must be disqualified because she does not know about Quantum Mechanics.

    Even for the CAGW that is pretty much the most stupid thing they have ever said.

  17. What she believes about climate science is irrelevant to her job.

    Her job is to interpret THE LAW about climate science and what policy the Constitution allows.

    Thankfully, she understands that.

  18. Climate science nowadays consists of “you had better answer the obviously loaded question, or you will find yourself within a hostile climate”. Her answers were 100% what they should have been. Supreme Court Justices are not the Oracle of Delphi, they are lawyers.

  19. The main problem in this issue is the coupling of climate studies with energy engineering applications.

    If the AGW boosters decoupled “renewables” from their policy agenda, the whole climate debate would be an interesting academic development.

  20. “The judge’s exchange on climate change was short, but her critics say it is disqualifying”

    There’s only one problem with that: the constitution explicitly forbids a religious test for public office.

  21. I am confused, the central tenant of the AGW theory is that rising CO2 reduces Earth’s energy loss to space which creates an energy imbalance (more in than out) which causes Earth to warm. An almost just as strong tenant is that such warming causes water vapour content of the atmosphere to rise, reducing Earth’s energy loss even further and thus contributing positive feedback thereby changing the impact from significant to alarming.

    However, NASA’s measurements of energy loss to space (outgoing longwave radiation) show that it has been rising steadily since at least 1985 not falling. Further, the rate of rise is exactly what one would expect given a climate sensitivity of about 3 watts/sqM/C. This rise tracks temperature very closely, following even short term temperature perturbations. There is absolutely no discernible contribution from rising CO2. The warming is apparently coming from an increase in absorbed solar radiation (slight fall in albedo) which appears to be due to a drop in cloud cover from 69% in 1985 to 66% today. But the theory of AGW does not even mention any link between CO2 and cloud cover. As a scientist, I was taught that if the central tenant of a theory is contradicted by experimental observations the theory is falsified.

    Does the scientific principle not apply to AGW? Does prejudice now define reality?

    • If outgoing energy is restricted while incoming energy continues at the same pace, then energy will accumulate. This causes temperature to rise.
      Increased temperature causes an increase in the amount of energy being radiated out.
      This process continues until incoming energy balances out going energy again.

      • Absolutely right Mark but the outgoing energy has to be restricted as you put it for there to be any warming. For example, if OLR had fallen and then was rising again as Earth warmed you would be right but OLR has not fallen. Since supposedly CO2 levels continue to rise OLR should be being reduced further and further. Maybe if temperature was rising at the same time the two effects would act in opposition so that OLR simply remained depressed but that is not happening either. In fact OLR has been steadily rising since 1985 and it appears that the time constant is short so that OLR is more or less always in balance with absorbed solar radiation (ASR). What has been happening is cloudiness is falling slightly and as a result ASR is rising. This causes Earth to warm and as it does so OLR rises maintaining balance. No long time constants, no locked in future warming and no experimental evidence linking what is happening to rising CO2.

      • Absolutely wrong MarkW.

        It the OLR flux increases, the planet is shedding heat. If the input remained the same, the net result is cooling. Cooling can be defined as a net loss of heat energy.
        If the increased surface temperature results in an increase in OLR then the temperature will go down again. That is what a self-regulating temperature mechanism achieves. For the system temperature to rise and the heat flux to rise and remain constant, the input energy also has to increase.

        For the surface (not system) temperature to rise, reducing cloud cover is sufficient.

          • No Mark; the data I have seen shows it does not decrease first, it simply rises in line with temperature at about 3 watts/sqM/degree C rise in temperature. Further, if the theory of AGW were correct the fact that CO2 is rising should either ensure OLR continues to fall or at least remains depressed but that is not happening. OLR shows no sensitivity to CO2, it simply tracks temperature. So OLR and ASR remain in close balance. This suggests the time constant between changes in ASR and changes in global temperature are very short, months to maybe a year or two. The question of course is why OLR shows no sensitivity to CO2 levels since theory does suggest t should. I strongly suspect the answer is that there is extremely strong negative feedback which reduces the impact to levels too small to separate from system noise,

    • Michael,

      Re: “However, NASA’s…short term temperature perturbations.”

      Do you have a link for that? I haven’t been able to find a spectrally-resolved time-dependent review of outgoing radiation, although I’ve tried.

      • EdA, I sure do. Try https://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/analysis/climanal1.html

        What I have been mentioning here in my comments are short synopsis’s of an article I wrote expanding on the theme. I did submit it to WUWT but heard nothing so I assume it was rejected. I would be happy to send the article to you (with references) but I dont have your email address. If you can think of any way i could get it to you (assuming you are interested) please let me know.

        (When did you submit it?) SUNMOD

        • reply to sunmod. From memory a few weeks ago but I am happy to resubmit if you like. Please just let me know by the reply tag

        • Michael,

          Thank you!

          Although the inactivated / archived link is dated, the fact that they note that observation of human vs. natural effects on climate will require study periods of longer than 50 years suggests that the data is not corrupted by politics.

          It appears that the MOD will clear the path for your submission. I look forward to it.

  22. It’s a pity her critics weren’t as honest about their lack of knowledge on the subject. Really the only answer they would have approved of is if she sang the CAGW chorus for them.

  23. If I’m not mistaken, SCOTUS never ruled that CO2 actually is a “pollutant”.
    They ruled that, if it is, the USEPA under the Clean Air Act had the authority to regulate it.
    All based on The Endangerment Finding (along with Congress abdicating the the authority to make “laws” to an
    unelected bureaucracy which can make a regulation which has the effect of an actual Law).
    Short term solution: Scientifically gut the “CO2 is going to kill us all” finding.
    Long term solution: Strip Congress/Executive Branch-created bureaucracies of their authority make regulations that have the force of ‘Law”. Propose a regulation and make pass through the gauntlet that every other bill has to pass before it becomes “Law”.

    • Gunga,

      Re: “They ruled that if it is, the USEPA, under the [CAA], had the authority to regulate it.”

      Close, but, unfortunately, not correct. Rather than trying to plow through the twisted logic of the majority opinion in Mass v. EPA, it is best to read the crystal clear Scalia (for whom ACB clerked) dissenting opinion, available at the oyez Web site. The holding in Mass was that if the EPA found that something was a pollutant, it was compelled to regulate it, unless a very narrow, strong argument could be made against regulation. With his typical wit, Justice Scalia points out that flatulence could fall into this category. I guess that’s why Poles refer to it as, “spoiling the air.”

      The EPA proceeded with their endangerment finding, and, eventually the Clean Power Plan, which produced the first SCOTUS stay of a regulation under active appeal. President Trump has clipped the wings of that turkey.

      • Thanks for clarifying but I don’t see the difference unless it’s the timing of the endangerment finding.
        Is there something fundamentally different in what we both said?
        What did I miss?

        PS SCOTUS never declared that CO2 was a pollutant.

  24. “The scientific evidence of climate change is beyond reasonable doubt or debate”

    I am tired of that “science is settled” rant. If it’s settled, it’s not science; and if it’s settled, then everyone involved should go find other, productive work, instead of demanding billions more research funding.

  25. “The scientific evidence of climate change is beyond reasonable doubt or debate” Or so you think. Regardless, ACB expressing her personal beliefs on climate change would only excite one side or the other and only cloud any future ruling she might support or oppose on the subject. These senators are looking for dirt so they can scream she is unqualified.

  26. One might consider a major improvement to the US system of governance. It is to have judges elected every 2 years or 5 years instead of for life.

    Second, replace the president with the Supreme Count.

    Third, accept nominations for the Court but ban electioneering; enforce slander and libel laws.

    Fourth, stop electing Senators and appoint them on merit as Canada does, or should.

    Fifth, all votes in the lower house should be free votes, based on individual conscience. Decrease the party structure’s ability to make members vote against their will.

    Sixth, ban bribery and enforce the ban.

  27. Also, in general, SCOTUS doesn’t try facts. Appeals courts review the application of the law. Rarely, if ever, does an appeals court reverse a courts finding of fact. Climate change as a matter of science will never be tried before SCOTUS. The law will be reviewed. Things like whether CO2 is air pollution under the clean air act is a matter of law. SCOTUS would never rule what CO2 is or does as a matter of science, just whether the law applies to it.

  28. There is a huge misconception of the purpose, responsibility and authority of SCOTUS which is simply to protect and defend the Constitution—as originally written,intended and amended—and to fulfill its primary role as a check to legislative and executive branches to make sure they don’t abuse their enumerated powers, and to assure no laws are actions are unconstitutional.

    As the constitution was originally written, the federal government should have no power or authority to pass and enforce legislation regarding environmental issues, which, under the 9th and 10th amendment must be controlled and regulated by the individual states…

    Unfortunately, an awful 1942 SCOTUS decision in the Wicker v. Filburn case greatly increased the scope, power and control of the federal government which led to federal and state spending increasing from about 7% of GDP (prior to 1942) to roughly 50% now (including $2 trillion/yr of regulatory private-sector compliance costs, which consumers actually pay for in higher product costs).

    Environmental law is a part of product liability law which requires a third party to prove there is a NET harm being caused by a defective product or a negative externality caused by the use or production of a product or service as intended.

    It’s insane to sue fossil fuel companies for environmental and health damages caused by CO2 because there aren’t any…

    All empirical data clearly show higher CO2 levels have had a net benefit to a healthier environment: higher crop yields, less water requirement by plants, less frost loss, longer growing seasons, increased arable land in Northern latitudes, etc., in addition to the $quadrillions of economic development, increased standards of living and doubled life expectancy, fossil fuels have contributed to people’s lives.

    All environmental laws must be evaluated based on cost/benefit analysis. For example given the “logic” of Leftist enviro wackos, cars should be banned because there are about 40,000 car deaths a year, despite the $trillions of benefits 330 million Americans enjoy from ICE vehicles…

  29. I had an interesting exchange at the firepit the other evening. A guest pronounced she believed in “climate change”. I offered her an analogy.

    If she were on a plane as it roared down the runway, would it be good enough to “believe” the consensus that the plane would lift off or would she rather “know” it would lift off every time? In other words, science is the method by which we seek to understand immutable physical laws upon which we can rely, time after time.

  30. Well, there is definitely no doubt in my mind that climate change is real. Very real. Very very real. It happens on a recurring basis and was happening long before humans meandered around, hunting the local livestock and starting up civilization.

    It was a lot warmer when the dinosaurs stomped around. But there was also snow. Volcanoes were pretty busy back then, too, and that had some effect on the climate. And we have that problem with the Nyiragongo volcano in Congo, which has an impressive and very active lava lake in its caldera. http://www.meteo-tv.ru/news/Prirodnye-proisshestviya/Uchenye-predupredili-o-skoroy-vulkanicheskoy-katastrofe/
    There’s also the very active Erta Ale caldera in the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia, which finally (after a couple million years) got its local laval flow to eat through the local crust and form a very active lava lake. Eventually, since it sits on the East Africa rift zone, it will start to split the rift in eastern African wide open. But not in my lifetime.
    That will have some rather impressive effect on the climate, won’t it? There’s just all sorts of stuff going on, and all of it will cause climate change, including that new island forming off the coast of Hawaii.
    So what is the issue, again, with climate change?
    We have no control over the climate and what it does, and no one can convince me that we do. The argument is about something that is beyond our puny control and it is a fallacy to think that we can control it. If those afraid of CO2 have an issue with it, then they could wear breathing equipment and get counseling to relieve their anxieties. They can also stop demanding cash from us.

  31. What the political seance mob fear with their political lawyering against the likes of Exxon is simply this-
    I rule that inasmuch as the democratic representatives of the people have determined fossil fuels are a legitimate good for the benefit of society it shall be the perfect right of any entity to actively engage in its promotion production distribution and sale. Case to the contrary dismissed with full costs to the defendant/s.

  32. What scares the lefties in part is that ACB is far smarter and much better informed than they would like. She is not likely to be swayed by empty, fashionable, arguments dressed up as vitally important and given much publicity by their propaganda sycophants.

  33. From the article: “Does Judge Amy Coney Barrett accept the scientific consensus that gravity is keeping her in that chair? If so, why? She’s not a scientist, so how could she possibly know?”

    Judge Barrett can demonstrate gravitational effects to herself by jumping up and down.

    Alarmists cannot demonstrate any climate effects from CO2.

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