Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #445

The Week That Was: 2021-03-06 (March 6, 2021)
Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)
The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.” Historian Daniel Boorstin, [H/t Gordon Fulks]

Number of the Week: – 90% phantom capacity

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

Unknown Knowns: In “Climate Etc.” Judith Curry presents a summary of a series of essays appearing in The Breakthrough Journal, produced by the Breakthrough Institute. The introduction is “Uncomfortable Knowledge” by Ted Nordhaus, Founder and Executive Director of Breakthrough, and Kenton de Kirby, a Senior Energy Analyst at Breakthrough.

The second essay is “Policy Making in the Post-Truth World: On the Limits of Science and the Rise of Inappropriate Expertise” by the late Steve Rayner and Daniel Sarewitz. Rayner was the James Martin Professor of Science and Civilization at the University of Oxford, where he was the Founding Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society. Sarewitz is Co-Director, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, and Professor of Science and Society at Arizona State University.

The third essay is “What Would Hayek Do About Climate Change?” by Mark Sagoff, a retired professor of philosophy and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at George Mason University. Friedrich von Hayek was of the Austrian School of economics which included Joseph Schumpeter. They strongly disagreed with Keynesian economics prevalent today. They believed that as economic problems arise, they are resolved by the discovery and coordination of bits of knowledge and know-how, which are dispersed across society and are not available exclusively to any one agency, authority, or individual.

[Although it is not discussed, one can assert that the US becoming functionally independent of imported oil and natural gas is an excellent example of the thinking of the Austrian School. Fracturing of wells had been used for decades. George Mitchell combined hydraulic fracturing, lubricants, and particles (sand) to keep the fractures open for natural gas to migrate to the well bore. Devon Energy, which bought Mitchell Energy, combined these techniques with directional drilling to extract natural gas from long horizonal layers of shale, common in parts of the US. (In horizontal drilling, the fractures are roughly perpendicular to crushing effect of pressure due to the depth of the well.) Continental Energy and others used these techniques for extracting oil. There was no one brilliant moment. Despite Washington spending billions of dollars for energy research, there was no executive order from the president which brought this combined effort about. Except for government research on moving drill heads aiding Devon, the US becoming independent of importing oil and gas occurred independently of Washington.]

The fourth essay is “Accentuating the Negative: Why Eco-pessimism Has Become Elite Religion” by Joanna Szurmak, a research librarian at the University of Toronto Mississauga Her essay may be of particular interest for fans of science fiction. It opens with:

“I used to be an avid reader of science fiction before my academic work put a stop to it. During the 1990s, I noticed a gradual shift away from the physics-laden space travel narratives of progress and discovery towards a mix of fantasy, historical fiction, and genre-crossing exploration — often with a decidedly more pessimistic tone.”

The essays are far too long to properly discuss in TWTW. Judith Curry summarizes them well in illustrating what she considers the misuse of science and scientific authority. Her summary of the introduction begins with the essay by Rayner and Sarewitz, written a year before COVID-19 hit:

“Donald Rumsfeld famously opined on the problems of decision-making in the face of ‘known knowns,’ ‘known unknowns’ and ‘unknown unknowns.’ To those three categories [Steve] Rayner added a fourth, ‘unknown knowns’ — the things we actually know but pretend we don’t. He called this ‘uncomfortable knowledge,’ referring to all that policy makers and institutions forget in order to govern.

“To some degree, banishing uncomfortable knowledge from the picture was unavoidable, Rayner argued. Faced with a world of irreducible complexity, humans must construct simplified versions of reality in order to act. But when institutions are unable to integrate uncomfortable knowledge into policy making, the consequences can be grave. This is true not just with regard to short-term policy outcomes, but also to the long-term credibility of the institutions.”

In discussing Rayner’s final essay Nordhaus and de Kirby state:

“…The problem is not that charlatans have duped the public with pseudoscience and misinformation but rather that the expert class and the institutions in which they are embedded has failed to attend to the panoply of public values that are unavoidably implicated in the construction of policy-relevant science. The solution, they argue, is not more research, better science communication, or louder condemnations of science denial. Instead, it is greater cognitive pluralism — both in how we define problems and how we shape solutions — so that both are better able to speak to a broader range of normative postures toward risk.”

After reviews of other essays, Curry’s presentation concludes with:

“‘Nobody worries,’ Rayner and Sarewitz observe, ‘whether laypeople trust astrophysicists who study the origins of stars or biologists who study anaerobic bacteria that cluster around deep sea vents.’ Nor have most of us come to distrust surgeons or airline pilots. It is rather a particular kind of science, ‘making claims upon how we live and how we are governed’ that so many of us no longer trust.

“This sort of science has become so intensely contested in the early decades of the 21st century because the science, related as it is to the complex interface of human societies, public health, the natural world, and technology, carries so much uncertainty across so many valences of human choices and values. Lay publics are right to mistrust strong claims, whether they come from scientists, policymakers, or advocates, based upon this sort of science. [Boldface in original]

“For this reason, Rayner cared far more about civic institutions than the knowledge they embody; believing that good institutions, capable of navigating competing interests and worldviews, were more important than an idealized notion of ‘good science.’ That perspective has proven ever more prescient and valuable as so much public science has become increasingly untethered from claims that are actually observable or testable in nature, as our expert class has become ever more unaccountable to its many competing and overconfident claims and predictions, and as our political class has become unwilling to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. The problem is not so much the science relevant to social controversies regarding risk, technology, and the environment but the elites and institutions that produce it.

As we have watched so many of our institutions fail and so much of our political culture come apart, it only becomes clearer that our capacity for self-government in advanced developed economies depends upon reestablishing a healthy interface between science, public institutions, and the publics they serve. Sadly, Steve Rayner is no longer here to help us navigate these challenges. But his work and legacy have left us a deep reserve to draw upon as we grapple our way toward what Rayner recognized would always be ‘clumsy solutions.’”

TWTW sums up these essays as: “Do not express great certainty without substantiation. Continuing to insist on certainty when it is contradicted by physical evidence is folly.” To which one could add “so is falsehood in order to support some desired action.”

Herein lies a huge problem with practitioners of modern climate science. Following suggestions of Stephen Schneider, many believe they must exaggerate to be effective. That effectiveness is being lost. Organizations such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have claimed great certainty in their work. In democratic countries politicians may support them, but they are becoming increasingly fearful of the public. Consequently, there is a hardening along political lines on what to reveal to the public. For example, British politicians and bureaucrats have been refusing to reveal how they calculated the cost of “net-zero” – zero carbon dioxide emissions.

In the US, once respected scientific organizations such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) appear to be more isolated by avoiding presenting their work to the public. Instead, personal attacks are used against those who dare question work that is not supported by physical evidence. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.

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

Hot Talk, Cold Science: The third edition of the popular book by the late Fred Singer has been released by the Independent Institute. It features updated and expanded sections by David Legates and Anthony Lupo. William Happer has a forward in addition to that by the late Frederick Seitz. See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

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

Modeling Games: Writing in Climate Etc., Nic Lewis discusses the latest version of games climate modelers play in arriving at their Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) value. ECS is a concept of the claimed increase in global temperatures that will occur with a doubling of carbon dioxide. The climate has never been in equilibrium and there is no agreed upon global temperature, thus the pursuit for an ECS is, at best, a crude approximation.

In past editions of the IPCC assessment reports, the modelers varied the influence of aerosols, which have a cooling effect, to achieve a desired ECS for the warming effect of carbon dioxide (CO2). The modelers ignore decades of laboratory research and decades of atmospheric observations which went into compiling databases of actual physical evidence showing the actual effect that CO2 and other greenhouse gases have on the globe’s temperatures.

In the latest models (CMIP6) the modelers have added clouds to the mix, increasing uncertainty and permitting more guesswork (assumptions often found in so-called parameterization). In climate modeling, parametrization is the method of replacing complex processes (so small in scale or complex that they cannot be adequately measured) with approximations. The approximations may include assumptions that are not thoroughly tested, and so could well be wrong.

Lewis addresses the issue brought up in a 2021 paper:

“An important paper, Wang et al., on the relationships between cloud feedback, climate sensitivity (ECS) and aerosol-cloud interaction in the latest generation of global climate models (CMIP6) has just been published. The key conclusion of the paper is:

“The seeming consistency of global-mean temperature evolution between more positive cloud feedback (high ECS) models and observations requires a strong aerosol indirect cooling effect that leads to an interhemispheric temperature evolution that is inconsistent with observations.” [Boldface was italics in the original]

Here we see that ECS depends on a strong aerosol cooling effect and a positive cloud feedback, both of which are questionable. As Richard Lindzen has stated, high altitude clouds warm the globe, low altitude clouds cool the globe. After analyzing the paper, Lewis concludes:

“Those institutions that have developed CMIP6 models with ECS values comfortably above 4.5 are increasingly looking as if they may have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Somewhat surprisingly, they include several highly regarded modelling centres, such as NCAR and the UK Met Office.”

One commentator to the Lewis paper (identified as Ristvan) notes that the mathematics within the models cannot resolve the issue because the aerosol-cloud relationship requires extremely small grid sizes 2 miles a side [4km] at best. To resolve the issues, a dramatic increase in computing power is needed as well as the appropriate increase in measurements. Regional numerical weather models may come close, but they are reliable only for a few days.

The uncertainties involved in climate modeling are one reason why TWTW considers the approach by the IPCC and the global climate modelers to be inappropriate for estimating the influence of CO2 on temperatures. Following the ideas expressed by Rayner and others, is it not in the interests of the American public and good government that these uncertainties be presented to the American public? See links under Models v. Observations and Model Issues

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

One-Sided Accounting: The Biden Administration has re-instituted the Social Cost of Carbon (Dioxide) (SCC) in evaluating projects needing federal approval. SCC is a one-sided accounting system designed to punish the public for use of fossil fuels. It is a sharp divergence from double entry accounting.

Although the origins are disputed, by the Renaissance double entry accounting (booking) became popular among merchants in Italy. This allowed the merchants to better understand the value of their transactions to include costs, revenues, and profits. These helped lead to business that are “sustainable” which continue for generations.

In the one-sided accounting used for the Social Cost of Carbon (Dioxide) the value of the benefits to increasing the greenhouse effect and photosynthesis are generally ignored. Without the greenhouse effect, the nighttime temperatures of land masses on Earth would approach those on the dark side of the moon: minus 295°F (minus 180°C). Vegetation would not survive. Without carbon dioxide photosynthesis would not be possible and vegetation as we know it would not exist. If life existed, it would probably be confined to chemosynthesis, such as that found in deep sea vents and perhaps in volcanoes and hot springs.

Starting with the Landsat program in 1972, we now have over four decades of data of biomass changes on the earth, showing a general greening of the planet with an increase in carbon dioxide.

The harm (cost) of increasing carbon dioxide have never been substantiated by physical evidence. The benefits of it have been. Apparently, the flourishing of life, including their own, is not considered important by bureaucrats calculating SCC.

Initial calculations of SCC were done in 2016, in the Obama Administration. They are being updated under executive order by the Biden Administration and being expanded to entities such as the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

For now, the criticisms by those familiar with the models used, such as Dayaratna, McKitrick, and Kreutzer sill apply. But no matter what the Biden bureaucrats invent, the above criticisms will probably apply. The one-sided accounting largely ignores the benefits of increasing the greenhouse effect and increasing photosynthesis. Try submitting tax returns with one-sided accounting (only expenses with no revenue) and see how the IRS responds! See links under Change in US Administrations, Expanding the Orthodoxy, and Funding Issues.

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

Hiding Real Costs: British civil servants have long had a reputation of excellence of competence in serving the public, unlike civil servants in many developing nations. As stated in the editorial in The Breakthrough Journal above: “Lay publics are right to mistrust strong claims, whether they come from scientists, policymakers, or advocates, based upon this sort of science.” The British public has a right to mistrust the extremely low costs of going to “net-zero” expressed by the UK government. The excellent reputation of Her Majesty’s Home Civil Service may be eroding. See links under Questioning European Green.

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

Additions and Corrections: When referring to geodetically stable tidal records, such as those in Newton, Cornwall, England, TWTW erred. Richard Courtney informed TWTW the correct spelling of the location is Newlyn, Cornwall. Courtney explained Newton derives from Saxon language (as in Newton Poppleford, Devon) but Newlyn derives from Celtic languages such as Cornish. English can be so confusing to an American!

Jim Peacock wrote that TWTW incorrectly identified him as one who has written extensively on pending problems of the Texas grid. Bill Peacock has written on the Texas (ERCOT) grid. Jim Peacock is the current head of The Right Climate Stuff Team of Apollo veterans who have boldly challenged the claim that adding CO2 is causing a climate crisis.

In the comments section of TWTW posted on WUWT, Kevin Kitty writes: “A reliable grid comes from not ‘a diversified resource mix’ but from having 1) identified what reserves are adequate, and 2) making certain those reserves can be counted upon. ERCOT failed to do either.” TWTW thanks all those who take their time to make needed additions and corrections.

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

Number of the Week: – 90% phantom capacity. Writing in Master Resource, Bill Peacock, discussed a critical table of ERCOT Grid Operations Wind Integration Report:

“The chart [table not shown here] above shows that on Wednesday, February 17 ] 28,291 megawatts of wind were missing at 9 p.m., i.e., the peak load hour. That is, almost 89 percent of wind’s total capacity was offline, and it was providing only 7.2 percent of the total load. Most of the remaining 93 percent was being supplied by nuclear, natural gas, and coal. None, however, was coming from solar, which was providing zero megawatts and operating at zero percent of its capacity. Add them together, and 90 percent of renewable generation was offline.”

Capacity with no delivery when needed is Phantom Power. See links under Energy Issues – Texas.

NEWS YOU CAN USE:

Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science

Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), 2013

Summary: https://www.heartland.org/_template-assets/documents/CCR/CCR-II/Summary-for-Policymakers.pdf

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts

Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), 2014

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

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels

By Multiple Authors, Bezdek, Idso, Legates, and Singer eds., Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, April 2019

http://store.heartland.org/shop/ccr-ii-fossil-fuels/

Download with no charge:

Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming

The NIPCC Report on the Scientific Consensus

By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), Nov 23, 2015

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

Global Sea-Level Rise: An Evaluation of the Data

By Craig D. Idso, David Legates, and S. Fred Singer, Heartland Policy Brief, May 20, 2019

Challenging the Orthodoxy

Hot Talk, Cold Science (2021)

Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate (Revised and Expanded Third Edition)

By David R. Legates, Anthony R. Lupo, and S. Fred Singer,

Forwards by William Happer & Frederick Seitz, Independent Institute, 2021

https://www.independent.org/store/book.asp?id=136&s=lh&omhide=true

Contrary to Biden’s Executive Orders, There Is No Climate Crisis

By Anthony Lupo, Independent Institute, Feb 22, 2021

https://www.independent.org/news/article.asp?id=13424&omhide=true

The Biden Administration Just Failed its First Science Integrity Test

Pricing carbon makes good sense but should not come at the expense of scientific integrity

By Roger Pielke, Jr. The Honest Broker, Feb 28, 2021 [H/t WUWT]

https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/the-biden-administration-just-failed

The New Pause lengthens by another month to 5 years 7 months

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, WUWT, Mar 5, 2021

[SEPP Comment: The “control knob” is very loose?]

Defending the Orthodoxy

After Historic Fall, Carbon Emissions Are Now Coming Back Fast

In December, global emissions were higher than during the same month in 2019, according to new data from the International Energy Agency.

By Eric Roston, Bloomberg Green, Mar 2, 2021

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-02/after-historic-fall-carbon-emissions-are-now-coming-back-fast

Global Energy Review: CO2 Emissions in 2020

Understanding the impacts of Covid-19 on global CO2 emissions

The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the largest-ever decline in global emissions

By Staff, IEA, Mar 2, 2021

https://www.iea.org/articles/global-energy-review-co2-emissions-in-2020?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosgenerate&stream=top

Defending the Orthodoxy – Bandwagon Science

By the late 21st century, the number of people suffering extreme droughts will double

Increase in water scarcity will affect food security and escalate human migration and conflict, scientists say

Press Release. NSF. Feb 2. 2021

https://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=302035&org=NSF&from=news

Link to paper: Global terrestrial water storage and drought severity under climate change

By Yadu Pokhrel, Nature Climate Change, Jan 11, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-00972-w

Carbon emission decreases must grow tenfold to avoid climate disaster

By Brooks Hays, Washington DC (UPI), Mar 3, 2021

https://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Carbon_emission_decreases_must_grow_tenfold_to_avoid_climate_disaster_999.html

Link to communication: Fossil CO2 emissions in the post-COVID-19 era

By Corinne Le Quéré, et al. Nature Climate Change, Mar 3, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-01001-0

Equivalent of Covid emissions drop needed every two years – study

Equivalent falls in emissions over a decade required to keep to safe limits of global heating, experts say

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, Mar 3, 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/03/global-lockdown-every-two-years-needed-to-meet-paris-co2-goals-study

Study: Global Warming Reduces the Growth Rate of Plankton

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Mar 1, 2021

[SEPP Comment: Were the seas barren during the warm Cretaceous, about 145 to 66 million years ago?]

Questioning the Orthodoxy

Speaking of predictions

By Paul Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, Mar 3, 2021

[SEPP Comment: Avoiding the unanswerable: who are the “scientists” making firm predictions and what physical evidence do they have?]

Biden’s ‘Existential Threat’ Reconsidered

By Robert Bradley, Jr. Institute for Energy Research, Mar 3, 2021

Baroness Brown To Get Her Pay Cheque From Orsted

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

[SEPP Comment: The wind developer rewards its allies in UK’s Climate Change Committee, a supposedly independent organization. See link immediately below.]

Is There A Vaccine To Protect Us From Lord Deben?

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Feb 28, 2021

John Gummer, Chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change.

6°C Warmer Than Today During The Last Glacial

10 Recent Studies Affirm It Was Regionally 2-6°C Warmer Than Today During The Last Glacial

By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Mar 4, 2021

Global Bodies Went Off the Rails When They Scrapped Ozone, Targeted Carbon Dioxide

By Brian Tomlinson, American Thinker, Mar 2, 2021

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/03/global_bodies_went_off_the_rails_when_they_scrapped_ozone_targeted_carbon_dioxide.html

Change in US Administrations

$51 / ton: Biden Restores the Obama “Social Cost of Carbon”

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Feb 27, 2021

Link to: Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide

Interim Estimates under Executive Order 13990 Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, United States Government, February 2021

The Zombie Social Cost of Carbon

By David Kreutzer, Institute For Energy Research, Jan 28, 2021

Link to paper: Empirically Constrained Climate Sensitivity and the Social Cost of Carbon

By Dayaratna, McKitrick, and Kreutzer, Climate Change Economics, Apr 3, 2017

https://www.jstor.org/stable/90009410?refreqid=excelsior%3A254b7217b7a1e11b9ac2d69bcd933729&seq=1

Why ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ Is Most Useless Number You’ve Never Heard Of

By Kevin Dayaratna, The Daily Signal, Mar 2, 2021

Problems in the Orthodoxy

China’s 5-Year Plan: Build Back Blacker

By Staff, AFP, Via GWPF, Mar 6, 2021

“China will invest more in coal to power its economy over the next five years, according to a government plan released Friday that only modestly increased renewable ambitions.”

China turns the screws on ‘unreliables’

By Staff, Bloomberg, Via GWPF, Mar 3, 2021

Reality checks ‘R’ us

By Paul Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, Mar 3, 2021

UK’s Rishi Sunak avoids climate pain and hard choices

UK budget did little to bring down emissions or address the hard parts of climate policy.

By Karl Mathiesen, Politico, Mar 3, 2021

https://www.politico.eu/article/rishi-sunak-uk-budget-climate-impact/

Seeking a Common Ground

NASA Scientists Complete 1st Global Survey of Freshwater Fluctuation

By Kate Ramsayer, NASA, Mar 3, 2021

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2021/nasa-scientists-complete-first-global-survey-of-freshwater-fluctuation

Link to paper: Human alteration of global surface water storage variability

By Sarah W. Cooley, Jonathan C. Ryan & Laurence C. Smith, Nature, Mar 3, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03262-3

Uncomfortable knowledge

By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Mar 3, 2021

Science, Policy, and Evidence

A Complete Confusion of Ideas: Climate Policy, Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation

By John Constable, GWPF Energy Editor, Mar 5, 2021

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science

Natural pH Fluctuations at Three Great Barrier Reef Sites

Hannan, K.D., Miller, G.M., Watson, S.-A., Rummer, J.L., Fabricius, K. and Munday, P.L. 2020. Diel pCO2 variation among coral reefs and microhabitats at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Coral Reefs, doi.org/10.1007/s00338-020-01973-z., Mar 5, 2021

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V24/mar/a3.php

The Interactive Effects of Temperature, CO2 and Water Availability on Thale Cress

Gamar, M.I.A., Kisiala, A., Emery, R.J.N., Yeung, E.C., Stone, S.L. and Qaderi, M.M. 2019. Elevated carbon dioxide decreases the adverse effects of higher temperature and drought stress by mitigating oxidative stress and improving water status in Arabidopsis thaliana. Planta 250: 1191-1214. Mar 3, 2021

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V24/mar/a2.php

The Response of Two Cerrado Shrub Species to CO2 Enrichment

Oki, Y., Arantes-Garcia, L., Costa, M.B.M., Nunes, B.C., Silveira, B.R., Gélvez-Zúñiga, I., Franco, A. and Fernandes, G.W. 2020. CO2 fertilizer effect on growth, polyphenols, and endophytes in two Baccharis species. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology 63: e20190302, dx.doi.org/10.1590/1678-4324-2020190302. Mar 1, 2021

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V24/mar/a1.php

Models v. Observations

Compensation between cloud feedback + ECS and aerosol-cloud forcing in CMIP6 models

By Nic Lewis, Climate Etc. Mar 5, 2021

Model Issues

High end of climate sensitivity in new climate models seen as less plausible

By Morgan Kelly, Princeton University, Mar 3, 2021 [H/t Chuck Wiese]

https://phys.org/news/2021-03-high-climate-sensitivity-plausible.html

Link to paper: Compensation Between Cloud Feedback and Aerosol‐Cloud Interaction in CMIP6 Models

By Chenggong Wang, Brian J. Soden, Wenchang Yang, and Gabriel A. Vecchi, Geophsical Research Letters, Jan 25, 2021

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL091024

Scientists say

By Paul Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, Mar 3, 2021

Link to paper: Global-scale multidecadal variability missing in state-of-the-art climate models

By S. Kravtsov, C. Grimm & S. Gu, Nature, Climate and Atmospheric Science, Nov 20, 2018

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41612-018-0044-6

Measurement Issues — Surface

Temperature Records

By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Mar 2, 2021

HadCRUT, Numbers 4 And 5

By Willis Eschenbach, WUWT, Mar 3, 2021

JMA Data: Winter Global Warming Left Japan Decades Ago, No Warming In 32 Years

By Kirye and Pierre, No Tricks Zone, Mar 2, 2021

Measurement Issues — Atmosphere

UAH Global Temperature Update for February 2021: +0.20 deg. C

By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Mar 3, 2021

Link to: Global Temperature Report

By Staff, Earth System Science Center, UAH, March 2021

February Map: https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/2021/February/202102_Map.png

Dec 1978 to Feb 2021 Graph: https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/2021/February/202102_bar.png

Access to report: Global Temperature Report: February 2021, Mar 1, 2021

https://www.nsstc.uah.edu/climate/

Measurement Issues – Energy Flow

Faulty Hypothesis? NASA ERB Measurements Don’t Show Significant Radiative Budget Differences

By P Gosselin,  No Tricks Zone, Feb 28, 2021

Link to post: Effect of Clouds on Global Upwelling Radiation

Posted by Zoe Phin, His Blog, Feb 23, 2021

Changing Weather

Predicting and planning for the next polar vortex?

By Duggan Flanakin, WUWT, Feb 28, 2021

Texas “Wind was operating almost as well as expected” – Part Deux

By David Middleton, WUWT, Mar 1, 2021

[SEPP Comment: Only the weather was wrong!]

Bermuda Hurricane Claims Don’t Stand Up To Scrutiny

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

Climate Change Alarmism Takes Another Big Hit

By Stephen Moore. The Epoch Times, Mar 2, 2021 [H/t Paul DeWitt]

https://www.theepochtimes.com/climate-change-alarmism-takes-another-big-hit_3717582.html

Hourly Extreme Rainfall Claims Not Supported By Data

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

“Regardless of the theories, I suspect what the actual data is telling us is that weather is always the dominant factor. By that I mean that rainfall is determined by the meteorological conditions, which are fundamentally random. Whatever effect climate change may or may not be having, it is miniscule and unmeasurable in comparison.”

Changing Climate

No Mention Of CO2: New Study Shows African Climate Variability Strongly Linked To Natural Cycles

By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Mar 5, 2021

Cooling New Study: Drought In Western US Is 84% Driven By Internal Variability And 16% By Ocean

By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Mar 1, 2021

“Across the globe, no clear precipitation trends have been observed in the last several decades (Nguyen et al., 2018)”

Changing Seas

Who Ate the Green Plate?

By Jennifer Marohasy, Her Blog, Mar 5, 2021

This reef, Pixie Reef, was ‘surveyed’ back on 22nd March 2016 from the air by Terry Hughes of James Cook University during one of his fly pasts. It was concluded from that single observation/glance-down from 150 metres altitude that that this reef was 65% bleached. The inshore reefs north of Cairns were more or less all written-off, back then, by the experts and the mainstream media, as ruin – as dead. But they are not, not at all. (And I do worry for all the children who now believe this precious environment/the Great Barrier Reef is dead from ‘carbon dioxide pollution’.)

Climate network detects precursor of Pacific Decadal Oscillation phase transition

By Li Yuan, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mar 1, 2021 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]

https://phys.org/news/2021-03-climate-network-precursor-pacific-decadal.html

Link to paper: Early warning of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation phase transition using complex network analysis

By Zhenghui Lu  Naiming Yuan  Qing Yang  Zhuguo Ma  Jürgen Kurths, Geophysical Research Letters, Feb 11, 2021

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2020GL091674

New data reveals British sea level records stretching back 200 years

Press Release by University of Liverpool, Mar 1, 2021

https://phys.org/news/2021-03-reveals-british-sea-years.html

Link to paper: Changes in mean sea level around Great Britain over the past 200 years

By P.Hogarth et al. Progress in Oceanography, March 2021

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661121000112?via%3Dihub

[SEPP Comment: The higher estimate works out to be 8.3 inches per century. NIPCC 2008 estimated 7 to 8 inches per century. Another example of lowering the past to increase the present? See link immediately below.]

Historical UK Sea Levels

By Willis Eschenbach, WUWT, Mar 2, 2021

“Depending on the period that you choose, you can say that there is positive acceleration, negative acceleration (deceleration), or no acceleration in the historical UK sea level record.

“In other words … the endless claims of long-term acceleration in the rate of sea-level rise are absolutely not visible in the UK historical record.”

Half a trillion corals: world-first coral count prompts rethink of extinction risks

By Staff Writers, Cairns, Australia (SPX), Mar 03, 2021

https://www.terradaily.com/reports/Half_a_trillion_corals_world_first_coral_count_prompts_rethink_of_extinction_risks_999.html

The population sizes and global extinction risk of reef-building coral species at biogeographic scales

By Andreas Dietzel, et al. Nature, Ecology & Evolution, Mar 1, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01393-4

James Cook University Walks Back Extreme Global Warming Coral Extinction Claims

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Mar 2, 2021

[SEPP Comment: Perter Ridd challenged the claims by the university on coral extinction and was dismissed for his efforts.]

NASA Study Finds Atlantic ‘Conveyor Belt’ Not Slowing

By Alan Buis, NASA, Mar 25, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/atlantic20100325.html?mc_cid=cbeda0c2d5&mc_eid=87fd580a40

Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice

CO2 sensitivity: the polar solution

By Alan Longhurst, Climate Etc. Feb 26, 2021

Hey @NSIDC Looks like we have a sea-ice sensor failure – again

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 4, 2021

Local guide says W Hudson Bay bears have recently ‘put on a lot of fat and are healthy’

By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Feb 27, 2021

Changing Earth

Major 8.1 Earthquake Near New Zealand

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Mar 4, 2021

Lowering Standards

Pre-Determined Science

By Tony Heller, His Blog, Mar 4, 2021

https://realclimatescience.com/2021/03/pre-determined-science/

In a desert seared by climate change, burrowers fare better than birds

In the Mojave Desert, burrowing mammals are weathering hotter, drier conditions

Press Release, NSF, Feb 22, 2021

https://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=302163&org=NSF&from=news?

Link to paper: Exposure to climate change drives stability or collapse of desert mammal and bird communities

By E. A. Riddell, et al. AAAS Science, Feb 5, 2021

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6529/633

[SEPP Comment: Has the Mojave warmed over the past 100 years plus since the US record temperatures were set?]

National Trust’s climate change threat map–a “load of old codswallop”

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

“Clearly the National Trust have money to burn. Maybe they should contribute some of it instead to the bill for Net Zero.”

Communicating Better to the Public – Use Yellow (Green) Journalism?

National Geographic Explains The Polar Vortex

By Tony Heller, His Blog, Mar 2, 2021

https://realclimatescience.com/2021/03/national-geographic-explains-the-polar-vortex/

The End Of The Oceans

By Tony Heller, His Blog, Mar 3, 2021

https://realclimatescience.com/2021/03/the-end-of-the-oceans/

Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?

Not a fish story exactly

By Paul Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, Mar 3, 2021

Link to one article: What We’ve Lost: The Species Declared Extinct in 2020

Dozens of frogs, fish, orchids and other species—many unseen for decades—may no longer exist because of humanity’s destructive effects on the planet

By John R. Platt, Scientific American, Jan 13, 2021

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-weve-lost-the-species-declared-extinct-in-2020/

[SEPP Comment: A review of false claims of changes to a fictious delicate balance in nature.]

Climate warriors double down on green energy push after Texas frozen turbine debacle

By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, Mar 2, 2021

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/mar/2/texas-frozen-wind-turbine-debacle-prompts-climate-/

“’The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal,’ tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat.”

Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.

Three possible futures for global climate scepticism

By Eloise Harding, The Conversation, Mar 2, 2021 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]

https://theconversation.com/three-possible-futures-for-global-climate-scepticism-155732

[SEPP Comment: From the article, the alternatives for skeptics are retreat, re-liberation (?), and business as usual. For many skeptics it is not a social or an ideology issue. It is merely that the claimed science is wrong.]

A third of top UK firms emit enough CO2 to push up global warming by 2.7C–Latest Guardian Lies

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

And again

By Paul Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, Mar 3, 2021

“Instead their [the authors’] concern is that a long run of failed ‘the end is nigh’ warnings might convince people to stop believing the end is nigh and they want to make sure we keep believing the end is nigh. You’re really struggling with the concept that science depends on evidence, aren’t you?”

More polar bear catastrophe hype: bears use four times more energy than expected

By Susan Crockford Polar Bear Science, Mar 1, 2021

Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.

‘Fringe’ or Reasonable? Bastardi on the Firing Line

By Robert Bradley Jr. Master Resource, Mar 1, 2021

“A recent E&E News article, “Fringe weatherman advised Abbott before deadly Texas storm” (February 25, 2021), is the latest marginalization job on a ‘climate science critic.’”

Expanding the Orthodoxy

The Role of Accounting and Auditing in Addressing Climate Change

By Samantha Ross Center for American Progress, March 1, 2021

Great Reset Architects Celebrate The Orderly Quiet of Covid Lockdown Cities

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Feb 27, 2021

United Nations Demands an End to Silicon Solar Panels and Wind Turbines

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Mar 3, 2021

Link to press release: Secretary-General urges countries to end ‘deadly addiction’ to coal

By Staff, UN News, Mar 2, 2021

“Guterres actually demanded an end to coal, but since metallurgical coal is an essential ingredient in the processes for refining silicon and iron ore, Guterres has effectively demanded the end of solar panel and wind turbine construction.”

Questioning European Green

ECO COST Brits were misled about ‘true £70bn cost’ of Theresa May’s net zero carbon target

By Natasha Clark, The Sun, Mar 5, 2021 [H/t Paul Homewood]

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14240903/lies-over-cost-of-net-zero-carbon/

“The Treasury has yet to reveal exactly how much the policy will cost and their workings.”

REVEALED: The £1.3 trillion Net Zero cost estimate called ‘more realistic’ by Treasury, suppressed by government

Press Release, GWPF, Mar 5, 2021

Ross Clark On The Cost Of Net Zero

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

Germans Spent “More Than Ever Before”…Consumer Electricity Costs Reach Record High In 2020

By P. Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Mar 3, 2021

No Wind In The Willows!

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Feb 28, 2021

“The Saudi Arabia of No Wind!!”

Questioning Green Elsewhere

Neglecting Decommissioning Standards Risks Undoing Green Energy Progress

By Tyler Corder, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Mar 2, 2021

The Texas Catastrophic Blackouts: Lessons For The Developing Countries

By Tilak Doshi, Forbes, Mar 4, 2021

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tilakdoshi/2021/03/04/the-texas-catastrophic-blackout-lessons-for-the-developing-countries/?sh=193a1ad26481

Funding Issues

Carney’s ‘net-zero’ investment firm has billions in coal and oil sands projects

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

“Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, is now Boris Johnson’s finance adviser for the COP26 climate summit in addition to his high-profile role for the UN. He joined Brookfield Asset Management last August with special responsibility for environmental, social and governance issues.”

Climate Policy Is a Money-Making Opportunity for the Elite

By Rupert Darwall, Real Clear Energy, Mar 4, 2021

https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/03/04/climate_policy_is_a_money-making_opportunity_for_the_elite_766755.html

SEC to update climate-related risk disclosure requirements

By Sylvan Lane, The Hill, Feb 24, 2021

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/540377-sec-to-update-climate-related-risk-disclosure-requirements

Litigation Issues

Federal Court Strikes Down Environmental Protection Agency Power Plant Rule

By H. Sterling Burnett, Heartland Daily News, Feb 18, 2021

https://heartlanddailynews.com/2021/02/federal-court-strikes-down-environmental-protection-agency-power-plant-rule/

Steyn Files New Motion in Perpetual Case

By Charles Rotter, WUWT, Mar 4, 2021

Link to filing, Michael Mann v. National Review, Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Civil Division, Case No. 2012 CA 008263 B

EPA and other Regulators on the March

EPA Announces Availability of Up to $6 Million in Annual Environmental Justice Grants

News Release, EPA, Mar 2, 2021 [H/t Jim Buell]

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-announces-availability-6-million-annual-environmental-justice-grants

Energy Issues — US

Just the Facts on Texas’ Deep Freeze

By Staff, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Feb 23, 2021

To go electric, America needs more mines. Can it build them?

By Ernest Scheyder. Reuters, Mar 1, 2021

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mining-insight/to-go-electric-america-needs-more-mines-can-it-build-them-idUSKCN2AT39Z?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

Energy Issues — Texas

Numbers and the Great Texas Blackout

By Bill Peacock, Master Resource, Mar 4, 2021

Chuck DeVore: Texas’ blackouts – here’s the truth about why they happened and what we have to do next

Green New Deal would create ‘more events’ like Texas power outage: Rick Perry

By Chuck DeVore, Fox News, Via WUWT, Mar 2, 2021

“Because ERCOT, Texas’ grid operator, didn’t have enough reliable safety margin meant that when things started to go wrong on early Monday morning, they got worse fast.”

ERCOT: A Central Planning Government Agency

By Robert Bradley Jr. Master Resource, Mar 3, 2021

Cascend: Data Shows Wind-Power Was Chief Culprit Of Texas Grid Collapse

By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Feb 20, 2021 [H/t William Readdy]

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/cascend-data-shows-wind-power-was-chief-culprit-texas-grid-collapse

Week in review – TX edition

By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Feb 28, 2021

Texas utility files for bankruptcy after $2.1 bn power bill

By AFP Staff Writers, Houston (AFP), March 2, 2021

https://www.energy-daily.com/reports/Texas_utility_files_for_bankruptcy_after_21_bn_power_bill_999.html

Washington’s Control of Energy

Biden decision to kill Keystone XL could spell disaster down the tracks

By Barnini Chakraborty. Washington Examiner, Feb 26, 2021

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/biden-keystone-xl-pipeline-rail-environmental-disaster

Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?

Leaders Of The Pack – Three Gulf Coast Crude Oil Export Terminals Winning Battle For Barrels

By Housley Carr, RBN Energy, Mar 2, 2021

https://rbnenergy.com/leaders-of-the-pack-three-gulf-coast-crude-oil-export-terminals-winning-battle-for-barrels

Opposing Natural Gas Pipelines Means Opposing Natural Gas Users

By Benjamin R. Dierker, Real Clear Energy, Mar 1 2021

https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/03/01/opposing_natural_gas_pipelines_means_opposing_natural_gas_users_718946.html

Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind

Is It Time to Put Wind Energy on Ice?

By Gordon Tomb, Real Clear Energy, Feb 28, 2021

https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/02/28/is_it_time_to_put_wind_energy_on_ice_685730.html

Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Other

Dammed If They Do. British Columbia’s Site C Ironies.

By Anonymous, WUWT, Feb 28, 2021

Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Vehicles

General Motors’ Projections on Electric Cars Are a No Go

By Pat Michaels, Real Clear Policy, March 04, 2021

https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles/2021/03/04/general_motors_projections_on_electric_cars_are_a_no_go_766575.html

California Dreaming

California’s Energy Policies Hurt Minority Citizens the Most

By Jude Clemente, Real Clear Energy, March 04, 2021

https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/03/04/californias_energy_policies_hurt_minority_citizens_the_most_742318.html

Californians Pay Two-to-Three Times More for Electricity Than It Costs to Provide, Impeding State’s Climate Targets, Finds New Report Released by Next 10

By Staff, AP, Feb 23, 2021

https://apnews.com/press-release/business-wire/business-alternative-and-sustainable-energy-electric-power-transmission-and-distribution-environment-electric-power-generation-63d13e5714104126a87d9cc1998add01

Health, Energy, and Climate

Cherry-Picked Science Leads To Irresponsible Conclusions

By Susan Goldhaber MPH, ACSH, Feb 26, 2021

https://www.acsh.org/news/2021/02/26/cherry-picked-science-leads-irresponsible-conclusions-15367

Oh Mann!

Canceling the AMO

By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Mar 6, 2021

“Assuming that nature continues to behave as it has for the past 8 millennia, at some point (possibly in the next decade), we will see a shift to the cold phase of the AMO, with a slow down in Atlantic hurricane activity and Greenland mass loss.

“In closing, Mann’s quest to cancel the Medieval Warm Period and now the AMO, in the interests of showing that recent warming is 100% anthropogenic, is not at all convincing to scientists who understand anything about climate dynamics and global climate models.”

Other Scientific News

Infectious disease causes long-term changes in a frog’s microbiome

Scientists find post-infection changes in skin microbiome of the mountain yellow-legged frog

Research News, NSF, Mar 1, 2021

https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=302203&WT.mc_id=USNSF_1

[SEPP Comment: It may not have been global warming after all?]

Rare Upside Down Lightning Viewed over Puget Sound

By Cliff Mass, Weather Blog, Feb 28, 2021

https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2021/02/rare-upside-down-lightning-viewed-over.html

Other News that May Be of Interest

How do you Extinguish a Lithium Battery Fire?

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Mar 4, 2021

Polar bear attack in Svalbard: victim survives, polar bear does not

By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science. Mar 2, 2021

BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE

Sister Flatulenta of the Breath of Heaven

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, WUWT, Mar 2, 2021

“Dozens Of Credible Atmospheric Scientists”

By Tony Heller, His Blog, Mar 4, 2021

https://realclimatescience.com/2021/03/dozens-of-credible-atmospheric-scientists/

Frac’ing banned in Delaware River Basin… So what?

By David Middleton, WUWT, Mar 3, 2021

“The Delaware River Basin Commission followed the lead of Vermont in banning hydraulic fracturing (frac’ing) in a place where there is neither any oil & gas production, nor any significant hydrocarbon potential.”

Gender assumptions harm progress on climate adaption and resilience

Press Release, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Mar 3, 2021 [H/t WUWT]

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/acoe-gah030321.php

Link to paper: Gender equality in climate policy and practice hindered by assumptions

By Jacqueline D. Lau, Danika Kleiber, Sarah Lawless & Philippa J. Cohen, Nature Climate Change, Mar 3, 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-021-00999-7

More “Climate Change Killing Plants” Twaddle

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Mar 5, 2021

ARTICLES

1. Fact-Checking Facebook’s Fact Checkers

The media giant is employing left-wing vetters to limit scientific debate.

Editorial, WSJ, Mar 5, 2021

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fact-checking-facebooks-fact-checkers-11614987375?mod=hp_opin_pos_1

TWTW Summary: The editorial begins:

“China last winter censored doctors who shared ‘dangerous’ misinformation about the novel coronavirus on social media. Now America’s self-anointed virus experts and social-media giants are also silencing doctors with contrarian views in an apparent effort to shut down scientific debate.

“We’re seeing this up close and personal. Facebook this week appended a Wall Street Journal op-ed ‘We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April’ by Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary (Feb. 19) with the label ‘Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people.’ According to Facebook, ‘Once we have a rating from a fact-checking partner, we take action by ensuring that fewer people see that misinformation.’”

After other examples of questionable “fact checking” the editorial concludes:

“Scientists often disagree over how to interpret evidence. Debate is how ideas are tested and arguments are refined. But Facebook’s fact checkers are presenting their opinions as fact and seeking to silence other scientists whose views challenge their own.

“We’ve been leery of proposals in Congress to modify Section 230 protections that shield internet platforms from liability. But social-media giants are increasingly adding phony fact checks and removing articles flagged by left-leaning users without explanation. In short, they are acting like publishers in vetting and stigmatizing the content of reputable publishers. The legal privileges that enable these companies to dominate public discourse need to be debated and perhaps revised.”

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

2. ‘The Nature of Conspiracy Theories’ Review: The Truth Is Out There

Our brains are made to recognize patterns. We get a thrill when we see ‘connections’ among events in a random and indifferent universe.

By Andrew Stuttaford, WSJ, Mar 1, 2021

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-nature-of-conspiracy-theories-review-the-truth-is-out-there-11614640961?mod=opinion_reviews_pos1

TWTW Summary: The reviewer begins:

“In the age of QAnon, it is of little comfort to learn in Michael Butter’s ‘The Nature of Conspiracy Theories’ that such malevolent fables have been around for some time. Cicero devised one. Winston Churchill, at least once, passed along another. What’s different now, claims Mr. Butter, is who believes them, who spreads them and how they are disseminated. Once common among the elites, conspiracy theories were stigmatized, in the West anyway, during the postwar years. ‘We used to be afraid of conspiracies,’ the author relates. ‘We are now more afraid of conspiracy theories,’ a fear that helps account for the attention they attract.

“But only partly: Ideas that might once have been confined to a pamphlet are now easily available on the internet, a space where anyone can be an expert and where conspiracy theories can provide a splendid living for those who peddle them. The internet has ‘largely nullified’ the media’s ‘traditional watchdog role,’ a change that Mr. Butter, who writes from a leftish-establishment point of view, mourns more than is entirely healthy.

“Perhaps inevitably in these times, Mr. Butter examines the connection between populism and conspiracy theories. The connection is real enough, although support for the former does not have to mean succumbing to the latter. Nevertheless it’s no coincidence that susceptibility to conspiracism is associated with feeling powerless or (something obviously relevant to the rise of populism) ‘the fear of becoming so.’

“But the underlying appetite for conspiracy theories stems from something far deeper than social and/or political disaffection. It arises, Mr. Butter suggests, from the way ‘evolution has trained the human brain to make connections and recognize patterns.’ We are delighted to ‘find’ these connections, even when there are none—so great, I suspect, is our reluctance to accept a random and indifferent universe. There is a decent argument to be made that conspiracy theories helped fill the psychological gap left by religion’s retreat, even if, as Mr. Butter records, they long predated the Enlightenment’s revolt against God.

“‘Conspiracy theories,’ writes Mr. Butter, ‘create meaning, reduce complexity and uncertainty, and emphasize human agency.’ This is why so many are based on strange coincidences, incongruous facts or even slips of the tongue. To the conspiracist’s mind, ‘there is no room for chance or contradictions . . . there must be something else behind’ what Mr. Butter describes as ‘errant data.’

“Conspiracy theories can also be fun, something the author plays down. Though many of the foundational conspiracist texts favor ‘an arid style accompanied by multiple footnotes, references and appendices’—a style intended to convey seriousness—this may, for fans, be less dull than Mr. Butter imagines. Labyrinths have their charms. For others, the conviction that they are watching immense, hidden conspiracies unfold is a good way to cheer up an otherwise humdrum existence. This may be heightened by what Mr. Butter calls the ‘optimistic dimension of conspiracy theories’: ‘In conspiracy theories . . . it is nearly always ‘five minutes to midnight’ . . . . There is always still just enough time to stop the conspiracy.’ And Mr. Butter clearly appreciates the pride that comes with discovering a secret that the ‘sheeple’ could not—a pride reinforced by the notion that, thanks to the stigmatization of conspiracy theories, being (supposedly) in the know is to wear the mantle of the dissident.

“Mr. Butter, a professor of American studies at the University of Tübingen in Germany, sketches out quite a few conspiracy theories—I was shocked to learn, for instance, of Beyoncé’s supernatural powers. But he also offers a useful perspective on the presentation of these narratives, whether it be in those multiple footnotes or, in the case of documentaries such as the ‘Loose Change’ series on 9/11, the use of aesthetic techniques such as ‘rhythmic montage,’ a ‘domineering’ voiceover and ‘a consistent soundtrack throughout a sequence’—to give a sense of coherence that such confections do not deserve.

“The author examines the shape and form that many conspiracy theories take—their Manicheanism, say, or whether they are top-down (a government plot), bottom-up (a plot against the government) or event-driven (JFK’s assassination, the moon landing). Another frequent marker of conspiracy theories is the way they sprawl over the centuries and feature a vast cast of malefactors who are formidable yet, in their habit of scattering clues for the diligent to unearth, curiously incompetent. By contrast, genuine conspiracies usually involve a limited number of participants and narrowly defined, precise objectives.”

5 3 votes
Article Rating
6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
n.n
March 8, 2021 6:04 am

Assumptions/assertions, intuitive knowledge, inferential analysis, conflation of logical domains, correlations without borders, emotional and egoistic appeals, secular incentives and force, [sociopolitical] consensus, and kneeling to expert testimony.

Last edited 4 months ago by n.n
Mickey Reno
March 8, 2021 9:25 am

Ken, thanks for the cover photos of the great Utah geology that you’ve been using. And of course, for all the hard work you do in assembling The Week That Was

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Mickey Reno
March 8, 2021 10:35 am

Per an exchange of messages with Charles the Moderator a couple of weeks ago, I learned that these photos are his, or at least most are. In any event, Utah gets my vote as the most photogenic state and Charles has found one great example after another.

eyesonu
Reply to  Kevin kilty
March 8, 2021 11:41 pm

It’s the clouds that does it!

Kevin kilty
March 8, 2021 10:27 am

Taking a cue from this week’s installment, I wandered over to the BreakThrough and read two of the articles in the recent issue. The article entitled “Unbalanced” I didn’t much agree with. While the article contains a number of observations that seem accurate, such as the dominance of news by political actors. The authors demonstrate the usual academic dislike of the Koch’s, make liberal use of the term “consensus science”, identify the New York Times and Washington Post as mainstream publications, while Fox News (which I haven’t watched in a decade) they decry as hyper-partisan. They also seem to believe there was actually a time when energy companies financed “climate denialism”.

The statement hardest to agree, though, with is this…

Research shows that most Americans have unstable opinions on political issues, untethered to ideological constructs and based on limited information.[22]And when they form opinions, they rely on trusted political actors. In effect, people learn the opinions they should have as a Democrat or a Republican from their political leaders. 

My fellow Wyomingites I don’t find to be guided by anything but pragmatism. In 2016 Hilary Clinton promised to put us into the poor house by eliminating two-thirds of the state economy. We voted hugely against her. Exactly the same dynamic presented itself in 2020, with exactly the same outcome. In my world it is a perfectly rational, and justified response to vote for one’s economic interests and against people who would turn the world upside down for little to no benefit. We don’t need no stinkin’ expert leadership to reveal this.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kevin kilty
Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
March 8, 2021 7:30 pm

“Without the greenhouse effect, the nighttime temperatures of land masses on Earth would approach those on the dark side of the moon: minus 295°F (minus 180°C).”

This is incorrect. The contribution the the atmospheric temperature from GHG’s would drop to about zero, but the temperature if the “landmass” is affected by two things not one. During the day, absent GHG’s, the surface would be directly heated by the sun to a high temperature but not as high as Thomson, which has no atmosphere. The hot surface would heat the air all day long.

At night that warm atmosphere would return energy to the surface. The average temperature of the air near the surface would be higher than it is now because without GHG’s it could not cool by radiating energy to space. L

This error is built into the IPCC’s explanation Es of How Things Work, repeated above. The warming of the atmosphere is not limited to radiative inputs from GHG’s.

%d bloggers like this: