Entrance to white mountains near bristlecones. Copyright 2016 Charles Rotter

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #475

The Week That Was: 2021-10-16 (October 16, 2021)
Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)
The Science and Environmental Policy Project


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

Presentation of the Fredrick Seitz Memorial Award: Comments Given at 14th International Conference on Climate Change by The Heartland Institute introducing David R. Legates, recipient of the 2021 Fredrick Seitz Memorial Award.

Physical Science develops with the constant conflict between ideas and evidence. What ideas best fit the physical evidence? When the physical evidence changes the ideas must change accordingly. Otherwise, the science becomes stagnant, dogmatic. That is what is happening to the science claimed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers, including many once noted US science institutions.

In 1988, the UN established the IPCC to (1) assess the scientific information related to changes in climate from emissions of greenhouse gases and 2) formulate realistic responses. The IPCC issued its first report in 1990. 

Since then, a great deal has changed including:

  1. human conditions have greatly improved thanks to the use of fossil fuels.
  • the physical evidence of what is happening in the atmosphere with increasing CO2 has greatly improved
  • the attitudes of Western governments to changing science have worsened

Over the last 30 years, one of the most remarkable changes is the tremendous reduction in people living in extreme poverty. Extreme poverty is defined as person having a local purchasing power of $1.90 a day. It is estimated in local currency and adjusted to inflation and similar issues. The estimates used here come from Our World In Data and were updated in 2019

As you see, 30 years ago 1.9 billion people 36% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, mostly in Asia. Extreme poverty is life on the edge of death. In 2018, 650 million lived on the edge, about 9% of the world’s population. The great reduction in those living in extreme poverty is despite an increase in population of about 43%.

From 1990 through 2018 the world’s CO2 emissions increased by 60%. China’s CO2 emissions grew by 315%, more than three times. Today, Asia emits more CO2 than all other continents combined.


A second remarkable change is Space Age Technology which gives us the ability to observe and measure what is occurring in the atmosphere, where the greenhouse effect occurs. This evidence contradicts that early scientific speculation. Despite a 60% increase the influence of CO2 on global temperatures is modest, and not dangerous.


A third remarkable change is the obstinance of Western Governments and many western science institutions in ignoring the changing evidence. Contrary to the scientific method they are refusing to adjust their views, which they still call scientific, to the great expansion in physical evidence about the atmosphere and the effects of carbon dioxide. With mounting physical evidence, what began as a scientific speculation has drifted into world of science fiction and political myth.

Washington DC is a hotbed for science myths and attacking all who dare question them. Our honoree had already experienced what happens to physicists who challenge the accepted myths with physical evidence. In his experience in estimating precipitation, he always advocated those measurements must be checked and double checked, and when scientific concepts do not meet the evidence from experiments and observations, the concepts must be change. This winter, when given an opportunity he bravely stood up, and with the support of a few, declared certain myths popular in Washington are not science, and explained why.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the privilege to present to you the honoree of the 2021 Fredrick Seitz Memorial Award, Dr. David Russell Legates


More details of the Heartland Conference will appear next week in a full TWTW

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October 20, 2021 3:49 am

The truly extraordinary thing about the social phenomenon of global warming belief is how few people share it.

Consider the fact that neither China nor Russia are bothering sending anyone to COP26. They cannot believe there is a problem.

What’s also interesting in this connexion is that the Russian model is the only one that fits observations, and its also the least alarmist one. There is apparently a Chinese model which similarly doesn’t forecast much or any warming. India also has no intention of doing anything to reduce emissions, whether or not it comes to COP26.

Within the countries in the West, where the political and media establishment at least claims to be totally convinced of the existence of a climate emergency, you also have widespread skepticism or indifference in the population as a whole.

This is coupled of course with a small bunch of fanatics, such as Extinction Rebellion or Insulate Britain, who are far more extreme and apocalyptic than the establishment.

It is very reminiscent of the events narrated in ‘When Prophecy Fails’. You had in that episode increasing extreme views in the lower level membership of the Church, and at the same time, increasing uneasiness and backing off from the end-of-world prophecies by the leadership.

I think you can see this happening now. The establishment, as the policy agenda gets more and more extreme, and as the antics of the fanatics become more and more unacceptable to the mass of the population, starts to get uneasy and cracks appear in the consensus.

The current 99% claims are a mark of that. No-one seeks polemically to assert a 99% consensus on a matter where there really is universal acceptance. We do not, for instance, find widespread publicity given to studies showing there is a 99% consensus on the merits of vaccination. There really is a tiny fringe anti-vax movement which everyone recognizes as such.

The effect of the backing off by the elite is that the failure of the apocalyptic prophecies becomes survivable by the institution. The establishment is able to rescue the institution because, often at the last minute, it has divorced itself from the extreme view and the subsequent failure of prophecy. The establishment is smart and politically savvy. The last thing they are going to do is bet their futures and that of their institution on whether the Second Coming happens next Thursday.

Britain is going to be a very interesting case. And a painful one for the British. We are about to see a major industrial Western country at least attempt to embark on wholesale green irrationality. One of three things, or maybe more than one, will happen. First, when the true costs and impracticalities become apparent, it may back off. Second, there may be a chorus of resistance which reaches alarming levels and promises electoral extinction for any party which pursues the agenda. Or I guess, third, a supine electorate may go along, and the economic and social consequences may be so dire that they discredit the whole concept.

Whatever happens however, I don’t think there is any evidence that the important emitting countries really share the view that they are producing a climate catastrophe, and I don’t think there is any chance that they will actually reduce. I also don’t think there is any chance that COP26 will deliver agreements to make any reductions that are meaningful on a global scale.

So whether the West does or doesn’t reduce unilaterally is going to be immaterial. Emissions will continue to rise, coal will continue to be used. And the UK will be a test case. Can it be done at all? If it is done, does it actually reduce emissions? And what are the economic and social consequences?

My forecast is, if they get really serious at scale about it, one word: Dire!

Reply to  michel
October 20, 2021 4:10 am

The UK PM admitted that to secure baseload electricity supply more nuclear power source generators are needed.

Another green inconvenient truth.

Reply to  Dennis
October 20, 2021 4:57 am

“There is nothing a fleet of dispatchable nuclear power plants cannot do that cannot be done worse and more expensively and with higher carbon emissions and more adverse environmental impact by dint of adding intermittent renewable energy.”

Reply to  michel
October 20, 2021 6:18 am

Until such times as the British electorate wake up and stop voting for idiots we will have all the pain and discomfort we deserve because we plod on through life in a trance. Most of us do nothing about anything and so the Griffs’ of this world get to impose their crazy schemes on us without so much of a murmur of protest until it bites us in the arse. Then it’s the lame excuse that nobody saw it coming that gets another airing. I despair of my fellow Brits. A once great nation reduced to a train wreck because of voter apathy and long established class of idiot politicians who are never held accountable.

Rant over.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  TonyS
October 20, 2021 11:01 am

And what role do the Media and educational system play in creating a lethargic, apathetic electorate?

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
October 20, 2021 12:42 pm


October 20, 2021 5:52 am

Just imagine if the UK had a readily available reserve of gas that was easily accessible with existing technology….

Eric Harpham
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
October 20, 2021 6:20 am

Yeah! Just imagine. Wouldn’t it be nice! Only problem the Greenie elements of the population would find some excuse to leave that gas in the ground for future generations to use. Oh! Wait! Hasn’t that happened already?

October 20, 2021 8:05 am

At least 46 dead in flooding and landslides in northern India | India | The Guardian

‘At least 46 dead in flooding and landslides in northern IndiaEleven people missing as Himalayan state of Uttarakhand suffers heaviest rain in more than 100 years’

See also Brazil, China (twice), Germany, Turkey, NY…

Krishna Gans
Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 8:20 am

Take that:
They’re Measuring Snow In The FEET Across The Rocky Mountains, Coldest Early-October Day In [At Least] 125 Years Strikes Seattle, as Historic Cold Keeps China Coal Prices High

The Rocky Mountains have received their first big snowfalls of the season, weeks ahead of schedule.
Since Monday, October 11 parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah have received well over 2 feet of early-season snow, with higher elevations receiving much, much more.

Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 8:59 am

From the district of Pauri Garwhal, District of Uttarakhand “In the Alaknanda River and its tributes, major land slides and floods have been known to occur every ten or twenty years. According to available information, the river Nandakini was blocked for three days in 1857 A.D. Later on, breaching of its temporary lake caused devastation in the Alaknanda valley. Similarly a massive land slide fell into Godiyar Tal, one of the feeders of Birahi river in year 1868 A.D. and it drove out half of the lake, instantaneously causing the river to over flow and even flooding the Alaknanda. Again in September 1893, the Birahi River was blocked by a gigantic landslide and rockfall. On August 1894 A.D. when a part of this rockfall breached, the flood caused damage to the old Srinagar town and villages along the Alaknada valley. There was a devastating flood in Alaknanda River on July 1970. Its impact extended from Hanumanchatti near Badrinath to 320 km. downstream at Haridwar. After 1970, damage due to floods and landslides in the catchments of Alaknanda area a recurring phenomenon.”

Did you even bother to google search the flood history of the region just a little Griff? Your ‘one event is proof’ is contradicted by more than a century of data.

You fail.

Dave Fair
Reply to  csm800
October 21, 2021 11:19 am

But his heart is pure! And, from experience, research is dismally boring.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 11:04 am

More meaningless factoids from the King of the Anecdote Hill.

Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 11:20 am

Hi Griffo,
46 dead, you are taking mickey out of poor people.
On 11 August 1979 exact figure of loss of lives is unknown, but it is estimated between 1800 to 2500 people
In 1987, Bihar state of India witnessed one of its worst floods till then. Flood occurred due to overflow of the Koshi river; which claimed lives of 1,399 humans
In July 1993, flash floods killed 530 people 
source: Wikipedia

Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 7:22 pm

Google “1930s: Central China Floods,China”.
An estimated 3.7 million people died between July and November 1931 from floods, starvation and subsequent disease.
This was one of the world’s greatest natural disasters.
Recently on Al Jazeera I heard the claim that the recent rains in Central China were “the worst in a thousand years”.
Any comparison of these figures in speaking of the Indian and Nepal numbers?
Perhaps The Guardian has junked the records of The Manchester Guardian for the 1930s.
Why would you link to an article about “at least” 150 dead from flooding and landslides in India and Nepal as though it is significant?

Reply to  griff
October 20, 2021 8:14 pm

And why did you post it?

Weather events scares you?

October 20, 2021 10:47 am

This beast is determined to join Europe to the Americas.
One crater is normal, two craters might be a coincidence but three craters is a very bad omen, and four craters according to Phil R signals the end of the world.
Lot of CO2 being spat out of there, the UN’s climate experts need to shut volcano down without further delay, else the Western Sahara will become forest again, and that wouldn’t do, would it?.

Reply to  Vuk
October 20, 2021 11:13 am

I see Griffo is around, I got a -1.

Reply to  Vuk
October 20, 2021 12:49 pm

Very convenient eruptions for Mannian modelling as the AMO turns into the cold phase. Haven’t seen numbers on masses going into the atmosphere, but such data does always lend themselves well for calibrations and adjustments.

Reply to  Vuk
October 20, 2021 8:51 pm

I don’t know about the significance of crater numbers, nor about the chances of bridging Europe and the America’s.

But at the risk of being labeled “alarmist”, I admit to worrying about a portion of La Palma breaking off and falling into the sea, creating a huge tidal wave that would be more catastrophic than any witnessed in historic times.

Roger Knights
Reply to  otropogo
October 21, 2021 10:29 am

I’ve read that that concern has been debunked. FWIW

Reply to  Roger Knights
October 21, 2021 7:41 pm

Oh well, at least it’s not considered a “conspiracy theory”. I’ve read (here, among other sites) that debunking itself is in need of verification. But I guess in the end what gets debunked is a question of who has control of the media.

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