Category Archives: CAGW

Fragility

Lower-Otay-Dam-DisasterThe NYT published a rather mild piece on climate policy written by its new “conservative” hire Bret Stephens. The consensus claque went nuts. Dana Nuccitelli, who was in on the fraudulent Cook et al consensus paper so often cited, put up a spectacularly unhinged piece at the Guardian rallying the troops and denouncing Stephens as a “hippy puncher”. Subscription are being cancelled as we speak.

The, more or less, instant over the top reaction to a not terrifically radical suggestion that the more strident claims of the climate alarmists need a second look is not surprising. In fact, it is pretty much the only reaction the climate alarmists can have.

The problem climate alarmists have, along with the fact fewer and few people take climate alarmism seriously, is that their coalition is fragile. At one point, I would say about a decade ago, the need to “do something” about “climate change” as a motherhood issue. After all, the science was certain and the time for debate was over. People who were unwilling to accept the innate truth of the IPCC reports and the urgent need for expensive action were “deniers” and entirely excluded from the scientific or policy discussion. The alarmists knew The Truth.

As Stephens points out in his piece, 100% certainty is almost always an indication of a cult rather than any sort of actual truth. And the problem with complete certainty is that there is no flexibility. Either the claim is correct in every particular – which is very unlikely – or it is not. So, for example, the decade old consensus position that the world was growing warmer and warmer and that increases in CO2 were responsible for that warming was a hostage to fortune which was very unlikely to survive. One cooling year could be waved away as “weather”; declining estimates of temperature sensitivity to CO2 were just obscure enough that they could be ignored or suppressed; but the overall claim and the consensus which surrounded it were and are extremely vulnerable to contradiction or even mild doubt.

On the science side the greatest threats were the inadequacy of the climate models and the advent of the “hiatus”. The models entirely failed to project any circumstances in which temperature ceased to rise when CO2 continued to rise. However the hiatus created exactly that set of conditions for what is now looking like twenty years. (Right this instant, last year’s El Nino, broke the hiatus. However, rapidly cooling post El Nino temperatures look set to bring the hiatus back into play in the next six months to a year.)

The economic side is even worse. It turns out that renewable energy – windmills and solar – costs a fortune and is profoundly unreliable. Governments which went all in for renewables (see Ontario) found their energy prices hockey sticking and the popularity plummeting without, as it turns out, making even a slight impression on the rise of CO2 concentrations.

The economics of climate change and its “mitigation” are a shambles. And it is beginning to dawn on assorted politicians that they might have been railroaded with science which was not quite ready for prime time.

Which makes it all the more imperative for the Nuccitelli and DeSmog blogs of this world to redouble their attacks on even mildly sceptical positions. Had the alarmists been less certain their edifice could have easily withstood a recalibration of the science and a recalculation of the cost/benefits. But they weren’t. They went all in for a position which claimed to know for certain that CO2 was driving world temperature and that there was no other possible cause for an increase or decrease in that temperature.

The problem with that position is that it was premature and very brittle. As lower sensitivity estimates emerge, as other, non-CO2 driven, temperature controls are discovered, consensus climate science becomes more and more embattled. What had looked like a monopoly on political discourse and media comment begins to fray. The advent of Trump and a merry band of climate change skeptics in the regulatory agencies and in Congress, has pretty much killed any forward motion for the climate alarmists in the US. And the US is where this battle will be won or lost. However, the sheer cost of so called “carbon reduction” schemes in the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe has been staggering and has shown next to no actual benefit so scepticism is rising there too. China has both embarked on an embrace of climate change abatement and the construction of dozens of coal fired electrical generation plants every year.

What had been a climate change thought monopoly a decade ago has fractured along dozens of scientific, economic and policy lines. Some of the more intelligent alarmists realize that if dissent is not snuffed out ferociously it will spread. Heterodox science will appear in respectable journals,  non-conforming scientists will be invited to appear before Congress (as happened a few weeks ago), the costs and limited to non-existent benefits of renewable energy and carbon taxes will be closely examined; once the thought monopoly is broken the collapse of the climate change scam is inevitable.

Speed the day.Lower-Otay-Dam-Disaster

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Wheat and Heat

Huge grain storage bags are seen in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota in this 2012 aerial handout photoWe were promised that climate change would threaten food supplies…especially wheat.

Apparently not.

From Iowa to China, years of bumper crops and low prices have overwhelmed storage capacity for basic foodstuffs.

Global stocks of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans combined will hit a record 671.1 million tonnes going into the next harvest – the third straight year of historically high surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s enough to cover demand from China for about a year.

In the United States, farmers facing a fourth straight year of declining incomes and rising debts are hanging on to grain in the hope of higher prices later. They may be waiting a long time: Market fundamentals appear to be weakening as the world’s top grain producers ponder what to do with so much food. reuters

That is the pesky thing about the real world, it keeps breaking models.

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It’s over

As I write the world’s media, having hyped global warming and the Paris COP21 for the last six months, is trying to figure out what is in the so called historical agreement.

The short answer is: not much. There are some pious promises to meet each country’s goals – promises which are to be monitored by the countries themselves. And there is a really sincere promise to “mobilize” that 100 billion to help the developing world which was promised at the last COP and, as I recall, the COP before that.

There is inadvertently honest paragraph 17 which acknowledges that the national promises will lead to 55 gigatons of CO2 emissions in 2025 and 2030 which is 12 percent rise from the 2014 level of 49Gt. Para 17 also notes that the promised reductions will lead to a rise in temperature over 2 degrees.

Naomi Klein is disappointed and James Hansen has declared COP21 a fraud in the Guardian.

For those of us who are sceptical about the CO2 theory of global warming, the entire Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen to Paris  exercise has always been more annoying than substantive. the great and the good were meeting to discuss a “problem” and a “solution” which rested on shakey, untested science.

But the good news out of Paris, the signing of an entirely toothless, legally non-binding, document hailed by media and politicos alike as “the end of the fossil fuel era” is the high water mark of the loony Green war on CO2.

Never again will the green world manage to get the media attention that COP21 has received. And without that attention an already indifferent public will turn to other issues.

Better still, the global warming/climate change scam needed increasing temperatures to keep it alive. It needed shrinking sea ice and rising sea levels. It needed “the evidence” to either support the “consensus view” (itself a statistical fraud) or at least not contradict that view. There is every indication that the “pause” may be a prelude to a decade or two of global cooling.

There is not a climate model used by the IPCC which predicts or even has a mechanism which might explain a statistically significant fall in temperature. When this year’s El Nino is finished -likely quite soon – the temporary goosing of the temperature record will be done as well. Normally, after an El Nino there will be a cooling La Nina. Depending on how cooling that turns out to be, it may very well be sufficient to turn the global temperature record negative in the face of continuously rising CO2 levels.

Given that the bogus Paris document is predicated on the IPCC models linking temperature to CO2, when those models collapse the scientific scam will be over. Without the “science” the overall “climate change to transfer wealth” scheme will lose the little momentum it has left.

With the Paris flim flam in hand the political classes will have “saved the world” and will, I expect, start trying to change the subject. Quickly.

It’s over.

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Paris Plop

Heading into the final hours of COP21 – even with the traditional 24 hour extension – it is pretty apparent that:

  • there will be no legally binding agreement – John Kerry himself has finally acknowledged that he couldn’t get it through Congress
  • that the West is not actually willing to give the less developed nations of the world trillions of dollars to deal with “climate change” and the damage already suffered due to so called “historic emissions”
  • that whatever agreement is finally signed – and there is always an agreement even if it is only to meet again – the wind has gone out of the climate alarmist sails
  • that this entire exercise is not about science and it is barely about climate, rather it is about using a scare to force the West to transfer massive amounts of money to the developing world

The amusing part of the entire charade is that, when you look at the world relative to its state in 1992 when the whole climate madness began in Rio, the less developed world has radically developed.

India had a purchasing power parity GDP of 1124 billion in 1992, it was 7375 billion in 2014.

China had a purchasing power parity GDP of 1438.13 billion in 1992, it was 17617 billion in 2014.

Unsurprisingly, India is none too eager to stop buring fossil fuels and China’s great concession has been to accept unlimited growth in emissions until 2030 when, it really does promise to start reducing emissions.

Whack-a-doodle warmists and greenies will, as per usual, be sad when the Paris Conference ends with a non-enforcable damp squib of a not-a-treaty agreement. The more intelligent of them will be very depressed indeed because the wheels continue to fall of the science as the Pause lengthens, the models depart further from the observations and, oops, Arctic ice extent is the highest its been in a decade.

icecover_current

The “science” behind the climate hysteria is crumbling and the green dream of a reversion to horse and buggy days is collapsing faster than the price of oil. The fake consensus is under attack, the models are failing and, despite the great and the good all claiming that we’ll all be baked, the general public has turned away from global warming alarm.

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2.65 Billion: It’s Harper’s Fault

cmip5-90-models-global-tsfc-vs-obs-thru-2013
(link)
Assorted rightie bloggers are expressing their outrage that Trudeau has committed Canada to spending 2.65 billion dollars helping 3rd world kleptocracies “fight climate change”.

As I said at Kate’s and repeated at BCF,

Idiot.

However, the real problem lies with Harper and the Cons not digging in and discrediting the global warming farce while they had a majority. 20 million tossed at sceptical researchers – ideally led by Steve MacIntyre – and the whole scam could have been buried forever.

Instead, Harper and the Cons pretended that global warming was a thing. They didn’t actually do anything about it; but they did not use their time in government to demolish the Green Blob.

20 million versus 2.65 billion simply because the Conservatives were chickenshits.

Harper might have had an excuse with the minorities. He had no excuse with a majority. He knew the science was bogus and the economics laughable. But he wanted to avoid offending the climate true believers. So he punted the file and we are stuck with 2.65 billion now and carbon taxes and, Lord knows, what else.

A twenty million dollar Commission looking at the science and the economics could have torpedoed the crazier claims of the warmists and built a solid wall of science preventing Trudeau and Dion and the other dimwits from fashionably screwing the economy.

Harper lacked the courage of his convictions on this file and many others. Good riddance.

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Ooops…

CO2, China, Canada CO2 emissionsChina burnt 17% more coal than it had previously said it did. Which, what with one thing and another, comes to a billion extra tons of evil CO2 “spewing” (it always spews) into the atmosphere. (NYT for details.)

So, as Paris fast approaches and the great and the good led by Prime Minister Trudeau prepare to pledge reductions in Canada’s CO2 emissions we might pause to consider that Canada’s total CO2 emissions from all sources in 2013 were…726 million tons. Yup, we spewed less CO2 than the CO2 spewed by China’s little error.

Whatever we pledge – in an excess of virtue signalling – will make absolutely no difference to the temperature of the Earth even conceding that CO2 has some effect. Our noble pledges will be entirely lost in the rush to industrialization taking place in China, India and many other countries. For all the difference to the climate Prime Minister Trudeau and the premiers and his merry band of Cabinet Ministers will make in Paris they might as well skip the jet ride and the hotels and mail in some targets which will not be met. Cheaper and less polluting.

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Winter is Coming

global warming, AGW

Oh Dear….

You see those little lines up there? the blue one goes down the green one is flat. Well those are the trends of the satellite temperature measurements for the last couple of decades.

CO2 up, temperature flat or declining.

The nest time a Canadian politician talks about cap and trade or carbon taxes ask him (or her) when was the last time the worldwide satellite temperature gauges showed any warming.

Bet they won’t answer. Because they don’t know and it’s our job to tell them.

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Choices

The total sum the U.N. says is needed each year is $267 billion. “Given that this is more or less equivalent to 0.3 percent of the global GDP, I personally think it is a relatively small price to pay to end hunger,” Graziano da Silva said in a statement.

Though much progress has been made in recent years, nearly 800 million people worldwide do not have enough to eat. Most live outside cities. reuters

Climate change idiots claim that we are now spending 1 billion dollars a day to “fight climate change”. (cite)

Given that there has been no global warming for 18+ years and that CO2 emissions continue to rise, maybe we should think about feeding real, hungry, people rather than pissing away billions on windmills and bio-fuels.

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Shooting the Climate Cripples

I started writing about global warming and climate change at least a decade ago. At that point the warmists believed that CO2 was responsible for global warming, that the ice caps were melting, that sea level were rising and would rise meters rather the millimeters, that climate models – so long as they were peer reviewed – accurately reflected the Climate and should be relied upon for policy discussions, that natural variability of any sort played next to no role in the earth’s temperature, the temperature sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 was 3 to 7 or more degrees Celsius and that the “science was settled”.

In that decade virtually everyone of the items in this catechism has been proven wrong or highly exaggerated. The problem is that it takes a long time for the policy built on incorrect science and general hysteria to be turned around. The less important CO2 is to actual climate the more important it becomes to the policy fanatics for whom the science has always been subsumed to the politics.

Global warming hysteria was a tool in the hands of people who did not like the way in which the world worked or was likely to work. If you want to reduce consumption in the West and transfer money to the poor nations of the world (and you hate markets) you need a pivot for your lever and global warming was perfect. After all, if the fate of the world hangs in the balance you can and will convince decent people to pressure their politicians to “do something” and politicians, not being very brave and not being encouraged to do their own due diligence, will vote for “doing something” no matter how objectively hare-brained or cost ineffective.

Once you had the politicians falling over themselves to be seen as “Green” by their equally ignorant constituents, the science didn’t actually matter. Until and unless Nature gave the realists hardcore ammunition. Hardcore talking points the green blob and the wind spinners couldn’t dismiss. Headline stuff to counter and destroy the alarmist pap which the political end of the IPCC grafts on to the science in the Summaries for Policy Makers.

Now realists have two, fundamental, points to hammer home to the politicians – satellite records showing 18+ years of no warming and record breaking ice extent at the Poles. The End, it is not a pause or a hiatus as there is no certainty if or when warming will resume, of warming is well acknowledged by peer reviewed science, albeit indirectly, as there has been a surge in papers explaining the End. (Between 50 and 80, usually contradictory explanations have been proffered with no “consensus” emerging.) The rapid expansion of Polar ice has also been confirmed and various ding-a-ling theories as to how this is just what you’d expect with global warming are being peddled about with no great success.

Those two, peer acknowledged facts need to be ground into the political class’s brains until they are terrified to go to a political meeting or a community event because they know some member of the public, maybe several, will ask them how they justify (insert CO2 policy) when the world isn’t warming and the ice caps are growing. Do it over and over.
The science behind CAGW was always weak and the economics made no sense without positing the worst of worse cases, now it is time to bring that home to the mentally lazy, economically indolent and scientifically illiterate political class.

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Oil Wars

oil price

If you want to understand the future a look at the price of oil is never a bad place to start. That price is down and pixels are dying in their billions with commentary as to what that means for Russia, Iran, fracking, IS, Canada and your car’s gas bill.

Oil prices have fluctuated significantly for years and I expect they will continue to do so. What interests me is the implication of a low oil price for the longer term prospects of the West. And, in general, there seem to be more positives than negatives.

When oil prices are high there is a rush of investment into oil based enterprises from multi-nationals to frackers. No bad thing but there is always a real danger of over investment leading to the exploitation of very marginal resources. A lower oil price will strand some of that investment and, just as importantly, postpone a great deal of it. Which frees up investment for other, potentially more useful, purposes.

The second thing which happens is that governments become addicted to the joys of relatively painless oil royalties. This looks like revenue but, because it is drawn from a diminishing resource, is actually a rather dangerous drawing down of capital. A lot of oil “revenue” is seen as general revenue and is spent on non-capital expenditures. With a booming oil sector governments are tempted to think the exaggerated revenues are available for general expenses and will continue to be. Which means that government budgets are set based on a purely extractive draw down of a province’s or nation’s capital. This is a poor idea.

Not to take anything away from the bright guys who are fracking and mining their way to oil fortunes, the reality is that extracting oil does not leave much in the way of useful, secondary industry, much less innovation. Which, in turn, means that when the oil is no longer profitable to extract there is no residual, non-oil, economy left behind. If a government spends the oil revenue as it comes in, or worse uses it to secure loans, when the oil revenue dries up there is nothing to cover the spending or the debt.

(The polar case here is Saudi Arabia. If Saudi oil dried up tomorrow, other than terrorist and Islamoloons, what else does Saudi make? Take a look here for the answer. And here is Canada by contrast.)

The “bingo” of high oil revenues has been largely wasted by governments. This is not intentional, it is just what government, confronted with a big pile of money does. From Russia to Iran to Alberta, government grabs the money and spends it on day to day operations. There is virtually no way to stop this so long as we have politicians with month ahead horizons. However, the current crash in oil prices means that there will be less money to squander.

The golden lining of additional pressures on nasty states like Russia, Iran and Venezuela is likely not as significant as the prevention of malinvestment and governmental squander. In time, as various emerging economies continue to grow, demand will drive the price of oil upwards again. With luck investors and governments will not make the same mistakes twice.

(One unalloyed good arising from the collapse of the price of oil is that so called clean energy renewables like wind and solar look even sillier with their present technology. I suspect wind will always make zero economic sense; I have more hope for photo voltaic solar as new materials promise significantly higher efficiency. And those same materials in a different configuration promise radical gains in battery efficiency for that daily occurrence known as darkness. Again, a low oil price will dampen the insane over investment in these marginal technologies.)

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