Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #455 – Watts Up With That?

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #455 – Watts Up With That?

The Week That Was: 2021-05-15 (May 15, 2021)

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

The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: Quantum mechanics is very impressive. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One. I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.” — Einstein to Max Born in 1926

Number of the Week: 42 times, 25 times, 21 times


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

The Other Climate: The Biden Administration has declared a climate crisis although in 2019 (before COVID) the world experienced greater prosperity than ever before. As discussed in last week’s TWTW, the percentage of the world’s population living in extreme poverty as defined by the World Bank was below 10%. In thirty years, China went from about 67% of its population living in extreme poverty to less than 1%. Much of developing Asia is following China’s lead. The Biden Administration’s cries of a crisis must sound hollow and vain.

The cries of a climate crisis from the administration are based on long-term forecasts by global climate models that fail to describe both temperature trends and the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. During hearings on the finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare, the EPA “experts” declared they could not find any other reason for the warming of the globe. They used the “I couldn’t think of anything else” defense. However, many scientists disagree. For example, in a post on his blog, ICECAP, Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo describes other reasons for a warming and cooling of climate on this globe: Earth.

D’Aleo explains that last summer a cold shift occurred in the Pacific Ocean, which led to a delayed, sudden drop in atmospheric temperature trends. Over the past two months they have been below the 30-year mean. How long this continues remains to be seen. According to NOAA, the cold shift (La Niña) in the Pacific has just ended. [A transition to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) of neutral is likely in the next month or so, with ENSO-neutral then favored through September-November 2021.] The drop in the atmospheric temperatures is a direct contradiction that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary cause of global warming (now called climate change). Other than the usual annual change, the atmospheric CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa did not fall. In April 2021 it was 419.05 parts per million volume (ppmv) compared with 416.45 ppmv in April 2020.

Both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans go through phase shifts that are not fully understood. When both the Pacific and Atlantic are in a warm phase or a cool phase there is a global warming or cooling trend.

From the late 1950s to the late 1970s both oceans were in a cool phase. This led to predictions of an oncoming ice age. Later, those who made such predictions tried to cover them up by claiming they were never made. In the late 1970s a warming began. It was not until the 1990s that historical research of the salmon and other fisheries in the Pacific off the coast of North America showed recurring cycles. Similar cycles are found in the Atlantic. The causes of the cycles are not fully understood but are suspected to be related to solar cycles.

In his explanation of natural variation, D’Aleo goes into the cooling effects from volcanic eruptions sending aerosols into the stratosphere. These block solar radiation and increase cloud cover which leads to widespread cooling, particularly in the summer. In the atmospheric temperature trend record, the two dominant ones were Pinatubo (1991) and El Chicon (1982) following St. Helens (1980).

D’Aleo’s research in the relationship between solar cycles and ocean cycles is particularly interesting. It is not conclusive yet, but the changes of both cycles more closely correspond to each other than changes in CO2 and temperatures correspond to each other. Certainly, it is impossible to argue that solar cycles are determined by changes in CO2 or changes in ocean cycles. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/, and https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.shtml


Searching for the Control Knob: One of the notions advanced by Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA-GISS and a member of the Biden Climate Team, is that carbon dioxide (CO2) is the control knob for global climate. However, this claim is directly refuted by ice core evidence of the Earth emerged from glacial periods. The temperatures rose first and were followed centuries later by rising CO2. The average separation between them is about 800 years. The CO2 came from warming of the oceans. CO2 is the atmospheric gas most readily absorbed by water, and cold water more readily absorbs gas than warm water. Heating a pot of water, one can see gas bubbles forming well before the water begins to boil. There are causes of climate change other than CO2.

Joe Bastardi is a colleague of Joe D’Aleo in their firm WeatherBELL Analytics. He is a popular weather forecaster for some national news stations. Using established scientific principles, he demolishes the belief that CO2 is the control knob of the earth’s temperatures. One principle is Occam’s razor [named after William of Ockham c. 1285-1347] and the second is Le Chatelier’s principle. Bastardi writes:

“Occam’s razor is a scientific and philosophical principle that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.  This is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex, or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities.”

“Le Chatelier’s principle states that if a dynamic equilibrium is disturbed by changing the conditions, the position of equilibrium shifts to counteract the change to reestablish an equilibrium. If a chemical reaction is at equilibrium and experiences a change in pressure, temperature, or concentration of products or reactants, the equilibrium shifts in the opposite direction to offset the change. …. (This is) why catalysts have no effect on the equilibrium position.”

Bastardi presents a table for temperature (dew point temperature) compared with saturation mixing ratio to illustrate that a small increase in water vapor in the Arctic will raise winter temperatures significantly. But melting of ice in the summer is a change in physical state which requires a much greater amount of energy. Therefore, in effect, melting of the ice actually prevents further warming of the Arctic in summer.

The warming of the Arctic occurs largely in the winter. It is caused by an increase in water vapor from natural events such as El Niño plus increasing CO2. The 1981 to 2010 NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data shows an increase in temperatures in the Arctic in the winter, but not in the summer.

After admitting a bias for simplicity Bastardi closes with:

So simple ideas such as Occams razor and Le Chateliers are a big threat, and so are people who try to use them. As the agenda gets more extreme, the canceling of skeptical voices grows. But at least I understand (and admit) my bias as to opposed to a zealot driven intolerant agenda that is a form of tyranny, one that grows harsher daily.”

See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


What to Call It? The failure to recognize Occam’s razor is a major problem in the research presented by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers including the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The IPCC relies on global climate models to estimate the impact that carbon dioxide is having on global temperatures. However, as D’Aleo shows in his presentation, these models grossly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere where the greenhouse effect occurs, thus the models are not credible for forecasting.

Further, the IPCC and its followers test their models against other models rather than atmospheric data where the greenhouse effect occurs. How should we describe this fetish for comparing models against models instead of models against appropriate data?

There are more direct, superior methods to estimate the influence of carbon dioxide, dating to early experiments by Joseph Tyndall in the 1850s investigating heat absorption of various atmospheric gases. Tyndall labeled gases that absorb heat (infrared radiation) as greenhouses gases. Decades of laboratory experiments show that water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas and that, initially, carbon dioxide is a highly absorbent gas. But the ability of CO2 to absorb additional infrared radiation diminishes rapidly as its concentration increases from the first 20 parts per million volume (ppmv) to 100 ppmv, well below the concentrations before the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, adding CO2 to today’s atmosphere will have little effect on temperatures. Observations of the atmosphere confirm these laboratory experiments. The effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas is largely depleted. (To use a fashionable term: the greenhouse effect of CO2 is not “sustainable” as concentrations increase.)

The IPCC and its followers including the Biden administration ignore geological history and decades of laboratory experiments and observations in declaring a climate crisis for political, not scientific, reasons. The question is what to call this deliberate action. The frequently used term consensus suggests bandwagon science, but the term does not convey the full panoply of scientific misbehavior of climate alarmists. Borrowing a theme from Richard Feynman, we can define the use the term carbon cult to describe the alarmists who believe that carbon dioxide is a pollutant, and that CO2 is the dominant cause of climate change

It is absurd to think that the carbon cult believes that China (whose scientists are leading in research on the agricultural benefits of increasing CO2), after emerging from extreme poverty, would abandon use of carbon-based fuels relying on the flimsy and scientifically failed models used for declaring a climate emergency. See links under Change in US Administrations, Social Benefits of Carbon Dioxide, and Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science.


What Are We Doing? The International Energy Agency (IEA), formed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), came out with a study on the minerals needed for the Green New Deal (GND). The acknowledgment of the staggering mining requirements for the GND is somewhat surprising because the IEA has favored the Paris Agreement.

One should remember rare earth elements are so called not necessarily because they are rare like classic diamonds, some of them are relatively plentiful, but because they are widely dispersed. They are not found in high concentrations. Lithium is technically not a “rare earth” metal, but it is the most widely known because it is needed for car batteries for electric vehicles and popular in other types of batteries because of its light weight.

According to the IEA, an average conventional car requires 22.3kg of copper and 11.2kg of manganese. An average electrical vehicle requires 53.2kg of copper, 8.9kg of lithium, 39.9kg of nickel, 24.9kg of manganese, 13.3kg of cobalt, 66.3kg of graphite, and 0.5kg of other rare earths.

Also, the IEA compares sources for power generation on a megawatt basis. Natural gas requires the least minerals; 1100 kg of copper and 48.3kg of chromium. Offshore wind requires the most minerals; 8,000kg of copper, 240kg of nickel, 790kg of manganese, 525kg of chromium, 109kg of molybdenum, 5500kg of zinc, and 239kg of rare earths.

If one adds the thousands of tons of concrete and steel that wind power needs for its foundations to both the energy and environmental impact of these mining operations, clean energy is not looking so clean. Mark Mills discussed the report in the Wall Street Journal which Paul Homewood reproduced in part. See links under Problems in the Orthodoxy.


New Books: A year ago, Judith Curry reviewed False Alarm by Bjorn Lomborg, Apocalypse Never by Michael Schellberger, which assert that there is no climate emergency. She links to reviews of How to avoid a climate disaster by Bill Gates, and The new climate war: the fight to take back our planet by Michael Mann, which claim, without credible scientific evidence, a climate emergency.

She now reviews Unsettled: What climate science tells us, what it doesn’t and why it matters by Steve Koonin, Adapting to climate change: Markets and management of an uncertain future by Matthew Kahn, and Green fraud: Why the Green New Deal is worse than you think by Marc Morano.

As one who began her professional career as a climate modeler, rose to be the chairwoman of her department at Georgia Tech, then recognized that IPCC science is a mess, Curry’s views are important. In closing her review of Koonin’s book, she writes:

“When someone asks me for a good primer on climate science and the associated debate, I have been recommending What We Know About Climate Change by Kerry Emanuel and Lukewarming by Pat Michaels. Both of these books are easy to understand, and the combination spans the range of credible perspectives. I can comfortably add Koonin’s book to this list; his selection of science topics are good ones, and the book is very well written with clear explanations, interesting anecdotes and useful analogies. The book serves a useful educational function.

“Considering how Koonin’s book might influence policy or change the way we think about climate science or our response to climate change, I would say not much. Other important issues that Kooning raises such as politicization of the science, climate communications, and our policy responses are based on personal experiences and reflections, with little evidence of having explored the broad literature on these topics. Koonin reiterates his push for a climate ‘red team’; personally, I think that the climate science enterprise is too broken for this to be useful in context of a government led or sanctioned effort.” [Boldface added in last sentence.]

TWTW agrees. At this time, the whole enterprise needs a sharp Occam’s Razor. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.


A Surprise! TWTW has repeatedly criticized Science Magazine published by AAAS as being part of what can be called the carbon cult. Thus, it is rather a surprise that an editorial criticized the notion that summer melting of sea ice in the Arctic leads to extreme winters in the midlatitudes (Europe or the US).

“Every time severe winter weather strikes the United States or Europe, reporters are fond of saying that global warming may be to blame. The paradox goes like this: As Arctic sea ice melts and the polar atmosphere warms, the swirling winds that confine cold Arctic air weaken, letting it spill farther south. But this idea, popularized a decade ago, has long faced skepticism from many atmospheric scientists, who found the proposed linkage unconvincing and saw little evidence of it in simulations of the climate.

“Now, the most comprehensive modeling investigation into this link has delivered the heaviest blow yet: Even after the massive sea ice loss expected by midcentury, the polar jet stream will only weaken by tiny amounts—at most only 10% of its natural swings. And in today’s world, the influence of ice loss on winter weather is negligible, says James Screen, a climate scientist at the University of Exeter and co-leader of the investigation, which presented its results last month at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union. ‘To say the loss of sea ice has an effect over a particular extreme event, or even over the last 20 years, is a stretch.’”

Not said is that the idea was supported by John Holdren, President Obama’s senior advisor on science and technology issues. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.


Greenland Sediments: A study of ocean bottom sediments off Greenland shows that summers have been warmer than today during previous interglacial warm periods. This supports prior studies of caves in Greenland that suggests the previous interglacial periods had temperatures at least +3.5°C warmer than today. There is nothing new about the warming of the Arctic.

Unfortunately, the editors of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), which published the new study, had to assert that the prior warmings foretold of a dangerous future warming from carbon dioxide, without showing any evidence to support the claim. Furthermore, the claim is contradicted by decades of experiments and observations. See links under Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice.


14th ICCC: The 14th International Conference on Climate Change presented by The Heartland Institute will be October 15 to 17, 2021, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. See https://climateconference.heartland.org/




SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:

  • The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
  • The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
  • The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
  • The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.

The past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, Ernest Moniz, Michael Mann, Christiana Figueres, Jerry Brown, AOC, and Neil Ferguson are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on July 31. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to [email protected] Thank you. For a list of past recipients and their accomplishments in earning this honor see http://www.sepp.org/april-fools-award.cfm


Number of the Week: 42 times, 25 times, 21 times. According to IEA estimates, its Sustainable Development Scenario requires an increase in production by 2040 of 42 times the lithium, 25 times the graphite, and 21 times the cobalt compared what was produced in 2020. See links under Problems in the Orthodoxy.

Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?

Ominous space-weather: A mild Solar CME caused a bigger geomagnetic storm on Earth than anyone expected

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, May 14, 2021

The greatest geomagnetic storm of the 20th Century…May 13-15, 1921…a century ago, New York City/New York State were especially hard hit

By Paul Dorian, WUWT, May 13, 2021


Conspiracy Pseudoscience

By Tony Heller, His Blog, May 8, 2021


“I get almost all of my information from official government sources, newspapers and scientific publications, and Media BIAS/Fact Check says my sources are unverifiable quackery.”

Dare you to post it on Facebook

By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 12, 2021

Facebook Fact Checks Are Rubbish: Reading List

The world’s largest censorship machine relies on partisan fact checkers. The results are absurd.

By Donna Laframboise, Big Picture News, May 1, 2021

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


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:


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

How bad could it get – Updated

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM, ICECAP, May 13, 2021


“And all because they have invented an enemy that is actually nature’s greatest benefactor.”

Real drivers behind the yearly and decadal changes

By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, May 9, 2021


[SEPP Comment: Includes links for sending comments to: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), on behalf of the co- chairs of the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, regarding estimates of the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2), social cost of methane (SC-CH4), and social cost of nitrous oxide (SC-N2O)]

North Atlantic Nonsense

By Alan Longhurst, Climate Etc. May 12, 2021

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