Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #460 – Watts Up With That?

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #460 – Watts Up With That?

The Week That Was: 2021-06-26 (June 26, 2021)
Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)
The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”  – George Orwell (1983) [H/t Ron Clutz]

Number of the Week: 33 years


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

CERES Again: Last week, TWTW discussed a paper by Norman Loeb, et al. of the CERES team published in Geophysical Research Letters, “Satellite and Ocean Data Reveal Marked Increase in Earth’s Heating Rate.” TWTW thought the title was unfortunate and the data period used too short (mid-2005 to mid-2019). The data collection starts in 1997 and published data are available from 2000. Over the years data sources have changed. Roy Spencer praised Loeb and his co-authors. However, Spencer stated:

“The period they study is rather limited, 2005-2019, probably to be able to use the most extensive Argo float deep-ocean temperature data” Spencer also stated: “It should be noted, however, that the absolute value of the imbalance cannot be measured by the CERES satellite instruments; instead, the ocean warming is used to make an ‘energy-balanced’ adjustment to the satellite data (which is the ‘EB’ in the CERES EBAF dataset).”

TWTW editor Howard Hayden, with extensive research in atomic physics, took strong exception to the paper, as did TWTW reader Brendan Godwin, who retired from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Hayden wrote a rebuttal of the paper to the publisher, Geophysical Research Letters (unpublished because of cost) which provides a basis for further understanding of the greenhouse effect.

To Hayden, a statement in the abstract is severely erroneous:

“Climate is determined by how much of the sun’s energy the Earth absorbs and how much energy Earth sheds through emission of thermal infrared radiation.”

Hayden states:

[Earth’s] “Climate is determined by the very large difference between surface radiation and planet radiation, and is most assuredly not determined by minor positive and negative imbalances between absorbed solar energy and radiated IR” [Outgoing infrared radiation].

In the rebuttal, Hayden explains that contrary to many claims Venus is not hot due to “runaway greenhouse effect.”

With frequent but small, ephemeral exceptions, the radiant heat that a planet emits to outer space equals the heat absorbed from the sun.  Indeed, this is true for Earth within 0.3 percent. For Earth, the incoming/outgoing heat rate amounts to about 240 W/m2, averaged over the surface; for Venus, owing to its high 76% albedo, only 156 W/m2.

The surface of the planet emits IR according to the Stefan-Boltzmann radiation law.  The surface of Earth at 288 K emits 390 W/m2, some 150 W/m2 more than the earth emits to space.  That 150 W/m2 of heat retention is the cause of the 33 ºC temperature rise over the non-GHG Earth with the same albedo. Venus at 737 K emits 16,730 W/m2 from its surface, but only 156 W/m2 into space. The 16,574 W/m2 difference, due to the composition of the extremely dense atmosphere of Venus is what determines the climate of Venus: 511 ºC hotter than the hypothetical Venus with the same albedo but no greenhouse effect.

[Hayden did not account for the emissivity (typically taken to be about 98%, but is likely to be 93%) but using it would change the numbers a bit, but would not affect the general conclusion.]

On Earth, above 100 parts per million in volume (ppm), the effectiveness of carbon dioxide (CO2) in blocking outgoing infrared radiation is limited. It is rather like a dragster approaching top speed. What it did may be impressive, but it cannot accelerate much more. The heat of Venus is from its atmospheric pressure at the surface of about 93 times that of Earth at its surface.

The January 18, 2020, TWTW discussed a paper by Dewitte, Clerbaus, and Cornelis, the abstract of which stated: “The increase of the OLR [Outgoing Longwave Radiation] is higher than the decrease of the RSR [Reflected Solar Radiation measured by CERES from 2000 to 2018]. Also, the incoming solar radiation is decreasing. As a result, over the 2000–2018 period the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) appears to have a downward trend of −0.16 ± 0.11 W/m2dec.” [Boldface added] Small errors in measurement of two different large quantities can result in large errors in calculating the difference between the two quantities. There is disagreement as to whether the small imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy is positive or negative. The authors of Loeb, et al. should have realized that before making extravagant claims of “unprecedented” to the press.

The generally accepted estimate for CO2 concentration before industrialization is 280 ppm, the effectiveness of CO2 to provide additional warming was already severely limited before industrialization. Contrary to claims by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers, adding CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere will not cause runaway greenhouse. The governments of China and other developing countries in Asia probably realize this, and will probably smile as Western politicians rant, and continue to build coal-fired power plants unless they are paid enormous sums not to. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Doublethink or Doubletalk? Doubletalk is the deliberate mixture of sense and nonsense. Being kind, Bjorn Lomborg uses the term doublethink from Orwell (quote above). In the Financial Post (Canada) he writes:

Our current climate conversation embodies two blatantly contradictory claims. On one side, experts warn that promised climate policies will be economically crippling. In a new report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that achieving net-zero in 2050 will likely be ‘the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced.’ That is a high bar, surpassing the Second World War, the black plague and COVID.

On the other side, hand-waving politicians sell net-zero climate schemes as a near-utopia that every nation will rush to embrace. As U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told world leaders gathered at President Biden’s climate summit in April: ‘No one is being asked for a sacrifice.’

Both claims can’t be true. Yet, they are often espoused by the same climate campaigners in different parts of their publicity cycle. The tough talk aims to shake us into action, and the promise of rainbows hides the political peril when the bills come due.

George Orwell called this willingness to espouse contradictory claims doublethink. It is politically expedient and gets climate-alarmed politicians reelected. But if we want to fix climate change, we need honesty. Currently promised climate policies will be incredibly expensive. While they will deliver some benefits, their costs will be much higher.

Yes, climate change is real and man-made, and we should be smart in fixing it. But we don’t because climate impacts are often vastly exaggerated, leaving us panicked. The UN Climate Panel estimates that if we do nothing, climate damages in 2100 will be equivalent to 2.6 per cent of global GDP. That is a problem but not the end of the world.

Because climate news only reports the worst outcomes most people think the damage will be much greater. Remember how we were repeatedly told 2020’s Atlantic hurricane season was the worst ever? The reporting ignored that almost everywhere else, hurricane intensity was feeble, making 2020 one of the globally weakest in satellite history. And even within the Atlantic, 2020 ranked thirteenth.

Lomborg discusses that claims that climate policies will not require significant sacrifices are nonsense and that it is doubtful that China and most poor countries go along with the leaders of wealthy countries demanding sacrifices. Lomborg advocates innovation in green energy rather than sacrifice.

Economist Ross McKitrick writes in the following week’s Financial Post that:

“There is no robust evidence that even the worst-case warming scenarios would cause overall economic losses.”

“But as time has advanced, new data sets, and even reanalysis of the old data sets, has called those results into question and has shown that temperature (and precipitation) changes likely have insignificant effects on GDP and growth, and the effects are as likely to be positive as they are to be negative.”

As stated in the first section, above, neither sacrifice nor innovation in green energy is necessary, but innovation is desirable. However, the difference between doublethink and doubletalk is intent. Often one cannot sense the intent of politicians and it may be better to avoid politicians who engage in either or both. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


When Will It Burst? John Constable, a frequent writer on energy issues for the Global Warming Policy Foundation asks when will the renewable bubble burst? He answers:

“We don’t know precisely when this will happen, but China seems to be betting on the later 2020s, just before it has undertaken to reach peak emissions, giving it plenty of time to blame the West for breach of promise and return to carbon business as usual. That seems like a plausible date to us too.”

See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Do They Think? Manhattan attorney Francis Menton is following the musings of the advisory panels formed under the state’s “Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act” of 2019. The main goals of the act are a 40% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 85% by 2050. It appears that the leadership is lost.

The Power Generation Advisory Panel, with the goal of decarbonization of power generation of 70% by 2030 and 100% by 2040, made its recommendations on May 10. Menton writes:

“The so-called recommendations evidence a truly astounding level of amateurism and cluelessness on the part of this Panel. It is completely obvious that these people have no idea how to go about ‘decarbonizing’ the electrical grid, or whether that can be done at all. Indeed, the apparent attitude of the members is that the only thing lacking is political will, and therefore if the appropriate orders are issued by government bureaucrats, then the goals will be accomplished. It appears that not one moment’s thought has been given to the potential engineering difficulties or costs of completely revamping an electrical grid that has taken over 100 years of incremental engineering improvements to develop to its current state.”

The panel is largely made up of environmental activists who have little or no knowledge of power generation.

The big three problems with decarbonizing an electrical grid would be reliability, cost and storage. Each of those three is barely addressed at all in the Panel’s May 10 presentation, Rather than trying to deconstruct everything, let me focus on the issue of storage.

The storage must be sufficient to cover many days of usage — indeed multiple weeks — and must also remain safely stored for many months between when the power is generated and when it is used.

The panel was clearly told that long-duration is critical for intermittent power. A consultant specifically stated:

“’the need for dispatchable resources . . . during winter periods of high demand for electrified heating and transportation and lower wind and solar output.’”

The panel’s recommendations as Menton presents them:

“In other words, they have no idea how it can be done, or whether it can be done, and nobody has even started working on the problem yet. But don’t worry, the electric grid will be 70% decarbonized by 2030, even with hugely increased demand from the likes of (mandatory) electric cars and (mandatory) electric heat in homes. [Analysist] Caiazza’s comment:

“’Long-duration storage is necessary so depending upon a technology that does not even exist in a pilot project is an incredible risk.’

“Again, the term ‘incredible risk’ seems to me like a wild understatement. The fact is that none of this is real. The only questions are when and how it is all going to fall apart and how much taxpayer money will have been thrown down the drain along the way.”

Remember, on April 30, 2021, New York prematurely closed Indian Point nuclear power plant which provided 25% of the power used in New York City. The government has no concept how to replace that electricity and now New York plans to decarbonize other electricity generation?  No massive-scale long-term storage technology exists to provide the huge gaps in power generation that occur with wind and solar. The largest storage technology existing is Bath County Pumped Storage Station in Virginia. It is replenished daily by nuclear and coal-fired power, not renewables. See links under Questioning Green Elsewhere.


Extreme Heat: According to forecasts, the Pacific Northwest will experience extreme heat on June 27 and 28, possibly breaking all-time records for certain locations. Meteorologist Cliff Mass has an explanation of a unique combination of factors going far beyond usual explanations of “heat dome” or “global warming.” He goes through two separate ingredients uniquely combining: 1) “An unusually strong area of high pressure aloft over our region (known as an upper-level ridge;” and 2) “An Approaching Trough of Low Pressure That Creates Strong Easterly/Downslope Flow over the Western Slopes of the Cascades.”

Most homes in the Pacific Northwest do not have air conditioning, and many people will be uncomfortable. As Mass notes, the ability to forecast this extreme heat would have been impossible thirty years ago. Such extreme weather prediction is a product of numerical weather modeling and improving models by weather services. It is saving many lives.

The changing winds prompted TWTW to review transmission by the Bonneville Power Authority, which has the largest hydroelectric generation in the US. As of May 4, the total nameplate generation is 27,879 MW of which 79.5% is hydro and 10.5% (2930 MW) is wind. Over the last 7 days, wind power has ranged from about 2200 MW to Zero MW (several times). The erratic nature of wind power places great strain on hydroelectric generation and results in faster wearing out of turbines than originally planned. Relying on wind, with no reliable (dispatchable) backup is folly. See links under Changing Weather and Energy Issues – US


Miami Building Collapse: Part of a residential building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed on June 24. Almost immediately some in the carbon cult blamed global warming causing sea level rise. NOAA’s data on sea level rise for Miami Beach stopped in 1981. The closest tidal gage data is for Virginia Key, a barrier island south of Miami Beach, about 30 miles south of Surfside.

“The relative sea level trend is 2.97 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.21 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1931 to 2020 which is equivalent to a change of 0.97 feet [30 cm] in 100 years.”

This is significantly less than James Hansen’s 2006 prediction of a 600 cm (20 foot) rise by 2100. Although details are not available, one engineering report on the building stated there was slight land subsidence, but not enough to cause a collapse. Subsidence from ground water extraction is a problem in some coastal areas which is solvable by low-cost desalination. See links under NIPCC Reports (2008, p 18) and Changing Seas.



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 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: – 33 years. Writing in Real Clear Energy, Rupert Darwall states that on June 23, 1988, James Hansen of NASA-GISS testified before a US Senate panel starting the dangerous CO2-caused global warming fear in the US that we are seeing today. Four days earlier, the G-7 claimed climate change required “priority attention.” In September, Margaret Thatcher gave her speech to the Royal Society of a global heat trap. In December, the IPCC was founded. The predictions driving this political fad are turning out as valid as James Hansen’s prediction of a 600 cm (20 foot) sea level rise by 2100. See link under Questioning the Orthodoxy.


Google funds virus research too, and with the same man who channeled money to Wuhan

By Jo Nova, Her Blog, June 23, 2021

[SEPP Comment: Will Google censors censor the Google charity?]

Suppressing Scientific Inquiry

The troubling case of Professor Ridd

By Adrienne Stone and Joshua Forrest, On Line Opinion, June 24, 2021 [H/t Jennifer Marohasy]


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

Serious Error of Physics in Recent GRL paper Loeb et al on Earth’s ‘unprecedented heat retention’

By Howard Hayden, Via WUWT, June 22, 2021

Bjorn Lomborg: Enough with the net-zero doublethink

If we want to fix climate change, we need honesty

By Bjorn Lomborg, Financial Post, June 17, 2021


“Both claims can’t be true. Yet, they are often espoused by the same climate campaigners in different parts of their publicity cycle. The tough talk aims to shake us into action, and the promise of rainbows hides the political peril when the bills come due.”

No, NASA, Earth Has NOT Been Trapping Heat at an Alarming New Rate

By Anthony Watts, Climate Realism, June 21, 2021

Ross McKitrick: Why climate change won’t hurt growth

By Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, June 23, 2021


“But as time has advanced, new data sets, and even reanalysis of the old data sets, has called those results into question and has shown that temperature (and precipitation) changes likely have insignificant effects on GDP and growth, and the effects are as likely to be positive as they are to be negative.”

Fact checking IRENA: Ignore the renewables industry PR and turn to empirical data

By John Constable, GWPF, June 23, 2021

Why Everything They Said About Solar Was Wrong

Solar Panels Will Create 50 Times More Waste & Cost 4 Times More Than Predicted, New Harvard Business Review Study Finds

By Michael Shellenberger, His Blog, June 21, 2021 [H/t Paul Homewood]


Link to article: The Dark Side of Solar Power

By Atalay Atasu, Serasu Duran, and Luk N. Van Wassenhove, Harvard Business Review, June 18, 2021


Three Strikes You’re Out!

By Scott Hargreaves, Ad from Institute of Public Affairs, AU, June 25, 2021 [H/t Tom Quirk]

[SEPP Comment: With a graph based on calculations from the MODTRAN database showing that “runaway greenhouse” is a grim fairy tale.]

The Utter Uselessness of Climate Change ‘Science’

By Jack Cashill, American Thinker, June 19, 2021


Defending the Orthodoxy

Guest post: Why CO2 removal is not equal and opposite to reducing emissions

By Kirsten Zickfeld, Prof of Climate Science, Carbon Brief, June 21, 2021

[SEPP Comment: Agree, the removal of 50% of the globe’s CO2 will do little to cool the planet. Contrary to the professor’s assertions, the reason is that the last 200 ppmv of CO2’s concentrations did little to warm the planet. See graph based on MODTRAN linked above.]

Defending the Orthodoxy – Bandwagon Science

Most new wind and solar projects will be cheaper than coal, report finds

Almost two-thirds of renewable energy schemes built globally last year expected to undercut coal costs

By Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian, June 23, 2021 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]


The link to the publication failed, but it may be: Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2020

By Staff, International Renewable Energy Agency, June 2021


[SEPP Comment: If wind and solar generate power, what is the cost when they don’t? Failed to find hard data in the report of the actual cost of generation and found no data on cost of backup. The report may confuse costs with bids at auction which are after subsides with no cost of backup.]

More intense and frequent thunderstorms linked to global climate variability

Using isotopes from Texas cave stalactites, scientists in Texas A&M’s College Of Geosciences studied thunderstorm changes in the Southern Great Plains

Press Release, Texas A & M University, June 22, 2021 [H/t WUWT]


Link to paper: Abrupt Southern Great Plains thunderstorm shifts linked to glacial climate variability

By Christopher R. Maupin, et al. Nature Geoscience, May 6, 2021


From Abstract: “Thunderstorms in the Southern Great Plains of the United States are among the strongest on Earth and have been shown to be increasing in intensity and frequency during recent years.” [Boldface added]

“We analyse oxygen isotopes from Texas stalactites from 30–50 thousand years ago to assess past changes in thunderstorm size and duration using a modern radar-based calibration for the region.]

[SEPP Comment: Disagree with the boldfaced. Increasing intensity and frequency may be the result of improved radar tracking. Thirty to fifty thousand years ago was a cold period and may have no relation to recent warming, particularly that of the past 11,000 years.]

Rising greenhouse gases pose continued threat to Arctic ozone layer

New study shows climate change is increasing ozone depletion over the Arctic

Press Release, University of Maryland, June 23, 2021 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]


Link to paper: Climate change favours large seasonal loss of Arctic ozone

By Peter von der Gathen, Nature Communications June 23, 2021


From Abstract: “Output from numerous General Circulation Models (GCMs) also exhibits positive trends in PFPLM over 1950 to 2100, with highest values occurring at end of century, for simulations driven by a large rise in the radiative forcing of climate from greenhouse gases (GHGs).”

[SEPP Comment: Avoid critical thinking; just run the model!]

Questioning the Orthodoxy

IEA’s Net Zero By 2050 Report: Credible Roadmap Or Unhinged Advocacy?

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, June 23, 2021

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