Monday, January 26, 2015

People Freeze While Climate Alarmists Fiddle

Severe winter weather continues to pound the U.S. and the Middle East, of all places. The Weather Channel reports that one of the worst winter storm in more than a decade hit Lebanon leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in tents with little in the way of heat. At least two Syrian refugees dies from exposure. Snow blanketed much of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

Britain experienced its coldest night of the year on the 18th as temperatures in the Scottish highlands dropped to -11C as icy conditions resulted in a commuter jet carrying 47 passengers sliding off the tarmac and into the grass in Inverness.

In New Jersey, on Sunday the 18, what had been expected to be a fairly routine rain storm turned into dangerous ice storm as lower than expected temperatures, resulted in as much as a quarter of an inch of freezing rain falling in parts of New York and New Jersey resulting on some road and bridge closures and restrictions. The New Jersey State Police reported 428 accidents and 186 calls for aid through Sunday afternoon. Despite more than enough work in New Jersey, some northern New Jersey ambulance companies were sent units to New York City to deal with a glut of emergency calls due to ice.

Cold air from Canada delivered frigid conditions to much of the U.S. with cold in North Carolina resulting in delayed school openings, and school closings in Minnesota, New England and throughout the Mid-West.

In Chicago, where wind chills were -21 degrees on January 8, firefighters battled blazes while icicles formed on their uniforms.

With wind chill readings between 25 and 45 degrees below zero, and white out’s some areas, conditions on many of the nation’s highways were deadly, for instance, an 18 vehicle pileup in Western Pennsylvania resulted in three deaths.

Looking ahead, the Weather Channel projects that much of the Eastern, Mid-West and Southern U.S. should brace for colder than average temperatures from February through April, while the Western U.S. might experience warmer than average temperatures due to a temporary high temperature ridge over the West Coast.

While climate pontificators blather on about whether 2014 was the warmest year on record, outside of the Ivory Tower, people around the world are shivering in the dark as winter continues its deadly, icy grip.


‘Eco’ bulbs aren’t green enough

Households are being misled over light bulbs that are branded as ‘eco’ but can burn out in a matter of weeks, campaigners claim.

Philips and Osram, two of the biggest manufacturers, are using the term on halogen bulbs that can use ten times more energy than the latest technology.

Consumer groups say the products are being ‘greenwashed’ and are fooling the public into thinking they are getting an environmentally-friendly light source that can cut family bills.

Yesterday campaigners threatened legal action as one firm claimed that eco actually stood for ‘economy’ – a reference to price rather than the bulb’s ability to save on power.

Halogen bulbs, which cost around £1.50 each, are among the least energy-efficient bulbs widely available today and have been surpassed by technologies including LEDs and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs – some of which will burn ten times less energy.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that replacing every halogen bulb with LEDs – which can cost around £7 – will save a family £40 a year in electricity bills.

Yet Philips’s EcoClassic bulb and Osram’s Classic Eco Superstar bulb both carry the word ‘eco’ – even though each has an energy efficiency grade of C or D – the lowest being E.

They will last just 2,000 hours and consume ten times more energy than the latest LED technology, researchers say.

Campaign group Coolproducts is now calling for the ‘eco’ label to be restricted to products which are truly efficient and said it is considering legal action against the companies.

EU law prevents firms using the phrase ‘energy-saving lamp’ when marketing halogens, but does not rule out using the term ‘eco’.

Stephane Arditi of Coolproducts said: ‘Halogens are only eco in comparison to incandescent bulbs that Philips and Osram know were phased out years ago, yet this packaging is modern.

‘Whether greenwash or consumer manipulation, the effect is the same – people think they are getting energy savers when in fact they are buying the worst bulbs on the market.  ‘They would be far better off buying LEDs or CFL bulbs from forward-thinking retailers.’

Halogen bulbs were the most efficient type available when they were invented in the 1960s. But since filament technology was phased out in the last few years, halogen bulbs can no longer be classed as energy efficient, say campaigners.

Osram yesterday admitted its eco branding was a reference to its cheapness compared to newer technologies.  A spokesman for the German-based firm said: ‘ECO is an abbreviation for ECOnomy as well as for ECOlogy.

‘Unlike CFL bulbs and LED lamps, halogen lamps can be disposed of in household waste as they do not contain electronic components and from a health perspective do not emit electronic magnetic fields.’

Philips said shoppers are given enough information on packaging to make an informed decision.

A spokesman pointed out that halogen bulbs would still save more money than traditional incandescent filament bulbs – which are still in some stores because any stocks held at the time of the phase-out in 2011 are allowed to be sold.

The spokesman added: ‘Our packaging contains information so that consumers can make an informed decision when purchasing a Philips light bulb, especially the energy label, which allows consumers to easily compare one product to another and makes very clear what the energy consumption of the bulb is.’

Richard Black, of think-tank the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: ‘This will disappoint Britons who’ve invested in these bulbs believing that they were saving money and doing something to reduce climate change.

‘Both Philips and Osram have made impressive-sounding statements regarding their commitment to tackling climate change, and this news is likely to make some people question how serious the companies are.’


A "Carbon Diet" Would Punish the Poor

The worst metaphor to come out of the global warming debate is “the carbon diet.”

Originally coined in Oregon in 2000, the metaphor didn’t take off until 2005, when David Gershon wrote a workbook titled Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds. Al Gore, among other alarmists, praised it, and in 2006, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) referenced it upon announcing new greenhouse gas emissions restrictions in California.

Schwarzenegger compared Earth to an overweight person who is consuming too much energy (primarily fossil fuels), making the planet unhealthy. The cure: Apply willpower and make changes to our carbon-crazy lifestyles so the planet will avoid an early death – presumably of heatstroke.

The carbon-diet metaphor has seeped into everyday language. Alarmists have convinced world leaders and much of the general public the world needs to “cut back” on fossil fuel consumption in the same way an obese person needs cut back on food consumption.

However, from its inception, the metaphor was flawed. First, the planet is not a living organism with some particular state of existence objectively describable as being “healthy.” The idea there is an ideal temperature or state of the global climate is a human invention.

Second, taking the metaphor seriously leads to perverse, fatal results for billions of the world’s people – primarily the poorest among us. Those who already suffer from poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, and dearth of political representation ultimately suffer the most from climate alarmism. A carbon diet would make the sick even sicker. In the present world, in the words of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, restrictions on fossil fuel use are a “sickness unto death.”

An article in Slate rightly points out “[m]ost of the world does not need a carbon diet.”:

Three-quarters of the global population uses just 10 percent of the world’s energy, 1 billion people lack access to electricity, and 3 billion cook their food over dung, wood, and charcoal, leading to millions of early deaths. These people are energy starved – and they need a feast, not a diet. People in Angola, Bangladesh, and Cameroon, for example, use about 250 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while people in the U.S. use 12,246.

People in developed countries should not be thrown into poverty and chaos by massive fossil fuel restrictions. Fossil fuel use has allowed humans to adapt the environment to our needs rather than, as we have for the vast majority of human existence, remain dependent upon and in fear of the vicissitudes of nature.

Even clean development mechanisms are misguided; paying the poor not to develop, or to attempt to develop using only renewable energy, will result in developing nations having only enough energy per capita to power a set-top cable box, leaving people cooking over dung and wood without the electricity needed to light a lamp.

In the end:

The carbon diet is a miserable prescription for the world’s future because it contains no vision of a shared future and shared prosperity. Instead, it offers a default vision of a dog-eat-dog world where starving hordes will tank the planet.

The Slate article should sit alongside Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels in our intellectual medical library as a diagnostic manual for the world’s energy ills.


Inhofe Calls Obama’s Climate Agenda A ‘Wealth Redistribution Scheme’

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe criticized President Barack Obama’s doubling down on fighting global warming Tuesday night, arguing that the president’s planned climate regulations were simply “a wealth redistribution scheme.”

“Why the pain for no gain?” Inhofe asked in a rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union speech. ”As The Wall Street Journal put it when reporting on just one of the president’s many climate regulations, this is a wealth redistribution scheme being imposed by the president through the EPA.”

“This is the real climate agenda the president chose not to address tonight. It is no wonder because it would impose the largest tax increase in the history of America,” Inhofe added.

Obama’s second-to-final State of the Union speech Tuesday night focused mainly on his “middle class economics” plan to increase taxes on the wealthy and ramp up social programs. His speech only mentioned the word “climate” four times. But the president warned that doing nothing to fight global warming means “we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”

Obama also touted his own policies put in place to fight global warming. Though the president did not specifically mention his most contentious policies: proposals to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants.

“That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it,” Obama said. “That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.”

“In Beijing, we made an historic announcement : The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions,” Obama continued. “And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.”

Inhofe slammed Obama’s climate grandstanding, arguing that fighting global warming will accomplish little and harm the economy.

“The president’s ‘War on Fossil Fuels’ and nuclear energy is most evident in his unbridled mandates being issued by the EPA,” Inhofe said. “While he markets these regulations as a means to save us from global warming, a recent NERA [consulting company] study predicts the president’s climate agenda would only reduce CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent; it would only reduce the average global temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree; and it would only reduce the rise of sea levels by 1/100th of an inch – or the thickness of three sheets of paper.”

Inhofe warned that “the President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade.”


Envirofascists Deploy 1,700 Jets to Switzerland

As the World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos, Switzerland, this Thursday, the global elite is strategizing on how to best combat global warming and limit carbon emissions worldwide.

But with thousands of private jets ferrying the global glitterati to their alpine retreat this week, perhaps they should start by looking in the mirror.

An estimated 1,700 private aircraft are descending on the Swiss Alps — a record number that drove the Swiss Armed Forces to open up its Dübendorf military airbase to civilian traffic earlier this week.

Private jet operators across Europe are seeing a business boom, with flights on some carriers running from $10,000 to $15,000 an hour. Some companies are even throwing in free helicopter rides — another high-emission aircraft in high demand at Davos.

Climate scientists view air travel as the most costly per-person contributor to carbon emissions, with some estimates saying it accounts for 5 percent of “warming.” A round-trip flight from New York to Europe can emit 2 to 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person — and that’s a commercial flight, where the cost is shared with hundreds of other passengers.

Around 1,500 business executives and 40 heads of state are expected to attend the Forum, where tickets go for about $40,000. Among them are Oxfam director Winnie Byanyima, a World Economic Forum co-chair who is planning a series of Davos events highlighting the gap between the global elite and everybody else.

“Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost-free option,” she said in a statement, which was issued at the same time Davos attendees jetted in from around the world.


Why is the Senate GOP attempting to thread the needle on climate change?

"Thread the needle" means to make a probably futile attempt to strike a balance between two conflicting positions

“[I]t is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity contributes to climate change.”

That was part of an amendment offered by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to S.1, legislation that will require the Obama administration to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S.

It drew the support of 59 senators, including 15 Republicans: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Bob Portman (R-Ohio), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).

Hoeven voted against his own amendment, which fell one vote short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

Right afterward, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) offered a second amendment that Democrats preferred. It read: “[I]t is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate.”

That version of the amendment only drew the support of 50 senators, including just 5 Republicans: Alexander, Ayotte, Collins, Graham, and Kirk.

This time it was 10 votes short.

Yet, the two votes — just 21 minutes apart — signify very interesting political positioning by Republicans on the issue.

The position for at least 10 of the Senate Republicans — Corker, Flake, Hatch, Heller, McCain, Murkowski, Paul, Portman, Rounds, and Toomey — appears to be that climate change is real, human activity contributes to it, but it is not significant enough to warrant the current regime of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit carbon emissions.

Or to justify a restrictive climate deal struck between the Obama administration and China — where the U.S. agrees to limit energy consumption long before the Chinese would.

Are Republicans attempting to thread the needle on climate change? Are they succeeding?

Politico ran a story on the series of votes entitled, “Republicans outfox Democrats on climate votes.”

But perhaps a better question is why Republicans are even bothering with these symbolic votes?

A Gallup survey before the 2014 midterm elections found that just 19 percent of Republicans found climate change to be either an extremely or very important priority, compared with 61 percent of Democrats.

In the meantime, 91 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats agreed that the economy was a top priority, and 83 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats said the availability of good jobs was.

Point is, almost all voters are concerned about improving the economy and creating jobs, and comparatively far fewer are worried about climate change. Regardless of the degree to which human activities impact the climate, that is a pretty powerful political message.

Which is, posturing on climate change won’t make a lick of difference electorally if the economy does not improve. So, get to work.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Peer-reviewed academic journal article notes Thermostasis

I have been pointing out for years that the piddling temperature changes Warmists agonize about in fact show  thermostasis -- i.e. that we live in an age of remarkable  temperature stability.  My comments were directed at the last 100 years or so but the report below shows that, within broader limits, thermostasis in fact goes way back.  Global warming is a remarkably baseless scare fueled by crooked and grant-hungry Leftist scientists who probably could not lie straight in bed

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley below shows that, even if you asssume that a CO2 increase leads to warming -- which he accepts -- the disasters predicted from that depend entirely on completely theoretical and unproven multiplier effects -- effects not observed in actual known climate systems.

The global satellite dataset shows no global warming for 18 years, 3 months.  The actual warming since the UN climate panel first reported in 1990, compared to the average of all five major global temperature datasets, has been half what the panel had predicted with “substantial confidence.”

Even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) upper-ocean heat content chart, when converted back to the ocean temperature change from which NOAA calculated it, shows ocean warming over the past decade at a rate equivalent to just 5 tenths of one degree Celsius per century.

Global sea-ice extent reached a satellite-era maximum late in 2014. Land area under drought has declined for 30 years. Patterns of flooding, of tropical cyclones, and of extra-tropical storminess show little change. Sea level is barely rising.

Grave Errors in Assumptions

The January 2015 edition of Science Bulletin, a joint publication of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the State Science Funding Council, carries a new peer-reviewed paper by Dr Willie Soon, Professor David Legates, Matt Briggs, and myself revealing the climate concern that’s supposed to lead to an internationally binding treaty in Paris this December is based on a series of elementary but grave errors in climate models. Without the errors, the so-called “climate crisis” melts away.

The errors of the enormously complex climate models are attributable to a well kept secret: Doubling atmospheric CO2 concentrations should result in an average global warming of just 1 degree Celsius, and possibly less than half that, but climate modelers erroneously assume that “temperature feedbacks” —climatic changes triggered by a direct warming such as from CO2— triple warming. Without the assumed tripling, there is no climate problem.

Ice cores show over 800,000 years the absolute mean global temperature has probably varied by little more than 1 percent (or just 3 Cº) either side of the long-run average. This remarkable thermostasis suggests a small increase in global temperature cannot trigger a far larger increase driven by feedbacks. It is more likely temperature feedbacks attenuate the trivial direct warming caused by our sins of emission.

Flawed Models, Flawed Predictions

Models calculate the mutual amplification of distinct temperature feedbacks using a World War II equation from electronic circuit design that is inapplicable to the climate. The misconceived use of this equation is the main reason for scientists’ wild forecasts of 3, 5, or even 10 Cº global warming in response to doubling the CO2 in the air.

In modern conditions the overwhelming thermostatic influence of the two giant atmospheric heat-sinks—the oceans and outer space—dampens the already small direct warming from a doubling of CO2.

Simpler climate models that don’t assume unconfirmed feedback mechanisms calculate even if all the world’s affordably recoverable CO2 were released at once, only 2.2 Cº of global warming would result. This asymptote (a limit that global temperature can approach but never quite reach under modern conditions) has ruled the climate for a billion years. The equation misused by the official climate models to determine what is known as the “system gain”—the factor by which temperature feedbacks were thought to increase any direct warming—does not represent it.

Climate Singularity Assumed

Instead, the equation contains what is called a “singularity”—the very opposite of an asymptote [limit] — that does not exist in the real climate. As the simulated conditions in the models approach the singularity, the incorrect equation suggests sudden, massive global warming. In the real atmosphere, comfortably sandwiched between two great heat-sinks, this imagined “tipping point” is impossible.

The model developed by Monckton of Brenchley et al. in Science Bulletin was also designed to test whether there is unrealized global warming “in the pipeline.” The answer is no.

In blogs, in interviews, and in the learned journals, desperate climate scientists have advanced some 70 mutually incompatible explanations for why the world has not warmed as fast as the general-circulation models had predicted. The truth is the models should not have predicted anywhere near that much global warming in the first place.

Unnecessary UN Deal

Our central estimate shows even if people do absolutely nothing about global warming the world will be less than 1 Cº warmer in 2100 than it is today.

Where does our research leave the UN climate negotiating process? The correct response would be to shut the global climate talks down. Yet, according to a statement by the UK’s Sir David King, to the House of Commons’ Environmentalist Committee early in 2014, only two countries were then opposing global Save-The-Planet government.

One was Canada, but Sir David predicted a convenient change of government early in 2015. The other was Australia, whose prime minister, Tony Abbott, has already swept away the CO2 tax.

All other nations, in defiance of science and the mounting evidence against alarm, are expected to toe the party line.

Since President Obama has unilaterally permitted China to remain part of the climate negotiations even though it will not have to cut its huge emissions, China will sign onto the agreement—even if the Politburo reads the Science Bulletin.


Arctic disappearance: Animation reveals perennial ice melting over 27 years

This is more crookedness.  They consider only one type of ice in  one location.  Including all ice types at both poles shows polar ice levels at a record high.  And even the ice they obsess about is not shrinking overall.  In the second last sentence below they admit that it is now back to normal.  Amazing!

Global temperatures last year were the highest since records began in 1880, according to US scientists.

But as well as the increase of the planet’s average temperature, climatologists are particularly concerned about melting sea ice in the Arctic.

Now a time-lapse animation has been created to show how fast the world's oldest ice is vanishing.

Each winter, sea ice expands to fill the Arctic Ocean basin, peaking in volume in March. Every summer, the ice pack shrinks and is at its smallest in September.

The ice that survives one summer melt or more becomes thicker and is more likely to survive over a longer period of time.

Temperatures across the world averaged 0.8°C (1.4°F) above 20th century averages - making 2014 the warmest year in records dating back 134 years.

The Met Office has also announced that 2014 was the hottest year for the UK in records dating back to 1910.

But since the 1980s the amount of old, hardy ice, known as perennial or multiyear ice, has declined.

The animation charts the vanishing of this ice from 1987 to November 2014.

The dark blue areas in the video depicts first year ice that formed in the most recent winter, while the oldest ice, which is older than nine years old, is shown in white. Dark grey areas indicate open water.

By showing how the colours – the types of ice – change in the region, the animation emphasises how quickly the Arctic is changing as the planet warms up.

It also shows how the Arctic sea ice moves continually and escapes the Arctic Ocean via the Fram Strait, east of Greenland.

Ice lost through the Strait used to be replaced by ice growth in the Beaufort Gyre, northeast of Alaska, where perennial ice used to last for years.

But this changed at the beginning of the 21st century when warmer waters made it less likely that ice would survive its passage though the south of the gyre.

From 2008 onwards, the oldest ice has diminished to a narrow band along the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and in 2012, the ice melt broke all previous records.

After that worrying year, the melt was less severe in 2013 and 2014.

Overall, the amount of perennial sea ice recorded last spring was enough to meet the approximate 1981-2010 median.  [i.e. it was back to the average]

However, experts worry that the increase was a blip and that the long-term trend will continue to be downward.

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Fascinating Climate Policy PhD of a Member of the European Parliament

She's become pretty skeptical.  Excerpts by the younger Pielke below

Eija-Riitta Korhola is a rare politician. She was a long-serving member of the European Parliament from Finland as a member of the European People’s Party, the largest block in the legislature. She has also recently completed an academic dissertation for a PhD in a policy field that she specializes in – climate policy. I can’t recall ever hearing of another politician completing a PhD while in office. Rare indeed.

Korhola’s dissertation is titled, “The Rise and Fall of the Kyoto Protocol: Climate Change as a Political Process” and can be found here in PDF. It makes for fascinating reading. Below are a few excerpts from the preface.

On her early advocacy for climate policy as a politician:

"I was not the only one, but without doubt,I was one of the first Finnish politicians to knowingly push the issue of climate change and its threats onto the political agenda. In 1994, I published my first effusions in Vihreä Lanka, a weekly green newspaper, to which I had contributed as a columnist for five years. In the 1999 European elections, my main topics were climate change and development issues. “It won’t pay off, these themes will not attract the public”, was the feedback, which I nonchalantly ignored with the thought of not wanting to make calculations about these kinds of issues. I was worried about the effects of climate change on nature and society. I read the warnings issued by various environmental organisations."

On her unique perspective:

"I focus on the problem of climate change, because in this field,I hold, besides the status of a researcher,the position of an expert who has also gained some legislative experience. I start from the assumption that a dual role will not automatically degrade the quality of the research. At least, this dual experience could be utilised and tested as a rare opportunity: my experience of 15 years with an active role in the field of climate policy of the Union – which still perceives itself as a forerunner in combating climate change – constitutes a particular vantage point.I am thinking of the EU’s most important climate instrument, emissions trading, in particular. At its different stages, I have been serving in various key positions, and therefore, I am able to offer an insider’s view from a legislator’s point of view."

Things changed:

"When I entered politics, I wondered why climate change was not discussed at all. The time then came when I began to wonder, if it was possible to talk about anything without being forced to mention climate change."

Her view on EU climate policy:

"In my study I agree with those who regard the UN’s strategy – and the EU’s follow-up strategy – not only as ineffective but also harmful. The reason can be found in both the wickedness of the problem–i.e.the fact that it is hard to intervene in it in the first place – and that the selected problem-solving model has failed, as the problem’s wicked nature has not been recognised. The attempt to resolve it has been based on an assumption that it is a one-dimensional,tame problem. However, as the saying goes, a wicked problem requires wicked solutions. The matter has been worsened by a lack of knowledge and expertise. Because I was present, I can testify that, for instance, when the Members of the European Parliament(at that time altogether 632 MEPs) voted on issue of emissions trading, I could easily count the number of those who knew something about the matter with the fingers of my two hands."

Like many people who have critiqued climate policy, she finds that critique is not welcomed:

"Unfortunately, the political atmosphere is ideological to such an extent that criticism towards the chosen means is very often interpreted as climate scepticism."

She has some hard words for European environmental groups:

"Another conclusion of mine is as scathing as my previous reference to the 20-year delusion [of UN climate policy]. It concerns the environmental movement. I suggest that the movement has, above all, failed in its strategy to combat climate change, but also quite often in its other environmental policies. Again, good intentions do not guarantee a wise strategy. The environmental movement regards economic growth as an enemy of the environment although practice has proven that in precisely those quarters of the world where economic well-being prevails and basic needs are satisfied, people are more interested in taking care of their environment. Poverty, in its turn, is the biggest environmental threat,although it has been romanticised in environmentalist rhetoric."

She includes one of her blog posts in which she offers a view that policy making should be robust to scientific debates:

"I have come to think that a good politician should rather be a ”climate agnostic”. In principle, it does not matter, what conclusion science comes to: if the legislation we make is good enough, one does not have to take sides; except the side of consideration and quality. Climate policy should be so robust, sturdy and of such good quality that it does not struggle with the uncertainty factors and differences of opinion within science."

This is a similar view to that which I express in The Climate Fix.

There is much, much more in the dissertation. For those wanting the bottom line, jump to pp. 291-296 for a concise summary of conclusions.

If you are interested in an insider’s perspective on European climate policy or just interested in how a real-world, elected decision maker grapples with the complexity of climate policy, the entire dissertation is well worth reading.


Stupid stunt

And note that those "emerging technologies in life sciences" (quote from below)  are certainly going to blow us up

The Doomsday Clock’s minute hand has been moved two minutes closer to midnight as experts warn we are closer than ever to a global catastrophe.

In a live international news conference, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) said that the threat of climate change and nuclear war posed a very serious threat to modern society.

Their symbolic clock is now set at three minutes to midnight, but while they say it is not too late to avert disaster ‘the window for action is closing rapidly’.

Key topics discussed included evidence of accelerating climate change and the increasing threat of nuclear war after failed promises from various international governments.

‘The danger is great but our message is not one of hopelessness,’ Kennette Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS), said in the announcement. ‘We find conditions to be so threatening that we are moving the hand two minutes closer. It is now three minutes to midnight,’ she continued."

Countries emitting carbon dioxide and other gases are transforming Earth’s climate in a dangerous way, she said, leaving millions vulnerable to rising sea levels, famines and 'killer storms.'

‘Members of the BAS board are today imploring citizens of the world to speak clearly and demand leaders take necessary steps,’ Ms Benedict continued.

The BAS want to see action taken to cap greenhouse gases to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and reduce spending on nuclear weapons.

‘We are not saying it is too late, but the window for action is closing rapidly,’ she added.

‘The world needs to awaken from its lethargy. Moving the clock hand inspires changes to help push the process along.’

The BAS was founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project.

The physicists set up the Doomsday Clock in 1947 after their atomic bombs hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Their Clock was created to convey threats to humanity and the planet. Midnight represents Doomsday, or when these threats will peak and cause a global catastrophe.

It was created to convey threats to humanity and the planet, and midnight represents Doomsday, or when these threats will peak and cause a global catastrophe. Click 'The Clock Shifts' on the picture above to see an interactive timeline of the Clock's history

The decision to move the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Bulletin's Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

The Clock has become a universally recognised indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in life sciences.

Since it was set up, the hand on the clock has moved 18 times, and each move represents how the scientists view the world's chances of survival in the face of these threats.


Blunt-Inhofe amendment against China climate deal

Jan. 22, 2015, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging passage of the Blunt-Inhofe amendment against the China climate deal:

"President Obama's China climate change deal puts the United States economy and our workers at a competitive disadvantage and the Senate is urged to pass a sense of the Senate resolution opposing its implementation without having gone through the full ratification process.

"American workers continue to be hurt by President Obama's extremist environmental policies with stagnant wages and lost job growth opportunities.  Obama's China deal would further escalate the cost of electricity stunting the rebuilding our nation's manufacturing base.The Senate must stand up for America's workforce by making it clear that the President's China climate deal should not be implemented."


Senate Votes 98-1 That Climate Change Is Real but Splits on That Pesky Cause

As "Slate" saw it

Confused by the “science” on climate change? Well, apparently so is the U.S. Senate.

In a series of nonbinding (but potentially embarrassing) votes on Wednesday, the Senate has decided overwhelmingly that global warming exists. Minutes later, in a second vote, senators failed to agree on a root cause.

According to the Hill, the Senate first voted 98-1 in favor of a nonbinding amendment that said “climate change is real and not a hoax.” Republicans read the text of that amendment in such a way as to absolve themselves of taking a stand on the human component of global warming. (Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, of Mississippi, was the lone holdout.) The second vote on an amendment by Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, of Hawaii, wasn’t so clear-cut. That amendment read, in part: “It is the sense of Congress that 1) climate change is real, and 2) human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” Though the vote on the second amendment was 50-49 in favor, it needed 60 votes to pass.

The first amendment was intended to take a swipe at Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, and the new chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He’s also a leading Senate climate denier who’s so sure climate change is a massive conspiracy by the world’s scientists, he wrote a book about it. In a surprise, he actually voted for Wednesday’s amendment, “but he made clear he doesn't believe humans are the primary driver of climate change” said the Hill. Instead, he used the Bible to support his vote:

“Climate is changing, and climate has always changed, and always will, there's archeological evidence of that, there's biblical evidence of that, there's historic evidence of that, it will always change,” Inhofe said on the Senate floor. “The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate. Man can't change climate.”

The debate over S.1 is the first about energy on the Senate floor in eight years, according to the New York Times. Obama is expected to veto the bill, but that didn’t stop the Republican-controlled Congress from taking a stand. “Part of the Democrats’ strategy is to put Republicans on the record about an issue that’s controversial inside the GOP but is much less so with the public and Democratic Party,” says the Wall Street Journal.

Mashable’s Andrew Freedman notes that this isn’t the first time the Senate has attempted to legislate the existence of climate change. In 2005, the Senate approved a nonbinding amendment similar to the second amendment. That the Senate wasn’t able to do the same on Wednesday is telling of how increasingly political the question of human-caused climate change has become in the last decade.

Yet, since 2005, evidence has continued to mount that climate change is driven by human activity. As Obama noted during Tuesday’s State of the Union, 14 of the last 15 years have been the hottest on record globally. More greenhouse gases were emitted into the atmosphere in 2014 than in any other year in human history. In his speech, Obama said “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations.”

Because the votes are nonbinding, there are no real implications beyond the political. But with the 2016 presidential campaign just around the corner, Democrats figure this is a perfect time to put potential Republican contenders on the record. Among them, Florida’s Republican Sen. Marco Rubio stands out. Rubio, who isn’t quite sure how old the Earth is, was recently installed as chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, where he directly oversees the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, America’s leading scientific agency on climate. Oh, he’s also polling among the top three Republican contenders for president in 2016.

Inhofe, Rubio, and Ted Cruz, of Texas—another Republican presidential contender—all voted against the second amendment on the cause of climate change. According to National Journal, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina were the only Republicans to vote against party lines on the amendment endorsing humans as the primary cause of climate change.

The vote comes after Obama mocked Republicans during his State of the Union speech for using the "I’m not a scientist" defense to justify continued knuckle-dragging on climate change. “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it,” he said.

The Senate is expected to take up the issue again on Thursday, including votes on at least one more amendment regarding the cause of climate change:



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Friday, January 23, 2015

Obama: Climate Change is the Greatest Threat

Not radical Muslim terrorism, not an unsecured border, not an ever-growing federal debt that now exceeds $18 trillion, not the fact that 109 million live in households on federal welfare programs. These are not the greatest threats facing us today.
"No challenge--no challenge--poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

Although he referred to it as "climate change" and not "global warming," the president immediately followed his declaration that this was the greatest threat to future generations by stating that fourteen of the hottest fifteen years "on record" have occured since 2000.

"2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record," said Obama. "Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century."

Obama said that he is not a scientist but that the "best scientists" are saying that human beings are "changing the climate" and that "we" need to "act forcefully" in response to this.

"I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act," said Obama. "Well, I’m not a scientist, either.  But, you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe."

President Obama then said that the U.S. military is saying that "climate change" is causing immediate risks to our national security--although he did not explain exactly what this meant or how the "Pentagon" had arrived at this conclusion.

"The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security," said Obama. "We should act like it."

The president then pointed to things he has done to counter these vague "immediate risks."

"That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it," said Obama.

"That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history," he said. "And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action."

He then cited his work on the issue with the Communist government of the People's Republic of China.

"In Beijing, we made an historic announcement: the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions," said Obama. "And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got."

If global "climate change" caused by human action is indeed the greatest threat facing future generations and it therefore must be stopped, as President Obama argues, it will necessarily take a global authority with the power to stop human beings from engaging in the actions that cause "climate change" to avert that threat.


U.S. light dimmed with Obama energy policy

By Marita Noon

The unity march, following the brutal attacks in Paris, reminded us all of America’s absence on the global stage.

I wondered: “How has the state of our Union gone from being the shining city on the hill, to a country whose light has dimmed?” I thought about the policies and initiatives President Obama — the leader of the free world — has put in place. I could think of none that have increased our international influence, but many that have minimized it by hurting America economically.

At Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address (SOTU), he will likely tick off a list of accomplishments designed to polish up his legacy and make us feel good, while distracting us from reality — a look-here-don’t-look-there tactic.

Within that list he will likely include, as he did last year, America’s growing energy independence — every president’s goal for the past several decades. He will address how America’s energy abundance has lowered gasoline and heating oil costs for consumers. Both are true — though no thanks to his policies, but rather in spite of them. We probably will not hear that while oil production under President Obama is up 61 percent on state and private lands, it is down 6 percent on the federal lands his policies influence.

Expect the SOTU to tout his environmental bona fides, but not to mention that he has committed the U.S. to extreme cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, while the world’s biggest offenders carry on increasing emissions — business as usual.

“The Indian government has launched a crackdown on Greenpeace and other U.S.-linked environmental groups after intelligence officials accused climate activists of harming the country’s economic security,” the Los Angeles Times reports. The story adds: “groups are being targeted for campaigning against India’s coal-based energy industry, the source of 80% of the country’s domestic power production and a linchpin of the government’s economic development plans.” And: “India rejects arguments by green activists that it must move away from coal energy, saying the alternative would be to keep its citizens in poverty.” India’s government has begun “to chip away at the regulations that domestic and foreign industries claim have stifled investment and economic growth.”

India obviously understands that abundant, available, and affordable energy forms the linchpin of economic growth. While India chips away at regulations, the Obama administration continues to pile them on — first against coal-fueled electricity generation, and now aimed at the oil-and-gas industry. His policies, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the new methane regulations announced on January 14 (just to name two) will kill jobs and raise energy costs. (Both the CPP and the new methane regulations aim to reduce so-called greenhouse gases that alarmists claim are the drivers of climate change. The CPP: carbon dioxide; the methane regulations: methane that leaks from oil and gas wells.)

The CPP, announced in June, will ultimately cause hundreds of coal-fueled power plants to shut down prematurely. These power plants supply America with reliable and cost-effective energy — and our comparatively low-priced electricity helps gives us a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

In addition to job losses and higher rates, the CPP poses risks to electricity reliability. In November, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released a review of the CPP which, according to Reuters, states that “such a rapid transition will damage capacity margins, make it harder to maintain aspects of power quality and leave the grid vulnerable to extreme weather.” The review found that due to the planned transition, which would change coal from providing base-load power to a “load-following role,” the CPP “could actually raise emissions” — negating the supposed benefits the CPP claims to create. NERC concluded: the CPP “is pushing too far too fast and does not pay sufficient attention to the question of electricity reliability, pushing up costs and increasing the risk of power failures.”

Karen Lugo, Founding Director of Alliance of Resolute States, told me: “At its core, the Clean Power Plan transfers power over state energy priorities to the federal government and leaves states as mere branch offices. If this is finalized, the states will be subject to the tyranny of federal agency fads like the Social Cost of Carbon index, the pseudo-science that drives the Clean Power Plan.”

Regarding the newly announced methane rules, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) states: “To regulate new oil and gas sources, the EPA is using the same part of the Clean Air Act it already uses to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.”

The new rules, scheduled to be finalized sometime next year, are “designed to help the administration meet a commitment it made in Beijing in November to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” However, even the Energy Information Administration admits that, while domestic oil production has nearly doubled and natural-gas production is up by about 50 percent since 2005, “methane emissions from the sector have dropped roughly 15 percent over that period through 2012.” Because methane is a valuable commodity, innovations in the industry have successfully captured it and ongoing improvements will continue the emissions downward trend.

In response to the EPA’s announced methane rules, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) issued the following statement:

“Studies show that while our energy production has significantly increased, methane emissions have continued to decline. This is something that should be celebrated, not bound by new red tape. Our success has been — and should continue to be — rooted in new efficiencies created through technology and innovation, a commitment to continued safety enhancements, and greater permitting certainty. Our goal should be to modernize our energy infrastructure for the 21st century and continue to welcome successes in reducing emissions and delivering new sources of affordable energy to consumers who need it. These should be the priorities that we focus on, not creating new layers of bureaucracy that could smother such promising innovation.”

Others “argue that the administration has created a solution in search of a problem.”

The Washington Times states: Obama is “once again placing himself firmly on the side of environmentalists and opposite the oil-and-gas industry.” It adds: “The announcement also sets up yet another political fight with Congressional Republicans, who, along with many in the energy industry, panned the proposal as another unnecessary federal overreach that will stunt economic growth and hamper fuel production.” USA Today’s reporting includes: “The oil-and-gas industry has objected to the new regulations, saying they would curb what have become record levels of energy production.” Yet, the EPA claims the new rules “wouldn’t hamper the growth of the oil-and-gas industry.”

The WSJ reports: “In addition to directly regulating methane, the EPA plans to expand a rule it imposed on the oil and gas industry in 2012 that focuses on reductions of traditional pollutants” and  “the administration left the door open for more expansive regulation later on.”

It is expected that the SOTU will push for an increase in the minimum wage — though I doubt he’ll address the loss of quality jobs in the energy sector, as a result of his policies.

While the oil-and-gas industry sheds jobs as a result of the low price of oil (somewhat a victim of its own success), Obama could announce some initiatives that could help stem the losses. In the SOTU, President Obama could offer his support to Congress’ plans to lift the 4-decade-old oil export ban, which would provide additional customers for U.S. oil and give our allies a friendly source to meet their needs. Likewise, he could call on the Department of Energy to expedite approval of applications for liquefied natural gas export terminals — something a new Senate bill proposes.

The SOTU would be a perfect time to address drilling on federal lands. One of the reasons the oil industry is reeling, is that most of America’s new production is “nonconventional” — meaning that it requires expensive technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to extract. But, easy-to-access, i.e. cheap, oil in off-limits federal lands awaits leasing and development. Opening up some of those sites could transfer production to lower-cost locales — saving jobs and increasing our energy security in the process.

Instead, we’re apt to hear about GM introducing new electric cars — despite the high cost and the public’s resistance. Expect to hear a touting of growing implementation of renewable energy, but not about wind energy projects going bankrupt once the government subsidies dry up.

The list of policies that have plunged America into darkness on the global stage could go on and on. I’ve addressed just a few impacting our energy status and security. Being a bright light in the world requires a strong economy — which, as India knows, needs energy.


Private Sector, Not Obama, Created Lower Gas Prices

In President Obama’s State of the Union preview, he touted low gas prices as an example of positive economic results. “America is now in a position to really turn the page,” he said and cited in part the fact that “gas prices have dropped.”

No doubt, the plunge in gas prices from $4 per gallon to just over $2 has benefited the economy. Drivers enjoy the cost savings at the pump each week; many families are saving upwards of $400 monthly in lowered fuel costs. Lower energy costs also bolster employment growth as goods can be produced less expensively. As transportation costs decline, retail prices decline as well.

But can the president claim credit for these savings? Not so much.

Recall that during the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama mocked those who insisted that drilling could alleviate the high cost of energy. “…You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill and step three is keep drilling,” proclaimed the president. His rant continued, “We’ve heard the same thing for thirty years. Well the American people aren’t stupid. You know that’s not a plan – especially since we’re already drilling. It’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge…. anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about – or isn’t telling you the truth.”

In word and in deed, Obama has made no secret of his abhorrence of the oil, gas and coal industries. Through regulation at EPA, through a virtual drilling moratorium on federal lands, and by not building pipelines, the president has done almost everything imaginable to stop domestic oil production. For him to take credit for cheaper energy is like Brandon Bostick taking credit for the Seattle Seahawks going to the Super Bowl.

Just compare the figures for crude oil and natural gas production on federal lands in fiscal year 2013 (the latest data available) vs. 2009. On federal lands, crude oil production declined more than 6 percent; natural gas production plunged nearly 30 percent. Meanwhile, on private land crude oil production skyrocketed 61 percent while natural gas production increased nearly 33 percent.

And make no mistake. Even these gains in private sector production were realized in spite of the Obama administration’s best efforts. Consider the EPA’s Sue and Settle scheme which puts prime private energy-producing acreage off-limits as a result of giveaways to environmentalist groups.

Don’t expect to see any contemporary natural gas and drilling executives showcased as Obama guests at tonight’s State of the Union.  But in the end, the people most responsible for America’s energy revival have been Floyd Farris (of the Stanolind Oil and Gas Corporation) the inventor of hydraulic fracturing and Harold Hamm, the driller in North Dakota who put these new technologies into action creating tens of thousands of jobs.

The private sector delivered the domestic energy boom and lower gas prices—despite attempts by anti-carbon ideologues and misguided bureaucrats.


Is climate change really that dangerous? Predictions are 'very greatly exaggerated', claims study

Since 1990, scientists have used complex models to predict how climate change and manmade greenhouse emissions will affect the world.

But a team of experts - including an astrophysicist, statistician, and geography professor – has claimed these models ‘very greatly exaggerate’ the effects of global warming.

Using a simpler, solar-based model, the researchers arrived at figures that are more than half those previously predicted.

The paper, ‘Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model’, was written by Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, astrophysicist and geoscientist Willie Soon, Professor of Geography at the University of Delaware David Legates, and statistician Dr Matt Briggs.

It has been peer reviewed and is published in the journal Science Bulletin.

Mathematical equations used for large climate model typically require supercomputers that perform calculations quickly - some make more than 80 million calculations an hour.

Sophisticated climate models take into account the amounts of animals and plants, or biosphere, the hydrosphere’s oceans and other bodies of water, sea ice and ice sheets in the cryosphere, and the geosphere, that measures tectonic variations such as volcanic eruptions and moving continents.

By comparison, the team’s simple model looked at temperatures caused by so-called anthropogenic radiative forcings and consequent ‘temperature feedbacks’ over a given timeframe.

Anthropogenic radiative forcings, put simply, are measured by the difference between the amount of sunlight absorbed by Earth, and the energy that is radiated back to space.

A temperature feedback is created by albedo - the amount of shortwave radiation from solar energy reflected by Earth.

Ice and snow is highly reflective, so has a high albedo, for example. This means the majority of sunlight that hits snow is sent back towards space.

When ice and snow melts, as temperatures rise, the darker soil or grass lowers the albedo.

This increases the ground’s temperature, causing more snow to melt, leading to a further rise in temperature.

Both of these measurements can be used to suggest global temperatures, radiation and energy levels in the atmosphere and the Earth.

The researchers tested their so-called ‘simple’ model and its global warming predictions against the complex models used by climate scientists.

In particular, those complex models involved in the UN and World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.  They also compared their predictions against real-world temperature changes.

The paper claims that the measured, real-world rate of global warming over the past 25 years, equivalent to less than 1.4° C per century, is ‘half the IPCC's central prediction in 1990.’

In 1990, the UN's climate panel predicted with ‘substantial confidence’ that the world would warm at twice the rate that has been observed since.

According to the study, another error made by the complex climate models, include the assumption that ‘temperature feedbacks’ would double or triple direct manmade greenhouse warming.

The simple model instead found that feedbacks could reduce warming.

Also, modellers are said to have failed to cut their estimate of global warming in line with a new, lower feedback estimate from the IPCC.

‘They still predict 3.3°C of warming per CO2 doubling, when on this ground alone they should only be predicting 2.2°C - about half from direct warming and half from feedbacks,’ said the researchers.

The impact on the Earth could already be considered dangerous, the report claimed.

‘Though the complex models say there is 0.6°C manmade warming "in the pipeline" even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases, the simple model - confirmed by almost two decades without any significant global warming - shows there is no committed but unrealised manmade warming still to come.’

Once these errors are corrected, the researchers predict that the most likely global warming in response to a doubling of CO2 is not 3.3°C, but 1°C or less.

And, even if all available fossil fuels were burned, less than 2.2°C warming would result, they claim.

Author Dr Willie Soon, an solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, said: ‘Our work suggests that man's influence on climate may have been much overstated.

‘The role of the sun has been undervalued. Our model helps to present a more balanced view.’

‘A high-school student with a pocket scientific calculator can now use this model and obtain credible estimates of global warming simply and quickly, as well as acquiring a better understanding of how climate sensitivity is determined,’ added statistician and co-author Dr Matt Briggs.

‘As a statistician, I know the value of keeping things simple and the dangers in thinking that more complex models are necessarily better.

‘Once people can understand how climate sensitivity is determined, they will realise how little evidence for alarm there is.’

While Lord Monckton said: 'Our irreducibly simple climate model does not replace more complex models, but it does expose major errors and exaggerations in those models.

‘For instance, take away the erroneous assumption that strongly net-positive feedback triples the rate of manmade global warming and the imagined climate crisis vanishes.’


MIT Climate Scientist: Global Warming Believers a ‘Cult’

An MIT professor of meteorology is dismissing global-warming alarmists as a discredited “cult” whose members are becoming more hysterical as emerging evidence continues to contradict their beliefs.

During an appearance on this writer’s radio show Monday, MIT Professor emeritus Richard Lindzen discussed the religious nature of the movement.

“As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical. I think that’s what’s happening here. Think about it,” he said. “You’ve led an unpleasant life, you haven’t led a very virtuous life, but now you’re told, you get absolution if you watch your carbon footprint. It’s salvation!”

Lindzen, 74, has issued calm dismissals of warmist apocalypse, reducing his critics to sputtering rage.

Last week, government agencies including NASA announced that 2014 was the “hottest year” in “recorded history,” as The New York Times put it in an early edition. Last year has since been demoted by the Times to the hottest “since record-keeping began in 1880.”

But that may not be true. Now the same agencies have acknowledged that there’s only a 38 percent chance that 2014 was the hottest year on record. And even if it was, it was only by two-100ths of a degree.

Lindzen scoffs at the public-sector-generated hysteria, which included one warmist blogger breathlessly writing that the heat record had been “shattered.”

“Seventy percent of the earth is oceans, we can’t measure those temperatures very well. They can be off a half a degree, a quarter of a degree. Even two-10ths of a degree of change would be tiny but two-100ths is ludicrous. Anyone who starts crowing about those numbers shows that they’re putting spin on nothing.”

Last week, after scoffing at Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders’ call for a Senate vote on global warming, Lindzen was subjected to another barrage of diatribes. At his listed MIT phone number, Prof. Lindzen received a typical anonymous call:

“I think people like you should actually be in jail,” the male caller told him, “because you must know where this is all leading now… the people you support and take your money from to make these outrageously anti-human comments (also ‘know’)… In other words, you’re a sociopath!”

Lindzen chuckled when the voicemail was replayed.

This writer asked him if, as has been alleged in some of the warmist blogs, he is taking money from the energy industry.

“Oh, it would be great!” he said with a laugh. “You have all these people, the Gores and so on, making hundreds of millions of dollars on this, Exxon Mobil giving $100 million to Stanford for people who are working on promoting this hysteria. The notion that the fossil-fuel industry cares – they don’t. As long as they can pass the costs on to you, it’s a new profit center.”

Lindzen said he was fortunate to have gained tenure just as the “climate change” movement was beginning, because now non-believers are often ostracized in academia. In his career he has watched the hysteria of the 1970’s over “global cooling” morph into “global warming.”

“They use climate to push an agenda. But what do you have left when global warming falls apart? Global normalcy? We have to do something about ‘normalcy?’”

As for CO2, Lindzen said that until recently, periods of greater warmth were referred to as “climate optimum.” Optimum is derived from a Latin word meaning “best.”

“Nobody ever questioned that those were the good periods. All of a sudden you were able to inculcate people with the notion that you have to be afraid of warmth.”

The warmists’ ultimate solution is to reduce the standard of living for most of mankind. That proposition is being resisted most vigorously by nations with developing economies such as China and India, both of which have refused to sign on to any restrictive, Obama-backed climate treaties. Lindzen understands their reluctance.

“Anything you do to impoverish people, and certainly all the planned policies will impoverish people, is actually costing lives. But the environmental movement has never cared about that.”


2014 as the mildest year: Why you are being misled on global temperatures

OR: Why I should have been an engineer rather than a climate scientist

By Roy Spencer

I’ve been inundated with requests this past week to comment on the NOAA and NASA reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record. Since I was busy with a Japan space agency meeting in Tokyo, it has been difficult for me to formulate a quick response.

Of course, I’ve addressed the “hottest year” claim before it ever came out, both here on October 21, and here on December 4.

In the three decades I’ve been in the climate research business, it’s been clear that politics have been driving the global warming movement. I knew this from the politically-savvy scientists who helped organize the UN’s process for determining what to do about human-caused climate change. (The IPCC wasn’t formed to determine whether it exists or whether is was even a threat; that was a given.)

I will admit the science has always supported the view that slowly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels should cause some warming, but the view that this would is any way be a bad thing for humans or for Nature has been a politically (and even religiously) driven urban legend.

I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject. I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t. Some physical problems are simply too difficult. Two scientists can examine the same data and come to exactly opposite conclusions about causation.

We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.

What changed? Not the science…our estimates of climate sensitivity are about the same as they were 40 years ago.

What changed is the politics. And not just among the politicians. At AMS or AGU scientific conferences, political correctness and advocacy are now just as pervasive as as they have become in journalism school. Many (mostly older) scientists no longer participate and many have even resigned in protest.

Science as a methodology for getting closer to the truth has been all but abandoned. It is now just one more tool to achieve political ends.

Reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record feed the insatiable appetite the public has for definitive, alarming headlines. It doesn’t matter that even in the thermometer record, 2014 wasn’t the warmest within the margin of error. Who wants to bother with “margin of error”? Journalists went into journalism so they wouldn’t have to deal with such technical mumbo-jumbo. I said this six weeks ago, as did others, but no one cares unless a mainstream news source stumbles upon it and is objective enough to report it.

In what universe does a temperature change that is too small for anyone to feel over a 50 year period become globally significant? Where we don’t know if the global average temperature is 58º or 59º or 60º F, but we are sure that if it increases by 1º or 2º F, that would be a catastrophe?satellitet

Where our only truly global temperature measurements — the satellites — are ignored because they don’t show a record warm year in 2014?

In what universe do the climate models built to guide energy policy are not even adjusted to reflect reality, when they over-forecast past warming by a factor of 2 or 3?

And where people have to lie about severe weather getting worse (it hasn’t)? Or where we have totally forgotten that more CO2 is actually good for life on Earth, leading to increased agricultural productivity, and global greening?:

It’s the universe where political power and the desire to redistribute wealth have taken control of the public discourse. It’s a global society where people believe we can replace fossil fuels with unicorn farts and antigravity-based energy.

Feelings now trump facts.

At least engineers have to prove their ideas work. The widgets and cell phones and cars and jets and bridges they build either work or they don’t.

In climate science, whichever side is favored by politicians and journalism graduates is the side that wins.

And what about those 97% of scientists who agree? Well, what they all agree on is that if their government climate funding goes away, their careers will end.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Climate scientists have refuted  skeptics' arguments against 2014 'warmest year' claim?

Below we actually find a fairly encouraging article.  We find some recogniition in the media that there are a lot of people who question global warming and who question the "2014 was the hottest year" claim.

The writer is still in the grip of the Warmists, however, and maybe he has to be to keep his job.  The key point he misses is how small the temperature differences are that lie behind the Warmist claims.  I don't expect a modern-day American journalist  to understand statistical significance, or the fraud implied when a scientist ignores it, but the fact that temperature differences over recent years can only be found in hundredths of one degree should be comprehensible.  I think most people should see that such differences are infinitesimally small and unlikely to mean  anything. That, after all, is what statistical significance tells us in this matter.

So the writer is thrashing about in discussing more minor points and missing the main issue -- that the year to year differences in temperature are too minute to be even worth discussing.  We actually live in a time of exceptional temperature stability

On January 16, two U.S. climate observing agencies jointly announced that 2014 was most likely the warmest year on record worldwide, beating previous record years such as 1998, 2005 and 2010. The announcement signaled the death knell of the argument that global warming "stopped" in 1998, which has been a popular rallying cry for climate change contrarians, from blog posts to speeches on the Senate floor.

With such high stakes, climate skeptics have been vigorously pushing back against the data, saying that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA downplayed the uncertainties in their records and misled the public.

Headlines like "2014: The Most Dishonest Year on Record" have been posted on climate skeptic blogs, such as Watts Up With That, and a commentator for the popular British newspaper The Daily Mail all but accused NASA of lying to the press and the public about global temperatures, despite the open discussion of uncertainties both in NASA's press materials and during a press conference with audio that is publicly accessible.

The skeptics have focused mainly on one table in the temperature report issued on Friday, which explains the uncertainties involved in declaring 2014 the warmest year. The table would appear to indicate that 2014 only has a 38% chance of being the warmest year in NASA's data set, which isn't that convincing at first glance, and a 48% likelihood according to NOAA's data. (Each agency uses slightly different methods of calculating global average surface temperatures.)

Here is how the Daily Mail discussed the temperature record in a story published on Sunday. "The Nasa climate scientists who claimed 2014 set a new record for global warmth last night admitted they were only 38% sure this was true." The story portrayed NASA as backing off their claim that 2014 was clearly the warmest year on record according to its data set.

But NASA did no such thing.

NASA and NOAA scientists say they have not changed their tune about 2014, since the data clearly shows that it was most likely the warmest year to date since instrument records began in 1880. Furthermore, they argue that climate skeptics are twisting the meaning of uncertainty ranges and making it seem like there is far less confidence in temperature data than there actually is.

Climate science debates occur every day in the blogosphere and on cable news shows, but this particular fight about a major temperature record (and therefore, major news story) highlights the extent to which many boil down to mere contradiction and rejections of facts, rather than arguments based on competing lines of evidence.

Mashable reached out to Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), who helped make Friday's announcement and has been a target of the vigorous pushback from the climate skeptic community. Schmidt is mentioned several times in the Daily Mail story.

Schmidt told Mashable that NASA is not backtracking from its conclusion that 2014 was the warmest year in its records, and that climate skeptics — (some prefer to call them "climate deniers") — misunderstand the characterization of uncertainty that NASA provided on Friday.

Schmidt says there is, of course, some uncertainty in the global temperature data, which NASA has long acknowledged. But even when these uncertainties are considered, the data still shows that 2014 was most likely the warmest year.

"No-one disputes that there are uncertainties in estimating the global mean temperature anomaly — issues of spatial coverage, measurement practice changes over time, movement of stations etc. and we estimate that any one year's value comes with an uncertainty of about plus or minus 0.05 degrees Celsius, or 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit," Schmidt said in an email.

"2014 *is* the warmest year in the GISTEMP, NOAA and Berkeley Earth analyses," he said [But only the warmest by a few hundredths of one degree], referring to different data sets kept by different groups of scientists, including the one kept by his center and known as "GISTEMP."


Morano on Fox on ‘Hottest Year’ Claims: ‘It’s statistical nonsense’ – ‘NASA’s Gavin Schmidt has egg all over his face with this’

Watch Video here:

Partial transcript of interview:

Marc Morano: Their error bars for claiming the ‘hottest years’ are 500% larger than the claimed difference. In other words, they are talking about statically meaningless temperature records that the instrument record can’t even measure. It’s way within the margin of error. It’s statistical nonsense. You asked, Stuart, can we poke holes in this? This is a house of cards, it’s collapsed on its own weight.

They said it was the hottest year on record based on statistically meaningless difference based on hundredths of a degree between hottest years. They admit now that they are only 38% sure 2014 was the ‘hottest year.’  They knew the media would run with this as though the ‘hottest year’ claim meant something but it means absolutely nothing.

It means in reality that the global warming pause continues. And according to the satellite data there has been no global warming for 18 years 3 months. Every kid in high school today has not experienced global warming.

There have been fluctuations, the satellite data uses NASA satellites and has been promoted by NASA as more accurate than ground based thermometers. They constantly adjust the land based data, they cool the past, and they heat the present. There is all kinds of siting issues with land based thermometers. So the global warming establishment now wants to ignore this satellite data which shows the 18 year pause.

We have scientists now using words like ‘misleading’ & ‘lies’ & ‘deception’ against NASA.

NASA’s lead global warning scientist is Gavin Schmidt. He’s got egg all over his face with this. He knew when the hottest year claims went out to the media that this was something NASA did not have the confidence in– They should have presented that more prominently.

Stuart Varney asks Morano: ‘So you don’t think the earth is warming?’

Morano: The earth is warming since the end of the Little Ice Age in about 1850. Many of the glaciers you see — that people get all excited about about melting —  a significant portion of them had melted by 1900 or 1950 before humans could have possibly had any kind of warming effect on the climate. (More on glaciers here, here, here and here.) And we have actually probably cooled since the medieval warm period that occurred from about 900 AD to 1300AD.

So it depends on your timeframe. We probably been stable or cooled since the Roman warming period of from around zero AD

So it all comes down to where you pick your timeline. Yes, we have warmed since the 1970s global cooling scare when they talked all about extreme weather, consensus, tipping points. In fact, all of the same rhetoric we hear today about warming was being used then about cooling.

Currently, we are at 18 years with no warming and there is no reason to expect any scary scenarios of global warming in the future. In fact, Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry is predicting at least a decade more of stable temperatures — the pause will continue.


State Department moves toward Keystone decision, sets deadline for agencies’ input

The State Department took a big step Friday toward making a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, setting a Feb. 2 deadline for federal agencies to give their views on the controversial project.

Fox News has learned eight agencies have been asked to provide their views. The State Department has been wading through a review process for months and in setting a deadline, signaled it was preparing to make a final decision.

That is important because the White House had said previously that it was waiting for the agency to conclude its probe before President Obama decides whether to support the project.

But the Feb. 2 date does not necessarily mean anything will be announced at that time.

The State Department is involved in the Keystone decision because the pipeline stretches through both the U.S. and Canada.

Last week, the House passed a bill authorizing construction on the pipeline, but the White House said Obama, citing the State Department's pending review, would veto the legislation were it to pass the Republican-controlled Senate. It's not clear if Republicans and a handful of Democrats have the required 67 votes to override a potential Obama veto.

The House vote came on the same day in which the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that three landowners who sued failed to show they had legal standing to bring their case, a victory for pipeline backers.

Also on Friday, opponents of the pipeline in Nebraska filed two new lawsuits over the proposed route after the state's Supreme Court recently tossed a previous legal challenge.

Landowners in Holt and York counties filed the suits against pipeline developer TransCanada to stop the Canadian company from using eminent domain power to gain access to their land.

Their attorney, Dave Domina, says the lawsuits closely resemble the claim the court dismissed. But he says this time all of the landowners have legal standing to bring the case.

That's important, because three judges last time said the landowners lacked standing. Four of the court's seven judges declared the law unconstitutional, but five were required.

The lawsuits seek to overturn a law that allowed former Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route.


Greenie ignorance

by Dr. Albrecht Glatzle

It’s unfortunate that Pope Francis now also joined the church of climatology [1]. However, many of his followers in the Catholic realm will doubt that this is a command by St. Peter.

A few weeks ago I returned home from attending the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP-20, at Lima, Peru. This mega-event gave me the impression of a clerical synod by a world-encompassing religious community. There were many nice people from all corners of the world whom I had cordial conversations with. They all meant the best for planet Earth.

However, the main problem of this event was that 99.9% of the attendees viewed the most important nutrient for all life on earth (carbon dioxide, CO2) as a hazardous substance. That view was shared even by the attending farmers who should profit from better harvests [2] due to improved CO2 fertilization.

I asked approximately 50 people from 25 countries several questions and talked to many more. Only 5 people (10% of those I asked) knew even the order of magnitude of CO2 in the atmosphere (0.04%). The others answered “I really should know that but cannot answer the question.” None knew that the mean global temperature has remained constant over the last 10 years and has not been increasing for 18 years (in contrast to predictions from models by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC).

Among those I asked, some claimed that the temperature had risen anywhere between 0.1 and 10.0 (!!) degrees – that’s not a lie. None knew that the global sea-ice extent recently reached the same values as have been observed at the beginning of the 1980s (the extent has increased in the Antarctic and slightly decreased in the Arctic).

These were the people that negotiated about the so-called 2 C degree (warming) limit. I concluded that 99% of those negotiating there had no understanding of the matter whatsoever. Instead, they fully trust and follow the “scientific authority” of the IPCC.

The IPCC representatives also claimed that the world had already “used up” two thirds of the carbon budget increase to stay within that 2 degree limit. Unfortunately, the scientific knowledge of the IPCC functionaries and disciples is so limited that they do not even recognize the contradiction with some of their other claims.

According to the IPCC, since the beginning of the industrial era, the global mean temperature has increased by 0.8 C with about one half of that due to human activity. Furthermore, the IPCC claims to have physical evidence that the relative potential for the temperature increase follows a logarithmic function of greenhouse gas concentrations.  If that were true, then we are at most one third along the way to the 2 degree limit (not two thirds).

However, that does not sound the alarmist bell sufficiently loudly. So, the IPCC allows itself such contradictions in several claims to drive home to their believers the message of an impending apocalypse.

It is really regrettable that the Pope and his advisors fall for that perfidious game as well.

What gave me hope and pleasure though was meeting in person with former Apollo-astronaut, physicist Dr. Walter Cunningham. In terms of climate change, the two of us and perhaps another ten out the estimated 25,000 attendees who came to the COP-20 event and/or side events had the same opinion.


Romney has a bet each way on global warming

In an Indian Wells appearance that had the makings of a presidential campaign stump speech, Mitt Romney said poverty, education and climate change are among the major issues the next U.S. president must play a leading role in solving, but he stopped short of definitively declaring he would make another run for the White House.

Romney, though, kept his focus on the issues. He said that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it's real and a major problem.

He said it's not enough for Americans to keep their own carbon emissions in check when much of the rise in greenhouse gases globally is coming from countries such as China and India.

Climate change drew little attention from either candidate in 2012, when Romney sought to deny President Barack Obama, a second term. At that time, Romney said he believed global warming was occurring but he was skeptical of its man-made origins and questioned spending to curb carbon emissions.

He said his 2012 campaign faltered by allowing the Obama campaign to define his image early on and he was hurt by campaign laws that limited his ability to spend money before the GOP convention.

Romney's lecture, complete with slides of graphs and maps, began with recognition that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Romney said King's legacy was a reminder that one person can make a difference.

Romney mentioned President Obama and congressional leaders, including Republicans, when he said the nation's leadership is "failing in its most basic mission, which is to solve the problems of today and seize the opportunities of tomorrow."


GOP looks to take a position on climate change, but how?

Republicans are trying to find solutions of their own to climate change instead of just attacking President Obama's environmental policies, but the party hasn't been able to agree on specific plans or policies.

Now in control of Congress, some Republicans are beginning to think that simply throwing bombs at the Environmental Protection Agency and Obama's regulations won't work any longer, staffers on Capitol Hill say. Instead, they believe they must develop their own ideas on how to combat climate change, especially to help moderate GOP senators up for re-election in 2016. Nine Senate Republicans are on the ballot in states Obama carried at least once, and House districts that were safe in midterm races likely will be tighter in the general election.

The plan is still emerging, according to interviews with nearly two dozen people that included lawmakers, lobbyists, strategists and aides, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive and evolving subject.

The rough outline is that tactics to reduce emissions should not harm the economy, but what that would entail is not certain.

"They're going to try to drag their feet as long as possible, but there are certain things out there that could bring the predominant GOP position to light," said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist and former adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "They want to at least have a unified position and they want to be able to have their ducks in a row. And if they have a solution, they want to have one that has the least impact on the economy."

Democrats think climate change can be a winning issue for them, and they plan to put GOP senators on record this week with at least one amendment on a bill authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline that asks whether senators believe in man-made climate change.

The 2016 map largely favors Democrats. It puts many Republicans in blue states elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave on the ballot during a general election that will bring more Democrats to the polls. That has some incumbent Republicans searching for a message on climate.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they were looking at the electoral map and thinking, 'How am I going to win? I can't leave all these votes on the table," said the Environmental Defense Fund's Tony Kreindler, who works with an environmental group called the Conservation Leadership Council that's stocked with former George W. Bush administration officials.

That has some of the party's most vocal members openly questioning where the party is on climate change, as some believe a change is required if the GOP plans to stay in the majority.

“I think there will be a political problem for the Republican Party going into 2016 if we don’t define what we are for on the environment,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Roll Call in November. “I don’t know what the environmental policy of the Republican Party is.”

In September, communications staff for Republicans accepted a request from Rich Thau, a polling expert with a roster of industry clients, to present them with a strategy on climate change. While staffers routinely hold such briefings, those familiar with the meeting called it "unusual." Policy staff was invited, which was a break with the norm.

Staffers were also incensed that Thau's suggestions — that curbing emissions could spark a "clean energy revolution," for example, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by the Washington Examiner — sounded like they came straight from the Democrats' playbook.

A senior GOP aide downplayed the significance of the meeting, while others spoke of a "responsibility" to put forward a plan now that Republicans are in the majority in both chambers.

"The question is, 'What is a solution that works?' I think that's why fellow Republicans haven't embraced a solution on climate change because they haven't heard a solution they like," said Bob Inglis, a former GOP congressman from South Carolina who now advocates for market-based policies to reduce emissions. "We heard cap-and-trade and it is an awful solution. Then along comes clean air regulation, and that's even worse."

Not all Republicans are convinced the party has an emerging, unified stance on climate change, GOP aides said. And any stance they do take doesn't change the party's game plan of attempting to roll back EPA and other environmental regulations. Rather, lawmakers might find agenda items in which climate or energy might be part of a broader discussion.

"I do think there are those [who] think there is some kind of climate change happening and are tired of fighting the science or just don't want the fight and who would rather focus on the economics — I don't think that means they are ceding the argument that manmade climate change exists, though," said one Republican Senate aide in a comment echoed by several others.

Some of the moderate Republican senators facing potentially stiff competition in 2016 have begun speaking more freely about climate change. There's a bit of awkwardness in how they approach what has been a minefield for conservative lawmakers who fear a primary opponent out-flanking them to the right, as they recall incumbents who backed a sweeping cap-and-trade proposal that fizzled in the Senate getting sacked in the 2010 primaries.

In June, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who is up for re-election, addressed a handful of groups of young conservatives — who, according to polls, are more likely to back solutions to climate change than their older brethren — to discuss market solutions to lowering emissions. He touted legislation he sponsored and helped pass when he was in the House that forgave foreign debt in developing nations if they used that money to replant forests, which helps take carbon dioxide that warms the planet out of the atmosphere.

"I say that to you not just because it sounds fun to protect biodiversity and tropical forests," Portman said.

"[It has] an enormous impact on the environment because that otherwise destruction of those forests is one of the leading causes of what?," Portman says, pausing before answering his own question. "Emissions. And when you look at it, it's probably number two or three in the world, power plants probably being number one."

Sen. John Thune, who is also up for re-election, was named by O'Connell as the leading voice advocating for the GOP to take a position on climate policies that includes the the costs and benefits of certain actions.

The South Dakota Republican, a member of Senate GOP leadership, said on "Fox News Sunday" that, "Well, look, climate change is occurring, it's always occurring... There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including human activity. The question is, what are we going to do about it and at what cost?"

The discussion isn't limited to the Senate, though hard-line conservatives are usually safer in the House. Still, environmental groups have some competitive House races in their sights.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, for example, will be in green groups' crosshairs. The Michigan Republican faced arguably his toughest contest in 2014 since winning his House seat in 1986. Climate change activists sided with his Democratic opponent and, even though he still won by more than 15 percentage points, environmental groups plan to target Upton's seat again in 2016. His office didn't return a request for comment.

Many Republicans acknowledge that human activity contributes to climate change, and even more do so in private. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican on the ballot in 2016, believes that humans contribute to it — though how much is a question "left for science," she told reporters. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who was elected to the upper chamber in 2014, has said he agreed with Murkowski's view and has pledged to support clean energy.

But Democrats and environmental groups say that admission doesn't go far enough, as scientists have said humans are largely responsible for current warming trends, chiefly through burning fossil fuels.

Inglis, who is now executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, has said he's seen a noticeable shift since the collapse of cap-and-trade legislation in 2010. Then, Republicans were in outright denial of climate change, he said. Last year, Republicans rebutted arguments by saying, "I'm not a scientist," which he and other GOP operatives have said was a poor tactic.

Now, however, Inglis said Republicans are willing to state plainly that humans are contributing to climate change. But as a casualty of the Tea Party wave in 2010 that he said had much to do with him stating climate change was real — even though he voted against cap-and-trade — Inglis understands why Republicans are being cautious.

"We're in communication with a number of offices that are trying to figure out how this can work. They need to do it better than I did it. I pushed too hard, too fast, and you see what happened to me in the primary," Inglis said.



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