Political Elite Out of Touch on Climate Change

MOST PEOPLE WANT LEADERS TO FOCUS ON REAL, IMMEDIATE PROBLEMS

by Tom Harris, Executive Director, ICSC, ©2016

Gov. Edmund (Jerry) G. Brown, Jr. has served as Mayor of Oakland, CA, as Secretary of State for one term; Attorney General for one term; and is serving his fourth, though not consecutive, term as California’s governor

(Sep. 15, 2016) — In his September 8th speech announcing California’s new greenhouse gas emission laws, Governor Jerry Brown said, “If we don’t stop climate change, it’s not going to be 110 [degrees] in Imperial County; it’s going to be 130, 135! Not for a few days or a few weeks, but for months on end!”

Brown’s statement is ridiculous, no matter what you believe about the causes of climate change. Even if humanity vanished from the face of the Earth, climate would continue to change. It is as much a part of the natural world as is sunrise or gravity. Brown’s assertion that we could be responsible for a warming of 25 degrees is utter nonsense.

Recent climate change is normal

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated in their latest assessment report that surface temperature, averaged over all land and ocean surfaces, increased only 1.53 degrees between 1880 to 2012. And a significant portion of that is part of the natural climate cycle coming out of the Little Ice Age. So, our contribution to the warming that has occurred in those 132 years is something less 1.53 degrees, a far cry from Brown’s excited forecast.

Similarly, claims that 2014 and 2015 were the hottest years on record are meaningless when you consider how little they set records by (seven hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit and 29 hundredths of a degree, respectively). In fact, the uncertainty in the 2014 temperature was twice as much as the amount by which the record was supposedly set.

Sea level rise has also been unremarkable in the past century. There has been no recent acceleration, and the current rate of rise is less than one tenth that of 8,000 years ago. Geologists tell us that the oceans have been rising since the end of the last glacial period, 15,000 years ago.

There has been no overall change in the incidence and severity of extreme weather in the past century, either. As in the case of temperature and sea level, the contribution of our emissions to extreme weather must have been very small indeed.

Extreme weather and global warming

Extreme weather appears entirely unrelated to global warming. This is one of the few areas of agreement between the IPCC and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

In 2012, the IPCC asserted that a relationship between global warming and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events has not been demonstrated. In their 2013 assessment report, their latest, IPCC scientists concluded that they had only “low confidence” that “damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity” as a result of global warming.

The 2013 NIPCC report concluded the same, asserting that “In no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.”

Governor’s worries based on models of possible futures

So Brown’s concerns are based solely on possible future events, events that are, by definition, not yet known.

To develop rational climate change policy in this case, we must first greatly improve weather and climate sensing systems. Without this basic information, how can we know what data to input into our computer models to make climate forecasts? Furthermore, since the computer models are created using the existing data, accurate data is critically important if our models are to be meaningful.

Once we have sufficient, and sufficiently accurate, data, we still need to determine if current and expected near-future changes are dangerous. If they are, then we must figure out whether we are causing a significant proportion of these changes.

Former University of Winnipeg professor and historical climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball explains that the collection and interpretation of data needed to fulfill these requirements has only just begun. Ball explains that there are relatively few weather stations of adequate length or reliability on which to base model forecasts of future climate. “Brown’s forecasts therefore have absolutely no credibility in the real world,” Ball explains.

Ball estimates that, between the surface and atmosphere, there is data for only about 10% of the total atmosphere. He concludes, “any discussion about the outputs of climate models is irrelevant. The models cannot work because the simple truth is that the data, the basic building blocks of the models, are completely inadequate. Yet, it is the model outputs that are being used as the foundation for California’s, and indeed the nation’s, energy policy decisions.”

Models a poor basis for public policy

When one also accounts for the fact that the models incorporate unsubstantiated mechanisms, such as the assumption that carbon dioxide increase is known to cause significant temperature increase, it is not surprising that the models on which Brown and others rely fail miserably in the real world.

In his February 2, 2016 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology, Dr. John Christy, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Alabama’s State Climatologist and Director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, presented the following graph.

Fig. 1: Five-year averaged values of annual mean (1979-2015) global bulk (termed “midtropospheric” or “MT”) temperature as depicted by the average of 102 IPCC CMIP5 climate models (red), the average of 3 satellite datasets (green – UAH, RSS, NOAA) and 4 balloon datasets (blue, NOAA, UKMet, RICH, RAOBCORE).

Christy told Congress, “[T]hese models failed at the simple test of telling us ‘what’ has already happened, and thus would not be in a position to give us a confident answer to ‘what’ may happen in the future and ‘why.’ As such, they would be of highly questionable value in determining policy that should depend on a very confident understanding of how the climate system works.”

UN told to ‘get real’

The UN’s My World global survey shows that Brown and most of the political elite are completely out of touch with average people on climate change. After 9.7 million people from 194 countries have been polled, “action taken on climate change” rates dead last out of the 16 suggested priorities for the UN.

For most of the world, and especially those in developing nations, the message is clear: in comparison with access to reliable energy, better healthcare, government honesty, a good education, etc., climate change is not important. It’s time for governments to stop wasting billions of dollars trying to stop the climate from changing. The world has real problems to solve.

_____________________________________________________

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition

5 Responses to "Political Elite Out of Touch on Climate Change"

  1. ONTIME   Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    JB is the Ca gubber, a man with little or no real ability to create free enterprise much less proclaim his weather expertise, in all fairness he ought to just find a new line of work…..JB is my example of foot in mouth, he will do or pander to anyone who he thinks will gain him some kind of foothold to make gov more intrusive, help him create another expensive scam with no plausible reason…Ca is in suffering as of now because of this Party but will he be removed? only the illegals and the multi voters know……

  2. Gregson14   Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 12:46 AM

    Planet Earth has spent on the order of 25% of its 4.5 Billion year existence with atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at levels of 4000 parts per million (ppm) or greater – an order of magnitude (10x) greater than current levels of CO2 in our atmosphere – and guess what?… the Planet survived just fine… all by itself! 
     
    On an existential scale – Planet Earth is today experiencing near-historic low levels of CO2 in our atmosphere (400 ppm). The argument can be made that there is a greater chance of Planet Earth becoming a frozen and lifeless planet (much like Mars); simply because we are closer to a CO2 deficiency on the planet than we are to an over-abundance of CO2 – a compound that is essential for the survival of all life on Planet Earth.

    The unfortunate reality is that plant-life begins to shut-down (die) when CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere drop below 150ppm – whereas today’s commercial growing operations pump upwards of 1600ppm into their Greenhouses to facilitate optimum growing conditions. Take a walk in your favourite forest or woodland and you will at times be exposed to CO2 concentrations at levels close to 600ppm… but no worries!… you’ll be just fine. In fact, Princeton Phd Physicist, Freeman Dyson in an April 2015 interview with The Vancouver Sun explains that Planet Earth has greened-up by close to 20% in the last 50 years “… increasing our tillable land, increasing crop yields and feeding more people…” as a direct result of increased levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. In the interview Dyson states emphatically that: “… in the aggregate, increasing levels of CO2 in our atmosphere are a “net benefit” for our biosphere.”

    I find it comically ironic that an entire movement that calls itself “green” has positioned itself as the greatest demonizer of the very compound (CO2) that is responsible for “greening” our Planet over the last 50 years.

    Carbon Dioxide also forms the very base of the food chain in our Oceans!… Huge quantities of CO2 are constantly being emitted and then re-absorbed by our Oceans during the frequent cooling and warming phases that have been a natural process of our global climate for untold millions of years. Carbon Dioxide is also a prime component of the Limestone also know as Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) that forms our Ocean floors – a direct result of the calcified remains of a multitude of species, trillions of shell-fish, crustaceans, mollusks etc. over billions of years now fossilized in the sedimentary layers of our ocean floors. Carbon Dioxide is also soluble in water, and it is here – in our oceans, where huge amounts of CO2 are consumed by vast quantities of algae and plankton (the most abundant form of life in our Oceans). These micro-organisms have a macro effect on the food chain as they feed the small shrimp and krill that sustain the baitfish, who in turn are prey for the larger ocean predators.

    The fact remains that without CO2, our Oceans would be lifeless – our Atmosphere would be toxic and the Planet would be dead! 

    From a causative perspective, the United Nation’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore have CO2’s relationship to climate exactly backwards!… Increasing levels of CO2 are not the cause of warming – they are the product of warming. Series after series of Ice Core samples (Vostok Antarctica and Greenland) taken in the last 30 years clearly demonstrate that increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 are trailing indicators of earlier warming events – warming events that occurred on average as much as 600-1000 years earlier. The reason for this; is that our Oceans are so vast… they literally take centuries to warm-up and cool down. However, it is this warming process in our Oceans that releases and emits CO2 back into our atmosphere to complete the Carbon Cycle during our warmer inter-glacials as demonstrated by our current Holocene inter-glacial – which reached it’s maximum warming 8,000 years ago of 2-3 degrees centigrade higher than today.

    Mankind with all of his Industry, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Transportation and Land-use needs is responsible for emitting close to 38 giga-tons of CO2 into our atmosphere per year worldwide. Yes!… that is 38 billion tons… but it is a mere 5% of the 780 giga-ton footprint of CO2 that is emitted “naturally” into our atmosphere every year by our Oceans, lakes, deltas, volcanoes, forest fires, dying vegetation, animals of all kinds and the microbes with whom we share the planet.

    Why then is CO2 the source of such angst and hysteria from our Academics, Progressives and the Climate Establishment?… Answer: In today’s world of misinformation, CO2 has been tagged as the prime candidate onto which our Progressive elites can attach a “brand new tax”, to pay for the entitlements that 1st World Nations have promised to their various constituencies. While at the same time, the United Nation’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has become a hypocritical advocate for limiting the growth potential of 3rd World Nations who are desperate to utilize their own carbon-based energy sources in order to develop their new and emerging economies.

    I suppose under the auspices of the United Nations IPCC and alarmists everywhere, we can expect the hype and ramped-up rhetoric to increase following the recent COP-21 Climate Talks in Paris — soon to be augmented by the Progressive Carbon Tax, the Fresh Water Tax, the Sunshine Tax and last but not least, the Oxygen Tax! 
     
    If you really advocate for truth in the Climate debate, then arm yourself with the facts about the limitations of Global Climate Models and the adjustments made (see the WordPress pdf file below) to 1 of the 4 primary Data Sets used to determine Global Climate Policy. Also examine the History of Earth’s Climate, the benefits of CO2 to the Planet and the impact that Solar, Orbital, Cosmic and Ocean influences play in the Carbon and Climate Cycle!… The Science is far from being “settled”!…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gDErDwXqhc&spfreload=10

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52Mx0_8YEtg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANMTPF1blpQ

    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf

  3. Steve Case   Friday, September 16, 2016 at 8:43 PM

    Governor Brown has a nice loud bullhorn with a bought and paid for cheering section in the front row seats. Tom Harris will be stopped at the door. The Global Warming/Climate Change juggernaut isn’t going to be stopped anytime soon. A lot depends on the events of Tuesday 8 November 2016.

  4. GoFigure   Friday, September 16, 2016 at 4:49 PM

    More of the same political nonsense. Obama recently pointed out two receding glaciers, noting this confirmed his “climate chanbge” concerns. (by that he presumably means the same as the UN’s IPCC bogus claim- that human activity is the PRINCIPLE cause of our global warming)

    There are also other glaciers which are growing, both in Alaska and elsewhere, so he could just as easily justified global cooling. But worse, one of the two receding glaciers, “Exit” by name, has been receding since 1730. That’s a full century BEFORE co2 level (the supposed culprit whose increase was brought on by human activity) even began increasing.

    What’s more, even the most rabid alarmist “scientists” acknowledge that co2 (at its average annual rate of increase of 2 ppmv) would have had to increase for another 100 years before it had any possibility of impacting our temperature measurements. That brings (from 1850) to about 1950. Since from the 1940s to the 1970s was a mild cooling (that history now slowly being erased by goverment bureaucrats !), no likely impact until our actual warming increase from 1975 to 1998. Both weather satellites and balloon data confirm no statistical significant warming since then.

    So, what have we got? A bit more than two recent decades of increasing warming, followed by a bit less than two decades of no additional warming, even as co2 level continually increased during that period.

    This is why the alarmists have now come up with NUMEROUS speculative excuses the “missing heat”, finally more or less settling on it going into the deepest ocean (where it can’t be found). Also, 3,000+ ARGO sinking buoys have not noticed any of that missing heat passing by.

    But where’s the surprise? Our current warming (such as it is) began NOT in the mid 1800s (a cherry-picked data which is irrelevant) but BY DEFINITION at the first bottom during the Little Ice Age. (oops, the bureaucrats have so far squeezed down the temperature variation during the LIA and during the MWP. So, our current warming began in the mid 1600s, and we’ve been measuring a natural temperature increase for the first 200 years, and, since it would have taken another 100 years for co2 to have any possible impact on temperature, it’s 300 years of natural warming ending in 1998.

    OUr ending has been topped off by an el Nino (a natural warming event, which even NASA reluctantly admits).

    What’s next? If the previous el Nino in 1997/98 is any indicator, the temperature will be dropping – and we expect another likely natural event, a la Nina (cooling).

  5. Shellie Correia   Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 11:41 PM

    Sadly, global warming alarmism has become a huge money maker. The spin off industries, such as unreliable, unaffordable renewables, are making gov’t cronies and wind companies filthy rich, and the unfortunate citizens trying to pay their outrageously high electricity bill, and taxes, dirt poor.

    Gov’t-induced climaphobia is a tool, to extort money from the masses, via fear of natural climate changes. We need a government that will start to approach this situation in a sane, ethical, affordable manner. When climates change, humans adapt.

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