Science and Environmental Policy Climate Change Right Side News Comprehensive Climate Change Weekly Report, July 12, 2015 Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Science or Selective Ignorance?

In an editorial published in Science magazine on July 3, Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of the Science Journals, removed all doubt concerning the direction that this once prestigious journal is taking. In “The beyond-two-degree inferno”, she wrote: “The time for debate has ended. Action is urgently needed.” Then, she strongly supports the contrived effort of the European Union to keep “global warming” below 2°C above the preindustrial level – a number for which we have no rigorous measurement or logic. She advocates the political position of the Administration in forcing reductions in carbon dioxide emission (CO2) by stating “The United States has pledged reductions of 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025…” Of course, there is no such pledge by the American people and its representatives in Congress. The Administration’s pledge is arbitrary and authoritarian. Ms. McNutt concludes with a description of the nine circles of Hell found in Dante’s Inferno. Ms. McNutt continues a trend established in the Science journals by Donald Kennedy (2000-2008), who declared while he is editor,Science would no longer accept articles contradicting the pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming, later termed climate change, regardless of the empirical data presented. The IPCC reports featured glaring deficiencies such as the falsely named distinct human fingerprint, a hot-spot over the tropics, which no one can empirically find; Mr. Mann’s hockey-stick, based on sparse data, from which contradicting data was deleted; and global climate models, which greatly overestimate warming, as current measurements demonstrate. The logic behind this editorial policy can be described as selective ignorance. Please see links under Defending the Orthodoxy, including an excellent critique by Judith Curry. 16th Century Thinking: European scientific thinking of the 16th century was dominated by the re-discovery of the works of the Greeks. Their works in geometry and astronomy were very good, particularly considering the lack of precise instruments. Estimates of size of the earth and the moon, and the distance between them were quite accurate. However, they generally underestimated the size of the sun and its distance from the earth. The concept of a heliocentric solar system was suggested by Aristarchus (died about 232 B.C.) and was accepted by some astronomers but eventually rejected, particularly by Ptolemy, a Roman, (about 150 A.D), whose system became the one widely accepted in the 16th century. During the 16th century, learning and written documents were extremely limited, and authority and consensus were dominate. Copernicus disagreed with the Ptolemy concept of the solar system, but the work was not published until the year of his death in 1543. It was up to Galileo to earn the full wrath of the Greek scholars (often called Aristotelian scientists) that dominated science in the period. Galileo confronted the scientific models and assumptions of the era with observations from nature and experiments. The most dramatic of these confrontations was proposing a heliocentric solar system, with an earth that orbited the sun annually, rotated daily, and titled on its axis. [Kepler proposed elliptical, not circular, orbits doing away with epicycles, and non-uniform speeds.] Using a telescope, Galileo identified spots on the sun, refuting the notion that it was immutable (unchanging). There are various versions of what occurred in the 17th century (until Newton) and the importance of various groups. However, for the purposes of this discussion, one must note that Galileo was the first, influential astronomer of the Renaissance to propose that observations take precedence over authority and consensus of opinion as the objective standard in science. He incurred the full wrath of the scientific establishment of that time. The Sun? Royal Astronomical Society published a study of a “new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s” 10 to 12 year solar cycle. “The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645.” “It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun’s activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years. But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations. Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun. Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy.” “We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun’s interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time. Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%,” said Zharkova. Zharkova and her colleagues derived their model using a technique called ‘principal component analysis’ of the magnetic field observations from the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California. They examined three solar cycles-worth of magnetic field activity, covering the period from 1976-2008. In addition, they compared their predictions to average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity. All the predictions and observations were closely matched. Looking ahead to the next solar cycles, the model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity. “In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other – peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum’,” said Zharkova. “Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity. When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums. When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago.” Since the period covered in the testing is only three solar cycles, 1976 to 2008, it is far too brief to draw any long-term conclusions. However, the accuracy in the testing is significant. Further, the cooling corresponds with predictions from some other solar scientists. The short period of study understood, The Summary for Policymakers of Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5), Synthesis Report, of the IPCC also covers a relatively short period. Table SPM.3 presents “Contributions to observed surface temperature change over the period 1951-2010.” Yet, the IPCC expressed 95% certainty in its work. The total of natural forcings presented by the IPCC in this table covers a temperature range of about minus 0.1 ºC to plus 0.1 ºC. If the new report of the Royal Astronomical Society bears out, and we experience a cooling greater than 0.1 ºC, the IPCC and the climate establishment has significant problems. See links under: Science: Is the Sun Rising?, Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?, and Defending the Orthodoxy NAS: The nominating committee of the US National Academy of Sciences has nominated Marcia McNutt to be the next President, a five year term. Traditionally, this nominee is unopposed and becomes the President. Will the censorship practiced by Science in rejecting articles contradicting IPCC reports become the norm of the NAS? How would they explain a cooling caused by diminished solar energy? See links under Lowering Standards. Environmentalism Gone Mad: Retired EPA researcher and environmentalist, Alan Carlin, brings up certain disturbing issues about the EPA. EPA conducted a study on DDT and found no compelling evidence that ordinary use of DDT is harmful to humans. Yet, administrator Ruckelshaus banned DDT, claiming that it may cause cancer. The ban and subsequent government and environmental group activities resulted in tens of millions of preventable deaths from malaria, mostly in poor countries. Carlin estimates the number of deaths to be about 50 million. The World Health Organization estimates that, today, about 500,000 die from malaria every year. This ban illustrates that one cannot assume the activities of the EPA or environmental groups are for the benefit of human health. In another posting, Carlin explains why climate alarmists want governments to impose limits on growth. See links under: Two Cases of Environmentalism Gone Mad, Questioning the Orthodoxy, and Other News that May Be of Interest Energy Costs in Manufacturing: According an article in Fortune the Boston Consulting Group, estimates the Manufacturing Cost Index to be 95% in China; 100% in the US; 108% in the U.K. and 116% in Germany [The US is the standard for the index.]. The energy share of the Manufacturing Cost Index, is 3% US, 6% China, 8% U.K., and 9% Germany – and it is falling in the US. Reasons for a narrowing of the index between China and the US are rising wages in China, increasing productivity in the US; but, most importantly, fracking bringing down energy costs in the US, particularly for energy intensive industries. Yet, the Administration is trying to bring the US energy cost in line with Germany’s? See link under Non-Green Jobs. Additions and Corrections: A past TWTW termed projections by NASA from climate models to 2100 as a data set, which was promptly corrected by some readers. For example: “Calling the NASA projections a ‘data set’ is itself proclaiming a misnomer. That fact should be made known to the general public. Computer generated numbers are not “data” per se.” Also, there were several errors in the description of the Number of the Week, corrected below for the appropriate number. TWTW always appreciates such corrections and additions. Number of the Week: 50 to 140 times. [Note, there were errors in last week’s description.] Two weeks ago, TWTW gave a rough calculation of the relative weights of natural forcing as compared to anthropogenic (human) forcing of the climate system from atmospheric carbon dioxide as presented in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, AR-4), published in 2007. These were calculated from the table titled “Radiative Forcing Components. The influence of carbon dioxide ranged from 5 to 6 times larger to 25 to 30 times larger than the only natural forcing considered – changes in solar intensity (visible light). These were based on Figure SPM.2, which stated “the understanding of anthropogenic warming and cooling influences on climate has improved since the TAR, leading to very high confidence that the global average net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming, with a radiative forcing of +1.6 [+0.6 to +2.4] W m-2.” Identical calculations for IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5) cannot be made because the critical table is not presented. Instead, a different table is presented: “Contributions to observed surface temperature change over the period 1951-2010” from the Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis report. The range for all natural variability is about minus 0.1 º C to plus 0.1 º C with a mean of about 0.01 º C. [Not minus 0.5 to plus 0.5 as stated last week.] The range for the influence of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, is not specifically given. According to these IPCC numbers, the influence of greenhouse gases is about 50 to 140 times greater than natural influences. When one considers these estimates in light of past climate change, there is little doubt why the climate models are failing. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy. ARTICLES: Please note that articles not linked easily or summarized here are reproduced in the Articles Section of the full TWTW that can be found on the web site under the date of the TWTW or TWTW 7-11-15. 1. Stopping EPA Uber Alle Even when states win in court, they lose. Here is one legal remedy. Editorial, WSJ, Jul 6, 2015… SUMMARY: Even though the opponents of EPA’s questionable anti-coal, mercury regulations were victorious in the Supreme Court, the EPA significantly damaged the US electrical generation system. “In 2011, the year the EPA proposed the anticarbon mercury rule that the Court has now ruled illegal, some 1,500 fossil-fuel-fired electric units were in operation. Only about 100 have not already closed or complied at a cost of billions of dollars.” The challenge to those states filing against the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, requiring another 30% carbon reduction, on average, from the states, is “the snail’s pace of the judicial process in response to new rules lends de facto immunity to whatever the EPA wants to do, even if the conclusion is another legal defeat that arrives too late to make a practical difference.” “The EPA is counting on it. The agency knows that the Clean Power Plan’s precarious legal footing will be litigated for years, but it is trying to rush the rule out to make it a policy fait accompli before President Obama’s term expires. It also knows that the long lead time and investment decisions the plan compels-about power-plant retirements and upgrades, restructuring transmission lines, creating new green energy and efficiency subsidy programs-must begin today.” As a solution to the delay the editorial supports Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt who has filed a preliminary injunction. “Under the 1958 Supreme Court precedent Leedom v. Kyne and a subsequent line of cases, the courts can use their powers to block federal-government actions ‘when an agency exceeds the scope of its delegated authority or violates a clear statutory mandate.’ Plaintiffs must show that they are injured by judicial delay and that they are likely to succeed on the merits. “Leedom actions have been used to stop abuses from the National Labor Relations Board and the Federal Trade Commission, and the EPA is a promising target. The agency’s unprecedented measures to restructure the U.S. energy economy under an obscure provision of the 1970s-era Clean Air Act have zero grounding in the text of the statute, much less Congress’s consent. Mr. Pruitt also argues that under the High Court’s federalism jurisprudence the EPA is unconstitutionally commandeering the sovereign states. “If Mr. Pruitt does succeed and obtain an injunction, the Clean Power Plan would be put on ice for the rest of Mr. Obama’s term, much as the Fifth Circuit blocked his executive immigration actions. More to the point, an injunction would rebuke an agency that thinks it is above the law.”
  1. Oman to Build Giant Solar Plant to Extract Oil Facility is the latest measure in Oman’s fight to halt a decline in production capacity By Georgi Kantchev, WSJ, Jul 8, 2015…SUMMARY: In an interesting twist, Oman is building a 1,021-megawatt solar-thermal facility to create the steam necessary to extract extremely heavy oil under an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Scheduled to be opened in 2017, the plant will replace part of the use of natural gas now used to create steam.
  2. The Trouble With Inspection Tools for Oil Pipelines Technology has improved, but a recent crude spill along a California beach shows the pitfalls By Alison Sider, WSJ, Jul 3, 2015…SUMMARY: Even though pipeline inspection tools have significantly improved in recent years, the recent spill on a Santa Barbara, California, beach demonstrates not all the problems have been solved, such as by “Smart pigs,” the small devices put through pipelines to look for signs of weakness in the metal, are the size of an American football. One of the problems is that the devices return huge reams of data, taking a long time for humans to process. “You can have a smart pig, smart people, and dumb management.”The cause of the spill is not yet known, and may not be for several months. Although pipeline operators are better at preventing spills than formerly, today’s technology is still far from perfect and most accidents aren’t caused by one single, easily preventable problem.