Since 2008, the Chicago-based, libertarian-leaning Heartland Institute has organized nine ICCCs (International Conferences on Climate Change). Norman Rogers (American Thinker, Aug 9, 2014) has given a general overview of ICCC-9 (at Las Vegas), which attracted an audience of well over 600 and featured speakers from 12 nations. Here I present a more detailed and personalized account of the two main science issues that appear to be of general concern. The first has to do with future temperatures and the second has to do with future sea level rise (SLR).
When it comes to global average surface temperature (GAST), the concern seems to be to remain below 2O°C. It should be recognized that this limit is entirely arbitrary. There is no established scientific basis for assigning special significance to it; it just happens to be the “Goldilocks” number. Here is what I mean: If one were to choose 0.5O°C, people will say “we’ve already seen that and nothing has happened.” However, if we were to choose 5O°C, people will say, “we’ll never see that much warming -- hence of no significance.” That is why 2O°C may have become the alarmists’ choice.
Mann getting Mann-Handled: Dozens of media outlets are backing the defendants' right to free speech.Penn State meteorology professor Michael Mann sounds like a pretty sympathetic character in the brief his lawyers filed last April at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Mann, who is widely credited with developing groundbreaking evidence of global warming, asked the appeals court to reject ongoing efforts by National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute to dismiss his libel and defamation case under the District of Columbia’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) law.
The defendants hadn’t just expressed their disagreement with his work on climate change, Mann said. They’d accused him of scientific fraud – “a statement of fact subject to objective verification and thus not protected ‘opinion,’” – Mann’s brief said. And they’d done so, according to Mann, even though the right-leaning magazine and think tank were well aware that he has been cleared in academic and regulatory inquiries about some troubling emails stolen from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom that appeared to raise questions about the integrity of his research.
The US shale boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party's base. The trend comes as oil-and-gas production moves beyond America's traditionally energy-rich states, a development that also is increasing U.S. geopolitical influence abroad. It is a theme playing out ahead of November's midterm elections, with some Democrats trying to balance environmental groups' concerns about climate change and an industry they see as carrying economic benefits. --Amy Harder, The Wall Street Journal, 12 August 2014
In the run-up to this fall’s midterm elections, Democrats seem to be stifling some of their green sensibilities and embracing the recent U.S. energy revolution. Fracking has completely transformed the American energy landscape in just a few short years, and environmentalists, a key component of the Democratic base, aren’t happy. Fracking is opening up new oil and gas plays all across the country, and Democrats who previously might have vocally criticized fossil fuel production are finding plenty of reasons to hop on the shale bandwagon. Stay tuned; this is a narrative to watch during this year’s midterms. –-Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest, 12 August 2014
“A new paper by a group that includes researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Wright State University, Observatoire Midi-Pyréneés in France, and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research appears in this week’s edition of the journal Nature and provides the first direct calculation of mercury in the global ocean from pollution based on data obtained from 12 sampling cruises over the past 8 years. The work, which was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the European Research Council and led by WHOI marine chemist Carl Lamborg, also provides a look at the global distribution of mercury in the marine environment,” says the press release.
What made headlines in the press is this: “Analysis of their results showed rough agreement with the models used previously—that the ocean contains about 60,000 to 80,000 tons of pollution mercury. In addition, they found that ocean waters shallower than about 100 m (300 feet) have tripled in mercury concentration since the Industrial Revolution…..” “Tripled” is what the press picked up, but most sources did not print the rest of the sentence: …” and that the ocean as a whole has shown an increase of roughly 10 percent over pre-industrial mercury levels.”
Our atmosphere contains the four gases of life – nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide.
Nitrogen is the most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (78%). It is an essential building block of amino acids present in all proteins. It is a very stable unreactive gas, but micro-organisms in the soil and some plants are able to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to growing plants. Lightning also manages to oxidise some atmospheric nitrogen.
Oxygen is the second most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (21%). Every animal absorbs oxygen with every breath, using it to fuel bodily digestion of the foods they eat. This process builds bodies and provides the energy of muscles. In the great oxygen cycle, plants extract oxygen from carbon dioxide and exhale it to the atmosphere for animals to breathe.
One month ago, a very large crater was found on Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.
Where did the black hole come from? What was the cause? These questions were mysterious for us but now it seems that experts have reasons to say that there's lots of methane in the hole and the hole was a result of a methane bubble under the ground that found its way to the surface. Cool.
WHAT if David Archibald’s book The Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short turns out to be right? What if the past 50 years of peace, cheap energy, abundant food, global economic growth and population explosion have been due to a temporary climate phenomenon?
What if the warmth the world has enjoyed for the past 50 years is the result of solar activity, not man-made CO2?
In a letter to the editor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, IG Usoskin et al produced the “first fully adjustment-free physical reconstruction of solar activity”. They found that during the past 3000 years the modern grand maxima, which occurred between 1959 and 2009, was a rare event both in magnitude and duration. This research adds to growing evidence that climate change is determined by the sun, not humans.
In what one person is calling a "travesty of science," Director Dan Ashe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to add the wolverine to the U.S. Endangered Species List based on hysterics and ambiguous computer models, instead relying on facts, evidence, and observable science. From the AP:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said in an interview with The Associated Press that predictions about climate change's localized impacts remain ambiguous.
Rejecting the conclusions of most outside experts and some of the agency's own scientists, Ashe said the uncertainty made it impossible to determine whether less snow cover would put wolverines in danger of extinction in coming decades.
Is Obama sweating the new poll? Poll, what poll?Despite the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and caused by human activity, a new survey conducted for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette demonstrates that many Americans remain uncertain about the impact of climate change and the need for government action to address it. Only 41 percent of Americans believe that ‘most scientists agree that climate change is happening now caused mainly by human activities.’ --James P. O'Toole, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10 August 2014
A year ago, U.S. President Barack Obama sought to mobilize the nation behind a grand plan: fight climate change by slashing carbon pollution at home, while prodding other countries to follow. A key part of that strategy was for the United States to stop using public money to finance the construction of most coal-fired power plants abroad, seen as one of the main causes of rising pollution from heat-trapping gases. But a year later, momentum has stalled on the Obama administration’s plan for a global “domino effect” that would choke off financing for coal projects from public lending institutions around the world. --Anna Yukhananov and Valerie Volcovici, Reuters, 12 August 2014
KrugmanQuestion: What do the ACLU, the Reporters Committee for Press Freedom, the American Society of News Editors, the Association of American Publishers, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (The Village Voice et al), NBC Universal, Bloomberg News, the publishers of USA Today, Time, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times, The Arizona Republic and The Bergen County Record have in common?
Answer: They (and many others) all recognize that serial litigant Michael E Mann is a menace to free speech. You can read their intervention in Mann's defamation suit against me here.
In 2012, Mann, the inventor of the global-warming "hockey stick", decided to sue me, National Review, Rand Simberg and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, for calling his stick "fraudulent" and deriding his "exoneration" by the same Penn State administration that covered up for Jerry Sandusky. So here we all are two years later leisurely circling the drain of DC justice. Yesterday was the last day for submission of briefs on the matter to the DC Court of Appeals. (I'm not part of the appeal, as I decided six months ago to take Doctor Fraudpants at his word and give him his day in court, the sooner the better.)
How old is too old for employment data? Well, the Environmental Protection Agency has been using decades old economic data to analyze regulations, according to a government watchdog report.
The Government Accountability Office reported the EPA “estimated effects of its regulations on employment, in part, using a study that… was based on data that were more than 20 years old and may not have represented the regulated entities addressed” in its regulatory impact analyses (RIAs).
EPA officials told the GAO that the 20-year-old data “represented the best reasonably obtainable data” when they were analyzing regulations, and that “they are exploring new approaches for analyzing these effects but were uncertain about when such results would be available.”
Those sneaky little devils are pernicious and plentiful. We're talking about wildlife advocates, right? Right. From Spokesman-Review:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said predictions about climate change’s localized impacts remain “ambiguous.” Rejecting the conclusions of the agency’s own scientists, Ashe said that made it impossible to determine whether less snow cover would put wolverines in danger of extinction in coming decades.
The decision carries potential ramifications for other species affected by climate change — from Alaska’s bearded seals and the Pacific walrus to dozens of species of corals — as scientists and regulators grapple with limits on computer climate models.