Thursday, November 24, 2016

GWPF Newsletter: Satellite Data Reinstates Global Temperature Pause








Three (Perfectly Democratic) Reasons Donald Trump Will Smother The Paris Climate Deal

In this newsletter:

1) David Whitehouse: Satellite Data Reinstates Global Temperature Pause
GWPF Observatory, 21 November 2016
 
2) Donald Trump Expected To Slash NASA’s Climate Change Budget In Favour Of Space Exploration
The Sunday Telegraph, 20 November 2016


 
3) Trump’s Day 1 Plan To Fire Up US Shale And “Clean Coal” Industries
Renew Economy, 22 November 2016
 
4) Benny Peiser: Three (Perfectly Democratic) Reasons Donald Trump Will Smother The Paris Climate Deal
Financial Post, 21 November 2016
 
5) Dominic Lawson: Trump Is Dumping The Climate Fetish. What About Theresa May?
The Sunday Times, 20 November 2016
 
6) John Tierney: The Real War on Science
City Journal, Autumn 2016

Full details:

1) David Whitehouse: Satellite Data Reinstates Global Temperature Pause
GWPF Observatory, 21 November 2016
Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

Satellite data indicates a large fall in the temperature of the lower Troposphere back to pre-El Nino levels. This decrease has reinstated the so-called “pause” in lower atmosphere temperature.

The decrease is seen in the land only data. Data from the sea shows a decline but not as much. This is expected given the ocean’s thermal lag. Data from the RSS group that provides satellite temperature services show that late-2016 temperatures have returned to the level it was at post-1998, Fig 1. Click on the image to enlarge.
 

RSS land DataRSS land Data

This clearly shows the recent El Nino for what it is – a short term weather event. Now that it is over it can easily be seen that the lower Tropospheric temperature displays no long-tern trend between 1999 – 2016. The same is seen in the UAH analysis of the satellite data. Fig 2.
 

UAH land dataUAH land data

Many have noticed that the strong El Nino of 1998 resulted in a “step-change” in lower atmospheric temperature. There is no reliable statistical evidence for an increase before it in the satellite data that was available in 1979. After 1998 the temperature did not return to its previous level but remained at a higher, stable level. It remains to be seen if the temperature will undergo another step-change. It’s very early days but on the sparse data available I think it seems unlikely.

Feedback: david.whitehouse@thegwpf.com

See also: How Far Will Global Temperature Drop After El Nino?

2) Donald Trump Expected To Slash NASA’s Climate Change Budget In Favour Of Space Exploration
The Sunday Telegraph, 20 November 2016
Nick Allen

US President-elect Donald Trump is set to slash Nasa’s budget for monitoring climate change and instead set a goal of sending humans to the edge of the solar system by the end of the century, and possibly back to the moon.

Mr Trump, who has called climate change a “Chinese hoax”, is believed to want to focus the agency on far-reaching, big banner goals in deep space rather than “Earth-centric climate change spending”.

According to Bob Walker, who has advised Mr Trump on space policy, Nasa has been reduced to “a logistics agency concentrating on space station resupply and politically correct environmental monitoring”.

Mr Walker, a former congressman who chaired President George W. Bush’s Commission on the Future of the US Aerospace Industry, told The Telegraph: “We would start by having a stretch goal of exploring the entire solar system by the end of the century.

“You stretch your technology experts and create technologies that wouldn’t otherwise be needed. I think aspirational goals are a good thing. Fifty years ago it was the ability to go to the moon.”

Nasa’s climate change role in the firing line
This year Nasa’s Earth Science Division received $1.92 billion in funding, up nearly 30 per cent from the previous year.

Its funding has gone up 50 per cent under President Barack Obama. At the same time Mr Obama proposed cutting support for deep space exploration by $840 million next year.

Full story

3) Trump’s Day 1 Plan To Fire Up US Shale And “Clean Coal” Industries
Renew Economy, 22 November 2016

US president-elect Donald Trump has confirmed that among his first actions as president will be to “free up” and “fire up” the shale gas and “clean coal”, promising “millions” of jobs by beginning his assault on Barack Obama Clean Power Plan.

In a video update on the Presidential Transition, Trump outlined some policy plans for his first 100 days in office, and his day one executive actions when he takes over the reins on January 20 2017.

It was part of a package in which he promised to quit the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, bump up security, and cut down on visa “abuses”, and crackdowns on government officials becoming lobbyists, although not lobbyists becoming government officials.

On energy, he said he would “cancel job-killing restrictions” on the production of American fossil fuel resources, including unconventional shale energy and the yet-to-move-beyond-conceptual clean coal. He said this would create “many millions” of jobs.

Full story

4) Benny Peiser: Three (Perfectly Democratic) Reasons Donald Trump Will Smother The Paris Climate Deal
Financial Post, 21 November 2016

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States signals the beginning of the end of international climate alarmism.
 


Trump’s victory has shaken the green movement to its core and will almost certainly lead to the Paris climate agreement’s unraveling. That conclusion, however, is not how most people at the uneventful UN climate confab, which ended in Marrakech last week, saw it. Many speakers, still in a state of shock, denial and anger about Trump’s victory, resorted to wishful thinking and claimed that the president-elect would change his mind about his pledges, or failing that, could not withdraw from the Paris agreement.

French president Francois Hollande stated that Trump has no option. “This Paris agreement is irreversible, no one can get out of it. And even if he could be tempted, there will be forces, amongst them American democracy, who will ensure that it is respected.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Paris climate agreement “has now become unstoppable.”

During his campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to dismantle most of the U.S. climate legislation and initiatives put forth by the Obama administration. He said he would renegotiate or even “cancel” the Paris agreement, in which the Obama administration pledged to reduce CO2 emissions 26 per cent to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. Ban Ki-moon, however, said he had spoken to Trump recently and was confident he could be convinced to change his mind.

This kind of naive overconfidence shows a distinct lack of political realism. After all, on the Paris deal, Trump has simply stated the official position of the Republican party. What Ban Ki-moon and other international leaders fail to realize — or prefer not to concede in public — is that the next U.S. president has a triple mandate to reverse Obama’s unilateral climate policies.

Firstly, there are Trump’s election pledges during the campaign. In an interview in May, Trump said that his administration would “renegotiate” the Paris climate agreement. Ten days later, Trump presented a 100-day action plan that included a pledge to cancel it altogether. “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”

Republican position
Secondly, most people seem completely unaware that Trump’s stance on reversing Obama’s green policies is fully shared by the Republican party. The party’s election platform, approved at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, rejects the Paris agreement outright. “We reject the agendas of both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, which represent only the personal commitments of their signatories; no such agreement can be binding upon the United States until it is submitted to and ratified by the Senate.”

Thirdly, the Republican-led Senate has warned international leaders for more than a year that the Senate majority rejects Obama’s Paris deal and that a Republican president would shred it to pieces. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has stated in no uncertain terms that the next president would pull the plug. As the Obama administration celebrated its signing of the Paris agreement last year, McConnell said: “The president (Obama) is making promises he can’t keep, writing checks he can’t cash, and stepping over the middle class to take credit for an ‘agreement’ that is subject to being shredded in 13 months.”

In short, Trump has three explicit mandates to reverse Obama’s Paris deal. Moreover, there is little support among the American people for the Paris agreement, and a lot of strong opposition against it.

Climate fund
Obama and European leaders have pledged to create for it an annual US$100-billion climate fund, which is what attracts most of the signatories to the Paris agreement, who expect to be its beneficiaries. There is now zero chance the U.S. will pay them the reward they were expecting. Even in the unlikely event that Ban Ki-Moon, Mitt Romney (being considered for Secretary of State), or the green lobby were to succeed in converting Trump into a supporter of Obama’s Paris agreement, Republican senators would continue to block all funding for its implementation, including any funds for the $100-billion Green Climate Fund without which the Paris agreement would ultimately unravel.

The next president is likely to restore the role of Congress and thus the constitutional system of checks and balances. Critics have accused the Obama administration of contempt for the U.S. treaty-making process and the role of Congress. The Paris deal could never have been achieved through normal democratic processes, since international treaties require Senate approval.

The Obama administration tried claiming that the Paris accord is not a treaty but rather an executive agreement that the president can approve by dictate. Many legal experts are convinced that it has all the hallmarks of an international treaty that should be submitted to the Senate. In fact, president-elect Trump does not need to “cancel” the Paris agreement to fulfill his promise and that of his party. He should simply submit it to the Senate for advice and consent under Article II, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution. That properly constitutional approach would spell the end of it.

That is exactly the plan that Myron Ebell, who leads Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency, has suggested. There are many good reasons for such a constitutional approach. But the most important one is that a failure to do so would cement Obama’s policy of unilateral treaty-making and set a dangerous precedent.

Benny Peiser is the director of the London-based Global Warming Policy Forum.

5) Dominic Lawson: Trump Is Dumping The Climate Fetish. What About Theresa May?
The Sunday Times, 20 November 2016




The piercing call to prayer of the muezzin is a familiar sound to anyone who has spent time in Marrakesh. But a different wailing rent the air there last week. It came from the 20,000 or so people who had jetted in for the annual UN Climate Change Conference.

To describe those delegates and attendant lobbyists as most upset by Donald Trump’s victory in the battle for the US presidency does no justice to their grief. The Guardian’s man at this colossal carbon-fest reported that many were in tears. One told him: “My heart is absolutely broken at the election of Trump.” Another lamented: “Everyone is in shock.”

The reason for this mass nervous breakdown of environmentalists is obvious. Trump has declared that the “concept of global warming” was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”. In this spirit, he has pledged to reverse President Obama’s signing of the Paris agreement, in which the US for the first time committed itself to CO2 emission reductions under a UN-regulated scheme.

Unlike Trump’s better-known pledge to introduce protectionist measures against Chinese imports via steeply increased tariffs, this would be one with no downside for American consumers. And, given Obama had used an “executive agreement” to give US consent to the Paris accord, rather than seek the approval of Congress, it would hardly be inappropriate if his successor was similarly imperial in revoking it. Trump’s team has also indicated — to make matters clearer still — that it might simply withdraw America from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Chinese government is rattled by this (though not breaking down in sobs). Its senior climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, responded to Trump’s election by declaring: “A wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends. If they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people.” It is most unusual for the Chinese government to comment on foreign election results, sensitive as it is to any external criticism of its own political processes.

Actually Trump was wrong. The UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change was not a Chinese plan to boost its own exporters at the expense of the West’s industrial base; it was a plan by western governments to penalise their own industrial base, to the benefit of the economies of China and the rest of the developing world.

The larger economies of the EU in particular have imposed costly carbon-emission-reduction programmes on their own industries — while China has been building coal plants at the rate of two a week. Given that coal is the cheapest (and most carbon-intensive) large-scale form of energy generation and China has become the world’s largest economy as a result of this breakneck industrialisation, Trump, in his cartoonish way, was on to something.

His position on this was actually the main reason why he broke the Democrats’ hold on the so-called Rust Belt states — and thus won the presidency. Behind big posters with the legend “Trump digs coal”, he declared in rallies: “We’re going to save the coal industry. Believe me, I love those people.” Then he would put on a miner’s helmet and make digging motions.

In fact, it is not emission-reduction programmes that have been the principal cause of more than 30,000 coalminers losing their jobs during the Obama presidency; that industry’s bane has been the rise of the US shale gas sector, which has tapped into vast reserves made accessible by new drilling techniques. The effect has been to cut US emissions at a rate much faster than Europe has achieved by its quixotic wind-power programme, because gas, though a fossil fuel, emits half coal’s CO2 per unit of energy.

Only last week the US Geological Survey revealed the discovery of the largest continuous oil and gas deposit in the country’s history: it estimated that a swathe of west Texas known as the Wolfcamp shale contains 20bn barrels of oil and 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Remember that the principal consumer-based argument given for “decarbonisation” by our own Department of Energy and Climate Change under prime ministers Blair, Brown and Cameron was that gas would become ever more expensive and therefore wind power would soon require no subsidies. This was a colossal misjudgment, caused by what is politely termed confirmation bias.

Seven years ago I wrote that this desire to dupe the public into thinking decarbonisation would save the nation money would only outsource chunks of our manufacturing industry to China. This was exemplified by the subsequent crisis at our largest remaining steel plant at Port Talbot. Its owner, Tata, had long been imploring the government to reconsider a “climate-change policy” under which prices of electricity for British industrial users are twice the EU average.

As this column noted at the time, it all stemmed from the Climate Change Act 2008, which mandated the UK to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% — a commitment no other country has come near to making. So keen was our legislature to take part in this act of virtue-signalling, it passed Ed Miliband’s bizarrely uncosted measure by 463 votes to 3. Of those intellectually brave dissidents only Peter Lilley continues to press the matter in parliament; and even he was caught unawares last week when the Paris agreement passed its 21-day period of scrutiny by our legislature without a single member of the Commons or Lords raising a question, let alone an objection.

But if Trump does pull the US out of the futile UN programme to prevent manmade climate change — it’s an impossible objective with the developing world continuing rapidly to increase its exploitation and consumption of coal — perhaps a British cabinet might dare to question Westminster’s religious faith in the Climate Change Act.

The opposition won’t, of course: last week Labour’s shadow business secretary, Clive Lewis, said Trump’s policies could mean “game over for our planet”. (The planet is doing just fine, actually: over the past three decades the Earth’s vegetation has expanded by 14%. About 70% of this welcome “greening” of the planet is thought to be the result of the rise in manmade CO2 emissions.)

I have faint hopes that Theresa May, with her commitment to an “industrial policy”, might see the light, especially as her chief of staff, Nick Timothy, described the Climate Change Act as a “unilateral and monstrous act of self-harm” in April, when he was a columnist for the ConservativeHome website.

Actually, who am I kidding? The scale of the vested interests in said unilateral and monstrous act of self-harm, involving countless civil servants across every department of state, academics, environmental lobby groups, wind energy providers, solar panel installers — you name it — will deter the prime minister from the necessary act of courage. Besides, she doubtless feels that this is no time to be making new enemies.

It’s a shame, though. Because if Mrs May ever wanted to demonstrate real substance in her stated desire to represent the interests of “the just-managing ordinary workers” over the concerns of the “Westminster elite”, scrapping the Climate Change Act would hit the bullseye. Ask the Donald.

6) John Tierney: The Real War on Science
City Journal, Autumn 2016

The Left has done far more than the Right to set back progress.

My liberal friends sometimes ask me why I don’t devote more of my science journalism to the sins of the Right. It’s fine to expose pseudoscience on the left, they say, but why aren’t you an equal-opportunity debunker? Why not write about conservatives’ threat to science?

My friends don’t like my answer: because there isn’t much to write about. Conservatives just don’t have that much impact on science. I know that sounds strange to Democrats who decry Republican creationists and call themselves the “party of science.” But I’ve done my homework. I’ve read the Left’s indictments, including Chris Mooney’s bestseller, The Republican War on Science. I finished it with the same question about this war that I had at the outset: Where are the casualties?

Where are the scientists who lost their jobs or their funding? What vital research has been corrupted or suppressed? What scientific debate has been silenced? Yes, the book reveals that Republican creationists exist, but they don’t affect the biologists or anthropologists studying evolution. Yes, George W. Bush refused federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, but that hardly put a stop to it (and not much changed after Barack Obama reversed the policy). Mooney rails at scientists and politicians who oppose government policies favored by progressives like himself, but if you’re looking for serious damage to the enterprise of science, he offers only three examples.

All three are in his first chapter, during Mooney’s brief acknowledgment that leftists “here and there” have been guilty of “science abuse.” First, there’s the Left’s opposition to genetically modified foods, which stifled research into what could have been a second Green Revolution to feed Africa. Second, there’s the campaign by animal-rights activists against medical researchers, whose work has already been hampered and would be devastated if the activists succeeded in banning animal experimentation. Third, there’s the resistance in academia to studying the genetic underpinnings of human behavior, which has cut off many social scientists from the recent revolutions in genetics and neuroscience. Each of these abuses is far more significant than anything done by conservatives, and there are plenty of others. The only successful war on science is the one waged by the Left.

The danger from the Left does not arise from stupidity or dishonesty; those failings are bipartisan. Some surveys show that Republicans, particularly libertarians, are more scientifically literate than Democrats, but there’s plenty of ignorance all around. Both sides cherry-pick research and misrepresent evidence to support their agendas. Whoever’s in power, the White House plays politics in appointing advisory commissions and editing the executive summaries of their reports. Scientists of all ideologies exaggerate the importance of their own research and seek results that will bring them more attention and funding.

But two huge threats to science are peculiar to the Left—and they’re getting worse.

The first threat is confirmation bias, the well-documented tendency of people to seek out and accept information that confirms their beliefs and prejudices. In a classic study of peer review, 75 psychologists were asked to referee a paper about the mental health of left-wing student activists. Some referees saw a version of the paper showing that the student activists’ mental health was above normal; others saw different data, showing it to be below normal. Sure enough, the more liberal referees were more likely to recommend publishing the paper favorable to the left-wing activists. When the conclusion went the other way, they quickly found problems with its methodology.

Scientists try to avoid confirmation bias by exposing their work to peer review by critics with different views, but it’s increasingly difficult for liberals to find such critics. Academics have traditionally leaned left politically, and many fields have essentially become monocultures, especially in the social sciences, where Democrats now outnumber Republicans by at least 8 to 1. (In sociology, where the ratio is 44 to 1, a student is much likelier to be taught by a Marxist than by a Republican.) The lopsided ratio has led to another well-documented phenomenon: people’s beliefs become more extreme when they’re surrounded by like-minded colleagues. They come to assume that their opinions are not only the norm but also the truth.

Groupthink has become so routine that many scientists aren’t even aware of it. Social psychologists, who have extensively studied conscious and unconscious biases against out-groups, are quick to blame these biases for the underrepresentation of women or minorities in the business world and other institutions. But they’ve been mostly oblivious to their own diversity problem, which is vastly larger. Democrats outnumber Republicans at least 12 to 1 (perhaps 40 to 1) in social psychology, creating what Jonathan Haidt calls a “tribal-moral community” with its own “sacred values” about what’s worth studying and what’s taboo.

Must read essay

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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