Saturday, October 6, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Global Temperatures Keep Falling

Leaked US Critique  Of IPCC Report  Sets Stage For Political Showdown

In this newsletter:

1) Global Temperatures Keep Falling
GWPF Observatory, 3 October 2018
2) Arctic Sea Ice Rebounds
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 2 October 2018

3) Leaked US Critique Of IPCC Report  Sets Stage For Political Showdown In South Korea
Climate Home News, 2 October 2018 
4) News Media Hype IPCC 'Climate Catastrophe' By 2040
AFP, 30 September 2018
5) Scholarships Available for Portsmouth Conference
Seacoast Online, 2 October 2018
6) Germany Risks Permanent Loss Of Control Of Energiewende, Federal Audit Office Warns
Daniel Wetzel, Die Welt, 28 September 2018
7) Back To Black: China Axes Coal And Steel Curbs As Economy Slows
Financial Times, 1 October 2018

Full details:

1) Global Temperatures Keep Falling
GWPF Observatory, 3 October 2018

According to the latest UAH satellite measurements,  global average lower tropospheric temperature has dropped  to levels that has made September the coolest in 10 years.

In fact, global temperatures are now below they were three years ago, i.e. before a very strong El Nino temporarily drove up global temperatures by 0.6 deg C at their peak in February 2016. Since then, they have dropped by even more (0.7 deg C) and nobody knows whether they may decline any further.

The ongoing downturn illustrates that repeated claims by the UK Met Office and other meteorological organisations that most of the rapid warming in 2015 and early 2016 was primarily due to CO2 emissions rather than a super-strong El Nino were spurious and ill-considered.

Even worse is the recent statement by Elena Manaenkova, the World Meteorological Organisation’s deputy secretary general. Commenting on the current IPCC meeting in South Korea, she claimed that “the sustained warming trend shows no sign of relenting.

In reality, the opposite has happened: global temperatures have been falling sharply since 2016 while the 21st century warming trend is half of what most climate models predicted predicted, slowing rapidly.

The question is whether or not global average temperature remains at current levels in coming years, i.e. levels we have seen for most of the 21st century, with the exception of two short-lived El Nino events (in 2009/10 and 2015/16). Time will tell.

Dr Roy Spencer has now published the data for September 2018:

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for September, 2018 was +0.14 deg. C, down a little from +0.19 deg. C in August:

Global area-averaged lower tropospheric temperature anomalies (departures from 30-year calendar monthly means, 1981-2010). The 13-month centered average is meant to give an indication of the lower frequency variations in the data; the choice of 13 months is somewhat arbitrary… an odd number of months allows centered plotting on months with no time lag between the two plotted time series. The inclusion of two of the same calendar months on the ends of the 13 month averaging period causes no issues with interpretation because the seasonal temperature cycle has been removed, and so has the distinction between calendar months.

This was the coolest September in the last 10 years in the global average. 
 Full post

2) Arctic Sea Ice Rebounds
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 2 October 2018

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) confirm that the average Arctic sea ice extent during September was the fourth highest since 2006, and the greatest since 2014.

It is of course far too short a period to pretend to identify any real trends, but it is clear that the short period of decline before 2007 has now finished.

In addition, most of the ice is two meters or more thick, in stark contrast to ten years ago.

Full post

3) Leaked US Critique Of IPCC Report  Sets Stage For Political Showdown In South Korea
Climate Home News, 2 October 2018 

Confidential government feedback casts doubt on scientific models, pushes domestic energy priorities and questions economic basis for climate action

Confidential US comments on a landmark global warming report raise doubts about the science behind it, warn that it risks crimping economic development and advocate for carbon-catching technologies.

The nine pages of comments on a draft of the UN report reflect the views of multiple government agencies and reveal a US diplomatic corps trying to speak to multiple constituencies – the global community, their own domestic interests and the White House.

The comments, which Climate Home News has seen, also set the scene for a political battle over the report summary, which is up for negotiation in South Korea this week after two years of preparation and due to be published on Monday.

Broadly, Washington argued that scientists had downplayed the scale of the challenge to limiting global warming to 1.5C – the lower target of the Paris Agreement. To meet that challenge, the US called for more emphasis on clean technologies that the Trump administration has consistently supported – including carbon capture and storage and nuclear power. At the same time, the US warned, measures to tackle global warming must not interfere with cutting poverty worldwide.

This is the first time the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has studied the effects of a global temperature rise of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, rather than 2C, and how it can be achieved. The final “summary for policymakers” (SPM) will set the basis for efforts to raise national pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are currently on track for a rise of around 3C by 2100.

“The SPM narrative fails to communicate the scale of the global technological and economic challenge to meet the 1.5C objective,” the US said in its comments. “The SPM implies that these challenges will be minor and any trade-offs easily resolved, whereas the underlying report and the published literature clearly demonstrate the scope and depth of these barriers to limiting emissions consistent with 1.5C.”

At the same time, the US raised doubts about the science behind the report. “There is no discussion – or a summary thereof – in the SPM regarding the credibility of models (or methodologies) used in the report to project future impacts.”

The comments are just a few of some 42,000 received by authors during the process of drafting the report. One of the key questions now is how hard the US will push this week to see its interests represented in the final summary – and how far it gets. Some of the US passages will be unacceptable to the scientific community. Others will find opposition among countries that want to use the report as the scientific basis to call for more rapid emissions cuts. But they will also find allies among countries worried by tougher targets.

The state department did not wish to comment. CHN understands that the comments reviewed here are not the entirety of the US contribution to the report and that they do not necessarily represent official policy.
Here is a rundown of some of the US comments, and what they tell us about the government’s position.

Insight into US thinking

The US complained the draft had failed to acknowledge a previous IPCC finding that “most” climate models had overestimated the rate of global warming since the 1990s.

This referred to an unexpected slowdown in temperature rise during the first decade of this century. But a succession of very hot years has overturned this finding, bringing global temperatures in line with predictions, according to two US scientists CHN spoke with.

Michael Wehner, a senior staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and lead author on the earlier IPCC report in question, said: “The statement is no longer true with the recent exceptionally warm years, which is what we expected in 2009 (sic!).”

The US’ demands that uncertainties around climate modelling be placed in the foreground of the report reflect long-running campaigns to discredit science by right-wing think tanks that are influential with president Donald Trump. The fact that they’ve made it into the government’s comments show that these campaigns are making inroads.

Full story

4) News Media Hype IPCC 'Climate Catastrophe' By 2040
AFP, 30 September 2018

Hundreds of diplomats from around the world are set to scrutinize the IPCC’s latest Summary for Policy Makers, which contains predictions and benchmarks findings on staving off a climate catastrophe by 2040.

PARIS, France – The world’s nations will gather at a United Nations conference in South Korea on Monday, October 1 to review and approve a 20-page bombshell – distilled from more than 6,000 scientific studies – laying out narrowing options for staving off climate catastrophe.

When the 195 countries who signed off on the Paris Agreement in 2015 requested a report from UN-led scientists on the feasibility of capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the gesture seemed to many unnecessary.

The treaty, after all, enjoined the world to block the rise in Earth’s surface temperature at “well below” 2C compared to preindustrial levels, adding a safety buffer to the two-degree threshold long seen as the guardrail for a climate-safe (sic) world.

Since then, however, a crescendo (sic) of deadly heatwaves, floods, wildfires, and superstorms engorged by rising seas – with less than 1C warming so far – has convinced scientists that the danger cursor (sic) needed to be reset.

“There is increasing and very robust evidence of truly severe and catastrophic risks even at the lower bounds of these temperature targets,” said Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington-based research and advocacy group.

The promise of “pursuing efforts” to limit warming to 1.5C – added to the Paris treaty at the last minute, in part to assuage poor nations who felt short-changed on other fronts – caught scientists off-guard.

“There wasn’t very much literature on 1.5C warming 3 years ago,” said Jim Skea, a professor of at Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy, and a co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the UN science body charged with writing the “Special Report” on 1.5C.

But is it feasible?

Of hundreds of climate models in 2015 projecting a low-carbon future, only two or 3 aimed for a 1.5C global warming cap.

The 20-page which will be collectively scrutinized, line-by-line, by hundreds of diplomats through Friday, October 5 – contains several benchmark findings, according to a draft obtained by AFP.

At current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, for example, the Earth’s surface will heat up beyond the 1.5C threshold by 2040, the report concludes with “high confidence.”

To have a fighting chance of staying under the 1.5C cap, the global economy must, by 2050, become “carbon neutral,” meaning no additional CO2 can be allowed to leach into the atmosphere.

In addition, the report suggests that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity will need to peak in 2020 and curve sharply downward from there.
So far, we are still moving in the wrong direction: after remaining stable for 3 years – raising hopes the peak had come (sic) – emissions rose in 2017 to historic levels.

For many scientists, these targets are technically feasible but politically or socially unrealistic, along with the broader 1.5C goal.

Full post

5) Scholarships Available for Portsmouth Conference
Seacoast Online, 2 October 2018

PORTSMOUTH -- The upcoming Portsmouth Conference is offering scholarships for the cost of admission for 30 graduate students, underwritten by Gabelli Funds/Mario Gabelli.

Founded in 1976 by Mario J. Gabelli, Gabelli Funds is a diversified global financial services company, which has supported many educational programs. The grant provides support for the attendance of graduate students in economics, business management or public policy from colleges and universities in northern New England.

The Portsmouth Conference will take place Oct. 18-19 at the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel & Spa in New Castle. In bringing together experts from across the world to discuss policies that relate to climate, including their consequences, the Portsmouth Conference will provide unique opportunities to explore improved public policy and investment strategies, including guidance on economic, regulatory and societal levels.

Ten leading international thinkers will speak and share ideas at the conference hosted by Citizens Count, a non-partisan public information platform with more than 200,000 members. The conference will be moderated by Kevin Fay, Esq., of Alcalde & Fay. Fay, executive director of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy as well as the Business Institute for Sustainability, is a well-known businessman, community leader and advisor to Fortune 100 industries.

Speakers at the conference will include Archbishop Bernardito Auza, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and visiting professor at Copenhagen Business School; Charles D. McConnell, executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative; Mikko Paunio, MD, adjunct professor in general epidemiology, University of Helsinki; Dr. Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation; Florence Reed, founder of Sustainable Harvest International and partner of Regeneration International; Joyashree Roy, Bangabandhu chair professor, Asian Institute of Technology; Economics, Jadavpur University and ICSSR national fellow; Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy for General Motors; and Fritz Vahrenholt, chairman of the German Wildlife Trust.

Gabelli Funds/Mario Gabelli joins other sponsors such as Robert Day, Two International Group, the Schleyer Foundation, Optima Bank, Lyons Law, Delta Dental, CP Management, DTC Lawyers, Toyota of Portsmouth, the Labrie Family Foundation and others in support of the international gathering.

To apply for a scholarship to the conference, graduate students must submit an application at  by Oct. 15. Scholarship recipients will be notified by Oct. 16.

6) Germany Risks Permanent Loss Of Control Of Energiewende, Federal Audit Office Warns
Daniel Wetzel, Die Welt, 28 September 2018

Germany’s Federal Audit Office has accused the government of a catastrophic mis-management of the green energy transition (Energiewende). The wastage of resources is “unprecedented”.

Germany’s Federal Audit Office has accused the federal government of having largely failed to manage the transformation of Germany’s energy systems.

The expenditure for the ecological restructuring of the energy supply is in a “blatant disproportion to the hitherto poor yield”, said President of the Court of Audit Kay Scheller in Berlin: “The Federal Government is at risk to fail with its once in a generation project of the Energiewende”.

A little more than a year before Germany’s climate-policy “milestone 2020”, the auditing body has concluded a catastrophic assessment of the government’s energy policy. Germany would miss its targets for both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy consumption as well as for increasing energy productivity and the share of renewable energy in transport. At the same time, policy makers had burdened the nation with enormous costs.

“Over the past five years alone, at least 160 billion euros have been spent on the transformation of the energy system,” the report states: “If the costs of energy system transformation continue to rise and its targets continue to be missed, there is a risk of a loss of confidence in the ability of government action.”

As early as 2016, the Federal Audit Office had certified that the federal government had no overview of the costs of the energy system transformation. In the current report, the criticism is even harder because it suggests a general loss of control.

“Unprecedented” wastage of resources

According to Federal Audit Office data, the Energiewende has cost around 34 billion euros in 2017 alone. In addition to the federal government’s expenditure of almost 8 billion euros, this also includes the burdens on end consumers, in particular due to the renewable energy levy (EEG).

“The Federal Government, incidentally, does not have an overall grasp of the costs or any transparency in this respect.”

The wastage of resources to implement the Energiewende was “unprecedented”. Last year, the federal ministries and subordinate authorities employed around 675 full-time staff, 300 of them in the Federal Ministry of Economics alone, divided into 34 departments and four divisions. In addition, there are at least 45 committees at federal-state level dealing with the green energy transition. The effort being expended here is in itself almost contradictory to one of the main objectives of the energy system transformation: the economical and efficient use of scarce resources.

“The scope of the legislation is also striking,” Scheller stated: “At national level alone, 26 laws and 33 regulations regulate the generation, storage, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy. There is, however, “no place where everything comes together, no place that assumes overall responsibility”, Scheller criticised.

In short: “A lot of effort does not necessarily mean a lot”. For despite a great frenzy of data collection there is no overall view. “The Federal Ministry of Economics uses 48 different data sources to check the status of the Energiewende on the basis of 72 indicators, and yet “there is a lack of meaningful data that could be relevant for assessment and control”. Many data would have little control value or would be available too late, but often they would “simply draw the wrong conclusions”.

Funding mechanisms “hardly transparent” any more

For example, there are “no quantified targets, no measurable indicators” for the energy policy goals of affordability and security of supply, Scheller criticised: “Here we are poking around in the dark.” For five years now, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology has been responsible for the green energy transition, but the ministry is “in no position to determine what it must do to ensure that the goals of the Energiewende are demonstrably and economically achieved”.

The undergrowth of unnecessary and complicated support mechanisms is “hardly transparent any more”, Scheller criticised. For example, the German government had set itself the goal of approving 1000 applications per year under the “StepUp! programme” to improve the electricity efficiency of companies. Exactly ten applications were actually approved in the end. Thus only 1.2 percent of the available funds flowed out in 2017,” Scheller noted. “The BMWi is continuing the programme.”

The same applies to the promotion of electric mobility, which the public hardly accepts. “600 million euros have been largely misdirected,” the Court of Auditors states. There are many examples where “applications are waiting forever or the funds are not being used up: With eight out of 16 funding programmes, the outflow of funds in 2017 was less than 50 percent.”

Instead of the impenetrable jungle of subsidies and rampant laws, CO2 pricing would be a simple and transparent alternative that has long been demanded by expert commissions of the Federal Government. For better coordination of the Energiewende, a staff unit at the level of state secretary, an interministerial committee and a federal-state committee would be conceivable.

Government sees “no need for action”

The federal government rejected the assessment. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, headed by Peter Altmaier (CDU), responded in a rather surprising way: “The government considers the Energiewende to be “effectively and efficiently coordinated” and sees “no need for action”. However, the ministry did not address the fact that the Energiewende has largely missed its targets.

Astonishingly, the Federal Ministry of Economics also stated that the multi-billion levy under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) should not be counted as a costs of the green energy transition. Until now the EEG levy for subsidising renewable energy was always considered as the actual pillar of the Energiewende. According to the government, even the billions of euros in relief payments for the German industry to compensate for higher energy costs are “measures of industrial policy and not Energiewende measures, which thus cannot be attributed to the Energiewende”.

The Federal Government explained its refusal to conduct a transparent cost-benefit analysis of the Energiewende by saying that these costs could only be compared with a “counterfactual scenario”. Because electricity grids and power plants would have had to be renewed even without the Energiewende, only a comparison of a world with and a world without the Energiewende would be meaningful. However, such a comparison could not be made because of the large number of uncertain basic assumptions.

The Federal Audit Office, however, does not consider these replies to be tenable. “It is conspicuous that the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology has not commented on the missed targets some of which are quite considerable,” the Federal Audit Office states.
International pioneering role lost

It is also “incomprehensible that the ministry does not include the renewable energy levy (EEG) among the costs of the Energiewende”. A “counterfactual scenario” is also unnecessary in order to evaluate the overall costs. After all, it is “not important what expenses and costs would hypothetically have arisen even without a green energy transition in order to offset these against the actual costs incurred”, the Audit Office says: “The possibility of ‘renouncing the Energiewende’ associated with a counterfactual scenario no longer exists in reality”.

Scheller said it was “regrettable” that Germany had lost its self-propagated international pioneering role: “Germany had made a strong start and is now doing comparatively poorly internationally.” The President of the Court of Audit referred to the ranking of the World Economic Forum: According to the ranking, Germany is no longer represented on the list of the ten most successful energy transition countries in Europe. Internationally, Germany occupies only the 16th place.

Overall, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology is trying “to give the impression that the current coordination and control of the energy transition is essentially designed at optimal level,” the auditors conclude. “Failing that, the German and international public could get the impression that Germany is simply incapable of successfully shaping and implementing the Energiewende that is planned society-wide and for the long term.”

Translation GWPF

Full story

7) Back To Black: China Axes Coal And Steel Curbs As Economy Slows
Financial Times, 1 October 2018

China shifts focus from air quality to boosting growth as trade war bites.

Beijing will not renew significant cuts on steel production and coal use aimed at improving air quality this winter, as policymakers look to boost China’s economic performance in the midst of the country’s trade war with the US.

The curbs — a rare restriction imposed on industries where state enterprises are prevalent — were meant to target airborne pollution, which worsens during the winter as much of the country’s northern cities are heated with coal-fired power.

Last year, steel producers in four major production cities were forced to halve their output during the winter months while reducing their use of coking coal by nearly a third. Twenty-eight cities and regions were mandated to cut steel and aluminium output by roughly the same amount.

This winter, regulators are replacing hard caps on coal use and steel production with less stringent targets, weakening draft guidelines put out in August.

The easing may have been prompted by a public outcry. Winter curbs on coal, including on heaters used by many residents in smaller cities and villages, left millions freezing as local governments scrambled to provide gas heating.

Full story

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

No comments: