Monday, December 3, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Global Temperature Drops By 0.4°C In Three Years

Blackouts, Deaths And Civil Unrest: Warning Over Scotland’s Rush To Go Green

In this newsletter:

1) Global Temperature Drops By 0.4°C In Three Years
The GWPF Observatory, 30 November 2018
2) Blackouts, Deaths And Civil Unrest: Warning Over Scotland’s Rush To Go Green
Sandra Dick, The Herald Scotland, 29 November 2018

3) New Poll: 80% Of French Oppose Macron’s Carbon Tax
Daily Express, 30 November 2018
4) Stratospheric Aerosol Injection Much Cheaper Than Decarbonisation
Institute of Physics, 22 November 2018
5) Judith Curry: Special Report On Sea Level Rise
Climate Etc., 27 November 2018
6) The Climate Change Act: Ten Years Of Punishing The Poor
Harry Wilkinson, The Conservative Woman, 30 November 2018

Full details:

1) Global Temperature Drops By 0.4°C In Three Years
The GWPF Observatory, 30 November 2018

Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In science communication however, a simple graph can be worth far more than pictures particularly when the main point is that the last four years have been the hottest on record.

In a press release the World Meteorological Organisation said,

‘The long-term warming trend has continued in 2018, with the average global temperature set to be the fourth highest on record. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years.’

The main message was echoed by others, such as the BBC.

Climate change: Last four years are ‘world’s hottest’

Likewise the Guardian:

Past four years hottest on record, data shows

It all goes to show how temperature data can be misrepresented if you don’t show the temperature data itself.

Fig 1 is the HadCRUT4 monthly global temperature from the UK Met Office.

As you can see a graph tells a very different story. The past decade has a climate change contribution but what elevates the past four years above the previous ones is an El Nino event, the strongest one on record.

As we have said many time before an El Nino is not a climatic phenomenon, it is weather. What’s more, after its peak in 2016 the global temperature has fallen by around 0.4° C. The past four years being the warmest on record is true, but it has been primarily due to the 2015/16 super El Nino.

Fig 2 shows the same data with error bars from which it can be seen that 2018 is statistically equivalent to some years before the El Nino event.

The WMO statement is grossly misleading. It mixes climate with weather. For example in its ‘Highlights of the provisional statement on the state of the climate,’ it states;

‘Temperatures: 2018 started with a weak La Niña event, which continued until March. By October, however, sea-surface temperatures in the eastern Tropical Pacific were showing signs of a return to El Niño conditions, although the atmosphere as yet shows little response. If El Niño develops, 2019 is likely to be warmer than 2018.’

If 2019 develops an El Nino and is warmer than 2018 then this it has nothing to do with the ‘State of the Climate,’ but everything to do with annual weather variations.

It is sad to see the WMO descend into ‘Fake News’ territory, but sadder still to see science reporters regurgitating it without any form of analysis or critical thinking. A decade ago most financial journalists did the same. Thankfully many are much better now and they would never take an alarmist report from the Bank of England, for example, at face value without digging into the figures.


2) Blackouts, Deaths And Civil Unrest: Warning Over Scotland’s Rush To Go Green
Sandra Dick, The Herald Scotland, 29 November 2018

Scotland faces being plunged into darkness for days, possibly resulting in deaths and widespread civil disobedience, due to the country’s over-reliance on green energy, a new report has warned.

A massive gap in the electricity system caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations and growth of unpredictable renewable generation has created the real prospect of complete power failure.

According the Institution of Engineers in Scotland (IESIS), there is a rising threat of an unstable electricity supply which, left unaddressed, could result in “deaths, severe societal and industrial disruption, civil disturbance and loss of production”.

The organisation is also warning that the loss of traditional power generating stations such as Longannet, which closed in 2016, means restoring electricity in a “black start” situation – following a complete loss of power – would take several days.

Its new report into the energy system points to serious power cuts in other countries, which have resulted in civil disturbance, and warns: “A lengthy delay would have severe negative consequences – the supply of food, water, heat, money, petrol would be compromised; there would be limited communications. The situation would be nightmarish.”

IESIS is now calling on the Scottish and UK governments to transform their approach to how the electricity system is governed, with the creation of a new national energy authority with specific responsibility for safeguarding its long-term sustainability and avoiding blackouts.

The startling warning comes against a background of increasing reliance on “intermittent” energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Earlier this month ScottishPower became the first major UK energy firm to switch entirely from fossil fuels to green energy after selling its remaining gas and hydro stations to Drax for £702 million.

The closure of Hunterston B nuclear power station in Ayrshire, scheduled for 2023, is causing concern there will be an even wider gap in the nation’s electricity supply.  All UK coal-fired power stations are expected to close by 2025, while reliance on electricity to meet the needs of electric vehicles and domestic heat rises.

The engineering body has also raised concerns that an electricity system designed specifically for gas and coal-fired generation is being asked to take on a new form of supply without having undergone full engineering assessment.

It also highlights a piecemeal approach to siting new energy generating plants driven by private companies and efforts to meet CO2 emissions targets rather than the overall security of the electricity system.

Iain MacLeod, of the IESIS, said:

“The electricity system was designed with generation coming mainly from coal and nuclear energy. However, as we change generation sources to include intermittent renewables, we must review how the system works with these new inputs. The risks involved when introducing new sources of generation need to be controlled. Intermittent renewable energy sources do not supply the same level of functionality as power stations to meet demand at all times and avoid operational faults. Intermittency issues … relevant to wind and solar energy have not been adequately explored.”

IESIS has published its call to action in a report, Engineering for Energy: A Proposal for Governance of the Energy System, which it plans to take to the Scottish and UK governments.

It argues that Longannet was closed “well before assessments of the impact of its closure had been completed” and adds that transmission is now being upgraded “before detailed decisions about the siting of generation facilities have been made”.

The EISIS report warns the closure of thermal infrastructure such as coal and gas-fired generators will affect the restoration of supply after a system failure, when wind generators have a limited role and nuclear generators cannot be quickly restarted.

It also stresses that the cost of integration of intermittent renewables to the current electricity system will lead to increasing energy costs for consumers.

It adds:

“The extra generation and storage needed to safeguard security of supply, the facilities required to ensure it is stable, extra transmission facilities, and energy losses over power lines from remote locations will all contribute to rising costs.”

Full story

3) New Poll: 80% Of French Oppose Macron’s Carbon Tax
Daily Express, 30 November 2018

Anger against President Macron is growing with eight in 10 French people now supporting the popular “yellow vest” movement denouncing rising fuel prices and spiralling living costs, a poll published on Wednesday showed.

Two people have been killed in road accidents and some 600 people injured in the two weeks since France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests began as a grassroots campaign against rising fuel prices.

But the survey, conducted by Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting for Le Figaro daily and France Info radio, showed that 84 per cent of respondents think the anti-fuel tax protests are “justified,” up 10 percentage points in two weeks.

The poll also showed that 78 per cent of French people are “not convinced” by President Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a swift “ecological transition” towards cleaner energy.

Seventy-nine per cent said he should abandon the controversial fuel tax, which he has repeatedly argued is needed to wean France off fossil fuels.

In addition, 75 per cent of respondents said the increase in diesel tax and petrol tax in January would “accentuate inequalities,” while 73 per cent said the hikes would dent household buying power.

Fifty-five per cent of those polled said the so-called “green” tax on fossil fuels would not help solve climate change.

Gaël Sliman, president of the Odoxa polling institute, told Le Figaro, said: “Neither the images of the protest violence, nor Mr Macron’s concessions have eroded support for the movement. On the contrary, his efforts to quell tensions over the tax hikes have only served to exacerbate people’s anger.”

For nearly two weeks, yellow vests – so-called because they wear high-visibility jackets – have paralysed traffic across France and blocked off access to some fuel depots, shopping centres and factories in protest against the tax hikes they say have gnawed away at their spending power.

The price of diesel – the most commonly used car fuel in France – at the pump has increased by around 20 per cent in the past 12 months to an average of 1.49 euros (£1.33)/litre. Some of the increase is due to rising global oil prices earlier in the year.

Two people have been killed and more than 600 injured since the wave of sometimes violent protests began on November 17.

The yellow vests have called for a third weekend of protests in Paris via a Facebook page called “Act 3 Macron resigns!”. They have urged demonstrators to converge on the Champs-Elysées, the capital’s main shopping boulevard.

The unrest had destabilised Mr Macron as he tries to fight back against plummeting poll numbers and accusations he is out of touch with reality.

Full story

4) Stratospheric Aerosol Injection Much Cheaper Than Decarbonisation
Institute of Physics, 22 November 2018

A program to reduce Earth’s heat capture by injecting aerosols into the atmosphere from high-altitude aircraft is possible, inexpensive, and would be unlikely to remain secret.

Those are the key findings of new research published today in Environmental Research Letters, which looked at the capabilities and costs of various methods of delivering sulphates into the lower stratosphere, known as stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI).

The researchers examined the costs and practicalities of a large scale, hypothetical ‘solar geoengineering’ project beginning 15 years from now. Its aim would be to halve the increase in anthropogenic radiative forcing, by deploying material to altitudes of around 20 kilometres.

They also discussed whether such an idealized program could be kept secret.

Dr. Gernot Wagner, from Harvard University’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is a co-author of the study. He said: “Solar geoengineering is often described as ‘fast, cheap, and imperfect’.

“While we don’t make any judgement about the desirability of SAI, we do show that a hypothetical deployment program starting 15 years from now, while both highly uncertain and ambitious, would be technically possible strictly from an engineering perspective. It would also be remarkably inexpensive, at an average of around $2 to 2.5 billion per year over the first 15 years.”

The researchers confirm earlier studies that discuss the low direct costs of potential stratospheric aerosol geoengineering intervention, but they arrive at those numbers with the help of direct input from aerospace engineering companies in specifying what the paper dubs the ‘SAI Lofter (SAIL)’.

Full Post

5) Judith Curry: Special Report On Sea Level Rise
Climate Etc., 27 November 2018

I have now completed my assessment of sea level rise and climate change.

The complete report can be downloaded here [Special Report- Sea Level Rise].

My preliminary compilation of information was provided in the 7 part Climate Etc. series Sea level rise acceleration (or not). […]

The alarm over sea level rise

The public discourse on the threat of sea level rise is typified by these dire statements from climate scientists:

“That’s the big thing – sea-level rise – the planet could become ungovernable.” – Dr. James Hansen, former Director, NASA GISS

“We’re talking about literally giving up on our coastal cities of the world and moving inland.” – Dr. Michael Mann, Penn State 

The alarm over sea level rise is not so much about the 7-8 inches or so that global sea level has risen since 1900. Rather, it is about projections of 21stcentury sea level rise from human-caused global warming.

This Report refers extensively to the Assessment Reports prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), since these Reports are used to guide policies developed by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the 2015 Paris Agreement.

According to the IPCC, the projected 21st century sea level rise depends on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The likely range of projected sea level rise by the end of the 21st century is from 0.26 to 0.82 m [10 to 32 inches], depending on the emissions scenario.

The primary concern over future sea level rise is related to the potential collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could cause global mean sea level to rise substantially above the IPCC’s likely range in the 21st century. The IPCC AR5 has medium confidence that this additional contribution from the West Antarctic ice sheet would not exceed several tenths of a meter [less than a foot] of sea level rise during the 21st century.

Subsequent to the 2013 IPCC AR5, there has been a focus on the possible worst-case scenario for global sea level rise. Estimates of the maximum possible global sea level rise by the end of the 21st century range from 1.6 to 3 meters [5-10 feet], and even higher. These extreme values of possible sea level rise are regarded as extremely unlikely or so unlikely that we cannot even assign a probability. Nevertheless, these extreme, barely possible values of sea level rise are now becoming anchored as outcomes that are driving local adaptation plans [link].

Is the alarm over sea level rise a ‘false alarm,’ or not?

The following four issues frame this report:

Whether recent global sea level rise is unusual in context of the historical and geological record.
The extent to which recent global sea level rise is caused by human-caused global warming, relative to natural causes of global sea level rise.

The extent to which local sea level rise is influenced by the global sea level rise, relative to local vertical land motion and land use practices.

Projections of sea level rise (global and local) for the 21st century, from all causes.

This Report critically evaluates the assessment and conclusions from the IPCC and other recent assessment reports regarding sea level rise, and includes an assessment of recent research and the knowledge frontiers. The IPCC and other assessment reports have been framed around assessing support for the hypothesis of human-caused climate change. As a result, natural processes of climate variability have been relatively neglected in these assessments.

Arguments are presented here supporting the important and even dominant role that natural processes play in global and regional sea level variations and change.

Understanding and predicting sea level rise is a vibrant and active area of research. The challenges and uncertainties are well recognized by international scientific community, as formulated by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Grand Challenge on Regional Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts.


Here are my conclusions:

Mean global sea level has risen at a slow creep for more than 150 years; since 1900, global mean sea level has risen about 7-8 inches. The implications of the highest values of projected sea-level rise under future climate change scenarios are profound, with far reaching socioeconomic and environmental implications. However, these projections are regarded as deeply uncertain and the highest of these projections strain credulity.

The IPCC and other assessment reports are framed around providing support for the hypothesis of human-caused climate change. As a result, natural processes of climate variability have been relatively neglected in these assessments. Arguments have been presented here supporting the important and even dominant role that natural processes play in global and regional sea level variations and change.

Full paper

6) The Climate Change Act: Ten Years Of Punishing The Poor
Harry Wilkinson, The Conservative Woman, 30 November 2018

A decade has passed since MPs voted to approve the Climate Change Act in a self-congratulatory fervour. Britain, they said, was leading the world. The pompous conceit of our leading politicians is truly world-beating, but their obliviousness to consequences has allowed one of the largest ever transfers of wealth from poor to rich, and has seen efforts to eradicate fuel poverty flounder.

While the costs of the Climate Change Act are tangible, amounting to an estimated £320 billion by 2030, the benefits have yet to be felt by anyone. When Peter Lilley, now Lord Lilley, pointed out that according to the Government’s own impact assessment, the Climate Change Act would have costs that were double the benefits, they simply invented a new impact assessment with greater benefits, £641billion no less. These would arise, apparently, when the rest of the world followed Britain’s glorious example.

Of course, nothing of the kind actually happened. Hundreds of coal-fired power stations are being built around the world by countries whose governments and citizens aspire to the living standards that many Westerners take for granted. And who could blame them?

Even the amelioration of emissions in this country has come to serve no purpose. Due to carbon trading in the EU, additional reductions beyond agreed burden-sharing targets mean only that other EU countries are able to emit another tonne of carbon dioxide at Britain’s expense.

That politicians were going to ‘save the planet’ was always going to be a tall order. Neil Kinnock used to know what happens with impossible promises. To bastardise his famous Bournemouth speech: You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, and you go through the years sticking to that, outdated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end in the grotesque chaos of a Conservative government paying for container ships to scuttle across the Atlantic transporting wood from forests in North America to burn in UK power stations. Of paying multimillionaires to heat their unused swimming pools while millions struggle in fuel poverty. And the horror of allowing hundreds of thousands of people in the developing world to die because of our policy to use food crops as ‘biofuels’.

The cruel absurdity of global efforts to reduce emissions is sadly invisible to most politicians, who characterise any opposition to this objective as a form of denialism. In doing so they are denying the suffering of the many victims of climate policy, who desperately need a voice.

There are a few iconoclastic politicians willing to stand up to overwhelming Parliamentary groupthink. Foremost among this group are the five MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act.

Three of those brave rebels: Peter Lilley, Philip Davies and Sir Christopher Chope, were there at the launch of a report by leading climate and energy policy analyst Rupert Darwall.

Entitled The Climate Change Act at Ten: History’s Most Expensive Virtue Signal, the report describes the economic and social burden the Act has had on the poorest in society. ‘Fuel poverty was to have been a thing of the past’, Darwall explains. ‘Both the Labour and Coalition governments had targets to abolish it. Thanks to the CCA and other anti-fossil-fuel policies, it lives on and is worsening.’

Despite the urgency of Darwall’s message, it is a sad reality that no Government minister will acknowledge the destructive impact of the Climate Change Act on the poor. But no one can say they were not warned. They choose not to listen.

Original Post and Comments

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

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