Sunday, June 21, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: Green Self-Censorship

Natural Climate Change in Antarctica Is No News

In this newsletter:

1) Natural Climate Change in Antarctica Is No News
The GWPF Observatory, 18 June 2020
2) Model Failures: Inflated Pandemic Estimates Weaken Climate Forecasts
Adam Creighton, The Australian, 17 June 2020

3) John Constable: Green Haste Will Burst The Hydrogen Bubble
The Conservative Woman, 19 June 2020

4) £3 Billion-A-Year Cost To Prevent Green Energy Blackouts
Guido Fawkes, 18 June 2020

5) Return Of The Dark Ages & Facebook’s Climate Censors
CO2 Coalition, 12 June 2020

6) Francis Menton: The Climate Campaign Is Less and Less About The Climate
Manhattan Contrarian, 18 June 2020
Full details:

1) Natural Climate Change in Antarctica Is No News
The GWPF Observatory, 18 June 2020
Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

Ten days ago the journal Science issued an embargoed press release about a forthcoming paper that suggested the warming observed in West Antarctica was due to natural climatic variability.

West Antarctica has always been looked on by alarmists as being the southern example of polar temperature amplification – a phenomenon predicted by most climate change models. The Arctic temperature amplification is very apparent so there must be an Antarctic equivalent, and there it is.

But while scientists have been well aware that Antarctica is warming asymmetrically, with West Antarctica experiencing more than East Antarctica and frequently attributed to climate change, the underlying causes of this phenomenon have been poorly understood, and the suggestion that West Antarctica may be experiencing natural warming has been suggested before though not taken up very enthusiastically, if at all.

This new paper, “The internal origin of the west-east asymmetry of Antarctic climate change”, expresses the dilemma well. In explaining the asymmetry, it suggests factors such as atmosphere-ocean feedbacks along the coast of West Antarctica and the shape of the Antarctic terrain combine to create a pattern of upper troposphere circulation over the West Antarctic subcontinent that flows opposite to the Earth’s rotation.

Fig. 2 Two leading modes of the annual-mean Antarctic surface temperature and their characteristics during 1958 to 2012 in the CMIP5 historical simulations. Source: Sang-Yoon Jun et al., 2020

The researchers conclude,"the current west-east asymmetry of Antarctic surface climate change is undoubtedly of natural origin because no external factors (e.g., orbital or anthropogenic factors) contribute to the asymmetric mode.”

They add that the consistent pattern of warmer sea surface temperatures over the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Antarctic seas suggests that regional sea surface temperature anomalies around Antarctica are a driving factor behind the continent’s asymmetrical warming. Paleoclimate datasets revealed variability in surface air temperatures spanning multiple decades, suggesting climate fluctuations in the tropics, such as the El NiƱo Southern Oscillation, may also contribute to the discrepancies in warming rates between both subcontinents.

Overall, it’s a fascinating paper especially given the concern about the region’s ice decline leading to present and future sea level change. But unless you look at two or three specialised outlets you won’t have heard about it.

The embargoed information from Science journal is normally released four days before the embargo is lifted on Thursday evening UK time. Thousands of journalists around the world see it as Science along with Nature are the world’s leading science journals. So why is it that no mainstream news media covered this important story? It’s not as though there were any other pressing environment stories to eclipse it.

What it demonstrates is the asymmetry in environment and science reporting. If the story confirms the dire news that anthropogenic climate change affects everything and is visible anywhere it’s much more likely to be trumpeted by the mainstream media than if it explains some of the climatic changes we see is due to mother nature.

Not every change we see is attributable to human influence. We still have to deal with the consequences. Accurate knowledge is the first step because if we don’t understand the cause of particular climatic changes we will waste a lot of time and effort combatting things we never caused and have no power to influence.


2) Model Failures: Inflated Pandemic Estimates Weaken Climate Forecasts
Adam Creighton, The Australian, 17 June 2020

It’s remarkable we put so much faith in expert models, given their history of failure.

Tony Abbott’s suspicion that climate change modelling was “absolute crap” soon will resonate more broadly — so spectacularly bad was expert modelling of the spread and lethality of the coronavirus, faith in all modelling must surely suffer.
Why trust the experts to forecast the climate decades into the future when they were so wrong about a disease related to the common cold?

Official coronavirus and climate change modelling share catastrophic predictions. Unfortunately for virus modellers, reality dawned a lot sooner and it has delivered an F for fail.

The pandemic has damaged the credibility of “experts” and highlighted the limits of “the science” and the misplaced hubris of the political class.

On whatever measure you choose — deaths, infections, rate of transmission — the epidemiological models that convinced governments to take a sledgehammer to their economies, now mired in unrest, have proved scandalously pessimistic and out by orders of magnitude.

We were told the virus’s spread would be “exponential”. It wasn’t; transmission was falling before mandatory lockdowns scared the daylights out of people.

The infection fatality rate, we were told, would be about 1 per cent; it’s closer to 0.2 per cent, akin to a severe flu. Apparently, lifting lockdowns early would see cases surge; they haven’t. And we were all vulnerable — but most weren’t; the median age of death is well over 80. Driving is more dangerous. At least half of deaths globally have been in aged-care homes, which were already locked down. We understood you could catch COVID-19 again — also wrong. We closed schools and wore masks, but the evidence we needed to do so is scant.

The raw numbers speak for themselves. The death toll globally is on track to be smaller than the flu pandemics of the 1950s and 60s, when the world’s population was less than half that today.

Indeed, if you put the number of global deaths last year, this year, and next year (about 60 million each year) on a simple column chart you’ll struggle to see the ­impact of COVID-19.

Future historians will be shocked at the disproportionate response. At least they will chuckle at SAGE, the acronym for the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, the expert panel advising the British government, which has presided over the worst performance of any country.

But it wasn’t only the British. Experts in Sweden warned 100,000 would die by June if it didn’t lock down as the rest of Europe had, yet fewer than 5000 were lost. Experts said 420,000 might die in Japan without a hard lockdown. Fewer than 950 did.

Our own experts at the Doherty Institute said 5000 intensive care unit beds would be required, even with strict isolation and social distancing; fewer than 50 were needed. For anyone here who is worried about a second wave of COVID-19, we’re still waiting on the first one.

Climate modelling was struggling even before the pandemic, given the planet has warmed about half as much as forecast by the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in back 1990.

"Almost the entire alarm about global warming is based on model predictions. If you just look at the last 30 to 40 years of data, nothing spectacular has happened, there’s no sign temperature increase is accelerating,” says Benny Peiser, founder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

It’s remarkable we put so much faith in expert models, given their history of failure. The Club of Rome in 1972 notoriously forecast that growth would collapse as the world’s resources ran out, ignoring human ingenuity and the shale revolution.

Financial models failed to account for — indeed they probably facilitated — the global financial crisis. And as almost every utterance by a central bank governor since has reminded us, economists struggle to know what happened last month, let alone forecast the impact of a policy change tomorrow.

In the late 1990s, models suggested the entire Great Barrier Reef would bleach every year by 2020, but in the last 15 years parts of the reef have bleached on only three occasions, with each event affecting only one-third of the reef,” says physicist Peter Ridd, a former professor of James Cook University.

In the last 15 years parts of the Great Barrier reef have bleached on only three occasions.

It’s remarkable we put so much faith in climate modelling, given it is a far more complex task. “Climate sensitivity” — the size and speed of the response of global temperatures to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — is harder to predict than a spreading virus. Even if we knew it, drawing implications about future economic growth is even more heroic.

"The big mistake that’s clearly been made is the failure to systematically appraise the models that underpin policy with actual data,” notes Gordon Hughes, a former professor of economics at the University of Edinburgh, speaking on a panel about the pitfalls of mathematical modelling last month.

By April, we knew the coronavirus was not as dangerous as feared yet modellers and governments doubled down on the catastrophe narrative. It’s almost July and people in our capitals are wearing masks in their own cars.

How can we avoid the hysteria next time? It won’t be easy. All the incentives are stacked in favour of dodgy doomsday modelling; apocalyptic scenarios allow politicians to increase their power and appear caring. Public health experts enjoy more prestige. And some of the media naturally prefer models with horrifying forecasts to draw eyeballs.

Humans have a natural tendency to focus on extremes — what psychologists call a “negativity bias”. Models are almost cartoons, highly simplified versions of reality. History has proved a better guide to the future. It’s a pity we’re wasting res­ources on a royal commission into the bushfires. How and why authorities have overreacted so much, and how we can avoid doing so again, would be a better line of inquiry.

3) John Constable: Green Haste Will Burst The Hydrogen Bubble
The Conservative Woman, 19 June 2020

click on image above to watch the short video

THE inevitable global failure of renewables-based climate policies has led advocates to cover up their disastrously bad advice by calling for still more ambitious, Net Zero, emissions targets.

To sustain the pretence of viability, policy makers find themselves obliged to call on hydrogen as an energy carrier for those sectors where it is most difficult to create the appearance of decarbonisation, namely electricity system balancing, heavy transport on land and on sea, industrial process heat, and peak domestic winter heating, when ground-source heat pumps will fail just as they are needed most. The United Kingdom, as ever, is a truly a leader in this matter, and Mrs May’s Net Zero legacy could, unless abandoned, continue to poison our economy long after her deficiencies over Brexit are forgotten and perhaps even forgiven.

The problem is not simply one of unaffordable cost and ultimate infeasibility, though Net Zero is certainly expensive and will certainly fail. The marginal increment between an 80 per cent emissions reduction and the Net Zero target will certainly add a great deal more than 20 per cent in extra cost. Precise estimates are impossible, so extreme are the problems, but a doubling of total cost would not be at all surprising. And there can be no real question that it is ultimately unfeasible; at present the illusion of low-carbon transition can be maintained because intrinsically non-viable green technologies are essentially parasitic on the high productivity of carbon fuels, both domestically and particularly internationally.

Wind and solar records get the headlines, but the UK system is ballasted and balanced by gas and nuclear, and indeed on occasion by coal, and the costs of renewables equipment are contained, though still high, because they are provided predominantly with fossil fuels. As our increasingly fragile electricity system is balanced with expensive batteries and with hydrogen fuelled peak electricity generation, and as the share of renewable energy in the manufacture of a solar panel and a wind turbine rises, the system costs and the capital costs will start to head for the skies.

In the inevitable debacle, the principal technological casualty will be the hydrogen economy itself. That is genuinely regrettable, since this difficult but interesting gas has clear and authentic promise as a universal energy carrier in a highly efficient and clean society. That promise, however, is dependent on the thermodynamic quality of the primary energy input. Only very advanced nuclear will do, a point that has been well understood since the visionary physicist Cesare Marchetti, then at Euratom, first recommended the idea in an engineerable form, using high temperature nuclear reactors and catalysts for the thermal decomposition of sea water to produce extremely cheap hydrogen with very few unwanted by-products.

This brilliant concept presents immense and still unresolved difficulties in nuclear and chemical engineering. The temperatures are very high, requiring special materials to contain the process, and an optimal catalyst has yet to be found. But the promise is genuine, and far-sighted administrations with a clear and physically realistic long-term plan for energy independence, such as the government of Japan, are still committed to the idea and making quiet progress.

However, the desperate face-saving haste of the British government, amongst others in the West, is driving them to force hydrogen upon our economies in the short term, and this means that hydrogen must be generated by two relatively unsophisticated commodity production processes, namely the electrolysis of water, and the chemical reforming of natural gas using steam (Steam Methane Reforming).

Both processes are acceptable if hydrogen is required for niche and non-energy purposes, but it is a simple mistake to suggest them for the production of energy carrying hydrogen in very large quantities, such as the 270 TWh a year proposed by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change in their Net Zero projections.

There are four principal disadvantages. Firstly, the costs will be huge. SMRs and electrolysers are expensive to build and to run – the CCC’s proposals imply a capital expenditure of £40billion on SMRs alone – and they do not have very long plant lives, implying a relatively short capital refreshment cycle, particularly for electrolysers.

Secondly, due to conversion and storage losses, hydrogen from electrolysis and SMR can never in principle compete economically with its own inputs, the electricity and natural gas, used to make it. The consumer will always be better served by using the electricity and natural gas directly.

Thirdly, Steam Methane Reforming emits large quantities of carbon-dioxide, compromising the Net Zero target unless the SMRs are equipped with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), which is expensive and currently unavailable at scale. This leads to a further observation. Since the Net Zero target is critically dependent on hydrogen from SMRs, with the CCC predicting that 80 per cent of required quantity will be from this source, we can see that behind the clouds of rhetoric about falling renewables costs the UK’s Net Zero target is in fact a gamble on carbon capture. But if CCS becomes viable, and it might do, then it will be more effective to use methane directly in gas turbines and allow the consumer to use the resulting electricity directly, rather than make hydrogen with all the attendant costs, problems and dangers.

Finally, the production of hydrogen from both electrolysis and SMRs uses large quantities of clean, fresh water. The UK’s current hydrogen target would increase national water consumption by between 1 and 2 per cent at a time of what the CCC itself predicts will be constrained fresh water supply, with deficits in a quarter of the country’s resource zones.

The long-term promise of hydrogen, on Marchetti’s model, is excellent. Indeed, it is probably the only viable low carbon future that also preserves human well-being. Those jeopardising that future by forcing rapid and sub-optimal adoption of hydrogen in order to prolong the current mal-engineered renewables farce should hang their heads in shame.

Hydrogen: The once and future fuel? by John Constable is published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

4) £3 Billion-A-Year Cost To Prevent Green Energy Blackouts
Gaia Fawkes, 18 June 2020

An in-depth study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation has revealed the skyrocketing costs of balancing the national grid, largely due to the intermittency of green power generation sources, most notably wind and solar. Since 2002, when these power sources began to be introduced at scale, the cost of balancing the grid has risen from £367 million to £1.5 billion per year by 2019. And now with the lockdown shrinking demand, balancing costs are optimistically projected to be £2 billion, potentially rising to £3 billion if the lockdown persists…

The conclusion of Dr John Constable, energy expert and author of the study, is stark:

“If demand remains low during the post-Covid recession the multi-billion pound costs of managing and subsidising renewables must be recovered from a much smaller volume of sales. That is a recipe for rapid and abrupt price rises, the like of which the British public have never seen. Enough is enough. In what everyone agrees is a very difficult moment the national interest demands a cost minimisation strategy for electricity, based on gas and nuclear.”

Fortunately, the UK could be on the brink of a nuclear revolution in small modular reactors(SMRs). Rolls Royce is leading a consortium of businesses urging the Government to accelerate plans for a swathe of high tech micro nuclear reactors across the north of England:

Plans are being discussed for sixteen micro-reactors to be built by 2050, providing enough consistent energy to power a city the size of Leeds and directly employing 40,000 people. Who knew that nuclear power stations even run when it’s not windy and at night!

Full post & many comments

5) Return Of The Dark Ages & Facebook’s Climate Censors
CO2 Coalition, 12 June 2020

Hyperpartisan “Fact-checkers” appear to find a video loophole in the 2019 policy change of not blocking opinion pieces

The CO2 Coalition of climate scientists today published a Science & Policy Brief by Dr. Patrick Michaels, formerly the president of the association of state climatologists and an expert reviewer and author for the UN’s climate change agency, about the recent censorship by Facebook of his three-million view appearance on the Life, Liberty & Levin television show.

“Facebook Thinks its Opinion is Better than Yours” provides a detailed scientific response, with links to all relevant documents, to the “false” label placed by Facebook in May on Dr. Michaels’ expert opinion that about half of the one degree Celsius global warming since 1900 is natural, with the other half being human-caused, from emissions of carbon dioxide. As the Science & Policy Brief notes, Dr. Michaels’ opinion is shared by the UN’s climate change agency.

A “false” label on Facebook creates a “shadow ban” that blocks distribution and advertisement.

In 2019 Facebook, relying on a group called Climate Feedback as its “fact-checker,” similarly censored an op-ed on computer models of the climate that was published in the Washington Examiner by Dr. Michaels and the CO2 Coalition’s executive director, former statistics professor Caleb Rossiter.

After a detailed appeal to CEO Mark Zuckerberg by Dr. Michaels and Dr. Rossiter, Facebook removed the label and adopted a new policy of not submitting op-eds to “fact-checking.”

“There are two issues we are asking Mr. Zuckerberg to address in this new case,” said Dr. Rossiter. “First, Climate Feedback is taking advantage of the lack of clarity in Facebook’s definition of ‘opinion’ that will not be subject to censorship. Why should spoken opinions about scientific judgment be censored when written ones are not?

Second, why is Facebook still relying on Eric Michelman’s alarmist Climate Feedback? As Dr. Michaels shows in the Brief, this group has a long history as a biased ‘goon squad’ whose climate science claims are sloppy and weak.”

Download the Science & Policy Brief Facebook Thinks its Opinion is Better than Yours

6) Francis Menton: The Climate Campaign Is Less and Less About The Climate

Manhattan Contrarian, 18 June 2020

Here in the United States, the environmental movement has been completely taken over by the campaign to ban use of fossil fuels, with the stated goal of slowing or preventing “climate change.”

But at this point, is the “climate” campaign really about the climate in any meaningful way? The alternative hypothesis is that the principal goal of the anti-fossil-fuel movement in the United States is destruction of the American freedom-based economic system, commonly going by the name of “capitalism.”

So let’s consider whether the anti-fossil-fuel campaign in the U.S. could really be about its avowed goal of saving the planet from climate change caused by greenhouse gases. If that were the case, then the campaigners would be principally focused on the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, mostly CO2, not only in the U.S. but in the world.

The campaigners are definitely focused on blocking any and all fossil fuel development in the United States. Environmental groups with what seem like infinite funding sources bring litigations on any and every possible theory to seek to block absolutely every proposed fossil fuel development in this country. [...]

And then, of course, there are the other six permits, all of which will with certainty also be litigated all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. You can be sure that every other pipeline project seeking to move forward in the United States is facing a comparable barrage of litigation.

But how about in other countries, including countries with four and more times the population of the U.S.? Today’s email from the Global Warming Policy Forum has yet another roundup of accelerating fossil fuel development, mostly coal, from some of the largest countries around the world:

Full post

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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