Friday, October 2, 2020

GWPF Newsletter: La Niña Is Here


What Will It Do To Global Temperatures?

In this newsletter:

1) La Niña Is Here: What Will It Do To Global Temperatures?
GWPF & NOAA, 1 October 2020
2) Canada Wildfires At Lowest Level For Decades
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 27 September 2020

3) Snowmelt Reveals Remains Of Medieval Warm Period Penguins
GWPF & Geological Society of America, 29 September 2020
4) New UK School Rules: ‘Cancel Culture’ Is A Form Of Bullying And ‘No Platforming’ An Attack On Free Speech, Pupils Will Be Taught
Daily Mail, 26 September 2020
5) In Europe, Regulators Want to Cut Emissions, but Consumers Want SUVs
The Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2020

6) An “Ecotopian” Future: Can California’s Green Extremism Go National?
Joel Kotkin, Real Clear Energy, 29 September 2020

Full details:

1) La Niña Is Here: What Will It Do To Global Temperatures?
GWPF & NOAA, 1 October 2020

After nearly three years of El Niño conditions La Niña has arrived.

As equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the east central and eastern Pacific Ocean continue to cool, what will be the affect La Niña will have on global temperatures this year?


September 2020: La Niña is here
La Niña conditions were present in August, and there’s a 75% chance they’ll hang around through the winter. NOAA has issued a La Niña Advisory. Just how did we arrive at this conclusion, and what does a La Niña winter portend? Read on to find out!
The answer to the first question, “Is the monthly Niño3.4 sea surface temperature anomaly equal to or less than -0.5°C?” is an easy “yes.” August’s value was -0.6°C according to our most consistent sea surface temperature dataset, the ERSSTv5 (though that is not the only SST dataset we monitor). For a quick refresher, the Niño3.4 sea surface temperature anomaly is the difference from the long-term average temperature of the surface of the Pacific Ocean in the Niño3.4 region. In this case, the long-term average is 1986-2015.

Monthly sea surface temperature in the Niño 3.4 region of the tropical Pacific for 2019-2020 (purple line) and all other years starting from neutral winters since 1950. graph based on ERSSTv5 temperature data.

The second step is “Do you think it will stay more than half a degree cooler than average for the next several months?” and again, the answer is “yes.” Most of the dynamical computer models predict that the sea surface temperature will remain below the La Niña threshold of -0.5°C through the winter.
Now, on to the critical third step: “Is the atmosphere showing signs of a response to the cooler-than-average sea surface?” Another “yes!” La Niña intensifies the contrast between the warm far western Pacific and much cooler eastern Pacific, and so La Niña’s atmospheric response is a strengthening of the Walker circulation. This large-scale circulation pattern is characterized by air rising over the very warm waters of the far western Pacific and Indonesia, traveling eastward high in the atmosphere, sinking over the eastern Pacific, and traveling back westward near the surface. (Creating the trade winds—more on those in last month’s post.)

Full post
2) Canada Wildfires At Lowest Level For Decades
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 27 September 2020

According to the Met Office, global warming is leading to record breaking fires in North America.

Canada, of course, is a large part of North America, so surely fires should be getting worse there too.

In fact wildfires this year are running at just 8% of the 10-year average:

All provinces are well below average:


This suggests that meteorological conditions have been responsible for both the glut of fires in the US west and the dearth in Canada.
More significant though is the long term trend in Canada:

1994, 1995 and 1998 recorded the biggest wildfire acreages. But over the full period, there is no obvious trend at all.

Which all rather makes of a nonsense of the Met Office’s claim that hot dry weather conditions promoting wildfires are becoming more severe and widespread due to climate change.
3) Snowmelt Reveals Remains Of Medieval Warm Period Penguins
GWPF & Geological Society of America, 29 September 2020
Antarctic research has discovered abandoned colonies of Adélie penguins which date from three warm periods starting at around 5000 B.P. and terminating by ca. 800 B.P., coinciding with the end of the Medieval Warm Period.
Researcher Steven Emslie also discovered what appears to be fresh remains of Adelie penguins, mostly of chicks. However, whether these “fresh” remains are a sign that the abandoned penguin site has become reoccupied again because of warmer conditions in recent years remains uncertain.

Mummy of Adélie penguin chick (total length ∼20 cm) on the surface ofsite 5 that has been radiocarbon dated at ca. 800 calibrated calendar yr B.P. Source: Emslie 2020
Ancient Adélie penguin colony revealed by snowmelt at Cape Irizar, Ross Sea, Antarctica
Researcher Steven Emslie encountered a puzzle at Cape Irizar, a rocky cape located just south of the Drygalski Ice Tongue on the Scott Coast, Ross Sea. He found both ancient and what appeared to be fresh remains of Adelie penguins, mostly of chicks, which frequently die and accumulate at these colonies. However, the “fresh” remains were puzzling, he says, because there are no records of an active penguin colony at this site since the first explorers (Robert Falcon Scott) in 1901-1903 came to the Ross Sea.

Emslie found abundant penguin chick bones scattered on the surface, along with guano stains, implying recent use of the site, but that wasn’t possible, says Emslie. Some of the bones were complete chick carcasses with feathers, now falling apart from decay as at a modern colony, as well as intact mummies. Emslie and his colleagues collected some of these surface remains for further analysis and radiocarbon dating to try and figure out what was going on there.
The team found old pebble mounds scattered about the cape. These mounds are former nesting sites of Adélie penguins because they use pebbles to build their nests. When they abandon a site, the pebbles become scattered and stand out on the landscape, since they are all about the same size.

“We excavated into three of these mounds, using methods similar to archaeologists, to recover preserved tissues of penguin bone, feather, and eggshell, as well as hard parts of prey from the guano (fish bones, otoliths). The soil was very dry and dusty, just as I’ve found at other very old sites I’ve worked on in the Ross Sea, and also had abundant penguin remains in them. Overall, our sampling recovered a mixture of old and what appeared to be recent penguin remains implying multiple periods of occupation and abandonment of this cape over thousands of years. In all the years I have been doing this research in Antarctica, I’ve never seen a site quite like this.”

The analyses reported in Emslie’s recent paper published in Geology indicate at least three occupation periods of the cape by breeding penguins, with the last one ending at about 800 years ago. When that occupation ended, either due to increasing snow cover over the cape or other factors (the Little Ice Age was beginning about then too), the “fresh” remains on the surface were covered in snow and ice and preserved intact until recent exposure from snowmelt.

Global warming has increased the annual temperature in the Ross Sea by 1.5-2.0 °C since the 1980s, and satellite imagery over the past decade shows the cape gradually emerging from under the snow. Thus, says Emslie, “This recent snowmelt revealing long-preserved remains that were frozen and buried until now is the best explanation for the jumble of penguin remains of different ages that we found there.”

Full story
4) New UK School Rules: ‘Cancel Culture’ Is A Form Of Bullying And ‘No Platforming’ An Attack On Free Speech, Pupils Will Be Taught
Daily Mail, 26 September 2020
* Teachers will tell pupils ‘cancel culture’ is not part of a ‘tolerant and free society’

* Pupils will be taught that ‘cancel culture’ is a form of bullying and ‘no platforming’ an attack on our freedoms.


As part of the Government’s drive to protect freedom of speech, secondary school students will learn that people with controversial opinions should be respected.

In Department for Education training manuals, teachers are instructed to tell pupils that the ‘cancel culture’ which has taken root at many universities – where individuals call for a boycott of a person or company whose views they don’t agree with, in the hope they lose their job or clients – is not part of a ‘tolerant and free society’.

The move appears to be a direct response to incidents where mainstream speakers, including former home secretary Amber Rudd, have been blocked from speaking at universities by political opponents.

The comments are part of a slide presentation in a module on ‘respectful relationships’, as part of the new relationships and sex education curriculum beginning this year.

One slide says: ‘Reinforce that everyone needs to show the same respect to others regardless of how different they are to them. Explain the harm caused by ‘cancel culture’ and the importance of freedom of speech and freedom of association to a tolerant and free society.

‘Teach that censorship and ‘no platforming’ are harmful and damaging. Explain that seeking to get people ‘cancelled’ (e.g. having them removed from their position of authority or job) simply because you disagree with them, is a form of bullying and is not acceptable.’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has repeatedly threatened legislation unless universities do more to protect freedom of speech on campus.

In another section, the department says teachers must not suggest that ‘children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests’.

It also warns schools not to work with organisations that promote the idea that ‘non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity’.

The rules appear to be a response to increasing criticism of activist groups seen as pushing children and young people into transitioning gender, with many children saying later they regret their decision.

‘We are aware that topics involving gender and biological sex can be complex and sensitive,’ the guidance says. 

‘You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests.
‘Resources used in teaching about this topic must always be age-appropriate and evidence-based.

‘Materials which suggest that non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity should not be used and you should not work with external organisations that produce such material.

‘While teachers should not suggest to a child their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat students with sympathy and support.’

Full story
5) In Europe, Regulators Want to Cut Emissions, but Consumers Want SUVs
The Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2020

Big vehicles are popular in Europe, driving emissions higher and threatening manufacturers with fines

BERLIN—European car makers have an SUV problem: They are selling too many.

Under European Union rules adopted in 2009 to fight climate change, car makers in Europe must cut average carbon-dioxide emissions for their fleet to 95 grams a kilometer this year or face sanctions. It is becoming harder for many auto makers to achieve this level because of the waning appeal of diesel cars, which have relatively low CO2 emissions, a shortage of electric vehicles and now a surge in SUV sales.

“SUVs are useful for helping increase sales and profitability for car manufacturers,” said Felipe Munoz, an automotive analyst at Jato Dynamics, a consulting group. But their high emissions mean car makers need new ideas if they are to meet the EU’s emission goals.

In Europe, the share of SUVs as a part of total sales is approaching 50% of all new car sales in Europe’s biggest auto markets.

On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order that aims to end the sale of new gasoline- and diesel-powered passenger cars in the state by 2035.
European regulators, meanwhile, began slashing greenhouse-gas emissions from automobiles about a decade ago. They first set a target of 130 grams/km in 2015, moving to 95 grams/km in phases through 2020. From next year, the limit will apply to all new cars sold in Europe.
This pushed auto makers to adapt their offerings. Makers of luxury sedans such as Daimler AG and BMW AG expanded their fleets to include smaller cars. Others tweaked their engines to make them more efficient, resulting in lower emissions.
Consumer tastes, however, have moved in the opposite direction, gravitating toward SUVs that produce considerably more CO2 than smaller cars. As a result, carbon emissions from cars have been rising since 2017. Now, as the European deadline approaches, auto makers are still far from the target.

In the early years of Europe’s effort to curb emissions, manufacturers were able to rely on growing engine efficiency as well as regulatory exemptions and loopholes to cut emissions. But as the goal became more demanding, pressure rose to develop new technologies, especially electric vehicles and hybrids.
In Europe, particularly in Germany, car makers also bet on diesel, which emits less CO2 than gasoline. But after Volkswagen AG was exposed for cheating to conceal the amount of hazardous fine particles produced by its diesel engines, consumers turned their back on the technology.
The lack of affordable electric vehicles meant many consumers opted instead for gasoline-powered cars. This shift and the new love affair with SUVs triggered a rebound in CO2 emissions.
EV sales are rising but remain a niche, with about 7% of the European market.

Full story ($)
6) An “Ecotopian” Future: Can California’s Green Extremism Go National?
Joel Kotkin, Real Clear Energy, 29 September 2020

They paved paradise...And put up a parking lot...With a pink hotel, a boutique...And a swinging hot spot...Don't it always seem to go...That you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone -- Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi,” 1970


One is often at a loss to explain California to people from other planets—like, say, earth. This is a state that issues mandates for electrification of everything while reducing its generating capacity. It blames devastating fires on climate change, without taking the blame for forestry practices that helped make the seasonal fires much worse. In California, pot is legal, but owning a car with a gas engine, however clean, may soon not be, and climate skeptics of any stripe face opprobrium, consignment to obscurity, and—if they have assets—court dates.

To understand how a state could adopt what often seem insane policies, impoverishing its people while claiming the mantle of social justice, you need to consult the state’s unique history. California is just not like other places, and you won’t get anywhere without understanding that. With few navigable rivers and a lack of water near its coast and fertile valleys, the state largely engineered its own rise. “Science is the mother of California,” said the University of California’s second president, Daniel Coit Gilman. Largely dominated by desert, flammable dry chaparral and high mountains, California depended on bringing water to its bone-dry coast, tapping electricity from distant dams, and accommodating a massive influx of new residents with largely suburban housing.

The state’s rapid population growth from 1.5 million in 1900 to nearly 40 million today placed enormous strains on its natural systems. During the Gold Rush, mining practices devastated the Mother Lode country and poisoned the rivers. In the rest of the state, natural scrubland was converted first into farms, then into housing tracts, wiping out whole ecosystems. Those who grew up here, from Jerry Brown to Joni Mitchell, or who have lived here long, like this writer—nearly a half-century resident—have witnessed immense changes. We’ve seen the citrus orchards all but vanish from the coast, the massive 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, ever-more suffocating traffic congestion, and the densification of many communities. It’s hard not to harken back to “better times” when the grove near your house is now a Target.

Still, where these real challenges, along with concerns over climate change, might have encouraged constructive solutions, they have instead metastasized the apocalyptic side of modern environmentalism. Predictably, The New York Times suggests that California is “ground zero for climate disasters,” while the Los Angeles Times claims that California now fights not just fires and droughts but “climate despair.” A letter to the editor insists that the state is already “a climate change hell,” a logical conclusion to reach, judging by media coverage of the recent fires. That voice of establishment reasoning, the Council on Foreign Relations, helpfully chimes in that “California is a Preview of Climate Change’s Devastation for the Entire World.”

In California, we appear to have made the transition from awesome to awful.
The Origins of Environmental Politics
The “pastoral ideal,” historian Leo Marx noted, “has been used to define the meaning of America ever since the age of discovery.” Initially, it reflected the Jeffersonian vision of a nation of farmers, but gained adherents among the gentry in the rapidly developing industrial areas of New England, New York, and the Hudson Valley.

Modern environmentalism, though, is largely a California product. To some, particularly the ecological Left, environmental rapine is to California what the legacy of slavery has been to the South.

In a state where the frontier closed quickly, and wilderness confronted the consequences of extraordinarily rapid growth, the well-born sought ways to preserve something of our spectacular natural state. The Sierra Club, still the leading environmental lobby, gained prominence campaigning early in the last century against the flooding of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite to supply water to largely waterless San Francisco. This struggle presaged an almost endless succession of battles across the state over land use, energy, and water development.
When the Sierra Club’s solutions seemed too tame, the Friends of Earth, also founded in San Francisco, rose to fill the gap, establishing a pattern of steady radicalization.
In their early days, California greens were largely conservationist, with a bipartisan base of affluent suburban homeowners, mostly in the coastal areas, who looked askance at development closing in on their once-pristine neighborhoods. By the late 1960s, however, greens increasingly embraced often-hysterical scenarios of a dystopian future. Stanford’s Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb in 1968, forging a deep impression with its predictions of starvation on a global scale. Inspired by Rachel Carson’s 1962 Silent Spring, others worried, sometimes justifiably, about the effects of pesticides, the speculated-upon environmental causes of cancer, and potential disasters from nuclear power.
These more radical views gained acceptance in Sacramento with the elevation of Jerry Brown to the governorship in 1974. Unlike his father, Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, a renowned builder of infrastructure, Jerry, noted the late Max Palevsky, former chairman of Xerox and co-founder of Intel, came into office with “a kind of hippy dippy ideology” and a philosophy that emphasized a new “era of limits.”

Homage to Ecotopia
Perhaps no book better illustrated the new radical turn than Ecotopia, published in 1975 by an obscure imprint, Banyan Tree Books. Its author was Ernest Callenbach, an equally obscure movie critic. To everyone’s surprise, Ecotopia became a major best-seller, selling a million copies.

The book follows a newspaper reporter who visits a breakaway republic whose policies in many ways presage the goals of today’s environmental movement. Ecotopia reflects environmental concerns common in the 1970s—air pollution, energy dependence, pesticides, nuclear power, overpopulation. Callenbach called his new state “a small precarious island of hope” and portrays the rest of the country as a polluted, collapsed dystopia. Although conditions on environmental issues like air pollution have greatly improved since the 1970s, Ecotopian policies resonate with extreme environmentalists today: a highly regulated, essentially socialistic society without cars, fossil fuels, or air travel, and with limits placed on child-bearing. Like many radicals of our own time, the Ecotopians also were hostile to the nuclear family and embraced the principles of racial politics, with special rights and “greater autonomy” for various minorities, including Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and even Jews.

California’s Green Authoritarian State

For California’s greens, Ecotopia reads like a how-to-manual for imposing a regulatory regime that limits virtually every function of daily life and economy—one for which Covid-19 is providing a “test run.”

California’s powerful green lobby has imposed a series of policies—on housing, transportation, and energy—that diverge from national norms. The state, for instance, is looking to go all-electric in the next decade, with the elimination of gas-powered cars by 2035, at enormous cost, even as it cuts power from natural gas and nuclear. One critic suggests that this could leave California looking like Cuba, filled with rickety, but affordable, gas-powered automotive dinosaurs.

Little mention is made in the press or academia about how these policies have proved catastrophic for the state’s working and middle classes, driven the cost of energy and housing to unsustainable levels, and chased millions out of the state. Much mainstream media coverage approaches environmental issues with all the objectivity of Pravda. This was particularly evident in the coverage of fires, with the media mindlessly repeating Governor Gavin Newsom’s attempt to blame the conflagrations on climate change.

Not since the Middle Ages, where everything was seen as caused by divine will, have incompetents found a more convenient excuse for their failures.

In reality, as even the usually left-leaning Pro Publica has revealed, the fires were made far worse by green policies driven by the demands of environmentalists. These included constant lawsuits against local efforts to clean up old growth, particularly dead trees, and stopping even sustainable logging. California, as few reporters note, has a naturally combustible landscape which, left alone, would burn many times more than even the worst fire season.

Most tragically, current policies have little chance of making a meaningful difference to the climate. California, though a hotbed of climate extremism, has reduced its greenhouse gases between 2007 and 2016 at a rate that ranked just 40th per capita among the states. Similar failures can be seen in Germany (whose policies Newsom wants to follow), where the much heralded Energiewende—the nation’s planned transition to low-carbon fuel sources—has led to soaring energy costs but disappointing results in emissions declines. The impact of such steps by California on global climate, note some recent studies, would be almost infinitesimal, given that the primary source of rising emissions comes from outside the West—notably China, easily the world’s biggest emitter.

Will America Go Ecotopian?
If Kamala Harris makes it to the White House, Ecotopian ideas—at least those that don’t threaten her tech oligarch backers, often the beneficiaries of renewable investments—are almost certain to come to the fore. Like California, the rest of the country would have to live with higher costs and less reliable energy, along with huge investments in mass transit—yielding few new riders—and restrictions on middle-class suburban housing, even as this form of housing, according to the National Association of Realtors, has gained even more popularity since the pandemic.

Californians can move out (and many are doing so) as conditions become intolerable, but a national green regime would be harder to escape. Americans in the rest of country, where weather tends more to extremes, would suffer more than California from a Green New Deal—particularly the agricultural Great Plains, the “oil patch,” and the manufacturing centers of the Midwest, where people still depend on reliable energy for the production of goods.

In both Germany and California, green policies have hurt the working class far more than the affluent, who, argues British socialist James Heartfield, actually benefit from scarcity. Family-oriented people may also object to Ecotopia-like calls for restrictions on having children due to their “carbon legacy,” a proposal already endorsed by climate researchers at Sweden’s Lund University and Oregon State University. Some scientists suggest that we will have to shift from hamburgers to such delightful concoctions as “maggot sausages.” One scientist even suggested that we recycle ourselves and rediscover the finer points of cannibalism.

The Coming Autocracy
It’s unlikely that voters will long embrace such ideas. But many greens, concerned that the masses may not follow orders, prefer the post-democratic method of handing over power to credentialed environmental “experts” operating in Washington, Brussels, or the United Nations, a notion already advanced by former Obama budget advisor Peter Orszag and journalist Thomas Friedman.

Over time, however, the green movement, now funded by the wealthy, may become less genteel. Grassroots Ecotopian extremism is rising; the vast majority of young Americans believe that we face imminent environmental catastrophe. The student movement around Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg recalls the youthful fanaticism of Medieval sanctus puer—the “holy children,” who rampaged through Europe in the 13th century—or Mao’s Red Guards, unleashed during the Chinese Communists’ Cultural Revolution in the 1960s.

Like their Maoist forebears, Ecotopian shock troops often seek to enforce ideological conformity, in their case against climate skeptics of any kind—even those who agree that climate change poses a serious challenge. Dissidents, some suggest, should be jailed, or at least dropped into the media memory hole. And perhaps uncooperative companies could be dispossessed of their assets.

What happens when the green funders from Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley find themselves under attack, as did liberal aristocrats during the French Revolution? After all, the Ecotopians rightly find it unacceptable that Al Gore, Prince Charles, Richard Branson, rapper Drake, and Brad Pitt—who worries about “consuming ourselves to extinction”—still fly in their gas-guzzling private jets, even to climate-oriented events. Zealots like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg already seek to restrict air travel for the masses. There’s no moral high ground for the green gentry living in massive estates and private islands, while neo-Ecotopians rage against modestly spacious suburban homes.

As in Ecotopia, the most committed greens embrace the idea that austerity should be shared by all. The wealthy have resisted this notion up to now, and they will continue to do so—at least until the green clerisy succeeds in capturing control of government policy. Then even the wealthy will be at their mercy. California’s Ecotopia, far from a fantasy, could soon become reality—for the rich and everyone else.
Joel Kotkin is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Urban Reform Institute. His new book, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism, is now out from Encounter. You can follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin

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: