This short video from the Galileo Movement in Australia shows how minute the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is.
This short video from the Galileo Movement in Australia shows how minute the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is.
“What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?”
(Remember back in the 1970s, climate scientists and media were predicting a return to an “ice age.”)
I have posed that question to five “climate scientist” professors at the University of Arizona who claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal cause of dangerous global warming. Yet, when asked the question, none could cite any supporting physical evidence.
Some of the professors would claim that computer models, when corrected for natural variation, required carbon dioxide emissions to correlate with observed warming of the late 20th Century. But computer modeling is not physical evidence; it is mere speculation. And correlation does not prove causation. One could easily substitute any increasing time series of data to produce similar results. In fact, an Australian group did a tongue-in-cheek exercise of comparing the historic price rise of a first class U.S. postage stamp with temperature. Results are shown on the graph below. The rise in the price of a stamp shows a remarkable correlation with the rise of global temperature.
In seeking an answer to the initial question, I also read the many reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The reports provide no physical evidence, only various scenarios generated by computers. The outputs from computer models diverge widely from observational evidence because the models attribute too much warming influence to carbon dioxide emissions and too little to natural variation. (See Why Climate Models Run Hot by Rud Istvan.)
It appears that there is no physical evidence showing that carbon dioxide emissions have a significant effect on global temperature. There is, however, physical evidence showing that our carbon dioxide emissions are not having any significant effect, see my article Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect for details. That article examines four predictions made by climate alarmists of what we should see as atmospheric carbon dioxide content rises. In each case, what really happened was the opposite of what was predicted.
The benighted, eco-faddish, Tucson City council wants to reduce the City’s carbon footprint by installing 100 percent renewable energy for all city government operations so Tucson will not get as hot as Phoenix. (Source) If they do that, they really will be in the dark. In another article, Impact of Paris climate accord and why Trump was right to dump it, I present research which shows that even if all countries fulfilled their pledges to reduce carbon dioxide emissions made in the Paris Climate Accord, it would make a difference of only 0.17°C by the year 2100.
Can anyone provide an answer to the initial question?
Note: evidence of warming is not evidence of the cause of warming.
One other complication, Fake warming: A new peer-reviewed study finds that nearly all reported warming in the 20th century is a result of historic adjustments made to the original data. The study concludes: “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets [ Global Average Surface Temperature (GAST) data, produced by NOAA, NASA, and HADLEY] are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever –despite current claims of record setting warming.” Read the study
Bottom line: Reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have little, if any, effect on global temperature. Such efforts are therefore a waste of money and other resources.
The past is getting cooler – an example of fake warming
Natural variation trumps CO2
Many climate scientists claim that our carbon dioxide emissions are the principal driver of global warming. I have asked several University of Arizona professors, who make such a claim, to provide supporting physical evidence. So far, none have been able to justify the claim with physical evidence.
In this article, we will examine the Earth’s temperature and the carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere at several time scales to see if there is any relationship. I stipulate that the greenhouse effect does exist. I maintain, however, that the ability of CO2 emissions to cause global warming is tiny and overwhelmed by natural forces. The main effect of our “greenhouse” is to slow cooling.
There is an axiom in science which says: “correlation does not prove causation.” Correlation, however, is very suggestive of a relationship. Conversely, lack of correlation proves that there is no cause-and-effect relationship.
Phanerozoic time – the past 500 million years:
Estimates of global temperature and atmospheric CO2 content based on geological and isotope evidence show little correlation between the two. Earth experienced a major ice age in the Ordovician Period when atmospheric CO2 was 4,000ppm, 10 times higher than now. Temperatures during the Cretaceous Period were rising and steamy, but atmospheric CO2 was declining.
Notice also, that for most of the time, Earth’s temperature was much warmer than now and life flourished. There were some major extinction periods, all associated with ice ages.
Berner, R.A. and Kothavala, Z, 2001, GEOCARB III: A Revised Model of Atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, Vol. 301, February, 2001, P. 182–204
Scotese, C.R., http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html
Our current ice age – the past 420,000 years:
During the latter part of our current ice age, glacial-interglacial cycles occurred with a periodicity of about 100,000 years which correlates with the changes in Earth’s orbit around the sun as it changes from nearly circular to elliptical with an eccentricity of about 9%. Here we see an apparent correlation between temperature and CO2. The data are from ice cores collected at the Vostok station in Antarctica. The scientists working on the Vostok core noticed that temperature changes PRECEDED changes in CO2 concentration by about 800 years. Again, we see that CO2 doesn’t have much influence on temperature, but temperature has great influence on CO2concentration because temperature controls CO2 solubility in the ocean.
Petit, J.R., et al., 1999. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature 399: 429-436.
Mudelsee, M, 2001. The phase relations among atmospheric CO2 content, temperature and global ice volume over the past 420 ka, Quaternary Science Reviews 20:583-589.
Siegenthaler, U. Et al., 2005. Stable carbon cycle-climate relationship during the late Pleistocene. Science 310: 1313-1317.
The Holocene – the past 10,000 years:
The Holocene represents the current interglacial period. For most of the past 10,000 years, temperature was higher than now. CO2 was fairly steady below 300ppm (vs over 400ppm now). There were cycles of warm and cool periods at a periodicity of 1200 to 1500 years. This periodicity correlates with the interplay of the several solar cycles. The sun itself goes through cycles of solar intensity and magnetic flux. When the cycles are in a strong phase, the amount of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere is reduced, there are fewer clouds to block the sun, so it is warmer. When solar cycles wane, as is beginning to happen now, more cosmic rays enter the atmosphere and produce more clouds which block the sun, so it becomes cooler. The number of sunspots (hence magnetic flux) varies on an average cycle of 11 years. There are also 87-year (Gliessberg) and 210-year (DeVriess-Suess) cycles in the amplitude of the 11-year sunspot cycle which combine to form an approximately 1,500-year cycle of warming and cooling.
The 20th Century:
The first part of the 20th Century experienced warming in the 1920s and 1930s comparable to current temperatures. According to NASA, atmospheric CO2 rose from 295ppm in 1900 to 311ppm in 1940. Major emissions from burning fossil fuels, however, commenced after WWII in the mid 1940s. The period 1940-1970 saw a CO2 rise of 311ppm to 325ppm. That period also showed global cooling to such an extent that climate scientists were predicting a return to glacial conditions. From about 1980 to 2000, CO2 rose from 339ppm to 370ppm and we had warming during that period until the super El Nino of 1997/1998. Some of this data has been “corrected” by NOAA.
Source: NOAA Climate at a glance
The 21st Century so far
Microwave data from satellites converted to temperature.
Between the El Nino of 1997 and that of 2016, there have been temperature fluctuations but no net warming. Atmospheric CO2 rose from 363ppm to 407ppm today. It seems that there is no correlation between global temperature and CO2.
As I said at the beginning, while the CO2-induced greenhouse effect has some hypothetical warming potential, that warming is tiny and overwhelmed by the forces of natural variation. So far, I have seen no physical evidence to contradict my contention.
A new study from University or California Irvine shows that cement is a net carbon dioxide sink.
Cement manufacturing is among the most carbon-intensive industrial processes, but an international team of researchers has found that over time, the widely used building material reabsorbs much of the CO2 emitted when it was made.
“It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true,” said Steven Davis, associate professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine. “The cement poured around the world since 1930 has taken up a substantial portion of the CO2 released when it was initially produced.”
Cement manufacturing is considered doubly carbon-intensive because emissions come from two sources. CO2 molecules are released into the air when limestone (calcium carbonate) is converted to lime (calcium oxide), the key ingredient in cement. And to generate the heat necessary to break up limestone, factories also burn large quantities of natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels.
Davis and his fellow researchers looked at the problem from a different angle. They investigated how much of the gas is removed from the environment over time by buildings, roads and other kinds of infrastructure. Through a process called carbonation, CO2 is drawn into the pores of cement-based materials, such as concrete and mortar. This starts at the surface and moves progressively inward, pulling in more and more carbon dioxide as years pass.
Earth’s climate has been changing for at least four billion years in cycles large and small. Few in the climate debate understand those changes and their causes. Many are fixated on carbon dioxide (CO2), a minor constituent of the atmosphere, but one absolutely necessary for life as we know it. Perhaps this fixation derives from ulterior political motives for controlling the global economy. For others, the true believers, perhaps this fixation derives from ignorance.
Greenpeace co-founder Dr. Patrick Moore has written an excellent summary of the history of carbon dioxide on Earth titled, “The Positive Impact of Human CO2 Emissions On the Survival of Life on Earth.” In this 24-page paper, Moore notes that we came dangerously close to losing plant life on Earth about 18,000 years ago, when CO2 levels approached 150 ppm, below which plant life can’t sustain photosynthesis. Currently, atmospheric CO2 stands at about 400 ppm which is about one-third the level for optimum plant growth.
Here is the executive summary of Moore’s paper:
This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth.
This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation. It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.
Moore presents a concise history of CO2 beginning in the Cambrian Period 540 million years ago when CO2 was about 7,000 ppm. He follows that with a discussion of how carbon is distributed today between the atmosphere, oceans, plant life, and rocks.
In his concluding remarks, Moore briefly discusses the politics of CO2 and notes: ” Lost in all these machinations is the indisputable fact that the most important thing about CO2 is that it is essential for all life on Earth and that before humans began to burn fossil fuels, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was heading in a very dangerous direction for a very long time.”
There is no physical evidence that our CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will produce catastrophic climate change. Moore asks, “Given that the optimum CO2 level for plant growth is above 1,000 ppm and that CO2 has been above that level for most of the history of life, what sense does it make to call for a reduction in the level of CO2 in the absence of evidence of catastrophic climate change?”
You can read Moore’s full paper here.
Also of interest is a 40-page paper published by the Canadian Friends of Science Society entitled “A Confluence of Carbonbaggers.” – great title. Here is part of the executive summary:
Given that in most industries, margins of error are required to be small, this paper reviews the substantial failings of the IPCC in everything from the original premise that human activity producing greenhouse gases was the primary cause of recent warming, to vast statistical errors in climate models that are 500 and 600% off trend.
Few average citizens have any knowledge of these goings on – despite the fact that billions of their tax dollars are vanishing every year on causes proclaimed by this august organization and echoed around the world by enthusiastic Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) who find climate catastrophe predictions the easiest way to raise money to ‘save the planet’ – all the while demonizing traditional industries that have provided jobs, energy and resources that have created our modern, industrialized world.
This report is a compilation of errors, false and wildly exaggerated predictions, and the IPCC’s claim that it in fact ‘makes no recommendation of any kind on any topic’ – effectively washing its hands of responsibility for the damage its reports and meetings have done in the Western world. National economies have been ruined, investment markets distorted, industries devastated, thousands have died prematurely due to sharp rise in power prices across the UK and Europe as the poor and middle class have been pushed into ‘heat-or-eat’ poverty – and yet governments still persist in designing faulty climate and economic policies based on flawed documents from the IPCC – cited as ‘the authority on climate change.’
At the annual meeting of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Dr. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace, put carbon dioxide in perspective and showed why policies and efforts to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide are not only futile, but also dangerous to life on Earth. You can read the full transcript of the speech here. Dr. Moore left Greenpeace when that organization lost its strong humanitarian orientation and became radicalized with the belief that humans are the enemies of the earth.
Dr. Moore believes that the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 400ppm, is dangerously low and much lower that it has been for most of Earth’s history. He says we and the planet would be better off with a concentration closer to 2,000ppm.
Here are some excerpts from his speech:
Let’s begin with our knowledge of the long-term history of the Earth’s temperature and of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. I will focus on the past 540 million years since modern life forms evolved. It is glaringly obvious that temperature and CO2 are in an inverse correlation at least as often as they are in any semblance of correlation. Two clear examples of reverse correlation occurred 150 million years and 50 million years ago. At the end of the Jurassic temperature fell dramatically while CO2 spiked. During the Eocene Thermal Maximum, temperature was likely higher than any time in the past 550 million years while CO2 had been on a downward track for 100 million years. This evidence alone sufficient to warrant deep speculation of any claimed lock-step causal relationship between CO2 and temperature.
The Devonian Period beginning 400 million years ago marked the culmination of the invasion of life onto the land. Plants evolved to produce lignin, which in combination with cellulose, created wood which in turn for the first time allowed plants to grow tall, in competition with each other for sunlight. As vast forests spread across the land living biomass increased by orders of magnitude, pulling down carbon as CO2 from the atmosphere to make wood. Lignin is very difficult to break down and no decomposer species possessed the enzymes to digest it. Trees died atop one another until they were 100 metres or more in depth. This was the making of the great coal beds around the world as this huge store of sequestered carbon continued to build for 90 million years. Then, fortunately for the future of life, white rot fungi evolved to produce the enzymes that can digest lignin and coincident with that the coal-making era came to an end.
A well-documented record of global temperature over the past 65 million years shows that we have been in a major cooling period since the Eocene Thermal Maximum 50 million years ago. The Earth was an average 16C warmer then, with most of the increased warmth at the higher latitudes. The entire planet, including the Arctic and Antarctica were ice-free and the land there was covered in forest.
The ancestors of every species on Earth today survived through what may have been the warmest time in the history of life. It makes one wonder about dire predictions that even a 2C rise in temperature from pre-industrial times would cause mass extinctions and the destruction of civilization. Glaciers began to form in Antarctica 30 million years ago and in the northern hemisphere 3 million years ago. Today, even in this interglacial period of the Pleistocene Ice Age, we are experiencing one of the coldest climates in the Earth’s history.
Coming closer to the present we have learned from Antarctic ice cores that for the past 800,000 years there have been regular periods of major glaciation followed by interglacial periods in 100,000 year-cycles. These cycles coincide with the Milankovitch cycles that are tied to the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit and its axial tilt. It is highly plausible that these cycles are related to solar intensity and the seasonal distribution of solar heat on the Earth’s surface. There is a strong correlation between temperature and the level of atmospheric CO2 during these successive glaciations, indicating a possible cause-effect relationship between the two. CO2 lags temperature by an average of 800 years during the most recent 400,000-year period, indicating that temperature is the cause, as the cause never comes after the effect.
Looking at the past 50,000 years of temperature and CO2 we can see that changes in CO2 follow changes in temperature. This is as one could expect, as the Milankovitch cycles are far more likely to cause a change in temperature than a change in CO2. And a change in the temperature is far more likely to cause a change in CO2 due to out-gassing of CO2 from the oceans during warmer times and an in-gassing (absorption) of CO2 during colder periods. Yet climate alarmists persist in insisting that CO2 is causing the change in temperature, despite the illogical nature of that assertion.
Coming back to the relationship between temperature and CO2 in the modern era we can see that temperature has risen at a steady slow rate in Central England since 1700 while human CO2 emissions were not relevant until 1850 and then began an exponential rise after 1950. This is not indicative of a direct causal relationship between the two. After freezing over regularly during the Little Ice Age the River Thames froze for the last time in 1814, as the Earth moved into what might be called the Modern Warm Period.
There was a 30-year period of warming from 1910-1940, then a cooling from 1940 to 1970, just as CO2 emissions began to rise exponentially, and then a 30-year warming from 1970-2000 that was very similar in duration and temperature rise to the rise from 1910-1940. One may then ask “what caused the increase in temperature from 1910-1940 if it was not human emissions? And if it was natural factors how do we know that the same natural factors were not responsible for the rise between 1970-2000.” You don’t need to go back millions of years to find the logical fallacy in the IPCC’s certainty that we are the villains in the piece.
Coming to the core of my presentation, CO2 is the currency of life and the most important building block for all life on Earth. All life is carbon-based, including our own. Surely the carbon cycle and its central role in the creation of life should be taught to our children rather than the demonization of CO2, that “carbon” is a “pollutant” that threatens the continuation of life. We know for a fact that CO2 is essential for life and that it must be at a certain level in the atmosphere for the survival of plants, which are the primary food for all the other species alive today. Should we not encourage our citizens, students, teachers, politicians, scientists, and other leaders to celebrate CO2 as the giver of life that it is?
It is a proven fact that plants, including trees and all our food crops, are capable of growing much faster at higher levels of CO2 than present in the atmosphere today. Even at the today’s concentration of 400 ppm plants are relatively starved for nutrition. The optimum level of CO2 for plant growth is about 5 times higher, 2000 ppm, yet the alarmists warn it is already too high. They must be challenged every day by every person who knows the truth in this matter. CO2 is the giver of life and we should celebrate CO2 rather than denigrate it as is the fashion today.
Let’s look at where all the carbon is in the world, and how it is moving around.
Today, at just over 400 ppm CO2 there are 850 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere. By comparison, when modern life-forms evolved over 500 million years ago there was nearly 15,000 billion tons of CO2 in the atmosphere, 17 times today’s level. Plants and soils combined contain more than 2,000 billion tons of carbon, more that twice as much as the entire global atmosphere. The oceans contain 38,000 billion tons of dissolved CO2, 45 times as much as in the atmosphere. Fossil fuels, which were made from plants that pulled CO2 from the atmosphere account for 5,000 – 10,000 billion tons of carbon, 6 – 12 times as much carbon as is in the atmosphere.
But the truly stunning number is the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from the atmosphere and turned into carbonaceous rocks. 100,000,000 billion tons, that’s one quadrillion tons of carbon, have been turned into stone by marine species that learned to make armour-plating for themselves by combining calcium and carbon into calcium carbonate. Limestone, chalk, and marble are all of life origin and amount to 99.9% of all the carbon ever present in the global atmosphere. The white cliffs of Dover are made of the calcium carbonate skeletons of coccolithophores, tiny marine phytoplankton.
The vast majority of the carbon dioxide that originated in the atmosphere has been sequestered and stored quite permanently in carbonaceous rocks where it cannot be used as food by plants.
Beginning 540 million years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian Period many marine species of invertebrates evolved the ability to control calcification and to build armour plating to protect their soft bodies. Shellfish such as clams and snails, corals, coccolithofores (phytoplankton) and foraminifera (zooplankton) began to combine carbon dioxide with calcium and thus to remove carbon from the life cycle as the shells sank into sediments; 100,000,000 billion tons of carbonaceous sediment. It is ironic that life itself, by devising a protective suit of armour, determined its own eventual demise by continuously removing CO2 from the atmosphere. This is carbon sequestration and storage writ large. These are the carbonaceous sediments that form the shale deposits from which we are fracking gas and oil today. And I add my support to those who say, “OK UK, get fracking”.
The past 150 million years has seen a steady drawing down of CO2 from the atmosphere. There are many components to this but what matters is the net effect, a removal on average of 37,000 tons of carbon from the atmosphere every year for 150 million years. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was reduced by about 90% during this period. This means that volcanic emissions of CO2 have been outweighed by the loss of carbon to calcium carbonate sediments on a multi-million year basis.
If this trend continues CO2 will inevitably fall to levels that threaten the survival of plants, which require a minimum of 150 ppm to survive. If plants die all the animals, insects, and other invertebrates that depend on plants for their survival will also die.
How long will it be at the present level of CO2 depletion until most or all of life on Earth is threatened with extinction by lack of CO2 in the atmosphere?
During this Pleistocene Ice Age, CO2 tends to reach a minimum level when the successive glaciations reach their peak. During the last glaciation, which peaked 18,000 years ago, CO2 bottomed out at 180 ppm, extremely likely the lowest level CO2 has been in the history of the Earth. This is only 30 ppm above the level that plants begin to die. Paleontological research has demonstrated that even at 180 ppm there was a severe restriction of growth as plants began to starve. With the onset of the warmer interglacial period CO2 rebounded to 280 ppm. But even today, with human emissions causing CO2 to reach 400 ppm plants are still restricted in their growth rate, which would be much higher if CO2 were at 1000-2000 ppm.
Here is the shocking news. If humans had not begun to unlock some of the carbon stored as fossil fuels, all of which had been in the atmosphere as CO2 before sequestration by plants and animals, life on Earth would have soon been starved of this essential nutrient and would begin to die. Given the present trends of glaciations and interglacial periods this would likely have occurred less than 2 million years from today, a blink in nature’s eye, 0.05% of the 3.5 billion-year history of life.
There is much more in Moore’s speech; follow the link above to read the whole thing.
For more information on climate change, see the Climate in Perspective page to link to my 28-page essay on climate myths and reality.
The “social cost of carbon”(SCC) is a computer-generated artifice that puts a dollar figure on the alleged environmental and economic damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. This number is supposed to allow bureaucrats to offset the alleged damage through regulation and taxes, i.e., it will increase the cost of electricity. The computer models fail to take into account the benefits of carbon dioxide, such as making our crops more robust and more water efficient. Also, there is absolutely no physical evidence that our carbon dioxide emissions have any significant role in controlling global climate.
To read the grisly details of this scam, I recommend three articles:
Ronald Bailey, The Social Cost of Carbon: Garbage In, Garbage Out
Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Obama’s ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ Is at Odds with Science
To read about the benefits of carbon dioxide, see:
Craig Idso: The Positive Externalities of Carbon Dioxide: Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on Global Food Production
Lewis succinctly reports the basics of SCC:
“The social cost of carbon (SCC) is the present discounted value of cumulative damages allegedly inflicted on society by an incremental metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over a period of decades to centuries.
Discernible in neither meteorological nor economic data, carbon’s social cost exists in the virtual world of “integrated assessment models” (IAMs) — computer programs that combine speculative climatology with speculative economics. By fiddling with non-validated climate parameters, made-up damage functions, and below-market discount rates, SCC analysts can get almost any result they desire.
What they typically desire is to make fossil fuels look unaffordable no matter how cheap, and renewables look like a bargain at any price. However curious as an academic exercise, when used to make or influence public policy, SCC analysis is computer-aided sophistry.”
Lewis also notes: “Agencies have an incentive to periodically increase SCC estimates to make their regulations look more beneficial.”
The computer models fail to fully consider the positive side of rising carbon dioxide and a warming climate. Idso notes that the results of a wide-ranging study found that the aerial fertilization effect of carbon dioxide on crop production was substantial. “The results indicate that the annual total monetary value of this benefit grew from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011, amounting to a total sum of $3.2 trillion over the 50-year period 1961-2011. Projecting the monetary value of this positive externality forward in time reveals it will likely bestow an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050.”
The Idso study also found that “With respect to human health, several studies have shown that the net effect of an increase in temperature is a reduction in sickness and death rate. A warmer climate, therefore, is less expensive in terms of health care costs than a colder one.”
The House Committee on Natural Resources recently held a hearing on the process and development of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) commented:
“The Obama Administration has given itself – and future administrations – a mammoth blank check to stop any project based on a radical fantasy. The Social Cost of Carbon is exactly that – a social restructuring of the way Americans live their lives. This unprecedented authority, disguised as an innocuous guideline for regulatory analysis, is a dangerous ideological weapon for the Administration. The numbers can be so easily manipulated that it simply allows any Administration to pick winners and losers, but the American people and the American way of life will be the ultimate losers.”
In testimony before Congress, Dr. Judith Curry (Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) said that Obama’s proposed reduction of U.S. emissions of 28% “will prevent 0.03 C in warming by 2100.”
Billions of dollars of economic disruption for barely discernable climate result.
Dr. Curry goes on to say (source):
“…these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct; if the climate models are over sensitive to CO2, then amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.
“The economic argument is rather dicey; economic impact models are far more uncertain even than climate models. The social cost of carbon estimates made by the White House require assumptions out to the year 2300 for drastic CO2 reductions to be cost effective.
“The public health arguments are even weaker. CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with asthma. Extreme weather events are not increasing with increased CO2; extreme weather events are dominated by natural climate variability. Particularly in the U.S., extreme weather was substantially worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s.”
SCC is another example of what H L Mencken warned us about: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” And “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
At a cost of only $30 billion, new EPA regulations may save us from 0.0026°C of global warming by the year 2100.
According to an EPA report (971 pages) [link]: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on behalf of the Department of Transportation, are each proposing changes to our comprehensive Heavy-Duty National Program that would further reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and increase fuel efficiency for on-road heavy-duty vehicles,…”
The National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that “The Environmental Protection Agency’s second round of heavy-duty truck efficiency standards could cost more than $30 billion.” – costs that will be passed on to consumers.
“Auto manufacturers and the freight and long-haul transportation industry already understand the importance of fuel efficiency. Nearly 3 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks carry approximately 70 percent of America’s freight, consuming more than 50 billion gallons in fuel and spending more than $140 billion in diesel costs. The industry operates on razor-thin margins and plans its driving routes down to the tenth of a mile to save on fuel costs.” – Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal
The Obama administration says these new regulations are necessary to meet Obama’s carbon dioxide reduction goals.
The EPA claims “The proposed standards are expected to lower CO2 emissions by approximately 1 billion metric tons…”
So, what benefit will we get for $30 billion? EPA’s own figures show no benefit to the environment and no effect on global climate.
According to the EPA report linked above, the new regulations will accomplish the following (page 6-45): “As a result of the proposal’s emissions reductions from the proposed
alternative relative to the baseline case, by 2100 the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is
projected to be reduced by approximately 1.1 to 1.2 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the
global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0026 to 0.0065°C, and
global mean sea level rise is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.023 to 0.057 cm.” Wow!
Among the first things the next President should do is to issue an executive order forbidding federal agencies from regulating carbon dioxide emissions and rescind all regulations that do so.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled against the EPA on certain power plant emissions (see here). It remains to be seen whether the principles cited in that case will be extended to motor vehicles.
See more articles on EPA stupidity:
But the EPA did get one right: EPA says fracking does not harm drinking water supply
Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini takes on Governor Ducey and the Arizona legislature in an editorial “Flawed forecast from Ducey and climate change skeptics” in which Montini demonstrates his own ignorance on the subject of climate change.
Montini admits his ignorance by writing “I’m not scientifically equipped to illuminate the governor on this issue.” Nevertheless, he goes on to attempt just that.
Montini’s article is a study in the methods of fact-free reporting. He denigrates his targets by calling them “deniers;” he invokes a (mythical) consensus; and he appeals to the authority of flawed IPCC reports. All of these tactics are invalid forms of argument. The form of argument used by Montini is typical of those with an agenda, but few facts.
Perhaps Mr. Montini (and Governor Ducey) would benefit by reading about some facts in these articles:
This article breaks down the methodology of how the “97 percent” figure was derived and shows that of almost 12,000 papers reviewed, only about 8 percent endorse the contention that human carbon dioxide emissions are the major cause of global warming.
On Consensus in Science shows a history of consensus in science and how it has often been wrong. Consensus is opinion, not fact. “It does not matter who you are, or how smart you are, or what title you have, or how many of you there are, and certainly not how many papers your side has published, if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.” –Richard Feynman
“I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. – Michael Crichton
Researchers from the University of Arizona and Stanford University used a contractor to conduct a survey by telephone of 803 Arizona residents about their views on global warming. They then conflated this very small sample into representing the views of all Arizonans.
In five major reports since 1990, the IPCC has published thousands of pages of material, none of which provide any physical or observational evidence that our carbon dioxide emissions have a significant effect on global temperature. All their dire predictions are based on “garbage-in-garbage-out” computer modeling.
The following articles discuss the real, observational scientific evidence:
The U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment report and the UN IPCC both claim that human carbon dioxide emissions are “intensifying” the greenhouse effect and causing global warming. Let’s review claims relative to observed data.
We begin with a very simplified review of what the greenhouse effect is. Solar radiation, mostly short-wave radiation, passes through the atmosphere and warms the surface. In turn, the heated surface re-radiates energy as long-wave infrared radiation back to the atmosphere and eventually, back to space.
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere intercept some of the long-wave infrared radiation and transfer some of the energy to excite other molecules in the atmosphere, some of the radiation goes back to the surface (this is called down-welling infrared radiation), and some of the radiation is radiated into space (this is called out-going long-wave radiation).
The carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has been increasing due in part to emissions from burning fossil fuels. This increased amount of CO2 should “intensify” the greenhouse effect and cause global warming according to the National Climate Assessment and the IPCC. So, what phenomena should we observe from an “intensified” greenhouse effect?
With an “intensified” greenhouse effect, we should see a decrease in out-going long-wave infrared radiation into space. We should see warming of the atmosphere (the troposphere), a “hot spot” especially over the tropics. We should see more down-welling infrared radiation that further warms the surface. That’s the essence of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. But, real-world measurements show we are seeing none of those effects.
According to satellite data compiled by NOAA, out-going long-wave radiation into space has not been decreasing but, in fact, slightly increasing (source).
Balloon-borne radiosondes and two separate satellite systems measure the temperature of the troposphere. None of these systems detect the model-predicted warming spot in the troposphere. [Source: Douglass, D.H. et al. 2007, A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions, International Journal of Climatology DOI:10.1002/joc.1651].
Finally, an independent study, published in the Journal of Climate, based on 800,000 observations, find there has been a significant decrease in down-welling, long-wave infrared radiation from increasing greenhouse gases over the 14 year period 1996-2010 in the US Great Plains. CO2 levels increased about 7% over this period and according to AGW theory, down-welling long-wave infra-red radiation should have increased over this period with buildup of carbon dioxide.
There is one more failed AGW prediction: CO2 is supposed to start warming which evaporates water, a stronger greenhouse gas that will enhance warming. That should increase global humidity, but measurements show that global humidity is not increasing.
Empirical data show that the AGW hypothesis fails on four major predictions. This indicates that our carbon dioxide emissions have little to no effect on global temperature nor the intensity of the “greenhouse effect” possibly because the AGW hypothesis ignores convective heat transfer (weather) and other natural cycles that control the complex climate system.
“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is; it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” – Richard Feynmann
Feynmann’s admonition is demonstrated by comparing global atmospheric temperatures predicted by models (based on their false assumptions) with real world observations.