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Carbon Tax Cabal, Part Two: Economic Punishment

February 16, 2018

Climate Change Weekly: #277

In the previous issue of Climate Change Weekly, I discussed the economic harm a carbon tax would create. In this issue I provide evidence such a tax will be ineffective in preventing climate change and will hurt the poor.

Neither federal nor state carbon tax schemes will do anything to prevent the climate from changing. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made this point when he admitted in a December 2015 speech to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, “If we somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, guess what—that still wouldn’t bend enough to offset the carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.” A state-based carbon tax would have even less impact on global temperature.

Carbon taxes won’t prevent any measurable amount of sea level rise, either, or reduce the likelihood of hurricanes forming or wildfires from occurring.

The only reason to discourage the use of fossil fuels is to prevent dangerous climate change, yet the best evidence—as opposed to dubious computer model predictions—suggests humans aren’t causing dangerous climate change.

Almost every testable projection made by computer models concerning the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet has been proven wrong. Hurricanes aren’t getting worse; sea levels are not rising at an unusual rate; Antarctica is adding ice, not losing it; scientists can show no species to have been lost due to climate change; droughts continue to wax and wane as they always have; and crop production continues to set records.  Actual measured temperatures are much lower than the computer model predictions, indicating global temperature is most likely less sensitive to greenhouse gases being added to the atmosphere than computer models suggest.

If humans aren’t causing apocalyptic global warming, there’s no good reason for governments to tax fossil fuel use.

Discouraging fossil fuels is an especially bad idea because expanding the use of these fuels is the quickest, surest way to decrease poverty and increase economic progress in the United States and abroad. In addition, higher carbon dioxide levels are demonstrably beneficial for plants, increasing agricultural yields, improving plants’ water use efficiency, and greening Earth by shrinking deserts and expanding forest cover.

More than one billion people don’t have access to regular supplies of electricity today, with millions dying from preventable cardiopulmonary diseases each year from indoor air pollution caused by their use of wood, charcoal, dung, and other materials they use to cook with and heat their homes. Millions more die prematurely from a lack of access to safe drinking water, modern transportation, and hospitals with continuously working electric lights, medical equipment, and refrigeration. In the West, we take these necessities for granted, but they were all brought about on a large scale by the use of fossil fuels. Where coal, natural gas, and oil are in regular use, people are wealthy, and where their use is absent, poverty, disease, and hunger are rife.

—H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Climatewire; OregonLive; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; The Heartland Institute


IN THIS ISSUE …

Cataloguing climate model errorsGreen policies, nature behind California wildfiresWarming godfather Hansen admits nature’s climate roleTrump cuts climate program budgets


CATALOGUING CLIMATE MODEL ERRORS

In a recent paper, economist Alan Carlin, Ph.D., former Director of the Implementation Research Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, writes the theory human greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous climate change is nothing more than an expensive, failed modeling exercise based on flawed assumptions about the relations between greenhouse gases and temperature, and the use of manipulated data.

Citing Mike Jonas from Watts Up With That, Carlin describes how General Circulation Models (climate models) are constructed. First, all known or at least well-understood factors, such as the general rules of physics, are built into the climate models, with estimates included for unknown factors, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls parameterizations, such as feedback mechanisms and the effects of cloud cover and solar activity. Second, model results are then compared with actual observations. Since GCMs reproduced only about a third of the observed warming in the 20th century, the modelers then adjusted or fiddled with the unknown factors until they fairly closely reproduced past climate conditions and current temperatures. What this means, however, is two-thirds of the models’ predicted future warming comes from factors that are not well understood.

Adding error on top of error, a recent report found because models still grossly overestimate the amount and rate of warming the earth has experienced in recent years, scientists have taken to adjusting surface temperature data in order to force it to coincide with GCM projections, ignoring satellite temperature records and temperature data from weather balloons which show much less warming than the adjusted ground level data and GCM projections. The authors of this study write, “The magnitude of their historical data adjustments … [is] totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published global average surface temperature data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever—despite current claims of record setting warming.”

Even IPCC admits GCMs cannot predict climate change well.  When IPCC Working Group 1 assessed the physical-scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change in 2007, it said “we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

After calculating governments have spent approximately $1.5 trillion annually in recent years to study and combat climate change, Carlin concludes, “This is undoubtedly the worst scam-based science on a major public policy issue in the history of the world.”

SOURCES: Carlin Economics; Wallace et al.


GREEN POLICIES, NATURE BEHIND CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

California’s 2017 wildfires destroyed a record number of homes, with the fires and subsequent mudslides killing more than 60 people and leaving many others injured. In a recent paper, meteorologist Robert W. Endlich, who served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years before working at the White Sands Missile Range, says entirely “explainable weather conditions” combined with the California’s “hands off” forest management policy “set the stage for 2017’s intense, highly destructive wildfires in California.” Contrary to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s claims, human-caused climate change was not to blame for the fires.

Data shows California has experienced a slight increase in rainfall and snowfall over the past 125 years, including record rainfall during the 2016-2017 winter season.

On the meteorological front, the winter’s record rainfall produced lush vegetation and brush in the spring. Then, as a “subtropical ridge” shifted northward in California, rainfall dried up during the summer and the vegetation dried out. In addition, the Santa Ana winds (as they are called in southern California) or Diablo winds (as they are referred to in northern California) arrived in force and lingered throughout the fall—another periodic and hardly unusual event.

That’s nature’s part of the story. As Endlich points out, the state and federal governments also played a critical role in fueling the wildfires. Endlich quotes an op-ed as stating, “Decades of aggressive firefighting left too much fuel on the ground” and “another man-made initiative: building more and more homes in hilly communities adjacent to brush and woodlands” over the long term set the stage for the 2017 conflagrations. In addition, as  environmental activists took control over forest management policy, logging on national and state forests came virtually to an end, resulting in forest growth of unnatural density. Endlich writes, “Government agencies [refused] to permit the removal of dead, diseased and desiccated trees and brush from these woodlands—especially in the broad vicinity of these communities. Together, these factors all but ensure recurrent conflagrations and tragic losses of property and lives.”

The Mercury News reports Brown worsened the problem by vetoing a unanimously passed 2016 bill to fund power line safety measures which would have included trimming trees and brush near power lines. During the northern California fires which began on October 8, high winds knocked utility power poles down onto adjacent dry trees.

SOURCE: The Master Resource


WARMING GODFATHER HANSEN ADMITS NATURE’S CLIMATE ROLE

Even while misstating the facts concerning 2017’s temperature, James Hansen et al. make a surprising admission: the sun has a strong influence on temperature that may overwhelm rising greenhouse gas emissions and lead to decade-long hiatus in temperature rise.

Hansen and his colleagues say 2017 was the second or third warmest year since widespread surface instrumental records were kept. They attribute this warming to rising greenhouse gas concentrations, stressing it was not helped along by any boost from a tropical El Niño as was arguably the case in 2015 and 2016.

Their claim is false. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an 11 week springtime El Niño anomaly occurred from April through July of 2017. Because it didn’t last five months, NOAA did not classify it as an El Niño event, but El Niño conditions persisted for three months, affecting both ocean and land temperatures, the latter of which take longer to recover from. El Niño conditions thus affected temperatures well into 2017.

More interesting than their temperature claim was the Hansen team’s admission solar variability has a powerful influence on temperatures. In the past, Hansen and others on his team have dismissed solar activity as not having any significant long-term impact on global temperatures, but in this paper Hansen et al. write:

The record 2016 temperature was abetted by the effects of both a strong El Niño and maximum warming from the solar irradiance cycle. Because of the ocean thermal inertia and decadal irradiance change, the peak warming and cooling effects of solar maximum and minimum are delayed about two years after irradiance extrema. [S]olar variability is not negligible in comparison with the energy imbalance that drives global temperature change. Therefore, because of the combination of the strong 2016 El Niño and the phase of the solar cycle, it is plausible … the next 10 years of global temperature change will leave an impression of a ‘global warming hiatus.’”

In one paragraph, Hansen acknowledges solar variability and oceanic oscillations could overwhelm any effect greenhouse gas concentrations could have on temperatures. And by the way, the result would not be just an “impression of” a global warming hiatus. It would be a real hiatus.

SOURCES: Columbia; Global Warming Policy Foundation


TRUMP CUTS CLIMATE PROGRAM BUDGETS

As part of President Donald Trump’s continuing effort to shift focus from the inane quest to fight climate change toward establishing American energy dominance, the Trump administration cut funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, reducing the number of fellowships by half, from eight to four. Since its inception in 1992, the program has funded 218 fellowships. The program’s eight fellows cost the nation’s taxpayers approximately $2 million each year. EOS reports the Trump administration has also defunded or put on hold at least two other climate-related postdoctoral fellowship programs at other agencies.

Journalist James Delingpole writes another measure indicating the Trump administration’s “draining of the climate swamp” has begun to have an impact is the fact the words “climate change” appeared in 40 percent fewer university research grant applications in 2017, according to the National Science Foundation.

“To be absolutely clear, … NOAA’s ‘prestigious’ Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is a waste of money,” writes Delingpole. “The four places on the program which have been scrapped so far are a very good start. Let’s hope the other four places … are nixed soon.”

I couldn’t agree more.

SOURCES: Breitbart; EOS

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org

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