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Climate Science: Republicans Fight for It, EPA Director Doesn’t Understand It

March 13, 2015

Climate Change Weekly #163 Within the space of a week, we’ve seen the two extremes, abject ignorance and informed commentary, on the state of climate science from different branches of the national government. In late February, Sens.

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Climate Change Weekly #163

Within the space of a week, we’ve seen the two extremes, abject ignorance and informed commentary, on the state of climate science from different branches of the national government.

In late February, Sens. Ed Markey (D-MA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent letters to more than 100 companies, trade groups, and think tanks requesting funding information concerning their activities related to climate science and climate policy.

Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast saw the letter for what it was: a blatant attempt to pressure Heartland and other organizations and companies to stop funding and promoting research critical of the climate alarmism espoused by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and President Barack Obama and Democrats.

In his response to the alarmist cohort, Bast wrote, “[Markey’s letter is] part of a campaign to stigmatize and demonize those who question the alarmist claims of Greenpeace and other far-left groups in the environmental debate. So first, shame on you for abusing your public office in an attempt to silence public debate on such an important public policy topic. I am grateful that a majority of members on the Committee on Environment and Public Works has strongly condemned your views and tactics.”

Before the ink was dry on Markey’s letter, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (CEPW) sent a letter of its own condemning the three Democrat senators’ attempt to suppress scientific debate concerning the important issue of climate change. Signed by every Republican member of CEPW, the letter said,

Rather than empower scientists and researchers to expand the public discourse on climate science and other environmental topics, the [Democrats’] letter could be viewed as an attempt to silence legitimate intellectual and scientific inquiry.

The credibility of a scientific finding, research paper, report, or advancement should be weighed on its compliance with the scientific method and ability to meet the principles of sound science; in short, it should be weighed on its merits. The scientific method is a process marked by skepticism and testing, rather than dogma. If the work can be reproduced and independent experts have a fair chance to validate the findings then it is sound, irrespective of funding sources.

The letter you received from our colleagues is a wholly inappropriate effort to challenge these well-accepted truths. We ask you to not be afraid of political repercussions or public attacks regardless of how you respond. Above all, we ask that you continue to support scientific inquiry and discovery, and protect academic freedom despite efforts to chill free speech.

The Republican response was a ringing endorsement of sound science and the scientific method in pursuit of knowledge and an indictment of scare tactics and thinly veiled threats used by climate alarmists inside and outside of Congress.

Meanwhile, in stunning testimony before the Senate, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy displayed an alarming amount of ignorance concerning the current state of climate science.

Under questioning, McCarthy couldn’t say whether droughts or hurricanes had increased in number or severity in recent years, or whether climate models had predicted the current pause in temperature. Climate models and IPCC, which McCarthy cited as the authority on climate, failed to predict the nearly two-decade-long pause in rising temperatures Earth is now experiencing, and they incorrectly predicted an increase in droughts and hurricanes, which has not come to pass.

McCarthy’s ignorance was all the more troubling because the agency she heads is leading the charge to impose extremely expensive greenhouse gas emissions regulations on the economy. Regulations, study after study has shown, will result in increased unemployment, erratic electric power supplies, and reduced economic growth, while doing nothing to prevent global warming.

Before she regulates, she should educate herself.

-- H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Sens. Ed Markey, Barbara Boxer, and Sheldon Whitehouse; Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; and Investor’s Business Daily


IN THIS ISSUE …

IPCC needs reform … Peer-reviewed papers show the sun dominates climate ... Swiss voters overwhelmingly reject carbon tax … New mechanism discovered to impact climate … Australian government replaces entire science agency board … Desalination could solve one climate woe


IPCC NEEDS REFORM

In the aftermath of Rajendra Pachauri’s resignation as chair of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) amidst a sex scandal, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has issued a letter calling for drastic reform of IPCC. Pachauri self-admittedly viewed fighting climate change as a religious mission. In an interview with Sputnik News, Benny Peiser, director of GWPF, said, “[The] IPCC is seen as a green lobby-group rather than a scientific authority. And that is a problem because governments themselves need to trust this organization. The organization is extremely one-sided, it has pushed out anyone who has not accepted the general philosophy, the gist of the organization and instead of issuing balanced and objective reports, it has tended over the years to exaggerate the issue.” IPCC’s large reports are informative, but in the executive summaries, which are promoted by governments, environmental lobbying organizations, and the mainstream media, the “leadership cherry-picked the negative aspects and ignored the positive aspects that were also covered in the reports,” said Peiser.

By way of correcting for past bias and improving future performance, GWPF’s letter suggests IPCC should include critical scientists who are not a part of the organization at the moment as lead authors and reviewers of future IPCC work and publications.

SOURCE: Sputnik News


PEER-REVIEWED PAPERS SHOW THE SUN DOMINATES CLIMATE

Club du Soleil and Dr. Maarten Blaauw, Ph.D., a paleo-ecologist and lecturer at the Queen’s University of Belfast in Northern Ireland, are populating and maintaining a compilation of papers published in peer-reviewed journals since 2010 demonstrating a link between solar influences and climate change. This database of papers is being constantly updated and already has more than 200 papers archived. The compilation includes an abstract of each paper and a link to the original publication (though many are behind paywalls). Hundreds of other papers showing the solar influence, which is arguably dominance, of climate change can be found in the citations of the more recent papers.

SOURCES: The Hockey Schtick and Club du Soleil


SWISS VOTERS OVERWHELMINGLY REJECT CARBON TAX

By a vote of 92 percent to 8 percent, Swiss voters overwhelming rejected a scheme to replace the country’s value-added tax with a carbon tax. The initiative was backed by the Green Liberal Party of Switzerland, the Green Party of Switzerland, the World Wildlife Fund, and Greenpeace Switzerland. The initiative would have encouraged Swiss households to use renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, which would have been exempt from taxes. The Swiss cabinet opposed the proposal because it was estimated to result in less revenue for the federal government.

SOURCE: Global Warming Policy Foundation


NEW MECHANISM DISCOVERED TO IMPACT CLIMATE

A new study in the journal Nature Geoscience examining the paleoclimatological history of precipitation associated with the western Pacific Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), combined with modeling and global solar insolation records, show precipitation in both continental East Asia and northern Australia decreased simultaneously during the Little Ice Age. Further examination shows multi-decadal and possibly centennial climate changes for the ITCZ occur in conjunction with variation in solar irradiance. This demonstrates the diversity of natural mechanisms (including solar variability) that can cause Earth’s climate system to vary significantly over periods between a few decades and up to a century in length. This mechanism is not accounted for in climate models. It’s worth noting Dr. Willie Soon is one of the paper’s co-authors. Nature Geoscience should be applauded for publishing the paper in the face of recent scurrilous attacks on Soon’s character.

SOURCE: The Hockey Schtick


AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT REPLACES ENTIRE SCIENCE AGENCY BOARD

Despite strenuous objections from the climate-alarmist establishment, the Australian government, led by Prime Minister Tony Abbot and a Liberal Party coalition, decided not to renew the contracts of any of the managing board members of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CISRO), the nation’s leading public science agency. Even with a change in government, it is unusual for a sitting board to be replaced in its entirety. While the government has been silent on why it will not renew any of the previous CISRO appointments, many believe CISRO’s stance on climate change is to blame. Simon McKeon, the outgoing chairman of CISRO, has been outspoken about his climate alarmist views. The move is in keeping with the government’s previous efforts in recent years to de-emphasize climate change. Australia recently reduced its renewable energy subsidies, cancelling several large-scale solar projects, dropped the post of science minister, and appointed an admitted climate skeptic to review renewable energy targets. The Australian government also announced new infrastructure spending in support of the country’s largest coal mine and repealed its carbon tax.

SOURCES: Watts Up With That and RoadtoParis blog


DESALINATION COULD SOLVE ONE CLIMATE WOE

Many argue global warming will cause increased drought and a decrease in drinking water as aquifers dry up. Some also claim this will lead to increased conflict over water resources in already arid regions like the Middle East. Though the bulk of Earth’s surface is water, the vast majority of it is saltwater unsuitable for drinking and irrigation. Desalination plants are an option, though until now the technology has not proven cost effective on a large scale. This may have changed recently.

The world’s largest modern seawater desalination plant located just outside of Tel Aviv in Israel provides 20 percent of the water consumed by the country’s households. It uses reverse osmosis combined with a series of engineering and materials advancements to produce clean water from the sea cheaply and at a scale never before achieved.

An article in MIT Technology Review states, “Worldwide, some 700 million people don’t have access to enough clean water. In 10 years the number is expected to explode to 1.8 billion. In many places, squeezing fresh water from the ocean might be the only viable way to increase the supply.”

The new Israeli plant demonstrates large desalination facilities are practical. Desalinated seawater is a mainstay of the Israeli water supply. In 2004, the country relied entirely on groundwater and rain. Now, desalinated water accounts for 40 percent of Israel’s water supply. That is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2016.

SOURCE: MIT Technology Review

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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