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Dear Ivanka, Please Consider This

May 12, 2017

Climate Change Weekly #249

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NOTE: This week’s lead essay is excerpted from an open letter Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast sent to Ivanka Trump, daughter of and top advisor to President Donald Trump. The essay, published in The American Spectator, explains why the United States should not stay in the Paris climate agreement.


Dear Ms. Trump,

Recent news stories report your interest in the climate change issue. I share your deep concern over the future of our planet – it’s an unbelievably beautiful and precious thing, something we must cherish and protect for all of Earth’s creatures and for future generations.

I am writing to urge you to proceed carefully as you explore this subject, because those who claim climate change requires “immediate action” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or even “transforming the world’s economic system,” have often misrepresented the science and economics of this issue. The truth is climate change does not require that we reduce energy consumption or replace fossil fuels with alternative energies.

Your father is right when he questions whether global warming is a genuine “crisis” or a product of hype and exaggeration by various interest groups. He is also right to suggest the issue is being used to extort money from the United States, handicap American businesses, and undermine our economic growth and prosperity. …

Once you look at the underlying science – the same sort of number-crunching you would perform for a complicated business transaction – you will discover there is no scientific case for reducing our use of fossil fuels.

– Joseph Bast

READ MORE: The American Spectator


IN THIS ISSUE …

Higher carbon dioxide reduces soil toxinsArctic sea ice levels not unusualProof of pause growingPoll: Weather forecasters increasingly buck climate consensus


HIGHER CARBON DIOXIDE REDUCES SOIL TOXINS

A paper in Chemosphere finds a little-discussed benefit of the effect of increased carbon dioxide on plant growth: At higher levels of carbon dioxide, plants remove greater amounts of toxins from the soil and at a faster pace. Soil contamination by heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, is a serious problem in many parts of the world. In China, it is estimated more than 20 million hectares of land are contaminated.

In controlled tests, the Chinese researchers involved in the study sowed black locust seeds in pots in open-top chambers maintained under ambient carbon dioxide levels of 385 parts per million (ppm) or elevated levels of 700 ppm. At 30-day intervals, 30, 60, and 90 days after the locust seeds sprouted, the researchers collected samples from each treatment. They found black locust grown under higher carbon dioxide levels were “associated with greater removal of heavy metals from … soils relative to ambient CO2 … [with] improvements in the microenvironment suggest[ing] that elevated carbon dioxide could benefit soil fertility … under heavy metal stress.”

That is: The plants studied remove from the soil greater amounts of toxins under conditions of elevated carbon dioxide levels, thus improving the soil’s fertility – its ability to grow crops and other useful plants suppressed under conditions of high heavy metal contamination.

SOURCE: CO2 Science


ARCTIC SEA ICE LEVELS NOT UNUSUAL

Satellite monitoring has shown a dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice extent since at least the 1970s, especially in the late summer months. The timing of the start of the satellite measurements has proven unfortunate because it coincided with the end of several decades during which Arctic sea ice extent was generally increasing – so satellite recordings of sea ice began when ice was at high levels, making the subsequent measured decline seem both particularly sharp and unusual. However, long-term sea ice trends show this decline is not unusual and, at least over the past century, has tracked temperature trends in the Arctic.

A new paper in Hydrological Sciences Journal, using a new dataset describing seasonal and annual Arctic sea ice extents for the period 1901 through 2015 from North American, Nordic, and Siberian regions, shows the recent period of Arctic sea ice retreat since the 1970s followed a period of sea ice growth since the mid-1940s, which followed a period of sea ice retreat from the 1910s until expansion began in the 1940s.

SOURCE: Hydrological Sciences Journal


PROOF OF PAUSE GROWING

A study in Scientific Reports adds to the growing body of peer-reviewed literature confirming the Earth experienced a hiatus in rising temperatures from at least 1998 through 2012 and links the temperature pause to natural factors, primarily a shift in ocean cycles coupled with changes in cloud distribution. Although NOAA researchers claim there never was a pause in global warming, this study confirms the pause, finds it comparable to a pause in temperatures measured from 1950 through the early 1970s, and says it is clearly recorded in global satellite data sets.

The researchers write: “Compared with the warming trend of the past several decades, the rate of increase of annual average global mean surface temperature (GMST) has experienced a reduction between 1998-2013, known as the hiatus. However, climate models designed to represent the physics and dynamics of the climate system project that GMST continued to rise in the early 2000s.”

The researchers posit the cause of the pause is a large shift in ocean circulation patterns coupled with changes in cloud distribution. The pause in surface warming is also evident in the troposphere and is due to a “transition of internal climate variability…, including interactions between large-scale circulation and cloud distribution.”

SOURCES: Scientific Reports, Geophysical Research Letters (behind paywall), and No Tricks Zone


POLL: WEATHER FORECASTERS INCREASINGLY BUCK CLIMATE CONSENSUS

In 2016 the U.K.’s Guardian reported on a survey led by researchers at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication concerning the views of broadcast meteorologists on climate change and humanity’s role in it. The lead author of the survey was Edward Maibach, one of 20 academics who signed on to a letter to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse arguing climate skeptics should be prosecuted for racketeering.

Nearly all weathercasters who responded to the 2016 survey said they believe climate change is happening, although just 67 percent said they thought humans were responsible for most climate change.

A new survey shows that percentage to be falling. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of broadcast meteorologists who responded to the survey and said they believe humans have caused most or all of the present climate changes fell from 67 percent to less than half, only 49 percent. In 2017, only 15 percent of the meteorologists responding to the survey thought climate change was largely or entirely man-made, falling from 29 percent in 2016. Twenty-one percent of respondents think climate change is more or less equally caused by human activity and natural events, while another 21 percent think climate change has been primarily or entirely due to natural events.

Among broadcast meteorologists, there never was a 97 percent consensus humans are causing dangerous climate change, and evidently even that tide is turning. Today, not even a majority of them support that view. If the views of broadcast meteorologists are any indication, the forces of climate realism are rising.

SOURCES: Jo Nova Blog, 2017 Survey of Broadcast Meteorologists, and The Guardian

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland research fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org
Author
Joseph Bast is the CEO of The Heartland Institute, a 33-year-old national nonprofit research center located in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
jbast@heartland.org @JosephLBast

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