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Heartland Institute Challenges COP25

December 13, 2019

Climate Change Weekly #344

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Once again showing the speed with which The Heartland Institute can adapt to changing climate policy conditions, Heartland brought a heavy dose of sound science and climate realism to the 25th Conference of the Parties (COP 25) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

COP 25 had to change locations from Chile to Spain at very short notice (after it had already changed locations from Brazil to Chile), after riots erupted around the country in protest to energy price hikes to pay for Chile’s climate change programs, forcing Chilean President Sebastian Pinera to put troops on the streets and cancel his plans to host COP 25.

With less than a month to shift Heartland’s planned conference from Chile to Spain, the team got it done in spectacular fashion, hosting a Climate Reality Forum event in Madrid on December 3 with an impressive lineup of speakers from Canada, Chile, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Headlining the event was award-winning physicist Will Happer, Ph.D., the former top science advisor to President Donald Trump. Happer’s presentation documented human greenhouse gas emissions are having much less impact on global temperatures than predicted by alarmist climate theory and are certainly not causing a climate crisis. Happer described the many beneficial effects of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, including a dramatic greening of the Earth as more carbon dioxide serves as aerial fertilizer for crops and vegetation.

Discussing his time working for Trump, Happer said the president firmly agrees with climate realists that humans are not causing a climate crisis. Trump’s political advisors, however, particularly those in charge of his reelection campaign, have encouraged him to deemphasize climate change. Nevertheless, Happer expressed confidence Trump will continue to advance a sound-science agenda if he wins a second term.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts, a Heartland Institute senior fellow, showed the majority of official temperature stations are corrupted by artificial heat sources and other factors, giving the appearance of more warming than is measured by global satellites instruments and weather balloons.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hurricane researcher Stanley Goldenberg explained there is no evidence indicating hurricanes are becoming more frequent or severe as the planet warms. Goldenberg pointed out even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledges this. The IPCC’s 2018 Interim Report states, “There is low confidence in any observed long-term (i.e., 40 years or more) increases in tropical cyclone activity (i.e., intensity, frequency, duration).”

Chilean civil engineer Douglas Pollack noted the Chilean government’s climate policies have made the nation’s electricity prices the highest in South America. The government’s price increase for the country’s Metro system, the main mode of transportation for the urban poor, to pay for its switch to being run on expensive renewable power was the last straw, resulting in the protests and riots that ultimately forced Pinera, in consultation with the UNFCCC, to cancel Chile’s hosting of COP 25, Pollack said. Neither Pinera nor the UNFCCC could afford the public black eye of climate-policy-induced civil unrest outside of COP 25’s meeting halls and the hotels where the envoys were staying.

Nineteen-year-old German YouTube personality Naomi Seibt closed out the forum, chronicling how she transformed from believing in a climate crisis to being a climate realist. After fact-checking the assertions of her teachers and the media, she realized propaganda was triumphing over science in the climate change debate.

“I was an innocent young girl, and I thought that by hugging trees I could save the planet,” said Seibt. “It is important we keep questioning the narrative that is out there instead of promoting it.

“These days, climate change science really isn’t science at all. … They draw their conclusions before even testing their hypotheses, and they base their assumptions on completely incoherent models, which is just an insult to science itself,” Seibt said.

By almost any measure, Heartland’s Climate Reality Forum was a rousing success. In just 10 days, videos from the event generated more than 280,000 views on YouTube, more than 4,000 comments, and 14,000 “likes” (resulting in a positive rating of 97 percent). The event was covered by dozens of news outlets both internationally and in the United States, such as France TV, De Telegraph and the JAS Newsletter in the Netherlands, Spain’s Diary Now, and Breitbart News, the Daily Kos, and the Washington Times.

Full video of the 2019 Climate Reality Forum presentations can be seen at https://climaterealityforum.com/. Watch and Learn!

—    H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; The Heartland Institute Climate Reality Forum; Climate Change Weekly 340


IN THIS ISSUE …

Urbanization is reducing the impact of carbon dioxide induced global greeningCourt tosses New York’s climate lawsuitClimate center bilks taxpayers


URBANIZATION IS REDUCING THE IMPACT OF CARBON DIOXIDE INDUCED GLOBAL GREENING

A new paper published in Nature Communications by an international team of researchers at multiple universities in China, Europe, and the United States, finds although plants have responded to increased carbon dioxide emissions by taking more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, greening the Earth in general, an  increase in urbanization between 2000 and 2010 reduced the rise in carbon dioxide uptake as croplands, forests, grazing lands, wetlands, and other lands dominated by plant life were converted to commercial, industrial, and residential uses.

The paper states the terrestrial biosphere has had a net carbon dioxide uptake of 1 to 4 petagrams-1 (or one to four billion metric tons) per year during the last few decades. This is just the uptake of plants on Earth, not counting the carbon dioxide uptake of oceans and other carbon sinks. Contrary to the projections of climate model simulations, total net primary uptake of carbon dioxide between 1982 and 1999 increased by approximately 190 teragrams-1 per year (190 million metric tons per annually).

The researchers found, however, rapid urbanization, primarily in Asia and dominated by growth in China, but also in North America, offset a significant amount of the growth in carbon dioxide uptake.

Using the GlobeLand30 dataset to monitor and measure land use changes, the researchers found urban areas expanded by approximately 5,694 kilometers per year between 2000 and 2010, equivalent to approximately 5 percent of the total urban area in 2000. Asia and North America experienced the largest growth in urban lands, accounting for 69 percent of the global urban expansion over the period. China alone accounted for 65 percent of “total urban land growth in Asia and 28 percent of the global urban expansion.”

The transformation of farmlands, fields, and forests into urban areas offset “30 percent of the climate-variability-driven [net primary production] increase,” the study found.

SOURCE: Nature Communications


COURT TOSSES NEW YORK’S CLIMATE LAWSUIT

New York Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager dismissed a lawsuit brought by state Attorney General (AG) Letitia James against ExxonMobil accusing the company of lying to investors about the company’s business prospects in light of the possible costs of government regulations to fight climate change.

“The office of the Attorney General failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that ExxonMobil made any material misstatements or omissions about its practices and procedures that misled any reasonable investor,” Ostrager wrote in his decision.

Ostrager dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought again based on these facts in the state of New York.

The lawsuit was a waste of government resources, said Casey Norton, a spokesman for ExxonMobil, in a statement.

“We provided our investors with accurate information on the risks of climate change,” said Norton. “Lawsuits that waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”

Scholars at The Heartland Institute who have long criticized New York’s lawsuit and other similar municipal lawsuits for trying to gain big bucks from oil companies to pad state government coffers by falsely claiming burning oil and natural gas is causing catastrophic climate change, praised the ruling in a press release.

“In this highly touted, planet-saving ‘ExxonKnew’ trial, the New York Attorney General failed to clear the lowest bar ever established for such matters, the New York Martin Act which empowers the AG to target a wide range of corporate behavior that could have hurt shareholders,” said meteorologist Antony Watts, a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute.

“This result is what happens when law enforcement launches abusive investigations and prosecution at the behest of private nongovernmental organizations like Bill McKibben and 350.org, donors, and climate-engaged political hacks who really have no clue about the burden of proof needed, much like the entire climate scare itself,” said Watts.

“Unable to prevail in the court of scientific debate or the court of public opinion, climate alarmists made a desperate attempt to prevail in courts of law,” said James Taylor, director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute. “They failed spectacularly, as they have everywhere else, which is fitting.

“Carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures benefit human health, human welfare, crop production, and weather stability,” Taylor said. “All the propaganda and ambulance-chasing legal theories in the world won’t stop that.”

SOURCES: Los Angeles Times; NPR; The Heartland Institute


CLIMATE CENTER BILKS TAXPAYERS

The taxpayer advocacy group FreedomWorks filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) accusing the Climate Investigations Center (CIC), an environmental activist group, of misrepresenting itself to federal agencies as a legal nonprofit in order to collect documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) at no expense.

CIC’s website claims it “was established in 2014 to monitor the individuals, corporations, trade associations, political organizations, and front groups who work to delay the implementation of sound energy and environmental policies that are necessary in the face of ongoing climate crisis.”

Chris K. Gober, an attorney representing FreedomWorks, accuses CIC of defrauding taxpayers and hypocritically hiding the nature of its operations and funding while seeking to make other groups reveal inside information through FOIA requests.

CIC has requested thousands of documents from the Energy Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and DOJ, using the FOIA process, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in resources and government agencies months of time. Along with its FOIA requests, CIC requested and was granted fee waivers— allowing the organization to receive the FOIA documents at taxpayers’ expense—on the basis of the organization’s supposed nonprofit status. FreedomWorks’ review of the Internal Revenue Service’s charitable database found no evidence CIC was ever granted nonprofit status by the federal government. In addition, FreedomWorks found the organization had not been registered or incorporated as a charity or business in any state.

“Climate Investigations Center is brazenly asking federal taxpayers to repeatedly foot their bill so they can engage in fishing expeditions into the annals of government records for the purpose of attacking the private entities they are averse to,” wrote Gober in his DOJ complaint, according to the Daily Caller.

FreedomWorks also points out CIC—while repeatedly calling for industry and research institutes to disclose funding for their climate policy efforts, including hosting 78 articles on its website demanding transparency concerning the funding of corporations and nonprofits engaged in influencing climate and environmental policy—lists only a post office box as its business address, hides the identity of those who purchased the domain name and set up its website, and does not publicly disclose its donors, the salaries for top officers, or even the identity of its board members. This type of “information is commonly available for both for-profit businesses and non-for-profit organizations—particularly those engaged in advancing transparency and accountability,” notes the Daily Caller.

FreedomWorks is requesting DOJ open an investigation into CIC’s operations, that the activist group be granted no more fee waivers, and that CIC be forced to reimburse the government for the cost of providing FOIA records to the center under the false pretense of being a legally recognized nonprofit.

SOURCE: Daily Caller

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