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Media Misleads on Trump Climate Switch

December 8, 2016

Climate Change Weekly #234

The mainstream media seems to be learning from its mistakes with regards to climate change and President-elect Donald Trump. Trump met with former vice president and global warming alarmist-in-chief Al Gore at Trump Towers, giving alarmists hope Trump may be moderating his views on climate change.

The media didn’t bite, this time.

After the meeting Gore told the assembled press, “I had a lengthy and very productive meeting about the transition with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground.” Yet almost every report of the meeting carried a lengthy discussion of the fact the people Trump is considering for various posts with climate change responsibilities within his administration are, like Trump, skeptical of one or more of the claims that human energy use is driving climate change, or that climate change is among the most serious problems facing the country, or that proposals to restrain fossil fuel use and throw more subsidies at renewable energy sources is good for the American economy or the American people.

His pick for the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, clarified Trump’s position pretty well. “Trump Taps climate skeptic for top environmental post,” reported The Wall Street Journal on page 1 on Thursday.

Trump is considering other pro-environment, pro-energy, pro-jobs advocates for top administration posts such as the heads of NASA and the Department of the Interior. Various Obama administration initiatives to cut carbon dioxide emissions and limit the use of fossil fuels would seem to be on the chopping block once Trump takes office.

The press’s restrained reaction to the Gore meeting is a far cry from the hopeful, hypeful tones struck by the media just before Thanksgiving when, after Trump had a sit-down interview with various staff of The New York Times, headlines rang out proclaiming Trump had taken “a major U-turn,” or done a “backflip,” on climate change.

In fact, the views Trump expressed in his Times interview were consistent with his position prior to the election. In a September 21, 2015 appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show, Trump said, “I’m not a believer in man-made global warming. I mean, Obama thinks it’s the number one problem of the world today. And I think it’s very low on the list … we have much bigger problems.”

Trump’s views seems to be in sync with the views of the majority of the American public on the relative importance of climate change. In survey after survey, when asked to rank the importance of tackling climate change compared to other policy issues including crime, the economy, education, health care, immigration, jobs, terrorism, and the like, climate change consistently ranks dead last.

During the Times interview, Trump said, “I think there is some connectivity. Some, something. It depends on how much,” and he said he has “an open mind” concerning how to deal with climate change. But he also pointed out weather is much the same now as before, alarmist climate scientists were caught lying about climate data in the Climategate scandal, and there is an active debate within the scientific community concerning the extent to which human greenhouse gases are driving dangerous climate change. When Times writer Tom Friedman expressed concern that Trump was going to “take America out of the world’s lead of confronting climate change,” Trump responded, “You don’t tend to hear this, but there are people on the other side of that issue [global warming]. ... A lot of smart people disagree with you.”

Asked to comment on the media’s spin of the Times interview, Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast reviewed the full transcript of the interview and told Marc Morano of Climate Depot: “This is reassuring. The Left wants to drive wedges between Trump and his base by spinning anything he says as ‘retreating from campaign promises.’ But expressing nuance and avoiding confrontation with determined foes who buy ink by the barrel is not retreating.”

Keeping an open mind with respect to evidence and policies needed to confront problems is a trait Trump has displayed throughout his business career. It is a trait critical to sound decision-making for a future president of the United States. It is climate alarmists, including many in the media, who have closed minds concerning the science, economics, ethics, and politics of climate change. It is good Trump is calling them on it.

-- H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Climate Depot; Associated Press; and The New York Times


Editor’s note: This will be the final issue of Climate Change Weekly for 2016. I wish you merry and bright holidays filled with good cheer, and I look forward to connecting with you again in a more prosperous, perhaps even less alarmist, New Year!


IN THIS ISSUE …

Cement, the new carbon sink!Warm Arctic, cold Siberia, no human fingerprintHadron research minimizes human climate impactNo El Niño, no spike in warming


CEMENT, THE NEW CARBON SINK!

Cement production is responsible for as much as 8 percent of global human greenhouse gas emissions. However, new research published in Nature Geoscience finds cement eventually reabsorbs most of the carbon dioxide released during its creation.

In the cement production process, carbon dioxide molecules are released directly as limestone is converted to lime, the key ingredient in cement. Additional carbon dioxide is emitted as fossil fuels are burned to heat the lime sufficiently to break it down. The new research shows the process of carbonation draws carbon dioxide into the pores of cement-based materials, and thus the buildings, roads, and other infrastructure projects that require cement ultimately remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over time. University of California, Irvine, earth system scientist Steven Davis, one of the co-authors of the study, stated, “It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. The cement poured around the world since 1930 has taken up a substantial portion of the CO2 released when it was initially produced.”

SOURCE: Watts Up With That


WARM ARCTIC, COLD SIBERIA, HUMAN FINGERPRINT ABSENT

While climate alarmists assert the unusual warmth experienced in the Arctic until this week is linked to human-caused climate change, research indicates natural factors are behind the warmth in the Arctic and the extreme cold in Siberia and across much of Asia.

In the Arctic, temperatures soared to near record high levels for this time of year, hovering at or just above freezing for the last two weeks of November. This marks the second straight year of abnormally mild air near the Pole, where the temperature was as much as 36 degrees above average for the time period compared to the same time period from 1979 through 2000.

By contrast, Siberia has experienced multiple weeks of temperatures as much as 60 degrees below normal. According to The Weather Channel, on November 15 more than a dozen cities registered temperatures 40 degrees below zero or colder.

In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported, “138 new daily record low temperatures [were] set across Russia since Nov. 1 ... [and] dozens of locations saw their previous cold records smashed by more than 10 degrees – some even by 15 to 20 degrees or more.”

The cold in Asia and warmth near the North Pole are not caused by greenhouse gas emissions, but rather are due to a combination of natural factors. Snow swept over Eurasia at the fastest pace on record in October. That snowfall caused cooling temperatures which, when combined with an extreme high pressure system that formed in Siberia in October and persisted for more than a month, shifted the jet stream, pushing milder air towards the Arctic. The jet stream shift, combined with simultaneous low pressure systems in the Pacific and Atlantic, kept temperatures relatively high and prevented the formation of extensive sea ice. Low sea ice levels were the consequence of natural factors, not the cause of the Arctic’s warmth or Eurasia’s extreme cold.

October 2016 papers in Nature Geoscience and Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) show periods of low Arctic sea ice don’t historically correlate with low temperatures in Europe. In the Nature Geoscience study, researchers running climate model simulations against 600 years of climate records “found no evidence of Arctic sea-ice loss having impacted Eurasian surface temperature. ... We conclude that the observed cooling over central Eurasia was probably due to a sea-ice-independent internally generated circulation pattern.” That finding appeared to have been confirmed in the GRL paper, which finds shifts in large scale and regional Atlantic and Pacific ocean circulation patterns are likely responsible for sea ice loss in the Arctic and more frequent recent cold winters in Europe.

SOURCE: Washington Post; No Tricks Zone; and Yahoo News


HADRON RESEARCH MINIMIZES HUMAN CLIMATE IMPACT

New research from scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland indicates projected temperature increases over the next century may be overestimated by climate models due to their limited understanding of natural cloud formation. During an experiment to create artificial clouds, researchers at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which runs the collider, discovered trees emit into the air secondary aerosols similar to those produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Those particles, when combined with cosmic rays – high-energy particles bombarding the atmosphere from outside our solar system – contribute to cloud formation. The summary from the Watts Up With That blog notes:

Until this study, scientists thought sulphuric acid, largely produced with fossil fuel emissions, was needed to form secondary aerosols, and therefore responsible for the bulk of global warming aerosols. However, the research found the Earth actually produces these particles naturally, without any interference from man long before the industrial revolution, meaning humans may have had less impact on the climate than we thought.

Commenting on the take-aways from his team’s research, Jasper Kirkby, Ph.D., CERN particle physicist, said, “We found that nature produces particles without pollution. That is going to require a rethink of how human activities have increased aerosols in clouds. Since time immemorial nature has had a perfectly good way of making cloud seeds throughout atmosphere by this gas to particle conversion and that’s new.”

Kirby says CERN’s research shows climate models’ projected future temperature increases should be reduced.

SOURCE: The Express


Every global temperature data set – land based, sea based, global satellite measurements, and temperatures measured from weather balloons – shows temperatures falling rapidly in recent months as the recent extremely powerful El Niño event was replaced by a La Niña. Land-based temperatures fell by more than 1°C since June – their largest, steepest fall on record.

While many scientists have claimed the past two years’ globally averaged high temperatures were proof human greenhouse gas emissions are warming the globe, other scientists pointed to the powerful El Niño event as ending the pause in rising temperatures measured over the past 18 years. El Niños trigger higher than normal temperatures and alter weather patterns globally, and the El Niño of 2015 through 2016 was the strongest since accurate measurements began. El Niño has been replaced by a La Niña event, which drives temperatures down.

As Judith Curry, Ph.D., of the Georgia Institute of Technology, told the Daily Mail, “The record warm years of 2015 and 2016 were primarily caused by the super El Niño.” Curry also noted, even with the El Niño spike, climate models grossly overestimate the amount of warming experienced since the latter half of the twentieth century. Model predictions are even more badly mistaken when El Niño is removed.

SOURCES: Global Warming Policy Foundation and The Daily Mail

Article Tags
Climate Change
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