NY Magazine Publishes Malthus Reboot on Steroids
Climate Change Weekly #256
In a July 18 article at The Federalist, I took David Wallace-Wells’ New York Magazine
article, “The Uninhabitable Earth,” to task. Wallace-Wells out-revelations the Bible’s Revelations, following in a long line of seers issuing dire warnings of impending planetary doom.
I had neither the time, space, nor patience to do a point-by-point refutation of Wallace-Wells’ science fiction piece posing as journalism. He raised one point in particular that I did not address in The Federalist but will do so here: He claimed the air would become “unbreathable” as Earth warms.
Wallace-Wells claims ozone and particulate matter are causing millions of premature deaths annually. This claim would be laughable if it weren’t so regularly repeated in the media and so commonly believed, and if it weren’t the basis of some of the most costly regulations in U.S. history. The claim is based on flawed scientific studies and government claims that knowingly excluded copious amounts of research demonstrating ozone and particulate matter levels aren’t linked to premature deaths or hospitalizations.
For example, government data show ozone and particulate matter levels have declined significantly since the 1970s in the United States, even as Earth has warmed. Yet reported asthma attacks and hospital admissions for asthma have increased. International data show asthma rates are highest in wealthy Western countries with relatively low air pollution levels, while developing countries with awful air pollution have low asthma rates. Moreover, hospital admissions for asthma are lowest in summer, when ozone levels are highest. The same is true for other cardiopulmonary problems: More people go to emergency rooms during the fall and winter when ozone levels are lowest, than during the summer when they are higher.
Concerning particulate matter, researchers like Steve Milloy have long pointed to the flawed nature of the research used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate particulate matter, and to EPA’s refusal to share the data it uses for independent testing. Their critiques have been ignored. Echoing the climate debate, EPA and its defenders repeat the mantra, “the science is settled.”
A new study published in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology shows the science is not settled. The study by statisticians S. Stanley Young , Richard L. Smith, and Kenneth K. Lopiano examined more than 2 million deaths from 2000 through 2012 in California’s eight most populated air basins. After examining air quality, PM2.5 and ozone levels, daily temperatures, and relative humidity levels for more than 37,000 exposure days, the researchers found “little evidence for association between air quality and acute deaths.”
“The daily death variability was mostly explained by time of year or weather variables; neither PM2.5 nor ozone added appreciably to the prediction of daily deaths,” determined the authors.
And I’ll point out once again, because it’s critical to Wallace-Wells’ claims: PM and ozone levels have fallen sharply during the period of global warming, and they are expected to continue declining as energy use becomes more efficient and cleaner.
My regular readers will know I rarely agree with Penn State researcher Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, one of the most visible advocates for the theory humans are causing dangerous climate change. But Wallace-Wells’ “The Uninhabitable Earth” goes too far even for Mann. Mann’s conclusion regarding Wallace-Wells’ scare-story is spot on: “The article argues that climate change will render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this century,” Mann told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it.”
— H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
The idea that humans are causing dangerous climate change is based on the claim that there has been an unusually fast, steep rise in global average surface temperature (GAST) over the past century. That claim was critical to EPA’s endangerment finding that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and must be regulated.
A new study challenges the basis for the claim GAST has been rising. The study finds much, if not all, of the reported GAST rise is due to adjustments to measured temperature data made by three agencies providing GAST data. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and UK Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services (Hadley) produce GASTs after collecting and collating data from measuring stations around the globe. Each of the agencies has routinely adjusted the data recorded by themselves or received from other agencies to reduce historic recorded temperatures, remove cyclical temperature patterns, and increase contemporary temperature measurements. As a result, reported past temperatures are consistently lower than recorded, reported present temperatures are consistently higher than recorded, which produces a rate of rising temperature steeper than recorded.
The three researchers compared GAST records reported by NOAA, NASA, and Hadley against the best documented surface data sets from the United States and elsewhere as well as global data from satellites and weather balloons. They found, “the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality.”
“Nearly all of the warming they are now showing [is] in the adjustments,” meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, one of the study’s three co-authors, told The Daily Caller.
The study finds the much-hyped reported temperature rise in the latter half of the twentieth century is largely if not entirely due to biased adjustments made by the agencies charged with recording, receiving, and collating global surface temperature records. If the GAST data are flawed, the authors note, we cannot trust reports claiming Earth has experienced record-setting warming in recent years. And since invalid GAST data sets serve as the basis for EPA’s endangerment finding, the endangerment finding should be withdrawn.
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been losing mass and contributing to sea level rise. The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), which is 1,000 percent larger, has been adding ice, and new research appears to show it is stable and will likely remain so regardless of greenhouse gas emissions for hundreds of years.
A NASA study in 2015 indicated EAIS was adding more ice annually than WAIS was losing. Two new papers confirm, contrary to climate models, East Antarctica’s glaciers are adding ice, have been stable for an estimated 600 years, and are likely to remain stable for at least 500 years more, reducing the rate of sea level rise in the process.
A paper in the May 2017 issue of The Cryosphere examines the ice mass balance of the Blåskimen Island in Dronning Maud Land in East Antarctica. The study’s authors found the ice mass on the island’s peaks, which control the ice mass balance for the whole, has thickened by 0.07 to 0.35 meters annually over the past decade and the ice balance has been relatively stable for at least 600 years.
A second paper, in the June 16 Geophysical Research Letters, found the Lambert-Amery glacial system in East Antarctica will remain stable also for the next 500 years and possibly even grow in mass. Observational data show the Lambert-Amery glacial system has been stable in recent decades. Modelling a range of future extreme warming and climate scenarios, the researchers found such scenarios would not trigger rapid mass loss. Indeed, the researchers found Lambert-Amery will likely gain ice and remain stable for the next 500 years, mitigating the equivalent of as much as of 117.5 mm in global sea level rise over the time period.
Wishful thinking and pronouncements by climate alarmists and other anti-fossil-fuel activists opposed to President Donald Trump’s efforts to bring about a resurgence in the U.S. coal industry aren’t enough to halt economic reality. As natural gas prices have risen recently, coal use has surged at U.S. power plants. Reuters reports a rise in natural gas prices has stabilized production, improved natural gas export prospects, and reduced demand for natural gas electricity generation. This led to an increase in electric power production by coal-fired power plants.
During the first six months of 2017, natural gas prices for next-month delivery at Henry Hub were 46 percent higher than in the first half of 2016, while gas prices paid by electricity producers increased by 39 percent. Gas-fired power plants responded to higher prices by cutting generation 15 percent below the same period in 2016. Over the same period, coal-fired power plants picked up the slack, increasing their electricity generation by approximately 7 percent.
Higher gas prices stabilized domestic natural gas production and, combined with less use at electric power plants, freed up more natural gas for export to foreign markets, where U.S. gas prices are still considerably lower than prices paid for natural gas abroad. Reuters reports U.S. gas exports increased nearly 50 percent in the first four months of 2017.
Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann has committed contempt of court in a Canadian lawsuit he filed by defying a judge’s order to surrender the controversial data at the center of the suit for open court examination.
Mann filed a libel lawsuit in the British Columbia Supreme Court in 2001 against Canadian climatologist Tim Ball, who said Mann cherry-picked data to produce a historical temperature reconstruction that made the Medieval Warm Period disappear and showed a steep rise in temperature in the latter half of the twentieth century—producing the now famous ‘hockey stick” reconstruction of temperature. Mann’s taxpayer-funded research was used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to support its claim Earth is warming unnaturally due to human greenhouse gas emissions and has been cited by hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. Ball famously said of Mann, “he belongs in the state pen, not Penn State.”
Mann requested the trial be adjourned for proposed settlement negotiations. Before requiring defendant Ball to accept adjournment, the British Columbia Supreme Court required Mann to provide his disputed data and computer code for examination. Mann refused to turn over the data by the February 20, 2017 deadline or subsequently.
Ball is expected to instruct his attorneys to trigger mandatory punitive court sanctions, including a ruling Mann acted with criminal intent when using public funds to commit climate data fraud. Mann’s contempt of court is likely to end his lawsuit against Ball. It also means the court could rule Ball’s “state pen” statement is a precise and true statement of fact under Canada’s “Truth Defense.” The court may rule Mann hid his data because it is fake and award court costs to Ball and his attorneys.
How Mann’s Canadian contempt of court will affect a similar lawsuit he’s filed in the United States against various climate skeptics is unclear, but it certainly won’t help his cause.