Skip Navigation

State AGs to Waste Tax Dollars on ‘Climate Fraud’ Investigations

April 5, 2016

Climate Change Weekly #209 The theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is composed of three parts: 1) Earth is warming unnaturally, causing changes to the climate; 2) Human actions, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are causing this warming

thinkstockphotos-465540435

Climate Change Weekly #209

The theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is composed of three parts:

1) Earth is warming unnaturally, causing changes to the climate;

2) Human actions, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are causing this warming through the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere; and

3) The impacts of human-caused warming are likely to be catastrophic, including coastal flooding, species extinction, the spread of tropical diseases, widespread crop failures, and an increase in the number and intensity of short-term and long-term weather events including hurricanes, droughts, and floods.

Displaying the hubris previously reserved for gods and heroes in Greek tragedies and failed tyrants throughout history, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, speaking on behalf of 16 Democratic attorneys general with the confidence of having received a revealed truth, pronounced, “[W]e know what is being done to the planet. There is no dispute. ... The bottom line is simple: Climate change is real; it is a threat to all the people we represent.”

The occasion for Schneiderman’s declaration was a press conference held by state attorneys general and failed presidential candidate Al Gore, announcing the states were jointly investigating various companies in the fossil fuel industry and groups they funded, including universities, think tanks, and other research institutes, to determine whether they had committed fraud when they published papers, delivered presentations, or made public comments daring to dispute AGW.

The AGs’ investigation was spurred by articles published in 2015, whose authors were funded by anti-fossil-fuel activist groups and foundations including the Rockefeller Family Fund (a fund established with money from oil production, mind you) alleging Exxon hid research conducted by its own scientists linking fossil fuel emissions and global warming. Exxon officials have denied the claims, noting they have funded scientists who have come to varying conclusions concerning the causes and consequences of climate change.

In a statement issued shortly after the AGs’ news conference, Suzanne McCarron, Exxon’s vice president for public and government affairs, said the accusations are meritless:

The allegations are based on the false premise that ExxonMobil reached definitive conclusions about anthropogenic climate change before the world’s experts and before the science itself had matured, and then withheld it from the broader scientific community. Such a claim is preposterous.

It is preposterous since, contrary to Schneiderman’s pronouncement, the science is still not “mature,” if by mature one means settled. Indeed, whether or to what extent human greenhouse gas emissions are driving dangerous climate change is still a question under active debate with thousands of scientists worldwide disputing one or more parts of AGW theory.

Just three weeks ago, in CCW 206, I covered an analysis showing 250 peer-reviewed academic articles published in 2015 challenged one or more parts of AGW theory. Some of the articles argued nature was largely responsible for ongoing climate change. Other articles demonstrated the positive benefits to agriculture flowing from increased levels of carbon dioxide, and still other articles showed one or more of the predicted climate harms, like extreme weather events, species decline, or crop failure, have not occurred and are unlikely to in the future.

More recently, a survey of members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) found

  • 29 percent think current climate change is largely or entirely due to human activity
  • 38 percent think most of the change is caused by human activity
  • 14 percent think the change is caused more or less equally by human activity and natural events
  • 7 percent think the change is caused mostly by natural events
  • 5 percent think the change is caused largely or entirely by natural events
  • 6 percent say they don’t know
  • 1 percent think climate change isn’t happening.


The share of AMS members who believe humans are responsible for more than half of climate change has grown from 52 percent in 2012 to 67 percent today. Sixty-seven percent is a majority, but it does not constitute consensus, and it can hardly be represented as having ended debate concerning the causes and consequences of climate change.

To be clear, everyone who currently disputes one or more of the tenets of AGW theory could be completely wrong and may be shown to be so as more evidence comes in. So also could those who believe AGW is the gospel truth. But being wrong on a scientific matter does not constitute fraud. For centuries people believed illnesses were due to an imbalance of humours in the body, they believed Earth was flat, and they believed Earth was the center of the universe. Those people were wrong, they were not frauds.

The AGs’ investigation is an attempt to pressure climate realists into silence. This vile effort to circumvent the protections afforded free speech by the Constitution’s First Amendment threatens to undermine the very foundation of successful democracies and the scientific method: free and open inquiry and debate concerning matters of public import and/or scientific discovery.

-- H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Think Progress; Washington Times; The Detroit News; George Mason University; and Climate Etc.


IN THIS ISSUE …

Scientists support states’ Clean Power Plan challengeLack of data means computer models can’t workParis climate efforts likely to failGood news about trees and carbon dioxide


SCIENTISTS SUPPORT STATES’ CLEAN POWER PLAN CHALLENGE

Thirteen noted climate researchers have filed a friend of the court brief supporting the 27 states challenging the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The scientists note the Clean Power Plan is premised on fundamentally flawed lines of evidence for manmade global warming to justify the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endangerment finding. They note each line of evidence “ha[s] been shown to be invalidated by highly credible empirical data.”

For instance, while EPA claims there has been an unusual amount of warming on a global scale in recent decades, temperatures recorded by satellites and weather balloons show limited or no warming. Ground-based measurements have undergone continual manipulation, making them unreliable. In addition, the global climate models EPA has relied on assuming a cause/effect relationship of increased carbon dioxide leading to rising temperatures do “not comport with the real world.”

The scientists conclude EPA’s endangerment finding violates “the single most fundamental principle of the scientific method, known to every high school student, namely that any hypothesis that is inconsistent with the empirical evidence of the real world must be rejected.” Since the endangerment finding is mistaken, the underlying motivation and justification for the Clean Power Plan is fatally flawed.

SOURCE: Amici Curiae Brief


LACK OF DATA MEANS COMPUTER MODELS CAN’T WORK

In a recent paper, Tim Ball, Ph.D., states “every single forecast the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] ever made was wrong.” Why? Because the data used to build and feed into the climate models are incomplete, and fundamental climate processes are poorly understood.

IPCC acknowledged the models’ limitations in its Third Assessment Report, writing, “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Climate models mathematically divide the world into a series of cubes based on the grid system. IPCC claims the smaller the grid system, the more accurate the model. But Ball notes it doesn’t matter how small the grid is: If data are not available for a grid data point, the data aren’t available. We have essentially no weather data for approximately 85 percent of the globe: Virtually no weather data are available for the oceans, and there are relatively few weather stations located on the parts of Earth that are 19 percent mountains, 20 percent deserts, 20 percent boreal forest, 20 percent grasslands, and 6 percent tropical rainforest. As Ball notes, “There is so little data that for many parts of the world they use a single station as representative of a 1200 km radius, [and] even the smallest grid size is so large that major weather systems such as thunderstorms and tornadoes cannot be included.”

In addition, climate models can’t accurately account for major components of the atmosphere, including dust particles and water vapor. Nor can the models accurately depict large-scale shifts in ocean currents.

SOURCE: Rebel Media


PARIS CLIMATE EFFORTS LIKELY TO FAIL

A new study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University at Galveston and published in the academic journal Energy Policy concludes the temperature goal established at the Paris climate conference – limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above temperatures seen at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution – will be almost impossible to achieve.

Assuming increased greenhouse gas emissions drive temperature increases, based on the best projections of global population growth and per-capita energy use, marine sciences professor Glenn Jones, one of the study’s authors, says meeting the Paris temperature goal

would require rates of change in our energy infrastructure and energy mix that have never happened in world history and that are extremely unlikely to be achieved. Just considering wind power, we found that it would take an annual installation of 485,000 5-megawatt wind turbines by 2028. The equivalent of about 13,000 were installed in 2015. That’s a 37-fold increase in the annual installation rate in only 13 years to achieve just the wind power goal. For a world that wants to fight climate change, the numbers just don’t add up to do it.

SOURCES: Live Science and Energy Policy


GOOD NEWS ABOUT TREES AND CARBON DIOXIDE

Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, but they also emit some carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere during respiration. A new study in Nature shows the amount of carbon dioxide trees would emit into the atmosphere under warmer conditions would be five times less than the amount previously projected.

The study shows plants were able to adapt their respiration to increases in temperature, releasing only 5 percent more carbon dioxide than they did under normal conditions. As a post at The American Interest notes, the big downward revision of expected carbon dioxide releases from plants provides further evidence “our understanding of our planet’s climate, and of the countless systems that contribute to and are affected by changes in that climate, is far from complete. ... [C]limate science is riddled with mysteries. The system researchers are studying is bafflingly complex, replete with variables known and unknown that interact with one another in ways we don’t fully comprehend.”

The American Interest article also points out environmentalists themselves have become the leading source of climate denial: “Greens would have you believe we’ve fully diagnosed the problem and can see what’s coming next, but time and again climate models have gotten their predictions wrong. By exaggerating how settled the science is, environmentalists are setting themselves up to look foolish when we find our best understanding wasn’t good enough.”

SOURCE: The American Interest

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

Related News & Opinion View All News