We are told that Barack Obama hopes to leave a legacy of stopping global warming/climate change/climate disruption as his major accomplishment in his last term. If so, even Obama must be discouraged by his latest failure, along with the many others that have occupied the media in the last two weeks. The People’s Climate March (September 21st, 2014) was a dismal failure, the Climate Summit at the United Nations (September 23, 2014) was even worse.
The fiasco began with a lengthy article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal by Dr. Steven Koonin, a former Undersecretary for Science in Obama’s Energy Department, titled “Climate Science is Not Settled.”
In the article Dr. Koonin was refreshingly honest in admitting that decades of computer modeling (and $150 billion) have brought us no further in understanding or predicting the climate. Climate models simply don’t match actual climate data. There has been no global warming – measured by ground thermometers and by satellites and balloons – for 18 years. Antarctic sea ice is at a record high; Arctic sea ice is coming back to normal levels (in spite of official forecasts of an ice-free Arctic in 2013). Major hurricanes hitting the US are at a record low (since 2005’s Wilma); tornadoes are far below average for three years in a row. Increasing CO2 demonstrably doesn’t cause warmer temperatures.
Below is a plot of atmospheric temperature differences from average as a function of CO2 content. Temperature goes up, goes down, and, on the whole, stays the same as CO2 increases. Do you see a correlation here? The correlation (R2) coefficient is 0.002; this is laughably irrelevant. Thursday’s WSJ contains a rebuttal letter from Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore Labs, insisting that terrible climatic events are obvious. Dr. Santer’s insistence is not a substitute for data.
On Sunday 100,000 socialists showed up for the People’s Climate March in New York City. The picture on the right demonstrates their understanding of climate science:
“Capitalism is the Disease; Climate Change is the Symptom; Socialism is the Cure.”
Good luck with that one, kids; socialism has never helped the world’s biggest problem – poverty. Ask the Indians, ask the Chinese. I watched the People’s March on television where several of the marchers proudly identified themselves as illegals who came from some third world country to tell you and me how to improve America.
On Tuesday (September 22, 2014) the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry lectured Foreign Ministers from 120 countries on the importance of stopping Climate Change, which is more dangerous than the Islamic State (ISIS). According to Kerry the Islamic State is only a local problem, but “climate change affects the whole world.”
You may rightly wonder why the diplomats came back on Wednesday to hear Barack, but there’s a good reason – money.
Remember the Climate Conference in 2009 at Copenhagen, that President Obama had to flee hurriedly to get back to the White House ahead of a blizzard? Before he left, he promised to contribute to a Green Climate Fund; wealthy countries (you know who that is, right?) promised $100 Billion. So far, the Green Climate Fund has $2.3 Billion, of which $1.3 Billion was raised last week. Did I mention that the deal is for an annual $100 Billion to help developing countries? Even with global warming, Hell will freeze first. But the UN marches on. The next meeting is in November, in Lima; the goal is to raise $10 Billion for the Climate Fund.
In the meantime, China has stated it has no intention of reducing its CO2 emissions (now 28% of the world’s total). India has made the same declaration. To quote Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
“The world had agreed on a beautiful balance of collective action – common but differentiated responsibilities. That should form the basis of continued action. This also means that the developed countries must fulfill their commitments for funding and technology transfer”.
Mr. Modi is quoting from the Kyoto Protocol, which died because of China and India’s refusal to limit their emissions. But it’s still our obligation to send money and technology. Sure!
In short, I think Mr. Obama’s “Climate Legacy” is dead, especially if the Polar Vortex returns this Winter.
But diminishing America’s technological and commercial leadership – by shutting down our fossil fuel energy advantages – fits well in the Obama ideology of trashing America. He’ll keep trying.
And speaking of the Polar Vortex, New England utility National Grid has announced that household natural gas prices will go up by 37%, about $33 per month over last year. This sounds like a cruel joke; natural gas prices are going down, because of fracking, right? Yes, but because of the low price, everyone wants all the natural gas they can get – i.e., demand is way up. But the region’s two major natural gas pipelines are already practically filled to the brim, constricting supply and sending already-elevated rates ever higher.“We’re a stranded region,” says Gilbert Metcalf, an economics professor at Tufts University. “We have a major bottleneck for getting natural gas into New England.” The EPA’s efforts to shut down coal-fired generators adds to New England’s problem.
Elsewhere, the Bardarbunga volcanic vent in Iceland continues pouring out molten lava, throwing it 130 meters into the air. Yes, that’s the report – 130 meters. For comparison, the Statue of Liberty, from ground to torch, is 93 meters; the Brooklyn Bridge is 84 meters above the water. The smell of sulfur in the air is evident as far away as Paris. How long will this continue? The Laki eruption in 1783-1784 went on for eight months, and caused extremely cold weather around the world. It also caused thousands of deaths.
And, in Japan, a volcano erupted without warning, killing a number of Summer mountain climbers. Suspicion is growing that this increased volcanic activity is caused by, yes, you guessed it, global warming. According to the National Post:
19,000 years ago the glaciers of the most recent Glacial Age (i.e., the Wisconsin Glaciation) began to melt, lifting billions of tons of ice off Earth’s crust and weakening the ability of the crust to resist the flow of magma from below. The magma from the mantle then was able to surge up and out. This is demonstrated by the numerous volcanoes in the British Isles and Scandinavia, which were heavily glaciated in…oh, wait!
However, in spite of the disappointments at the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Conference, the Administration is bringing out the heavy guns – yes, Vice-President Joe Biden has added his voice to the scientists warning us of the dangers of anthropogenic climate disruption.
The VP recently reminded us of “the 161,000…fathers, mothers, brothers, grandparents….lost” in the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri in 2011. Not to mention the “thousands of cars tossed around like leaves.” Incidentally, Joplin’s population is about 50,000. That, friends, is the man who’s a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Not to be outdone, the Brits have a rival to Biden. Ebola may be more dramatic, but climate change is a bigger threat to public health. That’s the conclusion of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), a weekly peer-reviewed medical journal, publishing since 1840. This week it ran an editorial calling on the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) to declare climate change a public health emergency.
“Deaths from Ebola infection, tragic and frightening though they are, will pale into insignificance when compared with the mayhem we can expect for our children and grandchildren if the world does nothing to check its carbon emissions,” said the editorial, written by the magazine’s editor in chief, Fiona Godlee.
I don’t make this stuff up, folks, I just report it. But I figure quoting these people – occasionally – is as good as trying to argue with them.