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Climate Change Weekly Report: Paris Agreement – Treaty or Not?

THIS WEEK: By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) Paris Agreement – Treaty or Not? The December 26 TWTW emphasized that from a scientific and practical viewpoint the Agreement in Paris reached at the conclusion of the Conference of Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), “Paris Agreement” is largely smoke and mirrors. It does not obligate countries to reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions or countries to contribute to the “Green Climate Fund. Further, the climate science on which the fear of global warming/climate change is based is not robust and far from complete. The models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fail to properly account for natural climate change and past warming periods including the one from about 1910 to 1940. These models consistently overestimate the warming of the lower atmosphere. It is here where greenhouse gas warming, chiefly from human emissions of CO2, should occur. Yet, since 1979 satellites have provided the most comprehensive data of global warming and cooling in existence. For the lower atmosphere the data show no significant warming for over a decade. As John Christy has demonstrated, lower atmospheric temperatures are calculated by three independent groups and are confirmed by independent measurements of temperatures by four sets of weather balloon data. The recent effort by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to alter the historic surface temperature record to show recent warming has been severely criticized and has little merit. It can be considered to be a desperate act to continue fear of global warming. However, political analyst Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute warns that the Paris Agreement may turn into a tiger to the detriment of the US public and the US economy. Lewis lists eight points that the State Department and the Administration may use to argue that the Paris Agreement is an enforceable treaty, with the force of law and all its obligations onto the US government and the American public, even though Congress was not consulted in its formation or its execution. If the Administration, and State Department, tries this tactic, then protracted litigation is a likely result. At what point does the US government have a moral obligation to meet an agreement agreed to by the executive branch, without the advice and consent of the legislative branch? Lewis suggests that Congress pass a resolution similar to the Byrd-Hagel resolution passed by Congress during the Kyoto process to avert such an effort to avoid Congressional oversight by the Administration. See links under Analyzing Paris! USGCRP – IPCC: The IPCC has no mandate to consider the natural influences on climate change and it largely ignores them. This leads to a significant gap in its science, which chiefly asserts human cause and ignores natural cause. This effort leads to unsubstantiated claims that most of recent global warming/climate change is human caused. Unlike the IPCC, which it largely follows, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has a legal mandate to understand the natural processes of climate change. “The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to develop and coordinate “a comprehensive and integrated United States research program which will assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change. [Boldface added] The USGCRP, with a FY 2014 enacted budget of $2,489,000,000 (not including State and USAID), has systematically ignored a critical component of its legal mandate to understand natural processes of global change. The entity is acting outside of its legal powers. Reducing or eliminating its budget is not an attack on “science” but a necessary reduction of a government entity that has gone beyond its legal powers. By ignoring half its legal mandate, the USGCRP is presenting a false view of climate change. “USGCRP is steered by the Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR) of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability (CENRS), and overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).” The Chair of the critical Subcommittee on Global Change Research (SGCR) is Thomas Karl, who led the recent manipulation of historic sea surface temperatures to create an impression of a warming where there was none. See links: http://www.globalchange.gov/about/l… and http://www.globalchange.gov/about/o… State Department – UNFCCC. In discussing the role of the Department of State, the USGCRP states: “Through the Department of State (DOS) annual funding, the U.S. is the world’s leading financial contributor to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the IPCC—the principal international organization for the assessment of scientific, technical, and socioeconomic information relevant to the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts, and options for adaptation and mitigation” Thus, the State Department deliberately funds an entity that largely ignores the natural causes of climate change, in spite of the legal mandate creating the USGCRP and the role of the State Department to “understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.” See link http://www.globalchange.gov/agency/… USGCRP Conclusion: Given the actions of the USGCRP, and its 13 entities, in ignoring its legal mandate to understand natural processes of climate change and focusing virtually solely on human cause, we can expect the USGCPR to continue to do so, even at the expense of climate science. Marlo Lewis may be correct in that it may take an act of Congress to stop the emotional mania reached in Paris. Sadly, what passes for climate science under the USGCRP is more social science than natural science. See links given above and under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Defending the Orthodoxy, Questioning the Orthodoxy, Seeking a Common Ground, and Measurement Issues Forecasting Extreme Weather and Results: Unlike the IPCC and the USGCRP, the business of reinsurance companies depends on recognizing expected catastrophic events, including extreme weather events, and adjusting premiums accordingly. Failure to do so can result in bankruptcy. Munich RE, the world’s largest reinsurance company, released its annual summary of losses from natural disasters, both total and insured losses, for 2015. Once again, this questionably claimed “hottest year ever” turned out to be quite benign. The biggest insured losses came from the extreme cold, with deep, light snow, that gripped the northern part of eastern and central US last winter. These losses directly contradict forecasts by the IPCC and the USGCRP. One year does not make a trend, but 2015 is a continuation of a trend of lower losses from heat, floods, hurricanes, etc., that are repeatedly predicted by the Administration and other climate alarmists. See links under Changing Weather.

PLEASE NOTE: The complete TWTW can be downloaded in an easily printable form at this web site: http://www.sepp.org/the-week-that-was.cfm…

Please forward this Newsletter to those interested in Science and Environmental Policy. Thank you. Forward.

The Tale of Two Floods: Unusual rains in Scotland and northern England and in the middle Mississippi Valley caused floods. The exaggerated news reports and the actual events are revealing. The hardest hit area of England was Cumbria, a hilly (mountainous), sparsely populated county in northwest England, immediately south of Scotland. Due to the terrain, it is subject to flash floods. The floods were similar to those earlier in December about which local author Philip Walling wrote: “Amid all the devastation and recrimination over the floods in Cumbria hardly anybody mentions one factor that may not be the sole cause, but certainly hasn’t helped. “That is the almost complete cessation of dredging of our rivers since we were required to accept the European Water Framework Directive (EWF) into UK law in 2000.” “So, in order to comply with the obligations imposed on us by the EU we had to stop dredging and embanking and allow rivers to ‘re-connect with their floodplains’, as the currently fashionable jargon has it.” For centuries, the residents of Cumbria recognized the need to dredge siltation of the local rivers to prevent them overflowing. Now, that responsibility is controlled by unaccountable bureaucrats, thanks to international agreement. This is a warning about the consequences of international agreements. The central Mississippi Valley was hit by heavy rains in late December, causing what was termed as “record floods.” Except for the free-flowing Meramec River, one of the longest rivers without flood control structures in Missouri, the floods were record only in the sense they occurred in early January, rather than later in the year. Following the disastrous flood of 1927, thousands of people camped on levees waiting for the waters to slowly recede. Congress passed laws to control the flooding of the Mississippi River, giving responsibility to the US Army Corps of Engineers. Many of the affected lived in the region of the state of Mississippi known as the Delta, in the northwest part of the state. This fertile, broad, flat alluvial plain was a noted cotton-growing region, roughly between Memphis Tennessee, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. It is hundreds of miles upriver from where the River empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River drainage basin includes about 41% of the 48 conterminous states of the US. The flood control measures included enhancing and building levees to control the river system, building dams and reservoirs to limit downstream flow, and building spillways to redirect peak river flow away from urban areas and towards rural areas. The Corps of Engineers built enormous flood projects to protect cities following a plan called Project Design Flood. The design figures are interesting. At St Louis (Caro Ill), the Mississippi River brings in up to 150,000 cubic feet per second of water and the Missouri River 100,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Down river, the Ohio River brings in up to 2,250,000 cfs. Of this, 550,000 cfs can be diverted into the New Madrid Floodway, flooding part of the state of Missouri (farmers and residents do not like it). The other big tributaries of the Mississippi River are the Arkansas and White rivers with up to 540,000 cfs. According to the Plan, the total flow past Vicksburg can be 2,720,000 cfs. Further down river, the Red, Ouachita, and other local rivers from the west add another 350,000 cfs. Several hundred years ago, the lower Mississippi, north of Baton Rouge, moved west and intercepted the Red, which previously went to the Gulf past Morgan City. The lower Red River was named the Atchafalaya. Being a shorter and steeper route, in the 20th century the Mississippi began to divert into the Atchafalaya north of Baton Rouge, threatening to leave that city and New Orleans on back-water bayous. [The Mississippi started another diversion into Lake Pontchartrain, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.] The Corps stopped these diversions (for normal flow), and created floodways for flood control. The Atchafalaya and Morganza Floodways are designed to handle up to 1,500,000 cfs into Atchafalaya basin and the Bonnet Carre Spillway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is designed to handle up to 250,000 cfs into Lake Pontchartrain. All this is designed to reduce the flood flow of the Mississippi to 1,250,000 cfs past New Orleans roughly south of the old part of the city (as compared with 2,250,000 cfs from the Ohio River alone.). [None of this applies to threats to New Orleans from hurricanes such as Katrina or Betsey, which flooded the city through Lake Pontchartrain, north of the city.] Since its completion in 1954, the Morganza spillway has been opened twice, in 1973 and 2011. As of January 8, 2016, the Corps of Engineers may open some gates on January 13. In order to open the Morganza Spillway, water must reach a height of 57 feet and flow at a rate of 1.5 million cubic feet per second. The Corps is scheduled to open some gates in Bonnet Carre on January 10 to reduce the level of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, so its flow does not exceed 1.25 million cubic feet per second in New Orleans. This would be the 11th opening since it was completed in 1931. Often, we fail to fully realize is that engineered structures, such as those on the Mississippi, can significantly reduce the human suffering and economic loss associated from extreme weather events, such as major flooding; however, these structures cannot eliminate the flooding. All too frequently policy makers (and courts) believe those who speak in absolutes – “either eliminate the possibility of flooding or don’t do anything.” Those who are affected by these events fall victim to this false dichotomy. See links under Changing Weather and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morga… and http://www.mvd.usace.army.mil/Porta… Where Ignorance Is Bliss: After an absence, John Brignell has posted some comments directed towards political ignorance of mathematical concepts such as logarithmic functions (and the inverse, exponential functions), which are commonly found in many physical systems and that, often, breaking records is not particularly meaningful. A pioneer in electronic measurement and an expert in statistics, Brignell’s wit and lucid writing are welcome, but perhaps not by scaremongers. See link under Questioning the Orthodoxy Tale of Two North Poles? Time.com had a post that claimed that temperatures at the North Pole were above freezing in late December. This produced predictions of dire consequences to humanity and polar bears. With no known thermometers at the North Pole, 90ºN, the source of the data was questioned. Ryan Maue of Weatherbell Analytics LLC, may have solved the mystery – North Pole, Alaska, which is a suburb of Fairbanks, roughly in the center of the state. North Pole, Alaska, is at latitude 64° 45′ 04″ N, about 1,700 mi (2,700 km) south of Earth’s geographic North Pole. From such stories, global warming fears are made. See links under Below the Bottom Line. Number of the Week: One Billion subscribers. According to reports, India has one billion subscribers to mobile telephone services. Although the phones operate with batteries, the telephones and the systems need reliable electricity. Perhaps this is why villagers in India demand “real electricity” from the reliable Grid, rather than “fake electricity” from unreliable solar generation, as Greenpeace has discovered. See link under Other News that May Be of Interest. ARTICLES: Due to travel commitments, there will be no Articles summarized.  ]]>

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