January 2002

German Industry Opposes European Unions Emissions Trading Scheme

German industry has come out in public against the European Unions scheme to trade greenhouse gas emissions permits. In a November 28, 2001 letter to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a number of major German corporations, including Thyssen Krupp, Bayer, and BASF, state that the EU Commissions “Draft Guidelines for Emissions Trading at the Company Level for CO2” would be “economically unbearable for German industry.”

In an attachment to their letter, the German companies explain their main objections to the EUs draft guidelines. First, the trading scheme would punish companies that are expanding production and provide “shutdown premiums” to companies that were cutting production and closing facilities. This would encourage moving production to other countries.

The attachment details other problems with the EUs emissions trading plan most of them economic. For example, “Emission trading heightens the costs of national businesses, which are already subject to special burdens affecting their global competitiveness from eco-taxes, the Renewable Energies Law, the CHP [combined heat and power] Preliminary Law, the planned CHP law, and self-imposed obligations.”

Another objection is that the EUs plan would “lead to centralized production, employment, and investment controls by Brussels [that is, by the EU].”

Maine Co-Op Against Regulating CO2

The Eastern Maine Electric Co-operative came out against regulating carbon dioxide emissions at a board meeting on January 23. The directors passed a resolution that charges the chief executive officer “with the objective of helping prevent such economic harm by using his resources to influence legislators, regulators, executives and administrative departments with respect to the C02 issue.” The board also requires the CEO to educate the public about global warming issues.

Antarctic Cooling Down

A forthcoming study in Nature, that has appeared on its website as an “advance online publication,” has found that the Antarctic has been cooling for some time now (www.nature.com). This contradicts the findings of the climate models upon which the case for global warming is built. They predict that the Earths poles will warm more rapidly than the rest of the Earth.

According to the study, “Climate models generally predict amplified warming in the polar regions, as observed in Antarcticas peninsula region over the second half of the 20th century.” The new study finds that “Our spatial analysis of Antarctic meteorological data demonstrates a net cooling on the Antarctic continent between 1966 and 2000, particularly during summer and autumn.” The McMurdo Dry Valleys, for example, have cooled about 0.7 degrees Celsius per decade during this period of time.

The authors conclude that, “Continental Antarctic cooling, especially the seasonality of cooling, poses challenges to models of climate, and ecosystem change.”

The research into the continents temperature record was motivated by the unexpected coldness of the summers, according to lead author Peter Doran with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois. “Two or three years ago when we were waiting for the big summers, we noticed that they didnt come,” said Doran. We were thinking that warm summers were the norm, and we were saying, Its going to get back to normal, but it never did” (Washington Post, January 14, 2002).

Michael Oppenheimer, chief scientist for Environmental Defense isnt buying it, however. “Id be very careful with this,” he told the Washington Post. “My general view has been that theres simply not enough data to make a broad statement about all of Antarctica.”

Of course, lack of data has never stopped Oppenheimer from making “broad” statements about the whole Earth. In November 2000, Environmental Defense press release he stated, for instance, “The 1990s, likely the hottest decade of the past thousand years, capped decades of shrinking glaciers, thinning Arctic ice, intensifying rainstorms, and rising seas,” and that this means that, “The world must end its dependence on fossil fuels that are too dirty and too expensive. Governments must take action now.”

It seems that the climate models have struck out. Strike one: they cant simulate the current climate. Strike two: they predict greater and more rapid warming in the atmosphere than at the surface. The opposite is happening. Strike three: they predict amplified warming at the poles, which are cooling instead.

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is Growing

A new study appearing in Science (January 18, 2002) concludes that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is thickening, rather than thinning as was previously thought. Earlier studies found that in the Ross Sea Sector, “The grounding line (the point where the ice sheet loses contact with its bed and begins to float) has retreated nearly 1300 km along the western side of the Ross Embayment,” since the last glacial maximum.

This led researchers to predict that the entire WAIS would collapse in 4000 years, implying a sea-level rise of 12.5 to 15 centimeters per century. This was based on a measurement of a loss of ice mass of 20.9 13.7 gigatons per year.

The authors of the new study, Ian Joughin and Slawek Tulaczyk, with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, note, “The ice-discharge estimates of earlier studies relied on relatively sparse in situ measurements of ice-flow velocity. For some ice streams theestimates were based on only one or two velocity measurements.”

The new study used satellite remote sensing to get better measurements. Contrary to earlier studies, the authors found “strong evidence for ice-sheet growth (26.8 14.9 gigatons per year).” They conclude, “The overall positive mass balance may signal an end to the Holocene retreat of these ice streams.”

Hansen Downgrades Warming Threat

James Hansen, the director of NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has published a study in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences (December 18, 2002) that downgrades the magnitude of global warming.

According to his analysis, the growth rate of climate forcing from greenhouse gases peaked in 1980 and has since declined from about 5 watts per square meter (W/m2) per century to about 3 W/m2 per century. When all forcings, both negative and positive, are taken into account total net forcing is about 1.6 1.1 W/m2. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assumes a 4 W/m2 forcing. As the study notes, “Most climate simulations, as summarized by the IPCC, do not include all of the negative forcings; indeed, if they did, and other forcings were unchanged, little global warming would be obtained.”

Hansen and his co-author Makiko Sato, with Center for Climate Systems Research at the Columbia University Earth Institute, predict that “Global warming at a rate +0.15 0.05 degrees C per decade will occur over the next several decades.” This is what the so-called skeptics have been saying all along.

Hansen and Sato put an interesting twist on their argument, however. They state that “the slowdown was caused mainly by phase-out of CFCs” (chlorofluorocarbons), which are also greenhouse gases, under the Montreal Protocol. The previous claim that sulfate aerosol emissions are masking the warming is no longer satisfactory since that has been cancelled out by the discovery of an equal but opposite forcing from black carbon.

Despite Hansens latest conclusion that the planet will only warm about 1.5 degrees C over the next century, a miniscule amount, he still argues for international cooperation to stop global warming. He calls for a “cooperative, not punitive” program of technology transfer from developed to developing world to reduce emissions.

News from Australia

Opponents of the Kyoto Protocol in Australia are clearly making progress in their campaign to defeat ratification. The Canberra Times (January 10, 2002) recently published an op-ed by Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute that attacks the Lavoisier Group in vitriolic terms.

The Lavoisier Group provides the principal intellectual and organizational opposition in Australia to Kyoto and was organized by our colleague, N. Ray Evans of Melbourne. Hamilton accuses the Lavoisier Group of painting the UNs global warming negotiations as “an elaborate conspiracy in which hundreds of climate scientists have twisted their results to support the climate change theory in order to protect their research funding.” Sounds plausible to us.

Global warming is apparently normal. Iceberg debris on the floor of the North Atlantic indicates the world has had nine global warmings, followed by nine coolings, in the past 12,000 years. All were apparently caused by a 1500-year cycle in the intensity of the suns radiation. The iceberg data is strongly confirmed by the solar activity record produced from carbon-14 dating of tree rings and beryllium-10 dating of Greenland ice cores.

Dr. Gerard Bond and a research team at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, painstakingly assembled this new evidence that climate variability is natural and global. It was published online November 16 by the prestigious journal Science.

Bond used Atlantic sediment cores to measure the rocky debris picked up by glaciers as they ground their way across Canada, Greenland and Iceland, dropping to the Atlantic ocean floor when the icebergs melted. Bond and his colleagues found the amount of debris increased sharply every 1500 years as ice surged farther out into a temporarily colder Atlantic.

Glacier expert Richard Alley of Penn State University says The Bond data are sufficiently convincing that [solar variability] is now the leading hypothesis to explain the Medieval warming that occurred in the 11th and 12th centuries and the Little Ice Age that followed it in the 17th century.

Bond notes that the correlation between earth climate (as measured by his iceberg debris data) and solar activity (as measured by carbon-dated tree rings and beryllium-dated ice cores) is statistically very high. However, Bond says hes even more impressed by the close match between the peaks and troughs of the climate and solar records.

David Thomson, a time-series analyst soon to be at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, says, Their experiment may be good enough even without statistics. For Bond, thats the scientific equivalent of a touchdown pass.

The Bond study severely undercuts the popular theory of global warming, which holds that greenhouse gases from modern autos and factories are causing a dramatic artificial warming of the earths atmosphere. Current global temperatures are not significantly higher than those of the pre-industrial 1930sor the year 1000. The Medieval warming occurred without autos or factories spewing CO 2, and if it was solar-driven had to be global. It was followed by the Little Ice Age which cannot be attributed to any human cause.

The Bond study indicates we will have to adapt to a gradual increase in world temperatures over the next 200 years or so, because humanity is powerless to alter the sun.

Should we fear the warming? The last global warming is also known to the history books as the Medieval Climate Optimum, the finest weather that humanity can remember, notes climatologist Fred Singer. Singer, who heads the Science and Environmental Policy Project, is also an elected Fellow of the Geophysical Society.

He points out that during the Medieval warming, crops were more abundant, due to more rainfall and longer growing seasons. The Vikings pastured cattle in Greenland, now frozen tundra. The polar ice cap did not melt, and sea levels did not rise abnormally. The wild species migrated with the weather changes as theyd always donethe animals rapidly and the plant species slowly. Storms were milder, because the temperature difference between poles and the equator was smaller. (The bad storms came during the icy part of the cycle, around 1800.)

Will human activity aggravate the next warming cycle? Singer says human impact on the climate is dwarfed by natural variability from such factors as solar cycles and volcanic eruptions. He expects the next warming to be mild and useful, with the biggest effects felt on winter nights in northern climates. We may plant more grain in Canada and Russia, for example. Slightly higher temperatures for farmers at the equator will be more than offset by the crop growth benefits of higher CO2 levels from human activity.

The Kyoto Protocol, he warns, would radically raise world energy prices, hurting humanitys ability to adapt without significantly reducing any warming trend. He believes the real problems, for society and most wild species, will come during the harsh storms of the next Ice Age. Fortunately, Singer says, thats apparently several hundred, and perhaps several thousand, years away.

It remains hard to figure out exactly how the sun has mattered to [recent] climate, says Alley, and why it has mattered so much. The changes in the suns activity have been too small to change the earths temperature directly, but ocean currents could have amplified them.

An oscillation in the northern Atlantic Ocean currents had been the leading alternative in scientists minds to a solar cause for global climate change. The Bond study indicates the two are linked, with the sun as the hammer and the ocean as the nail.

The British government keeps raising taxes on energy, and businesses are feeling the pinch. Industrial gas prices rose 20 percent last year, due in large part to Britains climate change levy. As noted by Reuters (January 7, 2002), higher taxes exacerbate an already turbulent energy market in Britain. “UK prices have doubled over the last two years, partly because the opening of the UK/Belgium interconnector pipeline linked British prices to European gas prices which are indexed to oil prices.”

“Gas demand in Britain,” said Reuters, “has doubled over the last 10 years. Industrial, commercial and domestic use has risen 16 percent but usage in power generation has grown from virtually nil in 1990 to around 30 percent last year.”

Several German utilities have announced hikes in household power prices effective January 1, reflecting higher taxes and fees, reports Reuters (January 3, 2002). Customers served by the utilities will see their monthly power bill increase by about 5 percent, although some will see their rates go up by as much as 10 percent. Two thirds of the rate hikes are due to higher taxes, according to one industry spokesman.

 Japan Gets Cold Feet

Japan, the host of the 1997 negotiations that culminated in the Kyoto Protocol, may now be abandoning the treaty. According to the BBC (January 3, 2001), the Tokyo newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “The Central Environment Council, a government advisory body, has said in a report that, for now, industries will not be given any regulations to follow and, instead, will be allowed to combat gas emissions on a voluntary basis.

“Industry, which is responsible for 40 percent of all emissions,” it said, “will be asked to devise its own methods of control to publicize the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during the first phase of reductions, from 2002 to 2004.”

Putting off mandatory emission cuts may signal that Japan is having second thoughts about ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Or it may mean that the Japanese government is taking account of the fact that the text of the protocol to be ratified includes no legally binding enforcement provisions. Thus there will be no penalties if Japan misses its 2008-12 reduction target.

“Prospects are that it will be very difficult for Japan to reduce gas emissions by 6 percent from the 1990 level as dictated by the protocol,” noted Yomiuri Shimbun. That would weaken the likelihood of Kyoto ever coming into force.

New Bush Policies this Month?

The Bush Administration has remained characteristically close-mouthed about its plans to announce new global warming policies, but rumors are swirling at an increasing rate. Informed sources on Capitol Hill told Cooler Heads that they expect the administration to announce a package of new policies before the Congress re-convenes on January 23.

On the other hand, there has been some press speculation, in Inside EPA and elsewhere, that President Bush will talk about global warming in his State of the Union address, scheduled for January 29.

The content of any possible announcement is an even greater mystery. Administration sources have talked vaguely in private about creating a mandatory registry for greenhouse gas emissions plus some sort of voluntary trading program for emission credits. It is not clear what would give value to owning, and hence purchasing, such credits unless the program were mandatory or offered some possibility of profit through future mandatory controls or federal payments or tax credits.

Administration decisions may be affected by the current media flap over contacts between the Bush White House and Enron Corporation, whose December 2 bankruptcy is one of the most spectacular in history. Enron was a founding member of the Pew Center on Global Climate Changes Business Leadership Council.

It is known that one of Enrons chief lobbying objectives during the waning years of the Clinton-Gore Administration was ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and adoption of mandatory carbon dioxide regulations in the U. S. Enron Chairman and CEO Ken Lay was reported to be the source of language in the 2000 Bush campaigns energy plan that advocated regulating CO2 emissions by electric utilities.

Enron would profit from mandatory cuts in CO2 emissions as a natural gas producer, pipeline operator, and trader in both energy and emission quota markets. Other major corporations have also been privately lobbying the Bush Administration to create a market for emission quotas (that is, to assign value to not producing or using fossil fuel energy). It is not known whether any of these corporations are doing this in order to forestall collapse.

Uncertainty Still Reigns

A new paper in Science (January 4, 2001) attempts to quantify uncertainties in the climate system. Due to its vast complexity, it is difficult for scientists to extract the anthropogenic signal from background noise to determine the most likely future scenarios.

The researchers attempted this by running an “intermediate-complexity model” so that they could make hundreds of runs of the climate for the period 1860 to 1995. They then compared their results to actual temperature changes at the surface, upper atmosphere and deep ocean.

They limited themselves to three variables that they could adjust to determine which range of values would lead to the closest match with actual data: climate sensitivity to a change in greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat transfer, and the effects of aerosols that offset warming. According to a news article accompanying the study, the researchers adjusted the variables “over a range of values, ran the model under a large number of setting combinations, and then compared the simulated climate trends with the three observed temperature records.”

“By their own concession,” the researchers had “varied success pinning down the key parameters of the climate system.” They especially had difficulty with ocean heat transfer. What they concluded, however, was that there is a 90 percent chance that the temperature would increase from between 1.4 degrees Celsius and 7.7 degrees C with a doubling of CO2 concentrations. The upper end of the range is much higher than the IPCCs range of 4.5 degrees C.

The really surprising finding, however, is that the net effect of aerosols was to reflect a mere 0.30 to 0.95 watts per square meter of solar power back into space as opposed to the IPCCs scenario of zero to 4 watts per square meter.

What this means, but seems to have escaped the studys researchers, is that there are still serious problems with the existing climate models. In the early 1990s, the climate models predicted far more warming than actually occurred.

To solve the problem, climate modelers hypothesized that anthropogenic emissions of sulfate aerosols, primarily from burning coal, were masking the warming that the models said should be occurring due to rising greenhouse gases. By adding aerosols to the equation, modelers were able to get results closer to reality. But if the cooling effect of aerosols is not as large as thought, as found in the study, then the models are still deficient.

2001 Slightly Warmer Than Average

The year 2001 was only slightly warmer than “average,” according to global climate data gathered by NOAA satellites. The composite global temperature for 2001 was 0.06 degrees Celsius (about 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the 20-year (1979-to-1998) average, said Dr. John Christy, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Compared to other years, 2001 was the ninth warmest (and the 15th coolest) since satellite instruments started gathering global climate data in 1979.

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAH, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, also with UAH, use data gathered by NOAA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for most regions of the Earth, including remote areas for which reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite instruments look at microwaves emitted by oxygen molecules in the atmosphere. These microwave emissions vary according to temperature, giving precise indications of temperatures over broad regions of the atmosphere (http://unisci.com/).


One of the areas of the planet that is supposed to warm most due to greenhouse gas emissions is the coldest regions of Russia. Moreover, most of the warming is supposed to occur in the winter. Well, this winter Russians are having serious doubts about the validity of the global warming hypothesis as temperatures plummet. Central Europe is also experiencing difficulties due to severe winter weather.

Reuters (January 3, 2002) reports the following:

“Plunging temperatures killed 10 people in Moscow overnight into Thursday in a cold spell that even saw snow fall on palm trees along Russia’s sub-tropical Black Sea coast

“Central Europe meanwhile dug its way out of snowdrifts from the worst blizzards in 15 years and road and rail travel remained hazardous. Avalanche warnings were posted in mountain resorts.

“The international aid agency Medecins Sans Frontiers said 250 people had died in the [Russian] capital this winter. News reports said power cuts had left whole districts in the world’s largest country without light or heat, including the coal mining town of Dzhebariki-Khaya in far northern Yakutia, where temperatures were a seasonal minus 40 degrees Celsius.”

For a list of news stories about record winter weather, see www.john-daly.com.