March 2014

In a previous post, I lamented the fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is out of touch with the American people on climate change. On further review, it turns out that he’s also out of touch with himself.

As I noted this morning, Sen. Reid recently said that climate change was the world’s # 1 most pressing problem. In this spirit, the Majority Leader on Monday participated in an all-night talkathon on the Senate floor, on the subject of global warming alarmism.

Sen. Reid’s sudden enthusiasm for climate change mitigation yesterday prompted a reporter to ask why the the Senate did not move climate change legislation in the 111th Congress when Democrats briefly had the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. In this morning’s Energy & Environment News ($), Jean Chemnick reported Reid’s answer:

“We didn’t have 60 votes, [except] for only a very short period of time. We had a number of other things we were working on.”

Basically, Sen. Reid responded by saying that the Senate didn’t pass climate legislation, because it had other priorities. So, climate change is the world’s most pressing problem…except when it isn’t?

Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis participated on a panel given to the subject of global warming. Joining Marlo on the dais were Joe Bast (President, The Heartland Institute), Steve Milloy (Director of External Policy & Strategy, Murray Energy Corporation), Marc Morano (Publisher, Climate Depot), George Landrith (President, Frontiers of Freedom), and Shannon Smith (CEO, Abundant Power Group). Video below.


As Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is one of the top three most powerful elected officials in America. It is, therefore, rather disconcerting that his priorities are so out of line with those of the American people. To wit, note the discrepancy between the two excerpts below.

harry 1In the first (above), Sen. Reid avers that climate change is not just America’s, but the world’s #1 priority. In the second (below), a Gallup pollster reports that climate change is 14th on a list of 15 priorities, according to U.S. voters.


Post image for More Studies Find Lower Climate Sensitivity

Secy. of State John Kerry last week exhorted all State Department officials to conclude a new international climate change agreement, integrate climate change with other priorities, and, in general, “elevate the environment in everything we do.” In the same week, climate researchers produced two more studies undercutting Kerry’s opinion that climate change is “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

The studies address the core scientific issue of climate sensitivity — the question of how much warming results from a given increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations.

There are two types of sensitivity estimates. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is an estimate of the increase in ‘steady state’ surface temperature after the climate system has fully adjusted to a doubling of CO2 concentrations — a process assumed to take centuries or longer due to oceanic thermal inertia. Transient climate sensitivity (TCS) is the estimated increase in surface temperature during the 20-year period when CO2 doubling occurs, presumably during the final decades of this century.

ECS is the key variable in both climate model predictions of future global warming and model estimates of the “social cost of carbon” – the damage allegedly inflicted on society by an incremental ton of CO2 emissions.

The IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) estimated a “likely” ECS range of 2°C-4.5°C, with a “best estimate” of 3°C. Since 2011, however, the warming pause and the growing divergence of model predictions and observed global temperatures have been the impetus for several studies finding that IPCC sensitivity estimates are too hot.

Cato Institute scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger maintain a growing list of such studies, which totaled 18 as of February 2014.

Climate Sensitivity Michaels & Knappenberger 18 Studies Feb 2014

The average sensitivity estimate of the 18 studies is just under 2°C. In other words, the AR4 “best estimate” of 3°C is 50% higher than the mean estimate of the new studies. That may be why the IPCC’s 2013-2014 Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) declines to offer a “best estimate.”

A new “best estimate” of 2°C would deflate the scary climate change impacts featured elsewhere in AR5, but recycling the same old 3°C “best estimate” would deflate the IPCC’s claim to be an honest broker. So instead the IPCC chose to lower the low end of the “likely” sensitivity range. Whereas the “likely” range in AR4 was 2°C-4.5°C, in AR5 it is 1.5°C-4.5°C.

That small concession, however, does not dispel the growing challenge to consensus climatology. As indicated in the chart above, the average sensitivity of the climate models used in AR5 is 3.2°C. That is 60% higher than the mean of recent estimates (<2°C). Let’s take a quick look at three studies that have come out this year. [click to continue…]

On February 28, 2014, I took part in a National Review Law and Disorder Debate, “Man vs. Wild: California in Crisis,” in Washington, D.C. The keynote speakers were Representatives David Valadao (R., Calif.) and Jim Costa (D., Calif.), and panel members included me, Maria Guiterrez (from the Central Valley), and Aubrey Bettencourt (a California almond grower). The moderator was National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru. Click here to view the keynote speeches. Below, I’ve posted the panel discussion.


Post image for Secretary Kerry Focuses on Climate Diplomacy While Russia Marches Into Crimea

U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry on 7th March 2014 issued his first official Policy Guidance to all Ambassadors and other heads of missions abroad.  It’s not about Russia’s aggressive takeover of the Crimea, a part of the sovereign state of Ukraine.  It’s not about China’s naval buildup.  It’s not about the implosion of Venezuela’s elected dictatorship.  It’s not about Iran’s ongoing program to build nuclear weapons.  It’s not about the continuing civil war in Syria.  It’s about what Secretary Kerry thinks is the major national security threat facing the United States—global warming!

Here is how Secretary Kerry introduces his Policy Guidance:

Leading the way toward progress on this issue is the right role for the United States, and it’s the right role for the Department of State.  That’s why I’ve decided to make climate change the subject of my first Policy Guidance as Secretary of State.  I have been deeply impressed by the way Secretary Clinton elevated global women’s issues as a top-tier diplomatic priority, and believe me, we’re committed to keeping them there.  When the opportunities for women grow, the possibilities for peace, prosperity, and security grow even more.  President Obama and I believe the same thing about climate change.  This isn’t just a challenge, it’s also an incredible opportunity.  And the Policy Guidance I’m issuing today is an important step in the right direction.

One thing’s for sure:  there’s no time to lose.  The scientific facts are coming back to us in a stronger fashion and with greater urgency than ever before.  That’s why I spoke in Jakarta about the threat of climate change and what we, as citizens of the world, can do to address it.  That’s why I raised this issue at our senior management retreat here in Washington, and why I’ll be raising it again at our Chiefs of Mission Conference next week.  This challenge demands elevated urgency and attention from all of us.

I’m counting on Chiefs of Mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.  I’ve also directed all bureaus of the Department to focus on climate change in their day-to-day work.

[click to continue…]

Post image for Quadrennial Defense Review 2014: Lions and Tigers and ManBearPigs, Oh My!

Every four years the Pentagon publishes a Quadrennial Defense Review presenting its assessment of the nation’s “strategic challenges and opportunities,” and outlining DOD’s plans and budget priorities for protecting U.S. security interests. The just-published 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review calls the effects of climate change “threat multipliers,” much as the previous 2010 QDR called climate change an “accelerant of instability or conflict.”

These reports contain no trace of Secy. of State John Kerry’s hysteria about climate change being “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” Nonetheless, the usual suspects frequently cite DOD’s assessments as proof that climate change is a national security threat (‘even the generals are worried’).

Let’s look at pertinent passages in the 2014 QDR, beginning with the Executive Summary:

The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities, while at the same time undermining the capacity of our domestic installations to support training activities [p. VI].

Well, sure, if we make a long train of assumptions about climate change causing droughts and floods, and the latter causing crop failure, and the latter causing food riots, and the latter causing state failure or exacerbating regional conflict, then it “may” increase the “frequency, scale, and complexity” of future missions. But don’t bet money on it.

So far, the alleged link between global warming and extreme weather “exists” only in the virtual world of non-validated computer climate models. There has been no trend in the strength or frequency of land-falling hurricanes in the world’s five main hurricane basins during the past 50-70 years; no trend globally in accumulated cyclone energy since 1970; no trend in global weather-related losses since 1960 once impacts are adjusted for increases in wealth, population, and the consumer price index; little change in global drought over the past 60 years; and no trend in U.S. flood magnitudes over the past 85 years.

Plus, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions allegedly responsible for the “climate crisis” added literally trillions of dollars to global agricultural output over the past 50 years, and will likely increase output by many more trillions over the next 35 years. The net impact of CO2 emissions on global food security and, thus, international stability and peace, is likely to be positive in coming decades.  [click to continue…]

Post image for Voting with Their Feet: Warmer Is Better

From 2007 to 2012, the GDP of Texas grew by 13%, compared to 2.5% for the nation as a whole, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman reports. Krugman, however, doesn’t want to give credit to Gov. Rick Perry, the shale boom, or “the more general miracle of free-market capitalism.”

So what explains the Lone Star State’s strong economic performance? Krugman opines:

Partly we’re seeing the continuation of the long-term movement of U.S. population and jobs to the Sunbelt; Ed Glaeser likes to point out that the single best predictor of state growth is the number of winter degree days. On top of that, Texas does do one very important thing right: it has relaxed zoning, which keeps housing abundant and cheap.

In other words, the Texas economy benefits from warm weather and the absence of think-globally, act-locally climate policy — land-use restrictions misleadingly labeled “smart growth.”

In a recent column, Cato Institute scientists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger find a long-term and accelerating increase in average U.S. experiential temperature — the average temperature Americans experience in their daily lives primarily because of how they vote with their feet.

This map shows population growth rates by state from 1900 to 2010:

Population Change U.S. 1900-2010

This map shows average temperature by state from 1900-2010:

U.S. Annual Temperatures by State 1900-2010

Comparing the two maps “reveals a pretty strong indication that people seem to be seeking out warmer states,” the two scientists write. But they do more than eyeball the relationship, they quantify it.  [click to continue…]

Post image for Cooler Heads Digest 28 February 2014

In the News

‘All of the Above’ Is an Argument for Cronyism
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 28 February 2014

Fact-Checking Bill Maher on Climate Change
Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore, 28 February 2014

Soon, Climate Change Will Be the Cause of Everything
Charles C. Cooke, National Review Online, 27 February 2014

The Original Sin of Global Warming
Robert Tracinski, The Federalist, 26 February 2014

The EPA’s Breathtakingly Lawless Attempt to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
Marlo Lewis, Forbes, 25 February 2014

Obama’s Rush to Regulate
Ben Goad, The Hill, 24 February 2014

The EPA “Spy” and Double Standards
Wall Street Journal editorial, 23 February 2014

[click to continue…]