The lead story on the front page of the Commentary section of yesterday's Washington Times argues that an "awareness grows that faulty science would keep millions in the dark." Written by two leading global warming skeptics -- solar physicist Willie Soon and Christopher Monckton, former expert reviewer for the U.N's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- they note that India's new prime minister Narendra Modi, along with China's president Xi Jinping and Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, would not be attending Tuesday's climate summit in New York under the auspices of the United Nations.
This story argues, "We’re way more screwed than we were the last time the U.N. had a big climate meeting." It was written by Ben Adler of the Seattle-based Grist, which thinks of itself as "a source of intelligent, irreverent environmental news and commentary."
Back to reality, though. Here's the main thrust of the argument made by Soon and Monckton:
"Environmentalists have complained about Mr. Modi’s decision. They say rising atmospheric carbon dioxide will cause droughts, melt Himalayan ice, and poison lakes and waterways in the Indian subcontinent.
"However, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has already had to backtrack on earlier assertions that Himalayan glaciers would be gone within 25 years, and the most comprehensive review of drought trends worldwide shows the global land area under drought has decreased throughout the past 30 years.
"The spiritual yet down-to-earth Mr. Modi knows that 300 million Indians still have no electricity. His priority is to turn on the lights all over India. In Bihar, four homes in five are still lit by kerosene.
"Electric power is the quickest, surest, cheapest way to lift people out of poverty, disease, subsistence agriculture and childhood death — thereby stabilizing India’s population, which may soon overtake China’s.
"The world’s governing elites, however, no longer care about poverty. Climate change is their new focus.
"For instance, in late August, the Asian Development Bank predicted that warmer weather would cut rice production, rising seas would engulf Mumbai and other coastal megacities, and rainfall would decline by 10 percent to 40 percent across in many Indian provinces.
"Garbage in, gospel out. In truth, rice production has risen steadily, sea level is barely rising, and even the U.N.’s climate panel has twice been compelled to admit that there is no evidence of a worldwide change in rainfall.
"Subtropical India will not warm by much. Advection would take most of any additional heat poleward. Besides, globally there has been little or no warming for almost two decades. Climate models did not predict that, casting doubt on all of the U.N. climate panel’s “projections.” The panel, on our advice, has recently all but halved its central estimate of near-term warming.
"Sea level is rising no faster than for the past 150 years. From 2004 to 2012, the Envisat satellite reported a rise of one-tenth of an inch. From 2003 to 2009, gravity satellites actually showed sea level falling. Results like these have not hitherto been reported in the mainstream news media."
Since virtually all of the gloom and doom that is spouted by the likes of Al Gore and his ilk are based on climate models, it's worth noting what Soon and Monckton have to say about them:
"Governments also overlook a key conclusion from the world’s modelers, led by Fred Kucharski of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics: “The increase of greenhouse gases in the 20th century has not significantly contributed to the observed decadal Indian monsoonal rainfall variability.”
"Not one climate model predicted the severe Indian drought of 2009, followed by the prolonged rains the next year — a one-year increase of 40 percent in most regions. These natural variations are not new. They have happened for tens of thousands of years.
"A paper for the scientific journal Climate Dynamics co-authored by B.N. Goswami, recently retired director of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, shows why the models relied upon by the U.N. climate panel’s recent assessments predict monsoons inaccurately.
"All 16 models examined have the same fatal flaw: They predict rain too easily, by artificially elevating air and water masses in the atmosphere."Models are not ready to predict the climate. Misusing computers to spew out multiple “what-if” scenarios is unscientific. This approach simply means “if all our unproven assumptions are correct, this could happen.”
Perhaps an even better essay on global warming appears in the Review section of this weekend's Wall Street Journal. Written by Steven Koonin, undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Obama's first term. He also was a professor of theoretical physics at Caltech. He argues that "climate science is not settled," and adds in the subtitle, "we are very far from having the knowledge needed to make good policy." His observations about the climate models are very close to those of Soon and Monckton:
"For the latest IPCC report (September 2013), its Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, uses an ensemble of some 55 different models. Although most of these models are tuned to reproduce the gross features of the Earth's climate, the marked differences in their details and projections reflect all of the limitations that I have described. For example:
• The models differ in their descriptions of the past century's global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere's energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate's inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.
• Although the Earth's average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years, even as the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by some 25%. This surprising fact demonstrates directly that natural influences and variability are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.
"Yet the models famously fail to capture this slowing in the temperature rise. Several dozen different explanations for this failure have been offered, with ocean variability most likely playing a major role. But the whole episode continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.
• The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high.
• The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that "hot spot" has not been confidently observed, casting doubt on our understanding of the crucial feedback of water vapor on temperature.
• Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century.
• A crucial measure of our knowledge of feedbacks is climate sensitivity—that is, the warming induced by a hypothetical doubling of carbon-dioxide concentration. Today's best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. And this is despite an heroic research effort costing billions of dollars.
"These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not "minor" issues to be "cleaned up" by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.
"Yet a public official reading only the IPCC's "Summary for Policy Makers" would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that "climate science is settled."
The conclusion in Soon and Monckton's essay, consequently, is well-worth considering:
"Misuse of climate models as false prophets of doom is costly in lives as well as treasure."To condemn the poorest of India’s poor to continuing poverty is to condemn many to an untimely death. Mr. Modi is right to have no more to do with such murderous nonsense. It is time to put an end to climate summits. On the evidence, they are not needed."
Readers are encouraged to read both of the essays in their entirety. And a HT to Steven Hayward at Power Line who says about Steven Koonin's essay, "You owe it to yourself to read the whole thing (especially his very good summary of the serious limitations of the computer climate models)."
Some readers of Growls may be wondering why we're growling about global warming. According to Larry Bell, in Forbes magazine on August 23, 2011, citing both the General Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Research Service (CRS):
"The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) can’t figure out what benefits taxpayers are getting from the many billions of dollars spent each year on policies that are purportedly aimed at addressing climate change.
"A May 20 report noted that while annual federal funding for such activities has been increasing substantially, there is a lack of shared understanding of strategic priorities among the various responsible agency officials. This assessment agrees with the conclusions of a 2008 Congressional Research Service analysis which found no “overarching policy goal for climate change that guides the programs funded or the priorities among programs.”
"According to the GAO, annual federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, amounting to $106.7 billion over that period. The money was spent in four general categories: technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, science to understand climate changes, international assistance for developing countries, and wildlife adaptation to respond to actual or expected changes. Technology spending, the largest category, grew from $2.56 billion to $5.5 billion over this period, increasingly advancing over others in total share. Data compiled by Joanne Nova at the Science and Policy Institute indicates that the U.S. Government spent more than $32.5 billion on climate studies between 1989 and 2009. This doesn’t count about $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks for “green energy.”
And that doesn't include what the states and local governments have spent. For example, Virginia's Arlington County has likely spent more than $1 million for it's so-called Community Energy Plan.