The Hiatus: One Message for Politicians, Another for Scientists

Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

Politicians are usually seen as fair game for criticism especially if they talk about the inconvenient details of climate change. If only they would stick to the simplicities and repeat the mantra that climate change is real and happening and we are entirely to blame. Woe betide any politician who delves into the detail. Usually we like our politicians to get down amongst the minutiae of government, but not when it comes to climate change.

This is what happened when the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt discussed the global temperature hiatus of the past 20 years. In written comments to the U.S. Senate about his confirmation hearing on the 18th of January he wrote, “over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming.”

Despite the vigorous debate about the hiatus in the peer-reviewed literature this was seen by some as such an incorrect statement that a response had to be made, and fast.

Ben Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was quick off the mark putting together a paper for the journal Nature Scientific Reports. It looked at satellite measurements of the temperature of the atmosphere close to the ground from when such data first became available in 1979. It concluded: Satellite temperature measurements do not support the recent claim of a “leveling off of warming” over the past two decades. Tropospheric warming trends over recent 20-year periods, the authors concluded, are always significantly larger (at the 10% level or better) than model estimates of 20-year trends arising from natural internal variability.

Ben Santer on the Seth Myers Show.

The Nature Scientific Reports paper was submitted on 6th March, accepted on the 4th of April and published on the 24th May. But as that paper, with its simple message that Pruitt was wrong, was being written another paper on the same topic and also involving Santer was already in the works. It had been submitted three months before, on the 23rd of December the previous year.

It was eventually published in Nature Geoscience on 19th June having been accepted on the 22nd of May. It comes to an entirely different conclusion about the hiatus. “We find that in the last two decades of the twentieth century, differences between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends are broadly consistent with internal variability. Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed; warming rate differences are generally outside the range of trends arising from internal variability…We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.”

In other words the climate models have failed. They did not predict and they cannot explain the hiatus. To reach this conclusion the Nature Geoscience paper analysed trends in the satellite data over 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 years because the researchers said that they are typical record lengths used for the study of the ‘warming slowdown’ in the early 21st century. Note they did not analyse trends over 20 years directly. Thus the first Santer et al paper analysed the past 20 years and concluded there was no hiatus, while his second paper concluded there was a hiatus of up to 18 years, the maximum period that paper studied.

The authors realised the problem of the two papers seemingly conflicting results. To avoid any confusion they issued a helpful Q&A document saying the results were not contradictory but complimentary. It must be said that two methods they used are only very slightly different. On would expect them to give the same result. But that does not matter. If as the authors say the results are complimentary why was the result that disagreed with Pruitt used with no qualification or hint that a similar technique showed the opposite?

On the 22nd February Ben Santer on appeared on the Seth Meyers chat show saying these are strange and unusual times, something that with hindsight is laced with irony. He was introduced as being from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory but stated he was talking as a private citizen about research he had done and published on behalf of the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on the Seth Myers Show in March 2015.

Santer aimed his sights at a statement made by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz statement made on the same show two years earlier:

“Many of the alarmists on global warming, they got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up. And in particular, satellite data demonstrates for the last 17 years, there’s been zero warming. None whatsoever. “

Santer challenged Senator Cruz in direct contradiction of his own paper he had submitted but wasn’t published yet:

“Listen to what he (Cruz) said. Satellite data. So satellite measurements of atmospheric temperature show no significant warming over the last 17 years, and we tested it. We looked at all of the satellite data in the world, from all groups, and wanted to see, was he right or not? And he was wrong. Even if you focus on a small segment of the now 38-year satellite temperature record – the last 17 years – was demonstrably wrong.”

Santer concluded

“So the bizarre thing is, Senator Cruz is a lawyer. He’s got to look at all of the evidence when he’s trying a case, when he’s involved in a case, not just one tiny segment of the evidence.”

Oh the irony.

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THE CRISIS OF INTEGRITY-DEFICIENT SCIENCE

JULY 11, 2017

The epidemic of agenda-driven science by press release and falsification has reached crisis proportions.

In just the past week: Duke University admitted that its researchers had falsified or fabricated data that were used to get $113 million in EPA grants – and advance the agency’s air pollution and “environmental justice” programs. A New England Journal of Medicine (NJEM) article and editorial claimed the same pollutants kill people – but blatantly ignored multiple studies demonstrating that there is no significant, evidence-based relationship between fine particulates and human illness or mortality.

In an even more outrageous case, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science’s journal Science published an article whose authors violated multiple guidelines for scientific integrity. The article claimed two years of field studies in three countries show exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides reduces the ability of honeybees and wild bees to survive winters and establish new populations and hives the following year. Not only did the authors’ own data contradict that assertion – they kept extensive data out of their analysis and incorporated only what supported their (predetermined?) conclusions.

Some 90% of these innovative neonic pesticides are applied as seed coatings, so that crops absorb the chemicals into their tissue and farmers can target only pests that feed on the crops. Neonics largely eliminate the need to spray with old-line chemicals like pyrethroids that clearly do harm bees.  But neonics have nevertheless been at the center of debate over their possible effects on bees, as well as ideological opposition in some quarters to agricultural use of neonics – or any manmade pesticides.

Laboratory studies had mixed results and were criticized for overdosing bees with far more neonics than they would ever encounter in the real world, predictably affecting their behavior and often killing them. Multiple field studies – in actual farmers’ fields – have consistently shown no adverse effects on honeybees at the colony level from realistic exposures to neonics. In fact, bees thrive in and around neonic-treated corn and canola crops in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.

So how did the Dr. Ben Woodcocket al., Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) field studies reach such radically different conclusions? After all, the researchers set up 33 sites in fields in Germany, Hungary, and England, each one with groups of honeybee or wild bee colonies in or next to oilseed rape (canola) crops. Each group involved one test field treated with fungicides, a neonic, and a pyrethroid; one field treated with a different neonic and fungicides; and one “control” group by a field treated only with fungicides. They then conducted multiple data analyses throughout the 2-year trial period.

Their report and Science article supposedly presented all the results of their exhaustive research. They did not. The authors fudged the data, and the “peer reviewers” and AAAS journal editors failed to spot the massive flaws. Other reviewers (herehere, and here) quickly found the gross errors, lack of transparency, and misrepresentations – but not before the article and press releases had gone out far and wide.

Thankfully, and ironically, the Woodcock-CEH study was funded by Syngenta and Bayer, two companies that make neonics. That meant the companies received the complete study and all 1,000 pages of data – not just the portions carefully selected by the article authors. Otherwise, all that inconvenient research information would probably still be hidden from view – and the truth would never have come out.

Most glaring, as dramatically presented in a chart that’s included in each of the reviews just cited, there were far more data sets than suggested by the Science article. In fact, there were 258 separate honeybee statistical data analyses. Of the 258, a solid 238 found no effects on bees from neonics! Seven found beneficial effects from neonics! Just nine found harmful impacts, and four had insufficient data.

Not one group of test colonies in Germany displayed harmful effects, but five benefited from neonics. Five in Hungary showed harm, but the nosema gut fungus was prevalent in Hungarian beehives during the study period; it could have affected bee foraging behavior and caused colony losses. But Woodcock and CEH failed to mention the problem or reflect it in their analyses. Instead, they blamed neonics.

In England, four test colony groups were negatively affected by neonics, while two benefited, and the rest showed no effects. But numerous English hives were infested with Varroa mites, which suck on bee blood and carry numerous pathogens that they transmit to bees and colonies. Along with poor beekeeping and mite control practices, Varroa could have been the reason a number of UK test colonies died out during the study – but CEH blamed neonics.

(Incredibly, even though CEH’s control hives in England were far from any possible neonic exposure, they had horrendous overwinter bee losses: 58%, compared to the UK national average of 14.5% that year, while overwinter colony losses for CEH hives were 67% to 79% near their neonic-treated fields.)

In sum, fully 95% of all the hives studied by CEH demonstrated no effects or benefited from neonic exposure – but the Science magazine authors chose to ignore them, and focus on nine hives (3% of the total) which displayed harmful impacts that they attributed to neonicotinoids.

Almost as amazing, CEH analyses found that nearly 95% of the time pollen and nectar in hives showed no measurable neonic residues. Even samples taken directly from neonic-treated crops did not have residues – demonstrating that bees in the CEH trials were likely never even exposed to neonics.

How then could CEH researchers and authors come to the conclusions they did? How could they ignore the 245 out of 258 honeybee statistical data analyses that demonstrated no effects or beneficial effects from neonics? How could they focus on the nine analyses (3.4%) that showed negative effects – a number that could just as easily have been due to random consequences or their margin of error?

The sheer number of “no effect” results (92%) is consistent with what a dozen other field studies have found: that foraging on neonicotinoid-treated crops has no effect on honeybees. Why was this ignored?

Also relevant is the fact that CEH honeybee colonies near neonic-treated fields recovered from any adverse effects of their exposure to neonics before going into their winter clusters. As “super organisms,” honeybee colonies are able to metabolize many pesticides and detoxify themselves. This raises doubts about whether any different overwintering results between test colonies and controls can properly be ascribed to neonics. Woodcock, et al. should have discussed this, but failed to do so.

Finally, as The Mad Virologist pointed out, if neonics have negative impacts on bees, the effects should have been consistent across multiple locations and seed treatments. They were not. In fact, the number of bee larval cells during crop flowering periods for one neonic increased in response to seed treatments in Germany, but declined in Hungary and had no change in England. For another neonic, the response was neutral (no change) in all three countries. Something other than neonics clearly seems to be involved.

The honest, accurate conclusion would have been that exposure to neonics probably had little or no effect on the honeybees or wild bees that CEH studied. The Washington Post got that right; Science did not.

U.S. law defines “falsification” as (among other things) “changing or omitting data or results, such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.” Woodcock and CEH clearly did that. Then the AAAS and Science failed to do basic fact-checking before publishing the article; the media parroted the press releases; and anti-pesticide factions rushed to say “the science is settled” against neonics.

The AAAS and Science need to retract the Woodcock article, apologize for misleading the nation, and publish an article that fully, fairly, and accurately represents what the CEH research and other field studies actually documented. They should ban Woodcock and his coauthors from publishing future articles in Science and issue press releases explaining all these actions. The NJEM should take similar actions.

Meanwhile, Duke should be prosecuted, fined, and compelled to return the fraudulently obtained funds.

Failure to do so would mean falsification and fraud have replaced integrity at the highest levels of once-respected American institutions of scientific investigation, learning and advancement.

Comments on the New RSS Lower Tropospheric Temperature Dataset

July 6th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

It was inevitable that the new RSS mid-tropospheric (MT) temperature dataset, which showed more warming than the previous version, would be followed with a new lower-tropospheric (LT) dataset. (Carl Mears has posted a useful FAQ on the new dataset, how it differs from the old, and why they made adjustments).

Before I go into the details, let’s keep all of this in perspective. Our globally-averaged trend is now about +0.12 C/decade, while the new RSS trend has increased to about +0.17 C/decade.

Note these trends are still well below the average climate model trend for LT, which is +0.27 C/decade.

These are the important numbers; the original Carbon Brief article headline (“Major correction to satellite data shows 140% faster warming since 1998”) is seriously misleading, because the warming in the RSS LT data post-1998 was near-zero anyway (140% more than a very small number is still a very small number).

Since RSS’s new MT dataset showed more warming that the old, it made sense that the new LT dataset would show more warming, too. Both depend on the same instrument channel (MSU channel 2 and AMSU channel 5), and to the extent that the new diurnal drift corrections RSS came up with caused more warming in MT, the adjustments should be even larger in LT, since the diurnal cycle becomes stronger as you approach the surface (at least over land).

Background on Diurnal Drift Adjustments

All of the satellites carrying the MSU and AMSU instruments (except Aqua, Metop-A and Metop-B) do not have onboard propulsion, and so their orbits decay over the years due to very weak atmospheric drag. The satellites slowly fall, and their orbits are then no longer sun-synchronous (same local observation time every day) as intended. Some of the NOAA satellites were purposely injected into orbits that would drift one way in local observation time before orbit decay took over and made them drift in the other direction; this provided several years with essentially no net drift in the local observation time.

Since there is a day-night temperature cycle (even in the deep-troposphere the satellite measures) the drift of the satellite local observation time causes a spurious drift in observed temperature over the years (the diurnal cycle becomes “aliased” into the long-term temperature trends). The spurious temperature drift varies seasonally, latitudinally, and regionally (depending upon terrain altitude, available surface moisture, and vegetation).

Because climate models are known to not represent the diurnal cycle to the accuracy needed for satellite adjustments, we decided long ago to measure the drift empirically, by comparing drifting satellites with concurrently operating non-drifting (or nearly non-drifting) satellites. Our Version 6 paper discusses the details.

RSS instead decided to use climate model estimates of the diurnal cycle, and in RSS Version 4 are now making empirical corrections to those model-based diurnal cycles. (Generally speaking, we think it is useful for different groups to use different methods.)

Diurnal Drift Effects in the RSS Dataset

We have long known that there were differences in the resulting diurnal drift adjustments in the RSS versus our UAH dataset. We believed that the corrections in the older RSS Version 3.3 datasets were “overdone”, generating more warming than UAH prior to 2002 but less than UAH after 2002 (some satellites drift one way in the diurnal cycle, other satellites drift in the opposite direction). This is why the skeptical community liked to follow the RSS dataset more than ours, since UAH showed at least some warming post-1997, while RSS showed essentially no warming (the “pause”).

The new RSS V4 adjustment alters the V3.3 adjustment, and now warms the post-2002 period, but does not diminish the extra warming in the pre-2002 period. Hence the entire V4 time series shows more warming than before.

Examination of a geographic distribution of their trends shows some elevation effects, e.g. around the Andes in S. America (You have to click on the image to see V4 compared to V3.3…the static view below might be V3.3 if you don’t click it).

CM_7_2017_TLT_trend_maps_switch

We also discovered this and, as discussed in our V6 paper, attributed it to errors in the oxygen absorption theory used to match the MSU channel 2 weighting function with the AMSU channel 5 weighting function, which are at somewhat different altitudes when viewing at the same Earth incidence angle (AMSU5 has more surface influence than MSU2). Using existing radiative transfer theory alone to adjust AMSU5 to match MSU2 (as RSS does) leads to AMSU5 still being too close to the surface. This affects the diurnal drift adjustment, and especially the transition between MSU and AMSU in the 1999-2004 period. The mis-match also can cause dry areas to have too much warming in the AMSU era, and in general will cause land areas to warm spuriously faster than ocean areas.

Here are our UAH LT gridpoint trends (sorry for the different map projection):

lt_trend_beta5.png

In general, it is difficult for us to follow the chain of diurnal corrections in the new RSS paper. Using a climate model to make the diurnal drift adjustments, but then adjusting those adjustments with empirical satellite data feels somewhat convoluted to us.

Final Comments

Besides the differences in diurnal drift adjustments, the other major difference affecting trends is the treatment off the NOAA-14 MSU, last in the MSU series. There is clear drift in the difference between the new NOAA-15 AMSU and the old NOAA-14 MSU, with NOAA-14 warming relative to NOAA-15. We assume that NOAA-14 is to blame, and remove its trend difference with NOAA-15 (we only use it through 2001) and also adjust NOAA-14 to match NOAA-12 (early in the NOAA-14 record). RSS does not assume one satellite is better than the other, and uses NOAA-14 all the way through 2004, by which point it shows a large trend difference with NOAA-15 AMSU. We believe this is a large component of the overall trend difference between UAH and RSS, but we aren’t sure just how much compared to the diurnal drift adjustment differences.

It should be kept in mind that the new UAH V6 dataset for LT uses three channels, while RSS still uses multiple view angles from one channel (a technique we originally developed, and RSS followed). As a result, our new LT weighting function is a little higher in the atmosphere, with considerably more weight in the upper troposphere and slightly more weight in the lower stratosphere. Based upon radiosonde temperature trend profiles, we found the net effect on the difference between the two LT weighting functions on temperature trends to be very small, probably 0.01 C/decade or less.

We have a paper in peer review with extensive satellite dataset comparisons to many balloon datasets and reanalyses. These show that RSS diverges from these and from UAH, showing more warming than the other datasets between 1990 and 2002 – a key period with two older MSU sensors both of which showed signs of spurious warming not yet addressed by RSS. I suspect the next chapter in this saga is that the remaining radiosonde datasets that still do not show substantial warming will be the next to be “adjusted” upward.

The bottom line is that we still trust our methodology. But no satellite dataset is perfect, there are uncertainties in all of the adjustments, as well as legitimate differences of opinion regarding how they should be handled.

Also, as mentioned at the outset, both RSS and UAH lower tropospheric trends are considerably below the average trends from the climate models.

And that is the most important point to be made.

Monumental, unsustainable environmental impacts

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy would inflict major land, wildlife, resource damage

Paul Driessen

Demands that the world replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and biofuel energy – to prevent supposed catastrophes caused by manmade global warming and climate change – ignore three fundamental flaws.

1) In the Real World outside the realm of computer models, the unprecedented warming and disasters are simply not happening: not with temperatures, rising seas, extreme weather or other alleged problems.

2) The process of convicting oil, gas, coal and carbon dioxide emissions of climate cataclysms has been unscientific and disingenuous. It ignores fluctuations in solar energy, cosmic rays, oceanic currents and multiple other powerful natural forces that have controlled Earth’s climate since the dawn of time, dwarfing any role played by CO2. It ignores the enormous benefits of carbon-based energy that created and still powers the modern world, and continues to lift billions out of poverty, disease and early death.

It assigns only costs to carbon dioxide emissions, and ignores how rising atmospheric levels of this plant-fertilizing molecule are reducing deserts and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. It also ignores the huge costs inflicted by anti-carbon restrictions that drive up energy prices, kill jobs, and fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families in industrialized nations – and perpetuate poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and early death in developing countries.

3) Renewable energy proponents pay little or no attention to the land and raw material requirements, and associated environmental impacts, of wind, solar and biofuel programs on scales required to meet mankind’s current and growing energy needs, especially as poor countries improve their living standards.

We properly insist on multiple detailed studies of every oil, gas, coal, pipeline, refinery, power plant and other fossil fuel project. Until recently, however, even the most absurd catastrophic climate change claims behind renewable energy programs, mandates and subsidies could not be questioned.

Just as bad, climate campaigners, government agencies and courts have never examined the land use, raw material, energy, water, wildlife, human health and other impacts of supposed wind, solar, biofuel and battery alternatives to fossil fuels – or of the transmission lines and other systems needed to carry electricity and liquid and gaseous renewable fuels thousands of miles to cities, towns and farms.

It is essential that we conduct rigorous studies now, before pushing further ahead. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and Interior Department should do so immediately. States, other nations, private sector companies, think tanks and NGOs can and should do their own analyses. The studies can blithely assume these expensive, intermittent, weather-dependent alternatives can actually replace fossil fuels. But they need to assess the environmental impacts of doing so.

Renewable energy companies, industries and advocates are notorious for hiding, minimizing, obfuscating or misrepresenting their environmental and human health impacts. They demand and receive exemptions from health and endangered species laws that apply to other industries. They make promises they cannot keep about being able to safely replace fossil fuels that now provide over 80% of US and global energy.

A few articles have noted some of the serious environmental, toxic/radioactive waste, human health and child labor issues inherent in mining rare earth and cobalt/lithium deposits. However, we now needquantitative studies – detailed, rigorous, honest, transparent, cradle-to-grave, peer-reviewed analyses.

The back-of-the-envelope calculations that follow provide a template. I cannot vouch for any of them. But our governments need to conduct full-blown studies forthwith – before they commit us to spending tens of trillions of dollars on renewable energy schemes, mandates and subsidies that could blanket continents with wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel crops and battery arrays; destroy habitats and wildlife; kill jobs, impoverish families and bankrupt economies; impair our livelihoods, living standards and liberties; and put our lives under the control of unelected, unaccountable state, federal and international rulers – without having a clue whether these supposed alternatives are remotely economical or sustainable.

Ethanol derived from corn grown on 40,000,000 acres now provides the equivalent of 10% of US gasoline – and requires billions of gallons of water, and enormous quantities of fertilizer and energy. What would it take to replace 100% of US gasoline? To replace the entire world’s motor fuels?

Solar panels on Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base generate 15 megawatts of electricity perhaps 30% of the year from 140 acres. Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear power plant generates 900 times more electricity, from less land, some 95% of the year. Generating Palo Verde’s output via Nellis technology would require land area ten times larger than Washington, DC – and would still provide electricity unpredictably only 30% of the time. Now run those solar numbers for the 3.5 billion megawatt-hours generated nationwide in 2016.

Modern coal or gas-fired power plants use less than 300 acres to generate 600 megawatts 95% of the time. Indiana’s 600-MW Fowler Ridge wind farm covers 50,000 acres and generates electricity about 30% of the year. Calculate the turbine and acreage requirements for 3.5 billion MWH of wind electricity.

Delving more deeply, generating 20% of US electricity with wind power would require up to 185,000 1.5-MW turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, 18 million acres, and 245 million tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths – plus fossil-fuel back-up generators for the 75-80% of the year that winds nationwide are barely blowing and the turbines are not producing electricity.

Energy analyst David Wells has calculated that replacing 160,000 teraWatt-hours of total global energy consumption with wind would require 183,400,000 turbines needing roughly: 461,000,000,000 tons of steel for the towers; 460,00,000,000 tons of steel and concrete for the foundations; 59,000,000,000 tons of copper, steel and alloys for the turbines; 738,000,000 tons of neodymium for turbine magnets; 14,700,000,000 tons of steel and complex composite materials for the nacelles; 11,000,000,000 tons of complex petroleum-based composites for the rotors; and massive quantities of other raw materials – all of which must be mined, processed, manufactured into finished products and shipped around the world.

Assuming 25 acres per turbine, the turbines would require 4,585,000,000 acres (1,855,500,000 hectares) – 1.3 times the land area of North America! Wells adds: Shipping just the iron ore to build the turbines would require nearly 3 million voyages in huge ships that would consume 13 billion tons of bunker fuel (heavy oil) in the process. And converting that ore to iron and steel would require 473 billion tons of coking coal, demanding another 1.2 million sea voyages, consuming another 6 billion tons of bunker fuel.

For sustainability disciples: Does Earth have enough of these raw materials for this transformation?

It gets worse. These numbers do not include the ultra-long transmission lines required to carry electricity from windy locations to distant cities. Moreover, Irina Slav notes, wind turbines, solar panels and solar thermal installations cannot produce high enough heat to melt silica, iron or other metals, and certainly cannot generate the required power on a reliable enough basis to operate smelters and factories.

Wind turbines (and solar panels) last just 20 years or so (less in salt water environments) – while coal, gas and nuclear power plants last 35-50 years and require far less land and raw materials. That means we would have tear down, haul away and replace far more “renewable” generators twice as often; dispose of or recycle their component parts (and toxic or radioactive wastes); and mine, process and ship more ores.

Finally, their intermittent electricity output means they couldn’t guarantee you could boil an egg, run an assembly line, surf the internet or complete a heart transplant when you need to. So we store their output in massive battery arrays, you say. OK. Let’s calculate the land, energy and raw materials for that. While we’re at it, let’s add in the requirements for building and recharging 100% electric vehicle fleets.

Then there are the bird and bat deaths, wildlife losses from destroying habitats, and human health impacts from wind turbine noise and flicker. These also need to be examined – fully and honestly – along with the effects of skyrocketing renewable energy prices on every aspect of this transition and our lives.

But for honest, evenhanded EPA and other scientists, modelers and regulators previously engaged in alarmist, biased climate chaos studies, these analyses will provide some job security. Let’s get started.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

PDF Driessen – unsustainable environmental impacts

The Santer Clause

By John McLean

When the IPCC’s in a hole and doesn’t have a paper to cite, who’s it gonna call?

(All together) BEN SANTER!

Santer, Wrigley and others, including several IPCC authors, fixed it for the 1995 report with a “miracle” last-minute paper that claimed to have solid evidence of the human influence on climate. The paper had been submitted and not even reached the stage of review when it was included in the IPCC report. At the instigation of the IPCC Working Group I head, John Houghton, the whole pivotal chapter was revised to accommodate it. And all this happened after the second expert review but before government representatives got together to decide what should be said.

About 18 months later the paper was finally published, citing the IPCC report that cited it, and was laughed off the stage. Never mind. It had served its purpose of manipulating opinion about manmade warming and convincing the new-formed UNFCCC that it didn’t need its own subsidiary organization to fiddle science to support the UNFCCC’s claims; the IPCC was perfectly capable of doing that.

Roll forward about 20 years. The IPCC’s 2013 report showed (text box 9.2) that climate models were rubbish at predicting average global temperatures with 111 of 114 climate model runs predicting, for 1998 to 2012, greater warming than the HadCRUT4 temperature data indicated, which was in fact statistically indistinguishable from zero.

What 5AR didn’t make clear was that climate models are run with and with greenhouses gases and the IPCC blames the difference in the two sets of output on manmade warming. (It’s a completely specious argument unless it can be proven that climate models are 100% accurate when it comes to algorithmically including every climate forcing, which of course they are not. The comparison study in fact shows nothing more than the sensitivity of the models to the inclusion of greenhouse gases.)

With climate models poor at making prediction it also follows that they are poor at estimating the influence of greenhouse gases on climate. If the public becomes aware of this then the ground is cut from beneath the UNFCCC’s claims, which means the Paris Climate Agreement will be seen as the farce it really is and all that rearrangement of the global economy to suit UN socialists won’t take place.

There is simply no way that IPCC 6AR can be allowed to continue to cast doubt on climate models because it might mean that end of both the IPCC and UNFCCC, not to mention the incomes and reputations of so-called climate science experts taking a sharp nose-dive.

So who’s the IPCC gonna call? Ben Santer!

This time around the paper has been published so that it complies with rules set down after the 1995 fiasco and can be cited. Being published of course doesn’t mean that it’s any good.

One of its key sentence is ” “None of our findings call into question the reality of long-term warming of Earth’s troposphere and surface, or cast doubt on prevailing estimates of the amount of warming we can expect from future increases in (greenhouse gas) concentrations.”

I’m going to call this the Santer Clause because the last half of it is about as real.

Even the first half is interesting because anyone can shift the goal posts and start the trend in whatever year supports their argument. Select the year carefully and you’ll find that temperatures have risen since then, select another year and they’re flat, select
another and temperatures have fallen.

The other important sentence in the Santer et al paper is ” We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.” So it’s not climate models that are wrong; it’s the data put into them, in other words it’s the weather.

Talk about climate denial.

There’s no concession that a more plausible explanation is that climate models are nonsense, as IPCC 5AR showed, and that for the 1980s and 1990s the output of the models looked approximately correct because greenhouses gases were exaggerated while the real drivers of climate, the natural forces and internal variability, were underplayed.

The frequency of El Nino events has slowed since the late 1990s and the dominance of such events over La Nina events has weakened, meaning that warming and cooling episodes are tending to balance and that temperature trends remain flat.

The gap between what the models predict and what the data shows would be smaller if the algorithms in the models were corrected. Of course that’s unlikely to happen because the whole notion of significant manmade warming would implode and the IPCC and UNFCCC disappear. The IPCC will now cite this Santer fantasy to try to ensure that doesn’t happen.

It’s a sobering thought that if the implosion doesn’t happen now and the disconnect between the belief and the reality continues to increase then it’s probably only a matter of time before countries start fudging temperature data, to make it show warming that isn’t happening. They have millions or even billions of dollars at stake if the myth collapsed and surely it’s too big a carrot to give up without a fight.

When the reputation of climate science ends up in the gutter as a result of all the nonsense let’s just hope it’s not Ben Santer who’s called to fix it.

See also here.

Wind Power: High Environmental Costs, Limited Energy Delivered

Posted on June 14, 2017

H. Sterling Burnett

Even when environmentalists admit wind power is more expensive than conventional fuel sources—and they often lie and claim it isn’t—wind advocates argue its environmental benefits are worth the added costs.

A recent column by noted British science writer Matt Ridley in The Spectator puts lie to this myth. To the extent one supplants electricity generated by fossil fuels with wind-generated electricity, it does relatively little to protect the environment.

For all the bragging the wind industry does about the growth of wind power worldwide—and to be fair, due to huge subsidies, it has been growing at an impressive pace for a decade now—it still doesn’t amount to much as a share of power overall.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2016 Key Renewables Trends, wind provided 0.46 percent of global energy consumption in 2014. This is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than one-fifth of all energy used. Even limiting the question to electricity, all renewable-energy sources combined provided approximately 22 percent of electric power worldwide in 2012, a share the Energy Information Agency expects to grow to about 30 percent by 2040.

The problem for wind proponents is despite all the subsidies and mandates and the use of its punier but even more expensive cousin, solar power, wind and solar together only make up less than 5 percent of all global electric-power use, an amount EIA estimates will grow to 14 percent by 2040. Since electric power is just 20 percent of total energy use, even in 2040, electric and solar power will provide a mere fraction of the world’s total energy supply. Hydropower and old fashioned biomass—which, for most of us, means burning wood for heat and cooking—dominate the renewable-energy supply.

The land, wildlife, and climate impacts of this push for wind are horrendous. Ridley points out IEA estimates world energy demand has been growing at about 2 percent each year for nearly 40 years, an amount of annual growth that is expected to continue for decades to come.

If wind turbines were to supply just the expected growth in energy demand for the next 50 years, wind turbines would need to cover an amount of land equal to Russia, the largest country on Earth, in terms of land mass—and that’s just to meet new demand not displace the huge amounts of fossil fuels we currently use.

But even that doesn’t tell the whole story. Because wind turbines must be placed where the wind blows fairly constantly and without obstruction, wind farms often gobble up particularly scenic land areas, such as the tops of mountains and other remote areas. These places are typically hundreds of miles from the growing urban areas that need the power, necessitating the construction of tens of thousands of miles of new power lines to transport the electricity from where the turbines are spinning to where the power is needed. Power lines, of course, also take up land.

Other power plants, by comparison, can be constructed next to existing power-line corridors or near the areas where the power is needed. In addition, because electric power is lost during transmission over great distances, not all the power generated by turbines reaches its intended destination, which means more turbines and land is needed to meet electric-power growth.

Too put this in perspective, two of the biggest wind farms in Europe have 159 turbines and cover thousands of acres, but together, they take a year to produce less than four days’ worth of output from a single 2,000 MW conventional power station that takes up 100 times fewer acres. A wind farm occupying 192,000 acres, approximately 300 square miles, would produce the same amount of energy as a single 1,000 MW nuclear plant that requires less than 1,700 acres, or 2.65 square miles.

Wind turbines have been rightly called the Cuisinarts of the air for their propensity to chew up thousands of migratory birds and bats every year. In the 1960s, Rachel Carson warned of a “silent spring,” when children would no longer hear whistles of song birds because they had been killed by modern pesticides. Carson was wrong about the cause of death, but if wind farms are built around the world in the numbers demanded by climate alarmists, she could well be right about the results. Millions more birds and bats will be killed in the future by spinning turbines built in the corridors through which birds and bats migrate.

And what do we get for all this death and destruction? Certainly not cleaner air or lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

Wind farms generate power only when the wind is blowing within a certain range of speed. When there is too little wind, wind towers don’t generate power, but when the wind is too strong, they must be shut down for fear of being blown down. Even when they function properly, wind farms’ average output is less than 30 percent of their theoretical capacity, compared to 85–95 percent for combined-cycle gas-fired plants. Additionally, the power wind farms produce is highly variable, ramping up and down quickly alongside gusts and lulls. This is problematic because the power grid needs a regulated flow of power to function properly.

Because of these two endemic facts about wind power, wind farms require conventional power plants to supplement the power they do supply. By building a 1,000 MW wind farm, you are essentially also requiring the presence of a 700 MW natural-gas power plant.

It should also be noted the production of steel and concrete needed to build massive wind farms require energy-intensive processes, emitting greater amounts of carbon dioxide than most other industries. In fact, wind turbines require more steel and concrete per unit of energy produced than any other source of electricity.

As Ridley recounts for The Spectator, wind turbines need about 200 times more material per unit of power generated than a modern combined-cycle gas turbine. That means a single two-megawatt wind turbine uses 150 tons of coal. Building and installing the 350,000 wind turbines every year needed to keep up with increasing energy demand would require using 50 million additional tons of coal per year.

By any measure, governments’ big push for wind power delivers very little in terms of energy or environmental protection. Wind power advocates are blowhards, and it’s time for governments to stop listening to them.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (hburnett@heartland.org) is a research fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

See more here: Wind power

BLACK MONDAY FOR THE CLIMATISTAS

BLACK MONDAY FOR THE CLIMATISTAS

Most climatistas are going to call today “Black Monday,” because today has dealt a double-whammy of what Al Gore would call inconvenient news. First, an article out today in Nature Geoscience ponders the problem of why observed temperatures in the troposphere are not matching up with what the climate models have predicted. The lead author, Ben Santer, is one of the leading climatistas, so this article can’t be written off as “denier” distortions. (One of the co-authors is Michael Mann.) The complete article is behind a paywall, and while it is evident that the authors have done all the necessary contortions that essentially say “our models are just a little off” so as to convey a “nothing to see here” conclusion, the abstract can hardly be reassuring because it has to concede the problem:

Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming ratesBen Santer, et al.AbstractIn the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble. Because observations and coupled model simulations do not have the same phasing of natural internal variability, such decadal differences in simulated and observed warming rates invariably occur. Here we analyse global-mean tropospheric temperatures from satellites and climate model simulations to examine whether warming rate differences over the satellite era can be explained by internal climate variability alone. We find that in the last two decades of the twentieth century, differences between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends are broadly consistent with internal variability. Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed; warming rate differences are generally outside the range of trends arising from internal variability. The probability that multi-decadal internal variability fully explains the asymmetry between the late twentieth and early twenty-first century results is low (between zero and about 9%). It is also unlikely that this asymmetry is due to the combined effects of internal variability and a model error in climate sensitivity. We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.

 Second, one of the heroes of the climate fantasists is Stanford’s Mark Jacobson, who has been arguing for some time now that the U.S. can get to 100 percent renewable electricity (wind, solar, and hydro) by the year 2050. His work is preposterous, and as I noted here once before, Jacobson is regarded as a joke by most of his Stanford colleagues. Some of them (along with heavyweight energy academics from Berkeley, MIT, and elsewhere—there are a total of 21 authors signed on) have joined a major article out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that thoroughly rubbishes Jacobson’s fantasies:

Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solarAbstractA number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and less costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. [Jacobson MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060–15065] argue that it is feasible to provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across all energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 and 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

Translated from the politesse of formal academic writing, this means: Jacobson is full of crap. If you need confirmation, just consider that Jacobson has responded by attacking his critics in ad hominem fashion, rather than their arguments, telling the MIT Technology Review that “They’re either nuclear advocates or carbon sequestration advocates or fossil-fuels advocates. They don’t like the fact that we’re getting a lot of attention, so they’re trying to diminish our work.” (By the way—who has been giving Jacobson “a lot of attention”? Actor Mark Ruffalo and activist Van Jones in particular  Not exactly a compelling rebuttal. And totally incorrect about the authors of the new PNAS study, many of whom (I know some of them) are totally convinced climateers and dedicated energy decarbonizers. They just don’t like B.S.

Cause of London Tower Fire Just Exposed – Media HIDING It

Angry Patriot website

TELEMMGLPICT000131902097-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqpVlberWd9EgFPZtcLiMQfyf2A9a6I9YchsjMeADBa08We have learned more details about the fire in the London Tower this morning. The mainstream media is still sitting here silent — it’s a shame!

It has come to light that the cause of 17 plus people dying in the high-rise fire might have EVERYTHING to do with environmentalists. “Green” regulations required an installation of a new type of cladding insulation; the government has been warning people not to use this stuff since 1999 because it is HIGHLY flammable. According to The Telegraph, Dr. Jim Glockling of the Fire Protection Association said, “It could be that this is the quest for sustainability trumping other concerns.

The new cladding created what is now being called a “chimney effect,” resulting in a fire that spreads so quick that there was virtually no way to stop it. Glockling was getting at a valid point. The Left has become SO obsessed with “going green” that they are putting tens of thousands of people at risk on a daily basis by using materials that are MORE LIKELY to result in a devastating fire.

It is repulsive to think that people believe the future of the air 500 years from now can be more important than the fact people may die because of THEIR regulations. Tragically, at least three children lost their lives due to this carelessness.

Mickey Parmasivan recounted his story, “About 12 floors up I saw three children waving from a window and then there was just an explosion, and they disappeared.” The Left are a group of DEEPLY disturbed individuals for being ok with this event; an event they claim happened in a pursuit of “for the greater good.”

The icing on this screwed up cake, of course, is the mainstream media’s silence on the issue. The media is not going to speak against this for two major reasons.

First, the Left would have to admit that “going green” resulted in the deaths of nearly 20 people, and put an unmeasurable number of others at risk for future fires. They would NEVER want to admit that maybe “going green” isn’t what it is cracked up to be.

The second reason is that they would have to admit that President Trump was right to be concerned about the Paris Climate Accord. If they are setting up standards like this, then they really ARE a threat.

Liberals are unwilling to admit that Trump is correct, even if they have to ignore the death of children. We feel terrible for the people involved in this story, and our prayers are with them always.

The media DOESN’T WANT ANYONE TO SEE THIS! PLEASE share this story on Facebook to get the word out, and as always, let us know what YOU think about this story!

Climate Science: Red Fish Blue Fish

Guest Commentary by Kip Hansen

 “Multiple scientific assessments have concluded that man-made climate change is real and poses risks to human health and the environment. Even so, Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, told Breitbart News on Monday that he would like to essentially re-litigate the science of climate change.

In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, Pruitt proposed setting up opposing teams to debate key climate science issues.

“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt voiced support for a “red team-blue team” exercise to foster such a discussion. The red-blue team concept gained prominence in a Wall Street Journal commentary by Steven Koonin, a professor at New York University.

Koonin argued that such an exercise would subject the scientific consensus on climate change to a rigorous test. The red team would challenge consensus findings from scientific assessments, and the blue team would have the opportunity to respond.

“The outcome of a Red/Blue exercise for climate science is not preordained, which makes such a process all the more valuable,” Koonin wrote. “It could reveal the current consensus as weaker than claimed. Alternatively, the consensus could emerge strengthened if Red Team criticisms were countered effectively.””

—  EPA’s Scott Pruitt wants to set up opposing teams to debate climate change science. Washington Post —  7 June 2017 — by Jason Samenow

Why is this report almost entirely wrong?

The Washington  Post’s Jason Samenow is an experienced journalist.  He certainly is experienced in climate science communication.  According to his Wiki entry “Samenow worked as a climate change analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division from 2000 to September 2010.  Samenow launched and oversaw the EPA’s public website on climate change. … In early 2004, Samenow established CapitalWeather.com, the Internet’s first professional weather blog.”  (apparently, while an employee of the Federal EPA.)

When Samenow’s weather blog, CapitalWeather.com, was absorbed by the Washington Post in 2008, Samenow came along and is now the Washington Post’s Weather Editor.

However, like other federal employees that have turned to the internet to express their views on climate science, Samenow is not a disinterested, unbiased reporter of the facts.  So, instead of journalism, we get advocacy and commentary where we should see news. 

What Does Samenow Get Wrong?

Nearly everything.   Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, did speak to Breitbart News on Monday but he did not say “that he would like to essentially re-litigate the science of climate change.”  Climate Science is not subject to “litigation” — not then, not now, not in the future — so it certainly cannot be “re-litigated” even if Pruitt desired that.

Of course, that is not what Scott Pruitt said.  What he did say is “What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,”  Pruitt voiced support for a “red team-blue team” exercise to foster such a discussion. He refers to Koonin’s Wall Street Journal editorial in which Koonin argued that such an exercise would subject the scientific consensus on climate change to a rigorous test. [see Judith Curry’s “A ‘Red Team’ Exercise Would Strengthen Climate Science”].

Samenow repeats and doubles down on his original error with “In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, Pruitt proposed setting up opposing teams to debate key climate science issues.”  The last thing Pruitt, or any sensible person for that matter, wants is to have opposing teams debate climate science.

The Washington Post author apparently has no idea what a Red Team Blue Team exercise would be for a scientific question.  Maybe he has confused with it Dr. Suess’s Red Fish Blue Fish. Maybe Samenow should have looked it up in the Wiki.  [If you don’t already realize why I say Samenow is clueless, you should read the Wiki, read Dr. Curry’s essay linked above and do a Google on Red Teams.] Samenow refers to the approach as re-litigation and debate.  It is neither.

”Samenow writes: “Historically, red teams have been called upon in military exercises as a way to introduce alternative ideas and, ultimately, strengthen organizational performance. But David Titley, a climate scientist at Penn State University and retired Navy rear admiral, said introducing a red team into climate science doesn’t make sense. “Science already has a red team: peer review.””

In case no one at the Washington Post reads their own Science section [here and here] depending on peer-review to ensure correct results is a fool’s hope.  Peer review is coming under increasing scrutiny, especially in fields that have strong indicators of publication bias and ideological bias, in fields where there is a strong and professionally-enforced consensus.   I needn’t point out here that climate science is one such field.

The Intelligence and the Tech Security worlds have been using Red Team’s for quite some time, and the approach has become quite sophisticated.

What Red Team Blue Team is meant to do in the Intelligence World is to obviate the influence of “group think” among intelligence analysts, who tend to be a close knit group.  According to Psychology Today: “Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus.”

In Intelligence, this has fairly recently led to a US President being advised to go to war, and doing so,  over the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction, which were figments of groupthink among America’s intelligence analysts.

In a scientific field, groupthink leads to studies that “go along to get along” — to publication bias where the ‘best journals” only publish papers that agree with the emerging consensus or the field’s opinion leaders, drowning out by volume any differing voices and pushing dissenting papers downline into less prominent, less prestigious journals, where they do not have any influence and are seldom, if ever, read.

And that’s what Climate Science needs — a remedy for the groupthink that has led to attitudes like that of Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, who is quoted saying:  “The notion that we would need to create an entirely different new approach, in particular for the specific question around global warming, is unfounded and ridiculous…”.

So much for a search for better understanding.

# # # # #

Post Script:  I once made a suggestion at Climate Etc. that the whole field of Climate Science might want to hit the RESTART button.   A properly constituted Red Team would fit the bill to re-evaluate the field, discover misunderstandings, discover unknown unknowns, and direct future research to find the answers to known unknowns.

I’d like to see your comments, especially on the use of Red Teams in the real world, your professional lives.     –  Kip Hansen

More rational policies in our future?

Trump’s Paris decision challenges bad science, economics and energy politics behind treaty

Driessen – Rational policies in our future

In the wake of President Trump’s exit from the Paris climate treaty, reactions from other quarters were predictably swift, nasty, sanctimonious and hypocritical.

Al Gore paused near one of the private jets he takes to hector lesser mortals to say the action will bring “a global weather apocalypse.” Billionaire Tom Steyer got rich selling coal but called the President’s action “a traitorous act of war.” Actor-activist Mark Ruffalo railed that Trump has “the death of whole nations on his hands.” Michael Moore said the action was “a crime against humanity.” Former President Obama said it threatened “the one planet we’ve got” (to say nothing of what’s left of his executive orders legacy).

In truth, President Trump’s bold decision underscores the ill-informed science, economics, ethics and energy politics that have driven climate cataclysm caterwauling for decades. His exit decision, his insistence that NATO members pay their agreed dues for defending Europe, the impacts of widespread green energy poverty, and the hard economic and environmental realities of wind, solar and biofuel “alternatives” to fossil fuels will likely awaken other leaders – and persuade other nations to Exit Paris.

Of the 28 NATO members, only the US, UK, Poland, Estonia and Greece have met their defense spending commitments, leaving a shortfall of $134 billion a year and compelling the United States to shoulder over 65% of the alliance’s total defense spending. Germany and some other members have now grudgingly agreed to increase their payments, in response to President Trump’s request, Russia’s actions in Crimea, Georgia and elsewhere – and growing threats of Islamist terrorism.

In the wake of London, Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Orlando, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Twin Towers and countless other attacks, it is ludicrous to claim supposedly manmade, allegedly dangerous climate change is the world’s biggest worry. It’s totally unrealistic to imagine that NATO members can pay their fair share for defending Europe and then pay what the Paris Treaty expects for the Green Climate Fund, while shackling their economies with job-killing renewable energy policies, and spending billions on welfare for unemployed workers and migrant families from the Middle East.

The Paris climate formula provides that GCF payments are to start at $100 billion per year, of which the US share would have been $23.5 billion. Former UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres has suggested that $450 billion a year by 2030 would be appropriate, Competitive Enterprise Institute energy and climate director Myron Ebell points out.

Ms. Figueres has also said the UN has “given itself” the task of replacing the free enterprise capitalism economic model with a global governance system. Her colleague Ottmar Edenhofer bluntly stated that the real goal of UN climate policies is redistributing the world’s wealth – in $450-billion-a-year increments.

Developing Countries and kleptocratic leaders demanded this windfall to join Paris. Their enthusiasm over staying in Paris is likely to reflect now-rich nation declining excitement about paying into the Fund, even though the treaty does not obligate DCs to reduce fossil fuel use or emissions until at least 2030.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gamely said she will now work “more than ever” to “save our planet.” A number of US cities and states pledged to remain committed to treaty obligations. How exactly will they do that? Will they pay billions into the Fund – and blanket their lands with enough wind, solar and biofuel installations to be completely renewable in three decades? Build more of the only CO2-free electricity sources that are reliable and affordable: nuclear and hydroelectric facilities?

Most of these national, state and local leaders oppose nuclear and hydroelectric as strongly as they detest fossil fuels – and the states and cities are already burdened by soaring electricity prices and government debt. Virtually none have considered the gargantuan costs of this “energy transition” – or the fact that total global adherence to the Paris Treaty would prevent an undetectable 0.2 degrees C (0.3 F) of warming by 2100. Their own self-aggrandizing efforts would prevent perhaps 0.01 degrees. (And that assumes carbon dioxide is the primary factor in climate change, instead of changes in solar energy output, cosmic rays, ocean circulation and numerous other natural forces that actually control Earth’s climate.)

The United States and world still depend on oil, natural gas and coal for 80% of their total energy needs. More than 53,000 US wind turbines still supply only 2% of the nation’s total energy; thousands of acres of photovoltaic solar panels supply barely 0.3% of US energy; corn ethanol from 40 million acres (equal to Iowa or to Austria and the Czech Republic combined) supplies just 5% of its transportation fuels.

Land and raw material requirements for wind turbines underscore the true impacts of renewable energy.

Between 2010 and 2015, global electricity consumption grew by more than 2 billion megawatt-hours (2,000 terawatt-hours). Meeting just this demand growth of 400 million mWh per year (not total global electricity demand) solely with wind energy would require installing some 100,000 new turbines every year (generating electricity 25% of the time), as nations continue to electrify their far-flung communities.

Thankfully, African and Asian countries are actually doing so by building “mere” hundreds of new coal- and natural gas-fueled power plants, to generate abundant, reliable, affordable electricity for their people. Converting the entire planet to constantly fluctuating, unreliable, expensive, subsidized wind power would require trillions of dollars, hundreds of millions of acres, and incalculable raw materials.

Industry and other data suggest that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 185,000 1.5-MW turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, up to 18 million acres, and 245 million tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths – plus fossil-fuel back-up generators for the 75% of the year that the wind is barely blowing and the turbines are not producing electricity.

Now consider where all these raw materials must come from, how they must be extracted from the Earth and turned into finished products, and how much (mostly fossil fuel) energy that requires. Concrete is made from limestone, silica, alumina, iron, clay, fly ash, gypsum and gravel. Steel requires iron, nickel, chromium, manganese, carbon and molybdenum. Fiberglass is composed of silica, other minerals and petroleum. These materials and copper are mined in countries all across the planet.

Nearly all rare earth metals come from Mongolia, and lithium for batteries (to store the turbines’ electrical output) from the Democratic Republic of Congo, under horrid to nonexistent environmental, health and child labor standards. Their toxic and radioactive wastes are turning vast areas into desolate wastelands.

Those are enormous impacts – and wind turbines require some 100-200 times more raw materials per megawatt of electricity actually generated than modern hypercritical coal or combined cycle gas turbine generators. Total energy inputs to manufacture, transport and install wind turbine components are also lopsided. Just imagine the land and resource needs if all electricity were wind-generated and all cars were electric. To call this “clean” energy, “sustainable” power or “environmental justice” is simply perverse.

Think back on the incredible energy technology advances since 1917 – from wood and coal in primitive stoves, furnaces and factories a century ago … to the coal and gas turbine generators, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, high-tech transmission grids of today. Ponder the amazing advancements in medical, computer, communication and other technologies during the past century.

Imagine what wonders our Ultimate Resource – our creative intellects – could invent over next century, if we have the freedom and capital to do so. If misguided climate change, wealth redistribution, renewable energy and global governance demands do not shackle those opportunities. If we’d stop giving decision-making authority to people who have never been in factories or on farms (much less worked there), and think food comes from grocery stores, electricity from wall sockets, “clean energy” from magic.

President Trump has been vilified for challenging “accepted wisdom” on NATO, terrorism, climate change, and the ability of wind and solar to power job creation and economic rejuvenation in the USA and other industrialized nations – and to enable poor families worldwide to take their rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. History will prove him right.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.