U.S. House Hearing on the IPCC Process

by Judith Curry

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology is holding a Hearing today at 11 a.m.: Examining the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Process

The link to the Hearing is [here].  The Hearing Charter is [here], which provides background information on the IPCC.  An article in the conservative Washington Examiner provides context for the hearing.   Excerpts:

I asked committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, for some clarification. So, a handful of governments formed the IPCC. Is the panel just creating science to fit the policy agendas of dominant governments? Smith replied, “Well, the IPCC does not perform science itself and doesn’t monitor the climate, but only reviews carefully selected scientific literature.”

Smith has invited testimony from four highly-credentialed scientists with deep experience in the IPCC, distinctive views and razor tongues:

• University of Sussex Professor Richard Tol. He recognizes climate change but is no catastrophist – he resigned earlier this year as a lead author of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report because it was too alarmist and put too little emphasis on opportunities to adapt to climate changes. His ultra-rational position: “The first rule of climate policy should be: Do no harm to economic growth. But the IPCC was asked to focus on the risks of climate change alone, and those who volunteered to be its authors eagerly obliged.”

• Colorado State University emeritus Professor Roger Pielke. He said in 2005, “the evidence of a human fingerprint on the global and regional climate is incontrovertible.” Nevertheless, his technical argument that CO2 is not the culprit that the IPCC makes it out to be has set poorly socialized climate believers howling. Pielke says that CO2 is important, but “has contributed, at most, only about 28 percent to the human-caused warming up to the present. The other 72 percent is still a result of human activities.”

• In the true-believer corner, we have much-honored Princeton Professor Michael Oppenheimer, weighing in with more than two decades as chief scientist of the Environmental Defense Fund ($111.9 million revenue in 2012) and still a science adviser. He has played important roles as a lead author of several IPCC reports, including a special report on climate extremes and disasters. He’s by far the hearing’s most experienced insider – he was there before the beginning and, as an EDF official, helped pressure the U.S. government to ask the WMO and UNEP to organize the IPCC bureaucracy.

• Last, Daniel B. Botkin, professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has served with both the IPCC and President Obama’s National Climate Assessment. His view of the NCA may also apply to the IPCC’s assessment: “The executive summary is a political statement, not a scientific statement.”

Botkin treated panic over sea level rise thus: “The sea level has been rising since the end of the last ice age, 12,500 years ago.”

Botkin also scolded the NCA for its extreme weather forecast: “It is inappropriate to use short-term changes in weather as an indication one way or another about persistent climate change.”

I asked Smith whether the governments that pay for the IPCC have the power to tell it what they want.

Smith responded: “The United States is by far the IPCC’s largest funder – over $43 million since the beginning (over four times more than second-place Germany), and that’s just for the basic UN bureaucracy, not including many more millions for technical support, experts, meetings, and translations. But it’s true that the U.S. administration makes its wishes known to the IPCC through State Department delegations of political appointees.”

But doesn’t that mean that the administration exercises what amounts to agenda setting and veto power over IPCC reports?

“It’s time to examine that whole process,” Smith responded.

Chairman Smith’s Opening Statement

Excerpts from Chairman Lamar Smith’s Opening Statement:

Both the IPCC and the White House’s documents appear to be designed to spread fear and alarm and provide cover for previously determined government policies. The reports give the Obama Administration an excuse to control more of the lives of the American people.

The IPCC’s goal is an international climate treaty that redistributes wealth among nations. The Administration’s goal is to impose greenhouse gas regulations, which will stifle economic growth and lead to hundreds of thousands of fewer jobs each year. On the heels of these catastrophic predictions, the President plans to announce next Monday his most costly climate regulations – new climate standards for power plants.

Serious concerns have been raised about the IPCC, including lack of transparency in author and study selection, and inconsistent approaches to data quality, peer review, publication cut-off dates, and the cherry-picking of results. The bias is there for all to see.

We should focus on good science, rather than politically correct science. The facts should determine which climate policy options the U.S. and world considers. 

The President says there is no debate. Actually the debate has only just begun. When assessing climate change, we need to make sure that findings are driven by science, not an alarmist, partisan agenda.

Richard Tol

The link to Tol’s testimony is [here].  Key points:

  • Academics who research climate change out of curiosity but find less than alarming things are ignored, unless they rise to prominence in which case they are harassed and smeared.
  • People volunteer to work for the IPCC because they worry about climate change.
  • Governments nominate academics to the IPCC – but we should be clear that it is often the environment agencies that do the nominating.
  • All this makes that the authors of the IPCC are selected on concern as well as competence.
  • The IPCC should deploy the methods developed in business management and social psychology25to guard against group think.
  • Not all IPCC authors are equal. Some hold positions of power in key chapters, others subordinate positions in irrelevant chapters. The IPCC leadership has in the past been very adept at putting troublesome authors in positions where they cannot harm the cause. That practice must end. This is best done by making sure that the leaders of the IPCC –chairs, vice-chairs, heads of technical support units – are balanced and open-minded.
  • A report that is rare should make a big splash – and an ambitious team wants to make a bigger splash than last time. It’s worse than we thought. We’re all gonna die an even more horrible death than we thought six years ago. Launching a big report in one go also means that IPCC authors will compete with one another on whose chapter foresees the most terrible things.
  • In learned journals, the editor guarantees that every paper is reviewed by experts. IPCC editors do not approach referees. Rather, they hope that the right reviewers will show up. Large parts of the IPCC reports are, therefore, not reviewed at all, or not reviewed by field experts.
  • We need an organization that is not beholden to any government or any party to anchor climate policy in reality as we understand it. A reformed IPCC can play that role.

Michael Oppenheimer

The link to Oppenheimer’s testimony is [here]. Excerpts:

IPCC has performed an important service to governments and the general public by assessing the scientific literature, determining the consensus and range of expert views on critical questions, collaborating with governments to state those findings clearly and succinctly in the Summaries for Policymakers, and aiming to widely disseminate its reports. By and large, IPCC has been a highly successful experiment in science-policy interaction. But the interface of science with the intergovernmental process presents pitfalls, including contentiousness over the final products of the process. The best solution to this difficulty is to further increase transparency, both procedural and substantive. Furthermore, IPCC needs to lighten the burden it creates for the scientific community and its author-experts in particular. At the same time, it can sharpen its products and target them at issues of immediate interest. Finally, IPCC’s procedures for carrying out the assessment process need a thorough study and review in order to assure that they are as effective as possible. The world needs an IPCC and IPCC needs to continually improve its performance to meet that need. Our ability to appropriately deal with the risk of climate change depends on it.

My own recommendations for changes to IPCC procedures are as follows:

  • More frequent but briefer reports.
  • Increase transparency.
  • Make the intergovernmental part of the process more accessible.
  • Experiment with more formal approaches to assessment.

Daniel Botkin

The link to Botkin’s testimony is [here]. Key points:

I regret to say that I was left with the impression that the reports overestimate the danger from human-induced climate change and do not contribute to our ability to solve major environmental problems. I am afraid that an “agenda” permeates the reports, an implication that humans and our activity are necessarily bad and ought to be curtailed.

My biggest concern about the reports is that they present a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The reports, in other words, are “scientificsounding,” rather than clearly settled and based on indisputable facts. Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think.

THE REPORT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT LIVING THINGS ARE FRAGILE AND RIGID, unable to deal with change. The opposite is to case. Life is persistent, adaptable, adjustable.

There is an overall assumption in the IPCC 2014 report and the Climate Change Assessment that all change is negative and undesirable; that it is ecologically and evolutionarily unnatural, bad for populations, species, ecosystems, for all life on planet Earth, including people. This is the opposite of the reality.

The extreme overemphasis on human-induced global warming has taken our attention away from many environmental issues that used to be front and center but have been pretty much ignored in the 21st century.

Roger Pielke Sr

The link to Pielke’s testimony is [here].  Summary of main points:

Summary of my Main Points

  • The 2013 IPCC WG1 report and the 2014 US National Climate Assessment present a set of projections from global and downscaled regional climate models as the basis for projecting future societal and environmental impacts, offered as a guide to the future for decision makers.
  • However, these projections may not be reliable guides to the future. In fact, we are unable to accurately quantify their reliability. The IPCC and NCA did not adequately discuss the skill run in hindcast predictions over the last several decades when fossil fuel emissions, and other climate forcings, are actually known.
  • Except for limited exceptions the models cannot accurately represent over the last several decades the temporal evolution of major atmospheric circulation features over multi-decadal time periods such as El Niño and La Niña, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the North Atlantic Oscillation. These major factors determine which regions have drought, floods, tropical cyclone tracks, and other societally and environmentally important weather events.
  • The models have an even greater challenge in accurately predicting changes in the statistics of these major atmospheric circulation features over multi-decadal time scales.
  • The IPCC and NCA needs to more accurately report the importance of these model limitations, that were available to them in the peer reviewed literature. By not alerting them to these limitations, they are giving decision makers who face decisions at the regional and local level a false sense of certainty about the unfolding climate future.

RP Sr also appended his Minority Statement on the AGU Policy Statement on Climate Change (discussed previously at Climate Etc. here).

Press Release

The Press Release from the House Committee states:

A distinguished panel of experts involved in the IPCC and National Climate Assessment process unanimously stated that the science of climate change is “not settled,” as the President and others often state unequivocally.

Witnesses also discussed how the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda will negatively impact the economy with little to no impact on global temperature. One analysis used IPCC assumptions and found that if the U.S. stopped all carbon dioxide emissions immediately, the ultimate impact on global temperature would only be 0.08 degrees Celsius by 2050.

JC comments

All four witnesses were excellent choices, and all did a very good job with their testimony.  Readers of Climate Etc. are probably familiar with the views of Tol and Pielke (whose views have been featured at CE and who occasionally show up to comment).  I am familiar with Oppenheimer’s views, and included some in my Uncertainty Monster paper.  I was hitherto unfamiliar with Botkin, whose views I found particularly interesting.

Of greatest significance, I view all 4 testimonies as non-normative, with none of the hysterical ideology about ‘urgent action needed’ that typically characterizes the testimony of witnesses for the Democrats.  None of the 4 held extreme positions on the IPCC (and none were as negative on the IPCC as I am).

Finally, Lamarr Smith’s words from the Opening Statement bear repeating:

The President says there is no debate. Actually the debate has only just begun. When assessing climate change, we need to make sure that findings are driven by science, not an alarmist, partisan agenda.

206 responses to “U.S. House Hearing on the IPCC Process

  1. Heh, Oppenheimer, in at the beginning of the grand illusion, and wondering now at the wisps.
    =============

    • all four witnesses sound reasonable here, with some very good observations and suggestions….

      Oppenheimer had been a major force behind excess alarmism in the past, but seems to have calmed down (at least for this testimony). Compare:

      Oppenheimer (2007)

      Oppenheimer et al. (1987)

    • Pay attention, alarmists; here’s how you scoot down the hawser.
      ================

    • also compare with Oppenheimer here, when Joe Romm still loved him:

      Oppenheimer(2010) AGU Stephen Schneider Memorial Lecture, via Joe Romm at ThinkProgress

      and now?

    • Oppenheimer is whistling past the graveyard. His testimony would have been valid 10 years ago, but now investigation and analysis isn’t need; we should abandon the IPCC and we do not need a replacement. We should focus on collecting weather data and if something shows up that could concern policy, then we might create a new institution.

      The thing is, since the late 90s we’ve collected enough data that we should have seen impacts of warming on weather and climate. The impacts have proven benign or beneficial, rates of change are slow, and feedbacks and responses are subtle and non-threatening.

  2. Jim Cripwell

    Lamarr Smith writes “The President says there is no debate. Actually the debate has only just begun. When assessing climate change, we need to make sure that findings are driven by science, not an alarmist, partisan agenda.”

    In recent weeks this sort of sentiment has been expressed many times, by many different people. So far, no-one who matters has taken any notice. I am not familiar with US politics, but could Lamarr Smith be of sufficient influence that his statement could force the warmists into a proper scientific debate? Let us hope so.

    • Negative.

    • They can’t be shamed into a proper scientific debate, why should they be Smithed into it? Maybe they can be Lamarred into it, though. That’s got some interesting possibilities.

      Lamarr, Lamarr, I err or mar.
      ============

    • Jim Cripwell

      Thanks, freeHat. So this is merely more of “All sound and fury, signifying nothing ” Shakespeare.

    • It is significant that there is sound and fury, not just an alarmist narrative drone.
      =======

    • I wouldn’t write off the power of the US House of Representatives. There is also the pending Fall election and a potential change in the balance of the Senate. The lefties out there would like to think that this doesn’t matter, but it will.

      This hearing will be used during the coming campaign.

    • Some Hedi stuff there, kim.

    • pottereaton

      ” So this is merely more of “All sound and fury, signifying nothing ” Shakespeare.”

      These things are always glacially incremental. But they are moving in the right direction if you happen to be a skeptic on catastrophic warming. What is extremely important is control of the House and or Senate. The hearings and witnesses always reflect what the majority party wants the public to hear. For examples of that, research the tone of Democrat hearings on global warming in the Senate in the last 8 years, compared to those in the House in the past four. If the Republicans take the Senate in November, they will get control of the megaphone.

    • I never heard of him before today.

  3. Does anyone know if these hearings have any noticeable effect on US politics?

    Also the video clips disappeared a couple of hours ago from the usual feed http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hclive10

    I know it wasn’t going well for the consensus, but surely this is a conspiracy too far

    • pottereaton

      See my reply directly above.

      I would say that hearings in 2006 that featured McIntyre v. Mann, other hearings since that were conducted by Republicans, all combined with the Climategate nonsense, have had an impact. Polls that gauge the American people’s concerns over issues always show that global warming is far down on the list of what worries people.

  4. fizzymagic

    It’s refreshing to see criticism aimed at the IPCC instead of the so-called “consensus.” I think it’s difficult for read scientists with nuanced views to be heard over the political racket of both the statists and the anti-statists.

    The science of climate change is interesting and, given past experience with the scientific method, will eventually come to resemble reality. The politics will make this process take much longer, though.

    My personal take on the policy issues is similar to that of Tol. It seems to me that the precautionary principle is being used exactly backwards: people seem to be willing to sacrifice millions of lives today on the chance that climate change will be such a disaster that more lives will be lost in the future. Comfortable people in the first world either can’t appreciate or don’t care about the cost in human lives of rapid decarbonization.

    • fizzymagic

      I meant “real scientists,” of course.

    • Yes the precautionary principle as applied by progressives in a Pelosiesc way “we’ve got to destroy the human race now to save it from being destroyed later”.

  5. I have written a short post on this, and Donna Laframboise has blogged about it too. I agree that Botkin’s statements are interesting. The point about AGW obsession distracting attention from more serious environmental problems is a view I have held for some time.

    • Paul

      Yes agreed. I would put agw way down my list of things to worry about. In fact it wouldn’t be on my list in the first place.

      Tonyb

    • Paul,

      Me as well. One example (there are scores) is ocean acidification and coral reefs. If one is truly concerned about the fate of reefs, spending time on CO2 because of some hypothesis about acidification concerns is a complete waste. Even the WWF lists oa at the bottom of their identified threats to coral reefs.

    • How amusing to see the faux-environmentalists suddenly concerned about the environment….so as to bash AGW.

      The twin strategy is to cry ‘oh, but the poor!’.

      • David Springer

        Not half as amusing as faux-scientists concerned about the climate just to further an anti-humanist agenda.

    • As always Michael you are full of it.

      “faux – environmentalist” – how would you know?

      “suddenly concerned” – again, how would you know?

      So, just how many restoration projects have you worked?

      I will say that I would never call myself an environmentalist. Conservationist, steward, maybe even ecologist. But only those who are willing to blow off science in exchange for the opportunity to give free reign to their emotions would identify as an environmentalist.

    • fizzymagic

      Michael said:

      How amusing to see the faux-environmentalists suddenly concerned about the environment….so as to bash AGW.

      Wow. Going straight to the attacks on perceived motive. Nary a thought given to, you know, science. Impressive example of how scientific debate is being avoided at all costs.

    • Whenever I am asked about which climate scientist has had the strongest effect on my opinions on climate change, I tell them ‘Michael Mann, without a doubt.’ It was only after reading the emails of Mann, and to a lesser extent Jones, that I began to have strong doubts about global warming. McIntyre, Christy, Lindzen, Essex, Curry and the others came later. I’m very grateful to Michael for setting me on the road to a more informed position and appreciate him reaffirming my doubts with his comments on this blog.

    • I also singled out Bodkin’s one sentence, before reading the summary above:
      “the extreme overemphasis on human induced global warming has taken our attention away from many environmental issues that used to be front and center pretty much ignored in the 21th century and demand our attention.”

      I am an environmentalist and scientist. What one thinks when they hear the word “environmentalist” is something else.

      I found the discussion enlightening. Most of the representatives asked sincere questions.

    • pottereaton

      The problem with Michael is that he can’t distinguish between AGW and CAGW.

    • > The point about AGW obsession distracting attention from more serious environmental problems is a view I have held for some time.

      Bjørn may have occupied that niche first.

    • I am afraid that the failure of Climate Hysteria will do untold amounts of damage to the environmental movement, which has, in previous incarnations, done a variety of important things.

  6. Les Johnson

    Judith: I believe Botkin was brought in because of his views on an extinction paper by Thomas, that substanially influenced AR4. Botkin called it the “worst paper” he had ever read.

    While I am sure the Thomas paper was meant to galvanize action, and it was succesful, albeit not in the manner envisioned. This paper suffered 3 critiques in Nature alone.

    http://www.danielbbotkin.com/2007/12/31/science-and-soothsaying/#comment-100

    • For who could bear … the whips and scorns of whether,
      The insolence of office and the spurns
      That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
      When he himself might his quietus make
      With a bare botkin?

      W/ apologies to the Bard.

  7. Danley Wolfe

    Not having balance and only pushing advocacy damages scientific progress and in the extreme could increase human risks by not properly addressing the right things. The IPCC process is detrimental to science.

    • It’s easy, really; just apply the Precautionary Principle to the Precautionary Principle itself.
      =========

    • Sea level “rise” provides an excellent example. In most locations, truly significant “sea level rise” is actually land subsidence. The global temperature has nothing to do with it. Thus, if we take action to do something about carbon – which all admit would be highly costly, cities with significant subsidence are unlikely to have the revenues to deal with the real problem they face.

      It all comes back to one simple fact that gets ignored too often in these debates – there’s no free lunch. We have to make choices. Spending money on carbon is a very poor choice because of a highly uncertain (and potentially negative) return on investment. Money spent on education would be much more likely to be worthwhile (and I won’t even go into the importance of addressing poverty, lest I give Michael the opportunity to once more sneer at the poor and me).

  8. pokerguy (aka al neipris)

    “Academics who research climate change out of curiosity but find less than alarming things are ignored, unless they rise to prominence in which case they are harassed and smeared.”

    The great irony (actually only one great irony among many in the climate debate) is that it’s the IPCC that’s “ant-science.” When Pachauri accused those who challenged the risible Himalayan glacier prediction of practicing “voodoo-science,” he revealed the kind of appalling bad faith that defines this misbegotten organization.

    Waiting for one climate etc. warmist to show a tiny bit of integrity by conceding the IPCC is to be polite, flawed.

    Of course it’s going to be a long wait.

  9. My first heresy says that all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated. Here I am opposing the holy brotherhood of climate model experts and the crowd of deluded citizens who believe the numbers predicted by the computer models. ~Freeman Dyson

  10. I was interested to hear botkins view that sea level has been rising since the end of the ice age 12500 years ago.

    That would surely imply that temperatures have been rising since that time with some obvious temporary interruptions such as the LIA? If so that is surely contrary to the general view that temperatures have been generally declining for many thousands of years, as exemplified by the hockey stick which shows a cooling for 1000 years until the last century uptick.

    Tonyb

    • Rud Istvan

      They can be rising at a slower rate so long as net Greenland and Antarctic ice is not accumulating, even though GMST might be slowly declining from the Holocene optimum. Evidence says about 120 meters over about 12 millennia, maybe two meters since over 6-8 millennia.

    • Since it’s delayed, and since more ocean means lower albedo, a rising sea level may be the only thing keeping us in the Holocene.
      =================

    • Hi Rud

      The evidence as far as I can see is that we can trace notable peaks around the 4th century and the 12 th century and the 17th century with an oscillation of around 1 metre or so between these peaks and other more minor changes at other times.

      Sea levels have been rising again since around 1700or so and are still somewhat lower than the other peaks mentioned. Everything is hugely complicated by the land levels rising or falling and the differences in sea levels between ocean basins. Very roughly sea levels seem to be in broad synch with periods of notable warmth and notable cold.

      I am sure of the first peak but until I assess all the material gathered over the last two years for the second part of my ‘historic variations in sea level’series I would not claim certainty over the other peaks.

      Temperatures oscillate and it is reasonable to expect sea levels do so as well. That is why I am bemused as botkins account of continual sea level rise which implies temperature rise.

      . Why should the Net Greenland and Antarctic ice not be accumulating over that 12500 year period if temperatures were supposed to have been falling for most of that time?

      Tonyb

    • Kim

      What a great theory. Have a Nobel.

      Tonyb

    • Rud Istvan

      Hi Tony. We are in basic agreement. All the evidence I see says net slow loss from Greenland and probably WAIS at present, while EIAS is slightly net accumulating. A meter over a few centuries plus minus would be in line with temperature variation RWP, MWP, Dark Age, LIA. If you had the sea level and temp variation with any granularity, it might even be possible to estimate the Holocene ice mass flux temperature sensitivity. I thought about doing that just for 1900 to now with GPS corrected tide gauges, but with not quite two full apparent cycles and so much noise in the data the result would be worse than Desslers cloud feedback exercise in 2010. Cannot wait to sink some statistical teeth into your extended results. Regards.

    • Mike Flynn

      TonyB,

      From the IPCC –

      “Where the tectonics occur in coastal areas, one of its consequences is the changing relationship between the land and sea surfaces as shorelines retreat or advance in response to the vertical land movements.”

      This is acknowledgement that sea level changes occur without, and in spite of, contributions by mankind – or even Mannkind. I notice that sea level changes are converted in WarmSpeak to shorelines retreating or advancing, presumably to obfuscate.

      With the availability of GPS data recently, the mad dance of the continents is being recorded with ever increasing precision. The vertical component of the dance seems to be largely ignored, although even a change of a millimetre or so per annum – not outlandish, given that rates of up to 10 cm per year already recorded – gives pretty fair elevation changes over a million years or so.

      Even more interesting, is the largely unknown rates of vertical displacement of the ocean basin floors, over any given time. Do wide area basin uplifts raise sea levels, or is there a compensating mechanism whereby the above sea crust is displaced to increase solid crustal thickness which seems to be required when less water overlays the crust? If so, is there a lag, and what are the ultimate effects on sea levels?

      I haven’t got the faintest idea, and it appears that definitive answers are unlikely to emerge soon, particularly if the tectonic processes are chaotic in nature – which I suspect.

      Do you think that past tectonic displacements can be calculated, and factored into tide gauge data, if the movements are indeed chaotic? I assume such a thing would be impossible, but some scientists think of clever ways to establish facts which which have eluded their colleagues for very long times in some instances.

      Thanks.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • H.H. Lamb, in his Climate, History and the Modern World, stated that global sea levels peaked about 2,000 BC.

    • DonB

      In stating sea level oscillations above, I only went back as far as I have already researched which is the Roman period.

      I admire Lambs work and it would certainly make sense that around the warmest part of the Holocene-the Minoan period-would also have the greatest melt and hence the highest sea levels. It is thought that many of the worlds glaciers either disappeared or became very substantially reduced around that time. We also have evidence of civilisations living at heights and latitudes that would only be possible today unless using. our advanced technology.

      I can’t see the evidence for this ever increasing sea level for 12500 years especially as it would suggest a gradually warming world over this period when the scientists tell us that temperatures have in fact been steadily decln8ng until recently

      To me, there is clear oscillations in both temperatures, glacier movements and sea levels.

      All I need is for Big Oil to increase their already generous funding of my vast team of highly paid researchers and I can determine what is happening.

      tonyb

    • Mike

      You pose an interesting question and one that Professor Robert Duck mentioned in a book I have previously referenced here; ‘This shrinking Land.’

      The short answer is that there are many components to sea level change of which actual increase in sea level through thermal expansion and glacial melt and aquifer depletion need to be married up with changes in land movements of one type or another.

      I think any attempt to calculate all these is sheer speculation as our knowledge is not great enough and every region will be different.

      tonyb

    • Rud

      The sea level project is having to take place to the extended CET project as teasing out reliable information is a slow and tortuous job . The latter will of course provide useful pointers as to what the sea levels might have been doing over the last 1000 years.

      Tonyb

    • Mike Flynn

      TonyB,

      Thanks, I presume you know far more about the subject than a dilettante such as myself. I question the absolutism of some who claim that sea level change is an obvious consequence of atmospheric CO2 levels.

      Interesting field. I find it fascinating, in the sense that it reinforces my view that if leaping to conclusions was an Olympic event, many scientists might win gold for their respective countries.

      All the best.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Tony, once the world got out of the last Ice Age and was consistently warmer, it took a long, long time for all the ice sheets and lesser glaciers to melt. Continually rising temps weren’t needed.

      The increase in sea levels was quite rapid until about 7,000 years ago, when the rate of increase was substantially reduced:

      Fun research: there is evidence that about 5,600 years ago, according to probably the most mainstream research, the Mediterranean finally got high enough that it breached the height of land separating it from the Black Sea, which was much lower at the time. The result was a rapid rise in the level of the Black Sea, although there is disagreement about whether the increase was about 30 meters, or about 80 meters.

    • David Springer

      @tonyb

      Temperature doesn’t need to be rising for sea level to increase. Landlocked ice melts at any temperature above freezing.

    • I don’t see that temperature rise is necessary for sea level rise, it could be driven by deglatiation from simply being at a higher temp (and could even cause cooling). In addtion, there are land changes, auquifer changes mentioned above, and biological changes (desertification). We don’t know what water vapor levels and water cycle efficiency have done before recent decades (if we even know now).

      On the other hand, I don’t think it is implausibe at all that the world has been warming for thousands of years. The assumption that the earth surface energy budget was in balance before CO2 is a $#!++Y
      assumption.

  11. Both the IPCC and the White House’s documents appear to be designed to spread fear and alarm and provide cover for previously determined government policies. The reports give the Obama Administration an excuse to control more of the lives of the American people.

    The IPCC’s goal is an international climate treaty that redistributes wealth among nations.

    This makes no sense. The ultimate goal of politicians and governments is to get reelected and retain power. Why would politicians and governments want to inflict unnecessary regulations and taxes in order to “control” people when such policies are not cost free and could alienate the public?

    Second why would governments support an institution whose goal is to “redistribute” wealth to other nations, when as mentioned before such policies would most likely not be accepted by the pubic.

    I see this statement as another example paranoid conspiracy related (and nonsensical) thinking frequently engaged in by conservatives.

    • Well, no, an example of delusional thinking by the redistributionists.
      =========

    • I hear very few clamoring for redistribution of income to poor nations. And I have NEVER seen it used to as way to get elected to political office.

    • Those clamoring internationally are appointed, those clamoring domestically, well, here we are.

      Cheap energy benefits the poor. Clamoring for expensive energy damages the poor. There need be no redistribution about the matter.
      ============

    • Cheap energy benefits the poor. Clamoring for expensive energy damages the poor.

      I thought this was all about helping poor people through redistribution. Right? Or do you agree with me that the Chairman and his fellow Republican conspiracists make no sense?

    • “Why would politicians and governments want to inflict unnecessary regulations and taxes in order to “control” people when such policies are not cost free and could alienate the public?”

      Why delay the Keystone pipeline as that is not cost free and could alienate the public?

      http://www.people-press.org/2014/03/19/keystone-xl-pipeline-divides-democrats/

    • “I hear very few clamoring for redistribution of income to poor nations. And I have NEVER seen it used to as way to get elected to political office.”

      You hear very few progressive politicians ever telling the voters the truth about anything. If they did, they wouldn’t get elected.

      You don’t determine their motivation by what they say, but by what they do.

    • Politicians often make no sense. Today might have just been an aberration.

    • You are catching on to the irony, Joseph; this was never about helping the poor. The redistribution from the developed countries was the purchasing of dispensations for the unnecessarily guilt-ridden ashamed. The BRICs were happy to go along with that, but refused to assume any guilt, see the Chinese nailing down every stray hydrocarbon on Earth.
      ================

    • well, Joseph, the Co-Chair of WGIII for the IPCC’s AR5 contradicted you link below). One might argue that he does not speak for anyone but himself, of course, except that his views are highly representative of people in and out of the IPCC.

      I have been around many academics, scientists, and NGO bureaucrats for much of my adult life. Edenhofer’s views are widely held, although often not admitted in candor when it might be politically in convenient.

      Funny thing, Eli Rabbett and a lot of his digital comrades get all huffy if anyone points out simple facts about what is really driving much/all of the CAGW movement. They claim they are being misrepresented, associated with some conspiracy. But the people like Edenhofer and many others associated with WGII, WGIII, and many of the govts. and NGOs will admit what it’s all about when they speak candidly, usually off-the-record.

      Certainly it is possible to hold strongly re-distributuionist views, and many do. But why is it so difficult to have honest discussion of what is really driving the CAGW movement?? Because it would be politically inconvenient, i.e., there would not be sufficient support for the re-distributionist agenda if openly and honestly presented. Here is what the IPCC ‘s Edenhofer said:

      Co-Chair of WGIII for IPCC’s AR5, Ottmar Edenhofer, on re-distribution of world’s economic wealth

      “Up till now it is the industrial counties that have seized the atmosphere from the global community. But it has to be clearly stated: Climate policy will de facto redistribute the world’s economic wealth. That the holders of coal and oil reserves are not exactly pleased with this is obvious. We have to free ourselves from the illusion that climate politics is environmental politics. This has almost nothing to do with environmental issues, with problems like acid rain or the ozone hole.”

    • attempts at bureaucratic re-distribution frequently do not help the poor, anyway

      Govt. officials, NGOs and middlemen, corrupt “3rd World” officials, et al. are frequently the primary beneficiaries.

    • “Why delay the Keystone pipeline as that is not cost free and could alienate the public?”

      That’s my point. Keystone pipeline and shale oil that it will transport is believed by many that it will increase CO2 emissions. If not for the fear that it will exacerbate AGW, there would be much less opposition.

    • “You don’t determine their motivation by what they say, but by what they do.”

      I haven’t seen Obama or Democrats show much of inclination to redistribute wealth to poor nations.

    • Kim, you aren’t making any sense either..

    • Climate policy will de facto redistribute the world’s economic wealth.

      The argument being implicitly made is that AGW theory was “fabricated” in order to redistribute wealth. What Edenhofer is saying is that climate policy in response to AGW will result in wealth redistribution. There is a big difference between the two.

    • Joseph, we can agree that conceptually the two are quite separate (scientific analysis of AGW vs. possibly unintended consequences in following policies designed to address AGW).

      However, the “catastrophic” in CAGW can be fueled by mixed motives. Human reasoning and motivation does not come in neat either/or distinctions, in many cases. CAGW activists often may not admit all of their motivations publicly, or sometimes even to themselves.

    • Joseph,

      “Why would politicians and governments want to inflict unnecessary regulations and taxes in order to “control” people when such policies are not cost free and could alienate the public?” – Seriously?

      Are you old enough to vote? First off, politicians and governments normally don’t view regulations and taxes as unnecessary. At least not the ones they are proposing or passing. Secondly, the idea of them being enacted to “control” people is never the justification given. In many instances I’m sure control is not what they are thinking of. As for cost, why do they care when it isn’t “their” money? And politicians and governments regularly “inflict” their constituents with taxes and regulations that alienate them. With the result usually being a change of government. Just happened in Australia.

    • John Carpenter

      “I haven’t seen Obama or Democrats show much of inclination to redistribute wealth to poor nations.”

      Well, then you missed when Obama and Hillary Clinton promoted the idea of industrialized countries sending $100 billion per year to developing nations as a tax (penalty) for climate change.

    • k scott denison

      Joseph, the proof is right in front of your eyes. Surely you realize that most income tax policies in the US serve, as one of their purposes, to redistribute wealth, right? Some of that is sent to poorer nations in the form of foreign aid. Some is sent to poorer individuals within the US.

      And of course, there’s the latest redistribution scheme, the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.

      Why should climate policies be any different in their aims. The key for progressives is to “sell” these in any way possible other than as what they are.

      By redistributing wealth internally politicians are attempting to build a permanent class of voters for “their side”.

    • Oh please.

      Government funded science concludes: we need more government to fund more science and, oh by the way, enrich our buddies in the many varied alternative energy schemes. Who knew?

    • k scott denison
    • I found something a little more current:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/world/climate-study-puts-diplomatic-pressure-on-obama.html?_r=0

      “By underscoring impacts and vulnerabilities, the report makes clear the urgency for strong action to reduce emissions and build greater resilience,” said Todd D. Stern, the State Department’s chief climate change negotiator.

      In a speech in London last fall, Mr. Stern made clear that there was no chance that the United States would finance most of any climate adaptation fund with taxpayer dollars. “The fiscal reality of the United States and other developed countries is not going to allow it,” he said. Mr. Stern and others say the bulk of that money will have to come from private investors and corporations.

    • k scott denison

      Yes, more current. Doesn’t un ring the bell though. Clearly the preference of progressives is to redistribute wealth. They’ve just learned to. To be so open about it.

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      I looked for a link that more specifically showed Hillary Clinton talking about that idea following the COP 15 but could not find a copy of the press conference where she supported the idea (as I recall it was immediately following the last day when they tried to make the best out of the all night failure to do anything). The two links you provide are essentially what I was thinking of. I remember clearly HC talking about the idea as something industrialized countries should do post COP 15. She has endorsed the idea several times as Obamas SOS. I guess my googling skillz are lacking for not producing a good link, but I really wanted to play my guitar instead.

    • John –

      At the one link we have $100 billion by 2020 (not per year), and the other we have $100 billion per year, but not exactly, at least IMO, in the name of “redistributing wealth,” as Joseph spoke of in the comment you responded to.

    • Google “Green Climate Fund”. Agenda 21 anyone?

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      One can call it what they want. In the end, it sounds a lot like a redistribution of wealth to me.

    • k scott denison

      Joshua, is it so hard for you to admit that, yes, Clinton and Obama did support the redistribution of $100 billion via climate change “reparations” as John had suggested? Instead, you pick at nits? Yes, John was incorrect, it wasn’t $100 billion per year… but hey, $100 billion is still $100 billion, no?

      IMO you would certainly gain some very much needed credibility if you would simple acknowledge that John, although not 100% accurate, was more right than wrong. And, that John’s point, which was to highlight for Joseph that yes, indeed, Obama and the democrats have shown an inclination to redistribute wealth was 100% accurate.

    • John –

      I agree. People can call it whatever they want.

    • scott –

      ==> “Yes, John was incorrect, it wasn’t $100 billion per year… but hey, $100 billion is still $100 billion, no?”

      Actually, the one link was for $100 billion per year.

      But I don’t agree with terming it as “wealth redistribution,” as my view is that the goal of “wealth redistribution” is to reduce the economic stratification of a society, and that doesn’t seem to me to be consistent with the goals of the $100 billion per year programs we’re describing.

      Although I view less economic stratification across the world as a desirable outcome, it seems to me that one could be entirely against some ideology of trying to minimize economic stratification via “wealth redistribution” and still feel that it makes sense for developed countries to help fund climate change adaptation and mitigation in undeveloped countries. So I don’t see the two concepts as being equivalent.

      But I can see where, if someone wants to view it that way, it could be considered “wealth redistribution” as yes, in a sense one group of countries funding climate change mitigation and adaptation in another group of countries does involve a transfer of wealth..

      Either way, I think arguing about the definition is rather silly. But that’s my reasoning.

      More importantly, I am in favor, in general principle, of developed countries considering (provided the normal processes of policy-making in democratic institutions) providing funding to help undeveloped countries adapt to and mitigate against the risks of damaging climate change. I feel that way independently of my views as to whether we should be trying to minimize economic inequality across countries via wealth redistribution.

    • Rob Starkey

      Joshua writes:
      “More importantly, I am in favor, in general principle, of developed countries considering (provided the normal processes of policy-making in democratic institutions) providing funding to help undeveloped countries adapt to and mitigate against the risks of damaging climate change. I feel that way independently of my views as to whether we should be trying to minimize economic inequality across countries via wealth redistribution.”

      Joshua, you finally get to the heart of the matter!!!

      You believe that US citizens should provide funds to undeveloped countries (which frequently have vast corruption issues) as a priority over taking care of the needs of their own citizens or country. In the case of the US (and almost the entire EU) , we have to borrow money to pay our current expenses.
      How about those developing countries 1st demonstrate that they are doing all that they can do to care for their citizens. Look at a developing country like India. If they wanted to reduce the harms from adverse weather they could make building and maintaining robust infrastructure a priority, but they don’t.

    • Joseph, it may be strange, but it’s true:
      http://cancun.unfccc.int/financial-technology-and-capacity-building-support/new-long-term-funding-arrangements/

      $100 billion/year in redistribution. For starters.

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      I appreciate the clarification made on how you understand wealth redistribution. To clarify on my end. To me, when wealth from one group is taken and redistributed to another group, using involuntarily means such as a tax, I consider that wealth redistribution. This is very different than charity, where wealth from one group is voluntarily redistributed to another group. I recognize the need for some wealth redistribution in society and for taxation as necessary for the proper functioning of society. What I found distasteful in the case of the 100 Billion/yr proposal was the premise that third world nations will need the money to combat future climate change. I recognize and accept we are changing the climate, but to what degree is the big unknown. To declare that 100 Billion/yr is the necessary amount, before we really know the magnitude of the problem, seemed to be getting the cart in front of the horse and sounded more like a wealth redistribution idea based on paying a penalty for emitting CO2 rather than a genuine charitable idea of giving money to help adapt to extreme weather third world countries have historically (pre-AGW hype) had difficulty protecting themselves from in the first place. (whew, that was a long run-on sentence!)

      It’s all in the way it is presented. Presenting the idea of sending money to help mitigate damage and adapt as a reparation of wrong doing will be met with much more resistance and defensiveness by those being pointed to as guilty than presenting the idea of giving money as a charitable gesture, IMO. Understood that presented as charitable giving means the giving may not be equal or steady and with no real obligation, there may not be enough to do the job. That and many would probably consider the difference between governments giving money as charity vs reparation as being very little in this case.

  12. David L. Hagen

    See further on Richard Tol at the Copenhagen Consensus

    Facts and figures on climate change
    Climate change is real and man-made. It will come as a big surprise that climate change from 1900 to 2025 has mostly been a net benefit, rising to increase welfare about 1.5% of GDP per year. Why? Because global warming has mixed effects and for moderate warming, the benefits prevail. The increased level of CO₂ has boosted agriculture because it works as a fertilizer and makes up the biggest positive impact at 0.8% of GDP. Likewise, moderate warming avoids more cold deaths than it incurs extra heat deaths. It also reduces the demand for heating more than increases the costs of cooling, totaling about 0.4%. On the other hand, warming increases water stress at about 0.2% and negatively impact ecosystems like wetlands at about 0.1%. Storm impacts are very small, as the total storm damages (including naturally caused storms) are about 0.2%.
    As temperatures rise, the costs will rise and the benefits decline, leading to a dramatic reduction in net benefits. After year 2070, global warming will become a net cost to the world, justifying cost-effective climate action.

    Economic Impact of Climate Change in the 20th and 21st Centuries
    For further publications, see Richard Tol at Google Science

    • You did see the corrections Tol issued that admitted NO net benefits at all?

    • Try googling Tol and ‘gremlins’

    • Michael, duh, I said above that it is possible to claim Edenhofer is speaking for only one person’s views. I also said that the EFFECTs of a certain policy might be unintended. I also said that unintended effects of a policy are conceptually quite distinct from intended effects, even if real people rarely have only one goal or type of goal in mind for a policy.

      So my comments have assumed neither that one person speaks for all of the IPCC or that unintended effects are indistinguishable from intended effects.

      Still, Edenhofer is hardly just one random person, he is Co-Chair of the entire production for WGIII of AR5. His views are not likely to be unrepresentative. Indeed, it is difficult for any but the most naive to believe that someone could be selected to Co-Chair WGIII without some wide-ranging assessments of that person’s views and goals. Also, unintended effects are still effects, and not irrelevant to assessing policy plans.

      Finally, although you might be unable to acknowledge it,

    • me,

      You did see the corrections Tol issued that admitted NO net benefits at all?

      No. I didn’t see him say any such things. Where did he say that? Link please.

      BTW, he is debating and explaining what he actually means here: http://andrewgelman.com/2014/05/27/whole-fleet-gremlins-looking-carefully-richard-tols-twice-corrected-paper-economic-effects-climate-change

      Have you been following that?

      I suspect your comment is a gross misrepresentation of what he said, but I look forward to your quote of his exact words and link to where he has “admitted NO net benefits at all”.

    • Peter Lang, he said it in his recently published erratum which you can find via the link you provided. Here is a direct link. In it, you’ll find Richard Tol clearly says his model shows net “impacts are always negative.”

    • David L. Hagen

      me
      Reality Check. Apply pragmatic engineering judgment.
      All the negative values for high temperature change depend on very high fossil fuel growth rates – far beyond 1.2C from evaluations of economic recoverable resources. See the moon-shot scientists/engineers at TheRightClimateStuff.com
      BOUNDING GHG CLIMATE SENSITIVITY FOR USE IN REGULATORY DECISIONS A Report of The Right Climate Stuff Research Team
      http://www.therightclimatestuff.com Lead Author: Harold H. Doiron, PhD

      most of the uncertainty in the ECS value results from climate model speculation about climate changes that might occur far into the future, not in the next 300 years! . . .
      Using the new TCS metric, we demonstrate that burning all remaining economically recoverable fossil fuel reserves on earth cannot raise global average surface temperatures more than 1.2o C above current levels. . . .
      We demonstrate use of the GHG TCS metric that has an upper bound of 1.6o C, to compute “worst case” transient global temperature rise from all GHG for a realistic atmospheric CO2 scenario, where the concentration rises from the present value of 397 to a maximum of 600 in 2130 due to dwindling, more expensive fossil fuel use, and then declines back to below current levels by 2300.

    • David L. Hagen

      Ross McKitrick reviews climate sensitivity and social costs in his presentation: <a href=The “Pause” in Global Warming: Climate Policy Implications

      The long term trend in the HadCRUT4 series is about 0.8 oC
      per century,
       Should atmospheric CO2 double by 2100, IAMs deem it equally likely that the world’s temperature will increase by 1.6 degrees or 23.7 degrees.

      Thus he finds the “Implications for Economic Models” to be worse than useless – they are misleading for policy makers.

    • Peter Lang

      Brandon. Thank you for pointing that out.

      me – my apologies. You were correct.

      I must admit I have trouble accepting that warming will be net negative given that:

      – warming since the LIA has delivered such great benefits, and
      – life thrived when the planet was warmer than now and struggled when colder than now, and
      – life thrived in Ireland during slow and rapid warmings from ice age temperatures to current temperatures and struggled during cooling (see Figure 15.21 and relevant text and other figures here: http://eprints.nuim.ie/1983/1/McCarron.pdf )

      This Tol working paper sense to me (see Fighre 3): http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

  13. “Excerpts from Chairman Lamar Smith’s Opening Statement:
    Both the IPCC and the White House’s documents appear to be designed to spread fear and alarm and provide cover for previously determined government policies…..” – JC

    Well thank god it was all totally rational and not just some hyper-politicised rant about how climate change is just a cover for govt’s to implement their nefarious scheme’s…….oh, hang on.

    • “The IPCC’s goal is an international climate treaty that redistributes wealth among nations…” – Smith

      Not at all nutty.

    • Let’s see, the Co-Chair for WGIII said it.

      Nothing “nutty” about pointing out that this will be an outcome if a comprehensive “climate treaty” were to be signed and fully implemented. Is such an outcome intended by most IPCC activists? Well few will speak so candidly in public, so it depends upon estimations of people’s un-announced motivations. But if Ednhofer can say this then it is bleeping ridiculous to call Smith’s statement “nutty” —

      Co-Chair of WGIII for IPCC’s AR5, Ottmar Edenhofer, on re-distribution of world’s economic wealth

      “Up till now it is the industrial counties that have seized the atmosphere from the global community. But it has to be clearly stated: Climate policy will de facto redistribute the world’s economic wealth. That the holders of coal and oil reserves are not exactly pleased with this is obvious. We have to free ourselves from the illusion that climate politics is environmental politics. This has almost nothing to do with environmental issues, with problems like acid rain or the ozone hole.”

    • “When assessing climate change, we need to make sure that findings are driven by science, not an alarmist, partisan agenda. ” – smith

      Oh, indeedy.

      “Obama administration should stop trying to scare Americans and then impo se costly, unnecessary regulations on them”
      “The Administration’s regulatory agenda will hit workers and
      families hard”
      “The reports give the Obama Administration an excuse to control more of the lives of the American people”

      No partisanship!

    • Skippy,

      Are you able to differentiate b/n “the IPC’s goals” and the opinion of a single person?

    • pokerguy (aka al neipris)

      Michael,
      I would not have phrased it that way. I dislike paradigmatic thinking on both sides. It is by its nature, distorting, divisive, and unproductive. There are many on the left…most I’m sure…who are well intentioned WRT CAGW.

      And yet its clear that some sort of global climate agreement is the goal here. I don’t think you can object to that. It’s also clear that such an agreement would involve wealth redistribution. I don’t think you can object to that either.

    • oh, threaded my reply to Michael in wrong spot, above this one, fwiw (if anyone cares heh…)

    • also, Michael, are you able to distinguish between the first and 2nd half of Smith’s statement?

      The IPCC’s goal: “an international climate treaty”

      no arguments there I would think

      2nd part of statement can be true whether or not effect is intended:

      “that redistributes wealth among nations”

      One can argue that the international climate treat is not sought with the intention of “redistributes wealth among nations” (I have my doubts about that)

      But unintended consequences (certainly when pointed out) are fully implied by the “goal” of having such a treaty…

      Michael and friends, do you deny that such redistribution is going to occur in one form or another under such policies? Why not “own” all results of a proposed policy, rather than claim “oh we only intend THIS and not THAT” (when THAT has been pointed out as implied by the policy)??

      Is it too inconvenient to let the public know all the facts?

    • Skippy,

      ‘Wealth re-distribution’ is going on all the time through any number of mechanisms; bilateral treaties, agreements, regulations, tariffs etc etc etc etc

    • Don Monfort

      Mikey and fellow trolls: How many tons of ACO2 do you characters estimate that you have prevented by your trolling here? I’ll make it more realistic: How many pounds of ACO2 do you clowns estimate that you have prevented by your trolling here?

    • Michael | May 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm |
      “The IPCC’s goal is an international climate treaty that redistributes wealth among nations…” – Smith

      Not at all nutty.

      ========================================

      michael,

      First you sneer at Smith for talking about wealth re-distribution in association with IPCC.

      Then, when I point out how his comment is reasonable and in fact substantiated by a leading IPCC official, you reverse course and tell us that

      [Michael]: “Wealth re-distribution’ is going on all the time through any number of mechanisms; bilateral treaties, agreements, regulations, tariffs etc etc etc etc”

      Soooo, Smith is “nutty” for discussing concern about what goes on “all the time”?? He is not just imagining that international agreements and/or govt. regulations may have such effects? And is he “nutty” for suspecting that the dollar amounts involved in “climate change” policies may be vastly larger than, e.g., a regulation affecting the frisbee industry?

      ofc the issues with proposed policies re “climate change” have much to with the enormous magnitude of such changes. It is no real answer to say that other regulations, treaties, etc. may also effect re-distribution of wealth and resources; the numbers tossed about in climate change discussions are huge, and probably much under-estimated when it comes to rallying costs of politically correct proposals.

    • Skippy,

      “The IPCC’s goal….climate treaty that redistributes wealth…”

      The examples i gave have that purpose – the IPCC goes not have a goal of restributing wealth.

      Yes you can quibble that Smith doesn’t mean it’s intended, due to the lck of clarity in that sentence, but if you look at the rest of his rant, I beg to differ.

    • Rob Starkey

      Not nutty unless it is your resources that are being taken away.

  14. Theo Goodwin

    Oppenheimer was the Lion and the Bulldog of academic climate alarmism for many years. If he is not suffering from extreme hormonal change caused by age then his softened rhetoric points to something very important in the mood of academic alarmism.

    • didn’t Oppenheimer partner with Mann in one of the “gather signatures” projects?? I think for one of the joint letters to the public?? They must have good buds at some point, wonder if Mann will now want to kick M.O. off the team for being insufficiently aggressive…..

  15. “..with none of the hysterical ideology about ‘urgent action needed’ that typically characterizes the testimony of witnesses for the Democrats” – JC

    I suppose it would be too much to ask for evidence for this hysterical ideological assertion.

    • Michael – you apparently don’t get out much. Virtually all the rhetoric coming from the left calls for urgent action. Obama stated the need to involve our military to help combat the effects of climate change in his commencement speach at West Point. Kerry called climate change a weapon of mass destruction, yet you think conservatives are “nutty”

    • Judith made a very specific allegation.

      I see you trying to broaden it, rather than produce even a shred of evidence in support of it.

  16. Rud Istvan

    The game here may be more important than seems on the surface, in part because the NCA was also brought into the picture. The EPA will almost certainly over reach with next weeks proposed regulations. (Mandated rather than legislated cap and trade, according to the NYT today.) It is an election year where 3 Democratic Senators have already been hurt in re re-election prospects by the Obama KXL punt. More stand to be hurt by the EPA proposal, especially when 1Q14 just clocked in with negative economic growth. Calling attention to the unscientific basis behind EPA endangerment findings creates political ammunition for Republican contenders. If the Republicans take the Senate (pundits seem to think they will hold the House), then the Clean Air Act can be amended to close the vague loopholes EPA is using to do what Congress already explicitly rejected. In a 12 month time frame, all this could have a bigger impact in the US than might appear the case now.

  17. “Richard Tol. …. His ultra-rational position: “The first rule of climate policy should be: Do no harm to economic growth. But the IPCC was asked to focus on the risks of climate change alone, and those who volunteered to be its authors eagerly obliged.” -JC

    I’m sure ultra-rational Tol was at pains to inform the House of the recent corrections to his work, where he, inadvertently I’m sure, dropped the minus sign on economic impact studies to turn then into economic benefits from climagte change.

    And if he mentioned IPCC and knowledge monopolies, let’s hope he also informed them of his bright new shiny definition of monopoly as unveiled in the previous comments section;

    “The IPCC does dictate the science to the degree that papers that deviate from the latest report need to work harder to get accepted.
    …. The IPCC monopolizes the science-policy interface…informally in many smaller countries…..in the US where the IPCC plays a smaller role, but if you go to, say, municipal climate policy in Austria, then the IPCC is the only source of scientific information.” – Richard Tol.

    Ay yes, the monopoly of “smaller countries….and municipal…Austria”.

    Oh my!

  18. It’s a shame that the videos have gone. In a way, the Q&A session was more revealing than the prepared statements.

    It certainly revealed that some US politicians think they know more about the subject than the expert witnesses

  19. The structure of these government hearings alone is enough to tell us that climate change still is simply a Left vs. right issue. If we’ve learned anything it is that believers in CAGW don’t think much of humanity.

    Secular, socialist Big Government bureaucrats and academic science authoritarians believe humans are destroying the planet. The Left believes that those in Western civilization who actually work for a living are especially guilty of global warming.

    Those on the Left cannot prove their CAGW hypothesis but they certainly have proven they harbor a lot ill-will for that part of humanity still productively engaged in the business of living. Dinesh D’Souza sees it pretty clearly: for the Left its all about dividing up the pie; and, for the government there are only pie eaters–pie makers are irrelevant.

  20. For me the question is: who’s listening? Certainly none in the Obama administration and his Democratic partisans. Will the Climate Debate penetrate the second term Mid-term elections?

    I think that the Republicans have amassed a number of visible Obama administration failures, Climate Change is just one of them. Republicans more likely than not will use whatever newspeak that reverberates in whichever community that is impacted and/or where naked truth is clearly against warming climate change.

    Its hard to impress Mid-Westerners that the world is on a runaway warming track. It is hard to impress New Englanders that the drought in Western states is creeping across the Allegheny’s which it is not of course.

    Broad global oceanic oscillations are being recognized as impacting regional weather, droughts, floods, and land fall hurricanes. Uncertainty is the dominant understanding and strident exclamations to the contrary; i.e., the science is settled, have long been discarded for a more nuanced and un-settled view.

    The difficulty with the consensus crowd narrative, the larger public, the uncommitted and questioning crowd has grown and now is dominant.

    The consensus crowd speaks to a heterogenous group whose interest has waned, whose influence has diminished, and whose ideas have staled.

    To address climate change in the next 6 or so months, don’t predict the end of mankind as we know it, or else be prepared to go home election night with your tail between your legs; deservedly so.

    • Doubtful that any of this will penetate to the general public given the MSM’s tendancy to frame any coverage of the topic with the 97% consensus view and disparaging deviation from that view point. While polls suggest that AGW is of very low importance, the same polls also show that a large percentage do believe AGW is a problem.

  21. Colorado State University emeritus Professor Roger Pielke. He said in 2005, “the evidence of a human fingerprint on the global and regional climate is incontrovertible.” Nevertheless, his technical argument that CO2 is not the culprit that the IPCC makes it out to be has set poorly socialized climate believers howling. Pielke says that CO2 is important, but “has contributed, at most, only about 28 percent to the human-caused warming up to the present. The other 72 percent is still a result of human activities.”

    Where is the related math?

    • Rud Istvan

      Nabil, in his many peer reviewed papers and his former blog comments. This is a summary of his considered opinion. You don’t trust it, go do the reading and form your own. Deforestation is a biggie. Agriculture is a biggie. Google the Aral Sea satellite images since 1985 for just one example. Or check out the greening of Phoenix Arizona for another. Or read about the 1930’s Dust Bowl.
      Rather than demand the math, why don’t you go do your own and get back. Then, you would be in a position to have a discussion with him.

    • Rud, I did my own math already. Have you checked it out yet? It is 80% CO2 and 20% waste heat.

    • Rud Istvan

      Me, about 50-50 which is the best Baysian prior when you really don’t know. But waste heat? Well, that assertion is beyond very problematic.
      Nabil, please calculate the waste heat from all fossil fuels since 1950. Let’s be generous, Assume it is all waste heat in the end ( car braking, incandescent lights, …). Now the consumption of oil, coal, and gas ( each with different heat energy content per whatever) are known younvpvan get world estimates either at US EPA or at IEA or at BP Energy Outlook. So is the energy from isolation. It averages about 6KWh/m2 per DAY at the surface ignoring albedo. The Earths surface is 5.1E+8 km2. A km2 is E+6 square meters. Also known approximately, is albedo. You can use 30% for this calculation. Now please try to solve the energy balance closure problem. Waste heat from all fossil fuels is rounding error in the third or fourth decimal place after zero percent.

    • Rud, you are forgetting the time, and waste heat is cumulative with time. The observed global warming forcing based on the IPCC is 3.0 w/m2, that is about 5.0E22 Joule accumulated in surface. Our energy consumption is 6E20 J/yr. In 260 years since the industrial revolution, our total energy consumption is 260 x 6 E20/2=7.8E22 Joules, it is of the same order of magnitude of global warming. I used an average and assumed energy consumption equal to zero before the Industrial Revolution. Waste heat is only 20% of the energy consumption, or 1.6E22 Joules. It is not negligible as you state, it is about least (1.6/5)x100=32% based on the IPCC figures.

  22. I came away with the same impression as Dr Curry. All were reasonable, with Prof Botkin being the most interesting. (But then I’ll admit to bias here. I fall into the category of believing change is natural and that life in general is pretty resilient.)

    Does this mean we have a new consensus number? 87% of scientists believe the IPCC reports are not the gold standard.

  23. “The President says there is no debate. Actually the debate has only just begun.”

    This is an issue never addressed by the consensus. There was never a real debate about CAGW (let alone AGW). The “consensus” was born full grown in that 1988 Senate hearing room.

    And as far as the debate having begun, it is in spite of the “climate scientists,” not because of them.

  24. Real But Exaggerated

    “A temperature rise of about 0.2 °C per decade is projected for the next two decades for all SRES scenarios.”

    Oops.

  25. Joseph, I was taken aback by your statement:

    “This makes no sense. The ultimate goal of politicians and governments is to get reelected and retain power. Why would politicians and governments want to inflict unnecessary regulations and taxes in order to “control” people when such policies are not cost free and could alienate the public?”

    Politics is about power acquired through any means possible. If politicians were so sensitive to the public ( as you imply) how do you account for the behavior of government toward returning vets at Va hospitals? How do you account for the President and the Secretary of Health and Human services lying repeatedly to the public about “keeping your doctor, keeping you healthcare plan, and allowing you to go to the same hospital for cancer treatment?” I will save space for others by not including the lies and deception in the Benghazi scandal and the IRS scandal. Study carefully the wording of the recent EPA Regulation on the Clean Water Act. If you are in any business that needs even the smallest amount of water, you are under the thumb of the federal government. Why would a “caring” government do such things. Because the public does not hold them accountable. This blog is a debate about government accountability regarding climate science.

    The IPCC, a powerful body within an unelected government has exaggerated the effects on man’s contribution to recent warming. By doing so they have given those politicians who are intoxicated with power, reason to increase government’s reach and repression.

    I hope you will study this issue more. Perhaps you can tell me where I am wrong.

    • Hank,

      You refer to any business using the smallest amount of water being under the thumb of the feds.

      With the EPA classifying CO2 as a pollutant we are all theoretically under their thumb, as walking point sources of pollution. And what does EPA list as their primary reference for their CO2 pollution decision? IPCC. Hell, it’s the only reference.

    • The Dimowits are a lying bunch of scalawags, that’s for sure. I prefer a more libertarian approach.

    • ‘The IPCC was asked to focus on the risks of climate change
      alone, and those who volunteered to be its authors eagerly
      obliged,’ says Professor Tol.

      Sigh. Even serfs know that he who pays the piper, and sets
      the agenda, is most unlikely ter allow an open verdict. Not
      ter fergit that whether’s probably, 97%(?) too-compluh-cated
      -non-measurable-inter-related-jest-too-non-linear-ter be
      predictable more than a few days ahead.Those top-down-
      assessments by those manufacturing-consensus-institutions,
      aren’t they, well, just a bit blind ter the unknowns?

      http://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/16th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/

  26. Did anyone see this editorial in the NYTimes this past Sunday? http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/opinion/sunday/end-mass-incarceration-now.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

    The last sentence of the first paragraph shows how crazy this has gotten. If Lamar Smith can open the debate, then so much the better.

    • I noted the link to the “3 early signs of dementia” in the right hand column.

      I think Michael is exhibiting 2 of them.

    • This sentence is more revealing.

      “In both cases, overwhelming evidence shows a crisis that threatens society as a whole.”

      Over whelming evidence of a crisis. Not a potential crisis, just “a crisis.”

      Oh, and given this in the main post – “An article in the conservative Washington Examiner…,” the NY Times should heretofore always be referred to as “the progressive New York Times.”

      It’s funny to see the remnants of tribalism pop up from time to time.

    • My first question is does the journalist understand either controversy?
      ===============

    • The controversy to the “journalist” is that there is any controversy as to either issue. That way he doesn’t have to worry his little head about understanding them.

  27. In my opinion the most important part of the work the IPCC sponsors is the models. Yet all of these models exaggerate global warming and none correctly tracks the on/off nature of climate change.

  28. From the article:

    At the ministerial meeting, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary-general, said climate finance is essential for “confidence in the process” and to increase climate action. Many vulnerable countries called for a firm timeline of targets for increasing climate finance up to 2020. Business also needs clarity in order to invest.

    The economic consequences of inaction on climate change are likely to be far more serious than any financial crisis. In 2009, typhoon-related costs in the Philippines already amounted to 2.9% of GDP, while superstorm Sandy was the second costliest in US history, totalling an estimated $50bn.

    The Warsaw talks did establish a mechanism to address “loss and damage” from climate impacts, but losses and damages will be huge without emission reductions. The new mechanism will enhance “action and support” to address loss and damage associated with climate change, but falls short of specifying how finance will be generated for this. Rich nations resolutely avoided the issue of liability for damages caused by climate change.

    Alix Mazounie from Climate Action Network said: “The Warsaw decision on finance does not provide the clarity and predictability developing countries need to plan actions and projects to tackle climate change”.

    However, there were a few positives, with an agreement on financing to stop deforestation under REDD+. Countries also pledged $100m to the adaptation fund.

    Science has warned the next few years are critical, with a risk of crossing irreversible “tipping points” in the climate system and triggering runaway climate change.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/cop19-money-climate-change-warsaw-deliver

  29. At this point, the debate really IS over, at least as far as the US public is concerned, and opinion polls show that the vast majority couldn’t care less. So long as the economy continues its halting, anemic “recovery,” Americans are rightly more worried about the here-and-now than a couple degrees C in 2100, when everyone with an opinion on AGW either way will be dead.

    What’s left is small number of scientists making fools of themselves and a much smaller number saying “told you so.”

  30. Steady-State Assumption: There is an overall assumption in the IPCC 2014
    report and the Climate Change Assessment that all change is negative and
    undesirable; that it is ecologically and evolutionarily unnatural, bad for
    populations, species, ecosystems, for all life on planet Earth, including people. This is the opposite of the reality: The environment has always changed and is always changing, and living things have had to adapt to these changes. – Botkin

    He might agree with this post: https://judithcurry.com/2013/08/04/bouncing-forward-not-back/

    I guess the skeptics would be more successful using arguments like the above one from Botkin. It’s understandable, and straightfoward.

    I do think he’s correct. There’s isn’t one correct answer for the GAT. And the least correct answer I think is that it’s not supposed to change from where it is or was.

    Fan had mentioned some Pelicans going North to breed as perhaps an aberration. How about we just consider that as watching what life does?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Those who can’t adapt to anthropogenic change – die. Tough love there. It’s amazing what you can do to mitigate impacts on ecosystems. Trust me – I’m an environmental scientist.

    • Yeah, just look at the state of the GBR…….oh, wait a minute…

  31. michael hart

    “The extreme overemphasis on human-induced global warming has taken our attention away from many environmental issues that used to be front and center but have been pretty much ignored in the 21st century.”

    Good comment from Botkin.

    Global-warming rapidly become an excuse for claiming anything and everything. You don’t need to blather on about carbon dioxide before attempting to provide the world with potable water and sanitation.

    Places that need improved sea defences already knew that more than half a century ago. Yes, that’s you, New York. The Thames Barrier protecting London became operational in 1982, and nobody had to subvert any governmental air conditioning in order to get it built.

  32. There’s also a “third way” approach. Namely:

    The IPCC, an anti-conservation monstrosity, was born and lived without value, turning silly beat-ups into futile and massive expense, encouraging waste of precious resources while preaching sustainability. It needs interment then oblivion.

    Just covering all bases and possibilities here, guys. Being very lateral and third-way, doncha know.

  33. Pingback: ¿Le queda mucha vida al IPCC? Audiencia crítica en el congreso USA | PlazaMoyua.com

  34. Government Hearing but not listtening again.

  35. Pingback: US Sci Tech Committee hearing on IPCC | The IPCC Report

  36. Well, the IPCC does not perform science itself and doesn’t monitor the climate, but only reviews carefully selected scientific literature.”
    True to some extent , it also contains that which is nothing more than PR for green groups , but the real question is carefully selected for what ?
    Hands up anyone that thinks the IPCC would select material that would suggest the IPCC has no purpose ?

  37. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judith Curry cherry-picks  “An article [by a 77-year-old white male non-scientist hired spokesman for extractive industries] in the conservative Washington Examiner provides context for the hearing”

    Another non-scientist source-selection by Judith Curry, links by FOMD.

    Judith Curry, no young climate-scientist would be impressed by the quality of your lead story   or by the credentials of *ANY* of these four witnesses.

    That’s obvious to *EVERYONE*, eh Climate Etc readers?

    Yet *ANOTHER* superannuated white-guy non-credentialed/non-scientist shill-for-hire highlighted on Climate Etc? WUWT?

    The world wonders!

    Young students and/or young citizen-voters wonder especially!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  38. If you like Daniel Botkin’s testimony, you might also like:

    As I wrote in my new book, The Moon in the Nautilus Shell, given the scientific complexities, one can only be rather agnostic about the role that human actions have played and are playing in climate change. A new, important paper in the journal Science casts some fascinating light on the question of whether carbon dioxide change precedes temperature change, and therefore is a likely cause of the temperature change, or whether temperature change precedes carbon dioxide change, casting doubt on the role of the greenhouse gas in climate change. Rather than continue the discussion as a morality play about who is on the right side of the debate, it is time to return the discussion to the fundamental scientific questions — and at the same time, not lose track of all the other important environmental issues that continue to confront us: deforestation; overfishing; air and water pollution with directly toxic chemicals; invasive species; illegal harvesting of threatened and endangered species; and other direct threats to biological diversity.

    http://www.danielbbotkin.com/2013/03/04/carbon-dioxide-and-temperature-who-has-led-whom/

    If you like to return to the fundamental scientific questions without losing track of the environmental issues, Dan’s the man.

  39. Peter Lang might appreciate:

    The bottom line is that nuclear power cannot be a major short-term nor long-term solution to our energy supply nor reducing greenhouse gas production. Taking all real costs into account, it is unlikely that nuclear power could be cost-effective.

    http://www.danielbbotkin.com/2013/06/18/is-there-nuclear-power-in-our-future/

    Dan does not tell us what he considers likely to be cost-effective.

    • The Olkiluoto 3 was and is indeed a nightmare. This reinforced the case for small, modular, mass-produced nuclear reactors. And I note with some astonishment that Finland is planning to build more nuke power plants.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Finland

    • Instead of dismantling the power plant, it should just be upgraded for new reactors. Small modular reactors would make sense here too.

    • Don’t be such an alarmist, jim2.

      Think resilience.

    • But then, there is this. From the article:
      Few utility companies are more convinced of the power of shale gas than Southern Co. But when the polar vortex hit last winter, the Atlanta-based utility, its 4 million customers in a four-state territory, along with utility investors got an object lesson in the limitations of the shale revolution.

      As temperatures in Atlanta plunged as low as 6 degrees (F), the spot price of natural gas in various parts of the country climbed well above its recent price range. Prices spiked 40 percent on futures markets to as high as $8 per million British thermal units of energy (BTU)—up from a $4 to $5 range last fall. As the nation shivered (frozen gas pipelines were part of the problem), executives in Southern’s Atlanta dispatch center fired up more coal plants.

      As well, no utility in America is making a bigger commitment to new nuclear power than the $4.8 billion Southern and its partners are spending to add two reactors to the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Waynesboro, Georgia. (Southern owns 45.7 percent of Vogtle). The two nuclear facilities are set to open in 2017 and 2018.

      Utility executives still don’t trust that the drop in prices for historically volatile natural gas is permanent, said Richard McMahon, vice president of energy supply and finance at the Edison Electric Institute, a utility trade group in Washington. A dozen years after the late George Mitchell—the wildcatter, not the former senator—commercialized hydraulic fracking, the industry is still determined to keep its energy sources diversified, McMahon said.

      http://www.cnbc.com/id/101698404

    • You don’t seem to take all the evidence into account, jim2. That shows your prejudice. Do I sense a bit of a blaming game?

      Where’s nature in your comment? Don’t forget nature. Or perhaps Thoreau.

      Let me recall you that when he was on his death bed, his aunt asked David Henry if he made his peace with God. He replied:

      Why, I did not know we had quarrelled.

      Wholesome.

    • I’m sure your last comment was absolutely brilliant Willard. At least to the other person who inhabits your head, that is. Great communicator, you aren’t.

    • Thank you for the kind words, jim2.

      Here’s where what you find unclear comes from:

      More important, contrary to the editor’s assertion, Saving a Million Species does not synthesize all of the scientific literature on these methods. It focuses instead on a subset limited primarily to publications since 2002 by scientists who agreed that anthropogenically induced global warming is unquestionably real and will cause major biodiversity disasters, rather than considering the full range of scientific possibilities for climate in the future.

      http://www.danielbbotkin.com/2013/05/30/review-of-saving-a-million-species-extinction-risk-from-climate-change-by-lee-hannah-ed-2011-washington-d-c-island-press/

      You can also find the other bit with “integrating all viewpoints” and “it becomes clear that the title gives away the editor’s prejudice.”

      Please continue to teach Denizens how to communicate via swaths of undifferentiated copy-pastes.

    • willard,

      take note that Prof Botkin is specifically addressing what is effectively a strawman – a requirement to replace all fossil fueled generation with nuclear immediately. No one I am aware of is proposing that.

      Also, he is apparently unaware of our ability to
      a) reprocess used fuel ( > 90% of the uranium in a used fuel rod is recoverable)

      b) produce fuel from breeder reactors

      In effect, nuclear is a “renewable” energy source.

    • Perhaps, timg, but Dan’s nifty ways to solve rhetorical problems are very interesting nevertheless.

      Just look at his “in my 45 years as a scientist,” and then consider the kind of editorials he writes.

      Dan’s filling a niche, mostly.

  40. Botkin: “THE REPORT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT LIVING THINGS ARE FRAGILE AND RIGID, unable to deal with change. The opposite is to case. Life is persistent, adaptable, adjustable.

    “There is an overall assumption in the IPCC 2014 report and the Climate Change Assessment that all change is negative and undesirable; that it is ecologically and evolutionarily unnatural, bad for populations, species, ecosystems, for all life on planet Earth, including people. This is the opposite of the reality.”

    Hallelujah! Someone who sees the light!

    • Mike Flynn

      Faustino,

      Amen.

      I believe there was a fellow who had some theory or other about adaptation and survival. The name Darwin rings a bell, but of course I may be wrong.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Faustino, my question about Botkin and lukewarmers generally is whether they won’t be loading us up with a better class of white elephant with their “solutions”. Yes, he’s noticed there’s no sea level rise beyond the sluggish process that’s been observed from the late 1700s – but most people, apart from climate scientists, have been able to notice that.

      I dunno, I just keep thinking that these reformers and lukies, after a flush-out of the old dogmatists, are just going to keep the climatariat rolling – and the white elephants trampling through our economies.

    • Peter Lang

      Faustino,

      So, your back on air. Where have you been? :)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Yeah – if they can’t live on concrete – stuff ’em. Maybe literally – now that’s an idea.

    • Peter: they seek him here, they seek him there …

      moso, a comment on those two paras, I haven’t looked at Botkin’s views/work beyond the head-post excerpts. (I’m recuperating from a very active Southern jaunt, catching up on a week of CE.) Here Botkin’s take is the same as mine, it chimes with points I’ve made here over several years, but have rarely if ever heard from anyone of eminence in the climate area.

  41. Peter Lang

    Daniel Botkin says about himself:

    My process over the past 45 years has been to look carefully at the facts, make simple calculations from them (sometimes simple computer models) and then tell people what I have learned. It’s surprising how rarely people bother to look at the facts.

    Unfortunately his beliefs on nuclear power demonstrate he has not .looked at the facts dispassionately and objectively. He has cherry picked the standard anti nuke talking points but has not put them in proper perspective with the alternatives.

    Daniel Botkin is a self claimed environmentalist. He says “Everything I do, study, learn, and advise about the environment is different from the status quo.” He doesn’t have a background in energy policy analysis. He is talking outside his field of expertise when he talks about nuclear power – just like most environmentalists and anti-nuke activists.

    Following are my responses to his section headings:

    Can We Build Enough Nuclear Power Plants Fast Enough?

    First, we need to ask could any other alternative cut global emissions faster than building nuclear? The answer is a resounding NO!

    Second, France commissioned its nuclear plants – sufficient to supply about 75% of its electricity – in about two decades. That was some 40 to 20 years ago. So the answer is clearly YES, the world could replace most fossil fuel for electricity generation and a substantial proportion of fossil fuels used for heating and transport over a period of half a century or a bit more – but only if we remove the impediments to progress.

    Can We Fuel All Those Nuclear Power Plants?

    Nuclear fuel is virtually unlimited. Identified resources increase as we explore for minerals. Uranium and Thorium could power the world with 10 million people consuming energy at the rate of the average US citizen for a million years.

    What are the Real Costs of Operating a Nuclear Power Plant?

    The real costs vary from USA at about $100/MWh to China, Russia and South Korea at about 1/4 to 1/2 of that for new plants. Nuclear is far cheaper than renewables if the task is to supply a large proportion of the energy as distinct from just a small fraction. But what is really important is that if the impediments to low cost nuclear power removed, the cost could decrease at around 10% per capacity doubling. The cost of nuclear could be half the cost of fossil fuel generated electricity by around mid century. Every way you look at it, it comes back to the anti-nukes blocking progress.

    What’s the viable alternative if you want to cut emissions from fossil fuels?

    Nuclear better than renewables

    Nuclear power is better than renewable energy in all the important criteria. Renewable energy cannot be justified, on a rational basis, to be a major component of the electricity system. Here are some reasons why:

    1. Nuclear power has proven it can supply over 75% of the electricity in a large modern industrial economy, i.e. France, and has been doing so for over 30 years.

    2. Nuclear power is substantially cheaper than renewables

    3. Nuclear power is the safest way to generate electricity; it causes the least fatalities per unit of electricity supplied.

    4. Nuclear power is more environmentally benign than renewables.

    5. Material requirements per unit of electricity supplied through life for nuclear power are about 1/10th those of renewables

    6. Land area required for nuclear power is very much smaller than renewables per unit of electricity supplied through life

    7. Nuclear power requires far less expensive transmission (much shorter distances and much smaller capacity in total because the capacity needs to be sufficient for maximum output but intermittent renewables average around 10% to 40% capacity factor whereas nuclear averages around 80% to 90%).

    8. Nuclear fuel is effectively unlimited.

    9. Nuclear fuel requires a minimal amount of space for storage. Many years of nuclear fuel supply can be stored in a warehouse. This has two major benefits:

    • Energy security – it means that countries can store many years or decades of fuel at little cost, so it gives independence from fuel imports. This gives energy security from economic disruptions or military conflicts.

    • Reduced transport – nuclear fuel requires 20,000 to 2 million times less ships, trains etc per unit of energy transported. This reduces shipping costs, the quantities of oil used for the transport, and the environmental impacts of the shipping and the fuel used for transport by 4 to 6 orders of magnitude.

    There is no rational justification for renewable energy to be mandated and favoured by legislation and regulations.

    The bottom line is that nuclear power will almost certainly be a major component of the future energy supply for the planet and, as well, a major part of the solution for reducing greenhouse gas production (if that is required). Nuclear power will almost certainly be the most cost-effective way to provide most of the energy in the medium term and beyond. Progress is being delayed by the anti-nukes and has been for the past 50 years or so, but we will almost certainly get past that – the developing world will proceed even if the developed world lags.

    • Focusing on Germany and Japan WRT nuclear power is to view the situation with blinders on. China and many other countries to include the US are building new nuke power plants. The government is the biggest impediment to nuclear power because they tend to be Luddites.

    • Finland is building new nukes. Hiya, Pekka.
      ===============

    • Don’t say “luddite,” jim2. You’re hurting my transcendentalist fibre.

      It’s not what you hear that matters, but what you listen to.

    • Willard, it’s what I read, it’s what I know that matters. I suppose you have some direct line to whatever passes for your higher power that tells you and only you the truth. Right.

    • Twas just a variation on Thoreau’s “The question is not what you look at, but what you see,” jim2.

      Your political commentary stands alone. There’s little to add to it. It’s beautiful as it is.

    • jim2,

      Regarding the US, the government is not exactly the “biggest impediment”. The current administration is fairly supportive. They have even streamlined to some degree the permitting process.

  42. Judith, I’ve enjoyed this econtalk interview of Botkin several times over the years. You may want to post it.

    Botkin on Nature, the Environment and Global Warming

  43. Danley Wolfe

    The consensus / IPCC dogmatic focus on manmade causes and CO2 has damaged climate science and increase risks to humankind by focusing on issues and solutions that are largely politically driven and that do not address the issues broadly . The IPCC was formed under the 1988 UN resolution 43/53 and empowered to study climate change. The exclusive focus on “man is the cause” climate change was developed under UN Resolution 43/53 that created the IPCC and enshrined in the 1992 Rio convention agreement which said inter alia (quotes): 1) Concerned that human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases; 2) Noting that the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries; 3) Noting that there are many uncertainties in predictions of climate change, particularly with regard to the timing magnitude and regional patterns thereof; 4) “Climate Change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods; 5) The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; 6) The Parties should take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects …(w)here there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures. (end quotes). Basically it says that without question man is the cause, they really don’t understand what is going on, however, action should not be held back by lack of understanding and the Precautionary Principle should be applied to err on the side of taking action over understanding the Science.

    • And, of course, that certainty preceded and directed the extensive research/modelling of the next 22 years. As an economist without an agenda, I would have said in 1992, “Given the uncertainties and possibility of grave consequences, let us focus on a better understanding of climate processes and the economic implications of any changes.”

      Actually, I did say that, in 1990, when my proposed study was turned down.

  44. Seems that Dan has updated his experience number since his WSJ op-ed:

    I’m not a naysayer. I’m a scientist who believes in the scientific method and in what facts tell us. I have worked for 40 years to try to improve our environment and improve human life as well. I believe we can do this only from a basis in reality, and that is not what I see happening now. Instead, like fashions that took hold in the past and are eloquently analyzed in the classic 19th century book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” the popular imagination today appears to have been captured by beliefs that have little scientific basis.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB119258265537661384

    But Dan is certainly not a naysayer:

    We should approach the problem the way we decide whether to buy insurance and take precautions against other catastrophes — wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes. And as I have written elsewhere, many of the actions we would take to reduce greenhouse-gas production and mitigate global-warming effects are beneficial anyway, most particularly a movement away from fossil fuels to alternative solar and wind energy.

    My concern is that we may be moving away from an irrational lack of concern about climate change to an equally irrational panic about it.

    So here we get the Goldilocks moment: both “Skydragonian” lacks of concern and “alarmist” panic seem out of his radars, both of which he considers irrational.

  45. Danley Wolfe

    Mike Flynn said “From the IPCC – “Where the tectonics occur in coastal areas, one of its consequences is the changing relationship between the land and sea surfaces as shorelines retreat or advance in response to the vertical land movements.”

    This is acknowledgement that sea level changes occur without, and in spite of, contributions by mankind – or even Mannkind. I notice that sea level changes are converted in WarmSpeak to shorelines retreating or advancing, presumably to obfuscate.”

    First of all I like the punny reference to “Mannkind” which caused a double take and it is very appropriate as in a “trick on mankind.” Recall Jones saying “he planned to use Mann’s trick in his (Mann’s) Nature article.”

    Re changing seafloor tectonics see Nicolas Flament PhD thesis and paper “A review of observations and models of dynamic topography” at http://lithosphere.gsapubs.org/content/5/2/189

    .

  46. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Yikes! A reasoned congressional hearing on global warming. The apocalypse must be near. ;-)

    If Republicans gain control of the Senate in November, there are likely to be no more hysterical (eg, “we MUST do something drastic NOW!”) climate hearings for several years. That would be a welcome change.

    I particularly liked the comments on IPCC funding, since IMO, the current setup is just throwing money down a rat hole; money that could be much better spent working on things like, say, better aerosol measurements.

    • Dontcha just love Oppenheimer tucking his tail between his teeth and scuttling down the hawser?
      ===============

    • stevefitzpatrick

      Kim,
      He may be politically astute enough to see the writing on the wall before many others. I think you can count on lower model sensitivity values being ‘discovered’ by modelers only if there is serious talk of funding cuts for models that are comically wrong, which is most of them. Yes, I know some don’t believe there is any political influence in climate science, but if I were a betting man, that is how I would bet. I don’t doubt that it’s nice to be self righteously green and advance ‘the cause’ on the taxpayer’s dime, but being out of work is a bit more immediate and pressing. November’s Senate races are ‘kinda important’ for the many green policy advocates who split their time between advocacy and climate science.

    • Or improved mid-range regional forecasting. Tax dollars spent developing models capable of this might see the same type of return the space program did, as the potential market is huge.

  47. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    In future reports by the WGI of IPCC, a disclaimer like this should be added: “despite WGI document is labeled as the ‘Physical science basis’ here we are only collecting papers agreeing with the non-scientifically demonstrated idea that CO2 emissions are the control knob of climate change. Furthermore, projections are inventions with no predictive capacity and since we base our projections in invented values of climate sensitivity parameter: this report should not be taken seriously by any reader”.

  48. Berényi Péter

    Appendix A to the Principles Governing IPCC Work
    PROCEDURES FOR THE PREPARATION, REVIEW, ACCEPTANCE, ADOPTION, APPROVAL AND PUBLICATION OF IPCC REPORTS

    string counts

    347 report
    234 chair
    189 review
    162 error
    149 bureau
    141 author
    135 group
    120 relevant
    114 expert
    97 panel
    90 assess
    89 current
    85 should
    84 approval
    77 synthesis
    75 technical
    75 government
    59 claim
    57 policy
    56 committee
    54 allege
    53 secretariat
    53 agree
    43 process
    40 scientific
    38 consensus
    38 accept
    37 meeting
    32 executive
    30 national
    27 adopt
    25 protocol
    24 independent
    22 workshop
    22 team
    20 procedure
    16 approve
    15 literature
    12 balance
    11 publish
    11 fact
    7 reference
    3 neutral
    2 evidence

    ’nuff said

  49. Lamarr Smith’s belief that conspiracy theories should trump science in determing policy is dangerous. The idea that the IPCC was created so that the Obama administration can destroy the economy and control peoples lives is laughably stupid (the IPCC was formed before President Obama was elected) but is swallowed without scepticism by most Republicans. One wonders if people like Smith really believe the conspiracies they preach.

    • Eric says:
      but is swallowed without scepticism by most Republicans.
      *****
      Eric poops another load of unsupported crap.

    • j2, he took a little cognitive dissonance which dropped on the straw and mucked up a Gingerbread Man.
      ========

    • jim2 and kim, do you all really believe the conspiracy idiocy spouted by Republican leadership? Which Republicans have called out the conspiracy talk of Mr. Smith?

    • The Right thinks the Left is wrong, and the Left thinks the Right is evil, but they project. You project conspiracy, Eric.
      =================

  50. So Richard Tol believes the IPCC says we are all going to die a horrible death. Where does the IPCC say this? Should a person who believes this is what the IPCC has stated be a witness before Congress about the IPCC?

  51. Such peer reviewed presentations before government panels is why there is “no debate”, and never will be in the foreseeable future… just alarm leaning background noise:
    [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LkMweOVOOI ]

  52. Three of the four witnesses were picked by Republicans, whose party has all but denied the reality of AGW. Yeah, that’s some good pickin’ right there, Dr. Curry.

  53. Pingback: Senate Hearing – Climate Change: The Need to Act Now | Climate Etc.

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