‘Fact’ checking the U.S. presidential candidates

by Judith Curry

So, which of the U.S. Presidential candidates are ‘flunking’ climate science?

Well, of course, it depends on who is doing the grading.

Seth Borenstein (AP) has an article AP FACT CHECK:  Most GOP candidates flunk climate science.  The graders are Michael Mann, Andrew Dessler, James Elsner, James McCarthy, Louisa Bradtmiller, Emanuel Vincent, William Easterling and Matthew Huber.

The summary report card:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had the highest average score at 94.  Below Clinton’s 94 were O’Malley with 91; Sanders, 87; Bush, 64; Christie, 54; Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 47; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 38; Fiorina, 28; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 21; businessman Donald Trump, 15; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, 13; and Cruz with 6.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, with an 87, had the lowest score among the Democrats, dinged for an exaggeration when he said global warming could make Earth uninhabitable. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush scored the highest among Republicans, 64, but one grader gave him a perfect 100. Bush was the only Republican candidate who got a passing grade on climate in the exercise.

JoNova interprets this grading quite differently:

Ted Cruz is clearly the best at holding his own in the independent thinker stakes. Ben Carson and Donald Trump do well. But poor Hillary Clinton doesn’t stand a chance against the onslaught of junk graphs, hyperbolic claims, and inane bumper-sticker cliches.

JC’s collection of quotes

I’m not exactly sure what information the ‘graders’ used to evaluate the candidates.  Below is my collection of quotes on climate science for each of the candidates:


Hillary Clinton: climate change is “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.”

Bernie Sanders: “Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.”


Jeb Bush: “I don’t think the science is clear on what % is man-made and what % is natural. It’s convoluted. For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant. The climate is changing. We need to adapt to that reality.”

Ben Carson: “there’s always going to be either cooling or warming going on” and called the climate debate “irrelevant.” The physician said it is a distraction from discussions about generally protecting the environment and about the role of the Environmental Protection Agency in regulation.

Chris Christie: “I think global warming is real. I don’t think that’s deniable. And I do think human activity contributes to it.” Christie added though that it’s not certain how much humans are to blame for global warming. 

Ted Cruz: “Specifically, satellite data demonstrate there has been no warming over the past 17 years. And I would note whenever anyone makes that point, you immediately get vilified as a ‘denier’ without anyone actually refuting the facts.”

Mike Huckabee: “Go back and look at the covers of Time and Newsweek from the early ’70s. And we were told that if we didn’t do something by 1980, we’d be popsicles. Now we’re told that we’re all burning up. Science is not as settled on that as it is on some things.”

Carly Fiorina: “The only answer to this is innovation, and in that America could be the best in the world.”

John Kasich: “I am just saying that I am concerned about it, but I am not laying awake at night worrying the sky is falling.”

Rand Paul: Man might well have an influence on it, the unknown question is how much is man and how much is nature, this is a question I love to ask to the apocalyptic crowd, the alarmists. They seem to think it is like 99.99% man, and nothing nature, they don’t even acknowledge the natural climate.

Rick Santorum: “I for one never bought the hoax. To suggest that man’s contribution is the determining ingredient in the sauce that affects the entire global warming and cooling is just absurd on its face.”

Donald Trump: “I believe in clean air. Immaculate air. But I don’t believe in climate change. “

JC grades

The AP ‘graders’ gave their game away when they didn’t give Sanders a really low score.

At the bottom (lowest grades), I place Sanders, Santorum, and Trump.   Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee don’t seem to have dug into the issue much, and rank only slightly better.  Hillary Clinton seems to be a clone of Obama on this issue; see my Ocala presentation (previous post) for what is wrong with Obama’s perspective on climate change.

The other Republican candidates have perfectly reasonable perspectives and positions on the climate change issue.  Previous Climate Etc. posts have discussed

The only Presidential candidate that I have met is Jeb Bush, and I met with him for an hour in 2006 to discuss hurricanes and global warming.  This was during my ‘alarmed’ period, and I may have contributed to his ‘passing’ grade from Mann et al.

I have recently been contacted by one of Ted Cruz’s staffers (Cruz chairs the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness).  The impression I have of Cruz is that he is very interested in this issue and is particularly interested in the data.

Unlike previous Presidential elections, it looks like climate change will be a serious issue that candidates are expected to take a position on.  There was one Democratic candidate – Jim Webb – who had a reasonable position on climate change, but he dropped out (possibly for an independent run). The Republican candidates do need a better platform on this issue – one that doesn’t dismiss the issue, but re-opens the space for debate on both the science and the policy options.


117 responses to “‘Fact’ checking the U.S. presidential candidates

  1. Dr. Curry – so Trump wants very clean air but isn’t upset about “climate change.” What fault do you see here?

    • She must be grading on a different curve. The reports I see indicate most people are not concerned about “climate change,” despite the massive efforts of “scientist” advocates.

      Politically, Trump has nailed this one, in my view. And that’s a smart thing for a politician to do. We have bigger fish to fry, let’s deal with that.

      • gallopingcamel

        Trump failed because he denied “Climate Change” Climate has always changed and it always will even after Homo Sapiens becomes extinct.

        Trump should be denying “Global Warming”.

      • David Springer

        Trump was almost certainly talking about man-made climate change. I don’t believe in that either.

    • Fault? The use of “Climate Change”. “Climate Change” is a tautology. Climate can go either way: warmer, colder (or static, but then it is not “Change”).
      The progressive Left has worked long and hard to make “Climate Change” into a meme for “Global Warming”. That is devious, but it is profitable for governments and regulators. The Soviet Union called it a “Turnover Tax”. Alternatives (2008) were “Cap and Trade’, “Carbon Tax”, “Carbon Credit Card” and “Tax and Dividend”.

  2. Pingback: ‘Fact’ checking the U.S. presidential candidates | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  3. Thanks for posting this information. The bottom line is political success is not indicative of analytical ability.

  4. daveandrews723

    Don’t look for anything but the hardest line “alarmist” reporting from the AP’s Seth Borenstein. He is totally invested in the warmists’ positions.

    • And he is totally out of step with the electorate. Climate change is a loser for Democrats. The folks are vaguely worried about climate change, because they have been bombarded with CAGW propaganda. But when it comes to policy, they are not willing to foot the bill for the drastic, ill-conceived mitigation schemes that the alarmists want to foist on them. I hope Hillarity’s story in the general election is that climate change is the greatest threat we face. Good luck with that.

  5. Apparently, “climate change” doesn’t make the top issues on his list. Instead:







    • Seems climate change isn’t making it to the top of quite a few peoples’ lists.

      I see even the arch-Warmists at the BBC now acknowledge that CAGW has dropped right down the list of things that the Global population is concerned about.

      COP21: Public support for tough climate deal ‘declines’

      Public support for a strong global deal on climate change has declined, according to a poll carried out in 20 countries.

      Only four now have majorities in favour of their governments setting ambitious targets at a global conference in Paris.

      In a similar poll before the Copenhagen meeting in 2009, eight countries had majorities favouring tough action.

      The poll has been provided to the BBC by research group GlobeScan.

      Just under half of all those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem this year, compared with 63% in 2009.

      The findings will make sober reading for global political leaders, who will gather in Paris next week for the start of the United Nations climate conference, known as COP21.


      That’s what happens when the chicken littles keep crying “WOLF!” for around three decades and not a single one of their apocalyptic prognostications has actually occurred – in fact, in many cases they have been diametrically wrong.

      Then they wonder why an ever-decreasing number of people take their hooting and screeching and shouts of “DENIER!” seriously…

  6. Nobody running for high political office in the USA today is going to say anything other than what their focus groups determine that their core constituency wants to hear. When polls tell us that the american public does not think climate is a pressing concern that is going to be reflected in candidate speech. The outlier is Clinton who is obviously kowtowing to Tom Steyer and the greens as if they were a majority of democratic voters.
    If potential voters were to come to believe that decarbonization would be a very dangerous risk to their own well being I think you’d find all candidates would change their tune. Never believe that what a candidate says is what they really think.

    • “If potential voters were to come to believe that decarbonization would be a very dangerous risk to their own well being I think you’d find all candidates would change their tune”

      Maybe..but they might need to hear it more widely than Obama’s ’09 campaign promise to skyrocket electricity costs..admitting he would lie to do so. The only thing more incredible about that is how incapable Republicans were in capitalizing on that Mondale moment. somehow that is allowed to co-exist with concerns over the 1% and “fairness”. Unbelievable.

  7. Hiillary being close to Obama is the ticket — Obama received the Nobel prize for taking a stand for global warming and against America.

    • Are you sure? I thought Obama got the prize for being the first African American President with a message of Hope.

      • That’s right. And he also presides over the most transparent administration in history.

      • Ordvic

        “Former Secretary of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee Geir Lundestad reportedly notes in his new book that the body “didn’t achieve what it had hoped for” when it gave Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt and conferred the prestigious award on him in 2009…..The Norwegian historian told AP that the committee “thought it would strengthen Obama and it didn’t have this effect.

        The five members of the Nobel Committee, often former politicians, are appointed by the Norwegian parliament. The coveted award was met with an avalanche of criticism instead. An army of opponents noted that Obama had made no foreign policy achievements worthy of the prize in less than nine months in office. On top of this, he received the award while the US was engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


        It was a political decision. Obama has done nothing at all, before and since he gained power, that should have resulted in his being awarded this formerly (relatively) prestigious prize.


      • Dunno Tony. Prince Charles likes to emit a whopper every once and a while.

      • Not being American I couldn’t say for sure, but the way it looked to me was that Obama got his Nobel because of his colour. Pure political correctness. Couldn’t have been much else because he hadn’t done anything by the time he was awarded it.

      • David Springer

        Yup. It’s called white guilt.

    • Obama got the Nobel for being able to stand..period. If he had any class he would have politely declined that pre-emptive, meaningless gesture.

  8. Trumps latest mention of global warming was when he derided Obama for putting so much emphasis on it when Obama has paved the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons. Spot on.

  9. If I had to make a position statement other than, I don’t know does anyone, I’d say that uncertainty makes it a difficult proposition. The warming before 1950 appears to be nearly all natural while the warming after could be attributed to nearly all human causes with the exception of the 1998 El Nino and subsequent cooling of the oceans after that; with a small (tiny) influence of the strong solar flux followed by an ebbing. Now it would seem to be a statement trying to have it both ways. Although if graded by Borenstein I’m sure it would surely get a low mark. Is there a statement that would be entirely politically correct satisfying both sides?

    • “The warming before 1950 appears to be nearly all natural while the warming after could be attributed to nearly all human causes with the exception of …….”. This is just one of the issues that demolishes the certainty with which CAGW is promoted. The logic is very simple and sensible : if we don’t know what caused the warming before 1950 then we don’t know whether that same cause was operating later on. So it makes no sense to attribute that later warming to “nearly all human causes” until we know more about how the climate actually operates.

      • So, no, I don’t think you can make a politically correct statement that satisfies both sides. Or any other kind of statement. One side requires acknowledgement that CO2 is the major driver of climate, the other side requires acknowledgement that it might not be.

      • I think you’re right, it’s impossible. It sort of reminds me of the abortion debate. I remember some years ago some politically correct people we’re saying the two sides should get and find common ground. There isn’t any. It seems like after awhile everyone just gives up.

      • Indeed, in the long run I expect climate change to become one of those perpetual policy issues about which little is ever done, along the lines of abortion and gun control. The divide is political and permanent.

  10. I’m down with the “junk graphs” issue.

    It’s not that it’s not data, it’s not that it’s adjusted, but that it displays complete ignorance of random processes.

    The tools used are optimal for stationary gaussian random processes, and even for those the conclusions are wildly unjustified.

    The climate is worse.

    The graphs do not support anything.

    • “The climate is worse.” Is it?

      • The climate is worse than random because it is chaotic. Thus it exhibits what are called strange statistics, where the averages vary by scale and oscillate continuously. There is no such thing as normal weather.

      • Dynamic weather will soon to be placed into the hands of man, they say.

        “Fabius vowed in an interview to forge an agreement that would be “universal, legally binding, durable and dynamic”.

        Damn the adjustments, full speed ahead.

      • May I be the first to nominate the UN, to control all weather modification programs world wide. For the kids.

  11. I’m on record as saying: “I don’t know.”

  12. “…and Cruz with 6.”

    Ted! You were six off a perfect score for next Leader of the Free World! What went wrong?

    Anyway, it’s not often that you get a panel of absolute tossers giving you a tosser rating for all candidates in an election. Use those numbers, people! Here in Oz we now only get a choice between Posh Green and Drab Green, both with Hilary+ ratings. Got a coin?

  13. Ah, if only elections in the UK were this exciting!

  14. How may of the graders are receiving GOV grants??

  15. Curious George

    A great panel. IPCC is also a great panel. Score card for both: minus seven.

  16. Perhaps we can query the candidates about the dubious polar bear claims used to hype climate change as catastrophic ?? I have created a petition asking congress to investigate the USGS’ methods.

    Let the truth lead us where it may!

    excerpt: Greater than eighty percent of most polar bears’ annual stored fat is accumulated during the ringed seal pupping season that stretches from late March to the first week of May. Well‑documented observations (Stirling 2002, Harwood 2012, Chambellant 2012) report that cycles of heavy springtime sea ice have drastically reduced ringed seal reproduction. Heavy springtime ice is likely the greatest cause of polar bear nutritional deprivations, yet not one USGS model incorporates sea ice conditions during this critical time.

    Read more of why you should petition a http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/26/petition-congress-to-investigate-usgs-polar-bear-research-methods/

    Reasons to Petition Congress to Investigate USGS’ Dubious Polar Bear Claims

    Sign Petition: https://www.change.org/p/lamar-smith-demand-congress-investigates-the-usgs-polar-bear-analyses

    Spread the truth and share this petition: https://www.change.org/p/lamar-smith-demand-congress-investigates-the-usgs-polar-bear-analyses/share?source_location=share_sponsor

    Let the truth lead us where it may!

    • Curious George

      Jim, I sympathize with your proposal, but perhaps instead of investigating a polar bear issue, a little piece of a mosaic of ineptitude, the Congress should go directly into the heart of matter: a pervasive deterioration of our universities. When a dean of a school of journalism publishes a misleading article on being stopped for “walking while black”, what can we expect of her students? What can we expect of Professor Mann’s students?

  17. Do politicians positions really mean anything in the Climo world? You bet.

    They should all have to digest the facts as we currently know them, not the unproven theories, or consensus mumbo jumbo, or inaccurate modeled prognostications of future climate.

    Just the facts. What are those facts anyhow? Do we even have any undisputed facts on climate? That is the real question.

    Where is that undisputed fact list anyhow? Anyone?

    • Good points, but simple answers depend on what you mean by ‘undisputed’ and ‘facts’. Anything can be disputed–like the pause. But whether such dispute is credible matters. E.g. Karl. And facts depend on surrounding uncertainty, the degree of which can be disputed.
      While I personally think there are a large number of reasonally certain climate facts beyond good faith dispute, both warmunists and true deniers (CO2 has no impact whatsoever) vociferously disgree. Hence the quasi-religious nature of the discussions.

      • I can think of one Rud. The general greening of semi-arid land areas over the last few decades.

        There, that’s is a start :-)

  18. Interesting new article from Jim Hansen
    Isolation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


    • Surprising article from Hansen, but it was difficult to read past this quote…..

      “In other words, the West burned most of the world’s allowable carbon budget.”

      Allowable by who? Hansen, by virtue of his referenced citations patting himself on the back?

      Passionate, yet myopic.

      • Curious George

        Look at Figure 1(b) of the reference. It shows the USA as the biggest villain, with 26% of total emissions. Look at the digit 6 in 26, and compare it with a digit 6 for “German” opposite. It is clearly doctored. I did not read past that; I wonder where did Dr. Hansen get his numbers?

      • @CG: It is clearly doctored.

        US pop: 320M. Germany pop: 80.6M Percentages per million people are respectively .08% and .075%. How does it follow that it’s doctored?

      • [OT} VP — check your email

      • Dear god, I saw Curious George’s comment:

        Look at Figure 1(b) of the reference. It shows the USA as the biggest villain, with 26% of total emissions. Look at the digit 6 in 26, and compare it with a digit 6 for “German” opposite. It is clearly doctored. I did not read past that; I wonder where did Dr. Hansen get his numbers?

        And I had to look for myself because that just sounded silly. Doctoring numbers inside a figure? Why would anyone do that, much less do it in a way that’s obvious?

        But he’s right. That’s not a 6. That’s not even close to a 6. I mean, it’s clearly supposed to be 26%, but the 6 in it is nothing like the 6 you can see in the figure. It looks closer to a lower case sigma than it does to a 6.

        I don’t think it means anything much though. If you look in the titles of the figure’s two charts, you can see the same weird looking 6 twice. That’s because a different font was used for the title than for the text inside the figure. Except, in some cases. In some cases someone apparently went back to the figure and changed or added new text, using the font used in the title rather than the one that had been used in the chart. That’s what gave Curious George the impression the chart had been “clearly doctored.”

        Once you realize that, it’s pretty easy to spot about ten different cases where the charts have been altered like this. I don’t think that’s anything sinister. I suspect someone was just changing the format of the names used in the charts, or something like that. It is pretty bizarre though. Who looks at a chart and says, “That looks unclear. Here, let me Photoshop in a bunch of changes to make it more clear” and then does such a bad job they make it glaringly obvious they did it?

      • Curious George

        Vaughan – the first “6” is a zero with a little tail that looks photoshopped. Why, I don’t have any idea; the area corresponds to 26%, not to 20%. The German “6” looks natural.

      • Who looks at a chart and says, “That looks unclear. Here, let me Photoshop in a bunch of changes to make it more clear” and then does such a bad job they make it glaringly obvious they did it?

        Well, if they start with a JPEG or whatever, the Photoshop on their machine may not have a font that exactly duplicates the one in the original. They may have been careless about how similar the font was, perhaps because their intentions were so pure it never occurred to them anyone would worry.

        The pie-slice for Germany also doesn’t match up exactly with the one for the USA: it takes about 4.5 slices to fill what should take 4.16.

        I suspect somebody used Photoshop or the like to modify an earlier version of the chart, rather than going back to the original to re-create it. IMO this says nothing about their honesty; they could easily have just found updated figures.

      • I’m wrong…

        Here’s a PDF of the original, and here’s a gif:

        I’d guess it just went through some pretty resolution-lossy transformation.

      • Vaughan Pratt | November 27, 2015 at 5:45 pm |
        @CG: It is clearly doctored.

        US pop: 320M. Germany pop: 80.6M Percentages per million people are respectively .08% and .075%. How does it follow that it’s doctored?

        Where does the daft energy equity concept come from?

        The further from the equator the larger the minimum energy requirement.

        There is no minimum energy requirement at the equator. You need some wood to cook food – if you eat vegetable and fruit you don’t even need that.

        Life without fire in northern latitudes is very risky. The first time you get wet during the winter you are dead. You have to cook your food for at least part of the year.

        If you compute per capita energy consumption divided by the minimum needed people in the north look like champs.

        So energy per capita is pretty meaningless.

      • Curious George

        Thanks to everybody to clarify this. Now I read a little further, to a “per capita responsibility (1751-2014)”. Gosh, I don’t even remember how much CO2 I produced 1751-1851 and where. I must feel guilty …

      • @CG: the first “6” is a zero with a little tail that looks photoshopped. Why, I don’t have any idea; the area corresponds to 26%, not to 20%. The German “6” looks natural.

        Ah, so that was what you were referring to.

        In that case the captions would have had to have been photoshopped too since their two 6’s looked more like the “sigma” in the US than the “natural 6” in Germany.

        @PA: The further from the equator the larger the minimum energy requirement.

        Ok, but how is this relevant to the US vs. Germany? Neither one is in the tropics or near the poles.

        Furthermore I would have thought a more accurate indicator would be that the lower the average annual temperature the larger the minimum energy requirement.

        At the home of Ford the average annual temperature is 48.7 °F.

        At the home of Mercedes the average annual temperature is 49.3 °F.

        Yet Stuttgart is 7° closer to the Arctic than Detroit.

        Thank you for providing more of the controversial material that sustains CE, CG. ;)

      • @mwgrant: [OT} VP — check your email

        Ok, clim60vp2.R is now uploaded to http://clim.stanford.edu > MATLAB > Clim60. Seems to work fine on HadCRUT4.csv (I edited it to remove “ann” in the HadCRUT4 file name, and also commented out the setwd.

      • “I wonder where did Dr. Hansen get his numbers?”

        I could tell you, but I suspect my post would get removed!

    • Interesting is one way to put it! Not only does he over simplify the science, but he also obviously doesn’t know much about politics.

      Looks like Obama and cohorts are heading down a path that almost everyone dislikes, pretty much independent of views on the “science”.

      • Not only does he over simplify the science, but he also obviously doesn’t know much about politics.

        He obviously doesn’t know much about real data or actual real honest correct climate science.

        When he used the hockey stick to wipe out the natural climate cycles of the past, He proved he is not about science.

    • “Climate science does not define a safe guard rail; instead science indicates that atmospheric CO2 is already into the dangerous range, as shown by a group including world experts in the carbon cycle, paleoclimate and other relevant areas.10 (reference 10 is a self-referral from an article in 2008).

      Of course the assumption: we are on a catastrophic precipice of our own making and we must tax ourselves into oblivion.

      Hansen correctly identifies Big Green, such as the Environmental Defense Fund as being wealthy lobbyist with high priced lawyers who crafted the Kyoto agreement and are striving for more of the same in Paris.

      Hansen also identifies these Big Green lobbyist groups as shielding Obama from reality and economic sanity; otherwise, Obama would be an exemplary climate leader.

      Then again, what do I know? Great minds are hard at work producing “me too” research papers as to why CO2 is leading us all to hell in a hand-basket; yet, there are piddling funds to understand why climate changes naturally.

      Whatever bad things we have to do to ourselves and to the economy, based upon models and reanalysis and the gifted oratory of experts… we have to do it now! because? Hansen told us so.

    • Hansen is far from the first person to complain about the isolation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The recent news reports about intelligence being modified for the benefit of the WH is another example of that isolation.

      Hansen also needs to do more work in backing up his assertion that CO2 increases persist on a millennial timescale.

      • Hansen also needs to do more work in backing up his assertion that CO2 increases persist on a millennial timescale.

        Who cares?

        Which is the bigger concern, CO2 or temperature? Wouldn’t the more relevant question be how fast temperature can decline?

        The following plot shows a reconstruction of global temperature since 5 Mya based on ocean cores:

        The lower portion is a 5x zoom of the right end of the upper portion. It can clearly be seen that even if temperature rises very sharply, a decline of 4 °C can take as long as 100,000 years, as happened in the glaciation since about 110 kya.

        Personally I think that’s a good thing. If the decline only took a hundred years instead of a hundred millennia it would be as big a shock to the biosphere as the prospect contemplated by some of a hundred year rise of that magnitude.

        Why torture the biosphere two centuries in a row? Enough already, I say.

      • VP:

        I assume that you are trying to make the point that once we warm up the planet with CO2 it will take a long time to cool off? Can you also post your preferred graph that shows how CO2 drives the temperature decline during interglacial periods? There still seems to be some controversy on this question.

        Why torture the biosphere two centuries in a row? Enough already, I say.

        Why create wealth and increase lifespans to such “degrees” over two centuries in a row? Enough already, some say.

      • David Springer

        Pratt ignores the fact that interglacial periods average 1/10th the duration of glacial periods. Clearly the preferred state of the climate for the past several million years is not today’s relative warmth. If CO2 drives warmth and it persists for millenia we should be thankful not worried because of it. Unless of course one is an ice hugger instead of a tree hugger. Trees don’t grow well on glaciers.

    • Let’s set aside whether or not co2 is causing the climate change that is claimed and lets concentrate on what the west has done with their ‘ share’ of the carbon budget, as the Hansen paper was remarkably one sided

      The world is healthier, wealthier, better fed, better clothed, better educated, betTer governed, has recourse to the law to address grievances, has access to the finest music, theatre and literature as a direct result of the west using fossil fuel in order to drag our impoverished peasant ancestors from the short, unhealthy and miserable lives they suffered before the industrial revolution.

      I am especially proud of the major part Britain has played. In rescuing mankind from their unhappy past.

      Why not include the good things the west has done when looking at the balance sheet of the carbon account. Too much emphasis is placed on the negative side. I reckon we are well into credit.


      • All true Tonyb.

        It appears that Hansen has become a charicature of the worst in the CAGW movement. His incessant diatribes about saving the planet for our grandchildren is classic. I worry more about my grandchildren being exposed to the oppressive progressive faculty and administrators at our American universities than I do about them figuring out how to deal with a changing climate.

        As an aside, for the second Thanksgiving in a row I have been unsuccessful in engaging my 6 college and HS aged grandchildren in a serious discussion about climate. They’re not interested and clearly not concerned. They’re all bright high achievers so maybe it’s a good thing and confirmation that the general population just doesn’t see climate as a big issue…………which it ain’t.

      • Half of all the CO2 added has been done by one generation – ours, because that half has been emitted since 1980. This recent phenomenon of a rapid rise rate of emissions is now leaving a measurable mark on the climate as the associated temperature rise is now well above natural variability, which was predicted to happen by Hansen in his 1981 paper. The question is do we want to emit at rates such that all we have emitted so far is only a third to a quarter of the total by 2100, which is the likely non-policy scenario, or do we already notice the effect enough to do something about it before going that much further on this path? If we take out 2 C per doubling since 1950, the climate might have looked like the blue line here instead of the actual red line. This is just to show the size of a 2 C per doubling signal which is not subtle. Cognitive dissonance figure for the Republican candidates follows.

      • Jimd

        Our heneration Is standing on the shoulders of giants. Our Current achievements didn’t just suddenly happen in isolation, they are the result of a gradual process starting some 250 years ago. we have nothing to be ashamed of. We are in credit.


      • JimD,

        I am just sitting back waiting for my good friend Don Monfort to nail your silly butt.

      • Furthermore, as this says, last time they blocked climate resolutions in Congress it was because China wasn’t having to do anything. This time China is doing something, and the GOP are still trying to block things.
        linked from

      • What about the millennial generation, yimmy? Didn’t they add a lot? They have been indoctrinated since birth with the greeny climate alarmist dogma. You would think they know better. What part of the increase from ACO2 since 1980 has been added since 2000, yimmy? Must not have been much, since we have had the long pause that is killing the cause.

      • DM, I consider 30 years to be one generation. Half all emissions in just the last 35 years.

      • Jimd

        The huff post is mistaken if it believes that these days we look to the leadership of the US for mich these days, whether diplomatic cultural or climate related.

        Your country unfortunately seems to have stepped aside from the leadership role over the last few years and is more peripheral now than it has been for many years.

        I Sincerely hope that whoever becomes president, and whether republican or democrat, does a better job of leadership than the current incumbent has done


      • Well yimmy, if we are talking about a human generation, it’s generally considered to be 20-25 years. In sizable areas of our cities and the backwoods too, it’s closer to 16. But since 30 is more convenient for your story, go with it. Anyway, it’s not like it’s going to diminish your credibility. And it’s not like we see any difference between 30 years and 35 years.

        What I was interested in hearing from you, and the actual question I asked, was:

        What part of the increase from ACO2 since 1980 has been added since 2000, yimmy?

      • Don M, since 2000 we have this part of the picture I showed before. CO2 increased from 370-390 ppm. Temperature by 0.2 C.

      • You didn’t answer my question, yimmy. We are not surprised. That’s all the time I have for you today. Keep dancing.

      • Your answer was just above. Sorry you missed it.

    • “– and in the process we burned much of China and India’s fair share of the global carbon budget”

      Fair according to Hansen.

      I wonder what state science, technology and industry would be, if there were no fossil fuels. Perhaps Hansen would be behind a plow pulled by horses, providing foodstuffs and wood to the few scientists nations states could support.

      I’m not even sure in that kind of environment you would ever get to the major breakthroughs in transistors (solar power), nuclear power, etc.

      Perhaps the Chinese would be happier with lower CO2 levels, but none of the Western innovations. Perhaps we ought to ask them.

    • And by the way, this goes for every climate advocate climate scientist, including the ones who feel they have developed an “Energy neutral” existence. I saw some guy extolling his virtue on this thread stating that he cuts down his trees, leaves them for six years, then burns them for heat.

      Well, unless he is using a stone ax, I don’t see how he is carbon neutral at all, but benefiting from the major technological advances made possible from fossil fuels. Maybe if he were using cow dung cook only the crops he made I would have a different view. And no clean water, no use of any technology, because almost all was made possible by fossil fuels.

      • Excellent comments EDbarbar. It should also be remembered that countries that have a low share of the carbon budget most likely didn’t forgo development because they were worried about the environment. It’s because development is hard.

    • Its interesting to see Hansen’s arrogant insistence in meeting with Obama to discuss policy. He doesn’t seem to understand he’s very weak in that area.

  19. Ted Cruz is a machine as regards gathering data. Based on his track record, he will be doing his homework prior to attempting to reframe the debate. He’s not a horse to bet against in this regard.

  20. Since the US is among the growing number of nations with falling CO2 emissions, candidate or even presidential opinions are silly.

    Of course, the excitable will continue – “They’ve got to fall faster”, and perhaps “They’ve got to go to zero”.

    Well, they don’t.

    Real educated candidates would be aware of present demographics and not get excited about meaningless melodramas.

    • I’m sorry but this graph is based on data cherry-picked from its source so as to be in the period following the recession. If you don’t cherry-pick and simply plot the data and its trend for the US you get this graph

      showing a rising trend line for the US.

      As this European data prior to 2010 is only every five years since 1990, I did the same thing for its US counterpart and got this more granular graph plus 2014, in Mtons instead of ktons, again with a rising trend.

      The finer granularity reveals six declines each over the previous year that can’t be seen from the European data, namely

      YR DECLINE (Mt)
      2000 100
      2006 83
      2008 200
      2009 400 (!)
      2011 140
      2012 110

      So what’s going on here? Have Americans decided to be good global citizens and cut back on their CO2 emissions?


      The first four of those declines were when the economy tanked. 2000 was the dot-com implosion, which affected mainly technology so wasn’t that big overall. The declines in 2006, 2008, and most notably 2009 was the big recession.

      But the stock market indexes have been soaring. So why isn’t CO2 rising at the level of the roaring 90’s?

      One guess might be that if we take 1995-2005 to be the decade of irrational exuberance, then after 2009 producers have been cautiously tiptoeing along at the 1995 level of 5400 Mt hoping not to repeat that decade.

      I’m more inclined towards the following theory. Producers aren’t tiptoeing at all, they’re galloping along. What’s changed in this millennium is that online shopping, automation, and robotics have all advanced greatly, none of which are particularly CO2-intensive. In particular those who’ve lost their jobs no longer emit CO2 driving to work, while producers benefiting from a vastly cheaper source of labor—robots cost less than salaries—now have greatly improved profit margins.

      But all this means that demand for oil must be dropping. In which case oil prices should drop too.

      But they have!

      And this might explain the rises in CO2 emissions in 2013 and 2014. Less incentive to economize on fuel, whether or not employed.

      Just a theory. There are probably better ones.

      As to future declines or rises in CO2 emissions, I’m making no predictions.

      It’s all very interesting.

      • Many factors apply.
        US per capita emissions peaked in the 1970s.
        They are not going up.
        We are hugely more energy efficient than we used to be.
        I live in an old home ( 1939 ).
        It used to have Aluminum wiring.
        At great expense and family trauma, I had the wiring replaced with modern stuff.
        Our electricity bill fell in half.
        Just about every other use of energy has had similar improvement.

        But that’s not all.
        Populations are declining in much of the world also.
        Europe, China, Japan, Russia, and a growing list of countries are shrinking.
        CO2 emissions have peaked for a growing percentage of the world.

      • Does climate respond to total CO2 emissions or per capita emissions (if climate responds much at all, that is).

      • @TE: US per capita emissions peaked in the 1970s.

        @jim2: Does climate respond to total CO2 emissions or per capita emissions

        If per capita we could estimate world population from climate sensitivity.

      • David Springer

        If determined ignorance is not the cause then this should help Vaughn improve his US CO2 emission diagnostics:

      • Worse that that – it is a lie.

        China is the worst emitter. How do you paint China blue? Even a graph of their emissions is red..

      • PA, China is still the largest emitter (worst is a value judgment ).

        But China’s emissions, are, at least according to IEA, falling.

        That’s very consistent with declining China workforce and declining Coal imports.

      • Turbulent Eddie | November 28, 2015 at 12:17 pm |
        PA, China is still the largest emitter (worst is a value judgment ).

        Worst modified emitter, not China, you must have misunderstood.

        CDIAC 2013
        China of Asia 2723 MT.
        United States of America.1428 MT.

        So China is the worst emitter.

        Lets for a second assume you are right about China’s emissions. If you are right about China’s emissions declining, why are global warmers whining and sniveling about CO2 emissions increasing?

    • And people say Kyoto didn’t do anything. Yes, more efficient cars, replacing old-style light bulbs, better energy choices, more green buildings, all came out of that effort and it all adds up and appears to have helped, even if not as far as Kyoto wanted. The skeptics didn’t think this was possible without collapsing the economy, but that was just their usual economical alarmism that persists to this day despite the facts.

  21. Unfortunately there is no way to reasonably discuss this issue on a Presidential stage. The only reason for the issue is to bash Republicans over the head like a blunt instrument. Better luck having a Presidential discussion about Unifying Theory as “climate science.”

    And why even bother discussing the climate at all? It’s only there as a political weapon, not a true scientific question. Even if it were not entirely political, what would be the point. Let’s pretend the Democrats wanted to have an actual intellectual conversation on climate science. Exactly what would comprise that conversation? That there should be some more awareness given? That there should be more honest research done?

    The climate is NOT a real issue. Which is hard to hear when you are steeped in its study as a true scientist. Every researcher believes their calling is essential and important. What gives climate science a greater spotlight than cancer research, endemic poverty, or any number of other real and immediate woes? The only thing that gives it weight is the apocalyptic scare tactic of “what if.” By that right we should be discussing planetary defense against meteor strikes and sun storms.

  22. Really, how many “facts” exist in climate science within the context of how the word is commonly used. There are representations of facts. There are beliefs of what the facts are. There are estimates of the facts. If so-called facts are about what will happen in 2100 or any other date, they are not facts. We don’t even “know” what CO2 will do to temperatures. We hypothesize the effects, but sorry there are no facts.

    This grading by a group of supposed climate experts is a metaphor for all that is wrong in climate science. There is a pervasive culture short on humility and long on self importance.

  23. If we subtract the green scores from 100 we get the skeptical score. A fine symmetry.

  24. The assertion 97% of scientists believe atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) causes global warming (aka climate change) is blatantly false. There is no excuse for anyone to be so gullible that they would make that assertion. Scientists are not that ignorant although some may have gotten mired in irrelevant minutia and/or misled by wildly speculative notions, or mesmerized by CO2 being a ‘greenhouse gas’, or even willfully blinded by the siren call of a paycheck.

    Necessary knowledge to realize CO2 has no effect on climate should have been learned before the 12th grade in school. It is a basic understanding of the ramifications of photosynthesis. Google provides a good definition of photosynthesis: “the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis in plants generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct.”

    The applicable ramification of photosynthesis is CO2 is necessary for the initial step for all life on the planet and always has been. For life on land as we know it to have evolved there had to have been substantial CO2 in the atmosphere for more than 500 million years. If CO2 made the planet warmer it would have been doing it for 500 million years. But average global temperature (AGT) has gone up and down over the eon and most of the time it has been warmer than now. The only way this could consistently result is if CO2 has no effect on temperature and temperature change is caused by something else.

    The idea that a threshold level of CO2 might exist, where above the threshold CO2 warms the planet and below the threshold it does not, requires a more complex analysis but the end result is the same: CO2 has no effect on AGT.

    Because CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere, if CO2 change does not cause temperature change, it cannot cause climate change. Thus the CO2 change from burning fossil fuels has no effect on climate, and ‘climate sensitivity’ (the effect on AGT of doubling CO2) is zero.

    The analysis at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com expands on this and identifies the two factors that do cause reported average global temperature change for at least as long as AGT has been accurately measured world wide. An equation there using only the noted two factors calculates a 97% match to reported measured temperatures since before 1900 (after calibration to historical AGT, the only inputs to the equation are from the sunspot number data set). Everything not explicitly included (such as aerosols, volcanos, non-condensing ghg, ice changes, uncertainty in measurements, heating from the earth’s core, storing heat in ocean depths, etc.) must find room in the unexplained 3%.

    • Dan, you are off topic but also joking I hope, but not too hopefully. If only it were this simple.

  25. RWW News: Ted Cruz Says That ‘Climate Change Is Not Science, It’s Religion’

  26. Hillary Clinton: climate change is “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face as a nation and a world.”

    Sound’s like she hasn’t moved on since pre-Copenhagen Conference. Perhaps Australia’s e’x Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd wrote that for her. Rudd said “Climate change is the greatest moral, economic and environmental challenge of our generation”.

  27. At the bottom (lowest grades), I place Sanders, Santorum, and Trump. Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee don’t seem to have dug into the issue much, and rank only slightly better. Hillary Clinton seems to be a clone of Obama on this issue; see my Ocala presentation (previous post) for what is wrong with Obama’s perspective on climate change.

    The other Republican candidates have perfectly reasonable perspectives and positions on the climate change issue. Previous Climate Etc. posts have discussed

    Well, this isn’t good.

    Anyone who thinks the problem is urgent or is currently causing harm (Sanders and Clinton) gets an F.

    Trump’s grade depends on what he means by “Climate Change”: AGW ,CAGW,.or just change in general. Change in general get him an F, AGW gets him a C, CAGW gets him an A.

    Santorum gets a C. Global warming is only a partial hoax.

    Carson gets a C but only because he said the debate is irrelevant. This is untrue, Global warmers should be squashed like a bug (politically).

    Bush,Rand Paul, Cruz, Christie finish in that order and are in the A to B range.

    ike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich: are in the C range. Fiorina is a C because she wants to apply innovation to a non-problem. Huckabee and Kasich don’t seem likely to waste money on global warming but don’t seem completely engaged on the subject.

    This is just based on the example statements… I’ll wander off and look at the positions their staff wrote.

  28. Climate change, as an issue, is simply one page in the cultural/political playbooks that divide red team from blue. An individual candidate’s climate position is extremely unlikely to change any voter’s ballot from R to D or vice versa.

    Thus, the game plan for climate changers is to try to create a sense of crisis sufficent to actually influence the marginal vote. It failed for Tom Steyer in the last election but he (and others) will try again.

    I suspect there are many irreligious greens fervently praying that at least one Cat5 hurricane will make landfall in the US next year. If/when the overdue storm arrives, it will be presented as “proof” of CAGW and the need to vote for the Democrat.

    • Well, this is why it is very important not to engage in any serious mitigation.

      Anyone with brains or a lick of common sense who looks at the data realizes what is going to happen. The temperature is going to go up some amount (0.5 °C or less) then do some mix of plateau/decline with no intervention.

      If we do any serious mitigation, the Eco/regressives will take a victory lap, then move on to the next policy on their Christmas list and start lying about that.

      On the other hand if we do nothing or almost nothing about climate change after the temperature peaks we can collect the eco/regressives, tar and feather them and ride them out of town on a rail because we avoided the economic disaster they were trying to create.

      The eco/regressives have ruined the school system. No dodgeball, lies about climate, socialism, etc. are taught as truth, zero tolerance policies, and they give trophies for participation instead of winning.

      The eco/regressives will continue to whine and snivel and use dishonesty and deceit to win support for ridiculous policies unless we take a stand.

      It has to be made clear that their word is valueless and cannot be trusted. When they are proven wrong we need to heap ridicule on them and keep heaping it. The eco/regressives need to become a footnote in history and not a significant player. The technique of winning policy support though deception and false consensus, using the government to impose a minor view and policies on the general population needs to be refuted and condemned.. Their win at all costs damn the truth attitude needs to be corrected, and made unacceptable and reviled in the public arena.

  29. Here’s Hansen’s 2014 emissions by country chart, colored by those nations which appear to be past peak CO2 emissions:

    Japan will likely reverse ( Fukashima nuke shutdown caused reversion to fossil fuels ).

    South Africa an neighbors are declining, so too are some central American.

  30. So the Democrats are totally bat sh%t crazy, and Judy thinks the GOP needs to get better answers.