Paris climate promise: a bad deal for America?

by Judith Curry

The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a Hearing yesterday — Paris Climate Promise: A Bad Deal for America.

The link for the hearing is [here].

From Chairman Lamar Smith’s opening statement:

President Obama submitted costly new electricity regulations as the cornerstone of his agreement at the Paris U.N. climate conference last December. These severe measures will adversely affect our economy and have no significant impact on global temperatures.

Moreover, the president’s pledge creates an international agreement that binds the United States for decades to come, but lacks constitutional legitimacy since it has not been ratified by the Senate. The agreement not only requires the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions but also compels our country to pay billions of dollars to developing nations to reduce their carbon emissions.

The so-called Clean Power Plan will cost billions of dollars, cause financial hardship for American families, and diminish the competitiveness of American employers, all with no significant benefit to climate change.

A majority of Congress disapproved of the Clean Power Plan through the Congressional Review Act. And the governors of most states are challenging the rule in court. Meanwhile, the president attempts to justify his actions with scare tactics, worst-case scenarios and biased data.

The president’s Paris pledge will increase electricity costs, ration energy and slow economic growth. It ignores good science and only seeks to advance a partisan political agenda. The president should present his Paris climate change agreement to Congress. He won’t, because he knows neither the Senate nor the House would approve it.

Witness list

Here is the list of witnesses:

Mr. Stephen Eule: Vice President for Climate and Technology, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Dr. John Christy:Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville

Dr. Andrew Steer: President and CEO, World Resources Institute

Mr. Steven Groves:The Bernard and Barbara Lomas Senior Research Fellow, Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, The Heritage Foundation

All of the written testimonies were very well done and effective.  I did not listen to the podcast of the Hearing, however.

Below is a summary of the main points from each of the witnesses, along with some of my comments.

Stephen Eule

Stephen Eule’s testimony is found here [link]. Key points:

For the purposes of this testimony I will limit myself to these main points:

  • The Paris Agreement fulfills the Durban Platform’s goals of an outcome with legal force, as it contains many legally-binding “shall” provisions, including committing the Parties to make future, more ambitious if non-binding mitigation commitments and to provide financing and technology assistance.
  • The binding aspects of the Paris Agreement would require implementing legislation and regulation potentially affecting every sector of the U.S. economy. An agreement with such far-reaching consequences, if it is to be considered binding on future administrations and Congresses, should be approved by Congress.
  •  As a recent State Department report demonstrates, the U.S. Paris pledge of a 26% to 28% reduction in net GHG emissions from the 2005 level by 2025 is completely unrealistic, and the administration still has no plan to achieve it. This and any future pledges should be approved by Congress.
  • A review of the Paris emission pledges show that they are very uneven, with a handful of developed countries being responsible for nearly all of the actual emission reductions while others countries pursue “business as usual.”
  • While making emissions pledges is mandatory, the pledges themselves are not binding, so there is no guarantee any of the Paris goals will be achieved.
  • Even if these goals were to be achieved, however, global emissions in 2030 would still be much higher than in 2010 (with a mid-range estimate of 18%) largely because of rapid emissions growth in economies in transition and in emerging and developing economies. Coal for power production will continue to increase throughout the world as developing economies work to reduce poverty and increase energy access to their people.
  • The United States has a huge energy-price advantage over many of its competitors. The uneven nature of the emissions goals, however, could raise U.S. energy prices and lead to carbon leakage to other countries with fewer environmental controls.
  • Although Parties have agreed to a non-binding aim to limit the global temperature increase to “well below 2°C” from the pre-industrial level, the Parties, as they have in past decisions, refused to identify a global emissions pathway that they believe would be needed to meet the goal. This temperature target, therefore, will remain what it always has been—a potent political symbol of little practical consequence.
  • Intellectual property rights (IPR) are not mentioned in the agreement, but there is concern that other language in the Paris Agreement and COP decision could open the door to weakening IPR in future meetings. Continued diligence to protect IPR is required.
  •  Developed countries are on the hook for providing finance for developing countries, but many issues have been kicked down the road. Congress has a role in authorizing and appropriating the U.S. share of these funds.

JC comment:  This is a very useful overview of the Paris agreement, and the complicated issues that have been kicked down the road.

John Christy

John Christy’s testimony is found here [link].  From the Summary:

Climate change is a wide-ranging topic with many difficulties. Our basic knowledge about what the climate is doing (i.e. measurements) is plagued by uncertainties. In my testimony today I have given evidence that the bulk atmospheric temperature is measured well-enough to demonstrate that our understanding of how greenhouse gases affect the climate is significantly inadequate to explain the climate since 1979. In particular, the actual change of the fundamental metric of the greenhouse warming signature – the bulk atmospheric temperature where models indicate the most direct evidence for greenhouse warming should lie – is significantly misrepresented by the models. Though no dataset is perfect, the way in which surface datasets have been constructed leaves many unanswered questions, especially for the recent NOAA update which shows more warming than the others. Finally, regulations already enforced or being proposed, such as those from the Paris Agreement, will have virtually no impact on whatever the climate is going to do.

JC comments:  Christy’s testimony is a must read.  It provides an excellent description of the different temperature datasets and the critiques of these datasets.  It also provides some very interesting new analyses.

Andrew Steer

Andrew Steer’s testimony is found here [link]. Key points:

My testimony has three main themes:

  1. The Paris Agreement has transformed the climate change landscape in ways that reflect the leadership and longstanding objectives of the United States. All countries – both developed and developing – are now taking climate action, with nationally-determined climate plans submitted by 187 nations as part of the Agreement. The Agreement also includes a set of universal, binding requirements for transparency and accountability.
  2. The private sector and subnational governments played a major role at Paris, making new climate commitments and calling for strong market signals. Moreover, the Paris Agreement itself sends clear long-term signals that can set the course for investment in a prosperous low- carbon and climate resilient economy.
  3. The United States has much to gain from positioning itself as a climate leader. Swift action on climate change will continue to enable the United States to benefit from economic opportunities, stimulate further global action on climate, and build resilience to climate impacts and their associated costs at home.

JC comment:  Steer was invited by Democrats (the others were invited by the Republicans).  Steer’s written testimony gives a very good overview on the process of building the Paris Agreement and interpretation of the provisions.

Steven Groves

Steven Groves’ testimony is found here [link]. From the Conclusion:

While the executive branch must be permitted a certain amount of discretion to choose the legal form of international agreements it is negotiating, there must also be a corresponding duty by the executive branch to treat comprehensive, binding agreements that result in significant domestic impact as treaties requiring Senate approval.

President Obama has placed his desire to achieve an international environmental “win” and bolster his legacy above historical U.S. treaty practice and intragovernmental comity. Major environmental treaties that have significant domestic impacts should not be developed and approved by the President acting alone. An agreement with far-reaching domestic consequences like the Paris Agreement lacks sustainable democratic legitimacy unless the Senate or Congress as a whole, representing the will of the American people, gives its approval.

Unless and until the White House submits the Paris Agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent, the Senate should:

  • Block funding for the Paris agreement
  • Withhold funding for the UNFCCC
  • Take prophylactic legislative measures

 JC comment:  Grove’s testimony defies easy summarizing.  It is the most provocative of the testimonies, and provides some new insights and ideas.

JC reflections

Based on the written testimonies, this looks like a very interesting and informative hearing.

John Christy did a superb job of laying out the issues in the temperature data set controversy.

With regards to the Paris agreement itself, the other 3 testimonies in an integral sense provide a very good overview of the issues and what is being debated.  I found Groves’ testimony to be particularly interesting, regarding the legal context for the agreement.

Some media coverage:

So, is the Paris agreement a bad deal for America?  I would say yes.  Again, my rationale for saying this is contained in my many posts with the policy tag.

162 responses to “Paris climate promise: a bad deal for America?

  1. Flashback of a flashback…..

    Now with the opportunity to use the TPP and the Clean Air Act via the EPA to enforce Paris, he may succeed.

    • By enforcing Paris, are you perhaps referring to this novel legal theory which just emerged from “Greenland”? —

      There is nothing in the Paris agreement per se to enforce, except the five year revision provision. This new theory, that all EPA needs is an international agreement, with Tuvalu say, and the EPA can do whatever it likes, is too bizarre to be legal.

    • Flashback: Obama admitted energy prices would ‘skyrocket’ under his policies

      Well, as we used to say down in Texas, “Praise the Lord and pass the plate.”

      If you’re gonna do God’s work — save mankind from his sinful self and all that good stuff — it’s gonna cost you.

    • No bargain basement priced indulgences on sale here.

    • And these guys on Team Green would make Pope Leo X jeoulous. They have actually managed to find a way to make the poorest and most politically disenfranchised segments of society pick up the tab for their indulgences.

      Could this help explain why some of the Republican candidates have managed to attract such large populist followings?

      Let’s recap what an Edison Foundation study found in California:

      1) The average distributed PV solar system installed in California in 2014 cost $14,586

      2) Of this, the entity investing in these systems (this can be either the homeowner or the lessor who leases the system to the homeowner) receives an immediate federal tax credit of $4,376

      3) Then on top of this, the party making the investment receives NEM subsidies — mandated by the state of California — which have a present value of slightly over $20,000.

      4) The households which receive these subsides are affluent households. Their average energy consumption is more than twice that of the average California household.

      5) The subsidies are paid for by less wealthy households.

      6) The subsidies are paid for by households that are not energy hogs.

      7) Most of the subsidies do not accrue to any household, rich or poor, but to the finance companies that lease the systems to homeowners.

      And Germany’s Team Green managed to pull off a similar feat, as the graph below illustrates.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        I don’t know Glenn. Some of those charts on Germany look suspect to me. But I guess if the country is as bad off as you think, and the public still supports Energiewende, then the energy transition is even more successful than I thought.

      • The Energiewende has wended back to coal, massively. But Germans mentioning their new Karlsruhe coal plant to us is a bit like us mentioning the war to the Germans.

        Don’t mind me. I’m from Barcelona.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Coal is just a step in the energy transition away from nuke power to solar and wind power.

      • Mind the step!

        But that’s enough about bituminous coal in Germany. What about that superb new lignite plant at Neurath? And don’t forget Lippendorf plant, exploiting the lignite fields of the new German Lander. Lot of brown coal out there. No wonder the EU has to keep the carbon price in the toilet.

        I suppose the next German “step” will be the doubling of nice Mr Putin’s Nord Stream gas (Nord Stream 2), pumped across the Baltic to avoid all the wrong Slavs and Muslims. Straight into Greifswald from Mother Russia! The EU say it shouldn’t be allowed, but they say lots of things.

        Stay funny, warmies.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Neurath is a state-of-the-art plant, far more efficient and less polluting than older brown coal plants. I’m not sure about Lippendorf but it may be modern too. Both are just part of the transition to renewables.
        I haven’t kept up on developments with Putin and natural gas. I’ll look into it.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist said:

        I don’t know Glenn. Some of those charts on Germany look suspect to me.

        So just what is it that you find unbelievable?

        That German households pay anywhere from two to four times per KWh for their electric power as what US households do?

        That German households’ bill for electric power has more than doubled in order to pay for Energiewende?

        That German industry has refused to pick up a scintilla of the exorbitant cost of Energiewende?

        “This places German industry at a serious competitive disadvantage that is only going to get worse,” said Ulrich Grillo, President of the German Federation of Industries, the country’s main industry lobby. “The electricity factor is a burden that endangers industry and therefore the livelihood of companies and their employees.”

        That real wages and real median household income in Germany have fallen since Energiewende began?

        Or that Merkel and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel have been able to convince the German public that “once Germany shows the world that one of the largest industrial economies can both abandon nuclear power and ‘decarbonize, others will follow suit. The planet will be saved.” Why is that so unbelievable in the land of German Romanticism, in the land of Fichte, Schelling, Hegel and Marx?

      • mosomoso,

        A couple of items you might find interesting:

        On the difference between the promise and the reality of the cost of Energiewende

        Sinn likes to recount the story of Jürgen Trittin, a former Green party environment minister. In 2004, Trittin declared that subsidizing green energy wouldn’t cost the average German household more than one euro per month, or “as much as a scoop of ice cream.”

        By Sinn’s calculation, the cost is heading toward a scoop per hour.

        On the difference between the promise and the reality of Energiewende when it comes to reducing carbon emissions

        A new coal-fired power plant has opened in Germany a day after an expert commission told the energy minister the country must triple its annual rate of decarbonization to meet its ambitious 2020 climate policy goals.

        On Thursday in the Hamburg suburb of Moorburg, Hamburg’s mayor Olaf Scholz, a leading figure in Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), stood alongside Magnus Hall, president of Swedish energy utility Vattenfall, and pushed a big button.

        The button-pushing symbolized Vattenfall’s ceremonial opening of a 1,600 Megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant that had been under construction for eight years – despite heated opposition from Germany’s greens, who want the country to exit from coal altogether.

        One day earlier…Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the SPD and the country’s minister of economy and energy, sat in a Berlin conference room absorbing some bad news.

        An independent commission of senior energy experts advising his ministry explained to him on Wednesday that Germany was on track to miss – rather badly – the carbon emissions goals the government had set for the country to meet by 2020….

        “The tempo of total carbon emissions reductions achieved each year needs to be roughly tripled” in order to meet the government’s 2020 target, Löschel told DW, saying the annual emissions reduction rate in recent years has been 9 million tons of CO2 per annum, but needed to be 27 million tons.

      • Glenn asks “So just what is it that you find unbelievable?”

        Glenn, I said the charts were suspect. To begin with charts
        are not referenced in a way I can
        find their sources. Googling “imgur”
        gets you nothing about the charts.
        The charts also are so poorly labeled which makes it difficult to figure out exactly what is meant.

        The chart on real compensation and the chart on real wages (which you posted later) immediately struck me as being misleading if not wrong, and after fact checking I found my instincts were correct. Please read the following report just released:

        German real wages rise at strongest rate in more than two decades

        BERLIN, Feb 4 (Reuters) – German real wages rose at the strongest rate in more than 20 years in 2015 due to record-low inflation and robust pay hikes, data showed on Thursday, boosting private consumption which has become the main driver of growth in the economy.

        The Federal Statistics Office said that real wages increased by 2.5 percent on the year in 2015. That was the strongest rate since 1992, a spokeswoman at the statistics office said.

        The main reason for the spike was moderate inflation, with consumer prices inching up only 0.3 percent on the year on a non-harmonised basis, and an unusually high rise in nominal wages of 2.8 percent, the office said.

        Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government introduced a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($9.50) per hour at the beginning of 2015, raising the purchasing power of low-income households.
        In addition, favourable economic conditions have enabled companies and unions to agree on robust pay hikes.

        Glenn, if you are interested in a graph of German wage growth, see

      • Glenn,

        Max OK finds anything that doesn’t fit his own opinions as suspect.

        But he’s a good dancer. Look at how he pirouette’s onto how efficient the new German coal units are. Apparently it isn’t carbon pollution if it comes from an efficient plant.

    • Could Judith tells us what would befall a Georgia Tech doctoral candidate whose atmospheric science thesis defense relied unpon a Dailly Caller article citing another Daily Caller article by the same author, that relied in turn on an unpublished AGU poster paper ?

      Heaven help the Republic if Judy thinks this sort of infantile rhodomontade is going to save the nation from regulatory subjugation in the aftermath of COP 21.

  2. Dr. Curry — Could you (and others) provide 1 link to what you believe best explains the COP21 $100 billion Green Fund? Very, very fuzzy on “exactly” what the Agreement means. Thank you.

  3. What exactly is the Paris agreement? If the Paris agreement is a treaty then it requires Senate ratification to go into force which will not happen. If it is not a treaty then it is not a “deal for Americans,” good or bad. Also, does this agreement include the non-binding wishful targets? If so in what form? As wishes or promises, and whose promises? The agreement itself merely requires UNFCCC members to file new promises every five years. That is not a bad deal per se. It is a largely irrelevant deal.

    • DW, under US law the way Paris is worded it is neither a treaty nor a Pact. The former requires consent of 2/3 od the Senate, and is defined as a mutual internation obligation that can never be undone except by mutual consent (T Jefferson definition, and he probably knew what he was talking about). The latter requires simple consent of congress (>50%). Pacts are distinguished from treaties by having unilateral opt outs. Trade agreements are typical Pacts. Finally, there are Presidential agreements (no congressional involvment) in three narrow areas: 1. Constitution Article 2 section 2.1 as commander in chief, 2. Section 3 ambassador recognition ( which actually covers a lot of foreign policy conduct), and 3. section 3 obligation to faithfully uphold the laws. It is this last Obama is claiming. Clean Air Act.

      • I know all that ristvan. My point is that different people are using the term Paris agreement to mean very different things. My little list is by no means comprehensive, nor is yours. There is a lot of conceptual confusion as a result.

      • I did not know you knew. Your reply points about lots of confusion are spot on. Regards.

      • richardswarthout


        I did not know. Thank you for the information; it puts things in needed perspective.


    • “It is a largely irrelevant deal.”

      It’s the Republicans working themselves into a lather because Obama.

      • About time someone did. Criminals and traitors should always be resisted.

      • JC, not Obama per se. His unconstitutional attempt to ram EPA’s Clean Power Plan down the country’s throat. THAT is worth getting lathered up about. If you have any regard for the rule of law whatsoever. Dem, Repub, neither. For the record, I am a neither.

  4. The United States has much to gain from positioning itself as a climate leader. Swift action on climate change will continue to enable the United States to benefit from economic opportunities, stimulate further global action on climate, and build resilience to climate impacts and their associated costs at home.

    It’s really pathetic that the Climate Faithful continue to believe people will fall for this kind of nonsensical blather, and it’s the main reason I consider them not just mistaken but dishonest. Imagine after all this time and the absolute failure of Renewables to become anything but a massive money sink, trying to pass off their crazy wasteful schemes as an ‘economic opertunity’.

    Any time a Climate Scammer says there is much to be gained, they mean into THEIR bank accounts.

    • Except that a lot of people do accept this view, plus it is the official government position on the Executive Branch side. Nothing pathetic about it. Dangerous yes, pathetic no.

      • Not sure I’m ready to accept that a lot of people believing in something can prevent it from being pathetic, Dave. I mean, a lot of people still think Communism is great. Heck, a lot of people still like Carrot Top! ^¿^

        As for our illustrious self declared betters on the Left, there actions speak far louder to me then their numerous words. I can count on one hand the number of them that I think believe what they are saying.

        You know what, I take that back. Even the few I think honestly believe that CAGW is coming clearly lie and exaggerate to get the social changes they think we need to avoid it. As for the rest, it’s noble cause corruption without the noble cause. Just Corruption.

      • I think the question is, “Why do a lot people accept this view?” If they have a good justification for accepting it (even if it is based on distorted information) then it is not pathetic. But if they accept it despite significant evidence to the contrary based on hopeful assertions but no evidence or mechanisms – then it is pathetic.

        I have not myself have not heard good reasons, seen evidence, or heard the process well described as to how the US might gain from positioning itself as a climate leader. Long run we’re not likely to be the major exporters of the technology, gain trade concessions, benefit from higher production costs,….

        At least people can explain why the like Carrot Top.

      • Shitzree, I said it was not pathetic because it was dangerous, not because a lot of people believe it.

      • I said it was not pathetic because it was dangerous, not because a lot of people accept it. Hard to see how something can be dangerous and pathetic at the same time.

    • Also the link to Andrew Steer’s testimony isn’t working. Not sure if that’s a bad thing going by what you quoted JC, but I would like to see how he tries to defend his statements.

    • schitzree said:

      Imagine after all this time and the absolute failure of Renewables to become anything but a massive money sink, trying to pass off their crazy wasteful schemes as an ‘economic opertunity’.

      It’s not just the “Climate Faithful” who “fall for this kind of nonsensical blather.”

      As Kevin Phillips explains in American Theocracy, the “willing use of deficity and debtcraft, reflecting the spend-to-stimulate theories of John Maynard Keynes…had become so widespread by 1970 that Richard Nixon acknowledged that ‘we’re all Keynesians now’.” (As I’m sure you already know, Phillips follows in a long tradition of Republican populists. Some accuse him of being the intellecutal author of the Southern Strategy, but others say Nixon himself, along with the help of Lee Atwater, cooked it up.)

      The end result of the degenerative process is this: any government expenditure, whether the money is borrowed or created out of thin air, no matter how wasteful and non-productive, can be rationalized with an application of the debauched Keynesianism — the argument that the government spending “creates jobs.”. (I’m sure Keynes is turning over in his grave with some of the things that are being justified in his name.)

      As Phillips goes on to explain:

      By the Reagan years…the ranks of conservative Repubicanism included tax-cut Keynesians (deficits are fine if you’re giving money back to the folks who count), military Keynesians (the Pentagon houses government’s most deserving function), pork-barrel Keynesians (more roads and projects, and then even more), and even bailout Keynesians (large or well-connected financial institutions have to be rescued):

      If you’re interested in the history of how the perversion of Keynes’ theory came about, I recommend reading Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went by John Kenneth Galbraith, and especially the last three chapters:

      CHAPTER XIX: The New Economics at High Noon

      CHAPTER XX: Where It Went

      CHAPTER XXI: Afterword

  5. I have downloaded the Christy written testimony for future reference. Masterful in many ways. Pity the Watts/Christy paper from the surface stations projectnis not available yet; it woild have made a nice fact example addition to his land temps critique. He gives Smith more ammunition for his Tom Karl probe, providing the analysis the committee had requested and NOAA/Karl refused to do. Separate issue from the emails subpoena. Shows how bunged up the Huang/Karl ERSSTv.4 adjustments are.

  6. The whole thing will be a net negative, but not a by a whole lot, at least in the short term.
    Advocates will have to play the long game, slowly fencing voters into a reality that is global governance.

  7. Paris is such a waste of time and money as it will not achieve anything to reduce the effect of GHGs on the climate. Maybe they could use that money for more worthy causes like Michelle Obamas’ vacations.

  8. David L. Hagen

    Divergences Destroy Climate Claims
    John Christy’s superb testimony showed two divergences:
    Climate models ~ 250% of satellite/balloon data since 1979
    Historic days of surface temperatures > 100F declining vs surface temperatures increasing.

    Each expose the climate models / surface temperature adjustments as not validated/non-scientific.

    • Steven Mosher

      Red team for Christy.
      Oh by the way when Christy did surface station work in Alabama… He did tobs adjustments. Ya unscientific.. Hagen go read Christys work.. Oh ya.. Ask him for the uah temperature data.. Not anomalies.. Ask him for temperature data..

  9. Solar monorails and wind-powered marching bands…right here in River City.

    Good luck, USA. And wish Australia luck. We have very recently acquired an unelected PM who’s greener than Bomber Barry and more popular with the luvvie media than Justin Home-Alone. Not that anyone’s greener than those biomass burners of Europe (70% from the forestry sector).

    Good luck the whole bloody world!

  10. This was Dr. Christy’s best testimony yet. Clear, concise, overwhelming. I simply do not understand how any thinking person could take iffy data from the lower 2 meters of the atmosphere and the upper 10 meters or so of the ocean over AMSU data and calibrated weather balloon data. It boggles the mind.

    • AM, agree. About the only point he could have but did not make is that the time frame of his divergence charts (1979-present) covers 55% of all the anthropogenic CO2 ever emitted. Over half. It did not do what the models said it would.

    • Air temperatures measured at the Earth’s surface, in contrast, have risen by approximately +0.13 K per decade over the same period. The two temperature records are derived from measurements of different physical parameters, and thus are not directly comparable. In fact, the lower stratosphere is cooling substantially (by about -0.5 K per decade)5, so the warming trend seen at the surface is expected to diminish with altitude and change into a cooling trend at some point in the troposphere.

      • In fact, the lower stratosphere is cooling substantially (by about -0.5 K per decade)

        The paper you cite is 1998,the fact is there is no significant change in LST.
        The WMO 2014 review statement for policy makers says.

        Stratospheric ozone changes are the dominant driver of observed globally averaged long-term temperature changes in the lower stratosphere. Between 1979 and 1995 global mean lower stratospheric temperature decreased by about 1 K but has since remained approximately constant.

      • In fact, the lower stratosphere is cooling substantially (by about -0.5 K per decade), so the warming trend seen at the surface is expected to diminish with altitude and change into a cooling trend at some point in the troposphere.

        One of Eddie’s favorite points.

        The lowest layer of the strat ( around 100mb ) is pretty flat.

        But the point about the cooling the upper troposphere may have validity, especially if one warms and humidifies an enriched CO2 atmosphere.

        The forcing from doubling CO2 alone is nearly all achieved by the lower half of the troposphere, while little forcing occurs between 600mb and the tropopause:

        Warm and humidify the troposphere and the top half of the troposphere actually loses radiant energy more readily than for pre-industrial:

        Of course, the atmosphere transports sensible and latent heat through motion. But for the difference between the upper and lower trop, does it matter if energy is transported by convection versus radiation?

        more here.

      • Air temperatures measured at the Earth’s surface, in contrast, have risen by approximately +0.13 K per decade over the same period. The two temperature records are derived from measurements of different physical parameters, and thus are not directly comparable.

        True then; true today.

    • Well, I don’t know about that. I believe my outside thermometer near my front door gives an accurate measure of temperature for its location. If a satellite-based measure gave a different temperature measurement, I would rather believe my thermometer.

      • No Max, you need to invest in a satellite so your backyard temperature will be the best data you have. You know as well as me, without your GPS, you couldn’t even find your backyard. Satellites are just way more better.

      • Get back to us when you understand why it shouldn’t be near your front door.

      • Front door location of thermometer is convient. Of course it will be warmer than there than on a tree, but so what?

      • JCH said “You know as well as me, without your GPS, you couldn’t even find your backyard. Satellites are just way more better.”

        I am impressed with the technology. Thermometers on satellites must be highly sensitive in order to measures surface temperature. Nevertheless, I put more trust in my front-door thermometer.

        A scientist recently said satellites could I read how satellites could sen

      • Sorry about the sentence fragment in my last post. My old iMac is acting up again.

    • I have come to think that we all live in a great monstrous era of data.
      We gather mountains and oceans of it.
      What tale do you desire it to tell?
      It can magically relieve us of responsibility.
      What’s wisdom when you can plot a graph?

      There’s a great scene in the movie “Go Tell the Spartans,” where the analyst shows up and stars proudly charting battle metrics.

      Go tell the bureaucrats
      stranger passing by
      that here
      in obedience to the data
      we lie

      • Oh yes we got trouble,
        trouble with a capital ‘T’
        and that rhymes with ‘B”
        and that’s ‘Bureaucracy.’

        I have a dream and that’s
        ‘de-regulate,’ it’s not too late,
        de-regulate, de-subsidise,
        and let’s re-energise.

      • Beth, Websters defines bureaucracy as “a large group of people who are involved in running a government but who are not elected.”

        Bureaucrats should do a better job of running government than elected officials. The bureaucrats have more experience , and Americans hate their elected officials.

      • That’s why warmies hate two things above all: clouds and magma.

        How can you keep your data neat with all that messy stuff swirling and squishing about?

        – ATTC

      • beththeserf,

        Hannah Arendt considered bureaucracy to be the most tyrannical form of government, even more tyrranical than oligarchy or monarchy:

        Today we ought to add the latest and perhaps the most formidable form of such domination: bureaucracy, or the rule of an intricate system of bureaus in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly be called rule by Nobody. If, in accord with traditional political thought, we identify tyranny as government that is not held to give account for itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrranical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done.

        — HANNAH ARENDT, On Violence

        In On Violence Arendt also posits an answer as to why the scientist kings hate democracy so much:

        The answer, it seems, will depend on what we understand by power. And power, it turns out, is an instrument of rule, while rule, we are told, owes its existence to “the instinct of domination.”

        We are immediately reminded of what Sartre said about violence when we read in Jouvenel that “a man feels himself more of a man when he is imposing himself and making others the instruments of his will,” which gives him “incomparable pleasure.”

        “Power,” said Voltaire, “consists in making others act as I choose”; it is present wherever I have the chance “to assert my own will against the resistance” of others, said Max Weber, reminding us of Clausewitz’s definition of war as “an act of violence to compel the opponent to do as we wish.”

        The word, we are told by Strusz-Hupe, signifies “the power of man over man.” To go back to Jouvenel: “To command and to be obeyed: without that, there is no Power — with it no other attribute is needed for it to be… The thing without which it cannot be: that essence is command.” If the essence of power is the effectiveness of command, then there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun.

        But as Arendt goes on to point out, “there exists another tradition and another vocabulary no less old and no less time-honored.” This is the democratic tradition:

        When the Athenian city-state called its constitution an isonomy, or the Romans spoke of the civitas as their form of government, they had in mind a concept of power and law whose essence did not rely on the command-obedience relationship…

        It was to these examples that the men of the eighteenth-century revolutions turned when they ransacked the achives of antiquity and consituted a form of government, a republic, where the rule of law, resting on the power of the people, would put an end to the rule of man over man, which they thought was a “government for slaves.”

        Under conditions of representative government the people are supposed to rule those who govern them. All political institutions are manifestations and materializations of power; they petrify and decay as soon as the living power of the people ceases to uphold them. This is what Madison meant when he said “all governments rest on opinion.”

    • Steven Mosher

      The weather balloon data is horrible.
      Changing instruments.
      Incomplete records.
      Heavily adjusted.
      Just read what Steve McIntyre wrote about it.
      Or do what I did. Download the 50 – 100 sites world wide!! That might be suitable. 50-100 sites!!! To measure the entire planet.. That is what Christy is relying on.

      • Your opinion, not fact. Euan Mearns at Energy Matters is analyzing one of the four radiosonde data sets, RatPac ( about 85 global sites). Put together a site map. Fairly uniform global coverage. Including all oceans, the poles, Africa, and Siberia. The main instrument problem is cold dry humidity bias, not temperature. This is well known, so each instrument version has an empirically determined temperature calibration curve (lab data). Provided examples for several specific instruments in the climate chapter of The Arts of Truth. Further ground truthed by GPS radio occultation. I gave Singapore as an example. Nicely matched humidity lapse rates. The ‘many’ adjustments are for the instrument change step functions and bias calibrations, to remove the known differences. Very different than trying to deal with surface microsite issues, or pre buoy SST.
        The radiosonde data before about 1970 is more problematic in coverage and in quality, but during the entire satellite era is quite robust. And as Christy shows, confirms the independently derived satellite stuff. You don’t like either methods answers, so trash talk the data. But what you assert isn’t correct for purposes of estimating global temperature trends. The question is whether you knew all this and were being disingenuous, or were knee jerk reacting without sufficient knowledge of the radiosonde background story.

      • Rud its easy

        Read McIntyre on Sonds

        Or better yet. Point me to Christy’s temperature fields

        Go ahead..

        or point me to his code for version 6.

        Go ahead.

        You cant.

        85 global sites? you gotta be kidding me..

        And you assume the rest of the world can be extrapolated from them?

        pretty funny how skeptics accept extrapolation when it fits their purpose.

        But back to the open science.. Where is christy’s code? where is his temperature data? not anomalies.. I want the raw temperature fields before he creates anomalies..

        RSS has them. code too.

      • Are you telling me Cristy and Spencer are hiding data and code?

        If so, why would they do that?

      • richardswarthout


        Christy is relying on limited high quality balloon data and comparing that data only to satellite data for the same locations. The McIntyre analysis is global; Christy’s is limited to selected grids intended only to correlate balloon and satellite data for those grids.



      • Basically random spot checking of the satellites, not trying to deduce a global temp from the balloons. Sounds good to me.

      • “Christy is relying on limited high quality balloon data and comparing that data only to satellite data for the same locations.”

        yes And so You cant draw ANY conclusion about how it performs OUTSIDE that sample.

        You can Assume that it performs the same.

        SHOW ME HIS version 6 code?

        You cant.

        You havent red teamed Christy. You just like his answer.

        I will ask a simple question.

        Look at green land. Look at the radiosond sites

        See where all the sites are?

        Now tell me how well UAH predicts the termperature of greenland over the ice.. not on the coast.. but over the ice..

        this will be fun.

      • richardswarthout


        “yes And so You cant draw ANY conclusion about how it performs OUTSIDE that sample…You can Assume that it performs the same.”

        Christy has no interest in temperatures outside the sample; he need only correlate two types of temperature data and can do this with a limited number of grids.

        Here is a related analysis by Christy:


      • Wojick Logic

        ‘Basically random spot checking of the satellites, not trying to deduce a global temp from the balloons. Sounds good to me.”

        1. lets see how that applies to surface temps.
        2. We select calibrated surface stations: Gold standard by skeptic standards.
        3. Triple redundent
        4. We compare them to the “bad sites”

        5. Hypothesis: bad sites should not match gold standard


        conclusion: Gold standard sites show slightly more warming than “bad” homogenized sites. Adjustments cool the record.

      • Mosh: What you describe is not spot checking, quite the opposite, as you are merely using your questionable global averaging algorithm on subsets of your data. There is no comparison with the balloon case.

      • “Christy has no interest in temperatures outside the sample; he need only correlate two types of temperature data and can do this with a limited number of grids.”

        1.Thats funny. I can do the same thing with the surface and Satellites.

        2. No out of sample testing? Sounds like Mann’s stats.

        3. Christy doesnt publish temperature fields, so his work cannot be checked.

        Go ahead.. get me those temperature fields.. You cant

      • richard

        ‘the National Climatic Data
        Center [Durre et al., 2005]. To use a sonde profile to
        simulate LT, we required that it reach at least 100 hPa. To
        include a station, we required that it have at least 180 of the
        possible 312 months of data”

        Hilarious!!! just over half the data Missing !!!

        That’s the kinda data I want to check against.


      • richard

        2007? really?
        you realize that the UAH data has been changed dramatically since that version?


        try again.

        Maybe you skeptics could start your red team work on UAH.

        you know prove your credibility by finding all the adjustments, caveats, uncertainties, assumptions,

        go ahead.

        Start by looking for the temperature data from UAH.

      • richardswarthout


        I realize that data used in the 2007 paper is out of date, and referenced it only to show the method used by Christy for correlating the data from two different types of temperature devices; he used data from both types but from common grids and common times-of-day. Using the method would surely be a poor method for recording global surface temperatures, but is a good method for correlating balloon and satellite data. Finding a close correlation can support the use of satellite data. Note: In the referenced paper Christy recognizes the RSS-UAH disconnect and makes some adjustments, however it shows that McIntyre’s criticism does not apply here, in this limited application of balloon data.


      • I note that Mosher did not respond to my reply to him, as usual.

      • That isn’t what is going on though. The satellite data is checked against radio sondes here and there to show that the readings in between aren’t far off. I think you are being dishonest Mosher and I think you know it.

        You are a smart guy, why are you doing this?

      • This is what the UAH and RSS were telling us about the last 18 years up to as recently as 2015. So much for satellites.

      • Wow, Jim D, that is arguably the stupidest plot of all time! As I have explained to you at least ten times, probably more, the only temperature increase in the UAH record occurs as a step function coincident with the super El Nino.

        So yes there is a few tenths of a degree of warming in the record, all at once, but the silly trend line you choose to show is, well, just silly. Or is it deliberately deceptive? Given that this has been pointed out to you repeatedly I am forced to think the latter.

      • DW, skeptics are always talking about the 18-year trend and satellites, but when I show it, you don’t like it. Question the trends and satellites, not me. Don’t ask me why these lines are so different. I am just showing you what all the fuss is about. I would like someone to explain this divergence as much as you would.

      • Jim D, that is because there is no such trend, as I have explained repeatedly. The minor UAH warming occurs in a single step, coincident with the giant ENSO. There is no warming trend in the data, such as your goofy graphic suggests, none. Do you not understand the mathematical difference between a step and a trend? Apparently.

  11. Oliver K. Manuel

    Regretfully both the AGW scare and the Paris agreement have nothing to do with Earth’s climate.

    Both seek totalitarian, one-world control of society by reducing the sovereignty of national governments.

  12. Meanwhile, the climate will continue respond to changes in solar activity and multi-decadal oscillations and nature will continue to have the last word.

  13. Meanwhile… in the real world, Que frio!

    CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — The coldest weather in 60 years [lowest recorded since 1951] blanketed the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez with snow Wednesday, forcing dozens of people into shelters and businesses to close… ~NBC

  14. Check out what the camera operator thought about Mr Bera’s spiel:

  15. More wind-torn, snow tormented climate may clear our 21st century vision.

  16. Paris climate promise: a bad deal for America?

    Depends on the return on the cost.

  17. Not happy about hard earned tax dollars leaving the country to bankroll developing world dictators.

  18. Quadrant Online 26/05/15 on Joel Kotkin’s new book
    ‘The New Class Conflict,’ Kotkin describes the coalition
    that supports Obama as a ‘clerisy’ of post graduate
    educated leaders of America’s symbolic industries,
    media, government and University sector

    ‘They are anti-growth. They revile manufacturing and
    extraction industries. Coal is a demon, one of many.
    Their dreams are neo-medieval. They are the intellectual
    children of Lewis Mumford. In their heads are neo-pastoral
    fantasies of windmills and hand power. All around them are
    the demons of modernity. Yet they want all the benefits of
    modernity. They rack up frequent-flyer points and pay an
    indulgence to offset their generation of carbon dioxide:
    poor old carbon dioxide, yet another modern demon that
    haunts their fervid medieval imaginations. The clerisy work
    in offices; thus office industries are fine. If your office has
    a green waste bin, you are noble. The neo-medieval
    fantasy is that office industries don’t need energy and
    manufacturing industries. The real industry is regulation.
    Work that takes extra bureaucratic steps is good. Its
    rationale is morality. All things, from power generation
    to education, are justified by regulation. Regulation is the
    sanctification of modern life. If something is accredited it
    is good. If it requires accreditation then it needs auditors,
    assessors and inspectors.’

  19. Christy’s testimony is what his testimony always is.

    “The issue here is the rate of warming of the bulk atmosphere, i.e.,
    the trend. This metric tells us how rapidly heat is accumulating in the atmosphere – the fundamental metric of global warming.”

    Dr. Christy continues presenting this viewpoint, which certainly is NOT the main metric of our CO2 emissions. Ocean heat content or TOA energy balance would be far more representative, yet he picks the middle troposphere?

    But he also says this: “Regarding the detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect, the troposphere, as indicated by models, happens to be the atmospheric region that will respond the most, i.e. warm the
    fastest, and thus, in my view, is a metric that provides a better way to detect human influence on the climate”

    Well, the enhanced greenhouse effect in the atmosphere has been measured directly.

    And another part of enhanced greenhouse, as opposed to insolation change or other forcings, is the predicted greater impact of warming in the Arctic as opposed to the total globe, or the tropics, or the overall Northern Hemisphere. That’s clear in tropospheric measurements, too.

    Go to the RSS tool here, select TMT in the left, then change the regions in the drop-down on the right.

    Lower stratospheric cooling is also a prediction, and also measured. Select TLS in the above tool.

    It’s all consistent with enhanced greenhouse effect.

    I’m not surprised that Smith constantly leaps for (some) satellite data, and doesn’t seem to remember that Carl Mears could testify, too.

    Funniest line? When describing the recent Karl paper and revised data sets (documented in peer-reviewed literature, unlike UAH 6) he says:

    “So the fact temperature varies by depth is an issue to tackle before the possibility of constructing a systematic dataset may be attempted.”

    Said the man who creates “temperatures” from microwave detectors staring down through the cooling stratosphere and the warming troposphere.

  20. I am not the deciding vote on any of this debate as frankly, I have not been asked.

    I am not a visionary that can foretell the future.

    I am not imbued with wisdom from my travails.

    I am, however, a grandfather who does care what a future might look like for my grandchildren and those of other grandparents.

    The burden of debt colors whatever decision making that follows; and, such debt must be carried by anyone who follows those who indebt their spawn, and in particular, those who afterwards need to live under such a clouded future.

    I have lived under the umbrella of an ideology; the Scottish Enlightenment.

    “They held to an optimistic belief in the ability of humanity to effect changes for the better in society and nature, guided only by reason.” (wiki)

    So, I am unwilling to recuse myself from this discussion. I am unwilling to give up on the point that my voice will not be heard. I reject the whims of a tyrant, a tyrant although freely elected who non-the-less behaves as a tyrant from an era long ago past.

    “The binding aspects of the Paris Agreement would require implementing legislation and regulation potentially affecting every sector of the U.S. economy.”

    It is here, at the legislation and regulation arena that any nay-sayers will have to act; and, I am hoping they do. Decisions: are we acting in our own best interests? should be addressed as other countries will certainly do so. Self interest guided only by reason should prevail.

  21. David L. Hagen

    Fudging Initialization Disqualifies GCM’s
    Michael Wallace exposes how: Initialization Practices Disqualify UN IPCC Global Circulation Models from Use for Most Climate Change Forecast Purposes
    He exposes how much worse GCM’s actually are when only original initialization is allowed and must be clearly explained with the data posted.

    Back to restoring the scientific method. We need the Red Teams to kick the tires and find out what is really happening/model actual climate.

  22. Talking of temperatures, Christy will also have mentioned, or perhaps he forgot, that the models have matched the nearly 0.9 C surface temperature rise since 1950. If he didn’t mention this, his talk was incomplete and selective, and not a good overview of this subject at all.

  23. I need only point out that China, India and the OPEC nations all agreed to this accord. This should be sufficient to put to rest any idea that this agreement necessitates any change in petrochemicals worldwide.

    I had predicted that and agreement would be reached that either had lofty targets with lax enforcement or minimal target with strong enforcement. I was wrong: it had no targets and no enforcement.

    But had to avoid the specter of Copenhagen so they agreed there is a problem and agreed to talk about it some more in a few years. This gave the activists on one side something to grab onto.

    Other than that, the whole COP21 was a joke. I am shocked – but not surprised – that a big deal is being made out of it by both sides. One side got a policy announcement, which is a hollow victory because there isn’t an agreed target, mechanism, enforcement, etc.

    I don’t see benefit to fighting over this topic. Except for politicians, who do this for a living.

  24. Did Smith quantify the so-called “financial hardships” of electricity prices? The average US household electricity bill is less than $4 per day.
    For someone even earning $10/hr, this is only 5% of their daily pay. Incremental increases in this will have far less impact than, for example, doubling gasoline prices, and they have already been through cycles of that size. This is typical fearmongering from the Republicans, which falls apart when you look at actual numbers. When they say things will skyrocket, take it with a pinch of salt and check their numbers for yourself. If we’ve learned anything about the Republicans, it is not to trust their words which are only said for political effect, not for information.

    • Odd thing when you mix trust and numbers, your 5% is actually 7% of gross weekly pay for a 40 hour work week and about 11% of after tax and obummercare. So you underestimated your cost by about 50%, no big deal.

      oh wait! I wonder how you did on your impact estimate? If you overestimate by impact 50% and underestimate cost by 50% you have a fairly typical bureaucratic screw up, it costs twice as much and does half what is advertised.

      • 8x$10 = $80. $4/$80 = 5%. Gross income is allocated between spending and saving. Taxes and healthcare are spending. Taking them out and recalculating the percentages is an exercise in self-deception. We spend money on police and fire and schools and grunts and sailors and parks, etc., and we spend money on people who have babies or a health catastrophe, whether they are insured or not. Because we would be monsters if we did not.

      • JCH, “8x$10 = $80. $4/$80 = 5%. Gross income is allocated between spending and saving.”

        There are 7 days in a week so you seem to be advocating a 56 hour work week while the disgruntled masses are pushing for a 33 hour work week with 30 days vacation a year plus maternal leave.

        Where would you like your economic dunce cap shipped?

      • Lol. Okay, agreed. You’re wrong on taking out taxes and healthcare.

      • JCH, “You’re wrong on taking out taxes and healthcare.”

        Not really, I would have done better going with disposable income which is really the issue with purchasing power parity (that seems to be changing to parody btw) to estimate real impact.

        Interestingly with the Democratic Socialist movement, Utopia like Finland and Denmark keep cropping up. Personal debt in Denmark is over 300% of “disposable” income and since the Danes have that wonderful Scandinavian habit of saving 10% of gross for a rainy day there is a real funny apples and oranges comparison there. The US wannabe socialists seem to forget that work and savings are part of a workers society.

      • richardswarthout


        Shouldn’t the homeowner electricity cost also include the additional costs of consumer goods, passed on by manufactures? In my youth I was a field engineer for a company that sold high power D.C. power supplies used to electropaint car and truck bodies; when the body was dipped into the paint vat the electricity meter spun like a wheel at 60 mph.


    • Like I said, is Smith really worried about low-income households? What is his position on whether the minimum wage should at least take people out of the poverty level? I expect he doesn’t really care but wants to scare middle class people into thinking they won’t be able to afford their electricity bills any more. It only works with people who don’t check the numbers, which is a fair bet for the majority of Republican voters. Those who do know the numbers, see what he is doing and give a wink. Anything for more voters, even lying, is fine by them. It’s just their modus operandi.

    • Renewables Top Fossil Fuels as Biggest Source of New U.S.

      Renewable energy was the biggest source of new power added to U.S. electrical grids last year as falling prices and government incentives made wind and solar increasingly viable alternatives to fossil fuels.

      Developers installed 16 gigawatts of clean energy in 2015, or 68 percent of all new capacity, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in its Sustainable Energy in America Factbook released Thursday. That was the second straight year that clean power eclipsed fossil fuels.

      The biggest growth came from wind farms, with 8.5 gigawatts of new turbines installed as developers sought to take advantage of a federal tax credit that was due to expire at the end of 2016; Congress extended it in December.

      “This is a long-term trend,” said Colleen Regan, a New Energy Finance analyst who follows North American power markets. “System costs have really come down for renewables, which makes the case for installing them a lot stronger.”


      The reality, however, looks quite different from the spin.

  25. Are witnesses primed with committee member’s questions prior to the hearings?

    I ask because Dr. Steer’s interactions with committee members often appeared to be rehearsed. This was particularly true with Elizabeth Esty’s Q & A, wherein Steer gushed over Connecticut’s “clean energy”-fueled economic upturn—something I haven’t been able to substantiate online.

  26. In reading comments and links here at CE on “what the U.S. is on the hook for financially”, I read a lot of negative accusations and conspiracy theories .

    I just don’t see any specifics from the CE Denizens’ claims on this so-called international Green Fund.

    Here are some specifics which I have seen:

    1. This so called Green Fund is divided into two equal categories: 50% for Adaptation and 50% for Mitigation.

    Adaptation So Paris is a bad deal because it proposes funding building/creating infrastructure in developing countries (e.g., flooding, droughts)? Much of these actions are what Bjorn Lomborg is talking about.

    Mitigation A major part of the Green Fund concept is making financing resources available to energy projects in developing countries.

    I do see specifics on this (not mentioned by CE Denizens). (1) Re-Authorization of the U.S. export/import Bank that plays a critical role in financing U.S. Nuclear technology/projects overseas; (2) A change (led by the U.S.) in OECD energy project funding to developing countries which now includes super-ultra critical coal units.

    Creating incentives to finance the export of U.S. high-tech technology projects (like the Chinese do) is a bad deal?. This is the type of win/win stuff that Jon Huntsman was talking about.

    • Aren’t the Chinese creating incentives to export U.S. high-technology projects back to the U.S.?

    • It is the $100 billion a year, claimed to be owed to the developing countries, that is bad. In fact it is absurd.

      • And a link to the Specifics of “claimed to be owed” — is where??????????

      • Stephen: No specifics that I know of, just $100 billion a year beginning in 2020. I have not paid much attention to this claim since it is absurd. You might look at the Copenhagen follow up. There was discussion leading up to Paris that it should be as much as $400 billion a year, even more absurd.

  27. Most people here at CE just come to fight — never trying to find common ground.

    CE Denizens need to be following what is going on right now in the U.S. Senate of Red & Blue types working together:

    • There is a great deal of pro-nuclear sentiment here on CE. Only some of the Greens oppose it. But there is no common ground to be found. People do not come here to fight. They come here to defend their beliefs. This is a very serious debate.

      • Could Judith tells us what would befall a Georgia Tech doctoral candidate whose atmospheric science thesis defense relied unpon a Dailly Caller article citing another Daily Caller article by the same author, that relied in turn on an unpublished AGU poster paper ?

        Heaven help the Republic if Judy thinks this sort of infantile rhodomontade is going to save the nation’s energy policy from regulatory subjugation in the aftermath of COP 21.

      • Rhodomontade…didn’t the Japanese make a movie about him?

        Seriously, thanks for the vocabulary expansion.

      • I’m surpised Godzilla didn’t sign Art Robinson’s Moranogon, Son of Oregon Petition

      • Perhaps Godzilla was the one who faked Charles Darwin’s signature on the Oregon thing. After all, Darwin’s being posthumously signed up to memberships in so many odd things these days –

      • Don’t you mean Moronegon?

        I would say I already knew what ‘rhodomontade’ means, but I don’t want to be boastful.

  28. Jim D: “If we’ve learned anything about the Republicans, it is not to trust their words which are only said for political effect, not for information.”

    Jim D, just to repeat what I’ve been saying for more than two years now, President Obama and the EPA already have all the legal authority they need to greatly reduce America’s carbon emissions, and to do so without needing another new word of legislation from the Congress.

    They have had this authority since 2010 when the EPA’s Section 202 Endangerment Finding for carbon was successfully defended in the courts.

    That Endangerment Finding has been on the books for five years and could have been used as the starting point for developing a broadly-applied carbon reduction framework operating under Section 108 of the Clean Air Act.

    Once again, and for the umpteenth time, this is how it would be done:

    1) The President issues an Executive Order which declares a carbon pollution emergency and which directs that all agencies of the Executive Branch cooperate with the EPA in developing an across-the-board carbon reduction framework.

    2) The President petitions the EPA to issue a Section 108 Endangerment Finding for carbon pollution, using the previously published Section 202 finding as the model.

    3) Working under Section 108 provisions, the EPA sets a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon pollution, taking into account the fact that CO2 is a well-mixed gas on a worldwide scale.

    4) The EPA develops a broad-scope Section 108 carbon pollution reduction plan which applies to all classes of carbon emissions from all of America’s emission sources, a plan which fairly and equitably distributes the burdens of regulatory compliance.

    5) The Section 108 regulatory framework places direct constraints on America’s carbon emissions, and it includes a system of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon.

    6) The EPA works with the state governments to enforce the Section 108 carbon reduction plan, and creates a strong incentive for gaining the cooperation of the state governments by assigning all revenues collected from carbon pollution fines to the states.

    When it comes to initiating truly serious action against America’s carbon emissions, President Obama and the EPA Administrator have been sitting on their hands for half a decade. For the last five years, they’ve had all the authority they need to enforce strict across-the-board reductions in America’s carbon emissions, but they haven’t used their authority.

    Jim D, is it possible that President Obama’s words about the need to address climate change are being spoken merely for political effect?

    • Beta Blocker,

      Is it true that even Obama realizes that climate change is a BS issue?

      • Mark, the President’s lack of effective action in pursuing the kind of aggressive, broad-scope carbon emission reduction program which is in his power to implement as Chief Executive, and which would be vital and necessary for achieving his stated goal of an 80% reduction in America’s carbon emissions by 2035, is certainly an indication of something.

        But what is that something?

        If the President has any real commitment to his stated position on climate change, he should issue the Executive Order declaring a carbon pollution emergency prior to the November 2016 election and then challenge his potential successors to explain just what they will be doing themselves to implement the provisions of his order, once they are in office and are in control of the nation’s climate change policies.

      • So given his inaction, this shows he does not really believe what he says about climate change. Clearly when he believes in what he says (Iran) he will pull out all the stops to get what he wants.

      • Mark, the question of what motivates climate change activists goes well beyond President Obama himself and is also properly raised concerning the true motivations of the environmental activist NGO’s.

        To my knowledge, none of the environmental NGO’s have sued the EPA over its lack of aggressive action in pursuing a broad-scope comprehensive plan for regulating all sources of America’s carbon emissions, not just those of the electric utility industry..

        Section 108 of the Clean Air Act offers a sound legal basis for taking direct regulatory action against all GHG emissions, and the prior declaration of a carbon pollution emergency by the president would instantly resolve any remaining questions as to its legal applicability.

        The NGO’s certainly have all the in-house legal expertise needed to determine how Section 108 could be utilized to its maximum possible effectiveness, and even to design an EPA-administered regulatory framework for carbon which could be made bulletproof against the threat of lawsuits.

        But the NGO’s haven’t gone nearly as far as they could go in pushing direct regulation of carbon emissions, something which the Clean Air Act not only allows but also encourages, given that an Endangerment Finding for carbon has been successfully published.

        Has anyone asked Gina McCarthy why the EPA isn’t pursuing a Section 108 regulatory framework for carbon?

        Has anyone asked Bill McKibben why isn’t suing the EPA to force its adoption of a Section 108 anti-carbon program? Where are the NRDC’s lawyers and the Sierra Club’s lawyers? Where is Attorney General Schneiderman?

        Are they all too busy trashing the Republicans to file the kinds of lawsuits that could force the EPA to fulfill its clear responsibility under current environmental law?

    • Beta, a section 108 NAAQs would never work, which is why EPA has never tried to use it. You cannot set a US NAAQS for something that is beyond US control, as the global CO2 concentration is. EPA is not that stupid.

    • David Springer

      @Beta Blocker

      I heard three reasons for EPA discrimination in carbon emitters i.e. going after coal burning power plants and giving a free pass to everything else.

      1) not enough resources to craft laws against all classes of emitters
      2) not enough resources to enforce laws against all classes of emitters
      3) too disruptive of the economy to burden all classes of emitters

      So instead they (almost certainly illegally) discriminate and go after just the low hanging fruit that all the environmentalist whacko haters love to hate – coal burning power plants.

      The whole thing of course is utter bullschit. CO2 is a well mixed gas and the United States’ emission reductions under the Clean Power Plan has absolutely no support for that action having any significant beneficial effect on global average temperature, ocean acidification, or anything else. It’s not like particulate emissions of soot, nitrogen, and sulfur compounds from coal combustion which have an immediate and measurable impact on a regional basis. CO2 might arguably be classed as a pollutant but actions that impose financial burdens on the US economy without any beneficial effect other than placating environmentalist m0r0ns is an asinine thing to do on the face of it.

    • David Wojick and David Springer, if the true objective is to greatly reduce America’s carbon emissions over the next thirty-five years — not just to play a climate action blame game with the Republicans — then Section 108’s apparent weaknesses are actually its greatest strengths.

      This is especially so in using Section 108 to set a NAAQS for carbon dioxide as one key element of a broadly-applied anti-carbon program.

      There could be no more visible evidence of a US commitment to reducing its own carbon footprint in support of a worldwide effort against climate change than by setting a NAAQS for GHG’s which requires very substantial international cooperation for it to be achieved.

      The goal of achieving an 80% reduction in America’s carbon emissions in support of a worldwide climate action agenda is completely impossible unless the Federal Government takes bold action to restrict the supply and availability of all carbon fuels and to greatly increase their price.

      Transforming the externalized costs of a damaged environment into real costs which all energy consumers must see every day in their energy bills is the only practical means of encouraging environmentally-responsible behavior in personal and economic decision making.

      In no other way could the necessary incentives be established for promoting the President’s steep emission reduction targets.

      Rather than attempt to finely regulate every possible source of carbon emissions, the most simple and effective way to get the job done is to create a regulatory framework which establishes fairly-distributed carbon reduction targets among the states and which then supplies each state with a toolbox of options they can pursue in achieving their assigned reductions.

      Most prominent by far among those options would be the ability to levy carbon pollution fines which are the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon. Remember that the US Supreme Court has ruled that the fines being assessed for not buying health insurance under provisions of the Affordable Care Act is legal because it is in reality a tax being imposed through national health insurance legislation.

      Using Section 108 of the Clean Air Act to impose strong economic disincentives against the continued use of carbon fuels could be thought of as ‘Obamacare for the environment.’

      And the beauty of it all is that no additional legislation is needed to fully enable this kind of carbon reduction strategy. If competent legal talent with the properly relevant past experience in regulatory rulemaking is brought to bear against the problem, there is no reason to believe that a broad-scope anti-carbon program administered by a cooperative agreement among the EPA and the state government’s couldn’t legally and constitutionally achieve President Obama’s stated goal of a 28% reduction in America’s GHG emissions by 2025, a 32% reduction by 2030, and an 80% reduction by 2035.

      • Beta

        How do we conclude whether the climate is changing in a positive or a negative manner. What are the key “climate characteristics” of a specific region? These characteristics vary greatly in different places.

        Is the “climate” better or worse in the USA (or the world) now than it was in the past? What are the agreed upon metrics to measure the trend?

        Those who fear AGW want to spend very limited resources to reduce CO2, but they seem to have no clue as to whether that will have a positive or negative impact. Seems like hysteria and not science.

      • Beta, I have no idea what you mean by the true objective. This is a major political and scientific dispute. Thus there is no true objective. There are a variety of objectives, including no CO2 regulation at all (which is my objective, as it happens). I imagine your objective is quite different but none is the true objective.

        I am pretty sure that setting a CO2 NAAQS would never stand the legal challenges, because you cannot require that people meet a standard that is beyond their control. NAAQS are specifically designed for local pollution. This is precisely what people are referring to when they say the CAA is not designed for CO2 regulation, which explains EPA’s strange approaches.

      • Rob Starkey, I will leave it to Jim D and Joseph and others of their persuasion to make a detailed case that GHG emissions do have an overall negative impact in most locations in most geographic regions of the United States, all things considered.

        I don’t get into the details of that particular debate because I am much more interested in the question of whether there exists a legal, constitutional pathway which could allow America’s climate activists to achieve the highly ambitious carbon reduction targets they seek without requiring new legislation from the US Congress.

        Let’s all recognize that no common ground on the science will ever be found among hard-core climate activists and hard-core climate skeptics. Nor will there ever be a general public consensus concerning what to do about ever-rising GHG emissions, even if public consensus could be gained on the science.

        If climate activists want aggressive action to be taken in reducing America’s GHG emissions, they themselves must take bold steps towards pursuing that goal by pushing existing environmental law and existing regulatory process to its maximum possible effectiveness.

        The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, even if it could be successfully defended in the courts, won’t by itself get climate activists nearly as far as is necessary to reach their long-term goal of an 80% reduction in America’s carbon emissions.

        Moreover, the Clean Power Plan is a regulatory approach which is almost guaranteed to fail in that it singles out just one industry as the target for achieving the bulk of our near-term GHG reduction targets, despite the fact that both fixed and mobile sources of GHG emissions are everywhere ubiquitous throughout the American economy.

        David Wojick, you say that the Clean Air Act wasn’t designed to regulate CO2 emissions.

        My view is that enough of a legal foundation is currently present inside of the act to enable aggressive regulation of all of America’s GHG emissions, not just those of the electric utility industry. Concerning the mechanics of the CAA regulatory framework, I focus on Section 108 because it could be directly invoked via a prior declaration by President Obama of a carbon pollution emergency.

        But it doesn’t have to be just Section 108 of the act. Sections 108, 111, and 202 might be applied in a coordinated way so as to cover all the legal bases needed to create a thoroughly comprehensive legal framework for regulating all of America’s GHG emissions.

        The key assumption here is that the states can be enlisted to do the day-to-day work of enforcing the emission reduction targets, driven by the exceedingly powerful incentive that huge increases in state government revenue are possible if they are allowed to collect carbon pollution fines which are the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon.

      • Juggernaut design specifications.