The Week That Was (Nov 29, 2008) brought to you by SEPP



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Quote of the Week:

We note: This requires a quantifiable and measurable ‘cause and effect’ determination” [ANPR p.30-31].  But EPA already appears to presume a causal effect of anthropogenic CO2 (see ANPR at 186 to 194):

“The scientific record shows there is compelling and robust evidence that observed climate change can be attributed to the heating effect caused by global anthropogenic GHG emissions. The evidence goes beyond increases in global average temperature to include observed changes in precipitation patterns, sea level rise, extreme hot and cold days, sea ice, glaciers, ecosystem functioning and wildlife patterns” [emphasis added].

This erroneous claim is highly prejudicial and improper at this stage of rule making.  EPA “as a matter of law” must fairly consider the best available science, which includes compelling scientific evidence showing that CO2 is not a significant (i.e., as compared to natural factors) contributor to global warming. [See NIPCC report  “Nature – Not Human Activity – Rules the Climate” ]


EPA’s ANPR "is nothing less than the most costly, complicated, and unworkable regulatory scheme ever proposed," Heritage Foundation expert Ben Lieberman argues in a new analysis.  "Virtually every concern heightened by the economic downturn, especially job losses, would be exacerbated under" the proposed rules.  [For details on the consequences of the EPA plan, see  ITEM #2 below] ]
It is worrisome that President-elect Obama addressed a Governors’ global warming summit as follows: "Few challenges facing America  and the world are more urgent than combatting climate change," he says in the video. "The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising. Coastlines are shrinking. Weve seen record drought, spreading famine, and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.” He repeated his campaign promise to reduce climate-altering carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by 2050 and invest $150 billion in new energy-saving technologies

SEPP Science Editorial #13 (11/29/08)

The Fingerprint Controversy -- Part-4

We continue the saga of the paper of Santer+16 co-authors [S17 in Int’l J Clim 2008].  You recall from recent TWTW newsletters at that it attacks the findings of Douglass, Christy, Pearson, and Singer [DCPS in IJC 2007] as well as of the NIPCC report  “Nature – Not Human Activity – Rules the Climate”   NIPCC (see figures 6, 7, 8, and 9) demonstrates the disparity between modeled and observed fingerprints.  Please note that all NIPCC figures are taken from the (April 2006) CCSP-SAP-1.1 report <>  (of which Santer was a lead author).


S17 now claim that the observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere are “consistent” with those calculated from greenhouse (GH) models.  Their claim is based on two assertions:  The observations (or more properly, the analyses of the radiosonde data) have changed drastically just in the past two years since the CCSP report was published.  And also -- the uncertainties of both observed and modeled trends are now found to be so large as to produce an overlap , i.e. there is no longer a disagreement.


S17 make much of the effects of auto-correlation in increasing the “standard error” of the observed trends.  But in the final anlysis, their structural uncertainty far exceeds the statistical value.  In trying to find the uncertainty of the model trends, S17 show that they really don’t know how to “average” the results of models of different quality.  They finally resort to displaying (in their Fig 6) what amounts to the “range” of trend values (i.e., from the lowest to the highest).  But “range” is not a valid statistical measure (although incorrectly used by Wigley in the CCSP Executive Summary) since it gives undue weight to “outliers.”  Paradoxically, the more models one averages, the wider the “range” – but the smaller the dispersion of a Gaussian (normal) distribution.


No need to comment further, except I just cannot resist pointing to page 134 of the CCSP-SAP-1.1 report [Karl et al 2006].  In an Appendix, Wigley, Santer, and Lanzante explain the mysteries of statistical issues regarding auto-correlation to the great unwashed in real simple words.  But as far as I can tell, they never applied it to either models or observations.

1.  The NY Times’ bad advice to Obama


3.  How Congress caused Detroit’s downfall – and how to fix it

5.  Ideology can influence scientists: “Consensus” redux




Is Britain beyond hope?  Lord Turner will set out how the Government is expected to cut greenhouse gases by 80 per cent by 2050 on 1990 levels.  Hydrogen cars, better insulated homes and solar panels will be recommended as part of costly plans being brought forward by the Government to cut carbon emissions, despite the recession.
Published online 26 November 2008 | Nature 456, 435 (2008) | doi:10.1038/456435d:
The United Kingdom raised nearly 65 million (US$82 million) last week in the first auction of carbon-emission allowances in the second phase of the European trading scheme.



Free (From) Willy
The Supreme Court rules that an endangered country trumps an endangered species.  The U.S. Navy can now defend the U.S. against an enemy attack that would really ruin the environment.


NYTimes Editorial, November 27, 2008


Environment ministers preparing for next week’s talks on global warming in Poznan, Poland, have been sounding decidedly downbeat. From Paris to Beijing, the refrain is the same: This is no time to pursue ambitious plans to stop global warming. We can’t deal with a financial crisis and reduce emissions at the same time.

     There is a very different message coming from this country. President-elect Barack Obama is arguing that there is no better time than the present to invest heavily in clean-energy technologies. Such investment, he says, would confront the threat of unchecked warming, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and help revive the American economy.

     Call it what you will: a climate policy wrapped inside an energy policy wrapped inside an economic policy. By any name, it is a radical shift from the defeatism and denial that marked President Bush’s eight years in office. If Mr. Obama follows through on his commitments, this country will at last provide the global leadership that is essential for addressing the dangers of climate change.

     In his first six months in office, Mr. Bush reneged on a campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide and walked away from the Kyoto Protocol, a modest first effort to control global greenhouse gas emissions.

Still two months from the White House, Mr. Obama has convincingly reaffirmed his main climate related promises.

     One is to impose (Congress willing) a mandatory cap on emissions aimed at reducing America’s output of greenhouses gas by 80 percent by midcentury. According to mainstream scientists, that is the minimum necessary to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and avoid the worst consequences of global warming. Mr. Obama’s second pledge is to invest $15 billion a year to build a clean economy that cuts fuel costs and creates thousands of green jobs. That includes investments in solar power, wind power, clean coal (plants capable of capturing and storing carbon emissions) and, as part of any bailout, helping Detroit retool assembly lines to build a new generation of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

     Mr. Obama has surrounded himself with like-minded people who have spent years immersed in the complexities of energy policy. His transition chief, John Podesta, was an early advocate of assisting the automakers and of finding low-carbon alternatives to gasoline. Peter Orszag, his choice to run the Office of Management and Budget (where environmental initiatives went to die during the Bush years) is an expert on cap-and-trade programs to limit industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.

     Success is not guaranteed. Last year, a far more modest climate-change bill fell well short of a simple majority in the Senate. At least on the surface, it seems counterintuitive to impose new regulations (and, in the short term anyway, higher energy costs) on a struggling economy. Mr. Obama will need all his oratorical power to make the opposite case.

     The historical landscape from Richard Nixon onward is littered with bold and unfulfilled promises to wean the nation from fossil fuels, especially imported oil. What is different now is the need to deal with the clear and present threat of global warming. What is also different is that the country has elected a president who believes that meeting the challenge of climate change is essential to the health of the planet and to America’s economic future.

by Sandy Liddy Bourne. The Heartland Institute,  October 17, 2008

Bloomberg News reported this week that if Sen. Barack Obama is elected president next month, he intends to classify carbon dioxide as a dangerous pollutant and order the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate it under the Clean Air Act.
The Bloomberg report, based on an interview with Obama energy advisor Jason Grumet, is the clearest sign yet that Obama is planning a massive expansion of government through EPA that will make a finding of "endangerment" related to CO2 emissions.
The Supreme Court last year ruled that CO2 is a pollutant, but President George W. Bush refused to regulate it because he believed setting climate policy for the nation should be the job of Congress, not a huge administrative bureaucracy.
On July 11, 2008, EPA staff released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that would declare carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant to be regulated. That draft has become the framework of the Obama plan. The draft and 800 appendices supporting it in the Federal Register run to 18,094 pages, and stacked up would rise 6 -1/2 feet.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, EPA currently issues permits to 15,000 businesses under the Clean Air Act. If carbon dioxide were declared a dangerous pollutant and regulated under the Clean Art Act, more than 1.2 million new permits would have to be issued. Among those needing permits to stay in business are:

  • 1 million mid- to large-sized buildings, including 10 percent of all churches, 20 percent of all food service businesses, half of the buildings in the lodging industry, and 92,000 health care facilities.
  • 200,000 manufacturing operations.
  • 20,000 large farms.

The mind boggles at the thought of the construction delays, economic uncertainty, paperwork burdens, and engineering expenses that would surface under this regulatory plan.
The flood of permit applications would overwhelm the resources of state EPAs that administer regulations under the Clean Air Act.
Farms would be considered a stationary source of greenhouse gas emissions just like power plants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the following agriculture operations would be required to secure permits:

  • Dairy facilities with more than 25 cows
  • Beef operations with more than 50 cattle
  • Swine operations with more than 200 hogs
  • Farms with more than 500 acres of corn

The Department of Agriculture concluded in its initial review of ANPR, "These operations simply could not bear the regulatory compliance costs that would be involved."
Obama and EPA staff want to act without the consent of Congress. The mere act of designating CO2 as a dangerous pollutant may well trigger regulatory action under other provisions of the Clean Air Act--actions that would dwarf the Kyoto Protocol in their scale, scope, and cost. Onerous restrictions on energy use would likely result from EPA action on CO2. We could end up with a program of de-industrialization without Congress ever voting on it.
At time when the financial markets are crashing and a downturn in the economy looms, this plan will end free enterprise as we know it. It is bad for American taxpayers and a blow to democracy.

The Economic Costs of the EPA's ANPR Regulations
by David Kreutzer & Karen Campbell, The Heritage Foundation, October 29, 2008
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) foreshadows new regulations of unprecedented scope, magnitude, and detail. This notice is not just bureaucratic rumination, but could very well become the law of the land. Jason Grumet, a senior environmental advisor to Barack Obama, has promised that a President Obama would "initiate those rulings." These rulings offer the possibility of regulating everything from lawn-mower efficiency to the cruising speed of supertankers. Regardless of the chosen regulatory mechanisms, the overall economic impact of enforced cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as outlined in the ANPR will be equivalent to an energy tax.
By expanding the scope of the 1990 amendment to the Clean Air Act (CAA), the EPA will severely restrict CO2 emissions, thereby severely restricting energy use. Specifically, the EPA would use the CAA to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from a vast array of sources, including motor vehicles, boats and ships, aircraft, and rebuilt heavy-duty highway engines. The regulations will lead to significant increases in energy costs. Furthermore, because the economic effect of the proposed regulations will resemble the economic effect of an energy tax, the increase in costs creates a correspondingly large loss of national income.
Using the CAA to regulate greenhouse gases will be very costly, even given the most generous assumptions. To make the best case for GHG regulation, we assume that all of the problems of meeting currently enacted federal, state, and local legislation have been overcome. Even assuming these unlikely goals are met, restricting CO2 emissions by 70 percent will damage the U.S. economy severely:

  • Cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) losses are nearly $7 trillion by 2029 (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars), according to The Heritage Foundation/Global Insight model Single-year GDP losses exceed $600 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2008 dollars).
  • Annual job losses exceed 800,000 for several years.
  • Some industries will see job losses that exceed 50 percent.

By Paul Chesser on 10.16.08


The Society of Environmental Journalists conducts its annual conference this week in Roanoke, Va., and the best thing that can be said about it is that this bunch won't be on the beat somewhere trying to report something -- especially about global warming.


But then again these journalists couldn't call it that since the planet's mean surface temperature has not increased over the last eleven years. Instead they've adopted the catchall identifier used by their fellow alarmism activists: "climate change." It's all over SEJ's web page for members, which they call "A guide to the information and disinformation." This is allegedly where they tell their members how to do a fair and balanced job.


Timothy Wheeler, president of SEJ and a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, not long ago accused me of slandering his organization's members because I called them objectivity-challenged. His defense:

There is no ideological litmus test to join SEJ; our members are varied and independent. Your allegation that SEJ members do unbalanced reporting links to the climate reporting guide posted on our Web site at That guide does advise reporters to use care in evaluating skeptics' claims, and does discuss funding of some.

However, if you care to look further, you will see that we also advise reporters to beware of hype and exaggeration from environmental groups, and to use similar care. And we include a link to, which any reporter so inclined can use to track the funding of environmental groups and others.

I decided to accept Wheeler's challenge and stroll through SEJ's online guide to climate change reporting and see if it aligns with his assertions. Won't you join me?


SEJ's "simple introductions" section seems a good place to start. One of the half-dozen resources it cites is the "Rough Guide to Climate Change," written by Robert Henson. SEJ says Henson has "worked hard [I assume it saw the sweat on his brow] to produce a complete, unbiased and understandable approach to the subject."


But if you click on its link to this resource, the advice is more "rough" than unbiased -- toward humans, at least. "Climate change is a serious threat to the ecosystems that humans rely upon," the Rough Guide website says, "and air travel is the fastest-growing contributor to the problem." Readers are therefore urged to buy carbon offsets through Rough Guide's business partner, "Climate Care," which it admits is a "carbon offsets scheme." Nothing inspires confidence in balanced journalism like admonitions to buy sponsors' products, does it?

THE NEXT EXHIBIT worthy of our attention is SEJ's assertion that the 2001 report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is "the Bible on climate science." If true, knowing the mainstream media's understanding of religion, then that would make it more of a Bible than the Bible itself. In that light, we can compare statements of certainty from God's Word such as Jesus' claim that "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" to hedging such as this from the IPCC report:

Ideally, internal climate variability would be estimated from instrumental observations, but a number of problems make this difficult. The instrumental record is short relative to the 30 to 50 year time-scales that are of interest for detection and attribution of climate change, particularly for variables in the free atmosphere.…the accuracy of this record is limited by incomplete knowledge of the forcings and by the accuracy of the climate model used to estimate the response.

Well, if the "Bible on climate science" said it, then I believe it, and that settles it!


Let's sample one more resource from SEJ's online authority for global warming reporters. How about the cage match between crisis believers and the naysayers? Well, SEJ identifies the alarm-sounders innocuously as "Environmentalist Groups," while they call their opponents "Skeptics and Contrarians." Sort of like the popular kids versus the geeks and freaks. SEJ also notes financial and political affiliations of the few climate dissenters they list, but fails to do so in descriptions of environmentalist groups, who are well funded by large foundations with left-wing socialist agendas.


Oh, SEJ does offer a offer a disclaimer about fully trusting these eco-groups, here in part:

Some groups do a better job than others in acknowledging there are still uncertainties about some of the science, but many -- in the interests of prompting action -- tend to stress only the most extreme outcomes [emphasis mine] among the range of possible impacts.

This sounds familiar to me...oh yes, I remember where I've seen this practice before -- in SEJ President Wheeler's last article I read in the Baltimore Sun, where he led with this:

Look for balmier winters and blistering summers in the decades to come. Enjoy the colorful fall foliage in Western Maryland -- while you can. And unless circumstances change, prepare to see a different mix of plants, trees and birds by the end of the century, worsening dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay, and for the state that some call "America in miniature" to get dramatically smaller as rising waters push the shoreline inland. So says a group of scientists who have compiled the first comprehensive assessment of how Maryland could be altered by global climate change….

Selling carbon offset schemes, promoting enviro-Bibles, and stressing extreme outcomes: How could I ever question the professionalism of the Society of Environmental Journalists and their leader? Take your time in Roanoke, comrades -- no need to hurry back.


Paul Chesser is director of Climate Strategies Watch, a free-market, limited-government project that assesses global warming commissions in the states.