Thursday, April 20, 2017
For the first time in the recent past, human-caused climate change has rerouted an entire river (?)
That old apostle of Warmism, Chris Mooney, makes a muckle out of a mickle below. Glaciers advance and retreat all the time. Where is the proof that this retreat is caused by global warming? There is none. It's all just the usual theory and modelling
A team of scientists have documented what they're describing as the first case of large-scale river reorganisation as a result of human-caused climate change.
They found that in mid-2016, the retreat of a very large glacier in Canada's Yukon territory led to the rerouting of its vast stream of meltwater from one river system to another - cutting down flow to the Yukon's largest lake, and channelling freshwater to the Pacific Ocean south of Alaska, rather than to the Bering Sea.
The researchers dubbed the reorganisation an act of "rapid river piracy," saying that such events had often occurred in the Earth's geologic past, but never before, to their knowledge, as a sudden present-day event. They also called it "geologically instantaneous."
The process that would ordinarily take thousands of years - or more - happened in just a few months in 2016.
The scientists had been to the edge of the Kaskawulsh glacier in 2013. Then the Slims River was "swift, cold and deep" and flowing fast enough that it could be dangerous to wade through, lead study author Daniel Shugar of the University of Washington, said. They returned last year to find the river shallow and as still as a lake, while the Alsek, was deeper and flowing faster.
Most of the water gushing from the large glacier last year suddenly switched from one river to another.
That changed the Slims River from a three-metres deep, raging river to something so shallow that it barely was above a scientist's high top sneakers at midstream.
The river wasn't what we had seen a few years ago. It was a faded version of its former self," said Shugar of the Slims River, which lost much of its flow due to the glacial change. "It was barely flowing at all. Literally, every day, we could see the water level dropping, we could see sandbars popping out in the river."
The study was published in Nature Geoscience. Shugar conducted the study with researchers from six different Canadian and US universities.
The precipitating event for all of this happened in summer 2016, when meltwater from the retreating Kaskawulsh glacier burst through a channel of ice, suddenly draining a glacial lake that had fed Slims river and directing waters into a different river that ultimately heads south toward the Gulf of Alaska. Previously, these waters had ultimately fed into the vast Yukon river, which empties on Alaska's west coast.
The researchers found only a minuscule probability that the retreat of Kaskawulsh glacier - which retracted by nearly half a mile from 1956 to 2007 - could have occurred in what they called a "constant climate." They therefore inferred that the events in question could be attributed to human-caused climate change.
The beneficiary of the change, in hydrologic terms, is the Alsek River, known for its whitewater rafting. It saw far higher flows than normal as a consequence - and empties eventually into the Gulf of Alaska, which should now be seeing a new infusion of freshwater.
These events have occurred in a relatively sparsely populated wilderness area, and so will not have ramifications for large human populations - but they give a sense of just how dramatic and sudden climate-linked changes can be. Similarly, recently mountain glacier changes in the Bolivian Andes have created the risk of dangerous outburst floods that could imperil communities below them.
The current study represents "a great example of a threshold response to warming over the last century-and-a-half," said Ken Tape, an Arctic ecologist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, who was not involved in the research. "The glacier has been retreating gradually, but at a threshold encountered in summer 2016, the drainage abruptly changed in a matter of weeks and completely reorganised downstream ecosystems."
Tape cautioned that "most glaciers, when they retreat, do not have downstream consequences as dramatic as in the case presented here. Flows increase or decrease commensurate with glacier mass balance, but rivers are not usually lost or gained in the process, and change is more gradual."
The Kaskawulsh glacier, at only 60 degrees north latitude, is in a relatively temperate region well below the Arctic circle, helping to make it particularly susceptible to climate change. The researchers provided measurements suggesting that just before the river reorganisation, the glacier was experiencing quite warm temperatures for the springtime, which seems to have triggered a large burst of meltwater.
Shugar said that the researchers do not expect the glacier and the river system that depends on it to flip back - rather, it has entered a new state.
"We did some preliminary estimates of what it would take for the Slims River to be reestablished," said Shugar, "and it seems unlikely to occur in the current climate."
White House Floats Excuses to Break Trump’s Promise to Cancel Paris Climate Treaty
This week, White House senior advisers will meet to discuss the future of U.S. involvement in the Paris Climate Treaty. During campaign speeches, President Trump repeatedly promised the American public that if elected, he would cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. Since the agreement was signed in December 2015, CEI has made the constitutional, political, economic, and moral case for why the United States should withdraw from it.
The Paris Climate Treaty casts a long shadow on America’s energy producers and job creators as it keeps in place a framework for promoting a regulatory assault on affordable energy and supporting the EPA as the nation’s unlawful climate legislator.
Withdrawing the United States from this treaty would put a stop to Obama’s attempted end-run around the constitutional treaty process, and ensure that elections, not U.N.-organized, political pressure campaigns, determine the direction of U.S. domestic economic and energy policy. If President Trump fails to do this, domestic and foreign opponents of Trump’s energy policies and possibly activist courts can continue to invoke this “international commitment,” and any future U.S. administration will have free rein to pick up where Obama left off.
President Obama negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement to confer a treaty-like status on his domestic climate policies—often called the “war on coal” but effectively a war on affordable energy—without actually going through the treaty process, an acknowledgement that all parties knew would doom such a pact. The ultimate aim of the agreement is to make coal, oil, and natural gas increasingly uneconomical to produce, export, and consume. Remaining a party to the Agreement thus endangers the energy price edge underpinning the U.S. manufacturing renaissance President Trump seeks to launch.
Even when Democrats held the majority in Congress, President Obama knew any proposal to adopt new international climate commitments would be dead on arrival. To avoid the Senate’s constitutional role to “advise and consent” on treaties, Obama simply claimed the agreement was not a treaty. This end run around the constitutional treaty process is unlawful and reason enough to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Failure to reverse this move, as candidate Trump promised, will entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, encouraging future executives to avoid constitutional review of unpopular treaties just by deeming them to be non-treaties.
Above and beyond the unconstitutional manner of its adoption, the Paris Climate Treaty is inherently toxic to American institutions of self-government. The agreement provides a framework for a global, political pressure machine to exist for decades. The agreement is designed to gin up diplomatic and political “blowback” not once—as would happen if Trump withdraws—but incessantly. The Agreement is designed to organize political protest and diplomatic pressure any time U.S. policymakers fail to keep Obama’s “commitments” to de-carbonize the U.S. economy, pony up billions in “climate aid” for developing countries, and make increasingly “ambitious” emission reduction promises every five years, in perpetuity.
Failure to withdraw also invites climate policy litigation, because joining the Paris Agreement tacitly affirms the preferred narrative that climate change is humanity’s greatest peril and “inaction” threatens millions of lives. A Dutch court in The Hague recently ruled that these so-called “non-binding” climate pacts are no such thing but instead affirm an obligation to impose regulations consistent with their assertions of responsibility to do so. It likely will not be the last to engage in such activism, from which we have no guarantee we are immune.
Three “arguments” have been reported in recent weeks as being preferred among White House and administration staff, none of which make any sense. Each argument represents no more than an effort to rationalize breaking President Trump's campaign promise and stay in the Paris Climate Treaty:
Avoid “diplomatic blowback” – Except that the Paris agreement actually builds this in as its “naming and shaming” means of obtaining U.S. submission every five years.
The Trump administration can just adjust our (first) promised emission reductions – This undermines the concurrent pro-Paris talking point that the United States can just ignore its promise because it's “voluntary.” The Paris agreement is no more or less enforceable or voluntary than the Kyoto treaty.
Membership in the Paris treaty offers an opportunity to argue for more carbon capture and storage (CCS) funding – this suggests we should sign the death warrant for the U.S. treaty process in exchange for the prospect of seeking a new subsidy or special interest scheme.
None of these new rhetorical inventions is an argument. Each is instead a tacit admission that there is no argument in support of breaking this very explicit campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Treaty.
Exiting the Paris Climate Agreement: Scant evidence of expected benefit
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appeared on “Fox & Friends” April 13 and said, “Paris is something we really need to look at closely, because it’s something we need to exit, in my opinion.”
Why? “It’s a bad deal for America. China and India had no obligations under the agreement until 2030, we front-loaded all of our costs, at the expense of jobs.”
That’s a good start. It should resonate well with Americans who use electricity at home or work and gas or diesel in their cars — i.e., pretty much all of us.
But if Mr. Pruitt wants to expand public support, he needs to make six other important points.
First, Bjorn Lomborg, accepting climate-change advocates’ assumptions about how much warming comes from carbon dioxide, showed in a peer-reviewed study that implementing all provisions of all signers to Paris would prevent only 0.306 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming by 2100.
What would it cost? Unofficial estimates by the United States, European Union, Mexico and China amount to $739-$757 billion per year.
Those parties account for about 80 percent of signatories’ emissions reduction pledges. Other pledges would have similar costs per unit, implying something in the range of $185-$189 billion.
All told, $924-$946 billion. Per year. Every year from 2030 to the end of the century. “And that’s if the politicians do everything right. If not, the real cost could double,” Mr. Lomborg said.
So, for $65-$132 trillion, we might — if the alarmists are right — reduce global average temperature by a third of one degree by 2100. That’s $212-$431 billion per thousandth of a degree of cooling.
Second, if carbon dioxide’s warming effect is smaller than alarmists allege, two things follow: First, there’s not as much warming ahead to fear. Second, the cooling effect of reduced emissions will be less than thought, and the cost per unit higher.
Empirical evidence is mounting that the climate models on which climate-change advocates rely overstate carbon dioxide’s warming effect.
As University of Alabama climatologist John Christy testified before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee March 29, the models call for warming of 0.389 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. But weather balloon measurements find only 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, satellite measurements 0.211 degrees Fahrenheit and re-analyses of data from major weather centers around the world 0.221 degrees Fahrenheit.
Observed warming is about one-half to three-fifths what the models predict.
It’s not just “climate skeptics” who see this. Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, in an article meant to refute “climate skeptics,” reported that global temperature has been rising at 0.072-0.144 degrees Fahrenheit per decade — one-fifth to one-third the modeled rate.
This implies two things: First, carbon-dioxide emissions will drive only one-fifth to three-fifths as much warming as the models predict. Second, implementing the Paris agreement will reduce global temperature in 2100 by only one-fifth to three-fifths what Mr. Lomborg calculated, or 0.061-0.184 degrees Fahrenheit.
That raises the cost per thousandth of a degree of warming prevented to $353 billion to $2.16 trillion.
That’s money that could instead be used to provide electricity, drinking water, food, sewage sanitation, infectious disease control, health care, improved housing, expanded industry and other services to help the world’s poor far more than an imperceptible reduction in global warming.
Third, other empirical studies give even more reason to think carbon dioxide’s warming effect is even smaller.
The calculations above assumed that all observed warming 1979-2016 was caused by rising carbon-dioxide concentration. But carbon dioxide is probably not the sole or even primary driver.
In a peer-reviewed research report last fall, “On the Existence of a ‘Tropical Hot Spot’ and the Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding,” Mr. Christy teamed up with meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo and econometrician James P. Wallace III to show that “there is no statistically valid proof that past increases in Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations have caused the officially reported rising” temperatures.
Their analysis showed that, after separating out the impacts of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, changes in solar activity, and the 1977 “Pacific Shift,” no additional warming trend occurred over the relevant period.
Consequently, no correlation remained between carbon dioxide (rapidly rising) and global temperature trends (flat except those driven by El Nino-Southern Oscillation).
Fourth, that study implies that the “Tropical Hot Spot” implied by computer climate models does not exist. Since that was crucial to EPA’s carbon dioxide “endangerment finding,” the finding was unjustified and should be reversed.
Fifth, whatever the risks from its tiny warming effect, adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere has positive effects.
Plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. On average, every doubling of atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration causes a 35 percent increase in plant growth efficiency.
Consequently, plants increase their ranges and make food more abundant. The world’s poor benefit most. One survey of hundreds of studies concluded that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide 1960-2012 added $3.2 trillion in crop yields and would add nearly $10 trillion more through 2050.
Sixth and finally, since the endangerment finding was wrong, the EPA should reverse it. There is no reason to call life-giving carbon dioxide a pollutant, and the Paris climate agreement really is “something we need to exit.”
Ignore the Critics: If Trump Withdraws from Paris Climate Agreement, He Will Demonstrate U.S. Leadership
Donald Trump made opposition to the Paris Agreement crystal clear during his Presidential campaign. Some supporters of the Paris Agreement are urging President Trump to break this promise.
Having other countries know that the U.S. President is resolute is valuable diplomatic currency.
In December, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. That signature did not come cheap. To satisfy its Paris commitments, the Obama Administration announced plans to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions anywhere from 26 to 28 per cent below what they were in 2005—plans that would steeply raise energy costs on American households and businesses and impede job growth.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, made opposition to the Paris Agreement crystal clear during his Presidential campaign: “We’re going to cancel the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.”
Now some supporters of the Paris Agreement are urging President Trump to break this promise. But they can’t really argue that the Agreement is an effective way to address climate change; MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change projects that, even if every country followed through with its promises, the Paris agreement would reduce warming by only 0.2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.
Instead, the argument is that honoring the Paris Agreement is all about U.S. leadership. As Timmons Roberts and Caroline Jones wrote in a recent Brookings Institution paper : “To renege on our commitments … in support of the Paris Agreement would weaken America’s ability to muster enthusiastic support on important international policies we might care about.“
This is fantasy. Gratitude is a rare commodity in international affairs – just look at the vast majority of U.S. foreign assistance recipients. They routinely vote against the U.S. most of the time in the U.N.
Those arguing for the U.S. to remain in the Paris Agreement are less interested in bolstering U.S. leadership than in ensuring that they have means to criticize Trump when he fails to follow Obama’s other ineffectual climate policies.
Repudiating the Paris Agreement would be akin to ripping off a Band-Aid – a small pain in the form of anger from the U.N. and other governments committed to the agreement, but after that, nothing.
How do we know this? Because President George W. Bush lived through discarding the Paris Agreement’s predecessor, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The Clinton Administration signed the Protocol in 1998, despite unanimous Senate resistance. President Bush correctly concluded the Protocol would be ineffective in addressing the problem and impose heavy economic costs on the U.S economy, particularly to the manufacturing sector.
Despite strong pressure from the U.N. and European governments, Bush held firm by announcing that he would not ratify or implement the agreement.
What was the impact of Bush’s actions on American leadership role? Foreign governments criticized the decisions, but continued to cooperate and work with the U.S. More importantly, they learned that the U.S. was willing and able to resist diplomatic pressure in order to protect American interests.
Having other countries know that the U.S. President is resolute is valuable diplomatic currency, not recklessness.
There are broader U.S. constitutional and security interests to consider too. The Paris Agreement is a supplementary agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). President Obama misused the UNFCCC framework to avoid seeking Senate advice and consent for the Paris Agreement under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.
Conservatives should insist that the President repudiate the Paris Agreement to correct that action alone.
But in addition, the Palestinian Authority is a party to the UNFCCC. As was the case when the Palestinians joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2011, this event should trigger a U.S. law prohibiting any future U.S. funding to the UNFCCC.
The Obama administration continued funding the UNFCCC based on the absurd argument that the UNFCCC is a treaty, not an international organization. In fact, the UNFCCC is a treaty-based international organization, just like UNESCO –and the United Nations.
So, in addition to the issues surrounding the Paris Agreement, if the Trump administration does not end funding for the UNFCCC in accordance to the law, it would signal to U.N. organizations that there will be no consequences if they grant membership to the Palestinians prior to a negotiated peace with Israel.
In fact, to prevent the accrual of financial arrears, it makes sense for the U.S. to withdraw from the UNFCCC, which would also lead to withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
U.S. presidents rarely face easy choices, but this one comes close.
Other governments will carp, but withdrawing from the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC would fulfill a campaign promise and send a welcome signal that, unlike the previous Administration, President Trump respects the treaty process outlined in the U.S. Constitution and will stand firmly with Israel.
POLL: Americans See Dems As The Party Of Global Warming And Abortion
Americans overwhelmingly point to the environment and abortion as two policies areas Democrats “do a better job” than Republicans, according to newly-released polling data.
“More say the Democratic Party could do a better job than the GOP when it comes to dealing with the environment (59% to 28%), abortion and contraception (53% to 33%), health care (54% to 35%) and education policy (52% to 36%)” than Republicans, according to Pew Research Center data.
Pew reported Democrats were also “favored over the GOP on foreign policy (49% to 36%), immigration (50% to 39%) and government spending (48% to 40%),” but none of these policy areas had nearly as wide a margin as environmental issues, like global warming, and abortion.
The Democratic advantage on environmental issues grew from plus 23 percent in December 2015 to plus 31 percent in April 2017.
One reason for this perception could be that Republicans are seen as the party of business and less government, which voters see as incompatible with environmental protection or fighting global warming.
Other recent polls suggest Americans are becoming more worried about global warming and air quality with President Donald Trump in control of regulatory agencies.
A recent Gallup poll found that half of American adults are “concerned believers” of global warming, while the other 50 percent of Americans are in the “mixed middle” or ‘cool skeptics” category when it comes the issue.
“That contrasts with most years from 2001 through 2016, when Gallup found the majority qualifying as Mixed Middle or Cool Skeptics on the issue,” Gallup found.
The percentage of “believers” shot up from 37 percent in 2015 to 47 percent in 2016, which rose again in 2017 to 50 percent. Climate scientists declared 2014, 2015 and 2016 the warmest years on record.
In regards to air quality, American attitudes are interesting given the air has gotten much cleaner in the last 15 years, according to Environmental Protection Agency data. Though messaging from liberal groups has gotten much more dire on the issue.
The Trump administration has made a conscious effort to paint economic growth and environmental protection as going hand in hand. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said in almost every public appearance there doesn’t have to be a trade-off between industry and environment.
“It’s been said that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, and I’ll tell you, whoever says that doesn’t know what you’re supposed to do with cake,” Pruitt told Pennsylvania coal miners Friday.
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Posted by JR at 12:42 AM