New Paper Shows Global Warming Hiatus Real After All

GWPF | 24 Feb 2016

Viral Mistake: The Case Of The 150,000 ‘Dead’ Penguins

Climate researchers have published a new paper this week in the journal Nature Climate Change that acknowledges there has been a global warming slowdown from 2000-2014. Their research shows a hiatus did indeed occur and continued into the 21st century, contradicting another study last June that said the hiatus was just an artifact that “vanishes when biases in temperature data are corrected.” This is not the first time activists have tried to hide the hiatus by using dodgy methods. –Thomas Richard, The Examiner, 24 February 2016

An apparent slowing in the rise of global temperatures at the beginning of the twenty-first century, which is not explained by climate models, was referred to as a “hiatus” or a “pause” when first observed several years ago. Climate-change sceptics have used this as evidence that global warming has stopped. But in June last year, a study in Science claimed that the hiatus was just an artefact which vanishes when biases in temperature data are corrected. Now a prominent group of researchers is countering that claim, arguing in Nature Climate Change that even after correcting these biases the slowdown was real. –Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 24 February 2016

1) New Paper Shows Global Warming Hiatus Real After All — The Examiner, 24 February 2016

2) Viral Mistake: The Case Of The 150,000 ‘Dead’ Penguins — The Daily Beast, 22 February 2016

3) Japan’s 43 New Coal Plants Cast Doubt On Paris CO2 Pledges — Reuters, 24 February 2016

4) Paris Climate Agreement Is Completely Toothless And Unenforceable — The American Interest, 21 February 2016

5) U.S. Congress Backs Court Challenge To Obama’s Climate Plan — Associated Press, 23 February 2016

6) Greens Terrified Cheap Energy Is Killing Wind And Solar — Daily Caller News Foundation, 22 February 2016

You may have read that an Antarctic colony of penguins was trapped by an iceberg and died, killed by climate change. But there’s a twist: All parts of the story turn out to be untrue. Major news outlets ran with a widely mischaracterized study from Australian and New Zealand researchers in Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, saying enough penguins to fill three Yankee Stadiums had been trapped by an iceberg and, unable to fend for themselves, died. “I doubt widespread death and destruction, and the reason I doubt that is that the behavior of Adélie penguins has already been observed in similar circumstances,” said Dr. Michelle LaRue. Their migratory patterns were recorded in 2001 after the iceberg B-15 caused them to move, she said. The only thing The Daily Beast can confirm is that there are no zombie penguins, just zombie reporters. –Ben Collins, The Daily Beast, 22 February 2016

A decision by Japan’s environment ministry to abandon its opposition to building new coal-fired power stations casts doubt on the industry’s ability to meet targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, experts and environmental activists said. The environment ministry’s recent reversal puts Japan further out of step with other industrialized economies that have been restricting coal to meet commitments on carbon emissions agreed between 200 nations in Paris two months ago. Companies are rushing to build 43 coal-fired plants or 20.5 gigawatt of capacity in coming years, about a 50 percent increase. –Yuka Obayashi, Reuters, 24 February 2016

The UN isn’t going to sanction the U.S. if the Clean Power Plan is binned, and this lack of an enforceability mechanism is one of the key problems with any international approach to climate change. The United States isn’t the only country whose court system or domestic politics are going to make it difficult to achieve the goals set in Paris, but there’s nothing beyond “naming and shaming” that the international community can do to cajole a country into sticking to the deal. We knew in the run-up to the Paris summit that any deal reached would be little more than a green version of the Kellogg-Briand pact, and now we’re seeing that in action. It sure didn’t take long. The American Interest, 21 February 2016

More than 200 members of Congress are backing a court challenge to President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. A brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington argues that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its legal authority and defied the will of Congress by regulating carbon dioxide emissions. —Associated Press, 23 February 2016

Cheap coal, oil and natural gas are outcompeting wind and solar power despite massive government support, and environmentalists are really upset about it. “I believe low energy prices may complicate the transformation, to be very frank, and this is a very important issue for countries to note; all the strong renewables and energy efficiency policies therefore may be undermined with the low fossil fuel prices,” Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told reporters in Brussels Thursday. Environmentalists are also terrified that the rise of cheap conventional energy will hurt wind and solar. –Andrew Follett, The Daily Caller, 22 February 2016

1) New Paper Shows Global Warming Hiatus Real After All  
The Examiner, 24 February 2016

Thomas Richard

Climate researchers have published a new paper this week in the journal Nature Climate Change that acknowledges there has been a global warming slowdown from 2000-2014. Their research shows a hiatus did indeed occur and continued into the 21st century, contradicting another study last June that said the hiatus was just an artifact that “vanishes when biases in temperature data are corrected.” This is not the first time activists have tried to hide the hiatus by using dodgy methods. 

This new paper shows a global warming slowdown or hiatus, the authors write, which has been “characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations.” They add, “The evidence presented [in this paper] contradicts these claims.” Ouch.

In this new paper, the authors show there is a “mismatch between what the climate models are producing and what the observations are showing,” says lead author John Fyfe, a climate modeller at the Canadian Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, British Columbia. “We can’t ignore it.” Fyfe prefers the term slowdown over hiatus and adds the usual caveats lest he be taken away from the global warming cash cow: it in no way undermines “global warming theory.”

Gavin Schmidt, a climate activist and a director at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said it’s a “tired discussion and nothing more than academic bickering.” He adds, “A little bit of turf-protecting and self-promotion I think is the most parsimonious explanation. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Snarking aside, this new paper says that natural variability (like volcanic eruptions, solar radiance, ocean heat uptake, etc…) are important elements in evaluating our climate. As such, they should be factored in when trying to interpret the temperature record and the millions of variables that affect our climate.

Karl Thomas, the lead author of the so-called “pause busting” study says it’s “important to investigate how short-term effects might impact decadal trends, but says that these short term trends do not necessarily elucidate the long-term effects of rising greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”

Fyfe and his colleagues argue that “Karl’s approach was biased” because of a flat temperature pause between the 1950s and 1970s. Fryfe says that his research took into account events that affect decadal temperature trends such as volcanic eruptions, which dampen solar radiation. As an example, climate models underestimate volcanic eruptions and how they impact how much solar radiation hits the planet, specifically at the start of the 21st century.

Susan Solomon, a climatologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, says that Fyfe’s research helps put “twenty-first-century trends into perspective, and clearly indicates that the rate of warming slowed down at a time when greenhouse-gas emissions were rising dramatically.”

Full story   

See also: Told You So: Why Karl et al 2015 Doesn’t Eliminate The ‘Hiatus’   

 

2) Viral Mistake: The Case Of The 150,000 ‘Dead’ Penguins   
The Daily Beast, 22 February 2016

Ben Collins

You may have read that an Antarctic colony of penguins was trapped by an iceberg and died, killed by climate change. But there’s a twist: All parts of the story turn out to be untrue.  

Some good news for 150,000 dead penguins in Antarctica: They might not be dead. Bad news: There may not be any hope for the rest of us.

Major news outlets ran with a widely mischaracterized study from Australian and New Zealand researchers in Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, saying enough penguins to fill three Yankee Stadiums had been trapped by an iceberg and, unable to fend for themselves, died.

The Guardian issued a death notice, saying “150,000 Penguins Die After Giant Iceberg Renders Colony Landlocked.” Other news sources issuing death certificates included the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and CNN.

Bit of a problem: The research paper doesn’t — and never did — say that. Some penguins may have died, because penguins aren’t immortal. Others probably just moved.

“Maybe these birds moved. Maybe they died. There’s multiple scenarios that could’ve happened here,” Dr. Michelle LaRue, a research ecologist at the University of Minnesota, told The Daily Beast. “But nowhere in the paper said there was death and destruction.”

LaRue would know. She did the initial census on the Adélie penguins two years prior to the study done by University of New South Wales researchers that came out early this month.

“I doubt [widespread death and destruction], and the reason I doubt that is that the behavior of Adélie penguins has already been observed in similar circumstances,” she said.

Their migratory patterns were recorded in 2001 after the iceberg B-15 caused them to move, she said.

“It caused them to move a lot more than they normally do. There’s no reason to believe a colony in a similar situation didn’t do the same thing,” she said. “It’s not as fun to report and I get that. At the same time, [the initial reports are] inaccurate. There wasn’t anything in the paper saying these animals died.”

LaRue made the rounds midweek to gently nudge some news outlets closer to reality, and then headlines appeared that made it seem like the 150,000 penguins had been hiding under rubble the whole time and there was a brand new development, or that the penguins had come back from the dead. (“Adélie Penguins May Have Survived Iceberg Grounding In Antarctica,” wrote Nature World News.)

The only thing The Daily Beast can confirm is that there are no zombie penguins, just zombie reporters.

Full story

3) Japan’s 43 New Coal Plants Cast Doubt On Paris CO2 Pledges
Reuters, 24 February 2016

Yuka Obayashi

A decision by Japan’s environment ministry to abandon its opposition to building new coal-fired power stations casts doubt on the industry’s ability to meet targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, experts and environmental activists said.

The environment ministry’s recent reversal puts Japan further out of step with other industrialized economies that have been restricting coal to meet commitments on carbon emissions agreed between 200 nations in Paris two months ago.

The power industry accounts for 40 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The environment ministry issued rare objections to five new coal-fired stations last year but has been pushed by the powerful industry ministry to accept voluntary steps by power companies to curb emissions.

As Japan gets ready to open up its power retail market in April, companies are rushing to build 43 coal-fired plants or 20.5 gigawatt of capacity in coming years, about a 50 percent increase.

Full story

4) Paris Climate Agreement Is Completely Toothless And Unenforceable
The American Interest, 21 February 2016

We knew in the run-up to the Paris summit that any deal reached would be little more than a green version of the Kellogg-Briand pact, and now we’re seeing that in action.


http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/images/pics8/paris-agreement.jpg
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision last week to order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend its regulation to cut emissions from power plants — called the Clean Power Plan — was a shot across the bow to the President’s climate legacy. Checked by Congress in 2010, Obama had to resort to regulation in order to achieve his climate goals, and the centerpiece of that strategy was the now-frozen Clean Power Plan, which set emissions reductions goals for states but left it open how they might achieve those. The downside of going the regulation route, as has just been illustrated, is that it opens itself up to legal challenges, and so far 27 states have filed suit. The Supreme Court ruled that the EPA can’t enforce the Clean Power Plan until these challenges are settled, and in so doing set itself up as the likely eventual decider of the regulation’s fate.

Justice Scalia’s death adds another layer of uncertainty on the matter, however, as he was one of the 5 justices who voted to suspend. If the Clean Power Plan really is kaput, though, Obama loses his marquee emissions reduction policy tool, and the U.S. loses the ability to follow through on what we “committed” to at the December Paris climate summit. Unsurprisingly, America’s head climate negotiator has spent the last week assuring the rest of the world that all is well. The BBC reports:

As US lead negotiator, Todd Stern has been visiting Europe as part of efforts to “reassure” countries that America will stick to its promises. “We anticipate that the Clean Power Plan will be upheld,” he told reporters in London. “But if for whatever reason it is not, then we will have to use other means to get to our target, but we are not backing off our target.” […]

“There was a lot of blowback that the US got generally diplomatically across the range of diplomatic concerns and I have no doubt that it would be very significant if the US were to do that with regard to Paris, probably much, much more significant than what happened before,” [said Stern]. “There is a record there that you can look at to have a pretty good sense that there would be diplomatic consequences.”

Stern is trying to paint a menacing picture of ominous “consequences” if the U.S. doesn’t follow through on what it agreed upon in Paris, but already we’re seeing just how toothless this treaty was. The UN isn’t going to sanction the U.S. if the Clean Power Plan is binned, and this lack of an enforceability mechanism is one of the key problems with any international approach to climate change. The United States isn’t the only country whose court system or domestic politics are going to make it difficult to achieve the goals set in Paris, but there’s nothing beyond “naming and shaming” that the international community can do to cajole a country into sticking to the deal.

Full post

5) U.S. Congress Backs Court Challenge To Obama’s Climate Plan
Associated Press, 23 February 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 200 members of Congress are backing a court challenge to President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

A brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington argues that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its legal authority and defied the will of Congress by regulating carbon dioxide emissions.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., those signing on include Republican presidential candidates and senators Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida. Of the 34 senators and 171 House members listed, Sen. Joe Manchin of coal-dependent West Virginia is the lone Democrat.

“If Congress desired to give EPA sweeping authority to transform the nation’s electricity sector, Congress would have provided for that unprecedented power in detailed legislation,” the brief says.

The White House downplayed the lawmakers’ brief, describing it as part of “continual pushback from obstructionist Republicans in Congress who don’t even believe in the science of climate change.”

“We remain confident that we will prevail on the merits when the plan gets it full day in court,” said White House spokesman Frank Benenati.

About two dozen mostly GOP-led states have sued to stop the Clean Power Plan, which aims to slow climate change by cutting power-plant emissions by one-third by 2030. The Supreme Court last month barred the Obama administration from beginning implementation of the plan until the legal challenges are resolved.

The attorneys general of West Virginia and Texas are leading the legal fight, backed by 27 conservative states where some officials are openly dismissive of climate science and where many jobs rely on economic activity tied to fossil fuels.

Full story

6) Greens Terrified Cheap Energy Is Killing Wind And Solar
Daily Caller News Foundation, 22 February 2016

Andrew Follett

Cheap coal, oil and natural gas are outcompeting wind and solar power despite massive government support, and environmentalists are really upset about it.

“I believe low energy prices may complicate the transformation, to be very frank, and this is a very important issue for countries to note; all the strong renewables and energy efficiency policies therefore may be undermined with the low fossil fuel prices,”  Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), told reporters in Brussels Thursday.

Americans are spending less on energy than they have at virtually any other point in recent history. Energy prices dropped by 41 percent in 2015 due to innovative new techniques to extract hydrocarbons, like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Environmentalists are also terrified that the rise of cheap conventional energy will hurt wind and solar.

“Increasing reliance on natural gas displaces the market for clean energy,” reads The Sierra Club’s website. This concern notably did not impact The Sierra Club when it took $26 million from natural gas interests to oppose coal power.
Natural gas electricity, in particular, is so cheap that it’s already passing coal power as the most used source of electricity.

Full story

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