Article originally published at CFACT.org
President Barack Obama’s Energy Department Chief Scientist Steven Koonin’s soon-to-be-published book will discuss information that the public really needs to have regarding grossly overheated “climate crisis” media hype.
Titled “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why It Matters,” a preview of it’s contents is provided in an April 16 Wall Street Journal interview with the author posted by Holman Jenkins, Jr.
Jenkins’ piece is titled “How a Physicist Became a Climate Truth Teller,” and I recommend it to readers who are interested in a fuller book content and author background account.
Having followed the science over more than a decade — and written a couple of pretty good books and likely a hundred or so articles on the subject — I find Koonin’s descriptive accuracy and candor enormously refreshing.
Sadly, few — if any — others in the Obama-Biden White House really cared about facts, paid attention, or learned anything from him at all.
First, because this is particularly relevant to me, Steven Koonin’s background as a physicist combines his technical understanding of applications and limitations of computer modeling of complex systems and practical experience in dealing with real-world realities such as assessing how we can most effectively and efficiently apply fundamental energy principles to meet complex human conditions and requirements.
Koonin taught physics at Caltech for nearly three decades, where he also served as provost; was recruited by the non-profit Institute for Defense Analysis which provided advisory services to military and congressional leaders; worked at JASON, another private scientific organization where he conducted and supervised cold-fusion energy and human genome mapping research; and later worked as chief scientist for British Petroleum (BP) which was later rebranded as “Beyond Petroleum.”
While at BP, Koonin created the multidisciplinary Energy Biosciences Institute at Berkeley which studies a wide range of scientific issues ranging from the isotopic composition of micro-fossils in the sea floor through regulation of industrial power plants.
Steven Koonin’s research into the world’s energy system led him to become convinced that the only “real climate crisis was a crisis of political and scientific candor,” and that the world “isn’t going to be able to reduce [greenhouse gas] emissions enough to make much difference.”
Koonin argues that while he supports responsible climate science, his issue is that what media and activist say about climate science has drifted so far out of touch with the actual science as to be absurdly, demonstrably false.
With reference to a 2019 report by presidents of the National Academy of Sciences which asserted that the “magnitude and frequency of certain extreme events are increasing,” for example, he notes that the “United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is deemed to compile the best science, advised that all such claims should be treated with “low confidence.”
The U.S. government’s 2017 Climate Science Special Report had claimed that, in the lower 48 states, the “number of high temperature records set in the past two decades far exceeds the number of low temperature records.” On closer inspection, Koonin points out, “that’s because there’s been no increase in the rate of new record highs since 1900, only a decline in the number of new lows.”
A 2018 U.S. Fourth National Climate Assessment which relied on such “ovegged” worst-case emissions and temperature projections, Koonin concludes, “was written more to persuade than to inform.” He says, “It masquerades as objective science but was written — all right, I’ll use the word — propaganda.”
Koonin emphasizes the absurdity of basing climate change alarm on century-long forecasts claiming to know how 1% shifts in poorly understood variables will affect a future global climate that we don’t understand with anything even resembling that precision.
Nevertheless, the IPCC will issue a report next year that will purport to determine how much warming to expect by the end of this century based upon 40-plus computer model simulations which have been diverging in projections — not converging — coming together — as one would hope to enable determination of which one should be trusted.
Without tweaking, the modelers can’t even agree on a current simulated global average surface temperature — varying by 3 degrees Celsius – three times the observed change over the past century.
Koonin, both an experienced computer practitioner and modeling enthusiast, recognizes that they are wonderful where the simulation variables and their interactions being projected are well known and results can be empirically tested.
“But these are more controlled, engineered situations,” he adds, “whereas the climate is a natural phenomenon. It’s going to do whatever it’s going to do. And it’s hard to observe. You need long, precise observations to understand its natural variability and how it responds to external influences.”
Koonin, who has been building models and watching others do so over 45 years, cautions that climate models “are not to the standard you would trust your life or even trillions of dollars to.”
For the record, Koonin agrees — as many of my well-informed climate scientist friends also do — that the world has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since 1900, and it will likely warm by another degree by the end of this century.
There is no dispute I’m aware of that temperatures began warming at the end of the last “Little Ice Age” in the mid-1800s — before the Industrial Revolution — and will likely continue to do so in fits-and-starts with little or no influence from us until Mother Nature once again changes her mind.
Neither Koonin nor any real-world scientific climate or economic studies, however, have seen anything in the offing which he says “would justify the rapid and wholesale abandoning of fossil fuels, even if China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and others could be dissuaded from pursuing prosperity.”
Even John Kerry, Joe Biden’s “climate czar,” recently admitted that the current administration’s “net-zero” climate plan will have zero effect if developing countries don’t go along, and as Koonin notes, “they have little incentive to do so.”
In any case, Koonin believes that any warming that occurs will emerge slowly and with modest effect — not a runaway crisis that alarmists such as Al Gore and John Kerry hype. To the extent that reduced CO2emissions will make any measurable difference, the solutions should let technology and markets work together at their own pace.
“The climate might to continue to change at a pace that’s hard to perceive, but society will adapt.”
Konnin adds, “As a species, we’re very good at adapting.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge will be to survive the current political climate crisis.
Author: CFACT Advisor Larry Bell heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax.”
Article originally published at CFACT.org
In 1985, the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) was founded to promote a much-needed, positive alternative voice on issues of environment and development. Its co-founders, David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, strongly believed the power of the market combined with the applications of safe technologies could offer humanity practical solutions to many of the world’s most pressing concerns. A number of leading scientists, academics, and policy leaders soon joined them, along with thousands of citizens from around the U.S. and around the world.
Today, CFACT is a respected Washington D.C.-based organization whose voice can be heard relentlessly infusing the public-interest debate with a balanced perspective on environmental stewardship and other important issues. With an influential and impressive scientific advisory board, effective collegiate program on U.S. college campuses, CFACT Europe, official United Nations’ NGO representation, Adopt-A-Village project, Global Social Responsibility program, and “Just the Facts” daily national radio commentary, CFACT continues to offer genuine solutions to today’s most important global challenges.
CFACT has been termed “invaluable” by the Arizona Republic, it has been lauded for its “effort to bring sound science to the environmental debate” by a former president of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been praised by a respected Boston Herald columnist for “a record of supplying absolutely solid information.”
UK leader Rishi Sunak signals plan to backtrack on some climate goals
Oxfam’s Rishi Sunak ‘big head’ protests outside the Parliament in London, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. On the eve of the UN Climate Ambition Summit, Oxfam’s Rishi Sunak ‘big head’ staged a protest on top of a giant oil barrel, amongst dozens of real oil drums, supporting the Make Polluters Pay campaign. Calling for oil and gas giants, such as BP and Shell, to pay more tax to raise critical funds to help communities devastated by climate change. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
By Jill Lawless in London
LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is preparing to water down some of Britain’s environmental commitments on Wednesday, saying the country must fight climate change without penalizing workers and consumers.
The news drew wide criticism from political opponents, environmental groups and large chunks of U.K. industry, but was welcomed by sections of the governing Conservative Party.
Sunak issued a late-night statement Tuesday in response to a BBC report saying the prime minister is considering extending deadlines for bans on new gasoline and diesel cars — currently set for 2030 — and on new natural-gas home heating, due in 2035.
Sunak said he would set out a “proportionate” approach to the environment. He summoned his Cabinet to an unscheduled conference call to discuss the plans ahead of a speech hastily rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon. It had been due later in the week.
“For too many years, politicians in governments of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs,” Sunak said. “Instead, they have taken the easy way out, saying we can have it all.”
Sunak did not confirm details of his announcements. He said he would keep a promise to reduce the U.K.’s emissions of climate-warming greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050, but “in a better, more proportionate way.”
The government has previously boasted of Britain being a leader in cutting carbon emissions. U.K. greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 46% from 1990 levels, mainly because of the almost complete removal of coal from electricity generation. The government had pledged to reduce emissions by 68% of 1990 levels by 2030 and to reach net zero by 2050.
But with just seven years to go until the first goalpost, the government’s climate advisers said in June that the pace of action is “worryingly slow.” Sunak’s decision in July to approve new North Sea oil and gas drilling also spurred critics to question his commitment to climate goals.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who brought in the 2030 gasoline car target when he was leader, said businesses “must have certainty about our net-zero commitments.”
“We cannot afford to falter now or in any way lose our ambition for this country,” he said.
News of plans to backtrack broke as senior politicians and diplomats from the U.K. and around the world — as well as heir to the British throne Prince William — gathered at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where climate is high on the agenda. Sunak is not attending, sending his deputy instead.
Greenpeace U.K. policy director Doug Parr said the prime minister was “taking the public for fools.”
“Rowing back on home insulation and commitments to help people move away from gas will ensure we stay at the mercy of volatile fossil fuels and exploitative energy companies,” Parr said.
Environmentalists were not the only ones blindsided by the move. Automakers, who have invested heavily in the switch to electric vehicles, expressed frustration at the government’s apparent change of plan.
“We’re questioning what is the strategy here, because we need to shift the mobility of road transport away from fossil fuels towards sustainable transport,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, an industry body.
Ford U.K. head Lisa Brankin said the company had invested 430 million pounds ($530 million) to build electric cars in Britain.
“Our business needs three things from the U.K. government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three,” she said.
Analyst Tara Clee of investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown said the retreat could undermine Britain’s hard-won reputation for leadership on green technology, threatening the wider economy.
“The market has been directing capital to the net-zero transition and has been working in good faith,” Clee said. “These changes send a message that nothing is set in stone, and committing in earnest to a movable goalpost could be a major business risk.”
Britain’s Conservatives have been openly reassessing their climate change promises after a special election result in July that was widely seen as a thumbs-down from voters to a tax on polluting cars.
The party, which trails behind the Labour opposition nationwide, unexpectedly won the contest for the suburban London Uxbridge district by focusing on a divisive levy on older vehicles imposed by London’s Labour mayor, Sadiq Khan. Some Conservatives believe axing green policies is a vote-winner that can help the party avoid defeat in a national election due by the end of next year.
“We’re not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said Wednesday.
But Conservative lawmaker Alok Sharma, who chaired the COP26 international climate conference in Glasgow in 2021, warned that it would be “incredibly damaging … if the political consensus that we have forged in our country on the environment and climate action is fractured.”
“And frankly, I really do not believe that it’s going to help any political party electorally which chooses to go down this path,” he told the BBC.
Carbon Tax poll reveals what we already knew
Written By Dan McTeague of Canadians for Affordable Energy
The chickens are coming home to roost for the Trudeau government.
Last month (August 6th) Nanos Research released a new poll showing that two thirds of Canadians think that now is a bad time to increase the Carbon Tax. This is not exactly a shocking revelation. It really didn’t take a poll to determine what everyday Canadians already know. Adding a Carbon Tax to a struggling economy is a bad idea.
Anyone who has gone to the grocery store lately, or has filled up their vehicle, knows that the cost of living has skyrocketed. Social media is flooded with Canadians sharing their stories of how they are at the breaking point with the cost of living. It doesn’t take an economist to know that higher consumption taxes have the immediate effect of increasing the cost of everything. That has not stopped the green Agenda driven Trudeau government that seems determined to make life unaffordable for Canadians.
But back to that Nanos poll –
Let’s break this down a bit more to understand what this poll is really saying about how Canadians feel about Carbon Taxes.
First, it is evident that Nanos is approaching this poll with a clear bias in favor of Carbon Taxes. Participants were asked three (3) questions: 1) Do you think a carbon tax on things like gas is an effective, somewhat effective, somewhat ineffective, or ineffective way to encourage people to use less fuel? 2) Is now a very good, good, average, poor or very poor time to increase carbon taxes on things like gas? 3) On a scale from 0 to 10 where 0 is not at all effective and 10 is extremely effective, how effective do you think the federal government’s Carbon Pollution Pricing system, often called the carbon tax, is to combat climate change?
Notice the poll did not ask Canadians whether or not they think Carbon Taxes are a good idea or whether they want them at all.
The assumption is that Canadians buy into the narrative that climate change is real, and a “real problem” that requires government action, that “using less carbon” such as fuel is a key, if not the key, to reducing “carbon consumption”.
We know not every Canadian believes this; but the Nanos poll didn’t even ask.
That said, looking at the results of what they did ask, two thirds of Canadians say that now is a bad time to increase carbon taxes.
In the prairie provinces, this number was 79% and in Atlantic Canada 73% of respondents said the timing is “poor” or “very poor”.
Of even greater political significance: in Ontario, where the next federal election will likely be decided, a whopping 68.7% of respondents said that now is a bad time to increase the Carbon Tax. And yet Justin Trudeau keeps increasing this most hated tax.
In terms of effectiveness, 64.3% in Ontario think that a new carbon tax is not effective at encouraging people to use less fuel. This comes as no surprise. A majority of Canadians rely on their vehicles to get to work, the grocery store, kids practices, and family vacations. Normal daily activities for life in Canada. In most cases not driving is not an option. It only means that getting there is more expensive, and other items in the budget need to be sacrificed instead.
And as we know the Carbon Tax is one of the culprits for higher prices.
Conservative MP Kyle Seeback articulated it well in the House of Commons when he explained to Trudeau’s Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault how the Carbon Tax is driving up inflation. “Mr. Speaker, it is incredible, he actually does not know how food ends up on his plate. The farmer pays a carbon tax, the truck that picks up the farmer’s food pays a carbon tax to take it to the processor, the processor pays a carbon tax, the truck that picks it up from the processor to take it to the grocery store pays a carbon tax, the grocery store pays a carbon tax and then Canadians cannot pay for food.”
Canadians for Affordable Energy has been advocating for affordability since 2017 and have known that Carbon Taxes are a threat to affordable energy in Canada and will drive up the cost of everything. And that is exactly what is happening. Fuel prices are skyrocketing, food prices are at record highs, and Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. Energy affordability is the key to success in Canada and therefore it is the view of CAE that there is never a good time to implement a Carbon Tax. Full stop.
Canadians are finally starting to connect the dots on a path that leads directly back to bad energy and environmental policies. Policies that have stifled our resource economy and punished working Canadians. Policies that are hitting Canadians’ pocketbooks really hard, especially when trying to fill up their vehicles and feed their families. Policies that won’t even help the environment.
Pierre Poilievre and his Conservative government have committed to scrapping the carbon tax. Let’s hope they follow through on this promise if they come into power in the next election. Because not all Canadians buy the narrative that Carbon Taxes are a good thing.
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