To Put America First Is To Put Our Planet’s Climate First — With Critical Updates

Global warming increasing pleasant afternoons!

Breitbart: To Put America First Is to Put Our Planet’s Climate First.

On June 2, 2017, in a Letter regarding US withdrawal from Paris climate agreement addressed to the MIT community, Professor Rafael Reif, president of MIT, criticized President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accords. In this refutation, we propose to clarify the scientific understanding of the Earth’s climate and to dispel the expensively fostered popular delusion that man-made global warming will be dangerous and that, therefore, the Paris Agreement would be beneficial.

Professor Reif wrote, “Yesterday, the White House took the position that the Paris climate agreement — a landmark effort to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions — was a bad deal for America.”

There is no science unambiguously establishing that CO2 is the chief cause of the warming observed since the end of the Little Ice Age. The opposite has been repeatedly demonstrated. Ice cores have revealed that changes in CO2 concentration follow, rather than precede, changes in temperature. During the last deglaciation, the latest high-resolution records show atmospheric CO2 lagging temperature by 50 to 500 years. Our enterprises and industries return to the air some of the CO2 that was formerly present there, and some warming may be expected. That warming will be small and beneficial.

Professor Humlum and colleagues have demonstrated that changes in CO2 concentration follow changes in temperature after about 8-11 months. The time-lag between changes in temperature and consequent changes in CO2 concentration are caused by outgassing of CO2 from the oceans when they warm and uptake by the oceans as they cool. In addition, the growth rate of the atmospheric CO2 has been slowing recently, linked to an enhanced terrestrial biosphere uptake. Our contribution to atmospheric CO2 adds to the effect of these fluctuations, but it does not add much. One of us (Harde 2017) has reached similar conclusions.

Professor Reif’s assertion that global temperatures can be regulated by an international agreement to atone for our sins of emission is, therefore, at odds with scientific knowledge regarding cause and effect. King Canute’s warning to his English courtiers in 1032 A.D. that even the divinely anointed monarch could not command sea level should be heeded by bombastic intergovernmental agencies a millennium later. The professor’s assertion is, moreover, logically invalid, since the Paris agreement permits China and India to industrialize without limit on their emissions.

[…]

The climate is changing even as we speak! Click before it’s too late!

Update

One of us (Marko) showed Reif the linked piece in advance. One of his functionaries, Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research, E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics, responded. Here is her response.

Dear Dr. Markó

President Reif has received your communication regarding his June 2 letter to the MIT community and he has asked me to respond.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its 2014 synthesis report, wrote:

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

This is a view shared by scientific academies and professional societies around the world. For example, a statement issued by the Royal Society and member institutions included this text:

The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that the climate is warming and that human activity is largely responsible for this change through emissions of greenhouse gases.

Based on the hundreds of conversations that I have had with faculty, students, alumni, and researchers, these statements reflect the consensus view within the MIT community — a consensus grounded in the compelling body of scientific evidence regarding anthropogenic climate change. For example, 22 faculty members from MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences recently wrote:

The risks to the Earth system associated with increasing levels of carbon dioxide are almost universally agreed by climate scientists to be real ones. These include, but are not limited to, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and increases in extreme flooding and droughts, all with serious consequences for mankind.

In summary, we have found strong consensus within the MIT community that the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change is compelling; that the risks posed by climate change warrant global action; and that the Paris Agreement represents an important step toward greater global cooperation in responding to this challenge.

Thank you for taking the time to share your views with President Reif.

Regards–
Maria Zuber

Update

The esteemed and well known Viscount Monckton of Brenchley prepared the following response to President Reif.

Dear Professor Reif,

I see from your reply to Professor Marko on the climate question that MIT, like so many academic institutions captivated by totalitarianism, no longer does science by the scientific method but solely by reference to the Party Line, which you have rebranded as “consensus”.

You were given the plainest of evidence (Legates et al., 2013) that, in the peer-reviewed literature where the rest of us do science, the express support for IPCC’s Party Line to the effect that it is near-certain that recent warming was mostly manmade is of order 0.3%. That evidence might have given a rational observer cause to question whether IPCC, whose duty is fairly to reflect the peer-reviewed literature, is doing its job when it asserts, to a spurious 95% “confidence”, that recent warming is mostly manmade.

You say that “scientific academies and professional societies around the world” share the viewpoint of IPCC, cited by you with enthusiastic approval. The evidence (Legates et al., op. cit., as well as the growing discrepancy between predicted and observed warming) might have given a rational observer cause to ask whether those knowledge workers’ unions were advancing science or their members’ cash interests.

You say, on the basis of “hundreds of conversations…with faculty, students, alumni and researchers”, that the Party Line (sorry, “consensus”) is “grounded in the compelling body of scientific evidence regarding anthropogenic climate change”. Let us narrow the issue to just one aspect of the official science.

There is a natural greenhouse effect, which drives the difference of 33 K between the mean emission temperature of the Earth (255 K) and the mean surface temperature (288 K). That greenhouse effect comprises partly the consequence of forcings and partly the consequence of feedbacks. Assume ad argumentum (and per impossibile) that the 33 K natural greenhouse effect comprises entirely feedbacks.

You will agree, I think, that the feedbacks acting on today’s climate (before any perturbation by us) cannot by any stretch of the imagination exceed the entire natural greenhouse effect, for otherwise they would be by some magical process materially influencing the Sun itself. Accordingly, elementary feedback theory stipulates that the feedback fraction f, which is the fraction of today’s 288 K surface temperature that is fed back, cannot exceed 33/288, or 0.11, and it is most unlikely to be this large.

IPCC, however, says reference warming ΔTs in response to doubled CO2 before feedbacks will be 1.2 K, but that equilibrium warming ΔT after feedbacks will fall on [1.5, 4.5] K, implying that its feedback fraction f = (1 – ΔTs/ΔT) will fall on [0.23, 0.74]. But that interval is between twice and seven times the absolute maximum possible value of f, and two orders of magnitude greater than any realistic value.

The above three paragraphs constitute a complete, formal demonstration by contradiction that the “consensus” interval of equilibrium sensitivities to which you and MIT and IPCC so profitably cling must be a monstrous overstatement. If so, IPCC’s conclusion and yours, defying all but 0.3% of the peer-reviewed literature, that recent warming was almost certainly mostly manmade is manifestly insupportable.

Yours sincerely,

Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

Important note

Yours truly received a total compensation of all and any consideration for this work $0.00. In cash.

23 Comments

  1. The 97% consensus figure (since Dr. Briggs and his colleagues seem to be inordinately concerned with the degree of consensus) often repeated by journalists is probably a bit wrong, since the original work by Cook had some methodological problems. The more accurate figure, based on more recent surveys, is closer to 99.99%. So what about the 0.3% figure by Legates, et al., quoted above? Just read the paper; it’s easy to see where the mistakes are.

    But it’s peer reviewed, as Lord Monckton crows! This is a description thrown about to impress non-scientists. If a paper’s pedigree is important (and it’s not, really), look at where it was published: in this case, in a failed journal with near-zero reputation.

    What about this Lord Monckton fellow? Is he an honest man whose judgment we should consider seriously? Just Google him. I can’t help but admire some of his antics, but he seems to be more of a performance artist than a scientist, and has a record of just making things up.

  2. On August 23rd AD 79, people around the bay of Naples celebrated Vulcanalia, a day dedicated to Vulcan (the fire god). The very next day, the local volcano; Vesuvius, blew it’s top.
    The correlation was clear, and the priests must have had a nearly unanimous consensus, to wit; Vulcan is dissatisfied with the quality and quantity of sacrificial bulls.

  3. Burt Rutan made this observation/assertion:

    ” The CO2 already in the atmosphere
    absorbs most of the light it can. The
    CO2 only “soaks up” its favorite
    wavelengths of light and it’s close to
    its saturation point. It can’t do much
    more, because there are not many
    left-over photons at the right
    wavelengths.
    The Big Greenhouse Gas Warming Effect
    is only for small amounts of CO2
    Doubling the concentration now would have little effect on warming.
    The natural greenhouse effect is
    real, and it helps keep us warm, but
    it’s already nearly reached its peak
    performance. Add more CO2 and
    most of the extra gas is just
    “unemployed” molecules. ”

    Why isn’t that addressed or noted?

    If CO2 concentration is saturated in terms of the “greeenhouse” effects, such that adding more will have no perceptible effect (comparable to adding more layers of clothing won’t, after a certain point, keep one any warmer on a cold day), why isn’t that being touted? That’s pretty good news for those who are concerned.

    Or, is B. Rutan wrong on that detail?

    Ref: http://burtrutan.com/downloads/EngrCritiqueCAGW-v4o3.pdf (see page 30)

  4. Lee Phillips,
    What do you say about this unending and terminal problem, which, despite insistence from the interested academic enforcers is plainly and easily appreciable by members of the public who take time to look?

    How can you expect to get away with distraction to pointing at a man, any man to hope the argument itself will be ignored? Then to distract onto the secondary consensus point which was originally offered by alarmists and the ‘peer review’! again?

    The following demonstration should be on GCSE and A-level syllabus:

    “There is a natural greenhouse effect, which drives the difference of 33 K between the mean emission temperature of the Earth (255 K) and the mean surface temperature (288 K). That greenhouse effect comprises partly the consequence of forcings and partly the consequence of feedbacks. Assume ad argumentum (and per impossibile) that the 33 K natural greenhouse effect comprises entirely feedbacks.
    You will agree, I think, that the feedbacks acting on today’s climate (before any perturbation by us) cannot by any stretch of the imagination exceed the entire natural greenhouse effect, for otherwise they would be by some magical process materially influencing the Sun itself. Accordingly, elementary feedback theory stipulates that the feedback fraction f, which is the fraction of today’s 288 K surface temperature that is fed back, cannot exceed 33/288, or 0.11, and it is most unlikely to be this large.
    IPCC, however, says reference warming ?Ts in response to doubled CO2 before feedbacks will be 1.2 K, but that equilibrium warming ?T after feedbacks will fall on [1.5, 4.5] K, implying that its feedback fraction f = (1 – ?Ts/?T) will fall on [0.23, 0.74]. But that interval is between twice and seven times the absolute maximum possible value of f, and two orders of magnitude greater than any realistic value.”

    Viscount Monckton, a hero, is a mathematician. What do you expect?

    I would say the only hope for terminally bad science is that ordinary people don’t look or by machiavellian methods are prevented from doing so!

  5. Good job to all of you. Thanks for participating in the article.

    From the link:
    “Professor Reif’s assertion that global temperatures can be regulated by an international agreement to atone for our sins of emission”

    “Sins of Emission” should be Tradmarked! Love it.

  6. Consider some basic numbers regarding CO2 saturation as Rutan & others note.
    We can acknowledge that, technically, adding more CO2 will ALWAYS increase greenhouse warming — and note that this is what alarmists will emphasize out of broader contexts — a truly objective analyst will like to consider how much the marginal increases in warming from CO2 become smaller per a logarithmic trend:

    Increasing CO2 concentration of 100 ppm to 300 ppm decreases heat loss from 294 to 288 W/m^2;
    Increasing from 300 ppm to 1000 ppm decreases heat loss by about the same 5-ish W/m^2 amount, to 283 W/m^2.

    Earth is at about 404 ppm now, up from about 315 ppm CO2 in 1965 (ref Mauna Lao CO2 figures, NOAA).

    As most readers of this blog are aware, the runaway heating trend line projected in the 70s/80s hasn’t happened.

    Let’s compare with well-known macro trends (aka a “back of the envelope” inquiry):

    Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) variations, which by the way the IPCC and every warming alarmist are quick to point out do NOT account for global warming at all, are revealing: TSI varies about 1.5 to 2.0 W/m^2 over the course of the eleven year solar cycle (averaging roughly 1361 W/m^2).

    Doubling from the current 400 ppm of CO2 to 800 ppm in 100/100s of years will decrease Earth heat loss rate [warming things up] by about another 2 to 4 W/m^2 at that future date (recall, the marginal effect is logarithmic/exponential) — about double the Sun’s 11 yr cyclic variance in a worst-case scenario.

    A compelling explanation of why we should be fearful of a CO2-based energy retention of about 2 W/m^2 due to another doubling of CO2 (the trend is logarithmic) when we shouldn’t be fearful of a 2 W/m^2 increase in solar output is something I’d be be very interested in. (Especially from a source(s) that genuinely believes the Paris Treaty is something the US should have endorsed — given that that treaty allows China & India to continue with not only zero reduction in current CO2 emissions AND permissible CO2 emissions growth to such an extent that even if the U.S. did torpedo its economy and achieve the targeted emissions reductions the offsetting effects, and more, from just those two countries would have made that pointless.)

    This “band saturation effect” is explained simply enough, and for CO2 specifically, by Univ. of Chicago Prof David Archer; see about 6:30 into the video at the link below for the net effects (above marginal increase in heat retention figure are from his presentation; the site has a transcript):

    https://www.coursera.org/learn/global-warming/lecture/CnAIV/the-band-saturation-effect (restarting the video at a point into the lecture may be necessary).

    Prof Archer explains the high altitude vs lower level effects, honestly, and for a topical briefing, adequately.

    One can assess on their own if the likes of RealClimate, SkepticalScience, and so forth, are presenting an objective unbiased assessment vs an incomplete and misleading representation. That such sources are quick to pounce on altitude effects, they note that CO2 warming continues but somehow all keep omitting mention that the MARGINAL rate of such warming declines exponentially and is now a level that is within the noise of just solar variation [which they say doesn’t and cannot matter] — might lead one to conclude they’ve got a larger agenda…

  7. This article in Physics Today is a good general introduction to the physics of IR radiation and planetary temperatures. It even has a sidebar on “Saturation fallacies”, with some interesting history. Rutan, an aviation testing engineer with zero scientific publications, doesn’t understand the physics of the greenhouse effect.

  8. Because someone has no publication in a journal on a subject or in a given field, they have no understanding of the topic.
    This isn’t sensible.

  9. “Because someone has no publication in a journal on a subject or in a given field, they have no understanding of the topic.
    This isn’t sensible.”

    I certainly don’t hold that view. But Dr. Briggs seems to; perhaps you could take it up with him.

  10. I note that the MIT president neglected to mention, in his quoted support by MIT meteorological sciences of anthropic global warming, the opposition by a chaired professor (emeritus) in that department, Richard Lindzen. And it is of course true, Lee Philips, that neither numbers of proponents nor their prestige determine the validity of a scientific hypothesis–only empirical tests. And in this last respect, AGW has been found deficient. I speak as a physicist who has disestablished theories and been disestablished.

  11. Lee, Philips,
    A serious question and it’s loaded but how many years of non warming and failed model predictions would have to pass before you would start to think that something had gone wrong with the theory,?

    Richard Lindzen explains the physics in outline, of the greenhouse effect and does so beautifully and with slow clarity in his lectures. I can recall that his explanations are lucidly clear and the models are described along with their inherent problems. In other words he describes the affect that is presumed to happen by modellers, which is where the pointy end of this theory is tested.

    It still doesn’t solve the reason why there is no warming as predicted and why the models cannot reproduce the actual, as I understand it, interpreted theory of the Earth’s climate working system with all the so called forcing and feedback when compared with reality, greenhouse warming included.

    He said, and it makes sense, that it is questionable that man can even hope to approximate the earth’s temperature at all in a very pure and exact way and that the the margins of error in model predictions are larger than the amount which is of concern, keeping the models in the running.

    Mr. Briggs has done an excellent job of describing the problems with climate models over the years when I used to read here. That the work is unpaid is in stark contrast to the multimillion maybe billion pound industry that supports the theory. I also believe that the scientist I heard first admit that the argument counts rather than the place it’s written. Although I heard lots of people rowing about it on blogs.

  12. Bob said, “I speak as a physicist who has disestablished theories and been disestablished.”

    This is a great point. Scientists are wrong when empirically testing a particular hypothesis probably 95% of the time. Either the work doesn’t get published, or has to be retracted/revised at a later date. Nothing at all wrong with that.

    One wonders why Team AGW never publishes papers that are “wrong”. And worse, every paper seems to start out with some variant of, “Global Warming: It’s even worse than previously thought!”

  13. Can someone please explain how 0.04% atmospheric CO2 can make the sea more acidic? Assume background rate was 0.028, the increase due to emissions is 0.012.
    The sea must be 100s times bigger mass than the atmosphere. So how does 0.012 CO2 make oceans more acidic. I have always wondered this. Perhaps someone can explain.

  14. Lee said, “Rutan, an aviation testing engineer….”

    An “aviation testing engineer” is exactly the type of person who understands from first-hand experience the limits of models. There is a world of difference between modeling a system to “mirror” it and modeling a system to “control” it.

  15. INTERESTING DIALOGUE (no intervening posts occur between the following three):

    Lee Phillips
    June 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm
    ” Rutan, … with zero scientific publications, doesn’t understand the physics of the greenhouse effect.”

    Joy
    June 19, 2017 at 3:26 pm
    “Because someone has no publication in a journal on a subject or in a given field, they have no understanding of the topic.
    “This isn’t sensible.”

    Lee Phillips
    June 19, 2017 at 3:38 pm
    “I certainly don’t hold that view.”

    OTHER:

    Observe how L.P. applied the two most prevalent tools applied from the propagandist’s arsenal — ad hominem attack (attacking the message bearer rather than the message), and, talking about the subject without actually addressing the issue:

    Fails to rebut the facts, or, their interpretation; instead maligns B. Rutan (ad hominem; if Rutan is wrong, so is Dr. Archer…and so many others). The reference paper, Pierrehumbert’s, “Infrared radiation and planetary temperature,” does address a variety of aspects of greenhouse gas effects with IR, and does address some Saturation fallacies [those over a century old!] — but that has nothing whatsoever to do with the theme of marginally decreasing effects of more greenhouse gas emissions in the present context (talking about the topic but not confronting the issue).

    One of the ugly facts climate alarmists struggle with, and avoid, is the unpleasant (to them, but happy for the rest of us) fact that marginal increases in CO2 atmospheric concentration have an exponentially decreasing marginal warming impact. There is room to debate how much sensitivity remains — are added CO2 emissions really cause for concern and if so when does practical saturation occur? That that is not addressed at all supports the view that a rebuttal to the argument popularized by Rutan is basically on target.

  16. Ken: I can only echo your post. The “discussion strategy” by LP is largely watermarked by the ad hominem “tool” usage.

    To me one of the most appalling feature of the pro-AGW argumentation and publications is the almost complete neglect of errors. As a life-long experimenter I find this practice as bad as cheating. Period.

  17. Ken: You misunderstand. Rutan is not wrong because he’s a testing engineer who’s never published a scientific paper. He’s wrong because he’s wrong, and I pointed you to one didactic article that should explain why. The saturation business is a fallacy. If I had said that he can’t be right because of who he is, that would be ad hominem. I did not say that, and I did not attack him.

    Why non-scientists attach themselves (usually with strong emotion) to the ideas of cranks, while disregarding the vast majority of scientists, is an interesting question, however. It can’t be because they find the cranks’ theories more scientifically sound, because they lack the tools with which to judge this, as they demonstrate when they try to talk about the subject. There must be a political, religious, or emotional reason, therefore, for them to prefer the conclusions of the cranks; then some kind of process, akin to cognitive dissonance, kicks in, where they think that the crackpot explanation makes more scientific sense.

  18. To be clear, I did not “malign” Mr. Rutan. I stated some facts about him; if any of these were wrong, I’ll gladly retract them. If you want to experience someone “maligning” those whose scientific conclusions they don’t like, just read Dr. Briggs’ articles here in recent days. He’s described people he disagrees with as having “meager intellect”, as being “cowards”, and much more. The jealousy is palpable, as the victims of Dr. Briggs’ abuse generally have far more substantial reputations.

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