Thorner: Along comes “Lukewarm,” the just-right position on climate science

April 28, 2017

Goldilocks1

By Nancy Thorner – 

When it comes to human-caused global warming, most people think there are two camps: “alarmists,” those who acknowledge it, and “deniers,” those who deny it. But this is far from true.  There are credible scientists – such as those at The Heartland Institute’s latest climate conference (ICCC-12) last month – that accede to the existence of some global warming taking place, but question to what extent man is to blame.

For instance, participants and scientists at Heartland’s conference, S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, maintain that a warmer planet will be beneficial for mankind and other species on the planet and that “corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.” Meanwhile, other reputable scientists attending ICCC-12 believe a period of cooler weather looms ahead in the not-too-distant future because of the lack of sunspots.

Now there is another camp, the “lukewarmers” as defined by Dr. Pat Michaels and Paul “Chip” Knapperberger. Both are recognized environmental climate scientists who believe that man-made global warming is real, but they refuse to buy into the politicized pseudoscience that has increasingly been used to buttress the case that global warming is also likely to be dangerous. In their book, Lukewarming: The New Climate Science That Changes Everything, Michaels and Knappenberger, refer to themselves as “lukewarmers,” and expose many myths about climate change.

In a way the lukewarming view of climate change set forth by Michaels and Knappenberger relates to the English Fairy Tale, The Story of The Three Bears. Goldilocks, in tasting the porridge that had been left to cool by the bears while they took a walk in a forest, found the Great Big Bear’s porridge too hot, the Middle-sized Bear’s porridge too cold, while the Little Wee Bear’s porridge was neither too hot or too cold.

The too-hot temperature of the Great Big Bear’s porridge is the same claim made by climate change alarmists like Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who falsely predict catastrophic occurrences unless drastic measures are taken. The lukewarming concept of climate science introduced by Michaels and Knappenberger, represents the neither too hot or too cold porridge of the Little Wee Bear – or, just the right approach.

Michaels, the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, explained all this as a featured speaker April 19 at The Heartland Institute where he talked about his book. Michaels is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. He is the author or editor of six books on climate and its impact, and he was an author of the climate “paper of the year” awarded by the Association of American Geographers in 2004.

While introducing Michaels, Heartland Institute President Joe Bast expressed with apparent delight, three happenings of note in the past 100 days:  1) The election of Donald Trump as president, whose accomplishments are acceding expectations – such as Trump cutting EPA spending by 31 percent, which was long overdue. 2) Heartland’s latest climate conference (ICCC-12) held in Washington, D.C. in March – which attracted 300 participants without a formal invitation being sent. The conference featured 40 speakers attracted 55 members of the media, most of whom heretofore had not been interested in what Heartland had to say on the topic. 3) Heartland sending some 350,000 copies of Why Scientists Disagree with Global Warming to science teachers in K-12 and colleges, as well as 400 CEOs. The message: There is no consensus on global warming. The media and some activist teachers organizations have chosen to respond with accusations that Heartland’s mailing is an attempt at brainwashing – a notion Bast thoroughly rebutted.

 Michaels Explains his Lukewarmer Thesis

Michael’s remarks, tailored to his slide presentation, showed time and again the misuse of the flawed, always too-hot climate models, and the tremendous incentives that exist for their continued misuse. So it follows that unreasonable and unnecessary climate policies have been based on the too-hot and frequently manipulated climate models. Clearly, he said, if the climate models can’t properly simulate the past, they can’t be relied upon for the future – and are a terrible basis for energy and economic policy.

Other aspects of the Michael’s Lukewarmers Camp include:

  • Life thrived on Earth through hot time and cold, mostly with much higher CO2 concentrations and warmer temperatures than we are experiencing in the current era. This enhanced CO2 allows plants to take advantage of warmer temperature. Tropical rain forests have greatly increased because of the increase in CO2.
  • Market forces compel adaptation to all kinds of change, including slight changes in climate. Even if the United States continues to burn half of its corn production, the rest of the world still is able to produce tremendous amounts of food to meet the needs of its growing population.
  • Health effects of climate change on the U.S. are negligible and are likely to remain so. Forty-six percent of all U.S. deaths directly attributable to weather events from 1993 to 2006 were caused by excessive cold; 28 percent were from excessive heat.
  • After 75 years of rapidly increasing CO2 emission, hurricanes have responded only lukewarmly. Severe weather is a characteristic of earth’s atmosphere and every day some kind of story or extreme event will (and likely will) be associated with global warming. Even if the issue of the day were global cooling, such extreme weather events could be made to fit that paradigm, too.
  • Arctic ice has declined before, even in the last century before humans had put very much CO2 into the atmosphere. The Arctic was even ice free for long stretches, both before the end of the last ice age and afterwards.  The Washington Post on November 11, 1922 reported of hitherto unheard-of temperature in the Arctic zone. The seals were finding the water too hot and great masses of ice had been replaced by moraines of earth and stones. Nevertheless, there’s always plenty of ice in the Arctic Ocean, even in the beginning of the fall when it reaches its minimum extent.
  • As for the survival of the iconic polar bear, the polar bear has weathered – and maybe even prospered – during many periods when the Arctic summer’s end was ice free.
  • The Paris Climate Treaty is an unenforceable document that requires its signatories to prepare new “determined contributions” every five years, counts all warming since the Industrial Revolution as having been caused by greenhouse gas emissions, uses the mean sensitivity of the UN climate models, and requires an immediate cessation of all carbon dioxide emissions (fossil fuels) to meet its aspirational goal of keeping future warming below 1.5 degree C. This reduction in potential warming is operationally meaningless, and would result in a lukewarm agreement meant for a lukewarm world, in which only the United States and the EU stand to be harmed.

Michaels predicted a new warming of only six-tenths to a quarter degree by the end of the 21st century.  Accordingly, it makes no sense to plan for and then take measures to prepare for an event that has only a finite chance of happening, but which would greatly reduce our standard of living and further destroy this nation’s economy.

To watch the entire presentation by Michaels, click here.

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