REPEAL THE ACT BRIEFING - Scrap the Carbon Floor Price in the budget

15/03/2012 09:06:11

BREAKING NEWS FROM POLAND A coordinator of the Polish effort aimed at organizing a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) regarding the suspension/repeal of the European Energy and Climate Package has been appointed. And increasing demands from the business leaders to scrap the Carbon Floor Price in next weeks budget.

 

REPEAL THE ACT BRIEFING

Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act

Editor Fay Tuncay email fay@repealtheact.org.uk

14 March 2012

Scrap the Carbon Floor Price in the budget

 

BREAKING NEWS FROM POLAND...

A coordinator of the Polish effort aimed at organizing a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) regarding the suspension/repeal of the European Energy and Climate Package has been appointed. 

This group is planning to launch a European Citizens Initiative (ECI) regarding Suspension/repeal of the European Climate Package related to CO2 reductions, EU – ETS etc. The ECI requires that a Committee be created composed of at least 7 people representing 7 EU countries; this Committee is supposed to register its initiative with the EU authorities responsible for ECI type initiatives (European Commission); EU has 2 months to “check” the initiative; once its initiative registered at the EU level, the Committee has to register it in every country where it wants to collect signatures with local authorities responsible for “certifying” the signatures, once they are collected; following this “local” registration, the process of collecting signatures may begin; the threshold is 1 million signatures in Europe, with a certain minimum for signatures for each country, the level of the minimum depending on the population size of a given country. The success of this initiative depends on finding allies in other countries to become members of the European Committee and to organize ECI locally. Repealtheact.org.uk - Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act fully supports this Campaign to Repeal the European Climate Package. 

 

The ECI Climate/Energy/CO2 initiative has been launched in Poland a few weeks ago by Mr. Dorn, Member of Parliament, Republic of Poland, former Speaker of the Sejm (Lower Chamber of the Polish Parliament), and the Solidarna Polska party, member of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group in the European Parliament, of which the British member is UKIP. 

 

The Climate Change Act (2008)

 

Under the UK’s Climate Change Act the government is currently legally committed to cutting emissions by 35 per cent by 2022 and 50 per cent by 2025. In contrast, the EU is only committed to cutting emissions 20 per cent by 2020, and while the UK and a number of other countries are lobbying Brussels for this target to be increased to 30 per cent several member states remain resistant to any change. 

  

The economic case for repeal of the CCA is increasing

The UK is the only country in the world that has introduced a long-term legally binding framework to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in an attempt to stop global warming.  

Although it was intended to do good, the Climate Change Act 2008 (CCA) is beginning to have grave social and economic consequences. 

However noble the intentions behind them, the EU’s and UK’s climate and energy policies are too expensive, ambitious, complex and counter-productive. The direct effects of this incautious policy-making are hitting the poor and small businesses the hardest.  People, are already suffering loss of health, security, and employment as the CCA begins to produce material changes in the economy, while producing substantial gains for only a select group of Green companies. 

 

In this, the fourth year of the CCA, it is time to reconsider the policies of drastically reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions and subsidising green energy.

 

There are an increasing number of reports in the press on opposition to the costly climate and energy policies.  Here is a summary across sectors of the economy:

Scrap the carbon floor price in 2012 budget The website Which? is calling on the government to scrap the carbon floor price in the 2012 Budget, and focus on other policies that really will bring on investment in low-carbon generation.

Tim Yeo MP, Chairman of the Energy Select Committee, said the floor price could result in industry and electricity production relocating to other EU countries.Mr Yeo said: 'Unless the price of carbon is increased at an EU-wide level, taking action on our own will have no overall effect on emissions other than to out-source them.' (Which? 12 March 2012).

A Which? Poll asks: Should the Carbon Reduction Commitment be scrapped?

 The CBI and reportedly the Department for Business are calling for the CRC to be scrapped - should the scheme be axed.

63% Yes - it is overly complex and has become a stealth tax

12% Yes - but only if replaced by equivalent increase in climate levy and mandatory carbon reporting

3% No - but it should be reformed to make compliance easier

22% No - the scheme is working well as it is

(Business Green poll 13 March 2012)

 

The Carbon Floor Price - An ineffective tax Which? believes that, “the carbon floor price will not guarantee investment in green generation and will simply result in increased energy costs for consumers.

The government's own figures estimate this tax will add around 1-2% to electricity bills in 2013, rising to 1-6% by 2016.”

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, says: “People are already struggling to manage their energy bills, so it's unacceptable for the government to pile yet more pressure on household budgets.”

Mr Lloyd added: 'It's in all of our interests to tackle climate change, but the government cannot write a blank cheque on consumers' behalf to pay for it.'

Green tax is an unnecessary burden Which? “wants the government to scrap the carbon floor price, a tax on energy firms, in 2012's Budget, as it is believed to be an unnecessary burden on consumers at a time of rising electricity prices.  The carbon floor price is a tax aimed at providing certainty to energy companies that generating low-carbon electricity, like nuclear and wind, will make better long term investments than carbon-intensive methods like coal.”

£278m addition to electricity bills This unnecessary tax is estimated to add £278 million to household electricity bills in the first year, all at a time when energy prices are already climbing and people's incomes are being squeezed.

Institute for Public Policy Research 60,000 more housesholds in fuel poverty The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has estimated that this will push a further 30,000 to 60,000 households into fuel poverty from 2013.

 The CCA is increasing Green fuel poverty A report commissioned by DECC itself indicate that fuel poverty will kill 2,700 people in the UK this winter. This is more people than are killed in UK road deaths. 

 

7.8 million already live in fuel poverty according to a government-commissioned report. The author Prof. John Hills said this is due to rise to 8.5 million by 2016.  

 

Carbon Floor Price will increase fuel poverty to12 million - that is 1 in 4 households! Skyrocketing energy bills and green climate scare taxes on energy bills have forced millions of households into Green fuel poverty and further reports indicate that the proposed Carbon Floor Price will increase this number to12 million. 

  

NHS £850 million on cold related deaths The NHS spends 850 million a year on cold related illnesses.

 

The Green Deal won’t work DECC figures show that the take-up of the green deal is expected to be very low. The Government's official independent advisers warned the green deal was set to fail, reaching just 2-3 million households of the 14 million targeted.

 

Food manufactures have warned us that soaring energy costs are increasing food prices.

UK food producers currently face energy bills that are 10% higher than rivals in Germany  and the gap is set to widen to 15% in April 2013, when the government introduces the Carbon Floor Price - these cost will be passed on to the consumer.

 

Air travel is becoming increasingly unaffordable. The UK has the highest flight tax in the world. UK charges are 8.5 times more than the average in the rest of Europe. City analysts estimate that the cost for airlines of joining the ETS will be around €1bn this year and €10.4bn in total between now and the end of 2020. By then, it will cost airlines some €3bn annually. The new green taxes will inevitably increase the cost for airlines and much of this will be passed on to passengers.

 

 

David Davis MP writes in the FT, “George Osborne must also recognise that our energy policy drives up prices, damages business and costs jobs. So he should scrap our pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. This and other “green” policies have caused huge rises in energy costs for business. The effect on energy-intensive industries is particularly acute. Second, we should cut costly subsidies for inefficient and unsightly wind farms. In private, ministers brag about being ahead of their wind power targets. That means the subsidies, costing more than £500m a year, are too generous.” (Financial Times 13 March 2012)

Green Investment Bank will be a sub-prime bank

[The Green Investment Bank] will be a sub-prime bank, because the Government have said that it will not accept prime investment opportunities, which will be left to the market. The bank will be able to lend only to those opportunities that are not attractive to industry — despite huge subsidies, quotas, publicity and fashion. In short, it will be able to lend only to the sub-prime opportunities.” (Peter Lilley MP)

House of Commons debate on Jobs and Growth in a Low-carbon Economy, 5 March 2012

 

Mr Peter Lilley MP (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): “My right hon. and hon. Friends on the Government Front Bench will probably be relieved to hear that I do not intend on this occasion to dispute the wisdom of the renewables targets that we have imposed on ourselves or had imposed upon us by the European Union. If we take those targets as given, we must accept the need to tax or ration fossil fuels and to subsidise or set quotas for renewables if we are to meet them. However, I dispute the premise that appears to underlie contributions to the debate from both sides of the House: that the move from low-cost energy to high-cost energy can generate jobs or growth. Such a move might be necessary, but we delude ourselves if we imagine that it will have either of those effects.

 

Subsidies can boost employment in the area that is subsidised, just as taxes can reduce employment in the area that is taxed, but the suggestion that subsidies can produce a net increase in additional jobs, as the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) suggested, is a delusion. It is self-evident nonsense and involves abolishing the rules of arithmetic, because we would destroy as many jobs with the taxes we would have to levy to pay for the subsidies as the subsidies given at other points would create. That is essentially the green version of the old broken windows fallacy, according to which we can create jobs by breaking someone’s windows because the householder would have to employ a glazier, who would have to employ glassmakers and the people who produce the other raw materials. That fallacy was destroyed ages ago and should not be reproduced by Members on either Front Bench...The idea that we can boost productivity by replacing competitive sources of energy with uncompetitive sources of energy is so ludicrous that it is strange it has passed without comment today. We have a need for electricity generation. 

 

If we invest a certain amount of money in wind, which is four times as expensive as gas turbines, we will get for a given investment only one quarter of the electricity that we would if we relied on gas turbines. With onshore generation we will get half the electricity that we would from gas, so the idea that we can boost growth through low-productivity, high-cost industries is nonsense, and we should cease deluding ourselves that we can. It has been suggested that we might be able to generate jobs in the supply industries for those forms of energy, but it is nonsense to suppose that subsidising the use of renewable technologies automatically results in an increase in the domestic production of equipment for them. It manifestly has not; there is no reason to suppose that it should; the Government are not allowed to give subsidies to those equipment suppliers under EU rules; and in any case the record of Governments trying to pick winners is lamentable and miserable, so it is probably just as well that they cannot.”(Peter Lilley MP)

 

Local authorities ditch CO2 targets

Evidence for the lack of support for decarbonisation at a local government level is reflected in a report by the Green Alliance which concludes local councils have other priorities more important than reducing carbon dioxide emissions. In fact:

“climate change work has narrowed, is very weak or absent in 65 per cent of local authorities.” (Green Alliance)

 

Economic growth is a high priority

A recent survey, which also found that, "a third of Britons would foster economic growth even at the risk of damaging the environment". (Angus Reid Public Opinion).  

 

At the 2011 Conservative Party Conference, the Chancellor, George Osborne argued: 

that the government should not adopt green targets that damage the business sector, and expressed concerns that the climate and energy policy is:

...piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies...

 

We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business... So let’s at the very least resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe.”

 

The UK produces less than 2% of global CO2 emissions The UK accounts for less than 2% of CO2 emissions. China is the greatest emitter (accounting for 23.6% of total emissions), followed by the USA (17.9%) and India (5.5%). Taking the EU27 in total, the bloc accounted for 12.3% of emissions, approximately half of China’s. The UK’s cuts in CO2 emissions will have no meaningful effect on the global climate - therefore the CCA’s unilateral action is futile.

 

The Climate Change Act’s two key aims have failed:

The aim to "demonstrate UK leadership internationally" and to get a "global agreement at Copenhagen in December 2009." 

This aim failed at Copenhagen, then Cancun and Durban, because other nations are not prepared to sign up to an agreement to reduce their CO2 emissions, make energy more expensive and put jobs and their economies at risk.   


Naivety, moral idealism and sheer arrogance

This aim of gaining an international agreement was little more than futile gesture politics and perhaps tells us more about the naivety, moral idealism and sheer arrogance and of Friends of the Earth, Baroness Byrony Worthington, and David and Ed Miliband, who drafted the Climate Change Bill, than anything else. 

 

Matthew Sinclair on the failure to get climate agreement at Durban-COP 17

At the end of the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban Matthew Sinclair  commented that, “Climate economist Richard Tol has set out the poor progress at the conference compared to Bali all the way back in 2007.  He writes that the Durban Platform "pledges an agreement by 2015. It replaces the Bali Roadmap, which pledged an agreement by 2009. Once more, the countries of the world agreed to agree at a later stage."  And that the extension of the Kyoto targets to 2015 "creates the diplomatic illusion of having saved the Kyoto Protocol, but all countries that are bound by Kyoto had already adopted unilateral targets that are more stringent. Well, the EU has, and Canada, Japan, and Russia have already indicated that they will not take seriously this part of the Durban agreement." (Taxpayers’ Alliance Matthew Sinclair wrote in Conservative Home on Dismal Durban 12 December 2011)

How do British politicians best respond to that situation?

Sinclair argues, “Britain, well under two per cent of the global total.  The current plan that will see us investing around £200 billion in moving to expensive sources of energy like offshore wind doesn't achieve much despite the huge price tag.  It needs to be abandoned.

Moving away from the targets and subsidies regime will be painful.  There have been angry protests from environmentalists and special interests in business even at cuts to the most absurdly generous tariffs for solar panels. But given how it is already fraying around the edges following the announcement of the Osborne Doctrine, do politicians really think they can maintain the political cartel sustaining current unilateral policy till at least 2015, particularly if there continues to be severe pressure on living standards?

Ever since Copenhagen there has been an opportunity for British politicians to think again, to adopt a plan that is more realistic in light of the limits of any global political process.  And reform climate policy to make it more affordable for families with so many pressures on their finances. They need to seize that opportunity now.” (Taxpayers’ Alliance Matthew Sinclair wrote in Conservative Home on Dismal Durban 12 December 2011)

 

The Climate Change Act’s aim to reduce global carbon dioxide emission has failed. Emissions have increased by 5.8 %

Global emissions jumped by 5.8 per cent in 2010, while gross domestic product (GDP) increased by just 5.1 per cent in 2010 – resulting in a 0.6 per cent rise in carbon intensity. The UK recorded the third highest increase in carbon intensity among the G20 group of leading economies last year, as hard-up consumers and companies increasingly dropped green considerations in the pursuit of the cheapest, short-term option. Furthermore, three bitterly cold winters, left people with no option but to turn up their heating.

 

The Emissions Trading Scheme €6 billion tax fraud

The collapse and abolition of the EST would be most welcome news for European consumers as €6 billion has been added to energy bills due to carbon trading tax fraud.  

 

Wind Farms? No thanks! 

Heritage sites around the country will be ruined by wind farms after 300ft turbines were given the go ahead near one of England's most important historic ruins, the National Trust warned yesterday.

 

Recommended reports on climate & energy policy

 

Adam Smith Institute, Renewable Energy: Vision or Mirage? By Hugh Sharman, Bryan Leyland & Martin Livermore, December 2011

Centre for Policy Studies,  The Atomic Clock: How the Coalition is gambling with Britain’s energy policy, Tony Lodge, January 2012.

CIVITAS, CO2.1: Beyond the EU's Emissions Trading System By David Merlin-Jones, Michael Laughton

CIVITAS, Electricity Costs: The folly of wind-power, by Ruth Lea, January 2012.

Policy Exchange, The Full Cost to Households of Renewable Energy Policies,February 2012.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Minerals and Metals Scarcity in Manufacturing:The

          Ticking Timebomb, Sustainable Materials Management, December 2011. 

Financial Times, Call to Abolish the Carbon Floor Price, by David Blair, 11 September 2011.

Renewable Energy Foundation, Energy Policy and Consumer Hardship,December 2011.

Water Wye Associates: The Cumulative Impact of Climate Change Policies on UK Energy Intensive Industries, March 2011.

Chartered Institute of Housing, The Green Deal Won’t Tackle Fuel Poverty,January 2012.

 Sam Arie The Guardian, Five reasons the ‘green deal’ policy on energy saving won’t work

Analysis of UK Wind Power Generation report, by John Muir Trust, March 2011

         The Spectator: The Policies Behind Your Energy Bills 

Analysis of UK Wind Power Generation report March 2011, by John Muir Trust

Matt Ridley's The Shale Gas Shock report on the shale gas revolution.

George Monbiot, The Guardian, Are we really going to let ourselves be duped into this solar panel rip-off?

The Economist Debates: Renewables: This house believes that subsidising renewable energy is a good way to wean the world off fossil fuels.  Against the motion: Robert Bradley Jr, Defending the motion: Matthias Fripp

Nigel Lawson, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming

Daniel Ben-Ami, Ferraris for All: In Defence of Economic progress

Matt Sinclair, Let Them Eat Carbon 


MIT Prof Richard Lindzen’s seminar:

Global warming How to approach the science 

(Climate models and the evidence?)

 

Global warming is “trivially true”

“Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition”

 

This is summary of the key points from MIT Professor Richard Lindzen’s seminar on global warming on 22nd February 2012 at the House of Commons in committee room 14. (A video and seminar slides are posted on our website www.repealtheact.org.uk)    

Prof Richard Lindzen:I wish to thank the Campaign to Repeal the Climate Change Act for the opportunity to present my views on the issue of climate change – or as it was once referred to: global warming.

 

Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.

 

Here are two statements that are completely agreed on by the IPCC.  It is crucial to be aware of their implications.

 

1.  A doubling of CO2, by itself, contributes only about 1C to greenhouse warming.  All models project more warming, because, within models, there are positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds, and these feedbacks are considered by the IPCC to be uncertain. 

  

2.  If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C.  The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings 

from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments. Given the above, the notion that alarming warming is ‘settled science’ should be offensive to any sentient individual, though to be sure, the above is hardly emphasized by the IPCC.

 

Carbon Dioxide has been increasing

There is a greenhouse effect

There has very probably been about 0.8 C warming in the past 150 years

Increasing CO2 alone should cause some warming (about 1C for each doubling)

There has been a doubling of equivalent CO2 over the past 150 years

 

Nothing on the [above] is controversial among serious scientists.

Nothing on the [above] implies alarm. Indeed the actual warming is consistent with less than 1C warming for a doubling.

Unfortunately, denial of the facts on the left, has made the public presentation of the science by those promoting alarm much easier.  They merely have to defend the trivially true points on the left; declare that it is only a matter of well known physics; and relegate the real basis for alarm to a peripheral footnote – even as they slyly acknowledge that this basis is subject to great uncertainty.  We will soon see examples of this by the American Physical Society and by Martin Rees and Ralph Cicerone. 

The usual rationale for alarm comes from models.  The notion that models are our only tool, even, if it were true, depends on models being objective and not arbitrarily adjusted (unfortunately unwarranted assumptions). However, models are hardly our only tool, though they are sometimes useful.  Models can show why they get the results they get.  The reasons involve physical processes that can be independently assessed by both observations and basic theory.  This has, in fact, been done, and the results suggest that all models are exaggerating warming.

The details of some such studies will be shown later.

 

Quite apart from the science itself, there are numerous reasons why an intelligent observer should be suspicious of the presentation of alarm.

 

1. The claim of ‘incontrovertibility.’  Science is never incontrovertible. 

 

2. Arguing from ‘authority’ in lieu of scientific reasoning and data or even elementary logic.

 

3. Use of term ‘global warming’ without either definition or quantification. 

 

4. Identification of complex phenomena with multiple causes with global warming and even as ‘proof’ of global warming.

 

5. Conflation of existence of climate change with anthropogenic climate change.

 

Some Salient Points:

 

1. Virtually by definition, nothing in science is ‘incontrovertible’ – especially in a primitive and complex field as climate.  ‘Incontrovertibility’ belongs to religion where it is referred to as dogma.

 

2. As noted, the value of ‘authority’ in a primitive and politicized field like climate is of dubious value – it is essential to deal with the science itself.  This may present less challenge to the layman than is commonly supposed. 

 

Consider the following example:

Two separate but frequently conflated issues are essential for alarm: 

1) The magnitude of warming, and 

2) The relation of warming of any magnitude to the projected catastrophe.


1. Questionable data.  (Climategate and involvement of all three centers tracking global average temperature anomaly.)  This is a complicated ethical issue for several reasons.  Small temperature changes are not abnormal and even claimed changes are consistent 

with low climate sensitivity.  However, the public has been mislead to believe that whether it is warming or cooling – no matter how little – is of vital importance.  Tilting the record slightly is thus of little consequence to the science but of great importance to the public perception.

2. More sophisticated data is being analyzed with the aim of supporting rather than testing models (validation rather than testing). That certainly has been my experience during service with both the IPCC and the National Climate Assessment Program.  It is also evident in the recent scandal concerning Himalayan glaciers.

(Note that in both cases, we are not dealing with simple measurements, but rather with huge collections of sometimes dubious measurements that are subject to often subjective analysis – sometimes referred to as ‘massaging.’)

3. Sensitivity is a crucial issue.  This refers to how much warming one expects from a given change in CO2 (usually a doubling). It cannot be determined by assuming that one knows the cause of change.  If the

cause is not what one assumes, it yields infinite sensitivity.  This problem infects most attempts to infer climate sensitivity from paleoclimate data.

4. Models cannot be tested by comparing models with models. Attribution cannot be based on the ability or lack thereof of faulty models to simulate a small portion of the record.  Models are simply not basic physics.

All the above and more are, nonetheless, central to the IPCC reports that supposedly are ‘authoritative’ and have been endorsed by National Academies and numerous professional societies.

Where do we go from here?

Given that this has become a quasi-religious issue, it is hard to tell.  However, my personal hope is that we will return to normative science, and try to understand 

how the climate actually behaves.   Our present approach of dealing with climate as completely specified by a single number, globally averaged surface temperature anomaly, that is forced by another single number, atmospheric CO2 levels, for example, clearly limits real understanding; so does the replacement of theory by model simulation.  In point of fact, there has been progress along these lines and none of it demonstrates a prominent role for CO2.

It has been possible to account for the cycle of ice ages simply with orbital variations (as was thought to be the case before global warming mania); tests of sensitivity independent of the assumption that warming is due to CO2(a circular assumption) show sensitivities lower than models show; the resolution of the early faint sun paradox which could not be resolved by greenhouse gases, is readily resolved by clouds acting as negative feedbacks.

So far we have approached the science in a somewhat peripheral way.  In the remainder of this talk, we will deal with the science more directly.

As already mentioned, it is essential to know climate sensitivity.  Model predictions depend on positive feedbacks and not just the modest effect of CO2. However, it is first necessary to understand the climate version of the greenhouse effect.

Real nature of greenhouse effect

All attempts to estimate how the climate responds to increasing CO2 depend on how the climate greenhouse actually works.  Despite the concerns with the greenhouse effect that have dominated environmental thinking for almost a quarter of a century, the understanding of the effect is far from widespread.  

Part of the reason is that the popular depiction of the effect as resulting from an infrared ‘blanket’ can be seriously misleading, and, as a result, much of the opposition that focuses purely on the radiation is similarly incorrect.  The following description is, itself, somewhat oversimplified; however, it is probably adequate for understanding the underlying physics.

First, one must recognize that the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere in contact with the surface, is a dynamically mixed layer.  For a gaseous atmosphere, mixing requires that the resulting atmosphere is characterized by temperature decreasing with altitude.  The rate of decrease is approximately 6.5K/km which is sometimes taken as an approximation to the moist adiabatic lapse rate, but the real situation is more complicated.  To be sure, in the tropics, the mixing is effected by moist convection, but outside the tropics, the mixing is accomplished mostly by baroclinic eddies.  Moreover, the moist adiabat in the tropics does not have a uniform lapse rate with altitude (viz the ‘hot spot’).  For our immediate purposes, the important facts are that the lapse rate is positive (not zero or negative), and relatively uniform over most of the globe.

Second, one must recognize that gases within the atmosphere that have significant absorption and emission in the infrared (ie greenhouse gases)  radiate to space with a flux characteristic of the temperature of the atmosphere at about one optical depth 

(measured from space downward).  To be sure, this level varies with wavelength, but the average emission level is about 5-6 km above the surface and well within the troposphere.

Third, adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere must elevate the average emission level, and because of the first point, the new emission level is colder than the original emission level.  This reduces the outgoing infrared radiative flux, which no longer 

balances the net incoming solar radiation.  Thus, the troposphere, which is a dynamically mixed layer, must warm as a whole (including the surface) while preserving its lapse rate.

We see that all the models are characterized by positive feedback factors (associated with amplifying the effect of changes in CO2), while the satellite data implies that the feedback should be negative.  Similar results are being obtained by Roy Spencer.

This is not simply a technical matter.  Without positive feedbacks, doubling CO2 only produces 1C warming.  Only with positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds does one get the large warmings that are associated with alarm.  What the satellite data seems to show is that these positive feedbacks are model artifacts.

This becomes clearer when we relate feedbacks to climate sensitivity (ie the warming associated with a doubling of CO2).

Note that when f, the feedback factor, approaches +1, the response blows up.  Presumably, this is what is meant by a tipping point.  For larger values of f, the system is unstable.

The delicate dependence of the amplification on the precise value of the feedback factor – when the feedback factor is greater than about 0.5 – is  important in its own right.

The feedback factor is almost certainly not a true constant since cloud radiative properties depend on aerosols and cosmic rays among other things.  If climate sensitivity is currently large, it is unlikely that over the 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s history that it would not have exceeded one, and then we would not be here discussing this.  The delicate dependence of the amplification on the precise value of the feedback factor – when the feedback factor is greater than about 0.5 – is  important in its own right.

The feedback factor is almost certainly not a true constant since cloud radiative properties depend on aerosols and cosmic rays among other things.  If climate sensitivity is currently large, it is unlikely that over the 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s history that it would not have exceeded one, and then we would not be here discussing this. 

Discussion of other progress in science can also be discussed if there is any interest.  Our recent work on the early faint sun may prove particularly important.  2.5 billion years ago, when the sun was 20% less bright (compared to the 2% change in the radiative budget associated with doubling CO2), evidence suggests that the oceans were unfrozen and the temperature was not very different from today’s.  No greenhouse gas solution has worked, but a negative cloud feedback does.

You now have some idea of why I think that there won’t be much warming due to CO2, and without significant global warming, it is impossible to tie catastrophes to such warming.  Even with significant warming it would have been extremely difficult to make this connection.

Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’  Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition.  Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition.  Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible.  Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating. In the meantime, while I avoid making forecasts for tenths of a degree change in globally averaged temperature anomaly, I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.

  

Simon Carr in reported on the Lindzen seminar in The Independent: 

“Is catastrophic global warming, like the Millennium Bug, a mistake?”

“At a public meeting in the Commons, the climate scientist Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT made a number of declarations that unsettle the claim that global warming is backed by “settled science”. They’re not new, but some of them were new to me.

Over the last 150 years CO2 (or its equivalents) has doubled. This has been accompanied by a rise in temperature of seven or eight tenths of a degree centigrade.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change attributes half this increase to human activity.

Lindzen says: “Claims that the earth has been warming, that there is a Greenhouse Effect, and that man’s activity have contributed to warming are trivially true but essentially meaningless.”

He said our natural body temperature varies by eight tenths of a degree.

He showed a Boston newspaper weather graphic for a day – it had the actual temperature against a background of the highest and lowest recorded temperature for that day. The difference was as much as 60 degrees F.

When you double CO2 there’s a two per cent change in the “radiation budget”. Yet two billion years ago, the sun was 20 to 30 per cent dimmer – and the planet’s temperature was about the same.

The Al Gore graph showing CO2 and temperature rising and falling in tandem showed that the release of CO2 from the oceans was prompted by warming, not vice versa.

He gave us a slide with a series of familiar alarms – melting ice caps, disappearing icebergs, receding glaciers, rising sea levels. It was published by the US Weather Bureau in 1922.

And one further element of the consensus: there’s been no increase in temperature for 15 years.

He concluded with an exposition of science that, frankly, I didn’t follow. However, the reliability and explanatory power of climate models was satirised convincingly. And I found myself believing – or accepting the possibility – that warming would reduce rather than increase tropical storms.

He also said that the IPCC needs “positive feedback mechanisms” to justify anything above a one degree C  increase in their predictions. But: “Observation points to small negative feedbacks.”

How to explain the procession of eminent opinion leaders – some even in our own Royal Society – who advance the tenets of catastrophic global warming? “It is science in the service of politics,” he said.

If Lindzen is right, we will never be able to calculate the trillions that have been spent on the advice of “scientists in the service of politics”.” (Simon Carr The Independent 22nd February 2012)

  

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