Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #538

The Week That Was: 2023-01-28 (January 28, 2023)
Brought to You by SEPP (
The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way—by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!” — Richard Feynman

Number of the Week: 31 years


By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Scope: TWTW will discuss the following issues: SEPP submitted comments to the US Global Change Research Program on the draft of the latest National Climate Assessment (NCA5). Interestingly, many on the staff of NCA5 are representatives of NOAA at North Carolina State University. Although SEPP expects nothing will come of its comments, we presented good scientific points for the record.

Jordan Peterson has an engaging interview of Steven Koonin about the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and similar matters. A University professor at NYU, Koonin has served as the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Science, as Chief Scientist for BP, and as professor and Provost at Caltech. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Governor of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a senior fellow of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and a Trustee of the Institute for Defense Analyses. Koonin holds a BS in physics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from MIT. He wrote: Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, previously reviewed in TWTW.

Tom Nelson has a thought-provoking interview of AMO physicist Howard Hayden “The IPCC does NOT apply the Stefan-Boltzmann law to their results” This goes directly to the false claims by some global climate modelers that their models are based on first principles of physics. This means that they assert their models are based on basic laws of physics where nothing is assumed. As discussed in last week’s TWTW review of Tim Palmer’s book, this is not true. Increasing water vapor is not doubling the temperature impact of carbon dioxide.

One topic in the NCA5 that SEPP did not address is its section on agriculture which invoked the fear of famine. This is discussed and the contradictory evidence is presented.

Jennifer Marohasy presented evidence that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is recording high temperatures without using procedures that meet the standards required by the UN World Meteorological Organization when the Bureau replaced mercury bulb instruments with fast recording probes.

In a column in the Wall Street Journal, Bjorn Lomborg responded to personal attacks about polar bears. His response is discussed on several blogs.

Paul Homewood exposes Covering Climate Now, an organization promoting fear of climate change. It may explain why so many misleading stories appear almost simultaneously in many publications.


Ignoring the Need for Evidence: SEPPs comments on NCA5 are summarized below:

“Stated are some of the reasons why the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) considers the NCA5 inadequate for meeting the stated public purpose. In summary, the USGCRP fails in its mandate to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change for the following reasons:

Point one is covered by the essay by Ian Plimer in the Jan 14 TWTW. Point two is covered by the reports by John Christy and his testimonies to the US Congress. Point three is covered by Roy Spencer’s monthly reports of atmospheric temperature trends in TWTW, and the UAH monthly reports. Points 4 and 5 are presented below:

Ignores Independent Measurements of the Greenhouse Effect: Using over 50 years of atmospheric measurements from spectroscopic instruments on weather balloons, the HITRAN database can be used to directly calculate the greenhouse effects of major greenhouse gases. The database has been discussed in numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers that NCA5 does not consider.

Professors van Wijngaarden (University of York) and Happer (Princeton) used the HITRAN database to calculate the relatively potency of various greenhouse gas molecules and their concentration with altitude. They write:

“Radiation transfer in the cloud-free atmosphere is controlled by the temperature T = T(z) at the altitude z. Fig. 1 [not shown here] shows the midlatitude atmospheric temperature profile. The atmosphere was divided into 5 layers each having constant lapse rate. We characterize the temperature profile with six breakpoints, with temperatures θα = [288.7, 217.2, 217.2, 229.2, 271.2, 187.5] in units of Kelvins at altitudes ζα = [0, 11, 20, 32, 47, 86] in km, where α = 0, 1, …, 5. Each of the 5 atmospheric layers was further subdivided into 100 sublayers. [Boldface added]

“The standard concentrations for the ith greenhouse gas, C {i} sd , based on observations [6, 15, 16], are shown as functions of altitude on the right of Fig. 1. The sea level concentrations for 2020 were estimated to be 7,750 ppm of H2O, 1.8 ppm of CH4, 0.32 ppm of N2O and 10 ppt of SF6. The O3 concentration peaks at 7.8 ppm at an altitude of 35 km, while the concentrations of CO2 and CF4 were 400 ppm and 86 ppt respectively, at all altitudes. Integrating the concentrations over an atmospheric column having a cross sectional area of 1 cm2 yields the column number density of the ith type of molecule Nˆ {i} sd listed in Table 1.” (not included here)

This figure shows that the concentration of water vapor drops rapidly with altitude in the troposphere, unlike CO2 which is constant. The drop in concentration of water vapor corresponds with the drop in temperature in the troposphere, the well-established lapse rate of temperature. Note that the HITRAN database permitted Prof. Wijngaarden and Happer to divide the troposphere, 8 to 14 km, into 500 sublayers – a degree of precision that is impossible in the ensemble procedure used in global climate models.

For global climate models, a typical grid for the entire atmosphere has vertical grids as few as 2 to as many as about 20. Typical global models have a horizontal grid spacing of about 500 km (300 miles). Most global models have resolution too coarse to recognize the Great Lakes, and some ignore the Florida peninsula. With such coarse resolution, the models do not embody the atmospheric temperature lapse rate that has been known for over 50 years.

Palmer describes how climate modeling has run strongly into diminishing returns. As computer power increases, grid layers are added or grid boxes made smaller, but the return on the effort is rapidly becoming smaller. This limit is largely ignored by those supporting the modeling community, however it indicates that a new approach is needed, such as the one being used by Wijngaarden and Happer. Using HITRAN, they are able to calculate an upper bound for warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide using fixed relative humidity. That number is about 1.4 C, far less than the average found in NCA5.” [Boldface added]

Ignores Basic Physics: The Stefan-Boltzmann law is well established and widely used in physics and engineering. It is the law upon which all infrared thermometers work. It states that the radiation emitted from the surface of an object in space is equal to a constant times the temperature in Kelvin raised to the fourth power. It is amazing, yet true, that the IPCC, upon whose musings NCA5 relies, has never applied this important law to their predicted temperatures. Had they done so, they would immediately see the absurdity of their results: the predicted temperatures lead to surface radiation far in excess of the predicted ability of the greenhouse gases to restrain it. There can be no excuse for NCA5 to ignore this important IPCC failure.” [Boldface added]

The bulk of the staff listed in NCA5 are representatives of NOAA. We expect that the ideologically driven staff will not make any effort to make necessary changes to NCA5 to have it conform to physical evidence. Essentially NCA5 involves an imaginary atmosphere barely related to that of Earth. See link under Defending the Orthodoxy.


Complex Problems: In a wide-ranging interview conducted by Jordan Peterson, Steven Koonin discusses what he has learned in his varied career. He spent 5 years as chief scientist at BP, a large part of it learning what many academics do not understand about the petroleum industry. Although this experience is used by critics to accuse him of being a shill for the industry, Koonin knows things about the industry the critics fail to realize, including its enormous scale. To think Europe and North America can easily replace fossil fuels with power from wind and solar is preposterous.

Also, Koonin learned that the industry is about making money legally and predictably. Reliability is key, and it is far more difficult than just balancing equations. Getting rid of chemical fuels is difficult, no matter what the popular press claims. Making chemical fuels from biological sources is extremely difficult. The cost of breaking down cellulose is daunting and little progress is being made.

Germany is discovering some of the difficulties of replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar. They have a term for the problem which translates to “dark stillness” which is to be expected from wind and solar power. Simply, wind and solar can be supplemental, but it cannot be the backbone of a modern electrical grid. Germany ignored scientific and technological-economic realities.

The North American standard for grid reliability is one day of failure every ten years (99.97% reliability). Wind and solar cannot hope to match it. For other than hydro or nuclear power, we must choose two of three characteristics: reliable, affordable, or non-CO2 emitting? If we go heavily into unreliable systems. such as wind and solar, for a continuous supply of electricity, two parallel systems are needed. How do you compensate the system that is not being employed? Climate and energy are complex, nuanced subjects for which soundbites do not work.

Koonin asks what is the morality of denying 6.5 billion people access to affordable energy which about 1.5 billion people enjoy.

In addressing the claims arising from IPCC reports, Koonin discusses that since 1900 the globe has warmed about 1.3°C. We have seen the greatest improvement in human betterment ever seen. Per capita GDP has gone up by 7, longevity up from 32 years to 72 years, literacy up, extreme poverty down. Another 1.3°C increase will not reverse the progress we have made. The notion of a climate catastrophe is nonsense. It is not based on data in the IPCC reports.

What do the IPCC reports actually say? They cannot find trends in the data – storms, sea level rise, etc. The reports concentrate on human induced climate change and largely ignore natural changes. If one compares summaries with actual reports – there is a huge disconnect. The disconnect grows with reporting, politicians, etc. No reason to ring alarm bells.

Koonin goes into the benefits of adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Plants do not lose water as rapidly – there has been a 40% increase in greening the earth since the 1980s. Agriculture yields are greater. These factors are far more important to humanity than climate change.

In discussing mass extinctions that are now being claimed even by geologists, Koonin asks how well have they reproduced the past? This question highlights why TWTW considers the scales of time discussed by Ian Plimer important. If you don’t understand the past, you cannot reliably forecast the future. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy – Bandwagon Science.


Standards of Failing: Tom Nelson’s interview of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) physicist Howard Hayden begins with Hayden explaining that he tries to keep all energy discussions in standardized units meaning international system units – joules. (one kilowatt hour (kWh) a measure of consumption is equal to 3,600,000 joules).

Since its second assessment report (SAR, 1995), the IPCC has produced heat balance charts of the globe. But it has produced no heat balance charts for any of its predictions for any of its models. It can’t, because using the Stefan-Boltzmann law, its forecasts produce absurd results with increases in surface emission far exceeding the predicted radiative forcing needed to block them.

If the surface increases by 3°C, then the Stefan-Boltzmann law says the surface emissions increase by 16.7 W/m2. According to the IPCC a likely range 2°C to 5°C, then Stefan-Boltzmann law says surface emissions must increase by 11.1 to 28.1 W/m2. The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6, 2021) is the first to mention the Stefan-Boltzmann law explicitly. AR 6 states adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will increase greenhouse blocking by greenhouse gases by 3.7 W/m2 – totally inconsistent with the claimed increase in temperatures. The IPCC is dealing with an imaginary atmosphere. See Ignores Basic Physics above, and link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Staggering Agricultural Increase: Although the US Department of Agriculture participates in NCA5, it ignores the staggering increase in farm productivity since 1900, when about 40% of the US workforce was directly involved in agriculture. Today, it is less than 2%. This decrease results from replacing working farm animals (estimated by to 21.6 million in 1900) with more efficient and lower maintenance equipment such as tractors, developing high bred and GMO crops, use of manufactured fertilizer, etc.. Those who dream of a simpler life on the farm never experienced rural poverty on a cold, winter morning with no running water and flush toilets. Writing in India, Vijay Javaraj gives an indication of the transformation that is occurring there and in the developing world, which environmentalists wish to stop. See link under Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine and


Quality Control: Jennifer Marohasy asserts that:

“Available Australian Bureau of Meteorology parallel maximum temperature data for Mildura – temperatures recorded from both a mercury thermometer and a platinum resistant probe on the same day in the same shelter – show no equivalence. They are different,”

The Bureau has made many replacements without noting the difference in instruments. The platinum resistance probes record almost instantaneously while mercury bulb thermometers require a few minutes. A few minutes can be a major difference when recording daily high temperatures.  This is but one example of the need for standardization periods when instruments are replaced. Such standardization periods are generally ignored by those reporting surface temperatures. Roy Spencer and John Christy have carefully maintained records when satellite instruments are changed or appear to make unusual recordings of atmospheric temperature trends. See links under Measurement Issues – Surface and Litigation Issues.


Real Polar Bear Numbers? Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bjorn Lomborg stated that polar bear numbers are increasing. So called “fact checkers” personally criticized his research. Separately, the issue is discussed well by Paul Homewood and Susan Crockford. It appears that “fact checkers” don’t know where to find facts. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.


News Blasts: Questionable “facts” are quickly spread by the modern media. Paul Homewood has found one organization partially responsible: Covering Climate Now. Its website states:

“We help our news media colleagues cover the defining story of our time with the rigor and urgency it deserves.”

“Co-founded by the Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation in association with The Guardian and WNYC in 2019, CCNow’s 460-plus partners include some of the biggest names in news, and some of the smallest, because this story needs everyone. In addition to three of the world’s biggest news agencies — Reuters, Bloomberg, and Agence France Presse — each of which provides content to thousands of other newsrooms, our partners include CBS News, NBC and MSNBC News, Noticias Telemundo, PBS NewsHour, Univision, Al Jazeera; most of the biggest public radio stations in the US; many flagship newspapers and TV networks in the Americas, Europe, and Asia; and dozens of leading magazines and journals, including Nature, Scientific American, Rolling Stone, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and Mother Jones.”

“Under partners, Institutions:

American Geophysical Union & Eos Magazine; Climate Central & Climate Matters George Mason University; Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy; MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative; Princeton University; UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism; The Lancet Countdown on Climate Change and Health”

Separately, Robert Bryce discusses the Climate Imperative Foundation which he terms as:

“the newest and richest anti-hydrocarbon, anti-natural gas group you’ve never heard of.”

He identifies the four individuals who fund the foundation heavily. What people do with their money is their business, except when they try to persuade people to think and act differently. A century ago, Andrew Carnegie gave a fortune to libraries to help people to learn and think independently, dispelling myths. Today, it appears some philanthropists are giving fortunes to promote group think, expanding myths. See links under Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda and Funding Issues


Beyond Groupthink: The 15th Climate Change Conference by The Heartland Institute will be held from February 23 to 25, 2023, at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista in Orlando, Florida. It will feature over 40 speakers, including members of the SEPP Board of Directors, Willie Soon and David Legates. Tom Sheahen, Howard “Cork” Hayden, and Ken Haapala will address the question: “Is Climate Science Scientific?” (title may change) See


Number of the Week: 31 years It has taken the IPCC 31 years (from the first report, 1990 to AR6, 2021) to recognize the Stefan-Boltzmann law which is well established and widely used in physics and engineering. It is the law upon which all infrared thermometers work. It states that the radiation emitted from the surface of an object in space is equal to a constant times the temperature in Kelvin raised to the fourth power. And during this time the science has been settled? See Ignores Basic Physics, above and link under Challenging the Orthodoxy

Suppressing Scientific Inquiry

Extraordinary Resignation by a Geology Professor: ‘I feel the profession…is no longer worthy of my efforts’

By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Jan 25, 2023

Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC

Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science

Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), 2013


Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts

Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), 2014


Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels

By Multiple Authors, Bezdek, Idso, Legates, and Singer eds., Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, April 2019

Download with no charge:

Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming

The NIPCC Report on the Scientific Consensus

By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), Nov 23, 2015

Download with no charge:

Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

S. Fred Singer, Editor, NIPCC, 2008

Global Sea-Level Rise: An Evaluation of the Data

By Craig D. Idso, David Legates, and S. Fred Singer, Heartland Policy Brief, May 20, 2019

Challenging the Orthodoxy

Unsettled: Climate and Science | Dr. Steven Koonin

By Jordan Peterson, Via WUWT, Jan 17, 2023

Howard Hayden: “The IPCC does NOT apply the Stefan-Boltzmann law to their results

By Tom Nelson, Podcast, Jan 10, 2022

#59 Howard Hayden: “the IPCC does NOT apply the Stefan-Boltzmann law to their results” – YouTube

Time for an eye exam

By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, Jan 25, 2023

[SEPP Comment: Summary of the controversy regarding the “Iris Effect” as expressed by Richard Lindzen in his interview by Jordan Paterson.]

Demystifying “greenhouse gas” claims – Part 3

By Fred F. Mueller, No Tricks Zone, Jan 27, 2023

“Measurements Show Cloud Effects Are Real, Far Stronger Than Effects Of “Greenhouse Gases”

Temperatures Are Not Becoming More Extreme

By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Jan 21, 2023


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