It’s Not the Heat; It’s the Sensitivity in Global Warming

The Heartland Institute’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change was nothing like I expected. When joining a group described in pejorative terms as “deniers,” one would expect to see furtive movements and disreputable haircuts, yet the crowd displayed good humor and a welcoming attitude.

Even the dour Washington Post, which sees potentially fatal darkness around every corner, described the event as “buoyant,” which will come in handy if the seas continue to rise on Al Gore’s Titanic–like timeline.

Spending time with climate realists shows an informed observer that what he should be looking for is not spectacular climate disasters visible just prior to his agonizing death. Trying to spot herds of tornados tossing Oklahoma into the Gulf of Mexico or perpetual heat waves leaving spontaneous combustion in their wake is simply a waste of time.

The momentous events that drive leftist climate policy aren’t something as mundane as the weather. What really counts are small adjustments to computer programs. Or as Patrick Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, puts it, “He who controls the parameters controls the climate.” Or at least climate policy and how it affects the taxpaying public.

It’s why control–freak leftists are so passionate about the climate. Minute adjustments to confidential computer models produce dramatic disaster scenarios that can only be prevented by massive government control and intervention.

Earlier that morning Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer at the Center for Data Analysis, gave an example of parameter control. The EPA has determined the social cost of carbon is $36 a ton. This figure purports to represent the sum of the net damage across the world of adding another ton of carbon to the atmosphere.

An accurate cost “improves the efficiency of policy” and “putting a price on carbon is the only regulation needed.” But the key word is accurate and takes us back to Michael’s “parameters.”

The EPA price for carbon has been more volatile than Reince Priebus futures under Donald Trump. The cost started out at $21/ton, then jumped to $24 and has now peaked (until the next Democrat takes the White House) at $36/ton.

The price kept jumping not because the damage increased, but because the number was “a political decision.” According to Dayaratna, “The goal was a high price not justified by science.” To get their number EPA bureaucrats cooked the books and based the cost finding on “worst case scenarios” and a world that embraced “zero (carbon) mitigation.”

The EPA’s future featured self–driving Ubers powered by burning wood and a White House heated by dirty coal. The EPA couldn’t even be trusted to follow guidelines for discount rate set by Obama’s Office of Management and Budget. OMB recommended a 7 percent discount rate, but EPA’s calculations used 2.5, 3 and 5 percent, finally setting on the figure that resulted in the highest carbon cost per ton.

Dayaratna’s cost with little adaptation on the part of the government is $18/ton and with extensive adaptation $4/ton.

The difference between the figures is the difference between maintaining your first–world lifestyle or fleeing to Honduras as an economic refugee after the EPA makes modernity unaffordable.

Obama’s lasting legacy is embedded leftist regulations. Even if Donald Trump issues executive orders overturning the EPA’s economy–killing regulation, they won’t take effect because green fanatics will file suit to stop implementation. Their argument will be Trump can’t overturn any of the EPA’s carbon regulations because the EPA has determined carbon is a pollutant. Reversing the “endangerment finding” is the only way to prevent this stalling tactic.

A reversal is only possible if the administration can prove the “endangerment finding” was based on faulty science.

Michaels explains, “The endangerment finding was based on computer models [showing carbon causes warming] and nothing else. If these models are demonstrably failing, the endangerment finding can get thrown out.”

Michaels compared an average based on 102 temperature models with the actual temperature at various altitudes in the atmosphere based over a number of years. The distance between the temperatures predicted by the models and the measured temperature looked like the gap between a husband’s opinion on the acceptable price for a sports car and that of his wife.

“Climate scientists” can’t admit the sensitivity in their models is wrong because then “you admit you’re wrong.” So they continue to use models calibrated to reflect 20th century climate exactly, but break down completely after the turn of the century.

The scientific solution is to change the carbon = pollutant hypothesis since observation doesn’t support it, but “climate science” isn’t science. It’s religion. Which is why the economy’s only hope rests on a carbon atheist in the Oval Office.


EPA Discovers Water Flows Downhill

EPA-river-spill-memeOnly the Obama administration, with it’s special kind of incompetence, could turn a mine that’s been closed for 92 years into an environmental disaster today. That’s exactly what happened when the Keystone Regulators at the Environmental “Protection” Agency decided to dig into a dam holding back dangerously polluted water at the Gold King mine.

According to the incomparable Paul Driessen, rather than sink a small diameter pipe into the dam to analyze the water, the EPA “…used an excavator to dig away tons of rock and debris that were blocking the entrance portal.”

That’s like using a badger to do exploratory surgery.

Only the EPA was surprised when 3 million gallons of water, yearning to breathe free, burst from the dam and cascaded 11,458 feet down the mountainside. EPA environmental “protectors” learned firsthand that toxic water filled with heavy metals like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic flows just as fast as Perrier water and soon the orange flood was far downstream.

To put things in perspective for readers who don’t have much experience with toxic metals or the EPA, a spill of approximately a thermometer’s worth of mercury in a Washington, DC high school resulted in hysteria, immediate evacuation and a school closure that lasted a month.

The water from the EPA’s dump down the mountain, according to Driessen, “is enough to fill a pool the size of a football field (360×160 feet) seven feet deep.” The pollution plume extended from the shattered dam into the Animas and San Juan Rivers and finally washed up in Utah’s Lake Powell.

Residents in the valley, whose river now looked like Rachel Dolezal after her monthly dose of Man Tan, were outraged. First by the spill and then by the 24 hours it took the EPA to notify victims of the scope of the disaster.

Hypocrisy fans will be interested in comparing Obama’s reaction to this environmental accident to that of BP’s Gulf oil spill. After the Deepwater Horizon explosion the president wanted to “know whose ass to kick.” But so far he hasn’t even brandished his putter in the direction of the EPA.

Later when BP CEO Tony Hayward correctly observed that the gulf was “a big ocean” and “the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest,” Obama was outraged. He declared, “[Hayward] wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements.” Yet when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy condescendingly explained the EPA was “very careful,” and the mercury and other poisons “are flowing too fast to be an immediate health threat” — Obama didn’t even pause while lining up his putt.

What’s more, pollution caused by private sector chemical releases is uniquely dangerous. EPA regulations embody a concept known as “linear no threshold” that in layman’s terms means there is no safe level of exposure for humans to lead, cadmium and arsenic, three of the multi–metal cocktail in the Gold King spill. But when the EPA dumps identical substances into the river, McCarthy assures us the water is “restoring itself.”

It’s not quite water into wine, but remains a miraculous transformation nonetheless.

Enviro fanatics and other greenies are circling the Prius’ around EPA headquarters to defend the agency. And I haven’t seen so much as a dead minnow floating on the water in mainstream media coverage of the event.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper visited the Animas River last week on a fact–finding mission and drank several glasses of river water. He then started ripping off his clothes to jump in for a bath, before he was wrestled to the ground.

(The governor actually had a good idea. I’ve long contended the majority of rivers in the US could have been cleaned without EPA regulations and bureaucracy if once a quarter the chairman of the board, president and CEO of every company discharging into a river was required to drink a pitcher of water collected downstream from their plant. After the first handful of cancer deaths the river would have been clean enough for Hickenlooper to bathe in courtesy of motivated members of the private sector.)

For the Navajo Nation located downstream from the EPA disaster, it’s just another example of White Eyes perfidy. The Washington Times reports Russell Begaye discovered the tanker trucks the EPA hired to deliver “water for livestock and crops arrived in dirty oil tanks.”

At first glance this appears to be just another instance of EPA incompetence, but when you recall there are plenty more mines upslope from the Navajos and the EPA is still “protecting” and inspecting, the dirty tanks could be a thoughtful effort on McCarthy’s part to help the Indians build up a tolerance for toxics so the next spill won’t be so dangerous.