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.

Advertisements

Climate Change Doesn’t Affect NWS Forecasts

How long would firemen remain the nation’s genial mascot if they forced you to move into a hotel for a few days because you smelled smoke in the garage? As you were wondering if ten years of chainsaw, lawn mower and leaf blower gas cans were about to be launched into a low earth orbit while you waited for firemen to arrive, once the truck arrived the first responders weren’t worried.

They knew in 30 seconds the smell originated in an overheating freezer, and unplugging it solved the problem. But the brass was concerned.

The chief worried that since your house didn’t go up in a giant fireball, you would be so relieved that you’d fail to view the problem as the narrow escape from a fiery death that it was.

Consequently, you might be tempted to plug the freezer back into the socket after they departed; potentially melting you and the lamb chops if the freezer shorted out while you slept.

That’s why, to impress the gravity of the situation on your family, the chief delivered a scary, arm–waving lecture and ordered you to earn two nights of Hilton points at Embassy Suites.

Unlikely you say? Tell that to the National Weather Service.

It was responsible for scaring airlines into canceling 9,000 flights, schools into closing, the federal government into delaying three hours, the DC Metro into cancelling transit services for the handicapped and a variety of other private businesses into shutting down on Tuesday for a storm that put a mere 2 inches on snow on the ground in Washington, DC.

Even worse, the NWS knew “Winter Storm Stella” was going to be more on the order of Snow Shower Sweetie but it refused to revise the forecast. The Associated Press reports, “After announcing that snow could reach record levels in the city, NWS meteorologists in New York and other Northeast cities held a conference call Monday afternoon about computer models that dramatically cut predicted totals.”

Taking a cue from “climate scientists” who never cut back on their hyperventilating over smoldering polar bears – in spite of their computer model’s failure to come close to predicting how the climate has changed – the weather service took a stern line on sleet.

Instead of calling off the evacuation of the Eastern Seaboard, they decided to stick with hysteria. This monumentally bad decision relied on that byword of the modern bureaucrat: “Extreme caution.”

These Chicken Littles felt people wouldn’t view a storm with a potential for just two to seven inches of snow as a harbinger of the apocalypse. Which is right, since it isn’t.

Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Prediction Center observed, “I actually think in the overall scheme that the actions [by states and cities] taken in advance of the event were exceptional.”

If “exceptional” is another word for lunatic overreaction, then right on!

The NWS thought costing taxpayers millions of dollars in lost time, revenue and emergency daycare was a small price to pay if it prevented one granny from slipping on her way to the mailbox.

In their defense the weather wardens at the NWS are under a certain amount of pressure from the incoming Trump administration. Since it rained on him at the inauguration, the president has felt the NWS might be secretly participating in the “resistance.”

I’ve written the NWS is under a severe hiring freeze warning, which comes at a bad time for the organization because it’s been down 650 employees and no has appeared to notice. The solution for the weather mavens is to reinvent the NWS and make it part of the nation’s public safety apparatus, which the Washington Post says might allow NWS to exploit the hiring loophole Trump left for agencies involved in the military, public safety or public health.

If the NWS brass can finesse this textbook example of mission creep, the guy who eyeballs the rain gauge at the airport will join Seal Team 6 on the front lines of homeland defense.

Downgrading “Winter Storm Stella” into “Scattered Flurries Flo” and lifting the No Fly Zone on the East coast might have been accurate, but it wouldn’t enhance the sense of urgency management wants to convey to the White House.

Just mentioning these potential cuts in a previous column was enough to unleash hounds of humidity. My protestations that I’ve had my own Wi–Fi weather station on the roof for years fell on deaf ears connected to a dangerous high–anger zone.

I’ve suggesting the NWS concentrate on getting the data and let the private sector handle the forecasts, which in the case of the Weather Channel have proven to be more accurate. This latest exercise in paternalism and over–reaction hasn’t changed my mind.

Lunch is Finger Lickin’ Good at the National Weather Service

Does your boss supply you with knives, forks, spoons, plates, cups and napkins when you eat lunch? (Fast food employees may feel free to stop reading now.)

The National Weather Service employees serving on the front lines at Fort Climate are angry because Uncle Sam stopped. Who has time to remember the cutlery when you’re fighting “Climate Change?”

Naturally the union filed a grievance, a process where taxpayers again foot the bill, but we are off the hook for place settings.

Complete details in my Newsmax column:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/U-SCommerce-Department-Dan-Sobien-National-Weather-Service/2015/01/22/id/620109/

Participants Revolt Against The Derecho Project

Sustainable Living: So simple a caveman can do it!

It’s unfortunate The Derecho Project — the largest urban global warming mitigation experiment in history — has proven to be an abject failure. Really a shame, too since the project’s design was almost perfect.

The sample was composed of liberal environmentalists in Maryland, D.C. and Arlington who should have been eager to personally have a role in reducing the nation’s carbon footprint.

Final selection for participation in The Derecho Project was entirely random: if a tree fell and knocked out a family’s power, they instantly became part of the sample. No lengthy interviews, affirmative action hurdles or concerns about income disparities since the threat of climate change demands immediate action.

It was a golden opportunity for “green voters” and anyone with an authentic Ken Salazar 10–gallon hat to put their lifestyle where their affectations are. It’s no longer enough to read the Chevy Volt review in the Consumer Reports Auto issue and dream of becoming a climate warrior.

Over one million Maryland, District and Northern Virginia residents were saved the trouble of traveling to the Amazon to sample carbon–neutral living at its finest. This eminently sustainable lifestyle was right here and didn’t involve an encounter with touchy–feely TSA guards. But what did progressives do when they were finally on the front lines of the battle against climate change?

These green exemplars didn’t behave any better than warmist deniers. They huddled in the nearest Starbucks and whined on their Facebook pages about the inhuman hardships they were suffering, all the while estimating how long it would be until the truffles defrost.

If these had been conservatives instead of “environmentally conscious Democrats” they could have turned a quick profit by selling carbon offsets until power was restored. (Then used the money to buy a gasoline generator in preparation for the next Act of Pepco.)

The eagerness of these progressives to re–embrace the electric power grid made them no different from the conservative control group that continued to use electricity blissfully unaware of how their selfish lifestyle threatens to submerge the Solomon Islands beneath the Pacific.

Where were the hardy greens recharging their iPads with solar panels, cooling their house with wind power, enjoying a siesta to adapt their body clocks to new temperature realities and using methane gas from their compost heap to cook dinner?

These examples were nowhere to be found. MD, VA and DC progressives weren’t any more prepared for sustainable living than your average Wal-Mart shopper. Instead we read about extension cords from houses with power snaking across driveways, alleys and streets to reach those without power. Which sounds a lot more like a PWC trailer park than it does Takoma Park.

Having sampled for a week the carbon–neutral lifestyle their environmental policies would condemn third–world residents to for a lifetime, progressives are now screaming for vengeance on any and all power companies.

The WaPost quotes Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D–Tumbrel) demanding Pepco be hit with large fines. “You get to $20 million, you get to $30 million, to $40 million, then you start getting people’s attention,” Berliner said as he confused a quasi–judicial proceeding with an auction.

Large fines sound good and make for a great copy point in a re–election brochure, but fines alone won’t bring true accountability, because a fine doesn’t hold those at the top personally accountable.

The top executives don’t pay fines. The money comes out of stockholder dividends, which in turn penalizes investors — who may have been out of power themselves — and pension plans. The executives have to answer hostile questions during hearings and may hear rumblings in board meetings, but that’s about it.

Real accountability only comes when the executive feels your pain. My solution is any time more than 500 customers lose power, regardless of the reason, regulators flip a switch and all Pepco’s top executives lose power, too.

The executive’s electricity returns after the last customer rejoins the grid.

Finally, am I the only conservative bothered by the media’s use of the term “derecho?” What happened to “severe thunderstorms?” When I was a boy in Oklahoma — one of the largest consumers of thunderstorms and tornadoes in the nation — weather poodles never used this word.

But now its suddenly “derecho” this and “derecho” that. Could it be because “derecho” is also the Spanish word for “right turn?” Is this yet another mainstream media attempt to persuade the public to subconsciously associate conservatives (the “right wing”) with disaster and privation?

How about using the German word for environmentalist? If we’re going foreign, “umweltschützer” not only has that continental flair, but just saying it sounds like thunder in the distance.