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Halloween global warming goblins and ghosts like the 2047 Hawaii classroom project that has the mighty NY Times seeing things that aren’t there

October 12, 2013

10/10/13, “Just in Time for Halloween Come Some Scary Global Warming Predictions,” by Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels,

Global warming beater Justin Gillis of the New York Times had an article yesterday describing a new paper in the current issue of Nature magazine, the point of which seems to be scaring people with alarming global warming statistics.

Gillis’ article “By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past,” describes the results of a class-project-cum-Nature-article headed by Camilo Mora from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (please, no puns). The class assignment was to identify the year for each spot on the globe in which all future years were, according to climate model projections, warmer as a result of greenhouse gas emissions than the warmest year simulated by the models during the historical period 1860 to 2005. Mora and students termed this pivotal year the “climate departure.”

This work is significant, according to Gillis, because:

Thousands of scientific papers have been published about the model results, but the students identified one area of analysis that was missing. The results are usually reported as average temperature changes across the planet. But that gives little sense of how the temperature changes in specific places might compare with historical norms. “We wanted to give people a really relatable way to understand climate,” said Abby G. Frazier, a doctoral candidate in geography.

Perhaps Dr. Mora should have injected a little climate-science history in this class.

Looking at the time that a human climate signal will rise above the background noise is not particularly a novel concept. It’s commonplace. We would guess that a signal-to-noise ratio was probably present in the first papers describing the performance and output of the very first climate models.

After all, without such information it is impossible to put absolute changes in perspective.  Some measure of the statistical significance of climate change has been present in every climate assessment report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change dating back to 1990.

In our presentation to the Science Policy Conference of the American Geophysical Union this summer, we even included a table listing the number of years into the future it would be before projected changes in precipitation across the U.S. rose above the level of nature variability. We guess we just didn’t give that year a catchy enough name like “climate departure,” because our results didn’t capture the attention of the press (nor were they very frightening).

But Gillis does manage to carve some new, scary Jack-o-Lanterns from the Mora study.

Here is his lead paragraph:

If greenhouse emissions continue their steady escalation, temperatures across most of the earth will rise to levels with no recorded precedent by the middle of this century, researchers said Wednesday.

Uh, correct us if we are wrong, but we already thought that global temperatures were reported to be at unprecedented levels in recorded history. According to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report:

Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.

So, is this recycled news, or is the new paper saying that we have to wait until 2047 for that to happen? Well, whatever, it sounds B-A-D.

Or how about this one:

“Go back in your life to think about the hottest, most traumatic event you have experienced,” Dr. Mora said in an interview. “What we’re saying is that very soon, that event is going to become the norm.”

Hot Tub Time Machine came immediately to mind, but Gillis provided another scenario:

With the technique the Mora group used, it is possible to specify climate departure dates for individual cities. Under high emissions, climate departure for New York City will come in 2047, the paper found, plus or minus the five-year margin of error.

How scared should you be about passing the date of “climate departure”?

Not at all.

In Figure 1, we show the complete observed (rather than modeled) history of the annual average temperature from New York City’s Central Park, spanning from 1869 through 2012.

Figure 1. Annual average temperature from New York’s Central Park, 1869-2012 (data from the New York City Office of the National Weather Service).

Here are some not-so-scary facts, that by others would be passed off as horrors:

The average temperature in Central Park for the past 83 years (since 1930) (54.8°F) is greater than the warmest year during the first 39 years of the record (1869-1907) (54.7°F).

There has only been one year in the last 20 years of the record that was colder (by just 0.2°F) than the warmest year during the first twenty years of record.

So essentially, New York City has already reached its “climate departure” date and

Whether the climate departure date in New York was reached as a result of the heat of urbanization, natural climate variability, human-induced global warming, or the likely combination of all three, its passage is of virtually no practical significance.  Yes, it is warmer now that it was 150 years ago.

As concerned as readers of the New York Times might be, they are living twice as long as they did back then, and, in Manhattan, are richer than Croesus.

Science/science policy expert Roger Pielke Jr. put the new Mora article in perspective (although not in the Justin Gillis article, but rather at

But trying to compel action with a stark warning about a future that is coming regardless of what efforts are taken to curb greenhouse gas emissions may be misguided, according to Roger Pielke Jr., a climate policy analyst at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“It is better to design policies that have short-term benefits” such as jobs, energy access or less pollution “which can also address the longer-term challenge of accumulating (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere,” he said. “That is a policy-design problem that we have yet to figure out, and which does not involve trying to scare the public into action.”

But what attention would come to climate change if the researchers, the media, and the government weren’t complicit in trying to scare people into giving up some of their freedoms to try to mitigate it?

Trick or treat? Happy Halloween!”

“Global Science Report is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”” via Junk Science


Following are climate science facts including that US leads the world in CO2 reduction, China dwarfs all other countries in CO2 emissions and will do so for the foreseeable future. If the NY Times believes the above referenced 2047 study is meaningful, that the planet is in grave danger, it should send its entire staff to China to try and convince the Chinese government not to open a new coal plant every week. China is the only country that can significantly change global CO2. On the other hand, if the NY Times isn’t so concerned about the planet and mainly wants the US sign a “global treaty” with the UN, that’s a different story.


1/18/13, UK Met Office says no warming since 1998:

1/18/13, Climate change: scientists puzzle over halt in global warming,” Der Spiegel, by Axel Bojanowski (translation from German). Chart by UK Met Office, via Der Spiegel


Der Spiegel (chart, UK Met Office)  


.6/4/12, Climate change stunner: USA leads world in CO2 cuts since 2006,” Vancouver Observer, Saxifrage

  • —————————————————
8/16/12,Bentek says that (US) power companies plan to retire 175 coal-fired plants over the next five years [by 2017]. That could bring coal’s CO2 emissions down to 1980 levels.”…

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide….

In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that energy related U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels.”…


CO2 US v China, 2005 to 2011, energy related, US EIA (US Energy Dept.), WSJ, April 2013

4/18/13, Rise in U.S. Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions,” WSJ, Russell Gold

U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically in recent years, in large part because the country is making more electricity with natural gas instead of coal.

Energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is widely believed to contribute to global warming, have fallen 12% between 2005 and 2012 and are at their lowest level since 1994, according to a recent estimate by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Energy Department.”...


6/10/13, 2012 US CO2 continues to drop. Chart from IEA report, China continues to rise. (Above chart is thru 2011) :



11/29/12, 134 scientists write to UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon, asking him to desist from blaming climate disasters on global warming that hasn’t happened

Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years.”…“The NOAA “State of the Climate in 2008report asserted that 15 years or more without any statistically-significant warming would indicate a discrepancy between observation and prediction. Sixteen years without warming have therefore now proven that the models are wrong by their creators’ own criterion.”…(2nd parag. fr. end of letter).  Policy actions that aim to reduce CO2 emissions are unlikely to influence future climate. Policies need to focus on preparation for, and adaptation to, all dangerous climatic events, however caused.”…Special to Financial Post, 12/10/12   


BBC discussion suggests a pause in confiscation of taxpayer dollars in the face of dual problems, that temperatures have remained flat since 1998 while CO2 has increased. Money was diverted based on predicted outcomes that didn’t happen whichpeer reviewed literature regards as established yet unexplained:

7/22/13,Andrew Neil on Ed Davey climate change interview critics,BBC, Andrew Neil

Multi-billion dollar “spending decisions, paid for by consumers and taxpayers...might not have been taken (at least to the same degree or with the same haste) if global warming was not quite the imminent threat it has been depicted….The recent standstill in global temperatures is a puzzle. Experts do not know why it is occurring or how long it will last....There is no consensus. Extensive peer-reviewed literature regards it as established yet unexplained. It is widely accepted that the main climate models which inform government policy did not predict it.”...(subhead, “Reputable evidence”)  


30 year peer reviewed scientific study, Jan. 1980-Dec. 2011, finds in all cases CO2 lags temperatures, never precedes temperature change. Scientists: “The common notion of globally dominant temperature controls exercised by atmospheric CO2 is in need of reassessment.”
January 2013,The phase relation between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature,” Global and Planetary Change,

Ole Humluma, b, Corresponding author contact information, E-mail the corresponding author,Kjell Stordahlc, Jan-Erik Solheimd 

a Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1047 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway, b Department of Geology, University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), P.O. Box 156, N-9171 Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, c Telenor Norway, Finance, N-1331 Fornebu, Norway, d Department of Physics and Technology, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway

[Green line is global CO2, red line is surface temps., blue line is ocean temps., Jan. 1980-Dec. 2011]


Using data series on atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures we investigate the phase relation (leads/lags) between these for the period January 1980 to December 2011….

In our analysis we use eight well-known datasets: 

1) globally averaged well-mixed marine boundary layer CO2 data, 2) HadCRUT3 surface air temperature data,
3) GISS surface air temperature data,
4) NCDC surface air temperature data,
5) HadSST2 sea surface data,
6) UAH lower troposphere temperature data series,
7) CDIAC data on release of anthropogene CO2, and
8) GWP data on volcanic eruptions.”…


Washington Post: China erased US CO2 improvements in 2011:

China was the biggest contributor (in 2011), with carbon dioxide output growing 9.3 percent.” (3rd parag.)

5/25/12, U.S. cut its carbon emissions in 2011 — but China erased the gains, Washington Post, Brad Plumer


Developing countries’ CO2 emissions from fossil fuel far exceed those of industrialized nations:

Although emissions from developing countries now dominate, the industrial countries set the world on its global warming path.”…(scroll down to 3rd graph, this text 2 parags. below)
7/23/13,  “Fossil fuel use pushes carbon dioxide emissions into dangerous territory, Earth Policy Institute, Emily E. Adams

China emitted 4 billion tons more CO2 in 2011 than the US:

2/2/12, “Carbon pollution up to 2 million pounds per second, AP, Seth Borenstein

“The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet’s top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions….

The latest pollution numbers, calculated by the Global Carbon Project, a joint venture of the Energy Department and the Norwegian Research Council, show that worldwide carbon dioxide levels are 54 percent higher than the 1990 baseline.”…

The criminal myth of absent US climate “action:” US politicians invented the climate industry before anyone heard of climate scientists. They’ve diverted trillions of US taxpayer dollars for “climate” purposes for decades: 
Since at least 1990 across 13 U.S. government agencies massive US climate “action” and spending to save the global atmosphere have been mandated via the U.S. Global Change Research Act of 1990.US politicians didn’t need science. They had the best money making scheme ever in the history of humanity: the permanent crisis of human-induced and natural processes of global change” (Title 1…Section 101) indefinitely. Section 4 cites the desirability of reducing CO2: SEC. 204. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH INFORMATION OFFICE….Such information shall include, but need not be limited to, results of scientific research and development on technologies useful for…4. promoting the conservation of forest resources which help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere;”…  
Examples of climate cash sought in 2011:
The World Bank runs $2.5 billion in carbon trading funds. “Nobody in that world is critical of the process because they are all making their living off it.”

10/12/10, A carbon trading system draws environmental skeptics,New York Times, Patricia Brett

“In 2008 alone, carbon credit transactions amounted to close to $7 billion, it said. Yet five years after its introduction, and despite several changes, the mechanism remains open to abuse, according to many involved in climate change issues.“The problem is that the whole mechanism is conceptually fundamentally flawed,” said Patrick McCully, executive director of International Rivers, an environmental organization in Berkeley, California, and a consultant for the U.N. Environment Program….China is the most sophisticated player, and they have figured out how to manipulate the baseline to generate as many credits as possible with the least amount of effort,” said Professor David G. Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego.”…
.At Dec. 2010 Cancun ‘climate summit,China threatened to spew extra poison gas into the atmosphere if anyone messed with the millions in profits it’s making via UN CDM climate deals. (This item near end of article).
12/13/10, “Perverse’ CO2 Payments Send Flood of Money to China,by Mark Schapiro, Yale Environment 360 
6/10/13, “US Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall as Global Emissions Rise,, Paul Knappenberger
A new report from the International Energy Agency is sparking headlines across the media. “Global carbon dioxide emissions soared to record high in 2012” proclaimed USA Today; The Weather Channel led “Carbon dioxide emissions rose to record high in 2012”; and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer added “The world pumped a record amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 2012.”…
Notice that the U.S. is far and away the leader in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, while China primarily is responsible for pushing global CO2 emissions higher. In fact, CO2 emissions growth in China more than offsets all the CO2 savings that we have achieved in the U.S.
This will happen for the foreseeable future. Domestic actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will not produce a decline in the overall atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.  The best we can hope to achieve is to slow the rate of growth of the atmospheric concentration—an effect that we can only achieve until our emissions are reduced to zero. The resulting climate impact is small and transient.”… 


2/26/13, “Tough Truths from China on CO2 and Climate,Andrew Revkin, NY Times, Dot Earth

“I’m way overdue to post excerpts here from an extraordinary recent China Dialogue with Zou Ji, the deputy director of China’s National Center for Climate Change Strategy. (China Dialogue is a fascinating independent dual-language blog…).

The interview is blunt and crystal clear in laying out the demographic and economic realities that will, for many years to come, slow any shift from Chinese dependence on coal. Zou Ji has a remarkable resume for someone now working inside the Chinese establishment, having worked previously as the China director for the World Resources Institute.”…

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