Study: We all might be “overestimating climate sensitivity”

posted at 3:11 pm on January 28, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Having heard it straight from President Obama last Monday, the “devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms” looming in our immediate future are all imminent catastrophes fueled by rapid climate change about which we simply must do something right away — but this is exactly the type of alarmist rhetoric that ensures we pursue the types of ineffective, top-down, big-government, expensive, and internationalist solutions that will actually have very little net effectiveness in sincerely addressing the issue.

One of environmentalists’ favorite past-times includes whipping up a certain amount of global-warming frenzy as an excuse to implement their central-planning pipe dreams, but as a new study out of Norway attests, all of the doom-and-glooming might be just a tiny bit exaggerated, via Bloomberg:

After the planet’s average surface temperature rose through the 1990s, the increase has almost leveled off at the level of 2000, while ocean water temperature has also stabilized, the Research Council of Norway said in a statement on its website. After applying data from the past decade, the results showed temperatures may rise 1.9 degrees Celsius if Co2 levels double by 2050, below the 3 degrees predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“The Earth’s mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s,” said Terje Berntsen, a professor at the University of Oslo who worked on the study. “This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity.”

As we have seen time and again throughout history, a top-down government trying to dictate people’s behavioral patterns is a reliable recipe for disaster — if we’re sincere in our efforts to get more efficient with our energy habits, why is more regulation, government, and taxpayer spending almost always the proffered solution? Bjorn Lomborg did the topic justice in last week’s WSJ: All of the radical hysterics informing us of the ostensibly terrifying immediacy of calamitous consequences misdirects our time, money, and attention away from finding affordable, practical alternatives that actually do stand a chance at achieving some of the goals environmentalists are always claiming they’re after.

But if the main effort to cut emissions is through subsidies for chic renewables like wind and solar power, virtually no good will be achieved—at very high cost. The cost of climate policies just for the European Union—intended to reduce emissions by 2020 to 20% below 1990 levels—are estimated at about $250 billion annually. And the benefits, when estimated using a standard climate model, will reduce temperature only by an immeasurable one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

Even in 2035, with the most optimistic scenario, the International Energy Agency estimates that just 2.4% of the world’s energy will come from wind and only 1% from solar. As is the case today, almost 80% will still come from fossil fuels. As long as green energy is more expensive than fossil fuels, growing consumer markets like those in China and India will continue to use them, despite what well-meaning but broke Westerners try to do. …

When innovation eventually makes green energy cheaper, everyone will implement it, including the Chinese. Such a policy would likely do 500 times more good per dollar invested than current subsidy schemes. But first let’s drop the fear-mongering exaggeration—and then focus on innovation.


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So Obama has in fact slowed the rising of the oceans then?

forest on January 28, 2013 at 3:17 PM

As we have seen time and again throughout history, a top-down government trying to dictate people’s behavioral patterns is a reliable recipe for disaster — if we’re sincere in our efforts to get more efficient with our energy habits, why is more regulation, government, and taxpayer spending almost always the proffered solution?

‘Cause it’s Obama’s answer to all issues.

Bitter Clinger on January 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM

We all might be “overestimating climate sensitivity”

Who is this “we all” that the author alludes to? Mice in pockets hardest hit?

HotAirian on January 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Case closed, end of discussion.

Galt2009 on January 25, 2013 at 7:03 PM

that’s not how it usually works.

sesquipedalian on January 25, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Tell that to Mr Big Oil, Al “the science is settled” Gore.

Resist We Much on January 25, 2013 at 9:00 PM

you’d think that the difference between the declarations of anonymous commenter “Galt2009″ and the consensus opinion of 99% of nature scientists would be rather obvious.

sesquipedalian on January 25, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM

As the Talking Heads would say: Stop Making Sense. We must redistribute wealth immediately to solve all problems.

John the Libertarian on January 28, 2013 at 3:23 PM

“This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity.”

No shit! Now put this dunce cap on and go sit in the corner for the next 100 years!

GarandFan on January 28, 2013 at 3:26 PM

It was never about the climate. It was always about money and power. I present Al Gore as the prime example.

RebeccaH on January 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Well, I wouldn’t think that you would know that 99% of “nature scientists” do not agree.

I don’t feel like debating this stupid topic, but will give you 2 big names that have changed their minds about the “settled science” recently:

#1: James Lovelock, THE BLOODY FATHER OF THE GAIA THEORY and early influencer of Al Gore.

The Creator of The Gaia Theory: The Science Is Not Settled

‘I made a mistake’: Gaia theory scientist, James Lovelock, admits his previous claims about the deadly impact of climate change were too ‘alarmist.’

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear cut, but it hasn’t happened. The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world. [The temperature] has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.”

– James Lovelock, environmental scientist

“I was too ‘alarmist’ about climate change & so was Gore! The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago.”

– James Lovelock, ‘Gaia’ scientist reversing himself, MSNBC 23 April 2012

“The great climate science centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We haven’t got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models, but he said they hadn’t got the physics right yet and it would be five years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to prevent events 50 years from now? They’ve employed scientists to tell them what they want to hear. The Germans and the Danes are making a fortune out of renewable energy. I’m puzzled why politicians are not a bit more pragmatic about all this.”

– James Lovelock, 29 March 2010

And, #2: Fritz Vehrenholt

“I feel duped on climate change.”

– Fritz Vehrenholt, a GIANT and EVANGELIST in the global warming movement

“The climate catastrophe is not occurring.”

– Fritz Vehrenholt, in his book “Die Kalte Sonne” (The Cold Sun)

The science isn’t “settled,” but your mind is locked and will not change until the Cult of Gaia comes up with different apocalyptic histrionics and climate-Armageddon-prop.

Resist We Much on January 25, 2013 at 10:26 PM

btw, lovelock was always a nut

sesquipedalian on January 25, 2013 at 10:40 PM

So what does that say about Nobel Laureates, Al Gore and R.K. Pachauri (former head of the IPCC), who vouched for him and praised his work?

Dr James Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS, Ph.D, is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed papers in Geophysiology, Instrument Science, medicine, and biology; holder of more than 50 patents; Fellow of the Royal Society; former president of the Marine Biological Association; Fellow of Green Templeton College and recipient of SCIENCE awards such as the Norbert Gerbier Prize of the World Meteorological Organisation; the Tswett Medal; the Nonino Prize; the Volvo Environment Prize; the Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship in Medicine; the Silver Medal and Prize of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory; Japan’s Blue Planet Prize; the American Chemical Society Chromatography Award; the first Amsterdam Prize for the Environment by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for the Environment, the Royal Geographical Society Discovery Lifetime Award and the Wollaston Medal; the Geological Society’s highest Award (Charles Darwin was a previous winner); and honorary doctorates in environmental science, biology, and medicine from universities such as the University of East Anglia, Exeter University; Plymouth Polytechnic/Plymouth University; Stockholm University; University of Edinburgh, University of Kent, the University of East London and the University of Colorado, to name a few.

and vehrenermahgerd is not a scientist.

And, neither is Dr R.K. Pachauri nor the law school dropout and divinity school flunkie, Albert Gore, Jr; nevertheless, they have both been first-tier leaders, advocates, and speakers on global warming/global cooling/climate change/climate chaos/whatever-we-need-to-call-it-today. Of course, the fact that Gore isn’t a scientist hasn’t stopped your little cult from worshiping him.

” People think about geothermal energy – when they think about it at all – in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, ‘cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot…”

– Al Gore, 2009

Let the record reflect that the temperature at the earth’s core – 4,000 miles down – is usually quoted as 5,000 degrees Celsius although some contrarians suggest that it could be as hot as 9,000 degrees Celsius.

BUT ANYONE CHALLENGING YOUR DOGMA IS A NUT AND THE EQUIVALENT OF A HOLOCAUST-DENIER…

**eyeroll**

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:32 PM

The problem is that the only thing they are saying is that there may not be CAGW but that AGW still exists. They are just coming up with an excuse that will cover the fact that none of the predictions of the warmers have come true. The planet is still warming and it is still the fault of humans so we still have to do something before it is too late. Nothing I read leads me to believe that it is an anti-warmer article or that AGW is not happening.

Dr. Frank Enstine on January 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM

“We all?” What is this “we” B.S.?

besser tot als rot on January 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM

I think we might need to fine tune the definition of rapid.

Cindy Munford on January 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Proggies love to talk about Eisenhower’s warning about the MIC in his farewell address, but they always overlook what he said in the next breath:

“Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”

Too bad they aren’t as skeptical and worried about the scientific-technological elite as they are of the MIC, especially considering the trillions of dollars and loss of liberties involved.

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Let’s cool those jets for a hot second.

I don’t fly. Your move. Shouldn’t that read, shit hot, least that’s the way I remember hearing it.

Bmore on January 28, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Obama, as usual, has no idea what he’s blathering about, but is an uber-Leftoid propagandist for metastasizing government control and ultimate tyranny disguised as “helping save the planet“.

Scientific theories about “climate change” are one of the weakest forms of the art thanks to the pesky permutations of Chaos Theory.

Those who make sweeping “scientific” proclamations about the climate are self-deluding fools, at best, and Machiavellian liars at worst.

profitsbeard on January 28, 2013 at 3:36 PM

We all might be “overestimating climate sensitivity”

I’m not.

Ronnie on January 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM

After applying data from the past decade, the results showed temperatures may rise 1.9 degrees Celsius if Co2 levels double by 2050,

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The only way temperature would increase due to CO2 is if the energy output from the sun increases. You could double, then triple, then multiply by 7 the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and temperature would not increase one whit.

BobMbx on January 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Sesqui, Sesqui, come out, come out from wherever you are!

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

We all might be “overestimating climate sensitivity”

Le hoax.

petefrt on January 28, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Those who make sweeping “scientific” proclamations about the climate are self-deluding fools, at best, and Machiavellian liars at worst.

profitsbeard on January 28, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Yeppers!

I do get a kick out of going back and reading the hysterical predictions of people like Holdren, Hansen, and Ehrlich, etc. Still waiting on the promised Ice Age that was supposed to happen around the time that I was born and the huge percentage of the globe’s population that was supposed to be wiped out by the mid-1990s from starvation.

The next time that a waiter in a restaurant pours Sesqui a free glass of water in a Manhattan restaurant, he should laugh or, more likely in his case, wipe his brow and say “Boy, did we dodge a bullet!” Water was supposed to be so scarce by ~2000, according to Hansen, (except for the billions of gallons that inundated the West Side Highway), we would never again get free water and water, itself, would be available by request only. lol

Another laugher, every time that we get snow or some of the coldest temperatures in 400-500 years, I snort because the “settled science” screamers said that British children simply would not know what snow was by 2000 because it would be so rare.

Ehrlich wrote this in The Population Bomb:

“By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people … If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

I wish that I had been around to take his bet, because ENGLAND IS STILL HERE!!!

He was, however, partially correct. By 2000, the UK was “simply a small group of impoverished islands,” but it wasn’t due to population or climate change. It was the result of the Labour Party.

The population in the UK today is ~61 million and much of the growth since the late ’90s has come from immigration.

Repent of your use of SUVs and electricity. The end is nigh!

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

We have always warmed Eastasia.

We have never warmed Eastasia.

At this point, what difference does it make?

Lily on January 28, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Golly gee.
Maybe we can’t control the temperature of the planet.
Ya’ think?

connertown on January 28, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Good luck with that one, still waiting on he/she to answer me about farming. Ever notice that farmers never get Nobel Peace prizes for climate science, first they are too busy feeding all the moochers, second they are so grounded to the earth that they know what escapes everyone elses logic, it is all cyclic, period. They ain’t that hubris to think that we pitiful little humans can make that much of an impact. They understand logical conservation ideas just fine, they employ them routinely, but everything else to them is just a fallacy, because to them the earth is a living organism that is the hardest task master they will ever know, and that nature is to be respected, will never be tamed and will provide as long as it is respected and nurtured. Al Gore and the rest of his lab coat buddies can all go to Hades, Give me a poor dirt farmer any day!

MarshFox on January 28, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Sesqui, Sesqui, come out, come out from wherever you are!

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Hee hee.

SailorMark on January 28, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Obama flies out on Air Force One in the dead of night and sets most of the fires himself on his way back from Hawaii where he has been chooming with his pothead friends from his elite high school: it makes for a good fun whilst furthering his statist agenda.

Sherman1864 on January 28, 2013 at 4:04 PM

As we have seen time and again throughout history, a top-down government trying to dictate people’s behavioral patterns is a reliable recipe for disaster — if we’re sincere in our efforts to get more efficient with our energy habits, why is more regulation, government, and taxpayer spending almost always the proffered solution?

‘Cause it’s Obama’s answer to all issues.

Bitter Clinger on January 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Including of course all of the “issues” that the Left invents.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 28, 2013 at 4:20 PM

At this point, what difference does it make?

Lily on January 28, 2013 at 3:47 PM

i take that as a serious question. To the Leftist Hive it makes no difference. the Hive’s solutions are good…just because.

the Hive is for Clean and against sickness and pollution. So the Hive will continue.

barry’s 54 mph cars will surely go ahead as planned. Coal will be gutted, as planned. Nuclear is NOT the option because the Hive is afraid of nuclear,

I just hope the hive doesn’t decide we should all live in high density housing. Far more efficient that way…and the Hive like efficient

r keller on January 28, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Sesqui, Sesqui, come out, come out from wherever you are!

Resist We Much on January 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

…would you show your face?
(oh wait!…that’s a butt with teeth!)

KOOLAID2 on January 28, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Can’t believe no one is asking the most important question of all when it comes to global climate warming change: What do Hispanics think about it? Only then will we know for sure which way to go in regards this potential crisis/non-crisis.

xblade on January 28, 2013 at 5:04 PM

…but this is exactly the type of alarmist rhetoric that ensures we pursue the types of ineffective, top-down, big-government, expensive, and internationalist solutions that will actually have very little net effectiveness in sincerely addressing the issue.

What issue? There is no issue to address. The earth warms, it cools, it has done so for all its existence and will continue to do it forever more.

jwehman on January 28, 2013 at 5:57 PM

This new information just in. A recent study has found that while fishing through the ice, Millions of Beer drinking Eskimos are a having a catastrophic effect on the polar ice pack, and sea levels. Al Gore proposing “No More Beer for Mukaluks:.

stormridercx4 on January 28, 2013 at 6:00 PM

We all might be “overestimating climate sensitivity”

The mouse in MY pocket says he’s been saying since the 1970s ice age that this whole thing is a hoax.

dentarthurdent on January 28, 2013 at 6:29 PM

I think we passed Algore’s save the planet moment tipping point years ago. Why keep trying when all is now lost? Just another show me the money moment for the greenies who keep this hoax front and center with each proclamation.

Kissmygrits on January 29, 2013 at 9:52 AM