The Week That Was: 2021-05-29 (May 29, 2021)
Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)
The Science and Environmental Policy Project
Quote of the Week: “Two decades ago, when I was in the private sector,” Koonin writes, “I learned to say that the goal of stabilizing human influences on the climate was ‘a challenge,’ while in government it was talked about as ‘an opportunity.’ Now back in academia, I can forthrightly call it ‘a practical impossibility.’” [From Rupert Darwall]
Number of the Week: – $3 Trillion
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
APS Workshop: Last week’s TWTW may have given readers an incorrect view. It stated:
Steve Koonin’s new book, Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters. Writing in Real Clear Energy, Rupert Darwall gives a perceptive review. He begins by discussing a debate between six leading physicists from the American Physical Society (APS), led by Koonin.
“The debate, hosted by the APS, revealed consensus-supporting climate scientists harboring doubts and uncertainties and admitting to holes in climate science – in marked contrast to the emphatic messaging of bodies such as Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“At one point, Koonin read an extract from the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report released the previous year. Computer model-simulated responses to forcings – the term used by climate scientists for changes of energy flows into and out of the climate system, such as changes in solar radiation, volcanic eruptions, and changes in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – ‘can be scaled up or down.’ This scaling included greenhouse gas forcings.
“Some forcings in some computer models had to be scaled down to match computer simulations to actual climate observations. But when it came to making centennial projections on which governments rely and drive climate policy, the scaling factors were removed, probably resulting in a 25 to 30 percent over-prediction of the 2100 warming.
“The ensuing dialogue between Koonin and Dr. William Collins of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – a lead author of the climate model evaluation chapter in the Fifth Assessment Report – revealed something more troubling and deliberate than holes in scientific knowledge:
- Dr. Koonin: But if the model tells you that you got the response to the forcing wrong by 30 percent, you should use that same 30 percent factor when you project out a century.
- Dr. Collins: Yes. And one of the reasons we are not doing that is we are not using the models as [a] statistical projection tool.
- Dr. Koonin: What are you using them as?
- Dr. Collins: Well, we took exactly the same models that got the forcing wrong, and which got sort of the projections wrong up to 2100.
- Dr. Koonin: So, why do we even show centennial-scale projections?
- Dr. Collins: Well, I mean, it is part of the [IPCC] assessment process. [Boldface added]”
After reviewing the 573-page transcript, TWTW was unable to locate such an exchange in one location, but parts took place over several pages of comments. Nonetheless, Koonin was very disturbed by the APS workshop he led, and it is important to understand why. See last week’s TWTW and links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
Sandia National Laboratories: Steve Koonin was the second Undersecretary of Energy for Science to be confirmed by the Senate, the first was Raymond Orbach. The person holding this position is responsible for overseeing the Sandia National Laboratories, which is America’s Nuclear Weapons Engineering Laboratory. Fully understanding of proper computer modeling (computer simulation) is crucial for this position.
“Sandia’s primary mission is ensuring the U.S. nuclear arsenal is safe, secure, and reliable, and can fully support our nation’s deterrence policy. Sandia is the engineering arm of the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise. We weaponize the nuclear explosive package to create an effective and sustainable nuclear deterrent.
“The nation’s nuclear weapons must always work when commanded and authorized by the president of the United States and must never detonate otherwise. Nuclear weapons must survive extremely complex and often harsh environments. They may remain dormant for decades yet must be immediately available during high alert/readiness levels.
“These highly complex technical challenges require a multi-disciplinary approach of systems engineering supported by deep science.
“Sandia’s foundation is science-based engineering, in which fundamental science, computer models, and unique experimental facilities come together so researchers can understand, predict, and verify weapon systems performance.
“Sandia is responsible for nuclear weapon systems and components over their entire lifecycle, from original design through final dismantlement and disposal.
“Each year, Sandia assesses the reliability and safety of every active stockpile weapon type and documents its findings in a letter from the Laboratories president to the secretaries of energy and defense and the chairman of the Nuclear Weapons Council. This assessment becomes a key part of the annual formal report to the president of the United States on the overall condition of the stockpile.”
In 1992, the US conducted its last test of a nuclear explosive. The nation’s ultimate defense relies on being able to properly simulate with computer models the effects aging on the stockpile and the effects of using updated components have on the reliability of the stockpile. Without proper computer modeling, the US would have to physically test its nuclear weapons. Seehttps://www.sandia.gov/missions/nuclear_weapons/index.html#:~:text=Sandia’s%20primary%20mission%20is%20ensuring,the%20U.S.%20nuclear%20weapons%20enterprise.
Verification and Validation: Proper modeling requires both verification and validation of the computer models used. In a report released by Sandia Labs, two physicists from the Sandia National Laboratories and one from the Department of Fluid Mechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel describe well what verification and validation mean. The abstract begins:
“Developers of computer codes, analysts who use the codes, and decision makers who rely on the results of the analyses face a critical question: How should confidence in modeling and simulation be critically assessed? Verification and validation (V&V) of computational simulations are the primary methods for building and quantifying this confidence. Briefly, verification is the assessment of the accuracy of the solution to a computational model. Validation is the assessment of the accuracy of a computational simulation by comparison with experimental data. In verification, the relationship of the simulation to the real world is not an issue. In validation, the relationship between computation and the real world, i.e., experimental data, is the issue.” [Boldface added]
To TWTW, if a model is to be used for policy of any duration, it needs to be validated, that is it needs to be consistent with the real world. Often, economic models that are not validated are used to justify certain policies. Then if they are followed by economic disasters, corrective polices may be implicated. To declare a climate crisis, or a climate emergency, based on long-term projections from unvalidated climate models can cause significant harm that is avoidable by simply verifying and validated the models before using them to make policies. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.
From the Transcript: In alphabetical order, the experts making presentations at the APS workshop introduced themselves as: John Christy, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville; William Collins, head the weather science department at Berkeley and one of the lead authors of chapter 9 [Evaluation of Climate Models] in the fifth IPCC report [assessment of the physical science]; Judith Curry, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, Georgia Tech; Isaac Held, NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory; Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor at MIT in atmospheric sciences; and Benjamin Santer, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
During the presentation by Santer, Christy and Santer got into an exchange on the speed with which temperatures bounced back after volcanoes. Christy asserted it was a matter of months, Santer asserted it was years. If Christy is correct the aerosol effects used to adjust models are short-term and do not affect temperatures over the long term. This is important because the modelers use aerosols (which volcanoes emit) to adjust their models to track surface temperature trends.
After Santer’s presentation, Koonin brought up the scaling, adjusting the models to track historic data and then dropping these adjustments for centennial (100-year) projections (starting on 257 in the transcript [below page numbers refer to the transcript]).
“So, to me, it looks like they set a calibration against the historical data and then they wiped out that calibration in doing the centennial projections resulting in probably a 25, 30 percent overprediction of the 2100 warmings.
So, is that right? Am I reading IPCC right or have they done what I would have thought is the scientifically correct thing to do?” [p. 259]
After some clarification, a response comes from Collins:
“DR. COLLINS: The models had to be scaled down in their greenhouse gas component, which is the dominant thing by 2100, leading you to conclude that one should apply similar scaling for the projections into 2100.
“DR. KOONIN: Probably 25, 30 percent, maybe more. I don’t know. So, have I understood what they did right or not? Have I correctly understood what they did and if so, is that the right thing to have done?” [p. 261]
In effect, the issue Koonin brings up, is that the models are adjusted to be valid against surface temperature data, but then in making forecasts the adjustments are discarded. The models used for projections of dangerous warming a hundred years hence are not valid. After more discussion Koonin states after comments by Santer:
“You said you are not representative of what IPCC does. Certainly, some modelers are well-focused on tuning, and they discovered they need .6, .5, .7 in the greenhouse gas response in order to tune properly. And what bothers me is that they throw away that tuning when they project out a century. That’s what I am worried about.” [Note the adjustments needed are 6, 5, 7 tenths (0.6, 0.5, 0.7) of the calculated effect.]
No wonder Koonin was so disturbed by the responses he got during this workshop. The actions of the climate modelers are unsuitable as seen by for someone responsible for assuring the reliance of America’s nuclear arsenal. At the end, the participants could not work out an agreed upon statement. In 2020 Santer has left Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and recently announced cutting off all ties with it after Koonin was invited to give a talk there.
Note that TWTW asserts that to understand the influence of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the approach taking by IPCC climate modeling will not produce satisfactory results will produce predictions that are wrong. The far more direct approach of calculating the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere will.
Other presentations, particularly those of Christy and Lindzen will be discussed in an upcoming TWTW. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Seeking a Common Ground.
Ice-Cores Revisited: A paper by Pascal Richet of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris begins by discussing that science advances as new evidence is compiled, and old concepts are discarded. His introduction begins:
“Perhaps the most important feature evidenced by the history of science is how ideas that were unanimously accepted for very long periods of time have eventually been firmly rejected. Among innumerable examples, two of the most famous are the central position of the Earth in the universe and the theory of the four elements (fire, air, water, and earth) mutually transforming through exchange of their four qualities (hot, cold, dry, and wet). Both theories remained uncontested for 2 millennia in spite of shortcomings that were pointed out early on. For geocentrism, the 24 h rotation of the most distant fixed stars around the pole, for instance, flatly contradicted the firm rule that, from the 27.3 days of the moon to the 29.4 years of Saturn, sidereal periods of revolution markedly increase with the distances of celestial bodies from the Earth. Similarly, the four-element theory was already criticized by Theophrastus (4th–3rd c. BCE), who pointed out that fire is ‘unable to persist without fuel. Hence, it seems foolish to speak of fire as a first substance and original element.’”
Richet’s essay challenges the use of climate models to assert that changing concentrations of carbon dioxide are a primary cause of climate change. Using Antarctic ice cores taken at Vostok covering the past 423,000 years, he asserts in the abstract:
“The validity of models will, in particular, not be demonstrated as long as at least the most important features of climate changes, namely the glacial–interglacial transitions and the differing durations of interglacial periods, remain unaccounted for. Similarly, the constant 7 kyr time lag between temperature and CO2 decreases following deglaciation is another important feature that needs to be understood. Considered in this light, the current climate debate should be considered as being the latest of the great controversies that have punctuated the march of the Earth sciences, although its markedly differs from the preceding ones by its most varied social, environmental, economical and political ramifications.”
Richet closes his essay with an unusual postface:
“Regardless of any particular interpretation of the climate record, it seems appropriate to give the last word to the famous naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Earl of Buffon (1749). Himself a mathematician by training, Buffon (1749) voiced a strong warning very early on about the misuses of what are now called models by expounding in the Initial Discourse of his monumental Natural History the ‘difficulties one finds when attempting to apply geometry or calculations to physical subjects that are too complicated.’ As he noted, one has ‘to strip the subject from the majority of these qualities, to produce an abstract being that no longer resembles the actual being’ and, after much reasoning and calculation, one projects an ‘ideal result onto the real subject, and this is what produces countless falsehoods and errors.’ Hence, Buffon concluded, ‘the most delicate and most important point in scientific studies’ is ‘to distinguish well between what there is of the real in a subject from that which we add to it arbitrarily as we consider it: to recognize clearly which properties belong to the subject and which properties we only imagine it to have.’”
See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
Grid-Scale Storage: With the Biden Administration declaring a climate emergency and a Green New Deal, there is an enormous push by wind, solar, and similar industries to announce great breakthroughs. Many articles are being written without the authors realizing that so-called “renewables” fail frequently. Increasing the size of the electrical grid, a system of transmission, does not assure generation of reliable electrical power. A 2017 essay by Euan Mearns on His blog still applies: “Grid-Scale Storage of Renewable Energy [RE]: The Impossible Dream”. Until there are cheap, scalable, environmentally benign, safe storage breakthroughs his conclusions apply world-wide:
“Wind + solar RE utopia often includes the concept of storing surplus supply for use at time of scarcity. It is an appealing concept. However, few politicians or their advisors appear to be aware of the scale and cost of infrastructure required.
An analysis of wind + solar data for the UK spanning the whole of 2016 shows that 26 GW of installed capacity may be reduced to 4.6 GW of firm uniform capacity using 1.8 TWh of storage. The cheapest, though wholly impractical option is pumped hydro energy storage, which would add at least £48 billion in costs. The 60 usable large PHES sites that would be required for this low level of RE penetration do not exist in the UK.
Renewable energy storage is an impossible dream and will remain so until there is a major technology breakthrough.
See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Change in US Administrations, Questioning European Green, and Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind.
Additions and Corrections: Christopher Essex of the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Western Ontario wrote:
“The thing that I recoil from when they talk of an ‘absorbing gas’ is that it is the wrong physical picture. 110 years ago (40 years after your quote) Karl Schwarzschild (1911) deduced the equation of transfer, which was a rather stunning departure for the time. Modern radiative transfer is based on that equation. It includes both absorption, and most importantly, emission. These two things nearly cancel in the lower atmosphere. On the average they do exactly in the case of radiative equilibrium, which is also the basis of nearly all modern radiative transfer calculations. If it was not just on the average, you would have thermodynamic equilibrium, Kirchhoff’s laws, and no energy flow at all!”
To which TWTW can only reply YES! But it must add: If the only mechanism were absorption and radiation, there would be no warming of the atmosphere by infrared absorption whatsoever. Molecules that are energetically excited by absorption of infrared can radiate, to be sure, but the absorbed energy can also be released into the local environment by collisions, thereby heating the air. As well, collisions can excite radiative states. Thermodynamic equilibrium requires both processes.
Last week, TWTW quoted a science reporter for BBC in a 2010 article who used out of-data concepts and out-of-date language to describe the work of John Tyndall. In the future, TWTW will endeavor to note when concepts and language are out-of-date.
Another reader questioned why TWTW uses the term greenhouse gases. The term is unfortunate, though it dates to John Tyndall. But it is so ingrained that it is too difficult to advocate another term.
No TWTW Next Week: There will be no TWTW the weekend of June 5, it will resume the weekend of June 12.
14th ICCC: The 14th International Conference on Climate Change presented by The Heartland Institute will be October 15 to 17, 2021, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. See https://climateconference.heartland.org/
SEPP’S APRIL FOOLS AWARD
SEPP is conducting its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a lump of coal. Readers are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:
- The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
- The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
- The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
- The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.
The past recipients, Lisa Jackson, Barrack Obama, John Kerry, Ernest Moniz, Michael Mann, Christiana Figueres, Jerry Brown, AOC, and Neil Ferguson are not eligible. Generally, the committee that makes the selection prefers a candidate with a national or international presence. The voting will close on July 31. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to Ken@SEPP.org. Thank you. For a list of past recipients and their accomplishments in earning this honor see http://www.sepp.org/april-fools-award.cfm
Number of the Week: – $3 Trillion: Paul Homewood posted a video of GOP Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) asking EPA Administrator Michael Regan by how much would the US spending $3 Trillion on President Biden’s climate plan lower world temperatures. See link under Change in US Administrations.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Facebook: People Are Now Permitted to Speculate Covid-19 Leaked from a Laboratory
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, May 27, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Dare you to post it on Facebook
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
“Yes, the IPCC reluctantly conceded there is good evidence that their data is contaminated by urbanization and land use change.”
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
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:https://www.heartland.org/policy-documents/why-scientists-disagree-about-global-warming
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
The temperature–CO2 climate connection: an epistemological reappraisal of ice-core messages
By Pascal Richet, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, May 26, 2021 [H/t WUWT]https://hgss.copernicus.org/articles/12/97/2021/
By Euan Mearns, Energy Matters, Nov 20, 2017
New EPA Climate Change Indicator is deceptive
By Ralph Alexander, GWPF, May 25, 2021
[SEPP Comment: Drop the data that doesn’t fit, typical for today’s Washington.]
The Union of Concerned Scientists tries to “cancel” Steve Koonin
By Andy May, WUWT, May 24, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Defending the Orthodoxy
Satellites may have been underestimating the planet’s warming for decades
By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science, May 26, 2021https://www.livescience.com/satellites-underestimated-global-warming.html
Link to paper: Using Climate Model Simulations to Constrain Observations
By Benjamin D. Santer, et al. Journal of Climate, May 20, 2021https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/aop/JCLI-D-20-0768.1/JCLI-D-20-0768.1.xml
[SEPP Comment: Twisted reasoning: observations don’t match the models, therefore the observations are wrong!]
Top Climate Scientist Blasts Government Lab After Denier Invited to Speak
By Molly Taft, Gizmodo, May 24, 2021 [H/t Climate Depot]https://earther.gizmodo.com/top-climate-scientist-blasts-government-lab-after-denie-1846956716
“Wuebbles pointed out that much of the claims in Koonin’s book directly contradict exhaustively peer-reviewed science, much of which was covered in the Fourth National Climate Assessment [NCA 4] produced by the U.S. government—and authored and peer-reviewed by dozens of top-level scientists—in 2017.”
[SEPP Comment: Just the agricultural section alone in the Fourth National Climate Assessment is directly contradicted by readily available evidence of the world grain markets. Tropical Brazil is a major exporter of soybeans and maize. Contrary to the NCA-4 claim, warning of the US will not eliminate these crops in the US. The criticism of Koonin’s book by Don Wuebbles evades the main point, after testing their models against historic evidence, the IPCC modelers adjust their models to give inflated forecasts.]
Defending the Orthodoxy – Bandwagon Science
Biden adviser says reducing red meat isn’t sole climate change solution
By Mychael Schnell, The Hill, May 23, 2021https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/554986-biden-advisor-says-reducing-red-meat-isnt-sole-climate-change
Questioning the Orthodoxy
Beware of Attacks on Freedom
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, May 28, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
[SEPP Comment: After the Pilgrims founded the Plymouth Colony and learned to live peacefully with native American tribes, the American Puritans founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony around Boston, The Puritans were intolerant of those who thought and lived differently. They instituted stocks for public shaming; branded and maimed those who behaved differently; burnt witches; hung Quakers, who urged abolition; and banished Roger Williams for urging fair treatment of native American tribes. It appears that many politicians are adopting intolerant attitudes of Puritans.]
The WMO’s statistical temperature gamble
By David Whitehouse, GWPF, May 27, 2021
“The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that annual temperature changes are, to the first order, modified by the lead up to and the aftermath of El Ninos and La Ninas which dominate the long-term trend of greenhouse gas forcing. We have been waiting for years for the warming trend to overwhelm these ocean cycles. Having one year reaching 1.5 °C doesn’t do that.”
The Climate-Change Pigeonhole Problem
Video, John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 20, 2021
The Success of Climate Mainstreaming
By Joakim Book, American Institute for Economic Research, May 21, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Paradigm-Busting New Study Affirms CO2 Doesn’t Drive Climate – Water, Clouds Do
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, May 24, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Link to paper: Rethinking Climate, Climate Change, and Their Relationship with Water
By Demetris Koutsoyiannis, Water, March 19, 2021https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/13/6/849/htm
[SEPP Comment: According to the 1979 Charney Report, the findings of which the IPCC has been following, a modest warming from CO2 would be amplified by a greater warming from water vapor. This is not happening. Water vapor warming is modest. See link immediately below.]
Satellites show how Earth’s water cycle is ramping up as climate warms
By Ian O’Neill and Jane Lee for JPL News, Pasadena CA (JPL) May 28, 2021https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Satellites_show_how_Earths_water_cycle_is_ramping_up_as_climate_warms_999.html
Sustainable Fear (from experts to authoritarians)
By Jim Clarkson, Master Resource, May 26, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
“We have our own special fear. Fear of what harmful policies will flow from the widely-held belief in environment doomsday.”
The IEA’s ‘Roadmap’ for Net-Zero Is Full of Dead Ends
By Robert Bryce, Real Clear Energy, May 25, 2021https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/05/25/the_ieas_roadmap_for_net-zero_is_full_of_dead_ends_778705.html
So not a climate scientist, then
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
Technology Solves Problems, Not Governments
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
The Three Trillion Dollar Question
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 24, 2021The Three Trillion Dollar Question
Why Biden’s Climate Agenda Is Falling Apart
The reasons have more to do with physics than politics
By Michael Shellenberger, His Blog, May 27, 2021https://michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/why-bidens-climate-agenda-is-falling
“The dark truth about China’s solar panel production should have been enough to force Democrats to seriously reconsider their 100% renewables agenda, but it may require another highly visible defeat in Congress to make them appreciate why increasing America’s reliance on inefficient, weather-dependent, and made-in-China energy sources is bad physics, in addition to being bad politics.”
Biden Administration’s Net-Zero Climate Agenda Is a Loser for Americans, International Energy Agency Confirms
By Myron Ebell, CEI, May 24, 2021https://cei.org/blog/biden-administrations-net-zero-climate-agenda-is-a-loser-for-americans-international-energy-agency-confirms/
To Fight Climate Change, President Biden Needs to Retire NEPA
By Oliver McPherson-Smith, Real Clear Energy, May 24, 2021https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/05/24/to_fight_climate_change_president_biden_needs_to_retire_nepa_778546.html
Problems in the Orthodoxy
Fueled by China, Coal Still Firing in SE Asia Despite Environmental Concerns
By Nithin Coca, Radio Free Asia, Apr 30, 2021https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/southeastasia-coal-04302021145713.html
What’s The Point? In 2020 China Built The Equivalent Of More Than One New Large Coal Plant Per Week
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, May 27, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
[SEPP Comment: If the US leads by example, China will return to extreme poverty?]
No good decisions without good data: Climate, policymaking, the critical role of science
Press Release by CMCC Foundation – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, May 26, 2021 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]https://phys.org/news/2021-05-good-decisions-climate-policymaking-critical.html
Link to paper: Emerging reporting and verification needs under the Paris Agreement: How can the research community effectively contribute?
By Lucia Perugini, et al. Environmental Science & Policy, August 2021https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S146290112100109X?via%3Dihub
EU leaders clash over how to get to climate-neutrality
By Elena Sanchez Nicolas, Eurobserver, May 26, 2021https://euobserver.com/climate/151944
[SEPP Comment: The race to poverty.]
Poland’s resistance leads to EU leaders’ climate battle retreat
Poland tells leaders that meeting EU climate rules makes the ‘poor, poorer.’
By Karl Mathiesen and Jacopo Barigazzi, Politico, May 25, 2021https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-resistance-climate-battle-european-council-summit/
Seeking a Common Ground
American Physical Society: Climate Change Statement Review Workshop
New York University Center for Urban Science and Progress, Jan 8, 2014
Transcript of Proceedings
Verification, Validation, and Predictive Capability in Computational Engineering and Physics
By William L. Oberkampf and Timothy G. Trucano, Sandia National Laboratories and Charles Hirsch, Department of Fluid Mechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Feb 2003
Three Don’ts and Three Do’s for Communicating on Climate Science
Comments by Mike Hulme, Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Trust and Mistrust of Experts, May 22, 2021 [H/t Climate Etc.]
A new replication crisis: Research that is less likely to be true is cited more
Press Release by University of California – San Diego, May 21, 2021 [H/t John Donn}https://phys.org/news/2021-05-replication-crisis-true-cited.html
Link to paper: Nonreplicable publications are cited more than replicable ones
By Marta Serra-Garcia and Uri Gneezy, AAAS Science Advances, May 21, 2021https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/21/eabd1705
It Is Necessary To Destroy The Environment To Save It
By Roger Caiazza, Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York, WUWT, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Science, Policy, and Evidence
Collapse of the fake consensus on Covid-19 origins
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. May 23, 2021Collapse of the fake consensus on Covid-19 origins
The Fate Of Irreproducible Research
By Chuck Dinerstein, ACSH, May 25, 2021https://www.acsh.org/news/2021/05/25/fate-irreproducible-research-15566
Environmental Injustice: Are We Stewing In Our Own Juices?
By Fred Lipfert, ACSH, May 21, 2021https://www.acsh.org/news/2021/05/21/environmental-injustice-are-we-stewing-our-own-juices-15559
The De-Population Bomb
By Kip Hansen, WUWT, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Measurement Issues — Surface
New NASA Earth System Observatory to Help Address, Mitigate Climate Change
Press Release, By Tylar Greene, Karen Fox, NASA, May 24, 2021 [H/t WUWT]https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/new-nasa-earth-system-observatory-to-help-address-mitigate-climate-change
“NASA will design a new set of Earth-focused missions to provide key information to guide efforts related to climate change, disaster mitigation, fighting forest fires, and improving real-time agricultural processes. With the Earth System Observatory, each satellite will be uniquely designed to complement the others, working in tandem to create a 3D, holistic view of Earth, from bedrock to atmosphere.”
[SEPP Comment: Will it include atmospheric temperature trends that are ignored by NASA today?]
US Winter Temperatures Track AMO
By Tony Heller, His Blog, May 23, 2021https://realclimatescience.com/2021/05/us-winter-temperatures-track-amo/
Fact Checking the Wildfire-Climate Link
By Jim Steele, Landscapes and Cycles, May 24, 2021
“Wildfire physics simply does not support any such fear mongering narratives…”
CO2 Cyclone Doomsday Flat Out Refuted: 170 Years “Absolutely No Trend” In Hurricane Intensity/Frequency
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, May 22, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Joplin & Bill McKibben Ten Years On
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 22, 2021Joplin & Bill McKibben Ten Years On
Sleeping Beauty wakes to a cold April
By Lubos Molt, The Reference Frame, May 22, 2021https://motls.blogspot.com/2021/05/sleeping-beauty-wakes-to-cold-april.html
Silent Spring: May, 2021, In Netherlands Poised To Be “Memorably” And “Remarkedly Cold”
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, May 23, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Changing Climate – Cultures & Civilizations
Scientists: “Particularly Intense” Warmth Corresponded To “Greatest Ancient Civilization Of All Time”
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, May 26, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Link to paper: Persistent warm Mediterranean surface waters during the Roman period
By G. Margaritelli, Nature Scientific Reports, June 26, 2020https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-67281-2
“Major Scientific Breakthrough”…Scientists “Step Closer To Predicting North Atlantic Climate”
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, May 28, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Link to paper: North Atlantic climate far more predictable than models imply
By D. M. Smith, et al. Nature, July 2020https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2525-0#:~:text=Here%20we%20assess%20retrospective%20climate,ability%20of%20raw%20model%20outputs.
Link to latest paper: Decadal and multidecadal natural variability of African rainfall
By Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, et al. Journal of Hydrology, April 2020https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214581821000240#!
Ocean Surface Temperature Limit-Part 3
By Anonymous, WUWT, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Greatest Single Day Gains In Greeenland Ice Happening Now.
By Jim Steele, WUWT, May 27, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Surprising sea ice thickness across the Arctic is good news for polar bears
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, May 27, 2021Surprising sea ice thickness across the Arctic is good news for polar bears
[SEPP Comment: Nature does not obey UN WMO directives.]
Arctic sea ice succumbs to Atlantification
By Staff Writers, Paris (ESA), May 21, 2021https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Arctic_sea_ice_succumbs_to_Atlantification_999.html
“Although some of the older thicker ice remains throughout, there is an undeniable trend of declining ice as climate change tightens its grip on this fragile polar region.” [Boldface added]
[SEPP Comment: Care to spend the winter in this fragile region without any modern conveniences, protection, and clothing?]
Because we never used to have icebergs
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
Spring polynyas in the Arctic then and now as feeding areas for hungry polar bears
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, May 23, 2021Spring polynyas in the Arctic then and now as feeding areas for hungry polar bears
Polynyas are stretches of open water surrounded by ice.
Have a hot coffee
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
“But while your ‘java’ is hardly threatened by warmth, moisture or CO2, it has been threatened by the success of coffee production in one of those typical modern paradoxes where sustained application of effective technique improves something until it is ruined. Specifically, monoculture and successful breeding, which really do improve yield and sometimes other prized qualities as well, but create enormous vulnerability to pests.”
Et tu, IEA?
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
Don’t get caught out by the weather- Met Office!
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 25, 2021Don’t get caught out by the weather- Met Office!
Or Yellowstone gets it
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
Communicating Better to the Public – Use Yellow (Green) Journalism?
Study: Earth’s vegetation is changing faster than it has in 18,000 years
By Brooks Hays, Washington DC (UPI), May 20, 2021https://www.terradaily.com/reports/Study_Earths_vegetation_is_changing_faster_than_it_has_in_18000_years_999.html
Link to paper: Global acceleration in rates of vegetation change over the past 18,000 years
By Ondřej Mottl, et al, AAAS Science, May 21, 2021https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6544/860
“…we detect a worldwide acceleration in the rates of vegetation compositional change beginning between 4.6 and 2.9 thousand years ago that is globally unprecedented over the past 18,000 years in both magnitude and extent.”
The growing challenge of vegetation change
By Jonathan T. Overpeck, David D. Breshears, Perspective, AAAS Science, May 21, 2021https://science.sciencemag.org/content/372/6544/786
[SEPP Comment: See link immediately above. With increasing CO2, vegetation is flourishing, therefore it must be a problem.]
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Five Years Left For The Planet
By Tony Heller, His Blog, May 28, 2021https://realclimatescience.com/2021/05/five-years-left-for-the-planet/
[SEPP Comment: The Tipping Point established by the UN World Meteorological Organization is upon us!]
“Mindboggling” Siberian Heatwave!
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 24, 2021“Mindboggling” Siberian Heatwave!
Clickbait is a winner: The most cited articles in top science journals turned out to be flops
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Global heating: Study shows impact of ‘climate racism’ in US–BBC
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 26, 2021Global heating: Study shows impact of ‘climate racism’ in US–BBC
Communicating Better to the Public – Do a Poll?
One-third of Americans unwilling to spend $1 to fight climate change
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 26, 2021One-third of Americans unwilling to spend $1 to fight climate change
Fox viewers know more about climate
By John Robson, Climate Discussion Nexus, May 26, 2021
Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.
Michael Shellenberger Evicerates Peter Gleick
By Charles Rotter, WUWT, May 26, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda
An Inconvenient Climate
By Tony Heller, His Blog, May 24, 2021https://realclimatescience.com/2021/05/an-inconvenient-climate/
“Fifteen years ago today, Al Gore released his sci-fi flick.”
Follow the science
By Rodney Hide, His Blog, Feb 24, 2021https://www.bassettbrashandhide.com/post/follow-the-science
“’I believe the Science’ is very stupid. Science is the antithesis of belief. You can believe in witchcraft if you want. To say you believe in science is to place science beside witchcraft.”
CNBC: “War-Level Footing” Needed to Solve Climate Change
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, May 24, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Claim: The Climate Crisis is Not About Overpopulation, the Problem is Affluence
Bu Eric Worrall, WUWT, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Climate Change Alarmism as a Class War
By Ed Zuiderwijk, WUWT, May 23, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Heat pump lobbyists resort to PR stunt about heat pump costs
By Staff, GWPF, May 28, 2021
Expanding the Orthodoxy
Biden signs order directing studies of climate-related financial risks
By Sylvan Lane, The Hill, May 20, 2021https://thehill.com/policy/finance/554654-biden-signs-order-directing-studies-of-climate-related-financial-risks
BBC Blames UK Banks For Carbon Emissions
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 28, 2021BBC Blames UK Banks For Carbon Emissions
“Greenpeace/WWF take aim at the City of London, and guess who is backing them up?”
Scientists consider true costs of sand, call for sustainability effort
By Brooks Hays, Washington DC (UPI), May 21, 2021https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Scientists_consider_true_costs_of_sand_call_for_sustainability_effort_999.html
Fritz Vahrenholt: Climate Dawn
By Fritz Vahrenholt, Tichys Einblick, Via GWPF, May 25, 2021
“The propagandists of the energy turnaround are still succeeding in throwing sand in our eyes by using fine words. Hennigs book brings numerous examples. For example, forced shutdown becomes ‘demand smoothing’ and rationing becomes the ‘smart grid.’ Wind turbines are suddenly ‘cathedrals of the energy turnaround’ (Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier).”
Ambitious Energy Goals Are Hurting European Businesses
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 25, 2021Ambitious Energy Goals Are Hurting European Businesses
Questioning Green Elsewhere
Ban on Fossil Fuel Funding Threatens Africa’s Future
By Vijay Jayaraj, American Thinker, May 24, 2021https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2021/05/ban_on_fossil_fuel_funding_threatens_africas_future.html
“Blanket bans on fossil-fuel funds will entrench poverty.”
Biden looks abroad for electric vehicle metals, in blow to US miners
By Ernest Scheyder and Trevor Hunnicutt. Reuters, May 25, 2021
Climate Change and the Energy Transition Demand a U.S. Mining Revolution
By Jude Clemente, Real Clear Energy, May 21, 2021https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/05/21/climate_change_and_the_energy_transition_demand_a_us_mining_revolution_778126.html
[SEPP Comment; Will we see emergency lithium mining measures passed in Arkansas, California, Nevada, North Carolina, and Utah? NEPA suspended? See link immediately above.]
No News: G7 says it will stop doing what it’s mostly not doing: China will keep financing Belt n’ Road Coal
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, May 23, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
“Courts, customers and Wall Street delivered rebukes to Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell”… Oh my!
By David Middleton, WUWT, May 28, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
A Dutch Court says Shell is causing storms and floods. And Exxon shareholders vote to lose money
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, May 28, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Both Sides Declare Victory in Aussie Children’s Climate Litigation Coal Case
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, May 27, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
EU court orders Polish coal mine to halt production
By AFP Staff Writers, Luxembourg (AFP), May 21, 2021https://www.energy-daily.com/reports/EU_court_orders_Polish_coal_mine_to_halt_production_999.html
EPA and other Regulators on the March
EPA officially nixes Trump ‘secret science’ rule
By Rachel Frazin, The Hill, May 26, 2021https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/555512-epa-officially-nixes-trump-rule-limiting-consideration-of-certain
“The Trump-era rule limited the agency’s use of studies that don’t make their underlying data publicly available.”
[SEPP Comment: The EPA cannot trust the public?]
Energy Issues – Non-US
New gas boilers face BAN within 14 years… but the green-friendly alternative might not keep us warm enough (and costs at least £10,000)
By Jason Groves and Colin Fernandiz, Daily Mail, May 24, 2021https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9614409/New-boiler-ban-14-years-Gas-powered-water-heaters-face-veto-climate-change-fight.html
The boiler ban fiasco and the true cost of net zero
By Ross Clark, The Spectator, May 25, 2021https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-boiler-ban-fiasco-and-the-true-cost-of-net-zero
One of Labor’s own leaders warns the party is in danger of being ‘WIPED OUT’ after crushing byelection loss in mining heartland – as the party pursues climate change action and identity politics rather than VOTES
By Charlie Moore, Daily Mail, Australia, May 24, 2021https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9611149/Labor-Party-danger-wiped-shunned-workers-Upper-Hunter.html
Energy Issues – Australia
Queensland’s Near Miss: hydrogen may have exploded at a coal plant (and renewables don’t save the day)
By Jo Nova, Her Blog, May 26, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
[SEPP Comment: Not caused by wind or solar, but another lesson that back-up must be reliable or it’s useless. Includes a link to a video on hydrogen cooling.]
Energy Issues — US
Heavy Push by Industry, Biden Administration to Jumpstart Transmission Expansion, Grid Modernization
By Sonal Patel, Power Mag, Apr 29, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
Beware of Google’s interest in the electricity system
Big Tech pressuring Congress on obscure but powerful regional transmission operators
By Michael McKenna, Washington Times, May 21, 2021https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/may/21/beware-of-googles-interest-in-the-electricity-syst/
Summary with some good graphs of key points in the IEA’s report on critical minerals in the “clean energy” transition.
Prepared by Myron Ebell, Director, Center for Energy & Environment, Competitive
Enterprise Institute, May 2021
Will Texas Legislators Take on Renewable Energy?
By Bill Peacock, Master Resource, May 25, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
“As Texas faces the possibility of high temperatures this summer and the certainty that wind will operate at only a fraction of its installed capacity during periods of peak demand, it is possible the Legislature may adjourn on May 31 having done nothing to address the harm renewables are doing to the Texas grid.”
Washington’s Control of Energy
EPA to revise Trump rule limiting state authority to block pipelines
By Rachel Frazin, The Hill, May 27, 2021https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/555789-epa-to-revise-trump-rule-limiting-state-authority-to-block
“Under the Clean Water Act, projects that run through waterways — which can include pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure — are essentially subject to state veto.”
“The Trump rule in question sought to limit the scope of state-required approvals to only those that will impact water quality. It excluded other considerations such as air quality or ‘energy policy.’”
[SEPP Comment: Will it apply to power lines?]
Wind slump risks blackouts as Britain goes green
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 24, 2021Wind slump risks blackouts as Britain goes green
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Other
Drax Biomass Is A Green Con
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, May 27, 2021Drax Biomass Is A Green Con
“It’s taken them a few years, but maybe the Dead Tree Press is beginning to catch up!”
“A £31billion scheme to subsidise a wood-burning power station with taxpayers’ money is a green con, claim environmentalists.” From Daily Mail.
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Storage
Minerals Processing: The Missing Middle Step In U.S. Battery Ambitions
By Gen. Michael Hagee & Drew Horn, Real Clear Energy, May 26, 2021https://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2021/05/26/minerals_processing_the_missing_middle_step_in_us_battery_ambitions_778908.html
UK invests over £30 million in large-scale greenhouse gas removal
Research teams across the UK will investigate the viability of five innovative methods of large-scale greenhouse gas removal to counter the impact of climate change
Press Release, UK Research and Innovation, May 23, 2021 [H/t WUWT]https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-05/urai-uio052021.php
US to open California coast to wind power
By AFP Staff Writers, Washington (AFP), May 25, 2021https://www.winddaily.com/reports/US_to_open_California_coast_to_wind_power_999.html
“National climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters the Biden government was ‘thinking big and thinking bold’ in its bid to leapfrog the nascent offshore wind turbine industry to a new level.”
California Summer Blackouts? Bureaucratic Green Doublespeak)
By Wayne Lusvardi, Master Resource, May 24, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
“The tendency to hide secrets was once described by sociologist Max Weber as one of the defining characteristics of bureaucracies. According to Weber, bureaucracies use secrets to insulate themselves from outside control. But in the case of California, its bureaucracies are focused on maintaining government control of positive social perceptions about green power that is irresponsible and unaccountable as to what is behind structured seasonal blackouts.”
Governor Newsom Silently Supports Importing Aviation Fuels To Northern California.
By Ronald Stein, WUWT, May 27, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE
Friday Funny: A new addition to the climate DOOM lexicon
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, May 28, 2021data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==
The Great Poison Ivy Debate Of 2021
By Josh Bloom, ACSH, May 18, 2021https://www.acsh.org/news/2021/05/18/great-poison-ivy-debate-2021-15552
“For the most part, Margaret Roach’s [New York] Times article is both interesting and accurate. However, she maintains that today’s poison ivy is more toxic because of climate change. I could be wrong, but this seems like a bit of a stretch.”
[SEPP Comment: An early version of the National Climate Assessment featured one of the results of climate change is increased poison ivy. It confused increasing CO2 with climate change and did not mention that a great benefit is the flourishing of plant life.]
Biden’s Architecture of Power
He topples a nonpartisan arts commission for much the same reason vandals topple old statues.
By James Panero, WSJ, May 26, 2021https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-architecture-of-power-11622065951?mod=opinion_lead_pos7
TWTW Summary: The executive editor of the “New Criterion” writes:
“‘I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble,” Augustus Caesar said of his reign. If only the president consulted his Suetonius. Joe Biden found Washington a city of marble and has set out to throw bricks at its defenders. The latest target is the nonpartisan Commission of Fine Arts. In a break with more than a century of tradition, on Monday the executive branch, writing “on behalf of President Biden,” ordered a majority of the fine-arts commissioners, including the chairman, to resign by the close of business or be terminated that evening. Next, Mr. Biden named four new appointments in their place.
“‘I respectfully decline your request to resign,” shot back Justin Shubow, the commission’s chairman, who was appointed to a four-year term in October 2018. “No commissioner has ever been removed by a President, let alone the commission’s chairman. Any such removal would set a terrible precedent.’
“Mr. Shubow is right to stand firm against executive overreach. Established by Congress in 1910, this independent federal agency has overseen ‘matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation’s capital,’ according to the commission’s own description. Composed of seven members with expertise in the arts, the unpaid commission has historically risen above partisan politics—in part by being appointed as terms expire, not at every change of administration. From Taft to Trump, no American president had gone against this tradition.”
After discussing that the commissioners told to resign are seasoned architects, artists and preservationists, the author states:
“One wouldn’t think preserving and extending Washington’s classical order should invite controversy. This is a city where a Senate meets on a Capitol Hill, named after the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The Commission of Fine Arts was established to promote classical unity. Inspired by the City Beautiful movement that began in the 1890s, the agency played a key role in tying together the architecture of the White House and the Capitol with a program of new buildings and monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial of 1922.”
“In 2020 an executive order called ‘Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture’ brought renewed attention to this mission by again giving classical forms priority in federal design. The order overrode a 1960s mandate that had allowed modernist and often Brutalist architecture to squat around the National Mall. Writing in these pages last year, the journalist and historian Myron Magnet observed that the order ‘would thrill lifelong amateur architects George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. ‘ America’s Founders ‘wanted the new nation’s public buildings to embody its ideals of self-governance, rooted in Greek democracy and Roman republicanism.’
“In one of his first acts in office, Mr. Biden overturned Mr. Trump’s executive order. Now, by moving against the commission, Mr. Biden looks to extirpate classical roots. In ‘Paideia,’ a magisterial three-volume study of the ideals of Greek culture, the historian Werner Jaeger noted: ‘Our history still begins with the Greeks. . . . Without Greek cultural ideals, Greco-Roman civilization would not have been a historical unity, and the culture of the western world would never have existed.’ First published in the 1930s, this work by a scholar who fled Nazi Germany for the U.S. well understood how ‘other nations made gods, kings, spirits: the Greeks alone made men.’ It fell to the arsenal of democracy, an arsenal of such men, to restore these ideals of humanistic self-governance.
“Those ideals have been embodied in America’s elected institutions as well as the buildings that house them. Recent critics have sought to malign America’s classical forms through facile associations with Nazi Germany and the antebellum South. Yet it is Brutalism and other forms of recent architectural supremacy that most align with authoritarian regimes, reflecting through impenetrable design and inhuman scale the totality of the state. By attacking the nonpartisan commission, Mr. Biden further undermines our democratic classical inheritance in both institutional and physical form. For a president who has already staked out his imperial ambitions, one might say, how could he not?
“Mr. Biden’s affront to the Fine Arts Commission foreshadows greater challenges ahead for democratic institutions. Formed in April through his executive order, the Commission on the Supreme Court similarly looks to overturn precedent by threatening new presidential pressure and power over the appointment of Supreme Court justices. ‘Tell your president,’ Justice Louis Brandeis said of an earlier attempt to pack the courts, ‘he has made a great mistake.’ The same should be said of Mr. Biden’s move against the Commission of Fine Arts. When it comes to classical forms and classical norms, we don’t need a little Caesar.”
via Watts Up With That?
June 1, 2021