During BlackRock’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, CFACT President Craig Rucker posed a question to Chairman and CEO Larry Fink on the matter of the company’s recent setbacks in the area of ESG financing.
During a Q&A session after the voting adjourned, Rucker said: “Numerous states like Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana are pushing back against ESG criteria and taking action to divest from BlackRock. Why doesn’t BlackRock change course and repudiate the divisive nature of ESG criteria, admit it erred in ever getting involved with it, and move on?”
Rucker’s question was joined by two other questions of a similar tone in nature, so the moderator chose to link them together and pose a single question to Mr. Fink:
[Moderator] “We’ve received a number of questions from shareholders including Roger Flanagan, Mark Charles, Craig Rucker and others on why BlackRock uses its voice around various issues like ESG and racial equity which they believe are personal and political preferences. Larry can you comment on this question?”
[Larry Fink] “Thank you for this question. Let me start off and say we are a fiduciary to our clients. The way we manage, belongs to our clients who entrust us to manage their investments and to help them prepare for the future. Our fiduciary duty is to serve each and every client by seeking the best risk adjusted returns within the guidelines they set for us. When we deliver a value for our clients we also create more value for our shareholders. We serve our clients who have a wide range of investment objectives, preferences, time horizons, risk tolerances, and we offer them choice to help them reach their investment goals. And we manage their assets consistent with their objectives and their guidelines. Part of supporting our clients includes speaking out on issues important to their investments. The global energy transition is one example of an important investment risk and opportunity that our clients expect us to navigate their portfolio through. We invest in companies on behalf of our clients, in accordance with the mandates they have given us. It is our client’s money, not ours. We are not involved in the management of companies. Our interest is seeing companies create sustainable, durable, long-term value for shareholders, which include our clients. I believe our approach is resonating. While most of our peers have had net outflows in 2022, clients entrusted BlackRock to manage nearly $400 billion of long-term net assets including $230 billion alone in a [inaudible] in the United States. This momentum continues in the first quarter of 2023 with clients entrusting us with more than $100 billion in net new assets. These industry leading results reflect a strong endorsement by our clients of the choices we make, the advice we provide, the long term performance record we have delivered, and the fiduciary standard that we uphold to each and every client.”
From CFACT’s perspective, this response amounted to an artful dodging of the question. Mr. Fink seemed to be responding to people accusing BlackRock of misusing clients’ money and placing it in areas they might disapprove of. He made clear they don’t do such. Our response is…Good for BlackRock. Of course, no one is accusing BlackRock of doing that.
What people are worried about is BlackRock’s touting ESG criteria as a basis for scoring good vs. bad investments. In doing so they are, in fact, strongly influencing the options as presented to their clients in a twisted way. For example, Mr. Fink has stated in comments to shareholders in the past that he embraces the notion of a climate emergency and need to de-carbonize energy. So when Mr. Fink says, “The global energy transition is one example of an important investment risk and opportunity that our clients expect us to navigate their portfolio through,” it’s important to remember he approaches the issue from a world view not dissimilar to Al Gore. He’s free to that opinion, of course – so long as that opinion of a need for “climate action” doesn’t find its way into BlackRock’s ESG criteria, and then used to score good vs. bad investment decisions for clients. CFACT believes market performance, not politics, should be the principal criteria driving investment decisions.
As for Mr. Fink’s comment about “We are not involved in the management of companies”, well, tell that to the three ex-chairmen at Exxon who were removed from their offices when BlackRock joined forces with Engine No. One in 2021 to expel them. And why? Not because of incompetence, but because of the climate crusaders wanted to make a political point. If BlackRock is not sending a message to companies who step out of line with its climate objectives “be careful”, it’s hard to say who is.
CFACT also took occasion at BlackRock’s annual shareholder meeting to vote against a proposal put forward by climate activists. It called for BlackRock to produce a report specifying how the company can use its proxy voting to engineer de-carbonization in the economy. The proposal, fortunately, was defeated with around 90% of the shareholders voting against it.
Germany’s water police are investigating what they believe may be the first case in which a working merchant ship underway struck a North Sea wind farm. The captain of the vessel according to the police has so far not explained how his vessel received a hole the “size of a barn door” forward on the starboard side of the ship.
The general cargo ship Petra L. (1,685 dwt) is registered in Antigua and Barbuda for a German owner which is listed as MP Shipping of Hamburg in the Equasis database. The 39-year-old vessel departed Szczecin, Poland on April 22 loaded with 1,500 tons of gain bound for Antwerp. Three days later early on the morning of April 25, she arrived in Emden, Germany, and port authorities noticed the gapping hole and reported it to the police.
Media reports said the water police were initially investigating the incident on the theory that the vessel had hit a floating object. Police reports are saying that the hole measures approximately 10 feet by 16 feet (3 meters by 5 meters) penetrating the hull. They reported that there were three officers and three crewmembers working aboard the vessel. None of them were injured.
Petra L. was sailing in the North Sea (Baltic Shipping Company)
German authorities made inquiries with the wind farm operators and said that Ørsted which operates the Gode Wind site approximately 25 miles off the German coast in the North Sea reported that its sensors at the wind farm had not detected any issues. However, on Wednesday morning a further survey of the wind farm, which has been operating since 2017 and consists of 97 turbines located in two sections, was undertaken by helicopter. Ørsted reportedly then confirmed to the German authorities that the visual survey detected “a small amount of damage,” in the field. The reports did not provide details.
A review of the vessel’s data and AIS position shows that it was miles off course according to the German authorities. They are speculating that the ship was on autopilot and for unknown reasons drifted or deviated from its course. The data is reported to show that the vessel also slowed speed dramatically before altering course. Weather conditions were good in the North Sea which they believe is why the vessel was able to proceed to port without reporting the incident.
The Russian captain of the vessel is promising a full statement after speaking with lawyers. Currently, the German authorities are reporting that he is facing charges for failing to report a maritime accident. Additional charges could be added pending the outcome of the investigation.
They are citing this as the first instance of a vessel underway striking a wind farm. Three years ago, a support vessel servicing another wind farm in the North Sea struck one of the towers and injured three people aboard the vessel. In that instance, investigators blamed the captain for being distracted, not maintaining a proper lookout, and deviating from the normal course used while servicing the Riffgrund wind farm which is located approximately 28 miles from shore.
Dutch authorities also reported an accident during a North Sea storm that caused a cargo ship at anchor to drift into an under-construction wind farm striking and damaging one of the foundations. An urgent salvage operation needed to be mounted to save the vessel before it drifted on shore during the storm.
“New England home heating and electricity prices are on the rise with no end in sight. Consumers paid record high energy bills last winter, even though the winter was not unusually cold. Shortages of natural gas and green energy policies will drive New England prices higher and raise the chance of electricity blackouts.”
Residential energy bills in New England this year were the highest in history. The combination of electricity and natural gas heating bills exceeded $1,000 per month for an average-sized house in Massachusetts, even though winter temperatures in New England were warmer than average.
Eighty percent of homes in New England, which includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, heat with fuels from oil and gas. The hydrocarbon fuel share of home heating is natural gas (39%), fuel oil and kerosene (33%), and propane or liquid petroleum gas (8%). Homes also use electricity (16%) and other sources (4%) for heat.
Natural gas is also the leading fuel for generation of electricity. New England power comes from natural gas (43%), nuclear (21%), imports (17%), hydroelectric (6%), renewables (12%), and other generators (1%). But New England residents now pay higher prices for natural gas than the rest of the nation and gas prices are rapidly rising.
For the last decade, the State of New York blocked the construction of natural gas pipelines as part of efforts to decarbonize. For example, the Constitution Pipeline project was cancelled in 2019 after an eight-year battle. Plans called for the pipeline to connect natural gas fields in Pennsylvania to the gas network in Schoharie County, just west of Albany, New York. Because New York is blocking pipeline delivery, New England is forced to import liquified natural gas (LNG) for home and electrical power generation.
New Englanders now pay more than twice the price for natural gas than most other US residents pay, and that gap is growing. During peak periods, the Citigate Massachusetts price for gas now rises to more than $10 per million BTU, much higher than the US average Henry Hub typical price of $3-4 per million BTU. Because pipeline capacity is low, New England must import up to 30 percent of its gas by LNG tanker and pay high world market prices. During the recent global energy crisis, Massachusetts was paying $40-$50 per million BTU for imported LNG.
New England electricity prices are also among the highest in the nation. In 2022, power prices for all six of the New England states were over 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, and all in the top ten for state electricity prices. Massachusetts residential customers paid 26.1 cents per kW-hr, surpassed only by prices in Hawaii and California.
The risk of electricity blackouts in New England is rising. The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America sent a letter to President Joe Biden last November, warning that the region “does not have sufficient pipeline infrastructure” and is “at risk of an energy shortfall.” ISO New England, the non-profit organization responsible for reliable electricity in New England, wrote a similar warning letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last summer, stating, “during the coldest days of the year, New England does not have sufficient infrastructure to meet the region’s demand for natural gas for both home heating and power generation.” But government leaders and environmental groups oppose further expansion of natural gas infrastructure.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and ISO New England have proposed a shift in LNG pricing to allow purchase and stockpiling of natural gas in New England to prevent a winter fuel shortage. This price shift would raise consumer prices and is opposed by New England states and environmental groups. The pipeline capacity shortage and inadequate gas stockpiles have set the stage for electricity blackouts in the region during the next severe winter.
New England state governments remain committed to construction of offshore wind turbines and providing incentives for electric heat pumps as part of a misguided effort to fight climate change. But these programs, if completed, will not make the grid more reliable and will further boost energy costs.
New England homeowners, better get yourself a backup electric generator and prepare for further rises in home heating and electricity prices.
Steve Goreham is a speaker on energy, the environment, and public policy and an author of three books on energy, sustainable development, and climate change.
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — Droughts can be good for trees. Certain trees, that is.
Contrary to expectation, sometimes a record-breaking drought can increase tree growth. Why and where this happens is the subject of a new paper in Global Change Biology.
A team of scientists led by Joan Dudney at UC Santa Barbara examined the drought response of endangered whitebark pine over the past century. They found that in cold, harsh environments — often at high altitudes and latitudes — drought can actually benefit the trees by extending the growing season. This research provides insights into where the threats from extreme drought will be greatest, and how different species and ecosystems will respond to climate change.
Many factors can constrain tree growth, including temperature, sunlight and the availability of water and nutrients. The threshold between energy-limited and water-limited systems turns out to be particularly significant. Trees that try to grow in excessively cold temperatures — often energy-limited systems — can freeze to death. On the other hand, too little water can also kill a tree, particularly in water-limited systems. Over time, many tree species have adapted to these extreme conditions, and their responses are broadly similar. They often reduce growth-related activities, including photosynthesis and nutrient uptake, to protect themselves until the weather improves.
“Interestingly, the transition from energy- to water-limited growth can produce highly unexpected responses,” explained Dudney, an assistant professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and the Environmental Studies Program. “In cold, energy-limited environments, extreme drought can actually increase growth and productivity, even in California.”
Dudney and her colleagues extracted 800 tree cores from whitebark pine across the Sierra Nevada, comparing the tree rings to historical records of climate conditions. This climate data spanned 1900 to 2018, and included three extreme droughts: 1959–61, 1976–77, and 2012–15. They recorded where tree growth and temperature showed a positive relationship, and where the relationship was negative.
The authors found a pronounced shift in growth during times of drought when the average maximum temperature was roughly 8.4° Celsius (47.1° Fahrenheit) between October and May. Above this threshold, extreme drought reduced growth and photosynthesis. Below this temperature, trees grew more in response to drought.
“It’s basically, ‘how long is the growing season?’” Dudney said. Colder winters and higher snowpack often lead to shorter growing seasons that constrain tree growth. Even during an extreme drought, many of the trees growing in these extreme environments did not experience high water stress. This surprised the team of scientists, many of whom had observed and measured the unprecedented tree mortality that occurred at slightly lower elevations in the Sierra Nevada.
Dudney was curious whether drought impacts growth in just the main trunk, or the whole tree. Without more data, the trends they saw could be a result of disparate processes all responding to the drought differently, she explained. Fortunately, whitebark pine retains its needles for roughly eight years. This provided additional data that could address this question.
The researchers shifted their attention from dendrology to chemistry. Atoms of the same element can have different weights, or isotopes, thanks to the number of neutrons they contain. Several aspects of a plant’s metabolism can influence the relative abundance of heavy, carbon-13 and light, carbon-12 in tissues such as their leaves and needles. These changes provide a rough guide to the amount of water stress a tree experienced during drought. This was a boon for the researchers, because isotopic data from the pine needles spanned drought and non-drought years.
Analyzing needle growth, carbon and nitrogen isotopes revealed that the whole tree was affected by the threshold between water-limited and energy-limited systems. Trunk growth, needle growth, photosynthesis and nutrient cycling responded in opposite directions to drought above and below the threshold between energy- and water-limited systems.
The future of whitebark pine is highly uncertain. The species — recently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act — faces many threats, including disease, pine beetle infestation and impacts from altered fire regimes. It’s clear from this research that drought and warming will likely exacerbate these threats in water-limited regions, but warming may be beneficial for growth in energy-limited environments. “This research can help develop more targeted conservation strategies,” said Dudney, “to help restore this historically widespread tree species.” Indeed, the pine’s range encompasses a diverse region, stretching from California to British Columbia, and east to Wyoming.
The findings also have implications more broadly. Approximately 21% of forests are considered energy limited, and an even higher percentage can be classified as water limited. So transitions between these two climatic regimes likely occur around the globe. What’s more, the transition seems to have an effect on nitrogen cycling. Trees in water-limited environments appeared to rely less on symbiotic fungi for nitrogen, which is critical for tree growth in harsh, energy-limited environments.
“Droughts are leading to widespread tree mortality across the globe,” Dudney said, “which can accelerate global warming.”
Deciphering the many ways trees respond to drought will help us better predict where ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change and how to develop more targeted strategies to protect our forests.
Leaving aside all discussion of whether ‘the climate’ is under any sort of human control, Lord Frost forecasts national economic pain and asks: where are the viable electricity storage options? – – – Lord David Frost, the former Brexit minister has voiced significant concerns regarding the nation’s chosen path towards achieving net zero emissions, reports Energy Live News.
In a speech delivered at the Global Warming Policy Foundation to an audience in Central London last night, Lord Frost expressed doubts about the viability and potential damage associated with the current approach.
Lord Frost said: “I am going to argue that the route we have chosen to deliver net zero is inevitably wasteful and damaging; that it is totally implausible that it will boost growth and much more likely that it will reduce it; that as a result governments are pursuing completely incompatible political and economic objectives, but will not be able to do so forever; that when the crunch comes they may well double down on further economically damaging measures in order to meet the goal; and, therefore, finally, that people like me must prepare for that moment when we will need to try to get onto a more rational path with a rethink of net zero methods and, almost certainly, timetable.”
He continued: “In Britain, we will soon be making people buy inferior and more expensive boiler technology and driving many out of the new car market if they aren’t prepared to take a punt on electric vehicles.
“House designs are increasingly constrained and indeed energy efficiency requirements are squeezing the whole housing market. Most egregiously, we are forcing investment in windmills, a technological breakthrough when first mentioned when Henry II was on the throne, but less obviously suited to providing power on demand today, given that we have so far found no solution to the intermittency problem other than maintaining a back up network of gas and coal-fired power stations.
“The battery storage technology does not exist, hydro storage can’t be developed on anything like the right scale, and hydrogen remains costly and unproven. Moreover, it is surely obvious that renewables plus back up will be more expensive than just the back up.
“Despite all these problems, many seem to believe that the solution to our problems is just to keep building windmills until we have ‘enough’.”
Labour has confirmed it will block all new domestic oil and gas developments if it wins power, proposing instead to invest heavily in renewable sources such as wind and also in nuclear power.
The shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said details would be announced soon.
“What we’ll be doing in the coming weeks is outlining how we want to invest in the green jobs of the future, to bring bills down, to create a more sustainable energy supply,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show.
“We’ll be outlining that in a significant mission in the coming weeks, and we’ll be announcing more details then.
A party source said: “We are against the granting of new licences for oil and gas in the North Sea. They will do nothing to cut bills as the Tories have acknowledged; they undermine our energy security and would drive a coach and horse through our climate targets.
There’s already friction between some of the big car firms and the mining concerns, with the car people backing a moratorium but the miners insisting they wouldn’t be able to produce enough for the EV markets without exploiting the sea bed. – – – A vast stretch of ocean floor earmarked for deep sea mining is home to thousands of oddball sea creatures, most of them unknown to science, says BBC News.
They include weird worms, brightly coloured sea cucumbers and corals.
Scientists have put together the first full stocktake of species to help weigh up the risks to biodiversity.
They say more than 5,000 different animals have been found in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean.
The area is a prime contender for the mining of precious metals from the sea bed, which could begin as early as this year.
Companies want to exploit valuable deep-sea metals in international waters, but have yet to start extraction.
The place is „a wonderfully weird environment“ with a plethora of creatures – „everything from strange [sea] cucumbers with elaborate sails on their back to beautiful glass sponges,“ said Muriel Rabone of the Natural History Museum in London.
„We need to know what the biodiversity is and what we may lose from any mining impacts,“ she added.
The researchers sifted through hundreds of scientific papers and thousands of records in databases to compile an inventory of life-forms in the zone.
Of the thousands of „otherworldly“, „beautiful“ and „ethereal“ animals recorded, only 400 are known to science.
Complexity and perplexity go together like a horse and carriage, or in this case, like the climate and a modeller. When probability claims masquerade as genuine predictions about reality, and international agencies and governments promote alarmism at every opportunity, when confirmation bias distorts the search for truth, the outcome is the “climate change” hyperbole and “saving-the-planet” activism that is now disrupting every aspect of our lives.
There is a 66% likelihood that the annual average near-surface global temperature between 2023 and 2027 will be more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year. There is a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.
A temporary reprieve from a French-fry fate is possible. But hold the champagne. The world is still going to exceed1.5°C “with increasing frequency”. Unless we prostrate ourselves with more fervour at the altar of NetZero it could become permanent. Whatever happens, like Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, we will always have Paris.
WMO’s Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas:
This report does not mean that we will permanently exceed the 1.5°C level specified in the Paris Agreement which refers to long-term warming over many years. However, WMO is sounding the alarm that we will breach the 1.5°C level on a temporary basis with increasing frequency.
A warming El Niño is “expected to develop in the coming months”. So, dear reader, mark your calendar. It will “combine with human-induced climate change” and “push global temperatures into uncharted territory”. This will have “far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment. We need to be prepared,” he said.
Have modellers so mastered the arcane art of calculating probabilities they can now conjure up such precise short-term predictions?
The WMO press release went on to claim:
There is only a 32% chance that the five-year mean will exceed the 1.5°C threshold, according to the Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update produced by the United Kingdom’s Met Office, the WMO lead centre for such predictions.
The chance of temporarily exceeding 1.5°C has risen steadily since 2015, when it was close to zero. For the years between 2017 and 2021, there was a 10% chance of exceedance.
Hold it right there. There apparently is “a 98% likelihood that at least one of the next five years, and the five-year period as a whole, will be the warmest on record.” Yet there is only a 32% chance that the global temperature over this period will exceed the 1.5°C threshold. The probability of a two-sided coin landing on heads is ½, or 50%. Interesting.
A paper published three years ago concluded:
“For the period 2017 to 2021 we predict a 38% and 10% chance, respectively, of monthly or yearly temperatures exceeding 1.5 °C, with virtually no chance of the 5-year mean being above the threshold.
The authors, nevertheless, wouldupdate their forecasts “every year to provide policy makers with advanced warning of the evolving probability and duration of future warming events.”
What if the planet does exceed an arbitrary number selected by UN agencies in Paris? Would the world be more afraid – or resigned – than it is today? What if the global “climate”, whatever that is, is beyond human control? Surely that’s the biggest elephant in the greenhouse.
One of WMO’s top priorities is implementing the UN Early Warnings for All Initiative. On World Meteorological Day last March, the UN Secretary-General announced “a new call to action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by MHEWS (Multi-hazard early warning systems) within five years: the Early Warning Systems Initiative (EWS4ALL)”.
Too many cooks tend to spoil the broth. Perish the thought, but perhaps too many modellers are trying to predict the unpredictable: natural and climatic variability.
Not so, says the WMO: “Retrospective forecasts, or hindcasts, covering the period 1960-2018 are used to estimate forecast skill. Confidence in forecasts of global mean temperature is high since hindcasts show very high skill in all measures.” Accurately forecasting the future, however, is surely a bigger challenge than hindcasting the past.
The new update includes a section evaluating forecasts for the previous five years (page 16). A mixed bag of outcomes indeed. The “ensemble” models, for example, did not “capture” the “cold anomalies in Antarctica and eastern Asia”. And so on and so forth.
As for complexity, there’s never been any shortage of it in the CC space. According to UK Met Office: “The evolution of climate in the near term, out to a decade or two ahead, is the combination of natural climate variability and human-forced climate change. Changes in natural variability are large enough from one decade to the next to temporarily exacerbate or counter underlying anthropogenic trends [presumably assumed in model simulations].”
How the two phenomena are quantified remains a mystery, at least to me. Even after reading the World Climate Research Programme on the Grand Challenges of Near-Term Climate Prediction I am, alas, none the wiser. For some reason, they ended last year, possibly because too many experts had Covid or apocalypse fatigue syndrome. Hardly surprising, given this ambitious Concept Note.
One aspect most modellers seem to agree on is that “decadal predictions need to take into account both initial conditions of the climate system as well as the evolution of long-term forcings. (See Fig. 2 (Box 11.1) in AR5-WG1.)
The Barcelona Supercomputing Center describes their dilemma here and here:
Certain limitations, such as imperfect parameterizations and inaccurate initial conditions, introduce biases in the climate models, i.e. cause them to have differences with the observations. All models exhibit to some extent biases.
at sub-seasonal to interannual time scales, climate predictability is thought to arise significantly from the knowledge of initial conditions. Initializing climate models with observationally-based estimates is a very challenging task scientifically, but also technically.
Accurate near-term predictions from climate models rely, among others, on a realistic specification of initial conditions. The problem is simple to state, but difficult to address for two reasons: (1) the observational coverage is sparse, (2) climate models “live” in their preferred state.
Such perplexity is not new. A lot of folk have had it, including the late Stephen Schneider (1945-2010). A distinguished environmental researcher at Stanford University’s Woods Institute, he was an author for four early IPCC assessment reports, a “core member” for two of them.
At the time, he was perplexed by the “significant uncertainties” that “bedevil components of the science”, “plague projections of climate change and its consequences”, and challenge the traditional scientific method of directly testing hypotheses (‘normal’ science). Schneider’s solution: to change ‘the culture of science’ by developing a language that would convey the gravity of the situation “properly” to policy makers.
As climate uncertainty was (and for me still is) so intractable — and incomprehensible to the public — Schneider introduced the rhetoric of risk management – “framing a judgement about acceptable and unacceptable risks” – and pseudo-probability. While he claimed he was “uncomfortable” with this “value judgement” approach – he was even “more uncomfortable ignoring the problems altogether because they don’t fit neatly into our paradigm of ‘objective’ falsifiable research based on already known empirical data.”
He proposed a new subjective paradigm of “surprises’ in global climate scenarios, one with “perhaps extreme outcomes or tipping points which lead to unusually rapid changes of state”; while admitting that, “by definition, very little in climate science is more uncertain than the possibility of ‘surprises’.”
According to Schneider, “despite the worry that discussions of surprises and non-linearities could be taken out of context by extreme elements in the press and NGOs [but apparently not by the IPCC], we were able to include a small section on the need for both more formal and subjective treatments of uncertainties and outright surprises in the IPCC Second Assessment Report in 1995.”
“As a result the very last sentence of the IPCC Working Group 1 1995 Summary for Policy Makers addresses the abrupt non-linearity issue. This made much more in-depth assessment in subsequent IPCC reports possible, simply by noting [that is assuming, not proving] that: ‘When rapidly forced, non-linear systems are especially subject to unexpected behaviour.”
This was a pivotal moment in the history of climate alarmism. Schneider had smuggled a Trojan horse into the IPCC, with a contrived “language for risk” inside it. It was a language derived from his personal (and the IPCC’s) “value frame” and was adopted in subsequent reports. They now had, he wrote triumphantly, “licence to pursue risk assessment of uncertain probability but high consequence possibilities in more depth; but how should we go about it?” How, indeed?
It took a long time for him to “negotiate” agreement with climate scientists on precise “numbers and words” in the Third Assessment Report cycle. “There were some people who still felt they could not apply a quantitative scale to issues that were too speculative or ‘too subjective’ for real scientists to indulge in ‘speculating on probabilities not directly measured’. One critic said: ‘Assigning confidence by group discussion, even if informed by the available evidence, was like doing seat-of-the-pants statistics over a good beer.’”
Schneider’s Royal Society essay nevertheless concluded: “Despite the large uncertainties in many parts of the climate science and policy assessments to date, uncertainty is no longer a responsible justification for delay.”
How can one argue the more uncertain a phenomenon, the greater the risk to us and the planet? Yet they did and are still doing it today.
That said, at least Schneider was sceptical about modelling. “There are many scientists who dispute that it is only humans controlling the climate thermostat,” he wrote. “Heat exchanges from the tropics to the poles, ocean currents of countless durations and size, changing amounts of heat from the sun, all operate in a chaotic non-linear manner to make climate modelling a largely fruitless, if politically necessary, activity.”
Given the vast uncertainties in both climate science and impacts estimations, we should slow down the rate at which we disturb the climate system — that is, reduce the likelihood of “imaginable conditions for surprise”. This can both buy time to understand better what may happen — a process that will take many more decades of research, at least — and to develop lower-cost decarbonization options so that the costs of mitigation can be reduced well below those that would occur if there were no policies in place to provide incentives to reduce emissions and invent cleaner alternatives. Abating the pressure on the climate system, developing alternative energy systems, and otherwise reducing our overconsumption (see Arrow et al., 2003) are the only clear “insurance policy” we have against a number of potentially dangerous irreversibilities and abrupt nonlinear events.
To deal with such questions, the policy community needs to understand both the potential for surprises and how difficult it is for integrated assessment models (IAMs) to credibly evaluate the probabilities of currently imaginable “surprises,” let alone those not currently envisioned.
As for “abrupt nonlinear events” that would “qualify as dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” use your imagination. It’s easy to find an “extreme weather event” in natural variability. They happen somewhere in the world almost every day. Bamboozling folk with data or simulations that may, or may not, describe reality can be fun too. Astrologers, readers of entrails and other prognosticators made a lucrative living from it, even when their so-called facts and predictions were “value-laden”, and riddled with confirmation bias.
Whether a few generations of people demanding higher material standards of living and using the atmosphere as an unpriced sewer to more rapidly achieve such growth–oriented goals is “ethical” is a value-laden debate that will no doubt heat up as greenhouse gas builds up…and references to the “precautionary principle” will undoubtedly mark this debate.
The rest is history: the history of how dodgy “post-normal” science joined up with a pseudo-scientific “precautionary principle” to corrupt the UN, IPCC and WMO and, despite the “vast uncertainties”, ultimately created the NetZero decarbonising monster that is disrupting countries – and energy markets – everywhere on the bogus pretext of “fighting climate change”.
Alaska was once seen as a beacon of hope in the AGW coal mine: but after four cold winters in a row, culminating in a historically cold winter season in 2022-23, The Last Climate Frontier has certainly lost that status – the catastrophists will now have to look elsewhere to bolster their narrative.
According to NOAA’s data, and despite the agency’s official forecasts that consistently heralded “warmer than average” seasons, the last four winters in Alaska have shown a strong cooling trend.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is also off its rocker. It predicted a “much milder than normal winter” for 2022-23 with below average snowfall. That was wrong on both fronts. Historic snowfall totals of more than 250 cm fell across much of Alaska, and Anchorage set a new record for leftover snow that stayed on the ground well into April.
April was also a historically cold month across Alaska, with an average temperature of -8.7 degrees Celsius, which is 5.5 degrees Celsius below the multi-decadal norm and the fourth coldest April in 99 years of NOAA records.
The snow has now continued into May, tumbling even more records.
Icy polar air masses continue to dominate large parts of Australia – most recently in the west. Moreover, a continent-wide cold air outbreak from Antarctica is expected in the second half of this week.
Australia is cooling, and the proof is in measurements: For the past six years, it has been colder than average Down Under, and the list of cities that have recorded the coldest seasons since records began is growing (such as Brisbane last winter).
May 2023 continues this cooling trend, with the lowest May temperatures on record already recorded in a number of locations early in the month – including Cooma, Omeo, Bombala and Canberra. In Sydney last Sunday, the lowest temperature recorded at the start of autumn in 85 years (since 1938) was 7.1°C.
Over the weekend, it was the West’s turn to freeze.
Large parts of Western Australia just experienced the coldest May morning in at least two decades. On both Sunday and Monday morning, the temperature in Broome, for example, dropped to 11.5 °C, the lowest autumn reading since 1999.
3. May snow in Europe – even in Spain
Meteorological summer may be just around the corner, but Europe’s higher altitudes are seeing further and unusually heavy snowfall – and the media have been characteristically silent despite all their clamouring for “snowless winters”.
In the French Alps, Tignes and Les 2 Alpes received huge amounts of snow at the beginning of May, and accumulations have continued to rise since then. More recently, it was Austria’s turn to experience a late winter onset, with Hintertux, for example, reporting half a metre of new snow in the last few days alone.
4. The heavy May snow in Europe not limited to Alps
Large parts of Scandinavia have been buried in the recent off-season, as have the mountains of northern Spain, where several centimetres of snow have accumulated in recent days – following absurd MSM warmth reports of an early season heatwave.
Parts of the Iberian Peninsula have recently been hit by a polar cold snap that has led to “unusual snowfall” in La Raya, a mountainous region in the Principality of Asturias in northwestern Spain, Reuters reports.
5. The year without spring in the UK
The year 2023 has been cold and wet in the UK so far, and spring still refuses to start in mid-May.
Even mainstream meteorologists can’t explain why winter’s grim conditions are still dragging on, and are themselves shocked by “all the severe frosts we’ve had this spring”.
BBC meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker said that people approach him in the street and ask when spring will finally arrive. What have we done to deserve this cold, gloomy weather dragging on for so long?
According to Schafernaker, the answer lies in the history books, particularly the weather conditions of the 1970s and 1980s.
The BBC meteorologist actually explains it in terms of global warming: “From time to time we revert to previous weather patterns, and that’s what we’re experiencing this year … But thanks largely to climate change, temperatures have been creeping up – snow has become less frequent, and spring has occasionally brought very warm weather. And we have got used to that.”
6.Surprising May snow in the Gulmarg region of Kashmir
The Indian region of Kashmir is still experiencing wintry conditions in June.
The ski resort of Gulmarg in the Kashmir Valley continues to surprise tourists with massive snowfall and freezing cold. In Apharwat, there is still 30 cm of snow on the slopes, attracting thousands of tourists every day.
“We are experiencing a winter season in the middle of summer; I did not expect such severe cold,” said one tourist.
In May, there was a dramatic change in the weather, and the higher elevations of the Kashmir Valley saw rare off-season snowfall. Temperatures also remain well below normal, allowing the ski season to be extended all around.
7. Frost hits Europe In large parts of Europe it is freezing cold. What’s more, despite the mainstream’s cries of “No snow!”, the continent’s higher elevations have continued to receive copious amounts of late spring snow.
Much of central and eastern Europe has been exceptionally cold over the past few nights, and despite “The Science” predicting an impending devastating drought, rain has returned (in the form of heavy snowfall in the Alps and Pyrenees).
A recent Reuters article says there is little chance that the rains will address the underlying drought: “At this time of year we can only have spotty and localised storms that will not address the rainfall deficit,” said Jorge Olcina, professor of geographic analysis at the University of Alicante, a mouthpiece for the AGW and darling of the MSM.
Well, the rains are here, Olcina, and they are proving to be heavy, persistent and widespread – especially in the regions that “The Science” claims to be most concerned about: Spain, Portugal and southern France.
Getting back to the cold records: Low-lying areas of France and Germany have been experiencing frost lately, which was not in keeping with the season. In the small town of Wittingen (71 m above sea level), for example, a new May record of -1.6 °C was set. At least 16 low-lying stations across Germany, including the metropolis of Hanover, also experienced rare late frosts.
Snow is predicted for Scandinavia, the Alps and the Pyrenees into June – amazing!
8. Deadly snowstorm in Mongolia
Mongolia endured a brutal and deadly winter of 2022-23 that resulted in massive livestock losses and the suffering of 212,000 people, according to Save the Children. Now, in late spring, the country continues to be battered by deadly snowstorms.
Currently, 13 of Mongolia’s 21 provinces are experiencing a “dzud” – a natural phenomenon unique to Mongolia in which heavy snowfall and extreme cold lead to a shortage of grazing land for livestock. Between 1940 and 2015, official “dzud declarations” were made twice a decade. In recent years, however, dzuds have increased in frequency and now occur annually.
As with the increasing “cold waves” in India, the AGW party has no answer to this phenomenon.
As Xinhua reports, the return of winter in the country has also caused extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure such as roads and power lines.
The cold and snow have also killed many animals, NEMA added, contributing to the huge winter losses.
“The climate is very different from when I was a child,” Delgerbat said in early May. “When I was young, the snow had melted around this time and it was already spring, but now spring comes so late.”
The Met Office would love people to think that there is such a thing as a “normal” British climate; any variation from this norm now can then be labelled as an example of a “changing climate”.
There are averages of course, average temperatures, rainfall and so on. But averages and norms are two different things, the former being merely an arithmetic construct.
A look back at the Met Office archives shows just how variable our weather was 100 years ago. The list below shows the headlines for each monthly weather report, with a bit more detail from those reports in some months.
January: Mild, with frequent gales
February: An extremely wet month: the second wettest on record in England: temperatures reached 61F: heavy snowfall
March : Mild and dry
April: Cold and wet: severe frosts
May: Cold and dull
June: Cool, dull and dry
July: Hot and thundery: temperatures hit 96F: floods caused considerable damage in Cambridge
August: Rather cool and wet
September: Cool, sunny in SE, wet in North
October: Wet and windy
November: Cold, sunny and foggy: very severe floods in NW England
December: A variable month: considerable snowfall across Britain
There was nothing unusual about 1923; most years will show similar swings from one extreme to the other from month to month, and week to week.
Global warming, climate change, all these things are just a dream come true for politicians. I deal with evidence and not with frightening computer models because the seeker after truth does not put his faith in any consensus. The road to the truth is long and hard, but this is the road we must follow. People who describe the unprecedented comfort and ease of modern life as a climate disaster, in my opinion have no idea what a real problem is.