Climate Change Lawsuits Collapsing Like Dominoes

Posted to Energy March 05, 2020 by 

Inside Sources

Laws and policy on climate change and environmental protection

Climate change activists went to court in California recently trying to halt a long losing streak in their quest to punish energy companies for aiding and abetting the world’s consumption of fossil fuels.

A handful of California cities — big consumers of fossil fuels themselves — asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse the predictable dismissal of their public nuisance lawsuit seeking to pin the entire blame for global warming on five energy producers: BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell.

The cities hope to soak the companies for billions of dollars of damages, which they claim they’ll use to build sea walls, better sewer systems and the like in anticipation of rising seas and extreme weather that might result from climate change.

But no plaintiff has ever succeeded in bringing a public nuisance lawsuit based on climate change.

To the contrary, these lawsuits are beginning to collapse like dominoes as courts remind the plaintiffs that it is the legislative and executive branches — not the judicial branch — that have the authority and expertise to determine climate policy.

Climate change activists should have gotten the message in 2011 when the Supreme Court ruled against eight states and other plaintiffs who brought nuisance claims for the greenhouse gas emissions produced by electric power plants.

The Court ruled unanimously in American Electric Power v. Connecticut that the federal Clean Air Act, under which such emissions are subject to EPA regulation, preempts such lawsuits.

The Justices emphasized that “Congress designated an expert agency, here, EPA … [that] is surely better equipped to do the job than individual district judges issuing ad hoc, case-by-case injunctions” and better able to weigh “the environmental benefit potentially achievable [against] our Nation’s energy needs and the possibility of economic disruption.”

The Court noted that this was true of “questions of national or international policy” in general, reminding us why the larger trend of misusing public nuisance lawsuits is a problem.

The California cities, led by Oakland and San Francisco, tried to get around this Supreme Court precedent by focusing on the international nature of the emissions at issue.

But that approach backfired in 2018 when federal district judge William Alsup concluded that a worldwide problem “deserves a solution on a more vast scale than can be supplied by a district judge or jury in a public nuisance case.” Alsup, a liberal Clinton appointee, noted that “Without [fossil] fuels, virtually all of our monumental progress would have been impossible.”

In July 2018, a federal judge in Manhattan tossed out a nearly identical lawsuit by New York City on the same grounds. The city is appealing.

Meanwhile, climate lawfare is also being waged against energy companies by Rhode Island and a number of municipal governments, including Baltimore. Like the other failed cases, these governments seek billions of dollars.

Adding to the string of defeats was the Ninth Circuit’s rejection last month of the so-called “children’s” climate suit, which took a somewhat different approach by pitting a bunch of child plaintiffs against the federal government.

The children alleged “psychological harms, others impairment to recreational interests, others exacerbated medical conditions, and others damage to property” and sought an injunction forcing the executive branch to phase out fossil fuel emissions.

Judge Andrew Hurwitz, an Obama appointee, wrote for the majority that “such relief is beyond our constitutional power.” The case for redress, he said, “must be presented to the political branches of government.”

Yet another creative, if disingenuous, litigation strategy was attempted by New York State’s attorney general, who sued ExxonMobil for allegedly deceiving investors about the impact of future climate change regulations on profits by keeping two sets of books.

That lawsuit went down in flames in December when a New York court ruled that the state failed to prove any “material misstatements” to investors.

All these lawsuits fail because they are grounded in politics, virtue signaling and — in most cases — the hope of collecting billions from energy producers, rather than in sound legal theories or a genuine strategy for fighting climate change.

But in the unlikely event these plaintiffs prevail, would they use their billion dollar windfalls to help society cope with global warming?

It’s unlikely if past history is any indication.

State and local governments that have won large damage awards in successful non-climate-related public nuisance lawsuits — tobacco litigation is the most famous example — have notoriously blown most of the money on spending binges unrelated to the original lawsuit or on backfilling irresponsible budget deficits.

The question of what would happen to the award money will likely remain academic. Even sympathetic judges have repeatedly refused to be roped by weak public nuisance or other contorted legal theories into addressing a national or international policy issue — climate change — that is clearly better left to elected officials.

Like anything built on an unsound foundation, these climate lawsuits will continue to collapse.

Eliminate fossil fuels now — U.S. “MAGICC” model says why bother?

By  |March 3rd, 2020|Climate|115 Comments

The climate alarmist community loves computer models, especially those that predict, with certainty, that the Earth will become uninhabitable by as early as 2050, unless human production of CO2 is drastically reduced, if not eliminated altogether. A sixteen year old Swedish schoolgirl, a former Vice President of the United States, a member of the British Royal Family, a freshman member of Congress, and others actually believe that Armageddon will happen much earlier than 2050. But we will ignore celebrity Apocalyptics for the moment, and focus this discussion on the reliance by Alarmists on computer models.

These models are represented by what the UN calls General Circulation Models (GCMs). There are more than 100 of them, mostly produced in the early 1980s. So far, they have proven to be spectacularly wrong, drastically over estimating the increase in observed global temperaratures. Almost as soon as they were created, these predictions ran afoul of satellite data, which replaced land-based thermometers that for years had been “adjusted “ (fudged) by scientists at NOAA and other official organizations in order to support the man-made global warming narrative.

The UN, its sister agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believe that these computer projections are correct. After all, they were produced by the best scientists in their fields, weren’t they?

So, human-caused CO2 has to be reduced. But how much reduction is enough to save the planet? Some True Believers advocate taxes on “carbon” (True Believer-speak for carbon dioxide), which might reduce man-made CO2 50% in the US by 2050. Other True Believers argue that reduction needs to be 100%. Moreover, if a “climitate crisis” is truly to be averted, that reduction must occur immediately.

This reduction could be accomplished, Tue Believers maintain, by the total elimination of the use of fossil fuels for transportation, electricity, manufacturing, agriculture, and building construction.

Therefore, in order to accomplish this reduction now, there cannot be any more fossil fuel powered trucks, cars, or tractors. No more coal, natural gas, or oil electric generating plants. No more buildings, farming equipment, and even plastic straws, as we know them.

But what impact would such a scenario – as physically, practically, politically and fiscally impossible as it may seem – actually have on world temperature?

We are glad you asked that question.

Just as with the General Circulation Models, the UN and the US Government have developed a computer model which is designed to actually tell us the answer. The name of this model is the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change – MAGICC. (We’re not making this up.) MAGICC was developed by a US Government agency called NCAR – the National Center for Atmospheric Research – the same agency which provides the IPCC with the computer models that it uses to support the GCMs. Located in Bethesda, MD, NCAR is the go-to agency for the US Government and IPCC climate modelers to determine the impact of CO2 on world climate.

Moreover, the MAGICC Model projects what exactly would be the impact on the temperature of the Earth if the United States, or any other political subdivision on Earth, ceased the burning of all fossil fuels now– not at some distant time in the future.

Scientists and data experts at the Heritage Foundation, lead by Kevin Dayaratna, Senior Statistician and Research Programmer, ran the numbers using the MAGICC model, and inputted the same temperature and CO2 data utilized by the IPCC, to obtain the results.

Here is the answer.

No matter what assumptions are used for the amount of or increase in fossil fuel generated CO2 in the US, from small amounts to very large ones, complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.

What? Say that again. If the US eliminated all fossil fuel use tomorrow, it would have virtually no measurable impact on world temperature.

So, this means that if the US developed some kind of carbon tax that would reduce fossil fuel use by, say, 50% by 2050, it would have even less of an impact on world temperature than if all fossil fuel use were elimininated immediately.

Whoa. Stop right there. Something must be wrong with this model. Heritage must have misinterpreted the model sensitivities. NCAR must be mistaken. The impact really couldn’t turn out be that minuscule.

Actually, no, no, no and yes. Nothing is wrong with the inputs or the model, and nothing is wrong with the conclusion that it reaches.

So all this sturm und drang ln Congress about legislation needed to lower fossil fuel use is really much ado about nothing.? The US could, in fact, have a policy of doing nothing about fossil fuels, and the Earth’s temperature would still be the same as if we passed legislation eliminating all fossil fuels – which coincidentally would have the effect of destroying our modern way of life.

Why didn’t someone tell Congress this before? Could it be that agenda-driven True Believers have something to hide?

It sure seems that way. MAGICC is never mentioned by True Believers. MAGICC is ignored by policy makers gatherings in Amsterdam, Paris, and Madrid. MAGICC lies buried in a huge IPCC data pile.

But if one believes in MAGICC, maybe Congress could now stop worrying so much about climate change and focus on real problems – like immigration, the economy, taxes, education, poverty, and similar problems – issues which it could actually do something about.

And maybe the adults who shamelessly manipulate and exploit a certain sixteen year old Swedish girl can allow her go back to school and obtain the education she so clearly needs.

In short, MAGICC blows the argument for the immediate elimination of fossil fuels in the US, and even the gradual elimination through a tax on carbon, out of the water.

Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Methane – a more scientific view

Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen, Dr. James P. Wallace III & Joseph S. D’Aleo, CCM, ABD

article-0-1D2973BA00000578-693_634x416

Capturing methane from cow farts in the UK

The greenhouse effect makes this planet more hospitable. Greenhouse gas molecules in the atmosphere keep the planet warmer than it would otherwise be by re-radiating some of the energy back toward the earth – in a process called back radiation. Water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas.

GASES

The magnitude of CO2’s influence is now being challenged worldwide[1],[2]. In the U.S., regulation of methane emissions from numerous sources is currently being debated. Currently, this debate is not at all about the scientific basis for regulation, but rather totally about the costs involved with regulating various sources. However, contrary to the common assertions, the GHG temperature impact of methane is negligible[3]. Thus, water vapor and clouds are primarily responsible for the greenhouse gas (GHG) effect – climate modelers take note.

ATMOS

There is a huge difference between methane as a confined gas inside laboratory equipment and methane as it is found in normal air.  In the real world of real air, the very few possible absorption-lines of CH4 are utterly swamped by the prominent absorption-lines of H2O at the very same wavelengths.  Any photon that might be captured by CH4 has long since been captured by H2O.

Add to that the fact that there is very little energy in the CH4 region of the infrared spectrum (7.65 microns), because the radiation emanating from earth is centered around 15 microns and spread from about 9 microns to 30 microns.   Also, add to that the fact that CH4 concentration is about 1.8 parts per million, while H2O is about 15,000 parts per million.  As it turns out, H2O’s impacts, including its phase change -related impacts, overwhelm everything else in the entire “greenhouse” game.

The entire furor over methane (and the “cow farts” which are good for some giggles) is simply a result of imagining an atmosphere within an idealized chemical-laboratory setting instead of thinking of the earth’s actual atmosphere, which contains real air, which contains H2O – lots of it, not to mention the enormous oceans always ready to burp up lots more when warming.

The mechanism by which methane goes away is this:  being far lighter than air, it drifts from the surface (where its origin is termites, wetlands, rice paddies and a bit from human and animal activities, e.g., cow farts, etc.) up through the troposphere into the stratosphere.  There it is soon oxidized to H2O and CO2. That happens in the daytime, aided by solar photons.  (Infrared photons are too weak to energize the reaction.) CH4 & O2 molecules don’t just automatically combine when nearby.

The amount of H2O in the stratosphere is about 4 or 5 ppm.  Why not zero? H2O was supposed to have all frozen out and turned into clouds in the upper troposphere, was it not?  It seems very likely that virtually all the H2O molecules in the stratosphere are what is produced via the oxidation of CH4.  But these H2O molecules are of such low density that the H2O-to-H2O collisions (required to begin a snowflake) would occur very infrequently.

People guess that the lifetime of CH4 in the atmosphere might be around 5 years.  That’s a guess because it hasn’t been measured well.  The many different emission sources of CH4 are “ubiquitous”, i.e.  “all over the place,” and there’s no current way to track atmospheric CH4 concentration. Moreover, there is more being originated every day. But, once again, since CH4 is far lighter than air, it immediately heads for the stratosphere anyway where the abovementioned chemical reaction dispenses with it!

Hence the hand-waving guess of 5 years still stands. But, nobody cares, because CH4 goes away on its own with negligible impact on the Earth’s temperature.  There is no place akin to Mauna Loa where CH4 atmospheric concentration has been measured over a large fraction of the past century; so unlike for CO2, no one is going around claiming that a century ago CH4 concentration was half of what it is today.

Rather the entire fear of CH4 is based entirely on the IPCC “Global Warming Potential” number being a “factor of 28 stronger” than CO2. But that concept is rooted in thinking about “dry air” in the laboratory, not about “real air” in nature.

SUMMARY

Water vapor and clouds totally dominate the greenhouse gas impact on the Earth’s temperature. Methane emissions have negligible impact and there is no need whatsoever for their regulation. In fact, the cost/benefit ratio associated with any attempt at regulation to reduce methane emissions would be infinite, since the “global cooling benefit” would be zero – not to mention the costs being huge!

[1] See: https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/ef-data-research-report-press-release-0418172.pdf

[2] See: EF DATA Comment on Christy et al Paper Press Release V5

[3] See: GREENHOUSE GASES – A MORE REALISTIC VIEW at this LINK , pg. 7-9.

 

50 years of failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions; the so-called ‘experts’ are 0-50

Carpe Diem

This week Myron Ebell (director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute) and Steven J. Milloy published a post on the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) blog titled “Wrong Again: 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions:”

Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today. None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true. What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science.

More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science. While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.

The first 27 failed alarmist predictions below are from the CEI post (many were previously collected and posted by Tony Heller on RealClimateScience, see Tony’s video below) and the additional 14 doomsday predictions the climate alarmists got wrong were added by John Nolte in a Breitbart post titled “Climate ‘Experts’ are 0-41 with Their Doomsday Predictions“:

For more than 50 years Climate Alarmists in the scientific community and environmental movement have not gotten even one prediction correct, but they do have a perfect record of getting 41 predictions wrong. In other words, on at least 41 occasions, these so-called experts have predicted some terrible environmental catastrophe was imminent … and it never happened. And not once — not even once! — have these alarmists had one of their predictions come true.

Think about that… the so-called experts are 0-41 with their predictions, but those of us who are skeptical of “expert” prediction number 42, the one that says that if we don’t immediately convert to socialism and allow Alexandria Ocasio-Crazy to control and organize our lives, the planet will become uninhabitable. Why would any sane person listen to someone with a 0-41 record? Why would we completely restructure our economy and sacrifice our personal freedom for “experts” who are 0-41, who have never once gotten it right? And if that’s not crazy enough, the latest ploy is to trot out a 16-year-old girl to spread prediction number 42, because it is so much more credible that way.

Below are the 41 failed doomsday, eco-pocalyptic predictions (with links):

1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969)
3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life (data and graph)
10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes (additional link)
12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend (additional link)
13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
18. 2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is
19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015 (additional link)
27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 1990s
33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
37. 2005 : Manhattan Underwater by 2015
38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
41. 1970s: Killer Bees!

Update: I’ve added 9 additional failed predictions (via Real Climate Science) below to make it an even 50 for the number of failed eco-pocalyptic doomsday predictions over the last 50 years.

42. 1975: The Cooling World and a Drastic Decline in Food Production
43. 1969: Worldwide Plague, Overwhelming Pollution, Ecological Catastrophe, Virtual Collapse of UK by End of 20th Century
44. 1972: Pending Depletion and Shortages of Gold, Tin, Oil, Natural Gas, Copper, Aluminum
45. 1970: Oceans Dead in a Decade, US Water Rationing by 1974, Food Rationing by 1980
46. 1988: World’s Leading Climate Expert Predicts Lower Manhattan Underwater by 2018
47. 2005: Fifty Million Climate Refugees by the Year 2020
48. 2000: Snowfalls Are Now a Thing of the Past
49.1989: UN Warns That Entire Nations Wiped Off the Face of the Earth by 2000 From Global Warming
50. 2011: Washington Post Predicted Cherry Blossoms Blooming in Winter

But somehow this time will be different, and the ‘experts’ and 16-year olds of today will suddenly be correct in their new predictions of eco-doom and eco-disaster? Not.

Related: Bonus video below from Tony Heller titled “My Gift To Climate Alarmists,” which he describes as “my most concise exposé of climate fraud.”