Climate News This Week: What Was Important?

To begin with, there was President Trump's Executive Order on Tuesday directing EPA and other government bureaucracies to begin the process of unwinding the dozens of Obama-era fossil fuel restrictions that were supposedly going to "stop climate change," or something like that.  But you already knew about that one.  

The next day, Wednesday, there was a hearing before the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology that inquired into the scientific basis for all those Obama-era regulations.  Witnesses included John Christy, Judith Curry, Roger Pielke, Jr., and Michael Mann.  The links go to the written testimony of each of those witnesses.  The first three witnesses were called by the Republican majority of the committee, while Mann was the pick of the Democratic minority.  (Really, was this guy the best they could do?  Needless to say, his testimony was all about how the "overwhelming majority" of scientists agree with his position, with no effort to engage on the merits whatsoever.)

Not to minimize the other two witnesses, but I'll focus on Christy's testimony.  The gist of that testimony was that the climate models that are the basis for all greenhouse gas regulation have failed in empirical testing against real world data.  In other words, the basis for IPCC and EPA claims that human greenhouse gas emission have a measurable impact on climate has been disproved.  From Christy's summary:

When the “scientific method” is applied to the output from climate models of the IPCC AR5, specifically the bulk atmospheric temperature trends since 1979 (a key variable with a strong and obvious theoretical response to increasing GHGs in this period), I demonstrate that the consensus of the models fails the test to match the real-world observations by a significant margin. As such, the average of the models is considered to be untruthful in representing the recent decades of climate variation and change, and thus would be inappropriate for use in predicting future changes in the climate or for related policy decisions. 

Well, that's rather a bombshell.  I wonder, how did the New York Times report this news?  And the answer is, in the three editions of that paper since Dr. Christy testified on Wednesday, there has not been one word about what Christy said at this hearing, or for that matter, mentioning the hearing at all.  

Christy goes into considerable detail as to the sources of evidence used to track real world temperature trends, and his methodology.  I'll leave it up to you to read that information at the link.  But a couple of more things of interest.  Christy presented a chart that was buried deep in the "supplementary material" of the most recent IPCC Report, "AR-5."  His comment:

What is immediately evident is that the model trends in which extra [i.e., human-added] GHGs are included lie completely outside of the range of the observational trends, indicating again that the models, as hypotheses, failed a simple “scientific-method” test applied to this fundamental, climate-change variable. That this information was not clearly and openly presented in the IPCC is evidence of a political process that was not representative of the dispassionate examination of evidence as required by the scientific method. 

Christy also discussed the results of the Wallace, et al., Research Report of September 21, 2016 (of which he was a co-author).  That Research Report was discussed here when it first came out back in September ("The 'Science' Underlying Climate Alarmism Turns Up Missing").   The summary conclusion from Christy's testimony:

The basic result of this report is that the temperature trend of several datasets since 1979 can be explained by variations in the components that naturally affect the climate . . . .      

So that is what the New York Times found to be completely unimportant in climate news this week.  And what did they find to be important?  Well, there was that big article on the front page Thursday, and continuing onto most of a full page in the interior, headlined "China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump's Move to Undo Policies."  From the Times:

“They’ve set the direction they intend to go in the next five years,” Barbara Finamore, a senior lawyer and Asia director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, based in New York, said of China. “It’s clear they intend to double down on bringing down their reliance on coal and increasing their use of renewable energy.”  “China wants to take over the role of the U.S. as a climate leader, and they’ve baked it into their five-year plans,” she added, referring to the economic development blueprints drawn up by the Chinese government.

So, New York Times, what does that mean quantitatively?  I mean, how much coal generation capacity does China now have compared to the United States, and are the numbers for the two countries increasing or decreasing?  Of course, this being Pravda, don't expect to find any of that easily-available information in their article.  So I'll give it to you.  For China statistics, here is London-based Carbon Tracker, November 2016:

As of July 2016, China has 895 GW of existing coal capacity being used less than half of the time – and perversely has 205 GW under construction and another 405 GW of capacity planned. . . .  

In January 2017, China canceled some 103 GW of that planned-and-under-construction capacity, meaning that it now has "only" 507 GW of coal generation capacity planned and/or under construction, to add to its 895 GW of existing coal generation capacity.  And the numbers for the U.S.?  We have only about 325 GW of coal generation capacity according to this report from 2015 -- and that figure has likely declined somewhat since then.  In other words, our total of existing coal generation capacity is about a third of China's, and not much more than half of what China is planning to add in the next few years.  By that time, our coal generation capacity will be less than one-quarter of theirs, and maybe even less.  Good "climate leadership" China!

Now that you know those numbers, you can consider some of the more ridiculous things in this Times article.  For example, we have this from Chinese energy "researcher and policy advisor" Chai Qimin:

Chai Qimin, a climate change researcher and policy adviser, said that policies adopted at a recent Communist Party meeting showed that China “has attached ever greater importance to ecological civilization and green development.”  “Everyone is taking this more and more seriously,” he added.

Or consider this, quoted by the Times from an editorial in the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper:

“Washington is obliged to set an example for mankind’s efforts against global warming, and now the Trump administration has become the first government of a major power to take opposite actions on the Paris Agreement,” the newspaper said. “It is undermining the great cause of mankind trying to protect the earth, and the move is indeed irresponsible and very disappointing.”

Does the Times realize that these people are laughing at them?  Honestly, I don't think they do.

Now, as between Dr. Christy's testimony on the empirical invalidation of the IPCC climate models, and the seizure of "climate leadership" by China, which do you think is the more important?