Wednesday, December 18, 2013

List of scientists "respected in their field" - only @wattsupwiththat - take on the EPA

Sou | 10:06 AM Go to the first of 13 comments. Add a comment

This made me laugh.  Anthony Watts is all excited because a bunch of clowns have filed a brief supporting a whole mob of litigants to the US Supreme Court, who want to stop the EPA from regulating CO2 emissions.  This isn't the first time and probably won't be the last.

What caught my eye was this mob that Anthony Watts is promoting (archived here) are trying to pass themselves off as:
...highly regarded scientists and economists [who] have expertise in a wide array of fields implicated by this rulemaking, including climate research, weather modeling, physics, geology, statistical analysis, engineering, and economics. One or more of these scientists and economists has the relevant expertise to support every statement made in this brief. These scientists and economists all have publications in peer reviewed journals and are respected in their fields of expertise by their peers.

Look at the list, six of them have already graced the pages of HotWhopper, some several times.  I guess you could call that regarded, though not at all highly.  The list is below.  It reads like an excerpt from who's who of the extreme right wing of the denial machine.

EPA Endangerment Finding

What this motley lot are trying to argue in their writ is that greenhouse gases don't cause the greenhouse effect.  And they claim to be "respected"!  They take issue with the Endangerment Finding of the EPA and try to refute the lines of evidence described on page 66518 of the Rules and Regulations:
The attribution of observed climate change to anthropogenic activities is based on multiple lines of evidence. The first line of evidence arises from our basic physical understanding of the effects of changing concentrations of greenhouse gases, natural factors, and other human impacts on the climate system. The second line of evidence arises from indirect, historical estimates of past climate changes that suggest that the changes in global surface temperature over the last several decades are unusual. The third line of evidence arises from the use of computer-based climate models to simulate the likely patterns of response of the climate system to different forcing mechanisms (both natural and anthropogenic).

The tropospheric hotspot is a feature of warming from any forcing

First these fake sceptics go on and on about the tropospheric hot spot, which they wrongly characterise as evidence of greenhouse gas warming.  (It's not.  It's a feature of warming from any forcing, not just greenhouse gases, as explained at SkepticalScience and by Bart Verheggen).  Who knows why they pick on that and ignore the expanding oceans, the melting ice and all the other signs of global warming.  It's a strange point with which to lead off their argument.

Earth is heating up

Then they do make a switch to discussing surface temperature, arguing that because not everywhere on earth has heated up at the same rate it's not global warming.  Did I say they are nutters?  They get quite cheeky when they claim:
These data thus demonstrate that EPA’s second line of evidence—the claim that there has been unusual warming on a global, that is, worldwide, basis over the past several decades—is invalid.

Let's see about that:

Data sources: NASA GISTempNODC/NOAA Ocean HeatU Colorado sea levelPIOMAS Arctic Ice

Observations are not inconsistent with climate model projections

They also try to argue that the models are "wrong".  In their writ they include a very weird chart describing it as:
Figure 5 contrasts the forecasts through 2025 with the actual trend line of global average surface temperature (GAST) data from the Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia (CRU) for 2000-2012 (identified as “HadCRUT4 Trend/Forecast” on the chart).:

Data source: the writ from the not respected

HadCRUT4 is observations not a forecast.  Maybe they meant with HadGEM or HadCM, in which case they couldn't argue that observations are out of kilter.  Either that or they are arguing that they've made observations of the future three years and this future they've already observed doesn't match their version of climate models.

Thing is, observations are within the range of modeled climate projections:

Source: IPCC AR5 WG1

Here is a chart of a CMIP3 model run, showing that periods of hiatus do show up in some runs - from realclimate.org.

Source: realclimate.org

CO2 is a waste by-product of burning fossil fuels

This mob surely can't be serious when they claim that CO2 isn't an "unwanted by-product" by arguing that it is indeed a waste by-product.  They make it sound as if they want to add CO2 to the atmosphere:
CO2 is not in any sense an unwanted by-product of the production of useful energy. Rather, the combustion of carbon based fuels to produce CO2, and the capture of the energy released by that process, is the whole idea....

And they can't do their case any good by arguing that 82% of energy production still emits CO2!
While a modest portion of energy production in the United States (and other countries in general) comes from non-carbon sources (nuclear, wind, solar, hydro), the proportion that comes from fossil fuels in the U.S. is approximately 82 percent (sic).

From the WUWT comments

Not too many fake sceptics at WUWT are as excited as Anthony Watts about this silly writ.  (Archived here.)

Bloke down the pub says:
December 17, 2013 at 9:49 am
They won’t be allowed to win that.

GoneWithTheWind says:
December 17, 2013 at 9:49 am
I wish them luck but I have no faith in the Supreme court as it is now staffed.

LT confusingly or confusedly calls for more regulation, not less:
December 17, 2013 at 9:55 am
That is good news, the EPA is a burden to society they need tighter regulations placed on them than even a BP refinery.

AleaJactaEst says:
December 17, 2013 at 10:02 am
pi**ing in the wind, snowball in Hell’s, US winning the World Cup, not a prayer, the Arctic will be ice free in our lifetime. You get the message about how much chance this has of succeeding.

NeedleFactory says:
December 17, 2013 at 10:03 am
SCOTUS accepts for hearing only about 5% of the requests for Writ of Certiorari.
Don’t get your hopes up.

pokerguy says:
December 17, 2013 at 10:35 am
“snowballs chance etc.”
Negative defeatists many of you. There are people out there fighting your battles. What are you guys doing, except whining?

Roger Sowell puts the writ in perspective and says:
December 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm
This is one of at least eight briefs filed in this case. This amicus brief is only advisory to the Court. The Court will consider the question or questions raised in the petitioners’ briefs.
More later, hopefully tonight 12-17-13.


  1. Sheahen:
    (a) Was one of the signers of the 2009 petition to the American Physical Society to fuzzify its climate change statement. Of 47,000 members, ~200 signed, skewed heavily towards old guys, like Sheahen, born in 1941.
    Thomas P. Sheahen (1941) did nuclear and later superconductivity work at ANL and NREL, wrote superconductivity papers with Grant. He signed OISM early and CATO 2009.

    (b) is on Fred SInger's SEPP board, as per Weird Anti-Science.

    (c) Yep, familiar names.

  2. He's a bit late on this one, cert was granted (the Supreme Court agreed to hear it) about a month or so ago...

    1. Hi Rattus. On the SCOTUS blog it looked as if this particular one was only filed on 13 December. All parties have consented to the filings according to SCOTUS blog.


      If this is the best "science" the petitioners can come up with I can't see it will help their case. Anyway, I'm not sure that the Supreme Court would adjudicate on the science.

      This one looks to be a longer rehash of something put forward back in May (see the above blog for the links), which included as one of the signatories Tim Ball, would you believe. He's since been dropped.

    2. That would be the date of the amicus brief, which basically means nothing. The big news was the granting of certiorari on Oct. 15. Pretty much anyone can file an amicus brief as long as they can get a lawyer to write it.

    3. Thanks for the info, Rattus. That puts it into perspective.

      I'm sure you can tell I know next to nothing about US law - and next to nothing plus maybe one about Australian law, (apart from some inner workings of various legal agencies, but not the law itself).

      The date of the hearing is set for 24 February 24 next year if I'm reading it correctly.

  3. The same old farts with the same rambling story they've been telling for years, still thinking it's fresh. I doubt they've registered anything that's happened in the last decade; some haven't even registered the end of the Cold War.

    This is what the cause has been reduced to.

  4. Really? They asking a court to consider that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas?

    Did they not learn from Dover?

    Bernard J.

    1. It's not clear to me whether they dispute the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas or whether they are going one further and disputing the greenhouse effect. Could be a bit of both. Whatever - they're nuts.

  5. "Dr. Theodore R. Eck - [...] Former Chief Economist of Amoco Corp. and Exxon Venezuela Advisory Board of the Gas Technology Institute and Energy Intelligence Group"

    wasn't Watts whingeing about conflict of interest just the other day? ;-)

  6. Joe "CO2 is heavier than air, so sinks" Bastardi. What an impressive collection.

  7. These guys are on a new doc "On the Validity of NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data & The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding" apparently peer reviewed, claiming that GAST has essentially been faked with false numbers. But the meat of my comment is even after researching this stuff myself, a regular working man like myself still decides who to vote for based on the health of the economy, not the long term survival of the planet. I know, obviously, that humans would die on a toxic Earth, but can't be expected to accept homelessness for the sake of something that might not even happen in 200 years. This is why environmentalism's message isn't reaching so many people and why someone like Trump could get elected. "Give up the source of your livelihood or else we're doomed in about 200 years" is not an argument that will convince many. We don't like believing we could be the cause of the apocalypse either so it's easy for the less educated to grab onto these voices of resistance in the scientific community that come out with some wacky theories. But i remain skeptical myself. Because in all of human history, humans have always deluded themselves with 2 things they think they can do, and can't: read each other's minds, and see the future. Every time a doomsday prediction is made, it's always wrong. And this is not the first scientific doomsday prediction either, don't forget the global cooling and ice age we were promised back in the 70's. I suppose that one doesn't count. But know we're 100% certain we're all doomed if we don't fork over trillions to environmental engineering projects that may end up causing as much death as any climate disaster because of the ensuing economic collapse of opportunity costs. I'm sorry but I have to side with the devil that might not exist over the devil that I know does exist. I'm not against local regulations that do observable things like cleaner fuel, smog reduction, less pollution in rivers and ground water, cleaner beaches; things one can see and appreciate. I support stuff like that. But economy killing "must or die" payouts are simply not going to get the support needed to happen by people like me. And we're not a bunch of dumb rural denying hicks (well some of us are, but those are not in enough numbers to stop global climate change initiatives). We're regular people that just don't want to starve to death and live in the dark because that power plant absolutely has to go, and combustion cars have to be illegal so good luck buying your $32,000 electric car that can't even go where you need it to. It's not practical for us yet. Make it practical and we'll switch over on our own. But force it, and not only will you hit a wall, but the wall sometimes falls on you.

  8. Hello Jack. Welcome to HotWhopper.

    You wrote: >>"But economy killing "must or die" payouts are simply not going to get the support needed to happen by people like me."

    Alarmist much?

    What payouts would those be? To whom? You've taken a first step. Now I suggest you spend a lot more time outside the denier bubble and get to understand what is happening around the world.

    BTW - with luck, you and your progeny will find there are enough people *not* like you who will make the changes needed to get us to slow down climate change enough.

    PS I meet lots of farmers who are doing what they can to stave off global warming. They aren't rural deniers or climate science deniers.

    PPS Use paragraphs if you want anyone else to read your comment.

  9. "a new doc "On the Validity of NOAA, NASA and Hadley CRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data & The Validity of EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding" apparently peer reviewed, claiming that GAST has essentially been faked with false numbers."

    I and others have already demolished that piece of intentional misinformation. It really wasn't difficult, they basically did every possible thing wrong, and it wasn't actually a peer reviewed publication, unless of course they got Monckton to read it, but he isn't a real peer either. It isn't a real paper but it looks impressive.

    "a regular working man like myself still decides who to vote for based on the health of the economy, not the long term survival of the planet"

    Do you consider the long term health of the economy? It is intrinsically and irrevocably bound to the long term health of our environment.

    "something that might not even happen in 200 years."

    Economic problems from climate change - coming to a planet near you within the next 20 years.

    don't forget the global cooling and ice age we were promised back in the 70's

    Except they were not. Even in the seventies the papers expecting warming were more prevalent.

    If there is "not true" stuff that you know for certain, that is as Twain observed, the stuff that is most likely to get you into trouble. Getting information from Watts' site or CEI or Heartland is very much the same as entering into a game of 3 card Monte on the streets of Manhattan. Check your sources.


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