HomeWeather NewsWeekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #550 – Watts Up With That?

Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #550 – Watts Up With That?

The Week That Was: 2023-04-29 (April 29, 2023)
Brought to You by SEPP (
The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: “If we could create the universe from scratch, we’d all make sure that no one ever suffered misfortunes or disadvantages. The problem is that we don’t get to create the universe from scratch.” Thomas Sowell

Number of the Week: Over 19,000


By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Scope: The following topics will be discussed. Ron Clutz posted a video and the text of an interview of atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen by BizNews. Lindzen discusses the departure of climate science from physical science (using physical evidence) and how politized climate science has become. Lindzen criticizes specific parts of climate science commonly used that are not physical science supported by physical evidence (data).

Roy Spencer uses a simple model to demonstrate how small increases in population increase temperature readings in areas with low population density more than such population increases increase temperature readings in areas with high population density. Of particular note, is that the bulk of the increase is on minimum (nighttime) temperature. This is particularly important in considering projections made using average temperatures.

Researcher Andy May has a series of essays discussing equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate sensitivity, concepts arising in the reports of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Different studies have produced different results on these concepts. TWTW suggests several alternative approaches not considered by Mr. May.

Net Zero Watch has a post (likely by David Whitehouse) discussing the increase in sea surface temperatures that impact reported average global temperatures which is used by the IPCC and its followers. TWTW has suggestions of causes unrelated to carbon dioxide.

Jo Nova brings up the discovery of thousands of subsurface sea mounts not previously recorded. Since physical climate research is the study of the interaction of two dynamic fluids (atmosphere and oceans) against an uneven surface on a spinning globe unevenly heated by the sun, changes in subsurface land change the dynamics of the oceans. Of course, this will be ignored by global climate modelers.

Without any Congressional authorization, the White House announced an Office of Environmental Justice. This is such a vague concept that it can be used to justify just about any action. Environmental Justice fits into generic “justice” that Thomas Sowell describes in his book, The Quest for Cosmic Justice. An essay by Sowell of the same title is discussed.

Francis Menton continues to explore which political jurisdiction will hit the green wall first. That is when the public realizes that, contrary to political promises, wind and solar plus needed storage cannot deliver affordable, reliable electricity. The political claims are false. In discussing South Africa, Menton brings up the lending policies of the World Bank, which may be considered as a result of Environmental Justice.

In two separate hearings, one by the Senate and one by the House, different members of the administration were asked pointed questions on matters that should be understood. From the answers, it is difficult to determine if the respondents are ignorant or if they deliberately muddle.


What Global Climate? Richard Lindzen begins the interview by BizNews with answering the question: “Briefly walk me through your career and what it was about climate change that captured your attention.” Lindzen responds: [Boldface added by Clutz. BN is BizNews]

“It’s a peculiar question. I mean, do you think things only become interesting once they’re political? With the general circulation of the atmosphere, you want to know why you have the current climate. You have dozens of regimes throughout the Earth, so when you speak about the climate of the earth what the hell are you talking about?

“South Africa is a very different climate from New England. The Pacific has many climate regimes, and you have the monsoon regimes in India. So, there are a lot of things to understand. And it had nothing to do with environmentalism; it was to understand how nature is on carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect.

“BN: You’ve claimed that believing that increased carbon dioxide is the largest driver of climate change is akin to believing in magic. What evidence supports this argument and what are the actual effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

“RL: Well, you’re asking a complex question. Carbon dioxide is a relatively minor greenhouse gas. But the question arises when you speak about what controls climate, and you’re speaking about dozens of different climate regimes.

“Saying there is one knob that controls the whole works makes no sense, and that is belief in magic.

“But you know greenhouse effect is useful for one climatic index namely: Why is the Earth different from Venus or Mars or Mercury? Those are huge differences. They depend on basically the mean radiative picture, which includes the greenhouse, the distance from the Sun, the amount of radiation you get and so on. So, within a given planet, in particular the Earth, our primary concern, we refer to the differences in climate that like the Ice Ages and the very warm period 50 million years ago. These are really pretty tiny compared to the differences between the planets. And those ‘tiny’ differences that we obsess on for good reason are not due to the greenhouse effect.

“They’re due to the transport of heat between the tropics and the high latitudes. And they are part of the Dynamics of the system which depends on a number of factors.

“So primarily, what does carry the heat? Well, the ocean carries some heat but, in many respects, the most important thing is the so-called highs and lows. If you look at a weather map, it’s a little bit different in the southern hemisphere, but here you have the highs and lows going from west to east carrying weather. When you have the wind blowing from the north it’s cold, from the South it’s warm. And this oscillates and gives work to your weathermen. In any event those same things carry heat to the pole. And many things determine them, but mainly it’s the differential heating between the tropics and the pole.

“So, you have a system which has these features, and all of a sudden you obsess on the greenhouse effect. You end up having people saying really stupid things. So, we’ve increased the temperature one degree or 1.1 in the last 100 years 120 years 150 years. And it’s been accompanied by the greatest improvement in human welfare in the history of the Earth, while some claim one-half degree more will be curtains. Only a politician could come up with something quite that absurd. But on the other hand, when you get to the U.N. and other things, it’s politicians that run it. And they’ve enabled this hysteria, frightening children, their lives are going to be finished in short order. The UN IPCC has a working group that deals with science (Working Group 1). Even there in a thousand pages they don’t speak about an existential threat.

“So, you have other reports from the U.N. that are not scientific that say: Oh yes, it’s coming to the end of the world. And politicians say, well this is what we have to go by. I don’t know what you do, but it’s an evil movement, and it’s causing immense damage. It is trying to condemn people in Africa in the developing world to perpetual poverty. And yet I have to ask: Why would this be a goal? I don’t know.

“BN: One of the cornerstones of this, let’s call it an agenda, is the constant bombardment to the public of reports on the rise of extreme weather events. Are these reports patently false or are they due to climate change?

“RL: Well, you’re pointing to something very important. Even if it were occurring how do you relate it to this one number? But it’s not even true. Again, going back to the IPCC, in the UN report they say there is virtually no evidence of a relationship between extreme events and climate change. Now they say that, but that doesn’t fit the politics, so they say something else. If you know of the American comic of years ago, Groucho Marx; he said, ‘I have my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.’”

The interview then goes into the use of fossil fuels that has led to the most prosperous, healthy period known to civilization, which gives the opportunity to get rich (and politically popular) even if one is trying to destroy industry.  Lindzen’s comment about renewable energy was clear:

“What about the tools that extract energy from this, they’re not renewable. |They involve slave labor and that sounds pretty good doesn’t it. Now you have material usage, you have destruction of Landscapes. It’s almost as though the environmental movement has decided to commit suicide and go all in for things that destroy the environment. What you’re doing with the solar panels and windmills and so on, you’re killing birds you’re destroying the environment. These have lifetimes of 10, 20 years, and you don’t know how to dispose of them. So, this has nothing to do with the environment, it’s a power play.”

The interview continues with more specifics on the power play including how people are now called climate scientists even when they have no knowledge of physics and received a grant to find out whether diabetes was related to climate. Clutz concludes with summarizing points made in a 2009 article by Lindzen: “Climate Science: Is it Currently Designed to Answer Questions?”

See link under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Minimum Temperature: Roy Spencer continues his research on the effects of population increases on temperatures, this time emphasizing the different effects on minimum temperature and maximum temperature. Previously he has shown that average temperatures increase quickly as urbanization begins but the increase tapers off quickly as population density grows.

Spencer uses the NOAA Global Historical Climatology Network database. Unfortunately, NOAA stopped reporting minimum and maximum temperature in 2010 and only reports averages today. Does NOAA think that computers of today are incapable of storing that much information?

Since the global warming fear is promoting high temperatures, Spencer reports on summertime temperatures (May to July) from 1880 to 2010. He finds that increases in population densities have a significant impact on minimum (nighttime) temperatures but a far smaller impact on high (daytime) temperatures. Since average temperatures do not show this difference, using average temperatures for calculating future daytime highs is misleading.

TWTW considers the same applies for the greenhouse effect. Using early spectroscopy, John Tyndall discovered what is called the greenhouse effect to understand why the Earth remained warm enough at night to support life as we know it. It is the nighttime low temperatures that is important for considering the greenhouse effect. Not understanding this leads to significant deficiencies in many climate studies such as “The most at-risk regions in the world for high-impact heatwaves.” The abstract states: “In 31% of regions examined, the observed daily maximum temperature record is exceptional. Climate models suggest that similar behavior can occur in any region.” Using average temperatures is misleading. Modern humanity is thought to have evolved in equatorial Africa, known for its high temperatures.

See links under Defending the Orthodoxy – Bandwagon Science and Measurement Issues — Surface


Differing Views: In four essays appearing in Watts Up With That, researcher Andy May gives a good description of the status of climate science as presented by the UN IPCC and various commentators. In one essay, he discusses that no one has presented a generally accepted model of cloud formation and dissipation, which changes the Earth’s albedo (ability to reflect solar energy back to space). This alone is sufficient to make any long-term predictions from global climate models unreliable. In his essays on Planetary Heat Balance, Howard Hayden asserted that the inability to predict albedo is one reason why his model is not predictive.

In his third essay, May presents various estimates of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) and Transient Climate Sensitivity (TCS). He does not discuss the recent estimates by van Wijngaarden and Happer or by global climate modeler Tim Palmer in The Primacy of Doubt. Both estimates are about 1°C, 2°F, without positive feedback assumed by Palmer. Since precise estimates are impossible, TWTW appreciates using an upper bound analysis proposed by the Right Climate Stuff Team, 2 °C. Thus, the estimate for ECS for a doubling of CO2 is about 1 °C and certainly below 2 °C. This is not enough to stop a future “Ice Age” glaciation period that is sure to come. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and


A Puzzle? Net Zero Watch had an interesting post on sea surface temperatures: It states:

“Scientists are puzzled by a rapid increase in the temperature of the world’s oceans. The daily surface temperature between 60°N and 60°S reached a record high on March 31st – the highest temperature in the NOAA record that started in 1981.”

After presenting a chart for March 31, 2023, the post continues:

“It occurs as we are moving from persistent La Nina into El Nino conditions which could later this year increase global ocean temperatures by more than half a degree Celsius.

“Many factors have been postulated to be a contribution to this temperature spurt. Sunspots are set to reach a high maximum sooner than expected this solar cycle. In 2022 the Tonga submarine volcano eruption added a huge amount of water vapor into the atmosphere. Also, in 2022 the International Maritime Organization issued a ban on pollution from ships reducing their sulfur emissions. This reduced the blanket of reflective aerosol particles reflecting sunlight back into space before it reached the oceans, thereby potentially heating it.

“The temperature of the North Atlantic has been at a record high for some time surpassing 20°C at the end of March. This is curious because at this time of the year North Atlantic sea surface temperatures are usually at their annual low. Sea surface temperatures are also high in the Pacific presaging a coming El Nino.

“Because of its speed scientists are not yet linking this to the steady movements of climate change seen so far in the oceans. It might be natural variability, but whatever its explanation it is not replicated in most climate models.”

Since infrared radiation that is given off by atmospheric greenhouse gases cannot penetrate water to a depth of one inch (25 mm), it is highly unlikely that the increase is from greenhouse gas warming. The reduction in sulfur emissions, increasing absorption of solar energy, and changing sunspots are possibilities. Also, an increase in subsurface volcanic activity as described by Professor Wyss Yim is a strong possibility. Such activity gave rise to the Tonga eruption, which is part of the Tofua Arc, which has 12 confirmed submarine volcanoes and is part of the much larger Kermadec-Tonga subduction zone, one of the fastest subduction zones known.

See link under Changing Seas and for TWTW’s discussion of Professor Yim’s findings.


Better Techniques: Jo Nova brings attention to a better mapping of the sea floor using high-resolution radar on satellites. In the past twenty years, two US nuclear submarines hit uncharted seamounts, damaging the vessels. Seamounts are large, submerged landforms that do not reach the surface and are usually formed by volcanoes. They may rise from 1,000–4,000 m (3,300–13,100 ft). New mapping techniques have found thousands of previously uncharted sea mounts. These change the deep ocean currents that transport heat (cold) well below the surface. See links under Changing Earth.


Cosmic Answers? A White House Press Release announced: “FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs Executive Order to Revitalize Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.” It went on to state:

“During his first week in office, President Biden launched the most ambitious environmental justice agenda in our nation’s history. To continue delivering on that vision, today the President will sign an executive order further embedding environmental justice into the work of federal agencies to achieve real, measurable progress that communities can count on.”

This announcement prompts the question: What is Environmental Justice? Perhaps Thomas Sowell answered the question as clearly as anyone when he wrote: The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999). In an essay of the same title the following January he wrote:

“If we could create the universe from scratch, we’d all make sure that no one ever suffered misfortunes or disadvantages. The problem is that we don’t get to create the universe from scratch.”

Sowell begins: [Boldface added]

“One of the few subjects on which we all seem to agree is the need for justice. But our agreement is only seeming because we mean such different things by the same word. Whatever moral principle each of us believes in, we call justice, so we are only talking in a circle when we say that we advocate justice, unless we specify just what conception of justice we have in mind. This is especially so today, when so many advocate what they call ‘social justice’—often with great passion, but with no definition. All justice is inherently social. Can someone on a desert island be either just or unjust?”

He goes on to explain many thinkers deplored social inequalities, including Adam Smith, the father of laisse-faire economics. Sowell explains:

“The late Nobel Prize–winning economist and free-market champion Friedrich Hayek, for example, declared, ‘the manner in which the benefits and burdens are apportioned by the market mechanism would in many instances have to be regarded as very unjust if it were the result of a deliberate allocation to particular people.’ The only reason he did not regard it as unjust was because ‘the particulars of a spontaneous order cannot be just or unjust.’ The absence of personal intention [intervention] in a spontaneous order—a cosmos, as Hayek defined it—means an absence of either justice or injustice. ‘Nature can be neither just nor unjust,’ he said. ‘Only if we mean to blame a personal creator does it make sense to describe it as unjust that somebody has been born with a physical defect, or been stricken with a disease, or has suffered the loss of a loved one.’”

Sowell goes on to explain:

“With people across virtually the entire ideological spectrum being offended by inequalities and their consequences, why do these inequalities persist? Why are we not all united in determination to put an end to them? Perhaps the most cogent explanation was that offered by Milton Friedman:

“’A society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.’

“Whatever the validity of this argument—and one need only think of the horrors of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot to realize that painful possibilities are not mere fantasies—it rejects direct political equalization of economic results because the costs are judged to be too high. Still, it finds no positive virtue in inequality. But what of those who do not reject the cost as too high? Do they simply have a different assessment of those costs and risks? Or do they proceed with little or no attention to that question?”

Near the end of his essay Sowell writes:

“One of the crucial differences between political and non-political ways of dealing with undeserved misfortunes is that the non-political approaches do not acquire the fatal rigidities of law nor require either the vision or the reality of helplessness and dependency. Nor do they require the demonization of those who think otherwise or the polarization of society. Moreover, the amount of help and the circumstances of help can be tailored to the individual circumstances of the recipients in a way that is not possible when the rigidities of law create ‘rights’ to what others have earned, independent of one’s own behavior or the role of that behavior in the misfortunes being suffered.

“Most important of all, attempts at bettering the lot of society in general, as well as the unfortunate in particular, need not take the form of direct aid at all. Rather, these efforts can more effectively take the form of creating economic and other circumstances in which individuals can themselves find ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ Such an approach does not seek to feed the hungry but to establish conditions in which no one has to be hungry in the first place, circumstances in which there are jobs available for those willing to work. Its emphasis is not on helping those in poverty but on getting them out of poverty and preventing others from falling into poverty.

“We need to understand the distinction between establishing prospective rules for the behavior of flesh-and-blood human beings toward one another and trying ad hoc to retrospectively adjust the cosmos to our tastes.

“Economic development has been the most successful of all anti-poverty policies. It was not very long ago, as history is measured, when such things as oranges or cocoa were the luxuries of the rich and when it was considered an extravagance for the president of the United States to have a bathtub with running water installed in the White House. Within the twentieth century, such things as automobiles, telephones, and refrigerators went from being luxuries of the rich to being common among the general population, all within the span of one generation.”

Modern society and the use of fossil fuels have brought on the most successful anti-poverty era ever. And now Washington is attacking it in the name of Environmental Justice? See links under

Change in US Administrations and Seeking a Common Ground.


South Africa: Suggesting political jurisdictions about to hit the Green Energy Wall, Francis Menton writes:

“As an example of what is occurring in the realm of Western aid for electricity infrastructure, the World Bank stopped financing coal power plants in 2013 and stopped financing oil and gas extraction projects in 2017.”

“According to CNN, any individual home or business [in South Africa] is getting hit with about 12 hours a day without power, generally coming in increments of about 4 hours at a time, and often without notice. “

“Funny how all that ‘free’ electricity and near-daily blackouts don’t lead to rapidly increasing per capita GDP. Instead, it’s the further impoverishment of already-poor people.”

Is unreliable electricity included in the World Bank’s vision of Environmental Justice? See link under Questioning Green Elsewhere.


Don’t Ask Me! Several Washington “experts” testified before Congressional Committees and could not answer relevant questions. For example, representatives of the Department of Transportation could not answer the question “What Percent of our atmosphere is CO2?” The Secretary of Energy was asked “Do you support the military adopting that EV fleet by 2030?”

Her response cited Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and how the US needs to have energy security. Apparently, she is oblivious to the fact that the US and North America can be energy independent using fossil fuels. Such people will be determining Environmental Justice?

See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Below the Bottom Line



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. Senators Schumer and Manchin won in 2022.

The voting will close on June 30. Please send your nominee and a brief reason why the person is qualified for the honor to The awardee will be announced at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness on July 7 to 9.


Number of the Week: Over 19,000. The new sea floor mapping discussed above showed over 19,000 previously uncharted seamounts. It shows the futility of trying to estimate climate millions of years ago based on atmospheric composition without understanding ocean currents. See links under Changing Earth.

Commentary: Is the Sun Rising?

Solar Variability Linked To Climate Change…CO2 Not ‘The Primary Driver For Nearly All Of Earth’s History’

By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Apr 24, 2023

Link to paper: Overview of the Spectral Coherence between Planetary Resonances and Solar and Climate Oscillations

By Nicola Scafetta and Antonio Bianchini, Climate, Mar 27, 2023


Former New Zealand PM Joins Global Climate Skeptic Censorship Push

By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Apr 26, 2023

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


Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts

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:

Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

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

Climate Sense and Nonsense (Lindzen 2023-04-20)

By Ron Clutz, Science Matters, Apr 23, 2023

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