The Exxon Climate Papers

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has accused ExxonMobil of lying to the public and investors about the risks of climate change according to the NY Times and has launched an investigation and issued a subpoena demanding extensive financial records, emails and other documents. Massachusetts, the US Virgin Islands, and California are also investigating ExxonMobil. It is interesting that all but one of the attorneys general are Democrats. The remaining attorney general is Claude Walker of the US Virgin Islands who is a Green leaning Independent. So, this is a very partisan investigation, carefully coordinated with anti-fossil fuel activists. How much is there to it?

I’ve reviewed the 22 internal documents from 1977 to 1989 made available by ExxonMobil here. I’ve also reviewed what I could find on 104 publications (most are peer-reviewed) with ExxonMobil personnel as authors or co-authors. For some of the peer-reviewed articles I only had an abstract and for some I could find the reference but no abstract or text without paying a fee. Below this short essay is an annotated bibliography of all 22 internal documents and 89 of the published papers. The documents are interesting reading, they fill in the history of modern climate science very well. Much of the current debate on climate change was being debated in the same way, and often with the same uncertainties, in 1977.

Between 1977 and the fifth IPCC report in 2013 ExxonMobil Corporate Research in New Jersey investigated the effect of increasing CO2 on climate. If they withheld or suppressed climate research from the public or shareholders, it is not apparent in these documents. Further, if they found any definitive evidence of an impending man-made climate catastrophe, I didn’t see it. The climate researchers at ExxonMobil participated in the second, third, fourth and fifth IPCC assessment reports making major contributions in mapping the carbon cycle and in climate modeling. They calculated the potential impact of man-made CO2 in several publications. They investigated methods of sequestering CO2 and adapting to climate change. They also investigated several potential biofuels.

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#climate-change, #climate-sensitivity, #investigation-of-exxonmobil-on-climate-change

On the new EPA Carbon Dioxide emission rule for power plants on Regulations.gov

This is a comment I put on regulations.gov about the proposed new rule.

The key assumption in this rule is that man-made Carbon Dioxide is harmful to the environment by altering our climate. I do not think this is proven. The key elements of the debate on man-made catastrophic climate change are actually pretty simple. Obviously, climate changes and it is warmer than it was 150 years ago, so these facts are not in dispute. It is the “man-made” and the supposed impending catastrophe that are controversial.

Now, if we were to double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from the current 400 PPM (0.04%) to 800 PPM physics and chemistry would predict that the atmospheric temperature would increase a trivial 0.75 degrees C. The climate alarmists have used global circulation models (GCM’s) with a climate sensitivity factor that increases this to three or four degrees C by assuming positive feedbacks. These models generally assume that as CO2 goes up, water vapor will increase and since water vapor is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 they speculate that temperature will spiral out of control with catastrophic effects. That is pretty much their case.

The problems with this are twofold. First there are no measurements to support the idea that water vapor will increase with CO2. In fact, the models suggest the highest rate of warming should be in the tropics because most water vapor is there and most heat enters the atmosphere there. But no significant warming has occurred in the tropics (or in Antarctica for that matter), warming has been almost entirely in the northern Northern Hemisphere and especially in the Arctic. Further, if more water is held in the atmosphere wouldn’t we get more clouds? Will the clouds make us warmer or cooler? No one knows, clouds are not in the GCM’s. Second, the GCM’s have not been successful in predicting anything yet. Observations have shown no increase in global temperature since 1998, but the models predicted an increase. The proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased, why no increase in temperature?

We need to remember that man’s burning of fossil fuels contributes only 8% of the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere; respiration, microbial activity, volcanism, ocean outgassing, etc. provide the rest. We also need to remember that the average CO2 in the atmosphere after the dinosaurs and until the ice age (which we are still in) is 800 ppm. Atmospheric CO2 only decreased to 300 PPM (and perhaps less) due to the ice age. The article noted below provides actual evidence (not a computer model) that the additional climate sensitivity due to doubling CO2 to 800 ppm will increase the average temperature 1.093 degrees C. A trivial amount and a fraction of what the IPCC circulation models predict. This makes much more sense and is in line with what has been seen in the Earth’s history. If this article stands the test of time, it kills the entire alarmist argument. Some have said that computing or measuring climate sensitivity to CO2 is a fool’s errand and perhaps this is so. But, either way the alarmist argument is destroyed. It is far from certain that climate change is a problem or even unusual.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/23/new-paper-finds-transient-climate-sensitivity-to-doubled-co2-levels-is-only-about-1c/#more-113314

Other references (Princeton Professor William Happer and MIT Professor Richard Lindzen):
http://live.wsj.com/video/opinion-climate-change-crack-up/B951E1BE-01A3-4F92-B871-A4AB9B171419.html#!B951E1BE-01A3-4F92-B871-A4AB9B171419
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400

Dr. Roy Spencer
http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-natural-or-manmade/

McKitrick and Vogelsang, 2014
http://climateaudit.org/2014/07/24/new-paper-by-mckitrick-and-vogelsang-comparing-models-and-observations-in-the-tropical-troposphere/

#climate-change, #climate-sensitivity, #global-circulation-models