The Clean Air Act does not include the Green New deal. A Limerick, a historical review, and a look at the future.

Supreme Court decided: No deal;

The Green New Deal they did repeal.

CO2, it is good;

Greens the Earth, makes more food.

The bureaucrats cannot appeal.

While Climate Change is real, I have in a previous blog explained why rising CO2 levels cannot be even a major cause of Climate change, see here Now, if CO2 isn’t it, then what is?

Before we go any further this is my recollection of how we got to where we are today in trying to save the earth with legislation.

When I came to the U.S.A. in 1968 as an immigrant and resident alien I was appalled at the lack of environmental concern. In my native Sweden we had been very concerned for many years about the lacing of seed grain with Mercury as a preservative. The rivers and lakes had been fertilized four times more than agricultural land, the rivers from the Soviet Union and Poland were full of untreated sewage, so much so that the Baltic Sea was in danger of losing its Oxygen. Things were much worse in the U.S. In Lake Ontario the dead fish piled up on what used to be a good beach, and in Lake Erie the situation was even worse, a tributary river caught fire. When pointing out the stench from all the rotting fish one coworker just said: You think this is bad; in WW II the upper Delaware Bay was so polluted from all the refineries that it stripped the paint off the ships that came into Philadelphia harbor. In those days companies just dumped the parts that were left after refining into the river, and to get the air pollution bearable they built higher and higher smokestacks to dilute the pollution over a larger area.

The lawmakers had been concerned about the environment for quite some time, and in 1963 they passed the Clean Air Act. It was slow in being enacted so they decided to promote the importance of clean air (and clean water), so they decided to promote the cause with an Earth Day. The day chosen was to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s birth, April 22, 1970. (See here). At that time the greatest concern was the impending ice age unless we cleaned up the air. Worldwide temperature would drop by ten degrees by the year 2000 unless the air was cleaned up. They forced the coal plants to install Sulfur scrubbers, and the trout fishes no longer died, and temperatures started rising again.

Many years ago, around 1977 Dr. James Lovelock bought a number of HP Gas Chromatographs to set up in the most remote corners of the earth to study pollution (especially CFC’s) and its effect on the climate. What he found was an unexpectedly large amount of dimethylsulphide (DMS). He was then a paid consultant for Hewlett Packard Analytical, so he came over from his native England a couple of times a year, always willing to hold a seminar for us engineers working at Hewlett Packard, and then joining us for lunch and continue discussion on a wide range of topics, and at one of them he sprung “Daisy-world” on us before it was published, mostly to see if we could poke holes in his hypothesis. It involved a world that consisted of only two flowers, black daisies and white daisies. The computer simulation started out with a cold world and a weak sun. The sun warmed up until suddenly black daisies appear and cover the earth. This warms the earth some more and white daisies appear. As the sun varies in intensity the mix of white and black daisies changes and this keeps the earth at a stable temperature, as they have different reflective properties. He then went on to say that the whole earth is like a living organism.
Some time later he presented the paper and the next year we asked him how it was received. “You won’t believe it”, he answered. ”Now there are people who actually believe the earth is a living organism. They demand follow-up articles that justifies their belief.” He had partly himself to blame, the name he chose was the GAIA hypothesis, Gaia being the Mother earth Goddess. He succumbed to their demands, and in 1979 he published the book: Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. Talking about religion the Mother Earth people now had their goddess, and expressions like. “The earth has a temperature” became commonplace.

In 1983 Margaret Thatcher, the conservative U.K. Prime Minister tried to close down the nationalized coal industry and defeat the Coal unions. She used the argument that CO2 was bad for the environment, and electricity should be generated by anything but coal. After a year she won the fight, and this legitimized the argument that both liberals and conservatives agreed: The major culprit is CO2, and the universal measurement of social responsibility; Carbon Footprint was born.

In the U.S.A. the pressure grew to somehow stop the rise of CO2, and the State of Massachusetts,, joined by the states of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, the cities of New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., the territory of American Samoa, and the organizations Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Advocates, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Center for Technology Assessment, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group sued the EPA for not regulating CO2 and some other greenhouse gases. The argument was that since CO2 is a pollutant does fall under the clean air act and can therefore be regulated. The case made its way up the appeals process, and on June 26, 2006, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari. It stated that the CAA gives the EPA the authority to regulate tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases. However, in the larger issue of regulating greenhouse gases in general it sent it back to lower court for further clarification. The SC denied the EPA this right, which the Appeals Court had approved. The EPA decided to go ahead and regulate Greenhouse Gases anyway, and that is what the latest Supreme court decision was all about. The EPA does not have carte blanche to regulate greenhouse gases unless it is specifically approved under the Clean Air Act. Congress must first do its job and make it part of the CAA.

Dr Lovelock is an interesting fellow, a true scientist. He grew more and more pessimistic about the future of the earth. In a March 2010 interview with The Guardian newspaper, he even said that democracy might have to be “put on hold” to prevent climate change. Then in an April 2012 interview, aired on MSNBC, Lovelock stated that he had been “alarmist”, using the words “All right, I made a mistake,” about the timing of climate change and noted the documentary An Inconvenient Truth and the book The Weather Makers as examples of the same kind of alarmism. Lovelock still believes the climate to be warming although the rate of change is not as he once thought, he admitted that he had been “extrapolating too far.” He believes that climate change is still happening, but it will be felt farther in the future. Of the claims “the science is settled” on global warming he states:

One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.

He criticizes environmentalists for treating global warming like a religion.

It just so happens that the green religion is now taking over from the Christian religion.

I don’t think people have noticed that, but it’s got all the sort of terms that religions use … The greens use guilt. That just shows how religious greens are. You can’t win people round by saying they are guilty for putting (carbon dioxide) in the air.

In the MSNBC article Lovelock is quoted as proclaiming:

The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.

The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.

The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time … it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising – carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.

Yes, Dr. Lovelock is still alive at age 102. He was the first to discover the CFC over all the world, but he also found an unexpected amount of dimethylsulphide (DMS) in the atmosphere, and that acted as a condensation point for cloud formation. The concentration was highest in areas rich in nitrates and other “fertilizers” that had been released into the ocean from rivers. The South ocean had the least DMS, while areas with many river outlets had the most. He drew the conclusion that he had been an alarmist. The temperatures are not rising anywhere near as fast as climate models have forecast. We have now 64 years of good temperature data to prove it.

in the South Ocean around Antarctica there is very little DMS, and the South Pole winters, with rising CO2 levels being the dominant climate change factor temperatures are actually decreasing by 2 degree Celsius per century. This would mean we are in a world-wide cooling trend, looking forward to the next ice age. Since base temperatures are getting colder, areas with less rivers fertilizing the oceans will experience less rain, such as the American West coaast from south of San Francisco bay to Santiago de Chile will experience drying conditions, the Mexican Gulf, the Eastern Atlantic, the North Sea, and especially the China east coast and the South china Sea will experience increased precipitation. Because of increased cloudiness the Arctic winters will be warmer, but the Arctic Summers will be marginally cooler above 80 degrees. Source DMI

The 2022 winter was above normal (more snow), but sice Apr 10 temps have been below normal.

Greenland is starting to accumulate ice again:

Greenland ice gain.

But for the American South West the situation is bleak. Not only is precipitation expected to decrease, the aquifers are being depleted, lake Mead Lake Powell are at about 30% of capacity, in a few years they will be depleted altogether. Lake San Carlos, which supplies the Phoenix area has been empty since April, no water at all flows down Gila river, wells are starting to run dry. When this happens desertification sets in, erosion increases, springs dry up. When it rains it results in the form of flash floods that further increases erosion. This is a disaster in making.

Yet, there is hope. I am making a proposal:

Build a TransContinental Aqueduct. This will solve the water needs for the upper Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, lower California, Mexico and the Lower Colorado River basin.

Build a Trans-Rocky Mountain aqueduct. This will solve some of the water needs for Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, upper New Mexico and the Upper Colorado river basin.

Build a South Platte River aqueduct. This will solve the water needs for the greater Denver ares and help preserve the northern Ogallala aquifer.

In further blog entries I will further develop what has to be done.

I will leave you with this teaser:

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Green New Deal by administrative fiat is unconstitutional. CO2 is not a pollutant, it is on balance good.

The U.S. Supreme Court settled the issue: Whether, in 42 U.S.C. § 7411(d), an ancillary provision of the Clean Air Act, Congress constitutionally authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to issue significant rules — including those capable of reshaping the nation’s electricity grids and unilaterally decarbonizing virtually any sector of the economy — without any limits on what the agency can require so long as it considers cost, nonair impacts and energy requirements.

I have always been very interested in the environment. Nature teaches us so many lessons, the diversity of trees, birds, flowers and wildlife is breathtaking and giving cause to never cease to wonder. It would be a shame to destroy the beauty of it all. Yet we seem to make it worse by concentrating our effort by trying to limit CO2 emissions, rather than tackling the real and more urgent problems.

Let me first explain why I assert that rising CO2 levels, while real is only a minor player in the climate change equation.

The traditional way to approach this scientifically is making climate models. So far, nearly all, except the Russian model have failed to even remotely to predict future temperature changes. IPCC and all their climate models is still failing.

The other approach is to take measurements, and it so happens that we have really good global data for over 60 years. The Amundsen Scott – South Pole weather station, the average temperature of Winter season 2021 (April 2021 – September 2021) reached only -61,0°C / -78°F, and at this temperature CO2 is the dominant greenhouse gas by more than a factor of ten more important than water vapor. We have reliable measurements for the temperature change at the South Pole since 1957. During this time CO2 gas increased 31% to 413ppm, Methane increased 16% to 1.85 ppm and Nitrous oxide decreased, but this is a gas mostly confined to urban areas, and is now below 0.05 ppm worldwide. With CO2 increasing by 31% and water vapor negligible one would expect a temperature rise over 64 years of 0.65 C, or one degree Celsius warmer per century according to extrapolated lab measurements. This is the observed trend:

With 2021 value included the temperature trend is two degrees Celsius cooler per century!

At the South Pole snowfall is negligible in the winter, and for the whole year it is only 1.3 inches. No model would have predicted the cooling trend, so there must be other factors that are are more important, since real measurements beat models every time.

Ignoring the South Pole, the climate models are from time to time adjusted, and as the urgency among the ruling class grew, they suddenly showed a much higher rate of future temperature increases, in this case what is supposed to happen to global temperatures for a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial times, from 270ppm to 540ppm.

Source: Mark D Zelinka et al. ” Causes of higher Climate sensitivity in CMIP6 models” Geophysical Research Letters.

There are two ways to approach this problem. The models make certain assumptions about the behavior of the changing atmosphere and model future temperature changes. This is the approach IPCC has takenfor the last 34 years. These models all fail miserably when compared to actual future temperature changes.

The other way i to observe what is actually happening to our temperature over time as the CO2 increases. We have over 60 years of excellent global temperature data, so with these we can see where, when and by how much the earth has warmed.

The most drastic temperature rise on earth has been in the Arctic above the 80th latitude. In the winter of 2018 it was 8C above the 50 year average. Since then it has come down to the more normal 4C increase. See charts from the Danish Meteorological Institute:

Summer: red, Jun,Jul, Aug. Winter: green, Dec, Jan, Feb Yearly: black

Note, there are no increase at all in the summer temperatures!

Spring: green, Mar, Apr, May. Fall: red, Sep Oct, Nov. Yearly: black

The fall temperature saw an increase of 4C and the spring temperature saw an increase of about 2.5C.

The 2022 winter saw an about 4c increase. The Spring temperatures have from the 10th of March were below or very close to the 1958 – 2002 average. Early Summer temperatures have so far been about 1C below normal. Source: DMI.

There seems to be no cause for immediate panic with the Arctic temperatures. If anything, they seem to moderate. In the Antarctic on the other hand temperatures have been decreasing! As we have seen before, the Amundsen Scott – South Pole weather station, the average temperature of Winter season 2021 (April 2021 – September 2021) reached only -61,0°C / -78°F, which is the coldest value in all-time history! This was 2,5°C /4.5°F degrees lower than the most recent 30-year average at this remote station.

Why are the temperatures not behaving like the models predict?

To get the answer we must study molecular absorption spectroscopy. IPCC and most scientists claim that the greenhouse effect is dependent on the gases that are in the atmosphere, and their combined effect is additive according to a logarithmic formula. This is true up to a certain point, but it is not possible to absorb more than 100% of all the energy available in a certain frequency band! For example: If water vapor absorbs 90% of all incoming energy in a certain band, and CO2 absorbs another 50% of the energy in the same band, the result is that 95% is absorbed, (90% + 50% * (100% – 90%)),  not 140%, (90% + 50%).

The following chart shows both CO2 and H2O are absorbing greenhouse gases, with H20 being the stronger greenhouse gas, absorbing over a much wider spectrum, and they overlap for the most part. But it also matters in what frequency range s they absorb.

For this we will have to look at the frequency ranges of the incoming solar radiation and the outgoing black body radiation of the earth. It is the latter that causes the greenhouse effect. Take a look at this chart:

The red area represents the observed amount of solar radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. the white area under the red line represents radiation absorbed in the atmosphere. Likewise, the blue area represents the outgoing black body radiation that is re-emitted. The remaining white area under the magenta, blue or black line represents the retained absorbed energy that causes the greenhouse effect.

Let us now take a look at the Carbon Dioxide bands of absorption, at 2.7, 4.3 and 15 microns. The 2.7 and 4.3 micron bands absorb where there is little black body radiation, the only band that counts is at 15 microns, and that is in a band where the black body radiation has its maximum. However it is also in a band where water vapor also absorb, not as much as CO2,only about 20% to 70% as much. The important thing is that in the frequency band of 14.5 to 15.5 micron CO2 absorbs all the energy available in that spectral range, and it also did it before industrialization when CO2 levels were one third less than today!

The grey area is the difference between total pre-industrial absorption and today, less than 5 % added absorption in the 13 to 17 micron band. Notice that total absorption from ground level to thermopause cannot exceed 100%

From this we can see that increasing CO2 levels is not the cause of climate change, if anything, it is only a only a very minor player. How about Methane?

Methane has only two major absorption bands, one at 3.3 microns, and the other at 8 microns. The 3,3 micron band is where incoming radiation is negligible, and so is outgoing black-body radiation. The 8 micron band is where water vapor is dominant, so Methane turns out to be the don’t care gas.

Water vapor or absolute humidity is highly dependent on the temperature of the air, so at 30C there may be 50 times as much water vapor as CO2, at 0C there may be ten times as much water vapor, and at -25C there is more CO2 than water vapor. At those low temperatures the gases are mostly additive. In the tropics with fifty times more water vapor than CO2, increased CO2 has no influence on the temperature whatsoever. Temperature charts confirm this assertion:

The temperature in the tropics displays no trend whatsoever. It follows the temperature of the oceans, goes up in an el niño and down in a la niña. The temperature in the southern hemisphere shows no trend. In the northern temperate region there is a slight increase, but the great increase is occurring in the Arctic. There is no increase in the Antarctic yet even though the increase in CO2 is as great in the Antarctic and the winter temperature in the Antarctic is even lower than in the Arctic. So CO2 increase cannot be the answer to the winter temperature increase in the Arctic.

There is an obvious answer. When temperatures increase the air can and will contain more moisture and transport this moisture from the tropics all the way to the arctic, where it ends up as snow. Is the snow increasing in the Arctic?

Let us see what the snow statistics show. These are from the Rutgers snow lab.

The fall snow extent is increasing, and has increased by more than 2 percent per year.

The winter snowfall has also increased but only by 0.04 percent per year. The snow covers all of Russia, Northern China, Mongolia, Tibet, Kashmir and northern Pakistan, Northern Afghanistan, Northern Iran, Turkey, most of Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Alaska, Greenland and part of Western, Eastern and Northern United States.

Jan 16,2022

In the spring on the other hand the snow pack is melting faster, about 1.6 percent less spring snow per year. One of the major reasons for an earlier snow melt is that the air is getting dirtier, especially over China, and to some extent Russia. The soot from burning coal, wood and peat, and from mining dust changes the albedo of the snow. The soot is visible on old snow all the way up to the North Pole. The other reason is that the North Pole is getting warmer. In the fall and winter it is mostly due to increased snowfall, but in the spring, as soon as the temperatures rise over the freezing point, melting occurs earlier. But it takes longer time to melt the increasing snow, so the Summer temperatures remain unchanged or lower.

So the warming of the North Pole, far from being an impending end of mankind as we know it, may even be beneficial. A warmer North Pole in the winter means less temperature gradient between the pole and the tropics, leading to less severe storms. They will still be there, but less severe.

This year’s Arctic ice volume is greater ghan the previous 3 years. and the melting is slower. It is too early to tell if it is a real cooling of the climate, but it is worth noting

There is one great benefit of increased CO2, the greening of the earth!

Thanks to this greening, done with only the fertilizing effect of increasing CO2, the earth can now keep another 2 billion people from starvation, not to mention what good it does for plants and wildlife.

Increasing CO2 is not the cause of climate change.