“Low Confidence” Indeed

Herewith an omnibus post on the climate and energy scene for today (though I could do this at the top of each hour every day):

Did you notice how the mainstream media rushed to mention that the Department of Energy assigned “low confidence” to their finding that COVID-19 likely originated from a lab leak in Wuhan?

How come the mainstream media never mentions the “low confidence” scientists often assign to their findings in the periodic climate change assessments? That’s the question I ask in the New York Post today, noting:

Anyone who takes the time to read through the climate-science reports the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issues every few years will find that many of the most crucial factors behind the catastrophic climate-change claims and forecasts are rated “low confidence” by the scientists who produce them.

In the most recent IPCC science report, for example, issued in 2021, the term “low confidence” appears 48 times in the key 131-page chapter on climate sensitivity; “uncertain” or “uncertainty” appears 248 times.

I didn’t even have to wait a full day before getting additional examples of this problem. Earlier this week Nature Climate Change published an article warning of increasing future hurricane risk along the Atlantic coast of the U.S., based entirely on “probabilistic” assessments in climate models.

And yet, according to the US National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s latest review:

“There is no strong evidence of century-scale increasing trends in U.S. landfalling hurricanes or major hurricanes.”

Here’s the chart of the frequency of landfalling hurricanes on our Atlantic coast:

You may recall that in his most recent State of the Union address, (P)resident Joe Biden admitted that we’re going to need oil and gas energy for at least another decade, which you can translate to five decades if not longer. Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy, which you can be sure has fully ingested the climate change Kool Aid, has an interesting report just out analyzing current investment in oil and gas. It notes:

To keep energy markets in balance while staying on the net-zero pathway, no investments in new oil and gas fields are required [this is surely wrong, but never mind for now. . .]; however, given expected decline rates from current fields, the IEA estimates that continued investments of $400–500 billion per year until 2030 are needed in existing sources of production—including in new fields already approved for development.

But of course the climatistas are trying to strangle investment in existing as well as future domestic production. So who is investing in existing and future capacity? “NOCs,” or nationally-owned companies, mostly in the developing world:

Given that oil and gas demand trends are not yet falling in line with decarbonization commitments, the void in investments by private companies is being filled by national oil companies (NOCs), especially those based in the Middle East, which adds geopolitical risk to future supply. . .  Phasing out transition assets too early may result in wild swings in oil and gas prices, raising energy security and affordability concerns, similar to what has transpired since Russia invaded Ukraine. . .

I’m so old I remember the bumper stickers from the 1970s: “Save the whales!” To which the cheeky folks at the American Spectator marketed an alternative stripe for your car: “Nuke the whales!” (Someone went rogue with this idea and offered up: “Nuke the gay baby whales for Jesus!”)

Well guess what: apparently environmentalists don’t care about saving whales any more—at least if whales get in the way of their sacred crucifix, the offshore wind power platform:

A senior Biden administration scientist authored an internal memo warning of the impacts offshore wind development may have on marine life months before the recent spate of whale deaths along the East Coast.

Sean Hayes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) chief of protected species, penned the memo in May 2022 and sent it to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) lead biologist Brian Hooker, also copying more than a dozen other scientists from the two agencies. The memo highlighted Hayes’ concerns about how offshore wind construction and surveying could disrupt the endangered Atlantic right whale.

“The development of offshore wind poses risks to these species, which is magnified in southern New England waters due to species abundance and distribution,” Hayes wrote in the letter dated May 13. “These risks occur at varying stages, including construction and development, and include increased noise, vessel traffic, habitat modifications, water withdrawals associated with certain substations.”

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