On September 4, 2021 I predicted that at the next meeting of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) Climate Action Council the recent flooding in lower New York State would be described as evidence that climate change is a reality and that the actions of the Council will fight these kinds of disasters. This post notes that for the record the Co-Chair “remarks and reflections” included a slide on the recent flooding.
I have written extensively on implementation of the CLCPA because I believe the solutions proposed will adversely affect reliability and affordability, will have worse impacts on the environment than the purported effects of climate change, and cannot measurably affect global warming when implemented. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the position of any of my previous employers or any other company I have been associated with, these comments are mine alone.
Since the spring of 2020 the Climate Action Council has been developing a scoping plan outlining recommendations to implement the CLCPA. The goal is to make the recommendations by the end of 2021 and have the next state energy plan incorporate their recommendations. A key component of the process will be the integration analysis prepared by Energy & Environmental Economics (E3) that “combines a detailed accounting model of energy supplies and demands across the entire economy with an optimized capacity expansion model in the electric sector” to develop a mix of energy sources that will meet the CLCPA goals. The plan will also estimate total societal costs and benefits. For further background, I have summarized the schedule, implementation components, and provide links to the legislation itself at CLCPA Summary Implementation Requirements.
A common feature in the Climate Action Council meetings has been a “reflection” in the opening remarks by the co-chairs that brags about recent implementation actions and includes an argument that additional implementation is needed to address the latest extreme weather event. My forecast was correct because the meeting included the following slide describing the recent New York flood events (At 8:25 in the Meeting Recording).
The immediate response after the flooding from the usual suspects was that climate change was involved despite the fact that worse precipitation has been observed in the past. As noted in the last post the mis-perception between climate and weather is so common that I have developed a page that explains the difference between weather and climate and includes articles debunking similar claims.
In the previous post I concluded that flooding caused by heavy rainfall following a previous storm is much more an example of extreme weather than a climate change driven event. The need to implement mitigation measures as part of the CLCPA is mis-guided because it diverts resources from improvements to weather forecasting, extreme weather warning communications, and resiliency adaptation measures. Those improvements could provide tangible benefits even if the climate change alarm proves to be over rated. On the other hand, expecting any extreme weather benefits from emission mitigation measures by New York State are doomed simply because world-wide emissions continue to increase at a greater pace than New York reductions can ever hope to slow down much less reverse.
The remarks and reflections also noted that the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had come out since the last meeting. The director of the Department of Environmental Conservation, Basil Seggos, described the stark warnings of the report at 7:25 of the video. Not surprisingly, there was no recognition that the high carbon pathway that gives the catastrophic predictions is based on emissions that are implausibly high because recent International Energy Agency estimates are 30% less than that IPCC scenario. Furthermore, Dr Judith Curry writes that “The extreme tail risks from global warming, associated with very high emissions and high climate sensitivity, have shrunk and are now regarded as unlikely if not implausible.” Nonetheless, NY policy makers continue to emphasize projections based on the high emissions and high climate sensitivity scenarios.
The CLCPA implementation process continues to portray any extreme weather event as “proof” of global warming driving climate change. However, New York agencies ignore the difference between weather and climate. A climatological average is defined as a 30-year average. In 1954 three hurricanes and in 1955 two hurricanes hit the Atlantic coast north of South Carolina. If that were to happen today, the alarmists would be screaming that this is definitive proof of a changing climate. It happened over 66 years ago and has not happened again through two climatological averaging periods. That indicates if anything, a tendency for fewer hurricanes. I conclude that describing the flooding caused by the remnants of hurricane Ida as proof of climate change is an example of not letting a crisis go to waste and not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.