Beginnings Reporting on science and intelligent design

Expert: Climate report stokes unwarranted fear

Science | Grim predictions are still standard, but climate models are not as definitive as they seem
by Julie Borg
Posted 11/29/18, 02:39 pm

The U.S. government’s 1,700-page National Climate Assessment, released Friday, unsurprisingly blamed human activity for global warming and forecasted gloom and doom unless people took drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But skeptics of catastrophic man-made global warming caution that this report, like those that preceded it, relied on computer climate models that lack credibility and make predictions that do not match observations in the real world.

According to the report, global warming is poised to bring adverse effects to nearly every area of life in the United States: loss of property, economic hardship, new and more diseases spread by insects, and decreased availability of food and water, just to name a few. But David Legates, a climatologist and a senior fellow at the Cornwall Alliance, told me people should take these dire predictions “with a grain of salt” because the report aims to frighten the average citizen into accepting the drastic measures alarmists propose.

“Unfortunately, climate change isn’t about the science, and it never was,” he said, noting it’s instead about pushing a political agenda. Legates said computer models overestimate climate warming, and when scientists compare the predictions to real-life satellite and balloon data, the models suggest more than twice as much warming than the data show.

“I have often marveled at creation and how God has put such an intricate system in place that has kept temperatures in a very small window despite changes that are considerable,” he said. “Computer models, by contrast, represent our pitifully small understanding of climate science.” Legates noted that the models always provide only extreme scenarios and cannot identify whether temperature changes are due to fossil fuel emissions or natural variability.

Almost none of the models’ predictions have come true, noted Legates, including a world famine by 1985, more than 50,000 climate refugees per year by 2010, and a snow-free England by 2012. The world also experienced a hiatus in air temperature rise between 1999 and 2017 that the models did not foresee.

But Legates said reports like National Climate Assessment have deeper problems than faulty predictions and costly policy proposals, pointing out that the drastic actions global warming alarmists propose would hurt the poor. He said inexpensive energy makes clean drinking water, disease prevention and treatment, and ample food, clothing, and shelter possible, and securing those should be the priority.

“Then, and only then, can countries turn their attention to environmental stewardship,” Legates said.

iStock/ChesiireCat iStock/ChesiireCat

New treatment for children with severe peanut allergies

For people with severe peanut allergies, safety is not as simple as just not eating the nut (or, more correctly, the legume). Many manufacturers process foods on equipment or in plants that also process products containing peanuts, making accidental exposure a high risk. But help may be on the way.

Aimmune Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that develops treatments for potentially life-threatening food allergies, just completed clinical trials of a product called AR101. The capsule contains carefully measured amounts of peanut powder designed to help desensitize people with severe allergies. The study appears in the Nov. 22 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

During the 12-month trials, researchers gave 372 participants, most of whom were children and adolescents, gradually increasing doses of peanut powder until they reached a dose of 300 milligrams per day, equivalent to about three to four peanuts, for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, 250 of the volunteers, about 67 percent, were able to ingest 600 milligrams or more of peanut protein. AR101 did not appear to offer any benefit to the adults in the study, but only 10 percent of the children and adolescents suffered a reaction severe enough to require epinephrine, the life-saving drug contained in EpiPens many allergy sufferers carry. Overall, the need for epinephrine decreased by 81 percent.

AR101 may offer help for many allergy sufferers, but it is not a magic solution. “Desensitization was not easy on the patients,” and “is not something to start at home” without a carefully manufactured product, Michael Perkin, an allergy researcher from the Population Health Research Institute at St. George’s University of London, told Medscape. Ninety-five percent of the participants evidenced some reaction, 3.5 percent suffered severe or serious reactions, and one case resulted in a rapid onset of life-threatening symptoms.

Perkin also noted scientists don’t know the longer-term side effects of allergic individuals consuming daily doses of peanut powder, and the experiment will require careful follow-up.

Aimmune plans to submit applications for marketing approval in the United States next month and in Europe in the middle of 2019. —J.B. An illustration of the Milky Way galaxy

Ghost galaxy lurks on the fringe of Milky Way

GAIA, the European Space Agency’s galaxy-mapping satellite, has plotted nearly 1.7 billion stars in exquisite detail. As astronomers pore over the data released in the spring, they continue to make discoveries. Researchers just published a study online this month that details one of those surprises: a gigantic ghost galaxy lurking mysteriously on the fringes of our Milky Way.

Astronomers consider the galaxy, called Ant 2, a dwarf galaxy. But compared to the other known dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting ours, it is immense—a third the size of the Milky Way. It poses a conundrum for scientists because, despite its huge size, it is dim. Ant 2 is 10,000 times fainter than the relatively similar-sized Large Magellanic Cloud, the biggest satellite galaxy that orbits ours. And Ant 2 has a much lower mass than scientists would expect for an object of its size. The researchers call Ant 2, which stays at least 130,000 light-years away from the Milky Way, a ghost galaxy because its low density and dim light have allowed it to hide behind the disc of our galaxy.

Current astronomy models cannot account for the size, mass, and dimness of Ant 2. “Compared to the rest of the 60 or so Milky Way satellites, Ant 2 is an oddball,” said Matthew Walker, one of the researchers. —J.B.

Photo by Roy Funch Photo by Roy Funch Termite mounds in Brazil

4,000-year-old termite mounds still active

Researchers in Brazil just discovered a region of regularly spaced termite mounds covering an area the size of Great Britain. In the study, published in Current Biology on Nov. 19, the scientists dated the mounds, which still house active termites, to around 2000 B.C.

Over thousands of years, the insects have excavated a huge network of interconnected underground tunnels, depositing approximately 200 million cone-shaped mounds of dirt, each more than 2.5 yards tall and nearly 10 yards wide.

“The amount of soil excavated is over 10 cubic kilometers, equivalent to 4,000 great pyramids of Giza, and represents one of the biggest structures built by a single insect species,” Stephen Martin, one of the U.K. researchers, said in a statement.

The mounds, mostly hidden from view in the semiarid forests of Brazil, only became visible when people cleared some of the land for pasture in recent decades.

“It’s incredible that, in this day and age, you can find an ‘unknown’ biological wonder of this sheer size and age still existing, with the occupants still present,” Martin said. —J.B.

Julie Borg

Julie is a World Journalism Institute graduate. She covers science and intelligent design for WORLD and is a clinical psychologist. Julie resides in Dayton, Ohio.

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  • JerryM
    Posted: Thu, 11/29/2018 03:55 pm

    Whether climate change is mostly natural or mostly manmade one should not dispute the fact that we need to be better stewards of this earth and its resources.

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 02:46 pm

    Unfortunately, the "news" article on climate change sounds like a repetition of gossip from one side of the political spectrum. Phrases such as "unwarranted fear," "unsurprisingly blamed," "forecasted gloom and doom," and "dire predictions" are emotionally charged words that do not belong in a news article.

    Yes, climate change is political, and no less so on the part of those who seek to deny it for economic and politically philosophical reasons. The government report was prepared over time by 13 US Government agencies. Three levels of predictions were included. This article cites one climatologist who happens to disagree with the assessment. The climate article above by World is more like an opinion essay, not trustworthy nor helpful reporting.

    Real world observations by millions of people living in areas already impacted physically and economically by a changing climate indicate that indeed the world is warming up. As far as poverty goes, poor people always seem to bear the heaviest burdens. Economically well-placed corporate owners wish to deny climate change in order to continue polluting the world easily and cheaply with fossil fuels. I'm old enough to remember when air and water pollution first became issues. I also remember when depletion of the rain forest first came to public attention. Rich corporate owners fought against regulations in these areas as well. At the very least, people should be encouraged to pay attention, to read summaries of this report, and to read from many sources. The article accuses the US Government of crying, "Wolf! Wolf!" but I wonder who the real wolves are.

  • Andrew Wong
    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 03:24 pm

    I agree. Just because dire predictions of the past have not fully come to fruition doesn't mean that we don't have a significant problem on our hands in climate change. World temperatures were dropping until the industrial revolution at which point the trends markedly started in the opposite direction. It's really that simple. Yes, we don't fully know how much it's going to change, what the effects will be, or what can really be done to fix it, but we do know that it's happening and that humans are playing a role. We need to be better stewards. 

    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 06:38 pm

    Windmills for elec. have been installed and are killing birds. NOT ok!

    The gov't has spent billions on solar panels. Now we find out that we have no place to put them when they expire. Meanwhile solar panels put out HEAT. Again killing birds and helping to heat the environment. I can feel the added heat from my neighbor's solar panels. 

    The gov't has spent billions on electric cars. Now we find those batteries will also need a large space in our already growing land fills. Which is where we will be throwing most of our recycleables now. We also find that it takes a lot of electricity to charge elec. car batteries. Even people who are not considered "poor" can't afford to buy electric cars, and especially can't afford to charge one. (We know someone who has one. So it's NOT HEARSAY.) 

    California, what a laugh! They should change their name to FREEWAY. 

    The Polar caps are melting, so sightseers are being taken there to see it. Do you think that helps the Polar caps? Think of all the pollution from giant ships, ice cutter ships and people living at the Poles, "scientists". Studying what? Are they studying what they are doing to the Polar regions by living there? What will they study when it is melted? And who is paying for that nonsense?

    Gov'ts make people not water their lawns when there is a drought. What a farce! Businesses still put in rye grass in the winter. There are water fountains and fake lakes everywhere in Arizona. Does it not evaporate? And the chemicals used can't be good for the environment.

    It makes me mad when I see liberals not do their part.

    It also makes me mad when people act like conservatives don't do their part being good stewards of the earth. 

    I have carried recycle bags to stores for probably 40 years. We recycle and repurpose whatever we can. Why are paper bags better? I see dead trees when I see paper bags. At least I can repurpose plastic bags. 

    Do you carry your own bags to the store? Most people say, "Oh, I always forget." Buy another one, many are only $1. 



  • Allen Johnson
    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 09:44 pm

    It is disingenuous for World News Service to trumpet its objectivity, truth-telling, and biblically-based reporting when it's founder and publisher, Joel Belz, sits on the Advisory Council of the no-holds-barred climate change denying Cornwall Alliance. Calvin Beisner, its head, is quoted, as well as it's dissenter scientist, David Legates.  Okay, so much for fair play, less than 5% of scientists claiming to deny anthropogenic climate change, and the other 95% shut out. Such as Katharine Hayhoe, a dedicated conservative Christian and highly credentialed climate scientist.
    World News Service claims to be pro-life. Yes, abortion is a moral evil. But what about the millions of the poor who have already faced loss of their croplands, salt water from rising seas ruining their low-lying crop lands, and the clear signs of massive warming especially on the polar regions (all predicted by climate models)?
    Yes, just about all of us in wealthy countries are complicit in climate warming. And then there are those who fight tooth and nail against every step toward addressing greenhouse gasses. Until World News Service fairly and objectively presents the claims of the overwhelming number of accredited climate researchers who are urgently alarmed, its credibility and integrity for upholding life is seriously compromised.

  •  CaptTee's picture
    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 10:46 pm

    I had to switch to air conditioning to heat in my home in Florida this week. This is about 4 weeks earlier than normal. Does that mean this is man-made climate change? It certainly isn't "Global Warming"! I am old enough to have read the 1977 article "The Coming Ice Age", so forgive me if I am skeptical of dire predictions.

    Just because "13 US Government agencies" had inputs into a report, that doesn't mean the final product had the official approval of "13 US Government agencies". The person who approved it was an Obama political appointee, who got himself appointed to a career civil service position, so wouldn't be unemployed after the election.

    Phrases such as "unwarranted fear," "unsurprisingly blamed," "forecasted gloom and doom," and "dire predictions" that are true do belong in news articles. (By the way thanks for the link.)

    Compare Al Gore's predictions about 2015 with reality, before trying to discredit people who disagree with you.

    Climate control is like gun control in that both are really about people control.

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sat, 12/01/2018 03:36 am

    Allen Johnson - No need for the heated discourse.  Using terms like “denier” or “dissenter” or “complicit” is in itself disingenuous.  The 95% of consensus claim has long been discredited.  How does that compare to the failure rate of climate models which is nearly perfect?  Can’t people have a conversation without the cries of heresy? 

    I was in Alaska a few weeks after Obama gave his speech at the receding glacier.   Do you know what they discovered under that receding glacier?  Tropical plants.  So apparently the earth has been far warmer in the past and everything was just fine.  Was it anthropogenic then?  The land blossomed with flora and fauna and all was well.  Let us celebrate the resiliancy of our magnificent planet!

    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 06:02 pm

    Ok, we're awake to the Climate Change/Global Warming. Now what?

    Do these people have any answers other than making Trump admit that the climate changes, or that things are hotter in some places and colder in other places? 

    Paying countries a lot of money will NOT help to remedy climate change. 

  •  CaptTee's picture
    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 10:44 pm

    I noticed that Al Gore had his climate conference in Las Angeles this week rather than some place likely to be freezing!

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sat, 12/01/2018 03:08 am

    It has been a pleasure every year to watch Al Gore and his "sky is falling" activists buried under a blizzard as they were trying to march against global warming.  Smart activists would march in the desert in the summer, but these wisenheimers always pick a snow storm.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 11/30/2018 11:46 pm

    Maybe climate change isn’t really going to matter in the long run. The newest issue of National Geographic has a short article about a new book coming out by Jared Diamond. He says that world income inequality is the real threat. The world’s poor all want lifestyles like we and Western Europe enjoy. Attaining that will require the resources that would be needed to support an earth population of 80 BILLION. No way that is possible. 

    So I guess I’m going to be more focused on an easier problem:  those poor Brazilian termites starving since the land was cleared for grazing. Save the Termites!

    Posted: Sun, 12/02/2018 06:40 am

    Good one. :-)

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Sat, 12/01/2018 12:21 am

    Allen Johnson: Great research--thanks!

  •  Xion's picture
    Posted: Sat, 12/01/2018 03:10 am

    "Almost none of the models’ predictions have come true."  

    An interesting thing about this age we live in is that things which aren't true are treated as sacred doctrine.  Disagreeing can carry severe penalties.  And yet, so many bad ideas, like socialism, which have a perfect track record of failure continue to be touted as the next best thing.  Why?  Because bad ideas only advance through lies.  In the real world, warmth is energy.  Energy is good.  CO2 is good.  We're experiencing rapid greening.  A cold planet would be devastating for life.  Let us celebrate global warming!

    Posted: Sun, 12/02/2018 06:57 am

    I agree.

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Sun, 12/02/2018 06:45 am

    Perhaps we are overlooking something even more dangerous than global warming.  We no longer have to ability to look at even non-moral controversies in an objective manner.  If science could "prove" that the world was heating up and that our hunger for  fossil energy would cause people to starve we could weigh that objectivly against the inefficiency of wind or solar energy and our need to produce energy to survive.  The lack of objectivity in any argument may be our biggest problem.

    A friend of mine is having his family farm seized by a wind energy firm because his desire to have his land interfered with the governments perception of the needs of the people.  "We have to have windmills or we will destroy the planet".  But somebody is making money from this deal.  The holders of stock in "clean energy" also exert power over climate change "science" and policy.  There's the rub.  On both sides the greed for profit may be more important than the real need.  Objectivity-- we have lost it.



    Posted: Sun, 12/02/2018 07:46 am

    DYK many highrises built along the coast of Florida block the wind that used to cool inland Miami? I was born and raised in the city of Miami without a/c.

    DYK Florida is mostly swamp land that builders dredged sand up and built houses and highrises on? So if the water is rising, maybe the swamp is reclaming the land? Have a sister who had her South Miami home wrecked by hurricane Andres. They left because insurance companies would not insure people in that area after Andrew.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Sat, 12/22/2018 10:23 pm

    Some thoughts:

    *  I recall that "climate change" used to be called "global warming" in the 1980's.  This shift feels like bet hedging to me.

    *  Computer modeling has influenced public opinion beyond its warrant.  It merely calculates what outcomes should be for proposed theories.  People have to give computers both the information and instructions about how to crunch it based on the theory being tested.  Therefore all computer models have built-in bias based on what theories they endorse.

    *  The outcomes of global warming theories that computer models have predicted are only now being compared to actual measurements, with mixed results.  We need to refine them much further before we take massive governmental steps to prevent global warming.

    *  The Earth has naturally experienced climate cycles from the moment of creation.  Given this fact, we should consider whether trying to mess with this cycle might actually hurt our environment.  Since God designed Earth with Mankind in mind, maybe man-caused global warming is part of God's intended process!