A Free-Market Energy Blog

Severe Cold from Global Warming? NOPE (Doug Lewin in error)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 18, 2024

“The fix is in with Doug Lewin, whose mission is the eradication of fossil fuels in power generation via the ‘virtual power plant’… Pick your term between ‘energy transformation,’ ‘deep decarbonization,’ Net Zero, Green New Deal.”

Doug Lewin, climate alarmist and PR voice for the Texas renewables industry, posts on social media with the tag line, “Growing jobs, increasing justice, and reducing pollution in Texas.” In his Texas Energy and Power Newsletter, he blamed the state’s current freeze on Global Warming (aka climate change) as follows:

Climate Impacts: We’ve Seen This Movie Before

A few days ago, when the forecasts for Jan. 15 were still at or near freezing, I started feeling like we’ve seen this movie before: warnings of a weakening polar vortex, steadily worsening forecasts each day … This is what happened in February 2021 and December 2022. And it’s happening again.

These severe storms did not used to be so common. But this will be the third time in four winters that one has hit Texas. This underscores the growing body of data that suggests climate change is fueling Arctic warming, which weakens the polar vortex (a jet stream-like air current 10-30 miles above the Earth) allowing Arctic blasts and exceptionally low temperatures into the continental US.

Monique Sellers of the National Weather Service talked with the Dallas Morning News about the connection to climate change. “Climate change plays a role, Sellers said. The average winter temperature in Texas is rising. But conditions are also more volatile, with intense, short-term freezes increasing in likelihood each year.” 

“‘One of the confounding conundrums of climate change is that winter has become warmer, but we have more deep freezes,’ Sellers said.” 

We’re unfortunately getting more evidence of this with each passing year. Texas is growing. If future winter storms are going to be more extreme, we need to be ready. Peak demand on cold winter mornings is growing at a stunning rate…. We’ve got to act — quickly — to address the other side of the supply-demand equation.

Unusual cold from unusual warming? Settled science? Just the opposite. This hypothesis turns out to be bogus. I posted at the Climate Change Professionals Group (LinkedIn):

Posts from the ‘climate alarmist’ side are linking severe cold snaps such as in the U.S. presently on global warming effects: “Climate scientist blames global warming for more Arctic blasts in winter.” This hypothesis is countered by a recent article in Nature (2023):

“No detectable trend in mid-latitude cold extremes during the recent period of Arctic amplification,” Judah Cohen, Laurie Agel, Mathew Barlow & Dara Entekhabi

It is widely accepted that Arctic amplification—accelerated Arctic warming—will increasingly moderate cold air outbreaks to the mid-latitudes. Yet, an increasing number of recent studies also argue that Arctic amplification can contribute to more severe winter weather. Here we show that the … temperature of cold extremes across the United States east of the Rockies, Northeast Asia and Europe have remained nearly constant over recent decades, in clear contrast to a robust Arctic warming trend.

Analysis of trends in the frequency and magnitude of cold extremes is mixed across the US and Asia but with a clearer decreasing trend in occurrence across Europe, especially Southern Europe. This divergence between robust Arctic warming and no detectable trends in mid-latitude cold extremes highlights the need for a better understanding of the physical links between Arctic amplification and mid-latitude cold extremes.

John Christens of the alarmist side responded:

Rob Bradley – So glad to see that you’re now posting research that supports the conclusions of the UN IPCC and the US National Climate Assessment (NASA, EPA, DOE, NSF, Smithsonian Institute, etc.) and is consistent with everything we would expect from Anthropogenic Global Warming. (here)

To which I responded:

Frankly, the false narrative you and I decry (thank you) was used by Doug Lewin in his influential Texas Energy and Power Newsletter and by several folks against me on LinkedIn threads.

So yes, I am happy to report that this is a PR stunt by climate alarmists to make their point in the middle of unusually cold times.

Now, if the GHG signal is not oriented toward summer afternoons but winter nights at high latitudes, will the alarmist community also tone down the exaggeration? Can you call that out too?

Final Comment

The fix is in with Doug Lewin, whose mission is the eradication of fossil fuels in power generation via the “virtual power plant,” a mix of:

  • Open-ended wind and solar subsidies to continue to idle thermal generation;
  • Batteries (a third subsidy play) as needed for renewable intermittency;
  • “Smart meters” in the home and business to price-ration demand to (wounded) supply.

This is a government play. Pick your term between “energy transformation,” “deep decarbonization,” Net Zero, Green New Deal. And inexcusably, it is the end goal of a faux classical liberal, electricity technocrat Lynne Kiesling, who recently endorsed Lewin as follows:

ERCOT needs reform, but not in the direction they have gone. An essential source of information about Texas is Doug Lewin’s Texas Energy and Power Newsletter. Too many of his essays have been important and insightful for me to pick one, so I’ll just recommend subscribing to his newsletter if you want to keep up with one of the most vibrant local economies in the US and the steps and missteps its political leaders are taking as they try to balance the many objectives of such a complex system.

More intervention in the name of correcting prior? “Fixing” political control rather than removing it? I will deal with Kiesling’s bizarre “free market” statism in a future post.

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