Note to weepy Bill McKibben – blocking Keystone XL gets you about 0.00001°C/yr.

Keystone XL Pipeline: Examination of Scientific and Environmental Issues

By Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger
May 7, 2013 Before the U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Subcommittee on Energy and Subcommittee on the Environment

I am Paul C. Knappenberger, Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, a nonprofit, non-partisan public policy research institute located here in Washington DC, and Cato is my sole source of employment income. Before I begin my testimony, I would like to make clear that my comments are solely my own and do not represent any official position of the Cato Institute.

For the past 25 years, I’ve conducted research on topics of climate and climate change including hurricanes, heat-related mortality, and temperature trends as well as worked to quantify the projections of human-caused climate change.

This last topic, specifically how it relates to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, will be the subject of my testimony.

When I refer to climate change in these remarks, I am specifically referring to that climate change which may occur as a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Climate change may (and does) occur from other influences as well, both human and natural. But the primary concern raised over the Keystone XL pipeline involves the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the burning of the oil that the pipeline will carry. So it is the potential climate change from these emissions that will be focus of my testimony.

In its Draft Environmental Impacts Statement (DEIS), the State Department has done a good job in quantifying the extra emissions that result from the extraction, transportation, refining, and eventual end use of the oil which will be transported by the Keystone XL pipeline. They find, and I think that there is broad agreement on this point, that a barrel of oil produced from the Canadian tar sands has about a 17 percent carbon dioxide emissions premium compared to the average barrel of oil finding its way into the U.S. market.

The emissions premium primarily arises from the relatively energy-intensive manner in which tar sands oil is currently extracted. In the DEIS, the State Department points out that this emissions premium may well shrink over time as new extraction methodologies are developed, as extraction in other regions, such as Saudi Arabia, becomes more energy intensive, or depending on the type of oil that is ultimately displaced by the oil carried by the Keystone XL pipeline.

The disagreement between the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and several environmental groups, involves how many new carbon dioxide emissions this current 17 percent per barrel premium results in when applied to the 830,000 barrels of oil that the Keystone XL pipeline will carry each day when operating at full capacity.

The State Department concludes that the demand for the tar sands oil is great enough that it will come to market whether or not the Keystone XL pipeline is ever built. It thus finds very few additional carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the pipeline project—somewhere in the range of an additional 0.1 to 5.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year over the case where the pipeline is not built.

The EPA contends that the State Department is too quick to come to such a conclusion. The EPA suggests that without the pipeline, much of that oil will remain in the ground. Therefore, if the pipeline were to be built, oil would be produced from the tar sands to meet its capacity. While this won’t result in more oil being used in the U.S., it will result in a 17 percent carbon dioxide emissions premium applied to the 830,000 barrels per day of delivered oil. The EPA cites an extra 18.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year over the situation of no pipeline.

Several environmental organizations take the view that while the Keystone XL pipeline may not increase the amount of oil used in the U.S., the oil that it displaces from the U.S. market will be consumed by other countries as the global demand for oil continues to grow. Thus, they calculate the full emissions from the 830,000 barrels per day plus the 17 percent emissions premium, and arrive at an additional 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year resulting from the existence of the Keystone XL pipeline.In terms of carbon dioxide emissions, these differences may appear large and contentious, and, in fact, much of the protestation involving the Keystone XL pipeline focuses on these emissions numbers.

But, these protests are largely misplaced.

It is very important to keep in mind that the end game is climate change and the potential need of climate change mitigation. Carbon dioxide emissions are not climate change. They influence climate change, but they are not a measure of it.

Therefore, before any type of assessment as to the potential climate impact of the Keystone XL pipeline can be made, it is essential to translate the additional carbon dioxide emissions that may result from it into climate units—such as the global average temperature. In other words, how much global warming will the Keystone XL pipeline produce?

Isn’t that what everyone wants to know?

Why is it then, that such numbers are never given?

It is not as if there is no good way of calculating them—that is precisely what climate models are designed to do. These complex computer programs emulate the earth’s climate system and allow researchers to change various influences upon it—such as adding additional carbon dioxide emissions—and seeing what the end effect is. These climate models produce the projections of future climate change from human activities that we are all familiar with using precisely this methodology.

General circulation climate models are very complex and computational expensive to run (both in time and money) and as a result have not been used to generate the global temperature effects of the Keystone XL pipeline.

However, in lieu of running a full climate model, climate model emulators have been developed which can run on a desktop computer. One such program is MAGICC, the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change. MAGICC is a climate model simulator developed by scientists at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research under funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations.

MAGICC is itself a collection of simple gas-cycle, climate, and ice-melt models that is designed to produce an output that emulates the output one gets from much more complex climate models. MAGICC can produce in seconds, on a personal computer, results that complex climate models take weeks to produce running on the world’s fastest supercomputers. MAGICC doesn’t provide the breadth of output or level of detail that fully resolved climate models do, but instead simulates the general, broader aspects of climate change such as the global average temperature.

Moreover, MAGICC was developed, according to MAGICC’s website, “to compare the global-mean temperature and sea level implications of two different emissions scenarios.” So, using MAGICC to compare the climate change that is projected to result from the different Keystone XL pipeline carbon dioxide emissions scenarios fits precisely into the program’s designed purpose.

Using MAGICC, I (and anyone else) can calculate the potential impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on the global average temperature based on the various carbon dioxide emissions estimates, and produce results very similar to ones that would be achieved by using a full climate model. In the base case, I run MAGICC using a mid-range, business-as-usual future emissions scenario as defined by the IPCC (SRES A1B). To examine the climate change impact using the EPA’s Keystone XL carbon dioxide emissions scenario, I add 18.7 million metric tons per year to the global carbon dioxide mission total each year beginning in the year 2010 and continuing through the year 2100. To assess impact of the emissions scenario preferred by some environmental organizations, I add 181 million metric tons of additional carbon dioxide emissions to the global total beginning in 2010 and extending through 2100.

When running MAGICC as described, I find that no matter how the additional carbon dioxide emissions are calculated, the Keystone XL pipeline has an exceedingly and inconsequentially small impact on projected the course of global temperature.

In the case of the State Department’s analysis, as there are very few additional carbon dioxide emissions, there is essentially no associated change in the global climate. The change in global average temperature resulting from the EPA’s additional 18.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year from the Keystone XL pipeline, would be about 0.00001°C per year—that is one one-hundred thousandths of a degree. The 181 million metric tons per year from the assumption that all Keystone XL oil is additional oil in the global supply would result in about 0.0001°C of annual warming—one ten-thousandths of a degree.

In other words, if the Keystone XL pipeline were to operate at full capacity until the end of this century, it would, worst case, raise the global average surface temperature by about 1/100th of a degree Celsius. So after nearly 100 years of full operation, the Keystone XL’s impact on the climate would be inconsequential and unmeasurable.

And even these tiny numbers are probably overestimates. In calculating them, I used the MAGICC default value for the magnitude of the earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity. A value, 3°C, that was based on the assessment of the equilibrium climate sensitivity given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The equilibrium climate sensitivity is the amount that the earth’s surface temperature will rise from a doubling of the pre-industrial atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. As such, it is probably the most important factor in determining whether or not we need to “do something” to attempt to mitigate future climate change. The lower the climate sensitivity, the less the temperature rise from human carbon dioxide emissions, and the lower the urgency to try to reduce them. If the sensitivity is low enough, carbon dioxide emissions confer a net benefit.

And despite common claims that the “science is settled” when it comes to global warming, we are still learning more and more about the earth complex climate system—and the more we learn, the less responsive it seems that the earth’s average temperature is to human carbon dioxide emissions.

For example, the observed lack of statistically significant temperature rise over the past 16 years (and counting), is strong indication that climate models have a tendency to overestimate the amount of warming resulting from human greenhouse gas emissions (Figure 1).

image

Figure 1. Current (ending in December 2012) trends in three observed global surface temperature records of length 5 to 15 years (colored lines) set against the probability (gay lines) derived from the complete collection of climate model runs used in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report under the SRES A1B emissions scenario (Knappenberger and Michaels., 2013).

I was involved in research that we published more than a decade ago pointing out that global temperatures were not rising as fast as climate model expectations (Michaels et al., 2002), and increasingly, there is a growing acknowledgement of this fact.

image

Figure 2. Climate sensitivity estimates from new research published since 2010 (colored, compared with the range given in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) (black). The arrows indicate the 5 to 95% confidence bounds for each estimate along with the best estimate (median of each probability density function; or the mean of multiple estimates; colored vertical line). Ring et al. (2012) present four estimates of the climate sensitivity and the red box encompasses those estimates. The right-hand side of the IPCC AR4 range is dotted to indicate that the IPCC does not actually state the value for the upper 95% confidence bound of their estimate and the left-hand arrow only extends to the 10% lower bound as the 5% lower bound is not given. The light grey vertical bar is the mean of the 14 best estimates from the new findings. The IPCC’s “best estimate” (3.0°C) is 50% greater than the mean of recent estimates (2.0°C).

Over the past three years, a collection of findings in the peer-reviewed scientific literature has suggested that the IPCC’s best estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely too high by nearly 50 percent. Instead of the IPCC’s 3.0°C, the new findings are indicating a value close to 2.0°C (see Figure 2).

Rerunning the MAGICC climate model simulator with an equilibrium climate sensitivity setting of 2.0°C, instead of the 3.0°C default value, drops the calculated warming impact from the Keystone XL pipeline by about 30 percent.

It is this information, not the information on carbon dioxide emissions that is required to properly assess the climate change aspect of the environmental impact of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In these terms, the difference between the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement and those of its critics all but vanish.

No matter whose carbon dioxide emissions estimate is used to calculate it, the climate impact of the oil carried by the Keystone XL pipeline is too small to measure or carry any physical significance.
In deciding the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, it is important not to let symbolism cloud these facts.

References:

Aldrin, M., et al., 2012. Bayesian estimation of climate sensitivity based on a simple climate model fitted to observations of hemispheric temperature and global ocean heat content. Environmetrics, doi: 10.1002/env.2140.

Annan, J.D., and J.C Hargreaves, 2011. On the generation and interpretation of probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity. Climatic Change, 104, 324-436.

Hargreaves, J.C., et al., 2012. Can the Last Glacial Maximum constrain climate sensitivity? Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L24702, doi: 10.1029/2012GL053872

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Solomon, S., et al. (eds). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 996pp.

Knappenberger, P.C., and P.J. Michaels, 2013. Policy Implications of Climate Models on the Verge of Failure. American Geophysical Union Science Policy Conference. Washington, DC, June 24-26, 2013, submitted.

Lewis, N. 2013. An objective Bayesian, improved approach for applying optimal fingerprint techniques to estimate climate sensitivity. Journal of Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00473.1.

Lindzen, R.S., and Y-S. Choi, 2011. On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implications. Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science, 47, 377-390.

Michaels, P.J., Knappenberger, P.C., Frauenfeld, O.W., and R.E. Davis. 2002. Revised 21st century temperature projections, Climate Research, 23, 1-9.

Ring, M.J., et al., 2012. Causes of the global warming observed since the 19th century. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2, 401-415, doi: 10.4236/acs.2012.24035.

Schmittner, A., et al. 2011. Climate sensitivity estimated from temperature reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum. Science, 334, 1385-1388, doi: 10.1126/science.1203513.

Wigley, T.M.L., et al. MAGICC/SCENGEN v5.3. Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change/A Regional Climate Scenario Generator. http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/wigley/magicc/

van Hateren, J.H., 2012. A fractal climate response function can simulate global average temperature trends of the modern era and the past millennium. Climate Dynamics, doi: 10.1007/s00382-012-1375-3.

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43 thoughts on “Note to weepy Bill McKibben – blocking Keystone XL gets you about 0.00001°C/yr.

  1. type

    When running MAGICC as described, I find that no matter how the additional carbon dioxide emissions are calculated, the Keystone XL pipeline has an exceedingly and inconsequentially small impact on projected the course of global temperature

    shouldn’t that be the projected course

    Sock it to ‘em Chip

  2. “probability (gay lines) derived from the complete collection of climate model runs used in the IPCC Fourth ”
    gray

    Go Chip

  3. “if the Keystone XL pipeline were to operate at full capacity until the end of this century, it would, worst case, raise the global average surface temperature by about 1/100th of a degree Celsius.”
    ==========
    but, but, but …. don’t think of it that way. think of all the projects that would add 1/100th of a degree. we need to stop ALL of them. otherwise we will get the “domino effect”.

    for those too young to remember, the “domino effect” was the what led to the disaster in US foreign policy in Vietnam. in that case the rational was “saving the south” from communism. didn’t quite work out the way it was planned.

    look back in history. the US continues to lurch from one policy mistake to the next every time it tries to “save” someone. iraq? afghanistan? lybia? the banks? the reason is simple. the “noble cause” blinds the US to flip side of the coin – the harm that may result from their actions.

    kill keystone and maybe you prevent 1/100th of a degree of warming over 100 years. you also increase US dependence on the middle east. you fan the flames of terrorism and war. what do you want? oil or terrorism?

  4. It just seems odd that even if they believe that the increased emissions from tar sands will cause harm that they somehow believe that selling that oil to China with no emission standards is a better choice then selling it in the U.S. with strong emission standards. Logically they are smart enough to realize selling it to the U.S. is the better choice and yet they prefer shooting themselves and their beliefs in the foot. Why? because it is not about the emissions from the oil it is about stopping civilization from using fossil fuel. This is an ideological arguement and not about reducing pollution or improving the environment. They would simply prefer that we die cold and hungry in the dark then make use of resources to improve our life.

  5. Gee, Bill, pick the fly sh*t out of the black pepper and tell us how it changes the flavor of the soup. Not.

  6. The oil is already flowing via train and truck. Rail shipments are way up for oil nationwide. The pipeline will simply make it cheaper and safer. It is purely a political stunt to kill the pipeline.

  7. The number of enviro-nutjobs in the U.S. is worrisome. Mainstream media is responsible for the promulgation of quack science and far too many residents of zip codes 02138, 10021 and 20001 have no comprehension of a world outside a radius of 2 miles.

    Just like the highway, I couldn’t care less if the crazies drive themselves into a tree; the problem arises when they become threats to take me with them.

    The foaming-at-the-mouth moonbats ought to be required to spend a winter in a cold, dark NWT cave. That’d either kill ‘em or cure ‘em.

    Not that many people comprehend that a large part of the whole “We’re all gonna die from global warming/Thermageddon™ ” is being funded by the anxiety/guilt-ridden, limousine liberal, Rockefeller-Pew-MacArthur-Park-Hewlett-Packard-Turner Foundation crowd. These people have nothing better to do than to sit around and provide a justifcation for existence by attempting to save the world from itself.

  8. In Canada, the editor of The Globe & Mail, John Stockhouse, religiously interviewed Albert Gore Junior…
    the media party at its finest: CBC gets Hansen and the Globe gets Gore: this is the media “dialogue” advocated by the shadowy figure of Maurice Strong of China exile… the Godfather of green mongering.

  9. Craig Loehle says:
    May 8, 2013 at 7:58 am
    ===========
    Not to mention a lower carbon footprint due to reduced energy consumption. A real fair comparison needs to compare the emissions from the XL pipeline to the emissions from a) shipping the same about of crude by rail, and b) sending the oil by pipeline to the Pacific coast and then by ship to China. Comparing these actual possible scenarios, building the pipeline is the lowest carbon footprint scenario possible.

    There’s no scenario in which the oil stays in the ground. Not unless these yayhoos want to dust off the “invade Canada” plan.

  10. Per GWTW “It just seems odd that even if they believe that the increased emissions from tar sands will cause harm that they somehow believe that selling that oil to China with no emission standards is a better choice then selling it in the U.S. with strong emission standards.”

    That was my point with a friend in an argument recently, the end result would be lower emissions if we used it, and also the other benefits include pipeline to transport the oil from the Bakken fields, and not using trains and trucks to transport it, again lowering emissions.

    Another was the quality of the oil and how ‘dangerous’ it was because of the type of oil and there was not way to deal with it before because it was a certain type. I guess that is another fear. I explained that the oil I deal with (I am a I&C Designer, just did a project with Boscon Crude) is actually technically worse and that we know how to deal with it, and how modern oil pipelines and related require a high level of design and engineering, far more then most people realize.

    A modern powerplant, refinery, pipeline or anything is so far above (in terms of engineered in safety) any experience that the average person has it is as if people’s understanding of the engineered world around them stopped in the 1960′s. Sad really.

  11. For $2 billion less than Keystone would cost, the Canadians can build a second pipeline on existing rights of way to carry that oil to an existing port north of Vancouver, from where it would be shipped to China. Killing Keystone will not prevent Canada from developing their tar sands, over which the EPA has no jurisdiction. The whole debate is foolish US hubris, and may well end with the US shooting itself in the foot.

  12. GoneWithTheWind says:
    May 8, 2013 at 7:47 am

    It just seems odd that even if they believe that the increased emissions from tar sands will cause harm that they somehow believe that selling that oil to China with no emission standards is a better choice then selling it in the U.S. with strong emission standards. Logically they are smart enough to realize selling it to the U.S. is the better choice and yet they prefer shooting themselves and their beliefs in the foot. Why? because it is not about the emissions from the oil it is about stopping civilization from using fossil fuel. This is an ideological arguement and not about reducing pollution or improving the environment. They would simply prefer that we die cold and hungry in the dark then make use of resources to improve our life.

    “”Why? because it is not about the emissions from the oil it is about stopping civilization from using fossil fuel.””

    No it is about stopping the USA from using fossil fuel. The EPA, the UN and Maurice Strong are perfectly content to let China have all the energy it needs – but they feel it is essential to ‘level down’ the USA. As you say this is nothing to do with ‘climate change’ aka ‘global warming’

  13. OldWeirdHarold says: May 8, 2013 at 8:13 am … There’s no scenario in which the oil stays in the ground. Not unless these yayhoos want to dust off the “invade Canada” plan.

    Suppose Keystone XL doesn’t receive US approval, the Canadian’s own pipeline proposals for transporting tar sands oil are blocked by their own environmental activists, but greatly increased rail shipments inside Canada to their Pacific coast seaports succeed in handling rising demand from Asia — a level of demand which allows economic transport by rail.

    If that kind of situation developed, then someone should ask Bill McKibben and his fellow travelers inside the EPA if they would be willing to impose economic sanctions on Canada, up to and including a complete trade embargo, as one means of discouraging the Canadians from exploiting their economic reserves of tar sand oil.

  14. As a Canadian, I thank you for your support of Keystone XL. I’d much rather have the US as a trading partner than China. And screw Europe as well. Canada, US and heck even Mexico, we can do it all.

    …Go North America Go….

    (Aussies, Brits, New Zealanders also always welcome…)

  15. There are other forces at work trying to block Keystone… If it isn’t transferred by pipe, it’s transferred by a different method. In this case, it’s by rail. You wouldn’t happen to know who it is currently transporting oil from Canada thru the U.S. by rail would you? It wouldn’t be Warren Buffet, by chance?
    There’s big money at stake here, and it has absolutely nothing to do with climate.

  16. For example, the observed lack of statistically significant temperature rise over the past 16 years (and counting)

    On RSS, we do not even have to use the words “ statistically significant”. From December 1996 to April 2013, a period of 16 years and 5 months, the slope is -8.76223e-05 per year.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1996.9/plot/rss/from:1996.9/trend

    From August, 1989 to April 2013, a period of 23 years and 9 months, the slope for RSS according to SkS is: Trend: 0.127 ±0.128 °C/decade (2σ).

    See: http://www.skepticalscience.com/trend.php

    According to RSS, 3 of the last 5 years were not even in the top 10.

    (2012 at 0.192 was 11th; 2011 at 0.147 was 13th; and 2008 at 0.049 was 22nd.)

  17. I work the oil sands – Paul C. Knappenberger I really hate to be go here but there is no such thing as TAR SANDS. Tar is a man made product in any decent scientific literature. And we are delivering oil, not TAR.
    Now I go that off my chest might I also point out the oil from Venezuela and California are both heavy oil of the same type as we ship. Might I also add 40% of our oil we ship from here in Fort McMurray is light sweet we upgrade ourselves. In the future we are upgrading even more of our oil to light sweet. At no time have we ever mined tar.
    Using the eco nuts and freaks definition of the oil sands – to do so puts you on the same page as them. The fact is the world runs on oil, including the Unites States. We have oil for sale, period. Whether you buy or the Chinese makes no difference to us. The oil sands are going full out right now. Any semi intelligent being should have the common sense to realize it is far better to buy from a friendly neighbor to the north then rely on unstable Middle East regimes. That is in the United States national interest.
    I also hate to point out that facts matter little to the eco nut and self appointed charlatans opposing the Keystone. It does to folks like us – but to the loons?

  18. Blocking Keystone XL won’t prevent climate change. It wil cause all of that tar sand oil to be burned and refined in China with much lower antipollution standards. It will require an oil pipeline, not over “sensitive aquifers” but instead through the pristine Canadian Rockies. It will require an oil terminal on the stunning Georgia Strait.

    Note to US Environmentalists: by a dictionary (it sequesters carbon), look up “fungible” and “opportunity cost”.:

  19. I am concerned that we may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater when we legitimize the AGW models and the sensitivity of carbon dioxide to win a single point such as the Keystone pipeline. My investigations indicate that the observed global warming from 1980 to 1996 was part of natural climate variations. After an exhaustive search and review I was unable to find evidence of carbon dioxide impacts in a very large number of charts, graphs or databases. There could be some impact but it is too small to detect with any degree of certitude.

  20. Wait a minute. I thought that approving the pipeline was “game over” for the world and we would all “evaporate in a cloud of blue steam.” Amazing what one ten-thousandth of a degree will do.

  21. The thing that doesn’t make sense to me is the 17% C02 emissions premium (assuming it matters one whit to our climate) on the Canadian “tar sands”. Wouldn’t that mean that the energy component of its production would cost roughly 17% more than conventional oil, putting it at a significant cost disadvantage? What am I missing?

  22. what a wonderful essay. Fred Berple raises a point above that echoes thoughts of mine. I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but when I was a kid, i found myself frequently chastised for something I’d done with the words “What if everyone did this?”

    I used to think this was nonsense because “everyone” whoever they were didn’t do it and depending on the misdemeanor would never have thought of it.

    “What if everyone did it” seems to be the approach of the folks who like to regulate things. Why doesn’t each of us go out and build a Keystone XL pipeline and give those people something real to think about?

  23. The pipeline will be constructed.
    The result will be lower emissions of CO2 compared to not constructing the pipeline.

    The irony is that we should be putting as much CO2 into the atmosphere as possible. The more the better.

  24. Look, Chip, trying to be rational about Keystone will not work These activists will do anything to stop any production of any fossil fuels, science be damned. It is purely political. They have gotten governments, including ours, to sign up for a totally asinine project of changing the climate by emission control laws. That is what their push is all about. They still pretend it is science, however and that allows us to prove that their sciebce is totally wrong. I mean, from the ground up, not a few errors here and there. You unfortunately have fallen into their pseudoscience trap by talking about the amount of warming to be expected from a given amount of carbon dioxide. The amount of warming is zero. It is nice that you have MAGICC to calculate warming according to their dogma but this gadget is worthless because the calculation has carbon dioxide warming built in. I am surprised that after 25 years with Cato you show not the slightest interest in the work of Ferenc Miskolci. It is his work that completely destroys the scientific basis for global warming theory. I go into it in some detail in a comment I placed on May 2nd Nature Magazine web site. You will find it below Richard Monastersky’s article on global carbon dioxide levels being worrisome etc. His major work in 2007 runs to 40 pages. It has been attacked in the blogosphere by incompetent, activist scientists who simply do not understand the math. He followed it up in 2010 by showing that atmospheric absorption of infrared radiation was constant for 61 years while carbon dioxide at the same time climbed by 21.6 percent. This addition of CO2 to atmosphere had no effect on the absorption of IR and thereby nullified the existence of carbon dioxide greenhouse effect. Which makes the existence of AGW impossible. If I were you I would make it my business to learn as much as you can about the Miskolczi theory. Find an expert mathematician if you can’t follow him otherwise and give some thought to the consequences of his theory and what must be done to put the world back together again. Its a big job but worthwhile.

  25. Bruce, the 17% CO2 higher emissions are due to the chemical makeup of the oil sands. The production cost of the Canadian oil sands on a per barrel basis is higher than say Middle East crude oil. Crude oil is fungible so the price of the product at the shipment point is discounted for quality differentials and transportation costs to the destination point. Certain qualities of crude or oil sands product can only be refined in certain locations. Especially important to price is the gasoline yield of raw product into the refinery.

  26. As cold as this spring has been, we could use 100 XL pipelines–assuming, of course, that CO2 has any significant impact on temperature increase at all.

  27. And of course there are no emissions from all that middle east tanker traffic…..

  28. Chip writes …

    “In other words, how much global warming will the Keystone XL pipeline produce?

    “Isn’t that what everyone wants to know?

    “Why is it then, that such numbers are never given?”

    Indeed!

    All one needs to do is thinking beyond the end of one’s nose.

    Nice job, Mr. Knappenberger!

  29. In these terms, the difference between the State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement and those of its critics all but vanish.

    In fact, the author being generous in saying that there is any difference at all. What is the most surprising point is that the DoS hasn’t used the climate-impact numbers rather than arguing volumes of Carbon.

  30. The 3 C climate sensitivity Chip used is based on climate models that do not include any significant natural causes of climate change. They hindcast sea-surface Northern Hemisphere linear best-fit warming trend during the period 1944 to 1976 of 0.013 C/decade when measurements show a cooling trend of 0.044 C/decade,

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/figure-8.png?w=960&h=626

    During the period 1910 to 1944, the models underestimate the warming trend by a factor of 4.5, model mean trend is 0.036 C/decade, measurements show 0.161 C/decade.

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/figure-7.png?w=960&h=626

    During the period Jan 1982 to Feb 2011, the models overestimate the sea surface warming trend at the equator by a factor of 6!

    There is a huge discrepancy between the model mean and current global temperatures due to the absence of warming over the last 16 years.

    Models fail in all these periods because they do not include the solar magnetic effects, which correlate very well to temperatures. Alec Rawls has called this failure to include solar magnetic effects “omitted variable fraud”. Correlations of solar magnetic flux to temperature show that the sun explains 50% to 80% of climate change.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/22/omitted-variable-fraud-vast-evidence-for-solar-climate-driver-rates-one-oblique-sentence-in-ar5/

    Chip says “the new findings are indicating a value [of climate sensitivity] close to 2.0°C”. Most of these estimates do not include the solar effects. They just adjust the IPCC forcings to better match the recent temperature data. Therefore, many of these “finding” also commit omitted variable fraud.

    Comparing out-going longwave radiation to temperature, such as the Lindzen & Choi method, accounts for all sources of climate change, including solar effects. They estimate 0.7 C climate sensitivity.

    Chip estimates that, using the EPA assumption that most of the oil expected to flow through the pipeline would not be produced if the pipeline were not built, the pipeline would result in a temperature rise of 0.00001 C/yr with a climate sensitivity of 3 C, or 0.000007 C/yr with a climate sensitivity of 2 C. Rejecting climate sensitivity estimates that utilize “omitted variable fraud” and using the realistic 0.7 C climate sensitivity estimate, the pipeline could cause 0.000003 C/yr temperature rise in response to incremental emissions of 18.7 million tonnes CO2.

    Considering the fact that there are other pipeline options under consideration and the oil sands oil is flowing to the US in greater volumes by rail, the mid-range of the State Department estimate of incremental emissions of 2.7 million tonnes CO2/year is much more reasonable. Using the realistic 0.7 C climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 and the State Department mid-range estimate of incremental emissions, the temperature impact of the Keystone pipeline would be (0.000003X2.7/18.7) 0.00000043 C/year, or 0.00002 C in 50 years.

  31. Since AGW is false, it matters not whether there is a difference in emissions from different categories of petroleum or different modes of transportation.

    What matters is:
    (1) safe and secure transportation (the pieline is far safer than rail or motor transport)
    (2) US energy independence (830,000 bbl/day less from enemy countries)
    (3) forcing the enviros to back off from their campaign of obstructivng and destroying everything.

  32. This makes eminent sense. This is the sort of argument that regular folk will cleave to, the question that needs to be asked on every blog that decries the pipeline, along with the link to MAGICC so people can calculate it themselves:

    [...] it is essential to translate the additional carbon dioxide emissions that may result from it into climate units—such as the global average temperature. In other words, how much global warming will the Keystone XL pipeline produce?

    Isn’t that what everyone wants to know?

    Why is it then, that such numbers are never given?

    It is not as if there is no good way of calculating them—that is precisely what climate models are designed to do.

  33. It makes sense that Russia’s Gazprom is behind the scenes providing funding and disinformation against shale fracking for natural gas in Europe.

    The same might be happening in the US with the Keystone pipeline. Big Oil could easily be funding the anti-pipeline Ecoloons. Except in this case, the term ‘Big Oil’ means the national oil agencies of countries with despotic governments, who do not have America’s best interests high on their list of priorities,

    Fracking and the Keystone pipeline have huge strategic consequences for the USA. There are a lot of bad guys out there who think an oil self-sufficient USA is not a good idea.

  34. Yep, the CAGW mob will always run with what SOUNDS the worst. Manipulators, every one of them – it’s what they DO and why they shouldn’t be trusted.

    Excellent speech, Paul. Let’s hope the House takes it on board. Green villains have way and beyond gotten away with too much by using emotive phrases to scare the little people who don’t know what it all means (but it sounds bad, so it must be serious). Time to smack the people-users and abusers back into place. Actually time to do that was ages ago, but at least it’s happening now. Good to see it.

  35. Thank you for so GENEROUSLY sharing your hard work and excellent analysis (gay lines and all, LOL), Mr. Knappenberger. Much appreciated.

  36. The greenies’ lack of logic is astonishing. There is surely only one serious green argument against the Keystone XL pipeline, and it goes like this:
    The oil is going to be extracted and used somewhere anyway. The pipeline is the most attractive option because it produces less emissions than the alternatives. But the net benefit is less than 0.00000001 deg C per annum. This is too small to worry about, so there is no real benefit in building the pipeline, so it should be stopped.
    [Note, this is a green argument, so there is no need to say what emissions are of. But I have to admit that it needs refining because green arguments never refer to temperature changes less than +6 degrees, and just arguing that KXL would reduce emissions by only a tiny amount wouldn't work either because 1lb of CO2 outweighs all the world's economies. Gee, it's hard being green!]

  37. You don’t understand. Digging a hole in the ground is bad. There could be a leak and then we would have all that nasty oil in the ground. Kind of like it was before, when we got it out of the ground.

  38. The 181 million metric tons per year from the assumption that all Keystone XL oil is additional oil in the global supply would result in about 0.0001°C of annual warming—one ten-thousandths of a degree.

    How did he get this number of 0.0001C?

  39. j ferguson says:

    “what a wonderful essay…

    Agree. Ferd Berple’s comments are always well worth reading.

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