Political Scientists: Gerald North and Andrew Dessler Double Down on Climate Alarmism

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Gerald North                     Andrew Dessler

Guest essay by Robert Bradley Jr.

“I did worry that my comment on my not being willing to sign on to Kyoto right now got into the [Houston] Chronicle and in our local paper. I do not like being too public on policy matters. It ain’t my thing.”

- Gerald North (email communication, October 2, 1998)

“In his article Sunday, Rob Bradley reminds us of the errors made about dire climate predictions proffered by some climate science outliers…. Virtually all of these dire predictions were never made or endorsed by the mainstream climate community of researchers in the field.”

- Gerald North, “Fringe Predictions,” Letter to the Editor, Houston Chronicle, April 1, 2008.

“So what is the argument about? The answer is policy…. [W]e both support balanced action to address the clear and present danger of climate change.”

- Andrew Dessler and Gerald North, “Climate Change is Real and Denial is Not About the Science,” San Antonio Express News, October 6, 2013.

If Texas A&M scientists calculated that an asteroid was heading our way, we would likely head for the hills with a lot of pills. But when Texas A&M climatologists warn of dangerous man-induced global warming and call for government action (think new taxes and regulation), many of us roll our eyes and watch our wallets.

We live in a postmodern world where emotion and desire substitute for reason and scholarship. With climate alarmism in deep trouble on a variety of data fronts, from temperature increase to sea-level rise to hurricane frequency and intensity, elder Texas A&M climate scientist Gerald North joined climate scientist/campaigner Andrew Dessler to write (sign on to?) a disingenuous opinion-page editorial for the San Antonio Express, “Climate change is real and denial is not about the science.”

The Dessler/North wolf cries of recent years have been made in the face of growing contradictory evidence. While alarmism may have once gotten attention, the two are are now like the Enron carnival barkers of 2000/2001, proclaiming surety and shouting ‘you just don’t get it’ at the skeptics. Andy Dessler and Jerry North are, indeed, the smartest guys in the climate room.

Emotional Scientists, Bad Science

The tight-knit climate scientist-activist community was exposed by the Climategate emails to be to be working from a Malthusian, alarmist script. Instead of going from science to real-world implications, the cabal was caught going from an agenda to ‘science.’ Remember “hide the decline”? Remember the chatter about keeping their critics out of the peer-reviewed journals? Even physically attacking a critic at a forthcoming climate conference?

Climategate’s mendacity and trash talk have made many thousands of non-climate scientists skeptical and disappointed in academic and government climatologists who are, indeed, giving physical science a bad name. Critics might say that a few dozen scientist/activists are turning a hard science into a soft one.

Take Gerald North, who I hired as Enron’s climate consultant in 1997. I pressed him on the what and why of climate alarmism. He explained that the climate community was a very close group with personal relationships valued greatly. Some top scientists were husband/wife teams. Others were close friends. The buddy system went far and deep.

North did not need to tell me that most of the same considered modern society as ‘unsustainably’ intruding on ‘optimal’ nature. And that this community was dependent on government grants for research dealing with problems–so climate change needed to be a problem.

But it was Dr. North who privately said a lot of things to me that he did not want repeated in public. And in a number of emails, indeed, he questioned the great climate alarm. I made these emails public when North inexplicably went political several years ago at the urging of his activist colleague Andrew Dessler. I value truth over political power, and the Internet gives truth a powerful voice against professional misconduct.

North Goes Strange

Funny thing: Global temperatures have not increased since North was back at Enron, frankly telling me about the excesses of his profession. He was cautious, even skeptical, about high climate sensitivity estimates—and climate models in general (see the Appendix below for some of his quotes).

Now, he and Dessler write an editorial that assumes (rather than debates) a coming climate crisis–and jumps to political ad hominem to explain why the public does not agree on either the ‘problem’ or the ‘solution’.

So a question to Dr. North: what has changed in the last 15 years to make you more, rather than less, concerned about a catastrophic warming?

And just where do you get your expertise to tell us in this op-ed that there is a cost-effective solution for the United States and the world from governmental caps or taxes on CO2? Why aren’t you sticking to the physical science rather than jumping to other disciplines (economics, political science, public policy) far removed from your area of expertise?

In fact, climate economists such as Robert Mendelsohn of Yale might just tell you that the social cost of carbon dioxide, the green greenhouse gas, is positive, not negative, given the lower climate sensitivity that even the politicized, alarmist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now accepts in its forecast range.

Spencer Weighs In

Fellow climate scientist Roy Spencer called the two out on their false analogies and postmodern view of: Assume a problem, imagine a governmental solution … Assume market failure, but not government failure in solving it….

Spencer complains:

… Dessler and North [hide] the fact that global temperatures stopped rising 15 years ago, in contradiction to most, if not all, IPCC climate model forecasts.

They could have said, “The lack of warming is good news for humanity! Maybe global warming isn’t a serious problem after all!” Or even, “We have more time to solve the problem!” But, no.

Instead, they do exactly what they accuse Republicans of doing…letting their views of the proper role of government (and their desire for more climate research funding) determine what they believe (or profess to believe) about the science.

Spencer concludes:

So, stick to the ivory tower, guys. Better to let the people who work to support you wonder about your cluelessness, rather than open your mouths and remove all doubt.

This is a hard rebuke, but Dessler/North picked the fight … again. (And Dr. North, how many times do I need to resurrect the level-headed, less emotional North of old to counter the new, politicized you? Don’t we both have better things to do?)

Let’s hope that good science can continue to drive out bad despite the effort of some climate-turned-political scientists to keep the great false climate alarm going for more research grants and more and bigger Government.

Appendix: North on Climate Models

“We do not know much about modeling climate. It is as though we are modeling a human being. Models are in position at last to tell us the creature has two arms and two legs, but we are being asked to cure cancer.”

– Gerald North (November 12, 1999)

“[Model results] could also be sociological: getting the socially acceptable answer.”

- Gerald North (June 20, 1998)

“There is a good reason for a lack of consensus on the science. It is simply too early. The problem is difficult, and there are pitifully few ways to test climate models.”

– Gerald North (July 13, 1998)

“One has to fill in what goes on between 5 km and the surface. The standard way is through atmospheric models. I cannot make a better excuse.”

– Gerald North October 2, 1998)

“The ocean lag effect can always be used to explain the ‘underwarming’…. The different models couple to the oceans differently. There is quite a bit of slack here (undetermined fudge factors). If a model is too sensitive, one can just couple in a little more ocean to make it agree with the record. This is why models with different sensitivities all seem to mock the record about equally well. (Modelers would be insulted by my explanation, but I think it is correct.)”

    – Gerald North (August 17, 1998)

and on Climate Politics

“I did worry that my comment on my not being willing to sign on to Kyoto right now got into the [Houston] Chronicle and in our local paper. I do not like being too public on policy matters. It ain’t my thing.”

- Gerald North (October 2, 1998)

- See more at: http://www.masterresource.org/2013/10/political-science-north-dressler/#sthash.XSOtpSJW.dpuf

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112 thoughts on “Political Scientists: Gerald North and Andrew Dessler Double Down on Climate Alarmism

  1. Great quotes from North in 1998!
    Wave ‘em large & often!

    N.B. Dessler, not Dressler.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  2. Dessler is quoted on the NASA website as having published a paper in 2010 proving that cloud feedback was positive. His r^2 was 0.02, and to get that henhad to bung together two disparate satellite datasets. When using the alternative (more internally consisten)data from just one, the cloud feedback was negative and the statistical fit better. SMc posted on it then. So much for Desslers academic qualifications and quality of science.

  3. “We live in a postmodern world where emotion and desire substitute for reason and scholarship.”

    I find the word postmodern meaningless; let’s call it what it is: a Post-Bernays, Post-Lenin, Post-Wundt culturally marxist world. The elite thinks of humans as instinct-driven animals and try to control them by trying to manipulate their emotions. They have given up on explaining their actions; they have also given up on educating humans; instead their interest is to make humans more animal-like (therefore atheism; declaring humans and animals equal – the goal is not to elevate animals but to bring humans down to the level of animals; soulless and rightless both); and keeping them as dumb as possible to facilitate control.

    Dessler and North are laughing at the peons.

  4. This would have a much greater impact if published in the San Antonio Express News. Keeping old correspondence is priceless.

  5. It is a pity that [intelligent] people prefer to use guilt by association when the scientific arguments are ebbing out. What has Obamacare and gun restriction to do with climate sensitivity?

  6. Dr. Spencer is quoted: “Better to let the people who work to support you wonder about your cluelessness,…”

    This is the real problem all the media and academics forget. If all the taxes, raised costs, high unemployment etc continue we middle class will not be able to buy papers, products advertised on TV, cars, or send our children or grandchildren to college. Then they are out of work.

    If academics and the media continue to advance policies that harm the people that pay their wages they are toast.

  7. academic tenure should not protect those who engage in political activism, using their positions in academia to engage in particularist political endeavors and broadcast propaganda and alarms in order to panic and mobilize public opinion behind their political agendas.

    In other words, academians like Dressler and North should be fired, academic freedom notwithstanding. No freedom is absolute, and neither is academic tenure. The Dresssler and North types are abusing their positions and public trust.

    There is also the consideration of increasing funding for their Department at A&M by mobilizing public opinion through panic mongering. This public alarmism is just the way to go about it. Possibly it is the prime motivation of these two and others who employ alarmist tactics.

  8. While we’re on the topic of controlling CO2, there is a wonderful opinion piece in today’s WSJ entitled “A Chemistry Breakthrough That Could Fuel a Revolution” by Dr. Olah, a Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and a Mr. Cox, a USC trustee.

    Summary: “Now methanol can be made from natural gas and captured carbon dioxide.”

    Already out of the lab and producing methanol in Iceland at the Olah Renewable Methanol Plant. This plant is converting carbon dioxide from geothermal sources into methanol, using cheap geothermal electrical energy.

    A coal fueled power plant could convert its CO2 into methanol, a fuel suitable for gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles. No need for sequestration. No need to shut down coal plants.

    Natural gas from a fracking operation can likewise be converted into a fuel with an octane rating of 100, cheaper per mile than gasoline or ethanol, does not raise food prices, and reduces NOx emissions and particulates.

    So why aren’t we using this process in the US?

    Because Congress continues to mandate the use of ethanol in gasoline. Only diesel and gasoline are mandated fuels and auto manufacturers will honor only vehicles using mandated fuels – gasoline and diesel.

    Hmmmm….

    Do you suppose a Green President would work on getting the regulatory barriers to this miraculous process lifted to bring down greenhouse emissions, lower fuel costs, lower food costs, improve energy independence of the US, solve the problem of coal fueled power plants, lower NOx emissions in vehicles, and lower particulate emissions in vehicles?

    It seems to me this would make all sides of the energy, pollution, AGW debates happy.

  9. Paul Ehrlich and his gang have made great careers and have risen to level of high government selling their apocalyptic trash.
    Why should North and Dessler not follow that successful business model?
    All it takes is an ability to sound sincere when pushing untrue and false information and using the mantle of science to push prepostrous ideas that they actually know nothing about.

  10. For the record, Barack Obama never signed the Kyoto Protocol Treaty. These guys should be foaming at the mouth over that.

  11. Left wing politics mixed in with a little funding from politicians. Most do not realize that as much as 90% of grants can go directly to the applicant.

  12. Rud Istvan says:
    October 11, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Yes, Dessler’s ‘analysis’ in that case was very poor for a variety of other reasons as well, primarily the assumption of zero system delay. It was junk science.

  13. Jack Simmons says:
    October 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

    “A coal fueled power plant could convert its CO2 into methanol, a fuel suitable for gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles. No need for sequestration.”

    Yes, ethanol added to gasoline is a huge scam, which even Al Gore has admitted. But, I must point out to you that methanol burned as a fuel simply re-releases the CO2.

    It doesn’t really matter, because our combustion of fuels is not what drives atmospheric CO2 levels anyway. But, I felt I needed to point the obvious response out to you so that you can better prepare your argument.

  14. @DirkH, mpainter –
    Yes, I think that the integrity of our academic institutions cannot be restored until they are purged of people of the mentality of North and Dessler. They are not only using their positions for inappropriate partisan political campaigning – at the taxpayers’ expense – but they are also corrupting the minds of the students they “teach.” (translate: indoctrinate in all sorts of non-science, leftist politics masquerading as science).

    In Germany after World War II, during the de-Nazification process, academics that had supported Hitler and his various ignorances about science, race and economics were removed from their positions in the universities and high schools (Gymnasia). I believe that ultimately, a similar sort of de-Nazification process will be necessary here in the US to get rid of the hard leftists and doomsayers and other negative activists from our academic ranks, if we want our educational system to operate in a sane and beneficial manner.

    It’s no surprise that we are turning out “college graduates” who can’t find their own home state on a map of the US, with all the feel-good crap they are being taught by these people. They bear a heavy responsibility fot the dumbing down of our people.

  15. Of course climate change is real. Always has been, always will be.

    Mr. North, Mr. Dressler: If you want to make a cogent argument, Define. Your. Terms.

  16. Jack Simmons says:
    October 11, 2013 at 9:14 am
    _____
    The one thing you left out was using methanol to increase crop yields & quality and decrease water usage, both by 30 to 50%. See PNAS, Arthur M. Nonomura & Andrew A. Benson publication in late 1992 (’91?), “The Path of Carbon in Photosynthesis” The use of a methanol foliar treatment with an amino acid safener, wetting agent, and high dose NPK dramatically increases the growth of C3 plants under stress (light, heat, water, nutrient, etc.). The USDA did everything in it’s power to discredit the new technology in the ’90s by not following the protocol carefully laid out in the paper. They succeeded, but the technology really works. I’ve been using it since early ’93. That technology has improved dramatically over the past 20 yrs. Follow “The Path of Carbon in Photosynthesis” series if you are interested in the improvements.
    BC

  17. Many an honest physicist has been transformed into a climatologist by the promise of unending funding.

    The fatal flaw in the climate models seems to come from one repeated assumption. The assumption is that positive feedbacks from greenhouse effects can exceed negative feedbacks. While this situation might actually exist over a given time period (and reflect temperature increases during that time period as a result) the average over the long term must net to zero. If it doesn’t, then everything we have learned about physics over the last 1000 years is wrong, and perpetual motion is possible. If a climatologist and a physicist were to discuss the matter, the conversation might be as follows:

    Climatologist; I have a system of undetermined complexity and undetermined composition, floating and spinning in space. It has a few internal but steady state and minor energy sources. An external energy source radiates 1365 watts per meter squared at it on a constant basis. What will happen?

    Physicist; The system will arrive at a steady state temperature which radiates heat to space that equals the total of the energy inputs. Complexity of the system being unknown, and the body spinning in space versus the radiated energy source, there will be cyclic variations in temperature, but the long term average will not change.

    Climatologist; Well what if I change the composition of the system?

    Physicist; see above.

    Climatologist; Perhaps you don’t understand my question. The system has an unknown quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere that absorbs energy in the same spectrum as the system is radiating. There are also quantities of carbon and oxygen that are combining to create more CO2 which absorbs more energy. Would this not raise the temperature of the system?

    Physicist; there would be a temporary fluctuation in temperature caused by changes in how energy flows through the system, but for the long term average… see above.

    Climatologist; But the CO2 would cause a small rise in temperature, which even if it was temporary would cause a huge rise in water vapour which would absorb even more of the energy being radiated by the system. This would have to raise the temperature of the system.

    Physicist; there would be a temporary fluctuation in the temperature caused by changes in how energy flows through the system, but for the long term average… see above.

    Climatologist; That can’t be true. I’ve been measuring temperature at thousands of points in the system and the average is rising.

    Physicist; The temperature rise you observe can be due to one of two factors. It may be due to a cyclic variation that has not completed, or it could be due to the changes you alluded to earlier resulting in a redistribution of energy in the system that affects the measurement points more than the system as a whole. Unless the energy inputs have changed, the long term temperature average would be… see above.

    Climatologist; AHA! All that burning of fossil fuel is releasing energy that was stored millions of years ago, you cannot deny that this would increase temperature.

    Physicist; Is it more than 0.01% of what the energy source shining on the planet is?

    Climatologist; Uhm… no.

    Physicist; rounding error. For the long term temperature of the planet… see above.

    Climatologist; Methane! Methane absorbs even more than CO2.

    Physicist; see above.

    Climatologist; Clouds! Clouds would retain more energy!

    Physicist; see above.

    Climatologist; Ice! If a fluctuation in temperature melted all the ice less energy would be reflected into space and would instead be absorbed into the system, raising the temperature. Ha!

    Physicist; The ice you are pointing at is mostly at the poles where the inclination of the radiant energy source is so sharp that there isn’t much energy to absorb anyway. But what little there is would certainly go into the surface the ice used to cover, raising its temperature. That would reduce the temperature differential between equator and poles which would slow down convection processes that move energy from hot places to cold places. The result would be increased radiance from the planet that would exceed energy input until the planet cooled down enough to start forming ice again. As I said before, the change to the system that you propose could well result in redistribution of energy flows, and in short term temperature fluctuations, but as for the long term average temperature…. see above.

    Climatologist; Blasphemer! Unbeliever! The temperature HAS to rise! I have reports! I have measurements! I have computer simulations! I have committees! United Nations committees! Grant money! Billions and billions and billions! I CAN’T be wrong, I will never explain it! Billions! and the carbon trading! Trillions in carbon trading!

    Physicist; how much grant money?

    Climatologist; Billions. Want some?

    Physicist; Uhm…

    Climatologist; BILLIONS

    Climatologist; Hi. I used to be a physicist. When I started to understand the danger the world was in though, I decided to do the right thing and become a climatologist. Let me explain the greenhouse effect to you…

    http://knowledgedrift.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/the-physicist-and-the-climatologist-follow-the-money-2/

  18. Socialism has quietly infused the curriculum of public schools and universities in the west since the fall of the iron curtain, although it already had a firm foothold in Europe, its birthplace, before that. More than beleaguered people were released when it happened. The force of arms from totalitarian regimes had been recognized as an unlikely tool for spreading the ideology but a subtle, clever avenue presented itself once the ‘curtain’ was down: invade institutions and evolve their cultures. The process either required, or was a byproduct of it: the dumbing down of the people.

    The one thing they knew well from their iron curtain days is that the world is full of useful idiots and these were anxious to serve. What is scary is that so few are troubled about financing it and following it to its end game. My children went through a different school than I. Awards, trophies, scrolls and plaques were handed out to everyone for “participation” for showing up “improvement” etc. and smart kids were not so subtly, discriminated against.

    Climate science seems to have been a perfect petri dish for promoting the cause. It had global issues that could be interpreted as a threat to the planet that needed central planning and control. There was already in place a transnational body, the UN, with every country a member of it (a central dream of international communism). They created an institution in the UN to explore global warming specifically caused by human activities. They put the theory in place without evidence, other than a rant by Hansen to Congress. The USA had resisted all manner of pressures from the left and so it was a very cunning strategy used to breach this stubborn resistor: use money itself. Dole it out by the truckload to researchers who bought in and starve dissent. Hand out crackerjack™ Nobel Prizes. Hey, everyone has a price, right? Set it up so that governments will also cash in big time – taxes on carbon dioxide, even if it destroys their economies.

    The behavior of Gerald North is the perfect example. Privately pooh-poohing models and the science but publicly playing along for the cash and the cameraderie.

  19. Bart says:
    October 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Yes, ethanol added to gasoline is a huge scam, which even Al Gore has admitted. But, I must point out to you that methanol burned as a fuel simply re-releases the CO2.

    It doesn’t really matter, because our combustion of fuels is not what drives atmospheric CO2 levels anyway. But, I felt I needed to point the obvious response out to you so that you can better prepare your argument.

    Bart,

    Right now, a coal burning plant releases its CO2 directly into the atmosphere.

    With the Olah process, that same CO2 is captured and converted into methanol. The methanol is then consumed by vehicles and released into CO2.

    In effect, you have cut the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by our coal plant in half, because the CO2 is recycled.

    Isn’t that wonderful?

    Coal miners get to keep their jobs. Coal plant operators get to keep their jobs. Vehicle operators get lower fuel bills. Less CO2 put into atmosphere, less particulates, less NOx, cheaper fuel per mile; what’s not to like about this process?

    I agree with you, CO2 does not drive climate, manmade or otherwise, but this process attenuates the release of CO2 for those who think it is important.

    In addition, we would save money on subsidies for corn ethanol, as well as the CO2 produced by the process of growing corn. More food for the poor. Less importation of fuels from other countries.

    Two groups who lose: American farmers and oil dictators in foreign parts.

    Expect a lot of resistance from the former. Impotent fury from the latter.

    Hmmm…

    Also control freaks in the ruling class.

  20. Barry Cullen says:
    October 11, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Jack Simmons says:
    October 11, 2013 at 9:14 am
    _____
    The one thing you left out was using methanol to increase crop yields & quality and decrease water usage, both by 30 to 50%.

    Barry,

    I was unaware of the use of methanol on the farm to save water while increasing crop yields. Another big winner for all concerned.

    Thank you for pointing out yet another advantage of the Olah process.

  21. Some more thoughts on the Olah process.

    Today, EPA limits the amount of CO2 produced by coal power plants.

    So, plant operator captures CO2 and converts it to methanol.

    CO2 gas produced by plant is zero, meeting EPA standards.

    Methanol cannot be used as a fuel here in US because of fuel mandates.

    So plant operator ships methanol overseas where it is used as fuel.

    CO2 is recyled. Trade deficit is diminished by sales of methanol overseas.

    Oil dictators in foreign parts still filled with impotent fury.

  22. ” Critics might say that a few dozen scientist/activists are turning a hard science into a soft one.”

    I’d be more inclined to say they are turning a soft science into a softer one.

  23. Gary Pearse says:
    October 11, 2013 at 10:32 am [ ... ]

    Excellent synopsis. That is exactly what has happened. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the left re-grouped and made long-term plans [the KGB never went away, it just became the FSB]. They gradually gained control of institutions, professional societies, education, etc. They promoted and gave grants, and otherwise rewarded those like North and Dressler who parroted their narrative. Those who didn’t were denied the grants, the promotions — and worse: some were actually fired for arguing against the “AGW” narrative.

    Everyone could see what was happening. But how to fight it? About the only way is to wait until retirement, then tell the truth. Only the bravest, or those with enough credibility that they do not have to worry about employment, speak out before retirement. But that certainly is not enough to counter the message that if you speak your mind, you won’t get your next pay raise or promotion.

    It was a devious, long term plan, and highly effective. If it were not for the internet, a carbon tax would be a done deal by now, and the UN would be much stronger.

    The end game is clear: an EU-like, nameless, faceless, unelected committee that dictates to the proles, who will have to pay the freight. It is not a new idea. Plato laid it all out a couple thousand years ago: a military controlled by the aristocracy, and all financed by the peons working the land.

    Anyone who thinks they will be one of the aristocracy is dreaming. Your chances are far less than one in a hundred. And at the bottom of the aristocracy, you will be owned by those at the top — who will throw you a few extra crumbs for being their lickspittle. But get out of line, and you’re back down in the proletariat. If you’re lucky. Because once they get control, they will never give it up.

    Word up, folks. That is the plan. Fight it any way you can.

  24. “A&M climate scientist Gerald North joined climate scientist/campaigner Andrew Dressler to write a disingenuous opinion-page editorial for the San Antonio Express”

    “disingenuous” means “not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does”
    It has synonyms like ” dishonest” & “untruthful”

    How do we know that? Do we have some information that they are being “dishonest”.

    Could we use the word “disingenuous” for this post, for example? I wonder.

  25. Pippen Kool:

    At October 11, 2013 at 11:19 am you ask

    Could we use the word “disingenuous” for this post, for example?

    If by “this post” you mean your post which I am replying, the clear answer is YES.

    Richard

  26. Olah has been on the methanol jag since about 2006 and his book, The Methanol Economy. The WSJ piece is an echo. There were reasons for ethanol rather than methanol to replace MBTE as a blended oxygenate to reduce automobile air pollution. The 10% blend wall came later. And the net corn use is only about 16% not the 41% the press reports,, since the post fermentation ‘distillers grain’ is used as animal feed? We do so on my dairy farm. Turning CO2 back into methanol is of course possible given sufficient electricity. But it makes more energy sense to just use the electricity directly in most cases, for example in PHEVs. And there are better (higher overall energy efficiency, higher volumetric energy density) ways to make synfuels or biofuels as those become needed for transportation and agriculture. And if the electricity needed to convert CO2 plus water back to methanol comes from nuclear ( or wind) then there is no concentrated source of CO2 to convert. The WSJ op ed presents a small, biased piece of the overall systemic picture. About the only part that might someday make sense is the coal to liquids via methanol,process developed by Exxon and BP, not by Olah. A possibility when crude is over 150/bbl, more likely over 200/bbl. An alternative to the more conventional Fischer-Tropf process used by Sasol.

  27. Pippen Kool,

    Read my comment above yours, and you will understand. Dressler and North are not stupid. They know there is no real world, testable evidence supporting AGW. They know that although CO2 has been steadily rising, global temperatures have stagnated for almost two decades.

    They are dishonest and untruthful; they have chosen to be disingenuous because it pays. Like plenty of others, they sold their souls for money and prestige.

  28. Rud Istvan says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Olah has been on the methanol jag since about 2006 and his book, The Methanol Economy. …About the only part that might someday make sense is the coal to liquids via methanol,process developed by Exxon and BP, not by Olah. A possibility when crude is over 150/bbl, more likely over 200/bbl. An alternative to the more conventional Fischer-Tropf process used by Sasol.

    Rud,

    So why don’t we open up the mandates on fuel to include methanol, as well as the other fuel types, and let the market determine what works best?

    Jack

  29. more soylent green!
    October 11, 2013 at 9:18 am
    says:
    ‘For the record, Barack Obama never signed the Kyoto Protocol Treaty. These guys should be foaming at the mouth over that.’

    The Kyoto treaty would have had zero chance of passage in the Senate and since the Senate would have had to ratify it the treaty was always DOA. The Byrd/Hagel Sense of the Senate resolution (if my memory serves me) was introduced in 1997 and was voted on 97 to 0 – just about as unanimous a vote as you can get. That resolution essentially stated that there was no way the Senate should approve a Kyoto style binding treaty. That was the reason the Clinton administration, after sending Gore to Kyoto to negotiate it, never presented the treaty to the Senate.

    I always thought Bush exhibited profound political stupidity in unilaterally killing the Kyoto treaty the way he did. I believe it was Richard Lindzen who stated that he believed the Europeans deliberately held out for provisions in the treaty that were so punitive for the US that the US would never ratify it. That would then absolve them of the treaty’s requirements while deflecting blame from their green constituents over to the US. When Bush killed Kyoto that so fired up the green element in Europe that they outright demanded their politicians forge ahead with it after their politicians had escaped it for years. Bush should’ve seen this coming. He either should’ve let Kyoto languish as Clinton had. Or, if he genuinely wanted it dead, he should’ve sent it to the Senate where, on a bipartisan vote, its demise was all but assured. And that demise would have greater gravity to it.

    Now, we’re saddled with essentially the same onerous, industry, and economy destroying legislation. Except it’s being done by government agencies (that means you, EPA) through executive fiat. That’s why environmentalists are not complaining about Obama. He gave them the same thing anyway, Senate be damned.

  30. Bart says:
    October 11, 2013 at 9:33 am
    Jack Simmons says:
    October 11, 2013 at 9:14 am

    “A coal fueled power plant could convert its CO2 into methanol, a fuel suitable for gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles. No need for sequestration.”

    Yes, ethanol added to gasoline is a huge scam, which even Al Gore has admitted. But, I must point out to you that methanol burned as a fuel simply re-releases the CO2.

    It doesn’t really matter, because our combustion of fuels is not what drives atmospheric CO2 levels anyway. But, I felt I needed to point the obvious response out to you so that you can better prepare your argument.

    Not quite right. When fossil-fuel carbon dioxide is converted into a liquid fuel, it displaces an equivalent BTU value of fossil fuel liquid fuel (gasoline, diesel) so there is a net reduction in fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emission. And, Jack was talking about methanol (one carbon atom) and not ethanol (two carbon atoms, typically produced from fermentation of corn).

    There is a burgeoning movement afoot to capture and convert carbon dioxide into fuel or other chemicals through a variety of processes. DOE’s ARPA-E discusses some of them here: http://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=arpa-e-projects/converting-co2-fuel-and-chemicals

    Algae biofuel production has promise for conversion of carbon dioxide into renewable fuel, but no one can make the process work yet. When someone figures out how to do this, there will be a “carbon dioxide rush” of companies seeking to buy up supply from coal & natural gas utilities. So much for geological carbon capture & storage (the preferred EPA method of carbon dioxide management, pumping CO2 deep underground)!

  31. “We live in a postmodern world where emotion and desire substitute for reason and scholarship. ” — OP

    Hate to nit picks, but what you’re describing is the premodern world. Where prophets and magicians about at every turn, and the suspicion of wrong thoughts get you a round on a dunking stool or a hot date with the auto da fe.

    Otherwise known as: The exact reason for the focus on empiricism. The very thing that got ‘Natural Philosophy’ tossed out in favor of ‘Science.’

  32. Jack Simmons says:
    October 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

    “In effect, you have cut the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by our coal plant in half, because the CO2 is recycled.”

    I was going to reply “but, it still gets released”, but then I realized you have a point. What you haven’t released is the CO2 from the gasoline you would otherwise be burning. So, in true Emily Litella fashion… Never mind.

  33. CRS, DrPH says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:52 am

    This popped up while I was posting the above. Yes, you are right.

    Rud Istvan says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

    It is always best not to rely on a single source. I’ll let others duke this out. The proof for me will come when I am filling my tank with methanol, or at least methanol-added gasoline.

  34. “Algae biofuel production has promise for conversion of carbon dioxide into renewable fuel, but no one can make the process work yet. “

    Have to say, I am skeptical of this, though. Algae farming is just an indirect means of capturing solar power. I doubt it is even as efficient as regular solar cells.

  35. “So why don’t we open up the mandates on fuel to include methanol, as well as the other fuel types, and let the market determine what works best?”

    because WE don’t do mandates and mandates are anti market, duh.
    do you even know you’re speaking totalitarian?

  36. It’s “Dessler” Not “Dressler”. Sorry, that part was driving me crazy reading the whole thing.

    [Fixed, thanks. — mod.]

  37. @ Pippen Kool says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:19 am
    “Disingenuous” is exactly the correct word for the Dessler/North article, since their article fails to address the failed predictions they and those they support have made, and since their paper relies on false claims of increased weather events tied to CO2. They seem to hope that by yelling “fire” more loudly, they can get people to ignore the lack of fire, much less smoke.
    And they do this because their careers, prestige, and funding depend on fear of climate catastrophe.

  38. gnomish says:
    October 11, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    “So why don’t we open up the mandates on fuel to include methanol, as well as the other fuel types, and let the market determine what works best?”

    because WE don’t do mandates and mandates are anti market, duh.
    do you even know you’re speaking totalitarian?

    gnomish,

    But we are doing mandates at this very moment. It’s why we can’t fill up with methanol.

    But you do have a point, there should be no fuel mandates period.

    I was making the suggestion in the light of our current regulatory environment, which includes mandates. If we have to have mandates, add methanol as an option. If we don’t have to have mandates, then there will be no mandates. Consumers will be free to buy what they want and producers will be free to provide what the consumers want.

    Duh.

  39. Jack,

    If man’s CO2 release to the atmosphere is indeed a problem, then conversion of CO2 into methanol may make sense, but so far the data says it is NOT a problem and may actually be net beneficial at this point. This overall CO2 to methanol process from start to finish is nothing more than the conversion of geothermal energy (the energy source you identified) into a transportable form (methanol) with a net reduction of total release of CO2 to the environment due to CO2 recycling.

    So unless CO2 is really bad, this process is a “non-starter” from a financial perspective. The only result would be an overall increase in the cost of energy to the consumer. As Rud already pointed out, crude would have to go to over $150/bbl before it starts making sense. Thus I guess you are for promoting $5 a gallon gasoline.

    Would be much better for the consumer at the moment, to convert the geothermal into electricity and burn oil for transportation until such time CO2 is definitively shown to be a problem that must be dealt with, or oil exceeds !$50 per barrel.

  40. @ Gary Pearse says: October 11, 2013 at 10:32 am and dbstealey says:October 11, 2013 at 11:06 am . . .
    I call BulllSh**t on your assessment of socialism ruining education, that’s pure bunk !! America has morphed into a “Capitalist Democracy”, your capitalist extremism has brought you your problems. It’s pretty rich for Americans to blame wacky climate science in their country on Socialism.

  41. Dessler/North article contains 100% argument from authority and ZERO evidence. No wonder these guys are losing. They brag about the consensus at their university yet given how 15 years temperatures are falsifying their alarmism, this seems like a strange brag!! To me this screams “not only do I have my head in the sand but my whole university does as well!”

    I can’t wait for arrogant scientists to be soon replaced with curious scientists. Perhaps not in my lifetime.

  42. Sun Spot: ” It’s pretty rich for Americans to blame wacky climate science in their country on Socialism.”

    There are a number of ways to disagree with those posts. One of which is not to state that only a daft bastard would claim there are similarities between government patronage and Socialism.

  43. Since this thread has already gone off track, I’ll pile on, since that Wall Street Journal article raised more questions for me than it answered. when I read it at breakfast this morning.

    Two major problems of ethanol, I’m told, are that its energy density is inferior to gasoline’s and that it’s hard on engines because, if I remember correctly, it’s more water soluble. The article didn’t say why the same wouldn’t be true of methanol. Does anyone know?

  44. Jack Simmons says: “Right now, a coal burning plant releases its CO2 directly into the atmosphere. With the Olah process, that same CO2 is captured and converted into methanol. The methanol is then consumed by vehicles and released into CO2. In effect, you have cut the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by our coal plant in half, because the CO2 is recycled.

    Isn’t that wonderful?

    No. (1) The CO2 to CH3OH step requires both energy and capital investment in extreme amounts. (2) The fact that the CO2 has been recycled is irrelevant. The carbon still ends up in the atmosphere. (3) Methanol has less than half the energy density of gasoline, so more methanol would be required than the gasoline it would (supposedly) replace, in volumetric terms. (4) Methanol has some severe drawbacks as an internal combustion fuel. (5) Your analysis, such as it is, assumes that equivalent amounts of coal and gasoline are currently used. Is that a valid assumption?

    The Olah process is nonsense.

  45. Bart says:
    October 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm
    “Algae biofuel production has promise for conversion of carbon dioxide into renewable fuel, but no one can make the process work yet. “

    Have to say, I am skeptical of this, though. Algae farming is just an indirect means of capturing solar power. I doubt it is even as efficient as regular solar cells.

    I don’t blame you for being skeptical, Bart! Many millions of dollars have been thrown into the “algae pool” over the past decade, with little to show for it. Shell pulled out of its algae venture, Exxon-Mobil is backing away from Craig Venter etc.

    However, my group at the University of Illinois is proving how it can perhaps be done, we project that we could capture fossil fuel carbon dioxide and produce biodiesel for less that $2.00 per US gallon. Stay tuned, when the news breaks, it will break on WUWT first.

  46. I thought that the San Antonio Express was and is a stage coach!Now I am being informed that it is a newspaper.There goes one of my pictures of the wild west.Ah well, I now have to go to work so I will catch the next Kangaroo passing my front door and should be in town in about four hours (It is all about perception).

  47. They’re right. Folks that are skeptical about climate change are likely to be skeptical about other nonsense such as gun control and government run healthcare. They are also known as people who actually think!

    They didn’t have the guts to actually say these people are also more likely to be homophobes and racist. But that’s clearly the message hiding directly below the surface.

    These guys clearly believe passionately in Federally run gun control, healthcare control, and climate control. They’re all working out so well, right?

    Heck the Feds can’t even manage a government shut down. It’s hardly surprising they can’t manage a functioning government.

  48. Jack Simmons, had to stop on yours, you make zero sense at first comment and I must assume that either you do not know little physics/engineering or you know of some secondary energy source that supplies such system to convert the co2 to methanol (concentrated solar, thermal molten salt reactors, geothermal (ah…)?).

    Iceland seems an isolated case for even though not efficient, being on an island with long energy transport distances involved, it then becomes feasible and that of the lower cost.

    To just capture the co2 takes energy itself that would create yet more fossil fuels to be used. All systems have rather large losses so ‘that loss’ will also cause yet another expenditure of fossil fuels to create the methanol. At the end you have just created a terribly inefficient system. Seems you are going in circles and in the process accelerating our use of energy in the long run. If not, describe the system in detail tracking the energies involved at each and every step.

    Now if you include auxiliary or even primary concentrated solar, thermal molten salt reactor or geothermal if hot enough into such a system, yes, it very well may fall over into the ‘more efficient’ category, great. That is, where is the energy really coming from per co2 molecule and at what efficiency.

  49. As far as I’m concerned TAMU has left the room of science – someone please close the door. Consider this – sounds like they at least know one thing: who supplies the jam for their toast:

    “Texas A&M has a large atmospheric sciences department. On their website there are 22 tenured and tenure track faculty. What is really unusual about the department is that all the regular faculty are seemingly required to sign a global warming loyalty oath called the climate change statement. Every faculty member except one new arrival has signed. None of the lowly adjunct faculty’s names appear.
    The Texas A&M atmospheric sciences department is part of the College of Geosciences. That college also houses the department of Geology and Geophysics that operates practically as a satellite of the Texas energy industry. Texas A&M has a large endowment, heavily invested in energy industries, and of course, the revenue of the state of Texas is heavily dependent on carbon burning energy industries. There are strange bedfellows in the Texas A&M College of Geosciences.”
    Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/05/is_roy_spencer_the_worlds_most_important_scientist.html?utm_source=feedly#ixzz2UE63AkZQ

  50. Jack Simmons says “Right now, a coal burning plant releases its CO2 directly into the atmosphere. With the Olah process, that same CO2 is captured and converted into methanol. The methanol is then consumed by vehicles and released into CO2. In effect, you have cut the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by our coal plant in half, because the CO2 is recycled.”.

    The energy released by burning the methanol into CO2 must, by the fundamental laws of physics, be no more than the energy used to turn the CO2 into the methanol in the first place.

    Let’s do the sums: I burn x amount of coal to get y amount of energy, releasing z amount of CO2 in the process. I then use the y energy to turn z CO2 into methanol which I then burn, getting max y energy and releasing z CO2. So the net effect is that I burn x coal, release z CO2, and get y energy. That’s exactly the same result as just burning coal. It’s really a much worse result, of course, because of all the inefficiencies in the process.

  51. RE Pippen Kool @ 11:19 Oct 11 — I believe you must have mistyped. Your last sentence should refer to ‘comment’, not ‘post’.

    Actually, I suspect strongly all your comments may be filed under that.

  52. Jack Simmons says:
    October 11, 2013 at 10:37 am
    “In effect, you have cut the total amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by our coal plant in half, because the CO2 is recycled.

    Isn’t that wonderful?”

    Only a person who believes that CO2 is harmful could get the idea that that is wonderful. I wuold call it pointless, and probably expensive due to extra energy expenditure – i.e. wasteful; harming the environment insofar as more mining becomes necessary for a given amount of useable output energy.

  53. Pippen Kool says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:19 am
    “How do we know that? Do we have some information that they are being “dishonest”.”

    Dessler is known to be a dishonest tool for his frequent use of the phrase “heat-trapping gas” when referring to CO2 (He cannot really be stupid enough to not know about Kirchhoff’s Law; so it must be his dishonesty making him write like that).

    Exhibit A:

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6900556.html

  54. negrum says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:20 am
    “The doctrine of atheism does not equate humans to animals.”

    So why don’t you tell us the “doctrine of atheism”.

  55. Jack,

    If man’s CO2 release to the atmosphere is indeed a problem, then conversion of CO2 into methanol may make sense, but so far the data says it is NOT a problem and may actually be net beneficial at this point. This overall CO2 to methanol process from start to finish is nothing more than the conversion of geothermal energy (the energy source you identified) into a transportable form (methanol) with a net reduction of total release of CO2 to the environment due to CO2 recycling.

    alcheson says:
    October 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Jack,

    If man’s CO2 release to the atmosphere is indeed a problem, then conversion of CO2 into methanol may make sense, but so far the data says it is NOT a problem and may actually be net beneficial at this point. This overall CO2 to methanol process from start to finish is nothing more than the conversion of geothermal energy (the energy source you identified) into a transportable form (methanol) with a net reduction of total release of CO2 to the environment due to CO2 recycling.

    So unless CO2 is really bad, this process is a “non-starter” from a financial perspective. The only result would be an overall increase in the cost of energy to the consumer. As Rud already pointed out, crude would have to go to over $150/bbl before it starts making sense. Thus I guess you are for promoting $5 a gallon gasoline.

    Would be much better for the consumer at the moment, to convert the geothermal into electricity and burn oil for transportation until such time CO2 is definitively shown to be a problem that must be dealt with, or oil exceeds !$50 per barrel.

    alcheson,

    Please read my comments carefully.

    1) I do not advocate any sort of regulations at all. I was offering a suggestion in an environment where fuel mandates and CO2 emissions for coal plants are a given. In this regulatory environment, the EPA is mandating CO2 emissions for coal plants that are, with today’s sequestration technologies, unobtainable. In fact, no one has successfully captured the CO2 from a coal plant and sequestered it, at any cost. If someone knows better, please let me know. Coal plant operators are faced with only two options, shutting down, or spend untold millions on a sequestration technology that may or may not work.

    If the economics of the Olah process can at least break even, there might be some hope of keeping the coal plants running. If the EPA were to allow the use of methanol as a fuel, the sale of the methanol would help bring in additional revenues for the coal plant operators.

    2) I was not advocating geothermal energy as the source of energy for the Olah process. My thought was the energy produced by the power plant could be used to power the Olah process. Perhaps this is not possible; I don’t know what the energy budgets are for the Olah process. I was focusing on the CO2 budgets of coal burning plants and the Olah process.

    3) I agree with you; CO2 emissions are not a problem, or if they are, they are minor. Certainly not worth the cost of fuel mandates, carbon trading schemes, carbon taxes, etc.

    4) We should let all these energy options trade in an unregulated marketplace. No subsidies. No additional taxes on carbon. No mandates for fuel content. Let the price at the pump or electric meter dictate the winner.

    Let the marketplace tell us what works and what doesn’t.

    If there are people out there who believe carbon is a problem, they can chose the ‘green’ alternatives and pay the higher price. Airlines could chose the ‘green’ fuel, advertise the fact, and charge their customers the higher ticket prices. Same for trucking companies. Same for delivery companies.

    This wouldn’t work because environmentalists are largely hypocritical in they avoid paying the prices for their policies, the classic example being Al Gore.

    My predication would be the green alternatives would all die a slow death in the marketplace.

    My use of the term wonderful in describing the Olaf process is aimed at the environmentalists. This should be something they would just love.

    If as you say using the Olaf process results in $5 per gallon for fuel, it will die a natural death in the marketplace.

  56. I always shake my head when I hear Americans talk about petrol prices.
    US$ 5.00 a gallon, unbelievable.
    Here in New Zealand we are paying an average of US$ 6.70 a gallon.
    By the way, 40% of the US$ 6.70 comprises of taxes.
    And the petrol price is is low because the NZ dollar has strengthened compared to the US dollar in the last few years. Since Obama took office, the US dollar has fallen from NZ$ 2.00 to NZ$ 1.20.

  57. DirkH says: “Dessler is known to be a dishonest tool for his frequent use of the phrase “heat-trapping gas” when referring to CO2 (He cannot really be stupid enough to not know about Kirchhoff’s Law; so it must be his dishonesty making him write like that).”

    Either you are joking or being so obtuse that I don’t understand. Saying CO2 is a heat trapping gas is like saying HOH is a liquid. Get over it.

    That comment aside, I think the general tone for “whats up” of the evil scientists being in a conspiracy is so over done and so stupid, that it degrades your entire “skeptic” argument. To believe scientists are conspiring in a grand scheme going back decades is only for those who cant think straight or are drunk. opps, I repeat myself.
    .
    However, it is pretty cute that you think scientists are so organized…

  58. DirkH: “So why don’t you tell us the “doctrine of atheism”.”

    Formally, it’s a rejection of the proposition that there are one or more deities.

    Informally, ‘deity’ should be understood as including or excluding any of Great Men, Worshipped Ancestors, Allah, or quasi-possible half materialist agents such as Ghosts, Shinto spirits, Buddha and so on. But nearly always includes, on a per person basis, the preferred object as a moral touchstone or font in the person’s culture.

    Practically, it’s a denial of epistemic certainty of deontological claims and idols of others that have not been personally expereienced. But not a wholesale reticence, skepticism, or lack of gullibility about things for which there is epistemic uncertainty. Or the a rejection of deontological claims. eg. An Atheist is perfectly capable of believing in Fireball Earth theories and making moral claims as to culpability. Up to and including the punishment by law. But if made law, and once accepted as moral, they would reject it.

  59. I signed up and tried commenting over there. They deleted it. As Anthony said, we do in fact live in a postmodern world.

  60. Other_Andy (October 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm) “I always shake my head when I hear Americans talk about petrol prices. US$ 5.00 a gallon, unbelievable.”

    I just filled up for $3.10 If it stays above $4, my commuter van will raise their prices and people will start to drop out which will further increase the prices. I suppose we could all move to the city and ride bicycles like they do in Europe. But from big city taxes I can calculate energy usage (and waste). The models say that large bureaucracies are bad for the planet, unbelievable!

  61. Sun Spot says:
    October 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    “@ Gary Pearse says: October 11, 2013 at 10:32 am and dbstealey says:October 11, 2013 at 11:06 am . . .
    I call BulllSh**t on your assessment of socialism ruining education, that’s pure bunk !! America has morphed into a “Capitalist Democracy”, your capitalist extremism has brought you your problems. It’s pretty rich for Americans to blame wacky climate science in their country on Socialism.”

    So Sunspot,yeah lets crush mean old capitalist democracy, destroy cheap energy, cripple America, which has been (I use the tense advisedly) the only real engine of global economic prosperity along with those who have strived to copy it. So let’s put the UN in charge, or have a people’s committee organizing kumbaya evenings and playing mandolins in the forest. This is precisely what my remarks were about. You are just proof that the process I describe is indeed clever and subtle. I didn’t say that people were broadly aware of what is happening to them.

  62. Methanol would be a very poor fuel additive. Unlike ethanol, it is not freely miscible with aliphatic hydrocarbons – it tends to phase-separate. Also, it will bind more water and would be even harder on the engines than ethanol.

  63. Dessler is just a little Michael Mann wannabe. He can’t even lie as well as Mann. What a waste of tax money of the good people of Texas.

  64. CRS, DrPH says:
    October 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    “Stay tuned, when the news breaks, it will break on WUWT first.”

    Well, I wish you good luck. Not because of any effect on CO2, which is a non-issue AFAIAC. But, because more choices for energy brings the cost down, and makes us all better off.

    However, I still do not see it scaling very well. It has been estimated that we would need something on the order of 10,000 square miles of Arizona desert carpeted with solar cells to satisfy our energy needs (and, I think that estimate was from ten or more years ago, and overly optimistic then). An area that large taken over by banks of solar arrays would have unfathomable environmental impacts, would create a mega-UHI-like effect, would be a maintenance nightmare, and would require decades, if not centuries, of our current production rates of key materials to construct.

    Unless algae is significantly more efficient, and I am aware of no reason it should be, we would have to have an ungodly area covered by vats of nasty muck. And, even if you can get something in an agreeable price range at the outset, an avalanche of demand would create bottlenecks, and the price would quickly rise per unit of production. To be brutally honest, I just don’t see these low energy density projects relying on wind or solar as ever amounting to much.

    Other_Andy says:
    October 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but we have farther to drive.

  65. Guest Blogger,

    Who the heck are you? I don’t often ask this type of question being a person of several pseudonyms myself, but you wrote, “Take Gerald North, who I hired as Enron’s climate consultant in 1997.” That is such a specific, potent, and, otherwise unverifiable claim that I think many would expect you in decency to ‘out’ yourself. Being a manager at Enron with enough seniority to be hiring climatologists really begs for disclosure, you are in my mind in this context a ‘somebody’ especially given Enron’s particular status in American business history.

    Regards,

    W^3

  66. Pippen Kool says:

    “Saying CO2 is a heat trapping gas is like saying HOH is a liquid.”

    The problem is that at current CO2 concentrations, almost no heat is being ‘trapped’. The effect took place almost entirely in the first 20 ppm. But at a current concentration of ≈400 ppm, the “heat trapping” effect of CO2 is too small to measure.

    Your ‘carbon’ scare is fizzling out, because the effect of CO2 is so minuscule. But nice try, and thanx for playing.

  67. dbstealey says: “But at a current concentration of ≈400 ppm, the “heat trapping” effect of CO2 is too small to measure.”

    Too small to measure?

    Okay, dude. I am sure you know.

    Does’t your ignorance embarrass you? Or, for king and country, are you beyond that?

  68. dbstealey — “But at a current concentration of ≈400 ppm, the “heat trapping” effect of CO2 is too small to measure.”

    I keep seeing that log curve around. Any pointers on the basis of it? I’ve no idea how it was derived, and it keeps pricking me the wrong way every time I see a claim of eleventy celsius per CO2 doubling flying around. If it’s legit it really needs to be hammered in. If it isn’t it really needs to be hammered in.

  69. W.w.wygart, the “Guest Blogger” is identified near the top of the article:

    (He runs the master resource.org blog)

    Guest essay by Robert Bradley Jr.

  70. No warming since North was at Enron? Robert Bradley seems to be joining some chorus of people claiming no warming in 15, 16, or 17 years. 1998 was a spike – global temperature indices don’t show the hiatus beginning then, but in 2001. I think a 3 year moving average is enough smoothing to show well when the hiatus actually started, for those who need any smoothing at all to see this.

  71. Pippen Kool says:
    October 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    dbstealey says: “But at a current concentration of ≈400 ppm, the “heat trapping” effect of CO2 is too small to measure.”

    Too small to measure?

    Since “mainstream” Climate Science has not been able to make even one correct prediction based upon its hypothesis that “CO2 drives climate”, its “heat trapping” effect is not measurable.

  72. Donald L. Klipstein says:
    October 11, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    No warming since North was at Enron? Robert Bradley seems to be joining some chorus of people claiming no warming in 15, 16, or 17 years. 1998 was a spike – global temperature indices don’t show the hiatus beginning then, but in 2001. I think a 3 year moving average is enough smoothing to show well when the hiatus actually started, for those who need any smoothing at all to see this.

    What I say is, “The temperature’s been flat for a decade and has only slightly warmed for the past 17 years–i.e., much less than predicted by the IPCC.”

  73. Pippen Kool;
    Either you are joking or being so obtuse that I don’t understand. Saying CO2 is a heat trapping gas is like saying HOH is a liquid. Get over it.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Pippen, you are wrong. CO2’s heat capacity is very small, and the concentration relative to the rest of the atmosphere also very small. The heat trapping capacity comes out so close to zero that it isn’t even a rounding error. The poorly named “greenhouse effect” does NOT change temperature at earth surface by trapping heat at all. It changes the mean radiating level which in turn alters the temperature profile from earth surface to TOA (Top of Atmosphere). Upper atmosphere becomes cooler, lower atmosphere becomes warmer, but the average temperature from surface to TOA remains identical. In fact, Stefan-Boltzmann Law requires that, at equilibrium, energy in and energy out at TOA remain exactly the same.

    So before you get all condescending about the “settled” science, I suggest you first learn what it is.

  74. For those that don’t realize it, Methanol is commonly referred to as racing fuel. Its available in quite a lot of places but costs about $10.00 a gallon. Its available straight and blended. Most racers using blended mix their own fuel. It is harder on engines and the fuel system needs to avoid certain plastics that are common on most production cars. Overall the possible performance is greater but I wouldn’t expect it to be used as a street fuel as the actual BTU’s is lower than gasoline and diesel. So Methanol is not particularly practical for a daily driver type fuel even if you could get the cost down to a more reasonable level.

  75. JPeden says:
    October 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm
    Pippen Kool says:
    October 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm
    dbstealey says: “But at a current concentration of ≈400 ppm, the “heat trapping” effect of CO2 is too small to measure.”
    Too small to measure?
    Since “mainstream” Climate Science has not been able to make even one correct prediction based upon its hypothesis that “CO2 drives climate”, its “heat trapping” effect is not measurable.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    Two different concepts are being conflated here. Heat trapping refers to the amount of energy that can be absorbed and retained by a given material. Radiative effects which can be loosely measured as a change in energy flux in watts per square meter (w/m2) are what we are talking about in terms of the greenhouse effect. They are two different things.

  76. Sun Spot says: October 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm
    I call BulllSh**t on your assessment of socialism ruining education, that’s pure bunk !!
    _______________________________________

    It has in the UK. The socialists destroyed our selective education system, because it was ‘elitist’** and not socialist. the result was a catastrophic lowering of education standards. And a recent report has just confirmed what we already knew – that where selective education hung on, the educational results are streets ahead of the new communist education system.

    ** I though the whole point of education, was to create an educational elite. But the socialists wanted everyone to dumb downfu the lowest common denominator.

  77. Dirkh

    So why don’t you tell us the “doctrine of atheism”.

    Perhaps you would cite references where atheism equates humans to animals?

    Or even for: ” the goal is not to elevate animals but to bring humans down to the level of animals; soulless and rightless both. ”

    My apologies for taking the thread so far off topic, but the politics seem to be interfering with the
    basic scientific issue.

    The arguments of crowd control and subjugation of the individual can be made as easily or better for most religious groups (Buddhism seems to be an unusual case). The CAGW movement seems to display more of the unpleasant aspects of religion than of atheism, especially in the persecution and villifying of “heretics” and where doubt is a punishable offence.This blog seems to be a collection of skeptically minded people who do not accept statements merely on the basis of appeal to higher authority.

    My view is that when personal beliefs become an obstacle to the search for truth, mankind is regressing.

  78. Jquip

    Thank you for making the point more clearly than I could.

    One point I do not follow: ” … and making moral claims as to culpability. Up to and including the punishment by law. But if made law, and once accepted as moral, they would reject it.”

    I cannot picture the linkage of the ideas. Could you perhaps give an example?

  79. The next thing you’ll tell us is that National Park Service employees will go beyond their jurisdiction to inconvenience citizens in an effort to influence policy.

  80. Pippen Kool says:
    I think the general tone for “whats up” of the evil scientists being in a conspiracy is so over done and so stupid, that it degrades your entire “skeptic” argument.
    To believe scientists are conspiring in a grand scheme going back decades is only for those who cant think straight or are drunk. opps, I repeat myself.

    That’s just an idiotic strawman argument put forth by mindless trolls such as yourself. No grand conspiracy was ever needed for the CAGW ideology to succeed. Warmism, which morphed into Climatism became an industry. The framework for that industry was the UNIPCC, which was and is a political organization using only the trappings of science, since it always just assumed that man was causing warming/climate change. What scientists were aware of problems with the “science” underpinning CAGW kept quiet about it, for fear of losing their jobs. In some cases, as the Climategate emails showed, problems were deliberately covered up. With some of the more high-profile “scientists” such as Mikey, with their entire careers on the line, and T-Rex-sized egos, lying became SOP.

  81. Dirkh

    I hope Jquip’s definition of an atheist satisfies you. If not, google is your friend.

    The best informal definition of an atheist I found in the work of an author whose work I regard very highly. I think it has great relevance to the CAGW and all other progressive movements:

    ” It occurs to me that the man and his religion are one and the same thing. The unknown exists. Each man projects on the blankness the shape of his own particular world-view. He endows his creation with his personal volitions and attitudes. The religious man stating his case is in essence explaining himself. When a fanatic is contradicted he feels a threat to his own existence; he reacts violently. ”

    ” Interesting! ” declared the fat merchant. ” And the atheist? ”

    ” He projects no image upon the blank whatever. The cosmic mysteries he accepts as things in themselves; he feels no need to hang a more or less human mask upon them. Otherwise, the correlation between a man and the shape into which he moulds the unknown for greater ease of manipulation is exact. “

  82. negrum:

    re your so-called “definition” in your post at October 12, 2013 at 6:18 am.

    OK. I ‘get’ that. It says
    (a) a person who believes in a God or Gods is defined by that belief
    but
    (b) a person who believes there is no God and no Gods is not defined by that belief.

    In short, it is nonsense. And I fail to understand why anyone would regard such twaddle “very highly”.

    Can we please return to the subjects of this thread now?

    Richard

  83. negrum says:
    October 12, 2013 at 6:18 am
    “” He projects no image upon the blank whatever. The cosmic mysteries he accepts as things in themselves; he feels no need to hang a more or less human mask upon them.””

    Nihilism.

  84. DirkH

    It is a common fallacy to equate atheism to nihilism. I notice you have not bothered to to substantiate your claim regarding atheism that ” the goal is not to elevate animals but to bring humans down to the level of animals; soulless and rightless both. ”

    richardscourtney

    A good way of prolonging an off-topic discussion is to reply to it. The term twaddle obviously doesn’t help.

    My understanding of the quote is a bit different from yours. I consider your post a good example of handwaving. If my posts bother you, nobody is forcing you to read them. I suggest you just skip any post with my handle as I can do with yours.

  85. negrum:

    re your post to me at October 12, 2013 at 8:13 am.

    My post to you at October 12, 2013 at 6:43 am was not “hand waving”: it was a blunt rebuttal of the illogical rubbish you had posted. Those who want to check the matter can jump to my post with this link

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/11/political-scientists-gerald-north-and-andrew-dressler-double-down-on-climate-alarmism/#comment-1445529

    This thread is about politics and NOT your religion. Proselytise somewhere else.

    Richard

  86. Dr. North lost credibility several years ago, in my opinion, when he headed the North Panel of the NAS, which tended to whitewash the Mann Hokey Stick Fiasco.

    Then, under oath, Dr. North agreed with the conclusions of the much more objective and candid assessment of Dr. Wegman’s panel.

    My old boss Chuck used to talk about people sucking and blowing at the same time…

    Regards to all, Allan

    Some history:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/01/video-john-christys-stellar-testimony-today-the-recent-anomalous-weather-cant-be-blamed-on-carbon-dioxide/#comment-1050623

    Phil Clarke says blah blah blah. : August 3, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I already covered this point elsewhere Phil, at comment-1050435, excerpted below.

    Dr. North, in my opinion, veered widely off his task to say that even though Mann’s methodology was incorrect, that did not mean that Mann’s results were incorrect. North was an inappropriate choice for the task, imo, because he was clearly supportive of Mann’s conclusion (even though Mann was demonstrably false).

    Wegman responded directly to North’s nonsense by saying:
    “[Mann's] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematics …. I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway.
    Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/01/pielke-jr-demolishes-ipcc-lead-author-senat-epw-testimony/#comment-1050435

    (excerpt)

    The good Dr. North was rather mealy-mouthed in his public comments about the validity of Mann’s hokey stick, UNTIL he was placed under oath.

    UNDER OATH, Dr. North stated that his committee’s conclusions agreed with those of the Wegman Committee.

    Quelle surprise!

    “Nothing focuses the mind like being shot at dawn.”
    _______________

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-109hhrg31362/html/CHRG-109hhrg31362.htm

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report.
    ______________

    more from the same session (full text above) …

    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

  87. There’s been some contention evident on this thread between those who favor methanol as a fuel to power our vehicles and those who don’t. May I humbly offer a suggestion that may bring both parties together in a spirit of love and harmony. May I suggest using methanol but, to make all sides happy, at about 10% Nitromethane (Nitro for short) to the mix. We’ll all smile when we fire our vehicles up in the morning.

  88. I read the editorial. What a pile of baloney. Being a climate skeptic correlates with being a Republican who is in opposition to Obamacare and supports gun rights, hence makes one anti-science?

    First off, I’m skeptical of the stated correlation. I personally am not a member of any political party, and I have few committed stances on things like Obamacare, abortion (either pro or anti) etc. I am close to being totally apolitical. I do support gun rights, but not to the point of engaging in any heated arguments over it. I tend to be able to see a degree of validity to all the various sides of any particular issue, and there are usually more than two sides. Politicians tend to be so irrational that I can’t stand paying much attention to them, and I find it difficult to take any of them seriously.

    On the other hand, I suspect that one could just as easily conger a correlation between being a climate alarmist and being a pro-choice, pro-Obamacare Democrat. Former VP Al Gore is the high priest of alarmism, for cryin’ out loud! Per the stated argument, one would hence conclude that alarmism is anti-science.

    By the way, I like Tom J’s idea of being able to buy nitro-laced methanol at the corner gas station. We could have a lot of fun with that indeed!

  89. dbstealey says:
    October 11, 2013 at 11:06 am

    “They gradually gained control of institutions, professional societies, education, etc. They promoted and gave grants, and otherwise rewarded those like North and Dessler who parroted their narrative. Those who didn’t were denied the grants, the promotions — and worse: some were actually fired for arguing against the “AGW” narrative.”
    ———

    I don’t agree with many of the stated reasons of “how they gained control” …… but I sure agree with the stated “results” of them having gained control.

    So “YES”, they put the “fear of God” in anyone who didn’t “parrot their narrative”. And a prime example of said “fear” is, to wit:

    Now I first read the following cited commentary probably 12+ years ago and saved the url link to it, to wit:

    “The Little Ice Age in Europe”

    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

    And I would noinfrequently “re-read” parts or portions of it over the past years because of the historical data contained within its content. And a couple months ago I did the same, ….. but “WOW”, guess what I found.

    I found that the author had included a “disclaimer” about his own published commentary that had been “added” since my previous visits. And his “disclaimer” states, to wit:
    ——————
    “Note to general public:

    My position on the current global warming is the same as the overwhelming majority of international climate scientists: the current rate of global warming is unprecedented and is being caused by humans. In no way can my summary of the research regarding the impact of regional climate change on the Viking civilization and Europe during the Little Ice Age be used to “prove” the current global warming is due to a natural cycle.

    Please view “Global Warming: Man or Myth” which addresses many of the questions asked about the human impact on the current climate change in a very simple format. The climate change being observed today is unprecedented in modern times and can only be explained by the rapid increase of greenhouse gases by human activities. There are no known natural forces that could have caused the modern climate change.”
    ———
    T’is a bad day for science when one is forced to discredit their own commentary.

  90. Why does this remind me of when I lived in a southern city for 8 years, and had to have the exterminator come out a couple times a year for the cock-roaches? He told me how to approach the grass up against my house at night, without signaling the roaches. (walking on the driveway as it went near the house.) He told me to hold a flashlight over the grass, near the house. TURN IT ON SUDDENLY (3 AM) …he was, alas CORRECT. the green grass was BLACK. Yes, COVERED, with the roaches. However, within seconds of TURNING THE LIGHT ON THEM, they buried themselves in the ground.

    Somehow, no matter what “correct…” or “contrary” science comes out, through the IPPC, they will do their DAMNDEST to bury it.

    Sorry, too allegorical, I imagine. (Editor – you can remove if it’s found in bad taste to imply the IPPC folks remsemble the likely sole survivors of a nuclear holocast.)

  91. Funny thing: Global temperatures have not increased since North was back at Enron

    Even funnier thing: There is no global temperature, much less multiple global temperatures.

  92. I think many of you are missing the point about the Olah process. While it is true, as mentioned above, that the energy needed to create the methanol is greater than you get from burning it, the methanol can solve a particular problem – it gives you a convenient way to store energy from an electrical source.

    Hmmm…. where do we have a lot of relatively useless electricity being generated, which is poorly integrated into the grid and is not easily stored? Wind Turbines. Take the intermittent and unreliable electricity being generated from wind farms and get it out of the grid where it does not belong and use that electricity to feed an Olah process. Just an idea.

  93. Max Hugoson says:
    October 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Sorry, too allegorical, I imagine. (Editor – you can remove if it’s found in bad taste to imply the IPPC folks remsemble the likely sole survivors of a nuclear holocast.)

    Max,

    You should be concerned. The cockroaches are probably furious with the comparison.

    After all, the cockroaches, in spite of the bad press as they receive, serve a useful purpose. They, along with fungi, worms, bacteria, and other insects, are part of the all important recycling system of nature.

    I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what use the IPCC folks are.

    By the way, fungi will also survive any nuclear holocaust. See the following for an amazing story on what life can not only survive, but thrive on:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

  94. Tom J says: October 11, 2013 at 11:49 am
    “The Byrd/Hagel Sense of the Senate resolution (if my memory serves me) was introduced in 1997 and was voted on 97 to 0 – just about as unanimous a vote as you can get.”

    Alan says:

    Interesting insight, thank you Tom. Those crafty Euro-peons.

    But the Euros cannot be that smart.

    Look at how they are importing palm oil for biodiesel – destroying the rainforest in the name of saving the environment.

    Imbeciles.

    https://www.foeeurope.org/IISD-EU-biofuel-policy-palm-oil-090913

    The EU Biofuel Policy and Palm Oil: Cutting subsidies or cutting rainforest?
    9 September 2013

    This study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) for Friends of the Earth Europe finds that Europe’s drivers are being forced to fill their tanks with increasing amounts of palm oil, with reliance on the controversial biofuel set to rise even further.

    According to the data, palm oil use has increased much more than predicted and now stands at 20% of the biodiesel mix. The EU consumes 40% more palm oil (for food, fuel and cosmetics) today compared to 6 years ago, despite continual warnings about the unsustainability of palm oil expansion.

    Palm oil associated with deforestation, wildlife loss and community conflicts, and is accelerating climate change. The findings put more pressure on the EU to put a halt to increasing biofuels.

    http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoSenate.html

    ______________

    BTW Tom, the Senate vote was actually 95 to 0.

    Picky picky, I know – Just had to test my aging memory.

    Apologies, Allan :-}

  95. jorgekafkazar says:
    October 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    No. (1) The CO2 to CH3OH step requires both energy and capital investment in extreme amounts. (2) The fact that the CO2 has been recycled is irrelevant. The carbon still ends up in the atmosphere. (3) Methanol has less than half the energy density of gasoline, so more methanol would be required than the gasoline it would (supposedly) replace, in volumetric terms. (4) Methanol has some severe drawbacks as an internal combustion fuel. (5) Your analysis, such as it is, assumes that equivalent amounts of coal and gasoline are currently used. Is that a valid assumption?

    The Olah process is nonsense.

    jorgekafkazar,

    You are correct. The Olah process does require investing both energy and capital investments. You used the term ‘extreme’, could you possibly put a number to that in terms of $ per kilogram of methanol produced or $ per kilogram of CO2 consumed?

    You are also correct in the CO2 does still wind up in the atmosphere. As I pointed out, the CO2 from the coal winds up in the atmosphere in place of the CO2 from additional fuel burned by the vehicles.

    I’m not concerned about CO2 in the atmosphere as it is a fertilizer as well as a weak greenhouse gas. Because of higher CO2 levels in our atmosphere, plants are growing more vigorously and using less water as they do so.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/27/californias-giant-redwoods-inconveniently-respond-to-increased-co2/

    http://m4gw.com/breaking-news-redwood-trees-love-co2/

    On point 3, bigger fuel tanks?

    Point 4, methanol has other uses in addition to fuel. It is a good feed stock for plastic production.

    Point 5, yes.

    If Olah process is not workable in the real world, it’s not. But it sure beats CO2 sequestration schemes being advocated by environmentalists.

  96. Patrick D. Sullivan, Ph.D., P.E. says:
    October 13, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Hmmm…. where do we have a lot of relatively useless electricity being generated, which is poorly integrated into the grid and is not easily stored? Wind Turbines. Take the intermittent and unreliable electricity being generated from wind farms and get it out of the grid where it does not belong and use that electricity to feed an Olah process. Just an idea.

    Patrick,

    You beat me to the punch. I was just wondering the same thing.

    This would solve the single biggest drawback to solar and wind technologies – storage.

    That way we would end up making two terrible ideas for energy production slightly less terrible. Still very expensive.

  97. “(1) The CO2 to CH3OH step requires both energy and capital investment in extreme amounts. (2) The fact that the CO2 has been recycled is irrelevant. The carbon still ends up in the atmosphere. (3) Methanol has less than half the energy density of gasoline, so more methanol would be required than the gasoline it would (supposedly) replace, in volumetric terms. (4) Methanol has some severe drawbacks as an internal combustion fuel. (5) Your analysis, such as it is, assumes that equivalent amounts of coal and gasoline are currently used. Is that a valid assumption? The Olah process is nonsense.” –jorgekafkazar

    “You are correct. The Olah process does require investing both energy and capital investments. You used the term ‘extreme’, could you possibly put a number to that in terms of $ per kilogram of methanol produced or $ per kilogram of CO2 consumed?” — Jack Simmons

    Jack. I did my first alternate energy studies in 1963 and have been watching this field ever since. Time after time, I’ve read accounts of some new process that’s going to turn the energy world on its ear. Time after time, the “new” process turns out to be an old process that never worked in the first place, or has such high costs and low output that it’s worthless. I used to do that kind of calculation, but I don’t have time. Suffice it that the required energy is a significant fraction of the energy derived from burning the original fuel.

    “On point 3, bigger fuel tanks?” –Jack Simmons

    Sure, but you’ll have to lug around at least 2.4 times as much alcohol to get the same driving distance. This will waste even more energy.

    “If Olah process is not workable in the real world, it’s not. But it sure beats CO2 sequestration schemes being advocated by environmentalists.” –Jack Simmons

    You’re right, but that’s not saying much.

  98. Thanks to Mike Smith for pointing out that, far from denying their political motivation, North and Dessler openly – even proudly – affirm it. Thanks also to Mr. Cogar for the mention of the “Note to the General Public” in Mandia’s post on the Little Ice Age. What a marvelously futile thing to write! No, Professor Mandia, you do not get to forbid the use of your findings, even if they contradict your “position”.

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