Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

On Tuesday, the Obama administration lifted its controversial ban on deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico while demanding that the oil industry must meet new, complex regulations. Rather than providing relief for businesses that have been idled and those who have been unemployed by the ban, the announcement created further uncertainty. There were no assurances that permits would be granted expeditiously. Rather, there were promises of even more regulations in the future. The administration seems to be oblivious to the national unemployment rate that is 9.2% and that businesses do not hire in periods of regulatory uncertainty. The only state with strong employment growth is North Dakota where oil drilling is expanding rapidly thanks to the new technologies of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that is opening up extensive oil reserves previously locked in deep, tight shale formations. Please see articles # 1 and #2, and the articles referenced under “BP Spill and Aftermath.”

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Several thought-provoking articles appeared discussing problems with alternative energy. Tom Fuller, an alternative energy advocate, explains why he thinks wind power is not doing well in 2010 – the buyer market is highly concentrated (basically forced by government). Thus, there is no pressing need on the producers to reduce costs because the eventual users must buy regardless of cost. (Since regulated utilities pass on costs plus a profit calculated on costs to their customers, including government imposed costs, utilities have no incentive to demand lower costs.) Please see article #3.

Bjorn Lomborg points out how government officials in Europe have failed to conduct the proper research to discover the tremendous hidden costs of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. As a result, European countries that invested heavily in these sources are experiencing unexpectedly high utility rates. Please see article # 4.

Peter Grover discusses the folly of British experience and the government’s current mania to build even more expensive off-shore wind farms. Please see article # 5.

As Fuller discusses, there is no incentive or demand on the businesses that are providing the wind farms to lower costs. This is a recipe for failure. Please see Cape Wind article referenced under “Subsidies and Mandates Forever.”

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Another provoking piece appeared on the blog of Roger Pielke, Sr. He describes the requirements of a good scientific model as explained in The Grand Design, a new book by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, and then concludes that the IPCC models fail the Hawking and Mlodinow requirements. A good scientific model: 1) is elegant, 2) contains few arbitrary or adjustable elements; 3) agrees with and explains all existing observations, and 4) makes detailed predictions about future observations that can disprove or falsify the model if they are not borne out. Please see “When Is A Model a Good Model?” under “Challenging the Orthodoxy.”

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The issue regarding the resignation of Hal Lewis from the American Physical Society continues to cause controversy. TWTW carried the resignation letter last week. The American Physical Society issued a press release defending its position and Roger Cohen rebutted the press release. Please see the referenced article under “American Physical Society Row.”

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SEPP Corrections and Amplifications: Last week’s number of the week was reproduced incorrectly. The number of the week was 1100 times 10 to the fourth power, knots squared. This is the global Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) over the past 24 months as reported by Ryan Maue (September 30, 2010). When it was reformatted the exponents were dropped, literally lowered, thus the number made no sense. In the future we will use the character ^ to indicate an exponent. The ACE would be expressed as 1100 X 10^4 knots^2.

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NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 20 Percent by 2030. Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council produced a study claiming that wind power could produce up to 20% of the world’s power needs by 2030. Given the well known difficulties of wind, as expressed in articles referenced above, one could say that this estimate is a bit optimistic.

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Those who challenge the claim that human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming by pointing out the failure of the advocates to produce the physical evidence of causation continue to be personally attacked in academic departments at universities and in publications called scientific. For example, Fred Singer is repeatedly accused as being a lobbyist or agent for tobacco companies because he had the audacity to point out that the EPA’s second hand smoke study lacked scientific rigor. Below he describes his relationship with tobacco companies.

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SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #31-2010 (Oct. 16, 2010)

S Fred Singer Chairman, and President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Second Hand Smoke [SHS] and Lung Cancer

In 1993, the EPA published a report claiming that SHS [sometimes known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke – ETS] causes 3000 deaths from lung cancer every year.

Anyone doubting this result has been subject to attack and depicted as a toady of the tobacco lobby. The attacks have been led by a smear blog called “DesmogBlog,” financed by a shady Canadian PR firm of James Hoggan, and have been taken up with great enthusiasm by a self-styled “science historian,” Professor Naomi Oreskes.

The ultimate purpose of these attacks, at least in my case, has been to discredit my work and publications on global warming. I’m a nonsmoker, find SHS to be an irritant and unpleasant, and have certainly never been paid by Phillip Morris and the tobacco lobby, and have never joined any of their front organizations, like TASSC [The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition].

So what is the truth about SHS and lung cancer? I’m neither an oncologist nor a chemical toxicologist, but I do know some statistics, which allows me to examine the EPA study without bias [I personally believe that SHS cannot be healthy].

I can demonstrate that the EPA fudged their analysis to reach a predetermined conclusion – using a thoroughly dishonest procedure. They made three major errors: 1) They ignored publication bias, that is, studies that do not produce significant results are seldom published, 2) They shifted the confidence intervals, 3) They drew unjustified conclusions from a risk ratio that was barely greater than 1.0. My opinions are independently confirmed by the Congressional Research Service [CRS-95-1115], and by a lengthy judicial analysis by Judge William Osteen [all available on the Internet].

1) Since none of the epidemiological studies provided a clear answer, EPA carried out a “meta-analysis”. Unfortunately, this approach ignores “publication bias”, i.e., the tendency for investigators not to publish their studies if they do not give a positive result.

2) The EPA in order to calculate a risk ratio, moved the confidence intervals from 95% to 90% — and said so openly.

3) Even so, their risk ratio was just a little above 1.0 – whereas epidemiologists ignore any result unless the RR exceeds 2.0.

To sum up, while we cannot give specific answers for lung cancer cases or other medical issues connected SHS, we can state with some assurance that the EPA analysis is worthless.

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ARTICLES:

For the numbered articles below please see:

http://www.haapala.com/sepp/the-week-that-was.cfm…

1. Liberating the gulf

Editorial, WSJ, Oct 13, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703440…

2. Drill, North Dakota, Drill

Editorial, IBD, Oct 11, 2010

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/550…

3. Captive Clients Determine the Success of Energy Initiatives

By Tom Fuller, Watts Up With That, Oct 13, 2010

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/13/captive-client…

4. First do the research, then make deep carbon cuts

By Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian, Oct 14, 2010

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/first-d…

5. Taking The Wind Out Of Wind Power

By Peter Glover, GWPF, Oct 13, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]

http://www.thegwpf.org/energy-news/1694-peter-glover…

6. Shootout at the EPA Corral

Texas takes aim at the White House’s illegal carbon rules

Editorial WSJ, Oct 10, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704696…

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NEWS YOU CAN USE:

Climategate Continued

BBC Told to ensure balance on climate change

Climate change sceptics are likely to be given greater prominence in BBC documentaries and news bulletins following new editorial guidelines that call for impartiality in the corporation’s science coverage.

By Neil Midgley, Telegraph, UK, Oct 13, 2010

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/80…

Challenging the Orthodoxy

When Is A Model a Good Model?

By Roger Pielke Sr. Pielke Research Group, Oct 11, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/whe…

Time to get real about climate change

10/10/10 and 350.org based on urban legend, not science

By Tom Harris, Washington Times, Oct 14, 2010

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/14/time…

Opening closed minds

By Des Moore, Quadrant Online, Oct 6, 2010

http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2010/…

The scientific world is fracturing

By Joanne Nova, Oct 10, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]

http://joannenova.com.au/2010/10/the-scientific-worl…

No consensus among climate scientists after all

By Des Moore, The Australian, Oct 14, 2010

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/no-cons…

Opinion: Global Warming not worth the fight

The United States would gain little in trying to forestall climate change

By Keith Yost, Staff Columnist, The Tech, Oct 15, 2010 [H/t Joe Bast]

http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N45/yost.html…

[SEPP Comment: Even assuming man is causing significant warming!]

Is climate change activism dead?

By Louise Gray, Telegraph, UK, Oct 14, 2010 [H/t Joe Bast]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climate…

Dangerous Carbon Pollution: Propaganda from Climatism

By Steve Goreham, Big Government, Oct 8, 2010

http://biggovernment.com/sgoreham/2010/10/08/dangero…

Defending the Orthodoxy

Global warming summit heads for failure amid snub by world leaders

By Louis Gray, Telegraph, UK, Oct 10, 2010 [H/t Brad Veek]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-…

U.N.: ‘Credible’ climate report needed

UPI, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t GWPF]

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2010/1…

Text of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/about/com…

American Physical Society Row

Roger Cohen Responds to APS response to Hal Lewis Resignation

By Roger Cohen, ICECAP, Oct 13, 2010

http://www.icecap.us/…

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/APSPressReleaseDecon…

Weather Extremes

Arctic Ice Rebound Predicted

Man is not the primary cause of change in the Arctic says book by Russian scientists

By Verity Jones, Watts up with that, Oct 16, 2010

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/16/arctic-ice-reb…

Warmer, wetter climate helping U.S. farmers grow more crops

USA Today, Oct 8, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2010-10-08-c…

[SEPP Comment: See article below.]

Study; Crop failures to increase with climate change

USA Today Oct 8, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/p…

[SEPP Comment: On the same day, the same newspaper gives two opposing statements about the effects of global warming / climate change. If climate change means a significant cooling of the great northern grain belts, then it would lead to crop failures.]

BP Oil Spill and Aftermath

U.S. Lifts freeze on deepwater oil drilling

By Matthew Daly, Washington Times, Oct 12, 2010

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/12/offs…

Oil Industry Not Celebrating Yet

Executives Fear New Regulations Could Result in a Continued Slowdown of Offshore Drilling Activity

By Stephen Power, WSJ, Oct 13, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704164…

China’s Will To Drill

Editorial, IBD, Oct 13, 2010

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.asp…

Energy Issues

Sluggish Economy Curtails Prospects for Building Nuclear Reactors

By Matthew Wald, NYT, Oct 10, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/11/business/energy-en…

[SEPP Comment: It is more than a sluggish economy, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for natural gas has dramatically changed the energy outlook.]

Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Praise, and Backing

By Matthew Wald, NYT, Oct 12, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/science/earth/12wi…

New research questions hydroelectric reservoir emissions

By Staff Writers, Energy Daily, Oct 11, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

http://www.energy-daily.com/reports/New_research_que…

Biomass Power Encounters a New Regulatory Forest

By David O’Connor and Christian Termyn, Mintz Levin, Oct 2010

http://www.mintz.com/newsletter/2010/Advisories/0689…

[SEPP Comment: A law firm’s take on the problems biomass power faces. Note mentioned is that until the 1880s biomass burning (wood) was the dominant source of energy for the US until coal replaced it when virtually all the forests of the east were logged.]

Subsidies and Mandates Forever

Cape Wind backers blew right by cost

Governor Patrick pushed hard for the project, hoping it would jump-start the state’s green economy, And it may. But at what price?

By Beth Daley, Boston Globe, Oct 10, 2010 [H/t Glenn Schleede]

http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/green/articles/2010/…

[SEPP Comment: Oops! As long as politicians do not have to pay they will promote anything that sounds good.]

EPA and other Regulators On the March

EPA Estimates Its Greenhouse Gas Restrictions Would reduce global Temperature by No More Than 0.006 of a Degree in 90 Years

By Chris Neefus, CNS News, Oct 6, 2010 [H/t John Thompson]

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/epa-s-own-estima…

EPA global warmers power grab

Editorial, Washington Times, Oct 9, 2010

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/8/epa-g…

New Policy Fuels High-Octane Debate

Permitting More Ethanol in Gasoline Angers Oil, Food and Car Interests, But May Lift Grain Sales

By Tennille Tracy, WSJ, Oct 14, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703673…

Oh, Mann!

The right to question Michael Mann’s climate research

By Joe Barton, Washington Post, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t Randy Randol]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article…

Cuccinelli calls for environmental, economic balance at energy conference

By Rosalind Helderman, Washington Post, Oct 14, 2010

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/virginiapolitics/20…

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC. For a full list of articles see:

http://www.NIPCCreport.org…

A 1300 – Year History of West-Central Mexican Cloud Forest Climate

Reference: Figueroa-Rangel, B.L., Willis, K.J. and Olvera-Vargas, M. 2010. Cloud forest dynamics in the Mexican neotropics during the last 1300 years. Global Change Biology 16: 1689-1704.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/14oct20…

A Millennium of Reconstructed and Simulated Temperatures for Eastern China

Reference: Liu, J., Storch, H., Chen, X., Zorita, E., Zheng, J. and Wang, S. 2005. Simulated and reconstructed winter temperature in the eastern China during the last millennium. Chinese Science Bulletin 50: 2872-2877.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/13oct20…

The IPCC Spaghetti-Diagram Reconstructions of Paleoclimate are Incoherent With Each Other

Reference: Bürger, G. 2010. Clustering climate reconstructions. Climate of the Past Discussions 6: 659-679.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/13oct20…

Rapid Ice Loss On the Antarctic Peninsula

Reference: Hall, B.L., Koffman, T. and Denton, G.H. 2010. Reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula at 700-907 cal. yr B.P. Geology 38: 635-638.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/oct/13oct20…

Miscellaneous Topics of Possible Interest

Moonlighting as a Conjurer of Chemicals

By Natalie Angier, NYT, Oct 11, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/science/12newton.h…

[SEPP Comment: A different look at Isaac Newton as an alchemist. According to William Newman, in the 17th Century there were a number of theoretical and empirical reasons to take alchemy seriously. These were eventually replaced by more powerful theoretical and empirical reasons why not to.]

How to prevent fraud

Thoughts on how to catch scientific misconduct early from a research recently convicted of the offense

By Suresh Radhakrishnan, The Scientist, Oct 7, 2010 [H/t Catherine French]

http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57738/…

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BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:

Wind could provide 20 percent of world power needs by 2030: study

Physorg.com, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-10-20-pct-world-pow…

[SEPP Comment: Contrary to statements at the end of the article, the US has heavily subsidized wind through the Stimulus bill, tax credits, and state mandates. The savings of carbon dioxide emissions are highly questionable.]

Waste Pickers Offer to Fight Climate Change

By Karl Malakunas, Manila Bulletin, Oct 11, 2010 [H/t Best of the Web]

http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/281600/waste-pickers-o…

That great story about Rock Hyrax urine you’ve always wanted to read

Press Release, University of Leicester, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t Watts Up With That]

http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2010-archive/october-…

Cigarettes: A Secondary Cause of Global Warming

By Ken Bosket, Star City News, Oct 12, 2001 [H/t Watts Up With That]

http://www.starcitynews.com/cigarettes-a-secondary-c…

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53 thoughts on “Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

  1. Ya, the lack of regulations in the oil industry has worked out so well, just like the lack of regulation in the banking industry…

  2. Btw, I know that climate issues are the “in” topic for the last few years, but I really wish you would post a greater variety of topics as noted in the site header. Climate is really starting to bore. Sorry. 🙂

  3. Brad October 17, 2010 at 10:23
    If regulations are not implemented appropriately or are poorly designed, it may not really matter how many regulations are created. The former has been demonstrated to have been part of what happened with the BP mess in the Gulf of Mexico

  4. And what “lack of regulations in the oil industry” might that be? In Myanmar perhaps?
    Don’t post twaddle.
    [Note: With several oil industry-related articles, it would be helpful to cite the particular one you are commenting on. Thanks, ~dbs, mod.]

  5. What a novel idea, ban by regulation fiat … Wasn’t it Kagan who suggested just that in the Harvard Law Review article “Presidential Administration” — How to strangle the US economy by fiat rules.
    Why yes I do remember reading that paper … Do you?

  6. Brad says:
    October 17, 2010 at 10:23 am
    Ya, the lack of regulations in the oil industry has worked out so well, just like the lack of regulation in the banking industry…

    Its not that there are not enough regulations, its the gaming of the labyrinth of regulations that exist.
    If you have been paying attention, you would know that BP got waivers for their Macundo operation that allowed them to bypass regulations and procedures that would have, if implemented, prevented the blowout.
    As for Wall Street, it was the creation of and speculation with mortgage backed securities that precipitated the September 2008 crash. This situation existed because of the regulators – not in spite of them.

  7. Nice drive-by Brad. The failure of the banking industry was caused by over-regulation in the form of loosening lending requirements for mortgages on the misguided assumption that housing prices would never decline. The banking industry responded with mortgage products to meet mandated requirements. Would you create a product that guaranteed you would lose money? We had more than two decades of this misguided policy, and when concerns started to arise that there were unintended consequences arising from these mandates, Chris Dodd and Barney Frank worked very hard to assure everyone that there was no looming crisis.

  8. Anthony,
    Here is my last letter sent (this morning) to the politians in charge of Canada. It does have to do with energy.
    Dear Prime Minister Harper,
    Being put in class with the village idiots by society in general has made the research I have been doing to be 10,000 times more correct.
    WHAT DO YOU NOT KNOW?
    Centrifugal force was never understood and deemed a psuedo-science because of this but…
    I have had my fair share of being bounced from politician to
    politician, ignored, pointed to policies or blocked by government
    regulation for research and funding.
    I found a great deal of our science is incomplete or structured with
    boarders that they cannot cross and in some cases totally incorrect
    when the right questions are put to them.
    A good example is a plain circle that you can measure the outside and
    come up with a distance. The center of balance would correctly be the
    center at the axis point. But when motion is added, This is completely
    different. This is where physics stopped.
    Now you have an axis point and the edge of the circle. The center of
    balance in motion is 2/3 from the axis. Both sides having the same
    mass. Now, this center of balance shifts when motion is applied towards
    the outside of the circle. The faster it moves, the more compressing
    and storing of energy. Just like this planet. It accounts for the
    pressure under the planet that we have Earthquakes and volcanes to
    releave this. As the planet slows, gases expand and the stored energy
    in the mass is releaved.
    I did a massive amount of research on turbine efficiency that was were
    I found science was absent in understanding what ACTUAL efficiency is
    compared to the mechanical measurements that was used in hydro 150
    years ago. Whatever water was going around the blades to the housing
    was the amount they calculated as being inefficient. It had nothing to
    do with actual energy transference of water to turbine, deflection of
    energy at many points when the blades are turning or the fact it was
    designed for bulk water turning and not efficiency. Centrifugal force
    places a key role in all the current design problems.
    So, I inverted a turbine. Splitting the energy and rotating it to hit
    the circumference on a full circle at all 360 degrees.
    Think I didn’t go through a great deal? Hydro companies, politicians
    engineers, etc. etc. Mechanically it is sound and will run but the
    science was never looked at or understood. This started 6 years ago.
    Without this type of research and knowledge being passed down by educators, our population is growing into a mass of over educated idiots.
    Thank you,
    Joe Lalonde
    (took off the phone number and address before Mr. Happy Snippit had gotten to it)

  9. Severn barrage plan likely to be sunk
    Government expected tomorrow to refuse to back controversial £21bn tidal energy project with public finance.
    The 2007 SDC report controversially suggested the wetlands lost under a Cardiff-Weston barrage could be compensated for by the sacrifice of low-grade farmland in East Anglia, Wales and elsewhere, which was already proving impractical to defend against sea level rises. It also argued the large barrage could provide a much-needed additional river crossing.
    So the coast of East anglia, Wales and ELSEWHERE is already proving impractical to defend against SEA LEVEL RISES. Where is elsewhere, what utter rubbish.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/oct/17/severn-barrage-plan-sunk

  10. There is a possibility that Congress will consider a Renewable Energy Standard bill in a lame duck session this year . Be prepared !

  11. What peeves me is reading crap like this

    “My generation has failed,” he says flatly. “We are handing over the problem to our children. They—and their children—will live with the worst consequences of climate change. Make no mistake, global warming is happening right now. It is only going to get worse.”

    That means we no longer have the luxury of polite, time-consuming public debate on the issue. “We have to be much more aggressive about pinpointing our enemies, and doing it early—showing how and where they are spending their money to undermine our efforts,” he says. “We need to learn how to inflict pain on the opposition.”

    Being a father of two young children, 9yo and 2yo, I fear for what kinda of world they will be living in within the next 30-40 years. If the “environmentalist” (keyword there is “mental”) get their way, everyone who doesn’t believe humans are the scum of the earth should be punished. As only the “environmentalist” can truely know what is best for the earth.
    Love the fact that when you click on “Help support the fight against global warming” you get taken to this page https://secure2.edf.org/site/Donation2?df_id=1533&1533.donation=form1

    Your donation will support our campaign in Washington and around the country to build grassroots networks, educate decision makers and reduce emissions. With your help, we’ll keep the pressure on for national action.

    With a starting donation of $25 all the way up to $1000 (then an option for “other”) they are certainly ambitious, oh and the default value selected? $50.
    That will certainly help a bunch of people stop working for productive jobs and instead jump on fuel burning planes to fly to Washington to take the fight to the government on global warming or was it climate disruption… that is of course the airport is open considering Washington was recently hit with one of the biggest snow falls in 111 years
    I am the first to agree, if the science added up and the $$$ weren’t questionable I would be right there with them trying to get our government to make the hard decisions and “help save the planet”. However there is proof on top of proof that although there is some basis for their “beliefs” when all put together it doesn’t add up to a catastrophic apocolyptic event causing every lifeform on the planet to possibly become extinct.
    Wake up people and smell the roses, not the excrement coming out of the mouths of a politician Al Gore or a environmental entrepreneur like Pachuri, or professor Michael Mann, or the CRU who’s funding relies on the proof of “Global Warming”. Instead look at the people who don’t have anything to gain out of their research but are more so genuinely interested in the scientific method of “Have a theory, test the theory if the test doesn’t work rethink the theory, if it does work, keep testing it and while it still works then the theory is valid, but if the test fails then it is invalid.”
    Anyway just wanted to get that off my chest and again thank Anthony and all the guest posters, moderators and fellow man who visit here to get some insight.

  12. Have you guys heard of Kiwigate?
    Just a week ago… “In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate, New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on NZ government climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud… ”
    Anthony, did you have a chance to write about it? I couldn’t find anything it on your blog.

  13. Robert-
    I think you are incorrect about the banking crisis, the driver was not governmental but the creation of the loan backed securities on Wall Street that drove bad loans. Try reading this:
    http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/Home/News_Articles/2010/mortgage_crisis.aspx
    “Tis true that I wish we would have gone the same route we did after the S and L crisis, but we didn’t. The SEC was completely asleep at the switch:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/27/business/27sec.html
    As for oil, remember the regulatory agency workers who were sleeping with hookers hired by big oil and were WAY to close? We fixed that, for the better:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/11/politics/main6472239.shtml
    Now, what about the biggest oil spill in history, where the oversight was not done, and where exemtions were given makes you think the regulatory structure – ruined by Cheney and Bush – did not need to be re-visited? Common sense to me…

  14. I’m glad you mentioned the fraudulent second-hand smoke study, which has very obvious parallels with the equally fraudulent AGW movement (the main parallel being the blatant abuse of the statistical method). The absolute worthlessness of the EPA’s predetermined findings are in the public domain but still thanks to an overwhelmingly liberal MSM most people wouldn’t have a clue about it, and just accept the official line that SHS is provably deadly. The fact is that whether it is or not, there is certainly no evidence to back up any kind of case for it being so.
    It is the very same ‘moral guardians of society’ behind that sham as are behind the AGW sham, the same people who believe our lives would be so much better if we just did as they say and surrendered our individuality for the benefit of the common good, the same people who believe Socialism (Communism) would work if only it were conducted properly. History teaches us that there is no evidence to support any of it. And they call us pathological. Go figure.

  15. Robuk says: October 17, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Severn barrage plan likely to be sunk … The 2007 SDC report controversially suggested the wetlands lost under a Cardiff-Weston barrage could be compensated for by the sacrifice of low-grade farmland in East Anglia, Wales and elsewhere, which was already proving impractical to defend against sea level rises.

    East Anglia is sinking anyway, has been for hundreds of years.
    As to scuppering this particular barrage plan, great! it was ill-conceived all along, with great costs, short-term useability, and little benefit at all except to some big engineering company who would’ve had monopolies on it all.
    However, tidal energy is enormous and I think we’ve hardly started to harness it skilfully. I wrote about it – there are other promising upcoming tidal harvest technologies that would be far cheaper, far neater, have far less environmental impact, AND last far longer AND be far more repairable. One technology is the “reef” that would harvest tidal energy on a small differential of height; another technology is the small slow turbine generators whose blades twist as they turn to maximise slow flow underwater capture; another completely unexplored technology is the pressure of straight vertical lift – feasible in my locality which has a tidal range second only to the Canadian Bay of Fundy.

  16. Thanks for this extensive round up. Most useful.
    I have now got around at last to reading the article on the hyrax. Interesting but I cannot see much in the way of climate information coming from that source. The “dassie” as he is known all over southern Africa, is common on rocky terrains across the breadth of the continent, from around 35 deg, South, at least as far as 11 deg. South. That is from my own observation over the years and he may well extend his range further north than that. That area covers a very wide range of differing climates, from the moderate coastal areas to elevations over 6000 feet on the highveld and from the deserts of the west to the high rainfall areas of the eastern coastal belt. Average temperatures of these various locations vary very considerably. To the casual observer his only known need is a nice flat area of rock on which he and all his tribe can can spend the day sunning themselves to their heart’s content.

  17. brad says:
    “…the driver was not governmental but the creation of the loan backed securities on Wall Street…”
    brad doesn’t understand the situation. In fact, the problems we’re currently struggling with are the direct result of government actions and negligence — as brad inadvertently confirms in his comments:
    “The SEC was completely asleep at the switch… the regulatory agency workers… Now, what about the biggest oil spill in history, where the oversight was not done, and where exemptions were given makes you think the regulatory structure…”
    As Doug in Seattle pointed out, BP received government waivers for their drilling procedures, which let them bypass regulations that would have prevented the blowout [which was not, as brad says, the biggest oil leak in history].
    Congress was responsible for triggering the current Great Recession following the repeal of legislation barring banks from speculating in non-banking areas. The easing of government regulations allowing Fannie Mae to re-sell mortgages purchased with “liar loans” caused the housing bubble to inflate to staggering proportions [Fannie Mae’s CEO, Franklin Raines, collected an obscene $750+ million in compensation for almost singlehandedly throwing the housing and mortgage market into disarray, and costing investors over $1 trillion to date].
    The lessons learned after the Great Depression resulted in sixty years of strict lending regulations that prevented a recurrence. But Congress [they’re the government, see?] gutted those regulations, allowing junk mortgages to be packaged and sold as ultra-safe AAA-rated government guaranteed paper. Every taxpayer is now paying for this fiasco because of FNMA’s government guarantees.
    Congress [both the House and Senate] is entirely responsible for the fix we’re in. Remember that in November.

  18. Michael Proctor says:
    October 17, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    “What peeves me is reading crap like this […]”
    Ok, didn’t know where you got that from, so i googled and here it is, presented by a Josef Romm, a person called Goldmark interviewed:
    http://theenergycollective.com/josephromm/45338/edf%E2%80%99s-peter-goldmark-%E2%80%9Cmy-generation-has-failed%E2%80%9D-it-has-got-be-said-over-and-over-ag
    and i actually like a lot of what he says:
    “The environmental movement must also do a better job of linking climate directly to shrinking harvests, falling water tables, receding glaciers, extended droughts and more violent storms.”
    Yeah, go ahead, produce even more flakey evidence, and for the storms, well, we’ll just wait for a violent one… might take a while, though…
    “It’s happening now, and we need to connect that to climate change in the minds of all people.”
    I guess it’s way harder to brainwash people into such a fantasy than to awaken them again by simply pointing to the boring non-events in reality.
    ““What we need more than anything else is a mass movement of young people,”
    Yeah. That’ll work. Take Ehrlich’s 1967 philosophy and try to implant it in gadget-keen youngsters of today.
    Joe Romm adds:
    “He is one of the best thinkers and speakers on climate I know.”
    I guess that pretty much sums it up.

  19. The FDA and other agencies have never been able to identify a single death attributable to second hand smoke. As said correctly here, the number is derived by assuming infinite susceptibility to tobacco smoke and then extrapolating the figure downward. This is not science. The fact is that after over 100,000 years of cooking and heating with fire, humans have a healthy tolerance to smoke, even tobacco smoke. At minimal levels smoke simply is not toxic. Period, Cigarettes, which encourage an ingestion of smoke that is abnormal in every respect, clearly overwhelm that tolerance for an extremely large percentage of the population, but there is a threshold sensitivity and second hand smoke does not appear to reach it.

  20. As I have comment ted before on this blog the Severn Barrage keeps coming and going as it were ever since it was first proposed in the 1920’s on a far vaster scale not only offering the possibility of internal dams, I presume not dissimilar to the reefs your refer to, to spread out available generating time. Above all else it would also have provided still much needed road and rail links. This tiny modern version is hardly worth the effort and has been cut down at the insistence the Greens. Something about sea birds or some such I fancy. Or was it seals? I forget.
    The use of inline free flow, chiefly screw types, low velocity turbines is hardly new and were widely tested in the UK using more modern self adjusting variable pitch blades, unlike the widely employed Victorian designs which used fixed pitch, in the 1970’s both for tidal and small scale hydroelectric generation. Water being incompressible the gains from variable pitch and hydrodynamic flow lines are not that great as against a simple screw.
    Ram type technology whether inline with flow or using direct vertical uplift, which again is what I imagine you referring to, is a very old technology indeed and still in use today in various parts of the world. It is ideal for very small and simple installations but does not scale up well.
    Kindest Regards

  21. From the Telegraph article “Is Climate Change Activism Dead?”:
    “But this does not mean the anger has gone. In fact it is as militant as ever. Most protestors are focusing on colourful and creative ways of getting their voices heard, although there are concerns about the scale of the protests in Mexico, where
    there is a history of police violence.”
    ====
    Heh!! Something to look forward to in Cancun, eh? What the hell, bring ’em to Chicago, we know how to handle these types of crowds!

  22. Nice round up, I feel the unemployment is a feature of the obama regime not a flaw. As for lifting the drilling embargo, why have a ban when you can regulate it to death without the PR fallout! As for the smoking ban, while I enjoy it I feel it is dishonest, however the main way of connecting an activity or substance with cancer is by numbers or animal testing, almost anecdotal so I wouldnt expect any study to be that certain (however the studies regarding SHS and childrens asthma are highly certain, extrapolate that!). Given what we do know it is rather daft smoking anywhere.

  23. pat says:
    October 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm
    The FDA and other agencies have never been able to identify a single death attributable to second hand smoke.
    =========
    REPLY:
    I agree that blaming second-hand smoke as a specific cause of cancer is flawed.
    However, the literature implicating second-hand smoke as a very significant factor for increased heart attacks is quite strong. Institute of Medicine has replicated this research, as have other researchers overseas, lending strong support to indoor smoking bans. I have reviewed these studies extensively and agree (I’m an environmental epidemiologist).
    See Lightwood’s article at:
    http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/120/14/1373?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Risk+Attributable+to+Secondhand+Smoke+Declines+in+Acute+Myocardial+Infarction+Af&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

  24. Alex P. says:
    October 17, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Just a week ago… “In the climate controversy dubbed Kiwigate, New Zealand skeptics inflict shock courtroom defeat on NZ government climatologists implicated in temperature data fraud… ”
    Anthony, did you have a chance to write about it? I couldn’t find anything it on your blog.

    Go up to the top of this page and find the search box. Enter NIWA. The first three hits:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/09/new-zealands-niwa-temperature-train-wreck/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/16/new-zealands-niwa-sued-over-climate-data-adjustments/
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/15/niwas-kiwi-kaper/

  25. Curiousgeorge says:
    October 17, 2010 at 10:37 am
    I like your roundup 🙂 . Do you plan to make it a regular feature?

    I hope he does.

  26. Why does Fred Singer comes back with such old story. Is he trying to clean some ghosts of the past in his resume. I don’t know. He should have let that story down instead of bringing it on top of the news. It’s just another miscalculation from dear Fred. By putting that old story back in the news, he will again be tied to the tobacco industry and will loose whatever credibility he had regained since that time.
    Total waste of time, and nothing to gain out of it. The case was closed and lost. Swallow and move on.

  27. Soothsaying Doomsday Futures is a favorite pastime of those with nothing better to do than scare the rest of us with their nonsense.
    Conjecture is just imagination. Predicting the future is a challenging business for there are so many possible futures so anyone just giving one possible future is already debunking themselves as they’ve left out all the other possible futures that contradict the possible future they are soothsaying doomsday about.
    “I’m trying to find out NOT how Nature could be, but how Nature IS.” – Richard Feynman
    ‘Humans will need two Earths by 2030′
    http://current.com/182434c
    Currently (since 2007) we’re using over 1.5 planets! Funny that, I didn’t see another inhabited planet nearby parked in orbit with humans on it. Did you?
    http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/all_publications/living_planet_report/2010_lpr/
    Yikes, the soothsayers are soothsaying doomsday with slosh graphs.

  28. Smokey-
    We are specifically discussing whether the lack of gov regulation is good thing or not. When I disagreed with the prior poster I was arguing gov action on who to loan to was not the primary driver for the mortgage crisis, but the actions of Wall Street tacitly confirmed by the gov’s lack of regulation. Got the argument now Smokey?

  29. The history of one Fred Singer, including his pro-smoking work for Phillip Morris.
    [SNIP. Read Dr Singer’s statement in the article, which disputes your link.]
    If I were Anthony I might think twice before allowing this guy to post.

  30. “NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 20 Percent by 2030. Greenpeace and the Global Wind Energy Council produced a study claiming that wind power could produce up to 20% of the world’s power needs by 2030. Given the well known difficulties of wind, as expressed in articles referenced above, one could say that this estimate is a bit optimistic.”
    Not if the Greenies are successful in reducing the total power production of the world by – say – 50%, intending – of course! – to save us from global warming by dropping the CO2 production by the human race by 50% by 2030. Of course, 10% of current energy production is probably much too high for wind power as well, so perhaps a reduction of power production by 90% by 2030 is more likely their goal.

  31. brad says:
    “Got the argument now Smokey?”
    I understand the argument, and your attempted re-framing of it.
    Regulation is not a bad thing, so long as it is applied evenly across the board, and not corrupted. My point, which sailed right over your head, is that government caused the problems cited.
    “Wall Street” is a red herring. Government has police power to regulate the situation. But the corruption of government regulators that you refer to almost always goes unpunished. No wonder there is so much of it.
    The problem is with the corrupt government, no more and no less.

  32. @Smokey says:
    October 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm
    brad says:
    Exactly right, Smokey.
    Well thought out, focussed regulation is essential.
    But the great majority of regulation we see now in the UK and Europe is poorly conceived regulation, for regulation’s sake. The driver for it is (a) to extend the control over the economies of the nation states by an incompetent and unaccountable EU commission (=political elite) and (b) to preserve the jobs of batallions of extremely well paid regulators.
    I could write a book about all the “unintended consequences” and flat failures of much of this ‘regulation’, especially in environmental and health & safety fields (which most affects my work).
    I don’t think the situation in the USA is much better.
    If Brad is so keen on more regulation, he should go to Myanmar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, India (and about a hundred other states) and tell them all about it. Good luck to him.

  33. @DirkH,
    Yeah I used the with the reference in it but it didn’t show up :(, you are correct about it coming from someone who is firmly in belief of his religion Peter Goldmark I sourced it from the EDF site
    Brain washing is already beginning in schools, my 9yo son even knows about Global Warming and has told us not to use the car as he is scared that the house will be under water with all the oceans rising, the sad thing is we don’t watch commercial television. so wonder where he gets all this gibberish from?

  34. “Earth poised to ecologically collapse bringing down biosphere, humanity & most if not all creatures. Avoidable but requires increase in knowledge & immediate biocentric action.” – Ecological Internet, Dr. Barry
    “We know Earth dying and being for all creatures coming to an end – deal with it and commit to reversing – or you are the problem.” – Ecological Internet
    http://pathstoknowledge.net/2010/10/18/an-ecological-internet-prophet-soothsaying-doomsday

  35. I notice that the President of Chile did NOT close down all deep mining in Chile; because they had an earthquake mine collapse; which would have put a whole lot more Chilean miners in jeopardy. And once they knew the trapped miners were still alive; he made sure that nothing got in the way of getting them out.
    Quite a difference from the reaction of our boy king to the Gulf drilling platform blowout.
    And the first lady; in her campaign speeches, claims that he is spending all of his time in the White House working on the Nation’s problems. Well that excluded the time he spends out on the golf course of course; not to mention the time he spends out giving Jim Jones style sermons to the college kids.
    Sometimes the difference in leadership is obvious; even to the untrained eye. I prefer the Chilean model.

  36. Smokey-
    Agree on gov – but isn’t an ethical business community that does not lie to regulators for their own gain, and attempt to draft and “game” regulation for their own advantage also needed?

  37. News today in the UK: For the first two quarters of this year wind generation ran at only 5% of installed capacity owing to light winds.
    But don’t worry, the spokesman for the Wind Energy lobby assured us that this was a once in two hundred years event!
    The mind boggles at what lies they will come out with next.

  38. Methinks that the latest disaster in the Gulf is ample demonstration that changes in regulation are necessary. Perhaps it is impossible to prevent such disasters, but it should not be for lack of trying.
    The lift of the ban comes a few months after the incident. Doesn’t seem to be too egregious.

  39. Brad says:
    “Agree on gov…”
    OK then, we’re on the same page. Regulation is necessary because, as Niccolo Machiavelli wrote: “Men are evil unless compelled to be good.” Regulators compel. At least that’s the theory.
    Government does the regulating; business is regulated. As long as the government is honest, everything works. But when the regulators become corrupt, we get problems like BP’s oil spill.
    Has even one government regulator lost his job over that oil spill — which killed eleven men? Do you think any regulators heads will roll over allowing rig safety to be compromised? If not, why not?
    The problem is the failure of government to police itself. The problem is systemic, and it has become much worse under the current Administration — which now admits it cannot account for the whereabouts of quite a few $billions in stimulus cash. And President Obama has announced that he himself will be the one dealing out BP’s $20 billion fine — a fine levied with no law authorizing it, and no law giving the president the authority to hand it out to whomever he pleases. But that’s what is happening.
    The U.S. Treasury issued the “lost” stimulus funds, and you can be sure all that money is in someone’s pockets. It didn’t just evaporate. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is the guy in charge [Geithner is also head of the IRS]. That is the same Timothy Geithner who was caught cheating on his income taxes — and who was subsequently confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of the Treasury!
    Where are the honest regulators and auditors? If Diogenes was looking at the government today, he’d have the same problem he’s always had.

  40. DirkH says:
    October 17, 2010 at 2:22 pm
    Oh God no. Eugenics for WII a la 10:10
    Actually, I can see that going down quite well with some youngsters. 🙁
    DaveE.

  41. Smokey says: ” Regulation is necessary because, as Niccolo Machiavelli wrote: “Men are evil unless compelled to be good.” Regulators compel. At least that’s the theory.
    Government does the regulating; business is regulated. As long as the government is honest, everything works.”
    Your quote from Machiavelli defeats your argument, sir. All men are evil unless compelled to be good. Who, then, is to compel the regulators to be good? Paradox; invalid argument.
    As long as the government is honest?? Since when has government ever been honest, when the regulation of businesses is concerned? The desire for bribes, to advance the economic interests of their friends, of their relatives and the political interests of their allies in government are the dominant and actual motives of those who regulate. Few bureaucrats below the position of a field inspector and none above it have any other motive. Well, actually, pure self-aggrandizement for ego satisfaction – strutting around and acting like a very important official in other words – may play a larger role in the lower ranks than in the upper ones, depending upon how much discretion is in the hands of the lower and how much actual cash might safely be coerced from the inspectees.
    I confess to a skepticism engendered by a 35-year career in law, beginning as a paralegal and court reporter in a state district court in Texas and finishing as a practicing attorney in that state. So it is possible that my observations of the behavior of “regulators” over that time period may be biased. Unlikely, in my opinion, but who am I to say, eh?

  42. Well it seems to me that “regulations” are usually promulgated by “regulators”; which are nearly always an un-elected branch of Government for which there is no Constitutional foundation or authority.
    So when was the last time that Government knew better how to do something, than competitive private enterprise ?
    So it is naive to believe that regulations or adherence to regulations would have prevented the gulf blowout. But it is an axiom of Monday morning quarterbacking, that if you can discover the root cause of what happened; then ergo it could have been prevented by regulation.
    Well you see the trick really is to discover the root cause of the accident; BEFORE the accident happens. Only then can you prevent it; or at least lower the probability of its occurrence.
    And anyone who is smart enough to have; prior to the event, uncovered an impending accident in the making, and its cause; would be working for the oil company; rather than doing paper shuffling in some Government regulator office.
    The California Air Resources Board; which is a Political appointee body, has precisely zero scientists among its membership as far as I am aware; well I believe one member was once a nurse; which is not to knock the nursing profession (bless their hearts) but to point out that regulatory bodies should at least know a bit more than how to spell the name of the industry they are supposed to regulate.
    Barney Frank, and Chris Dodd bullied banks (with help from a wet behind the ears Chicago junior politician); to lend money to buy houses, to people who didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever making the payments; and the banks went along, because the Government insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would buy up those loans from the bank before the ink even dried on the contract; and when the whole house of cards collapsed, then the power of the IRS would be used to make taxpayers foot the bill for the cleanup.
    And when you give money to people to buy bread; so they can get bread for nothing that everyone else has to pay for; then the value of money goes away. So naturally, the price of houses went through the roof, since anyone who wanted one, could get one for nothing; so you might as well get a big expensive one that you can’t pay for, as a small one.
    So the price for housing for those who actually could pay for their mortgages, was driven through the roof. Inflation occurs when you inject money into a stable closed system; above and beyond the ability of that system to provide goods and services.
    During the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and the rape and destruction of their cultures; the Spanish galleons returned to Europe with gold and silver and jewels aplenty; that were simply commodities to the meso-Americans. With all that new money flowing in the streets of Europe in the early 1500s, the first age of inflation started, since there wasn’t enough stuff to buy with all that plunder of the Americas. The Consumer Price Index had been stable since at least 1066 and who knows how long before that; with the ups and downs duing wars and the like; but it always returned to the same stable base line; until the Conquest of meso-America.
    Now the Spaniards didn’t always make it back home with all that illicit loot. That was if you recall the Elizabethan era, and old Lizzie had her own bunch of Pirates like Frank Drake and his buddies. So they hijacked the Spanish galleons anywhere they could, and snatched their own share of the goodies, which they took back to England.
    Well Lizzie was no dummy; and she snatched all the loot off the Pirates at the docks, and tossed it into the Royal coffers; rather than let it rattle around on the streets.
    As a result, during the Elizabethan era, the consumer price index in Europe went up by a factor of 6 to a new level; but England did not experience that inflation; because the state grabbed all the riches; which it subsequently used over the next centuries to effectively buy the British Empire.
    The consumer price index remained at its new 6x level all the way up to the 1930s; when the US went off the Gold Standard; and then it commenced a new era of inflation at about the same global rate as during the early 1500s; and we have been on that inflation escalator ever since.
    An ounce of Gold would buy you a nice suit in the 1920s; it still will today.
    Yes we need more regulation by ignorant fools; of enterprises that they know nothing about.

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