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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #31-2010 (Oct. 16, 2010)
S Fred Singer Chairman, and President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
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.
For the numbered articles below please see:
1. Liberating the gulf
Editorial, WSJ, Oct 13, 2010
2. Drill, North Dakota, Drill
Editorial, IBD, Oct 11, 2010
3. Captive Clients Determine the Success of Energy Initiatives
By Tom Fuller, Watts Up With That, Oct 13, 2010
4. First do the research, then make deep carbon cuts
By Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian, Oct 14, 2010
5. Taking The Wind Out Of Wind Power
By Peter Glover, GWPF, Oct 13, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
6. Shootout at the EPA Corral
Texas takes aim at the White House’s illegal carbon rules
Editorial WSJ, Oct 10, 2010
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
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
Challenging the Orthodoxy
When Is A Model a Good Model?
By Roger Pielke Sr. Pielke Research Group, Oct 11, 2010 [H/t Francois Guillaumat]
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
Opening closed minds
By Des Moore, Quadrant Online, Oct 6, 2010
The scientific world is fracturing
By Joanne Nova, Oct 10, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
No consensus among climate scientists after all
By Des Moore, The Australian, Oct 14, 2010
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]
[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]
Dangerous Carbon Pollution: Propaganda from Climatism
By Steve Goreham, Big Government, Oct 8, 2010
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]
U.N.: ‘Credible’ climate report needed
UPI, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t GWPF]
Text of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
American Physical Society Row
Roger Cohen Responds to APS response to Hal Lewis Resignation
By Roger Cohen, ICECAP, Oct 13, 2010
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
Warmer, wetter climate helping U.S. farmers grow more crops
USA Today, Oct 8, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]
[SEPP Comment: See article below.]
Study; Crop failures to increase with climate change
USA Today Oct 8, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]
[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
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
China’s Will To Drill
Editorial, IBD, Oct 13, 2010
Sluggish Economy Curtails Prospects for Building Nuclear Reactors
By Matthew Wald, NYT, Oct 10, 2010
[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
New research questions hydroelectric reservoir emissions
By Staff Writers, Energy Daily, Oct 11, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Biomass Power Encounters a New Regulatory Forest
By David O’Connor and Christian Termyn, Mintz Levin, Oct 2010
[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]
[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]
EPA global warmers power grab
Editorial, Washington Times, Oct 9, 2010
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
The right to question Michael Mann’s climate research
By Joe Barton, Washington Post, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t Randy Randol]
Cuccinelli calls for environmental, economic balance at energy conference
By Rosalind Helderman, Washington Post, Oct 14, 2010
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC. For a full list of articles see:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miscellaneous Topics of Possible Interest
Moonlighting as a Conjurer of Chemicals
By Natalie Angier, NYT, Oct 11, 2010
[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]
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]
[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]
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]
Cigarettes: A Secondary Cause of Global Warming
By Ken Bosket, Star City News, Oct 12, 2001 [H/t Watts Up With That]