Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

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

The US news this week was dominated by the elections during which the Republicans won convincing control of the House of Representatives. By the Constitution, the House controls the purse strings of the US government. To a large part, the election was driven by middle class voters who appear to feel disenfranchised by Washington. Because many of the supporters of the “tea party” are not committed to the Republican Party, the Republican hold may be temporary. Nonetheless, we can expect changes in Washington that may have a significant bearing on the scientific and environmental policies of the Federal government.

The general view is that cap-and-trade and energy taxes have no hope in the new Congress. However, there is concern that in spite of the significant losses of energy control politicians, the current Congress may pass a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). The current Congress will reconvene on November 15 in what is called a “lame duck session” and the new Congress does not assume power until January 3, 2011.

Some members of the science establishment have resorted to denouncing many of the winners as “anti-science” because they do accept the claim that man’s emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming. The accusers often claim that these politicians are misguided by a cabal of deniers funded by the fossil fuel industry. An example of an extreme article is “Professional climate change deniers’ crusade” by Michael Mann, published in New Scientist, who declares any challenge to his work is an attack on science. Mr. Mann still does not admit that his “hockey stick” model fails a basic test for verification – it produces a “hockey stick” from white noise. Please see Oh, Mann! below.

Another attack on human caused global warming skeptics is “A New Kind of Crime Against Humanity?” by Donald Brown, an Associate Professor of Climate Ethics at Penn State University. As with similar attacks, Brown is strongly ad hominem and weak on facts. That certain entities in the scientific establishment publish such unsubstantiated attacks does not serve the interest of science or the public. Please see the reference to Brown’s web site at Penn State under Defending the Orthodoxy.
California, where the environmental groups won, will continue to exemplify the consequences the energy schemes created by the environmental industry, and their political enablers. Voters defeated a proposal not to implement a massive cap-and-trade scheme until the California unemployment rate falls to 5.5%. The current unemployment rate in California is about 12.4%. During past recessions, California unemployment rate usually was well below the U.S. rate. But in this recession it is well above the US rate of 9.6% — the highest US sustained rate since the Great Depression.

The American founding fathers believed that states would provide excellent laboratories to test what policies succeed and what do not. The environmental industry told the voters of California that the renewable energy industry (“clean energy”) will lead the state out of its recession. It would be well for other states and the Federal government to wait to see if the experiment is successful.

In spite of the election, bureaucrats in New Mexico approved aggressive cap-and-trade regulations for New Mexico even though voters elected a new governor opposed to such measures. No doubt, there will be major issues when the new governor assumes office.
On a more positive note, according to a publication on its website, the American Physical Society (APS) is planning to form a new Topical Group on the physics of climate. This is largely in response to a petition, organized by APS Fellow Roger Cohen and a few others, and signed by 200 members. A poll of the membership drew some 800 members in support of such a group. At this time it appears that the organizing chair will be Nobel laureate Jerome Friedman of MIT, one of the signers of the Cohen petition. All are to be congratulated for opening up a forum to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the physics of global warming and climate change. Please see Article # 1 below.
Litigation involving SEPP opposing the EPA Endangerment Finding that carbon dioxide endangers public health and welfare is proceeding with glacial speed. However, there are several other litigation issues of interest.

According to a Washington Post article, a Federal judge has set December 23 as a deadline for the Interior Department to explain why polar bears were listed as “threatened” and not “endangered.” Of course, polar bear populations are increasing and there is no scientific reason to list them as either. But by obtaining a listing as “threatened” the environmental industry was able to claim that vast areas off the north coast of Alaska should be off limits to oil and natural gas exploration. As suggested in the article, a listing of “endangered” could be used as another means for the Federal government to control carbon dioxide emissions.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas is the only state that is not establishing regulations for greenhouse gases or allowing EPA to establish them, as EPA asserts it has the power to do under its Endangerment Finding. This may lead to a Texas showdown. Please see referenced articles under EPA and other Regulators.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is following up its litigation against NASA for the failure of NASA to release information CEI demanded as early as 2007 under the Freedom Of Information Act. These requests include explanation of changes NASA made to the historic temperature record, work by NASA scientists for private blogs while working at NASA, and some 3500 emails relating to this work. The changing of the historic temperature record may have significant bearing on the EPA Endangerment Finding as well as claim that the NASA-GISS data set is not independent as EPA asserted. Unfortunately, the inappropriate actions of NASA-GISS may reflect on NASA itself. Please see Article # 5 below.
Roy Spencer has posted the latest University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Globally Averaged Satellite Based Temperature Anomaly of the Lower Atmosphere for October: +0.42 deg. C – the lowest of 2010. Comparing 2010 with 1998, from January to October, 2010 is slightly below 1998 but not statistically significantly so. Sea surface temperatures continue to fall dramatically. Please see the web site: drroyspencer.com.
THE NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 20.1 GWe to 0 GWe. According to the World Nuclear Association (cited in TWTW last week), China added 20.1 GWe of hydroelectric generating capacity in 2008. According to the US Energy Information Administration the US added 0 GWe of hydroelectric generating capacity in 2008. [Please note: that due to heavy spring rains in the southeast, total generation in the US went up in 2008 compared to 2007, but there was no increase in actual capacity. The environmental industry long ago successfully shut down any major increase in US capacity.]
Renewable energy advocates fail to mention the giant steps China is making in the expansion of hydroelectric power, which expansion the US has stopped. Instead, the advocates mention only solar and wind.. Yet in 2008, China expanded wind power capacity by only 4.7 GWe – less than one-quarter of its expansion of hydroelectric capacity. [Effective capacities of each type were not identified, but the dispatchable (reliable) capacity of wind is tiny compared to hydro.]

What is a supreme irony in environmental industry policies is that some of the increase in China’s hydroelectric capacity is being financed by carbon credits from Europe that are imposed by green policies. According to the NYT’s article “A Carbon Trading System …” referenced below, the U.N. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows companies in industrialized countries to sponsor a greenhouse gas (GHG) reducing project in developing countries. The sponsoring country picks up carbon credits and the developing country gets the cash. As of 2008, the total cash transferred was close to $7 Billion. No wonder China is closing old inefficient coal burning plants. It is getting cash from Europe for doing so and replacing these with hydro! (All the while opening up new coal fired plants at an amazing rate.)

According to a NYT article, the UN Environment Program’s data base shows the executive board of CDM approved 1,668 hydroelectric power projects of which 1,060 are in China. Please see the article under Defending the Orthodoxy.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #33-2010 (Nov 6, 2010)
S Fred Singer Chairman, and President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
American Thinker, Nov 3, 2010

The French Academy Lays an Egg

The august French Academy has spoken. After a cursory examination of the climate issue, a day of selected testimonies, and some internal discussion among admitted non-experts, their Oct. 28 report to the French science minister concluded that global warming is “real and anthropogenic.” Too bad; this report will remain as a stain on the Academy’s reputation for years to come — once the true scientific facts gain acceptance.

How could the Academy reach such a conclusion? Simply by ignoring any contrary evidence — all published in peer-reviewed journals and readily available. So another interesting question is: Why did they ignore contrary evidence? For the answer, we would have to turn to psychologists or sociologists. On the other hand, the French Academy should be praised for organizing a debate on climate, however imperfect. I cannot imagine that the U.S. National Academy would even consider such an idea.

The global climate indeed warmed between 1910 and 1940, but due to natural causes, and at a time when the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases was relatively low. There is little dispute about the reality of this rise in temperature and about the subsequent cooling from 1940 to 1975, which was also seen in proxy records (such as ice cores, tree rings, etc.) independent of thermometers. The Academy, following the U.N.-supported IPCC, then reports a sudden climate jump around 1977-1978, followed by a steady increase in temperature until at least 1997. It is this steady increase that is in doubt; it cannot be seen in the proxy records..

Even more important, weather satellite data, which furnish the best global temperature data for the atmosphere, show essentially no warming between 1979 and 1997. According to well-established textbook theories of the atmosphere, the surface warming must be smaller than the atmospheric trend by roughly a factor of two. But one half of zero is still zero. It suggests that the surface warming reported by the IPCC, based on weather-station data that had been processed by the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University (CRU-EAU) may not exist. How could this have come about? We will get the answer once we learn how the CRU selected particular weather stations (from some thousands worldwide) to use for their global product and how they then corrected the actual data (to remove urban influences and other effects). So far, none of the several investigations of “Climategate” has delved into these all-important details. Nor have they established the exact nature of the “trick” used by the CRU and fellow conspirators to “hide the decline” (of temperature) — referred to in the leaked Climategate e-mails.

The disparity between surface trends and atmospheric data as measured by satellites (and independently also by radiosondes in weather balloons) has been known for more than a decade. Yet it has been steadfastly ignored by the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers and also by the French Academy. Evidently, it is not a subject they wish to discuss. In my book, Hot Talk, Cold Science, published in 1997, I show a graph that clearly delineates the difference between surface and atmospheric trends in the tropical region. In 2000, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences even published a study called “Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change”; this work tried to account for the discrepancy between atmospheric and surface trends (between 1979 and 1997) and concluded that they could not. A federal report of 2006 by the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP-SAP-1.1) shows again the same disparity. Yet an obvious way to solve the puzzle is to conclude that the surface trends are vastly exaggerated and may even be close to zero.

Of course, it is also necessary to deal with sea surface temperatures, since oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface. An analysis of the available data shows again no appreciable warming trend after appropriate corrections have been made. As suggested in studies published in 2005, the reported warming trend of SST may be based on an artifact and is not real So it becomes clear that the French Academy’s conclusion (that global warming is “real and anthropogenic”) does not accord with observed facts.

An obvious question is why these facts were not publicized earlier. I can say only that any such claim of “no global warming in the 1980s and 1990s” would have been shouted down and discounted by the scientific community and the public. However, “Climategate” and the subsequent discovery of many errors and shortcomings by the IPCC have changed the situation drastically. It is now OK to express what previously might have been considered heretical.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For the numbered articles below please see: The Week That Was

1. Plans Afoot for Topical Group On the Physics of Climate
By Michael Lucibella, APS Physics website, Oct 2010 [H/t Moorad Alexanian]

2. The Green Bubble Is about to Burst
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Nov 5, 2010

3. U.S. Weighs Funding for Renewable Energy Projects
By Stephen Power, WSJ, Nov 3, 2010

4. Skinning the Carbon Cat With EPA
Editorial, IBD, Nov 4, 21010

5. Not the Last You Will See of “Climate” Oversight
By Chris Horner, American Spectator blog, Nov 4, 2010, [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Climategate Continued
Who are the deniers now?
By Roger Helmer, MEP, Oct 31, 2010 [H/t Joe Bast]

Australia’s High Quality Data: 12-year-sites used for “long term” trends
By Joanne Nova, Nov 6, 2010

Challenging the Orthodoxy
Atlantic through the AMO drives apparent “global warming”
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Nov 1, 2010

Diminishing Returns From Multi-Decadal Global Climate Model Simulations
By Roger Pielke Sr., Pielke Research Group, Nov 5, 2010 [H/t Anthony Watts]

It’s Time To Pardon Carbon
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Oct 28, 2010 [H/t Joe Bast]

US election narrows climate agenda
By Shaun Tandon, Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 4, 2010

Defending the Orthodoxy
A Carbon Trading System Draws Environmental Skeptics
By Patricia Brett, NYT, Oct 12, 2010 [H/t Willis Eschenbach, WUWT]

A New Kind of Crime Against Humanity?: The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Disinformation Campaign On Climate Change
By Donald Brown, Penn State University, Climate Ethics, Oct 24, 2010
[SEPP Comment: No wonder Penn State gave Michael Mann a pass.]

A stormy forecast for climate change reporting
By Margot O’Neill, ABC, AU, Nov 3, 2010 [H/t Anthony Watts, WUWT]

Weather Extremes
2009/10 Winter El Nino Very Different than 1997/98; Look at US Winter 2010/11
By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP, Nov 2, 2010

BP Oil Spill and Aftermath
Columbia = The Gulf
Editorial, IBD, Nov 2, 2010
[SEPP Comment: The country of Colombia is willing to go forward where the US administration prohibits.]

Energy Issues
Scarcity of new energy minerals will trigger trade wars
By Christa Strantton, Geological Society of America, Nov 1, 2010

Deregulation, Not Renewable Energy Mandates, Will Best Protect Both Economy and Environment
By Joseph Bast, American Thinker, Oct 31, 2010

EPA and other Regulators On the March
Texas is the only state ignoring federal greenhouse gas deadline
By Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Houston Chronicle, Oct 29, 2010 [H/t Timothy Wise]

Judge sets deadlines in polar bear listing case
By Dan Joling, Washington Post, Nov 4, 2010

New Mexico regulators approve cap-and-trade plan
By Susan Montoya Bryan, Bloomberg Businessweek, Nov 2, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

EPA’s Regs for Rigs – Fuel Economy Fetish Goes Diesel
By Marlo Lewis, Master Resource, Nov 5, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Apparently EPA believes it better understands profit centers for the trucking industry than the CFO’s of trucking firms.]

EPA policy chief steps down
By Robin Bravender, Politico, Nov 4, 2010 [H/t Bud Bromley]]

California Dreaming
Tuesday’s environmental impact
The Republican takeover of the House puts an end to hopes for a federal bill. But headway will still be made at the state level.
Editorial, Los Angeles Times, Nov 5, 2010 [H/t Real Clear Politics]

Calif. Rail project is high-speed pork
By Robert J. Samuelson, Nov 1, 2010 [H/t David Manuta]

Oh, Mann!
Professional climate change deniers’ crusade
By Michael Mann, New Scientist, Nov 2, 2010

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see www.NIPCCreport.org

The Ups and Downs of Tropical Cyclone Activity in the Western Hemisphere
Reference: Wang, C. and Lee, S.-K. 2009. Co-variability of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific. Geophysical Research Letters 36: 10.1029/2009GL041469.

Surviving the Perfect Storm
Reference: Godfray, H.C.J., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R.., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J.F., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S.M. and Toulmin, C. 2010. Food security: The challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science 327: 812-818.

The Medieval Warm Period in China’s Tarim bAsin
Reference: Ma, C-M., Wang, F-B., Cao, Q-Y., Xia, X-C., Li, S-F. and Li, X-S. 2008. Climate and environment reconstruction during the Medieval Warm Period in Lop Nur of Xinjiang, China. Chinese Science Bulletin 53: 3016-3027.

Coral Calcification on the great Barrier Reef
Reference: De’ath, G., Lough, J.M. and Fabricius, K.E. 2009. Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef. Science 323: 116-119.

Other Scientific Issues
Gravity Field Satellites Observe Antarctic Ice Mass Fluctuations Due to El Niño
Science Daily, Oct 29, 2010 [H/t Jeff Braswell]

Other Issues that May Be Of Interest
Goodbye Global Warming, Hello Biodiversity
By Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, Oct 30, 2010 [H/t Joe Bast]

House Science Chair Enters Debate Over Biodiversity Pact’s Bar on Climate Engineering
By Eli Kintisch, Science Insider, Oct 29, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

The German Ecological-Industrial Complex
By Malte Lehming, WSJ, Nov 4, 2010

Obama’s electric-car cult
By Charles Lane, Washington Post, Oct 30, 2010 [H/t Deke Forbes]

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

UNH scientists to study cow burps … and more
By Clynton Namuo, New Hampshire Union Leader, Nov 3, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]


14 thoughts on “Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

  1. Donald Brown, an Associate Professor of Climate Ethics at Penn State University

    So Penn State decides to double down on Climate Change. I feel bad for all of you that have science degrees from there.

  2. ‘The Academy, following the U.N.-supported IPCC, then reports a sudden climate jump around 1977-1978, followed by a steady increase in temperature until at least 1997. It is this steady increase that is in doubt; it cannot be seen in the proxy records.’

    Surely this is pointing to a limited understanding of UHI and the global growth of population and land use.

    “Anyone who examines world population growth over the past two centuries certainly must be astounded, and quite possibly alarmed. The global population reached one billion in 1804. In 1927, some 123 years later, it passed two billion. Sixty years later, in 1987, the world population was five billion, and 12 years later, in October 1999, it is estimated to have passed six billion. Small wonder that many are concerned about what this bodes for our future.”
    From http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/human_pop/human_pop.html

    There is no way that you could state that UHI has not changed between 1927 and 1999 with a trebling of the global population and this has to be taken into account.

  3. “Associate Professor of Climate Ethics ” What exactly does that discipline teach? that it would be unethical not to believe in Global Warming? Did it come with a box of cornflakes or did you need to save stamps at your local supermarket?

  4. “Some members of the science establishment have resorted to denouncing many of the winners as “anti-science” because they do accept the claim that man’s emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming.”

    The new paradigm…

    “Anti-science” = Anti-Climate Ca$h

    Time to defund these clowns…no more pork projects for the climate elites. Let them learn a new skill…

  5. People need to educate themselves about batteries – referring to “Obama’s car cult” above. Here’s a little info that may help – http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20022049-54.html . The main issue of course is the impact of this on resale values. I suspect it will be significant – far greater than an ICE vehicle of similar initial value.

    GM is “envisioning” refreshing EV batteries. This can be done of course, but you never get back to original condition. I can foresee unwary owners being sold “refreshed” batteries at new prices, or buying a used EV with “refreshed” rather than new batteries, but not being told the truth of the matter by the dealer or previous owner.

    Partial excerpt:
    “Like all rechargeable batteries, the lithium ion batteries used in the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and other electric vehicles coming to market degrade over time. These cars will continue to run but the range they can travel on a charge is expected to be impacted over time. Auto industry executives say to expect a 20 percent to 30 percent drop in range over 8 to 10 years. ”

    “GM apparently does not expect such a process would fully restore batteries, though. “The power and capacity loss associated with the SEI (solid electrode interphase) layer, as well as the decomposition of the liquid electrolyte, are thought to be at least partially reversible, and it has been found that a low power and capacity battery may be able to recover at least a portion of its power and capacity for further use,” according to the patent application. “

  6. “Some members of the science establishment have resorted to denouncing many of the winners as “anti-science” because they do accept the claim that man’s emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming.”

    Should that be “don’t?”

  7. “Some members of the science establishment have resorted to denouncing many of the winners as “anti-science” because [they do accept] the claim that man’s emissions of carbon dioxide are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming.”

    I feel you have a small error in this sentence I think you ment to write [they do not accept].


  8. Two things that astound me every time:

    1. China is building hydroelectric power plants still (How many power plants can their rivers support effectively really?) And the western world has pretty much stopped due to hippie policy.

    2. Everyone that looks at China is amazed at the progress and speed of their wealth collection due to building, and renewing, all that old stuff called infrastructure. And the same people think: If only we could do that too, right? But, of course, in the real western world building new and approved, and update the old, infrastructure is a utopia hampered by even more god damn hippie policy!

  9. I have no idea how you missed this story…


    In executive suites across the country, James Cameron’s much-publicized September visit to Alberta must have set tongues a-clucking. After calling the province’s oil sands a “black eye” for Canada, the supremely confident Hollywood director had been invited to come see them for himself.

    Mr. Cameron ended his brief tour – which included meetings with local politicians and aboriginal leaders – by calling on the Alberta government to do a better job of managing oil-sands pollution. To his credit, he showed a sophisticated knowledge of current conservation efforts. And as a native of Chippawa, Ont., Mr. Cameron couldn’t be written off as a Yankee megastar delivering Canadians a patronizing lecture on the environment.

    On that note, Mr. Cameron also admitted that he used to be hotheaded and rude on the set – a leadership style he now regards as counterproductive. “You have to inspire people to do their best by respecting them,” he said. “Even going into a room where you know going in that you’re probably going to disagree with almost everything the other person says, if you respect them, you’ll still find some way to be constructive. And if you don’t, then you can yell at them.”

    But standing you up for a debate? Another matter…

  10. Is the – “hockey stick” from white noise – a new meme? It used to be “red noise”, which I always felt should generate a hockey stick anyway, given the circumstance. But if “white noise” is the new thing, you might need to justify it a bit more.

  11. A confidential document on The Energy Policy of the Governing Liberal Party was released today in Ontario by the opposition Conservative party. The Energy Policy of the Liberal Party is widely considered to be a failure — with skyrocketing energy prices and increasing health concerns over the noise from Industrial Wind Turbines.


    Excerpts from the document:

    * “In this it will be critical to ‘confuse’ the issue in the political/public/media away from just price.” (p.2)
    * “Lack of considerable economic investment (jobs) to yet come online (lots of announcements to-date but few have actually been realized yet).” (p.3)
    * “Residential rates will increase another 36 percent in 2012.” (p.14)
    * “ Research needs to support this, and should be coordinated with MEI and OPA.” (p.7)
    * “In order to talk past the noisy activists (Hey, that’s us!) and editorial positions, there needs to be a coordinated, paid, earned and social media campaign.” (p.9)
    * “Further research is also required post spike in bill fury, including focus groups to colour, wording and emotion to craft effective, targeted messages”. (p.8)
    * “Perception that the pro-renewable sector (industry, ENGOs, etc.) have been too quiet and need to be mobilized. This needs to be addressed immediately!” (p.4)
    * “Goal is to have $300,000 in hand through contributions from developers and manufacturers to seed the campaign. Each developer asked for a financial contribution of $15,000-$30,000 to support this effort. Anonymous contributions to the campaign are possible.” (p. 11)


    The renewable energy sector is heavily subsidized via Income Tax credits and direct charges added to energy bills. In other words — taxpayer dollars.

    The Liberal Party is no asking that some of the money be returned to the Liberal Party and it’s organizers to further the campaign to extract more tax dollars to pay for over-priced wind and solar energy.

    This is the new frontier for the Green Movement — Energy!

    This type of campaign will be coming to a place near you. Hang onto your wallet!

Comments are closed.