By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
This week the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the US House of Representatives held a hearing entitled: “A Rational Discussion of Climate Change: the Science, the Evidence, and the Response.” We attended the first two panels of three panels of this almost 4 hour long hearing. A video of the entire hearing can be found at: http://www.c-span.org/… and the submitted testimony at http://science.house.gov…
Since the new Congress does not convene until January, the hearing was held under a House controlled by the Democratic Party. The following are a few impressions of the proceedings.
Several members commented how unusual it was to have one dissenter on each panel. The usual practice has been one dissenter for the entire hearing. This change, no doubt, was in response to the elections. Chairman Brian Baird (D) of Washington chose not to run again in a contested district and Ranking Member Bob Inglis (R) of South Carolina lost his primary election to a tea party candidate. Both Baird and Inglis expressed great concern over ocean acidification from increased carbon dioxide.
Returning Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) from Maryland advocates electricity from alternative sources. Among other reasons he believes in “peak oil” and that a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) is needed to compete with China as well as for national security. Apparently, he is unaware that only 1% of electricity is generated from oil and RES will do virtually nothing to lessen dependence on foreign oil.
Also returning are Rep. Ralph Hall (R, Texas) and Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R, CA). Hall read into the record a statement questioning global warming claims and supporting industry. Rohrabacher stayed for much of the portion we attended, asking questions from the witnesses and submitting into the record President Eisenhower’s farewell address to the nation in which he cautions the public of the dangers of a military-industrial complex and a scientific-technological elite controlling public policy.
On the first panel the advocates were represented by Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences, Gerald Meehl of National Center for Atmospheric Research (NACR), and Heidi Cullen of Climate Central. The dissident was Richard Lindzen of MIT.
In the oral testimony and the Q & A Cicerone and Meehl were typical, both relying heavily on models and authority. Both asserted that warming causes changes in cloud cover (clouds are a feedback). Cicerone claimed sea level rise is increasing. Meehl asserted increases in climate extremes and temperature extremes in the past decade. He ignored the 1930s. Politely described, Heidi’s comments are forgettable.
In the oral testimony and the Q & A, Lindzen was exceptional. He asserted that the wrong question is being asked – the key consideration is climate sensitivity. He outlined areas of general agreement, for example, that the calculated effect of a doubling of CO2 will likely result in an increase in temperatures of about 1 deg. C and observations indicate one half that. He pointed out that the different models use different values for aerosols [values which are not empirically determined] but are adjusted by the modelers. Lindzen asserted the influence of clouds is some 20 times the influence of CO2. When asked how much cooler would the earth be would be without CO2, Lindzen said about 2.5 deg. C. The others questioned this estimate but gave no meaningful rationale for their doubt.
The advocates on the second panel were Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Richard Alley of Penn State, and Richard Feely of NOAA. The dissident was Patrick Michaels of Cato.
The Q & A during the second panel was quite interesting Michaels held his own against Santer, who obviously believes that anyone who disagrees with him is absolutely, totally, undeniably wrong.
No doubt some of the committee members were disturbed by the testimony and comments by Richard Feely of NOAA. He claimed ocean acidification has increased 20% which is resulting in dire coral die off, and if it continues, millions of species will become extinct. Feely claimed sea organisms are already becoming smaller. During the Q & A he asserted that a pH of 7.7 [a base] will cause the Arctic and Antarctic oceans to become corrosive from top to bottom. No doubt under the current administration, “ocean acidification” is becoming a big push from NOAA as one of the scary consequences of increasing CO2.
[Fortunately, the website CO2 Science continues to compile the largest online database on ocean acidification. Craig Idso states: “for the degree of pH decline that is projected, we do not find the disaster that is promulgated by the alarmists.” Populations of some organisms may decline, but populations of many others will likely grow. See http://www.co2science.org/data/acidification/acidifi…
Evidently, Rep. Inglis is so taken by the term “ocean acidification” that he produced an egg in which the shell had been dissolved by a combination of water and vinegar, which is an acid. Apparently, he believes oceans will become an acid rather then become less alkaline.
The advocates repeated the slogan: multiple lines of evidence. What is meant by lines of evidence is not clear.
November 20, 2010 marks the one-year anniversary of the appearance of the Climategate emails. Thus far, there are no official announcements of who did the deed – a leaker or a hacker. Over the year, the transformation is remarkable. A year ago it appeared likely that an international agreement would be reached whereby Western nations, at least, would permit an international organization to control the use of fossil fuels. Today it appears unlikely for many of these nations. A year ago the slogan was Climate Justice, which is rapidly disappearing. As importantly, after two decades of propaganda a monolithic belief has been cracked and in many circles open questioning of this belief is permitted. Please see the articles referenced under Climategate
Of course there are some organizations in which the monolithic belief continues, including Science Magazine, which reviewed a defamation of character of those who questioned this belief as a serious work of history and refused to publish the rebuttal by the only surviving member of those defamed. Please see Article # 1.
Scientific American conducted a poll of its readers and is discovering that many of its readers are not thoroughly indoctrinated in the belief that humans are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming. Please see Article # 2
The efforts to conduct a thorough investigation of some of the legal issues raised by the Climategate emails continue. Please see Article #3.
The US EPA continues its march to impose highly restrictive regulations on a nation that is suffering from high unemployment. One new effort is the issuance of a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) policy guidance to state agencies for issuing permits power plants and other stationary sources of greenhouse gases.
By issuing vague guidance rather than clear rules, the EPA cleverly manipulates the system. First, the comment period is very short Second, it allows the EPA arbitrary power to what complies with the guidelines and what does not. Third, it may allow-third party green industry groups to sue to develop friendly out-of-court settlements that ignore the affected parties. The last is common in environmental regulations such as “wetlands.” It appears that Texas is refusing to go along. Please see articles under EPA on the March.
THE NUMBER OF THE WEEK is 4.7 GWe to 8.5 GWe, or the nominal electrical generating capacity of wind installed in China in 2008 as compared to that installed in the US. So much for the claim that China is leading in wind – at least in installed capacity. (For wind generation, installed capacity is not a particularly meaningful measure because nature, not human operators, controls the amount of electricity generated at a specific time. Thus, wind is unreliable and requires expensive and inefficient back-up.)
Summarizing the actual electricity capacity being installed in China as compared to the US:
Nuclear power plants under construction: China 24, US 1
Hydroelectricity capacity added in 2008: China 20.1 GWe, US ZERO.
Coal fired electricity capacity added in 2008: China 658 GWe, US 0.7 GWe.
Wind generated electricity capacity added in 2008: China 4.7 GWe, US 8.5 GWe.
Contrary to what politicians and alternative energy promoters claim, China is not in a race with the US to build alternative sources of electricity. It is in a race to build all the affordable, reliable electricity-generating capacity it can from traditional sources for the benefit of its citizens, their children, and grandchildren.
The sources for the above are the Department of Energy and the World Nuclear Association.
For the numbered articles below please see: The Week That Was
1. A Response to “The Climate Change Debates”
By S. Fred Singer, Energy & Environment, Vol. 21. Num. 7, Dec 2010
[SEPP Comment: The rebuttal Science Magazine refused to print.]
2. A New Consensus
Editorial, IBD, Nov 12, 2010 [H/t Tom Sheahen]
3 The Global Warming Court Battle
By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Nov 14, 2010
4. An Energy Drink for the GOP
The Republicans have yet to make the billons wasted on job-killing subsidies to green energy projects a top issue
By Kimberley Strassel, WSJ, Nov 19, 2010
5. Obama Plays 3-Card Monte In Gulf
Editorial, IBD, Nov 18, 2010
6. The Renewable Electricity Standard Con
By Kenneth Haapala, American Thinker, Nov 13, 2010
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
November 20, 2009: The Day “Global Warming” Ended
By Alan Caruba, Warning Signs, Nov 17, 2010
Climategate – still the issue
By Anthony Watts, WUWT, Nov 20, 2010
Climategate: One Year and Sixty House Seats Later
By Marc Sheppard, American Thinker, Nov 20, 2010 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
The year climate science was redefined
The 12 months since the leaking of emails written by climate-change scientists have seen major shifts in environmental debate
By Mike Hulme, Guardian, Nov 16, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]
What Does Climategate Say About Science?
By Terence Kealey, GWPF, Nov 19, 2010
Challenging the Orthodoxy
From Global Warming To Global Climate Disruption
The Scientific Alliance, Nov 19, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]
Kracked Up Over Krakatoa: Models Have It All Wrong
By Patrick Michaels, World Climate Report, Nov 17, 2010
Another AGW argument bites the, er, dust
By Ed Morrissey, Nov 12, 2010, Hot Air
Canada dodges carbon suicide
By Peter Foster, Financial Post, Nov 18, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]
Dependence on borrowed research has cost us, says Jairam Ramesh
The Hindu, Nov 18, 2010 [H/t Tom Sheahen]
Defending the Orthodoxy
ABC admits it’s a propaganda arm of government
By Joanne Nova, Nov 20, 2010
Carbon price now or we’ll pay later
By Julia Gillard [Prime Minster] Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 17, 2010 [H/t Des Moore]
[SEPP Comment: Raising electricity costs is the path to prosperity -for whom? Since businesses do not know if Australia will tax electricity from coal, it is imperative to do it now. Will businesses then know taxes will not be raised in the future?]
As Kyoto plan collapses, Plan B emerges
By Dalibor Rohac, Washington Times, Nov 12, 2010
IPCC Official: “Climate Policy Is Redistributing The World’s Wealth”
Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection, says the German economist and IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer. The next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.
By Bernard Potter, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, Transl. Philipp Mueller, Nov 14, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano Climate Depot]
Climate Wars: Nick Stern Threatens U.S. With Trade Boycott
By Ben Webster, The Times, Nov 19, 2010 [GWPF]
Deutsche Bank, Al Gore And The $10 Billion Climate Fund
By Christian Hiller, Transl. Philipp Mueller, Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, Nov 10, 2010
[SEPP Comment: What’s wrong with making money when we’re saving the planet?]
Cost-effective ways to address climate change
By Bjorn Lomborg, Washington Post, Nov 17, 2010 [H/t Donna Bethell]
[SEPP Comment: Assume the most extreme claims are probable; then less extreme claims are rational.]
Seeking a Common Ground
Soul searching enviro-journalists admit they look duped and should have talked to skeptics
By Joanne Nova, Nov 9, 2010
BP Oil Spill and Aftermath
The ecological monster who said … peep
Why the Gulf oil spill didn’t spread to the voting booths
By Ben Lieberman, Washington Times, Nov 18, 2010
White House edits stain its reliance on science
By Dina Cappiello, AP, Nov 10, 2010
Disarmament In America’s Energy Security Battles
By Larry Bell, Forbes, Nov 18, 2010
Report: Energy Storage Technology Development Critical for National RES
Power News, Nov 17, 2010
[SEPP Comment: A report from the American Physical Society supports RES while recognizing that commercially viable storage and a better grid are necessary.]
US wants China to reciprocate green energy subsidies
By Staff Writers, Energy Daily, APF, Nov 15, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Let Ethanol Subsidies Die
By Ronald Bailey, Reason, Nov 16, 2010
Clean energy: Economic key to 21st century
By US Senators Debbie Stabenow, Kay Hagan, and Mark Udall, Politico, Nov 17, 2010
Leaking underground CO2 storage could contaminate drinking water
By Tim Lucas, EurekAlert, Nov 11, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
[SEPP Comment: No matter how much is spent, Carbon Capture and Storage may go the way of Yucca Mountain.]
EPA and other Regulators On the March
EPA is offended by Texas’ successful permit rules
By Katheleen Hartnet White and Mario Loyola, Washington Examiner, Nov 17, 2010
[SEPP Comment: EPA and Texas are headed for a showdown as EPA attempts to exceed its regulatory powers. First of three parts with other parts referenced in the article.]
Cap-and-tax is dead but Kyotoism is alive and well at the EPA
By Marlo Lewis, Washington Examiner, Nov 15, 2010
EPA Issues GHG BACT Guidance
Power News, Nov 17, 2010
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
DOI Approves 500-MW Solar Plant
Power News, Nov 17, 2010
[SEPP Comment: A German firm gets $1 Billion in tax credits, which may be cash, for providing 180 to 200 permanent jobs, or $5,000,000 per job. This does not include other subsidies such as loan guarantees and higher rates through RES.]
California’s Destructive Green Jobs Lobby
Silicon Valley, once synonymous with productivity-enhancing innovation, is now looking to make money on feel-good government handouts.
By George Gilder, WSJ, Nov 16, 2010
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see NIPCC Report
Biological Effects of “Ocean Acidification”
Reference: Vézina, A.F. and Hoegh-Guldberg, O. 2008.. Effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. Marine Ecology Progress Series 373: 199-201.
Intensified El Ninos in the Central Equatorial Pacific
Reference: Lee, T. and McPhaden, M.J. 2010. Increasing intensity of El Niño in the central-equatorial Pacific. Geophysical Research Letters 37: 10.1029/2010GL044007.
ENSO Activity and Climate Change
Reference: Langton, S.J., Linsley, B.K., Robinson, R.S., Rosenthal, Y., Oppo, D.W., Eglinton, T.I., Howe, SS., Djajadihardja, Y.S.. and Syamsudin, F. 2008. 3500 yr record of centennial-scale climate variability from the Western Pacific Warm Pool. Geology 36: 795-798.
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Discrepancies
Reference: Song, J.-J., Wang, Y. and Wu, L. 2010. Trend discrepancies among three best track data sets of western North Pacific tropical cyclones. Journal of Geophysical Research 115: 10.1029/2009JD013058.
Other Scientific Subjects
Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore, Cnet, Nov 17, 2010 [H/t A. J. Meyer]
Scientists isolate ‘anti-atom’ for study
Looking for first antimatter
By Frank Jones, Washington Times, Nov 18, 2010
Other Issues that May Be Of Interest
What’s driving Obama’s subsidies of Chevy Volt
By George Will, Washington Post, Nov 14, 2010 [H/t Randy Randol]
Cap-and-Trade Exchange Calls It Quits
By John Collins Rudolf, NYT, Nov 17, 2010
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas
By Justin Gillis, NYT, Nov 13, 2010 [H/t David Manuta]
US PV Market Has Incredible Upside To Growth Potential
By Jose Ignacio Briano, SPX Eclareon, Nov 17, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]