Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

Note: Normally this appears on Sunday, but I’m way behind this week- Anthony

THIS WEEK:

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

Today marks the re-launch the SEPP web site, www.sepp.org. The web site is on a new server with an exceptional software system that allows great flexibility and features that were not available on the previous system, to include advanced search options. One can now view current and past TWTWs on www.sepp.org. These will be updated consistently.

Significant work remains to be done so parts of the site will be under construction for some time. Please bear with us. Within a few months we expect to build a reliable and current search tool for all. For the next month TWTWs will be listed in the new site and the temporary site http://www.haapala.com/sepp/index.cfm. The temporary site will be phased out in February.

************************************

While many people were on their holidays, or stranded in snow bound air or ground traffic, the Obama Administration was advancing its goal of controlling use of carbon based energy. On January 2, the US EPA will start enforcing a new regulatory system that requires special permits for new facilities or ones significantly improved. These permits severely restrict greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Of course, the main GHG that is being regulated is carbon dioxide. Currently, the main targets are power plants, refineries, iron and steel, pulp and paper, and cement plants. Subsequent regulations are forthcoming for existing facilities, boilers, etc. and new trucks, and automobiles.

It is useful to re-cap how the EPA obtained its position to declare that, under the Clean Air Act (CAA), it has powers to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) a trace gas that is so necessary for life.

The CAA contains no rigorous definition of pollutant or toxicity. Its language is vague. Massachusetts sued EPA claiming CO2 emitted by automobiles was a pollutant under CAA, which EPA has the power to regulate. Joining Massachusetts were California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, the cities of New York, Baltimore ,and Washington, DC, the territory of American Samoa, and the Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Advocates, Environmental Defense ,Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, International Center for Technology Assessment, National Environmental Trust, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

The following is from an EPA Fact Sheet: http://www.epa.gov. [H/t Richard Trzupek]

On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court found that GHGs, including carbon dioxide, fit within the definition of air pollutant in the CAA. Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007). The Court found that when responding to a rulemaking petition under section 202(a) of the CAA, EPA was required to determine whether or not GHG emissions from new motor vehicles cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare, or whether the science is too uncertain to make a reasoned decision.

On December 7, 2009, the EPA Administrator signed two distinct findings regarding GHGs under section 202(a) of the CAA:

Endangerment Finding: The Administrator found that the current and projected atmospheric concentrations of the six, key, well-mixed GHGs-CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6 –threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. (Emphasis added.)

Cause or Contribute Finding: The Administrator found that the combined emissions of these well-mixed GHGs from new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engines contribute to the greenhouse gas pollution which threatens public health and welfare.

To expand its power that was limited to a Supreme Court decision on new motor vehicles, the EPA used a well-honed technique. EPA entered into consent agreements (privately negotiated) with friendly litigants. These consent agreements were endorsed by Federal courts. These agreements, not contested, require that EPA expand its powers to include power plants, refineries, large boilers, cement plants, etc. Thus, EPA now claims many companies and states are now subject to its powers even though those so regulated had no clear opportunity to protest.

According to EPA documents, the litigants with whom it reached consent agreements are: New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and the City of New York; Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Environmental Integrity Project.

These events are a stark example how significant environmental policy is all too frequently established in Washington – certain agencies expand their powers by consent agreements with friendly litigants using vague laws. There is little actual scientific evidence establishing the need for such policy, or public discussion, or any clear responsibility by the publicly elected representatives.

There are at least three courses of action to defeat EPA’s expansion of power: 1) litigation; 2) Congress removing from the EPA the power to regulate CO2, and 3) Congress removing funding of sections of EPA. Each method has its weaknesses.

A number of parties including Texas, Alabama, and Virginia have filed litigation challenging the Endangerment Finding (EF) that CO2 threatens human health and welfare. SEPP is one of the parties claiming the EF has no scientific basis. The EF is based on the 2007 IPCC report which contains great inaccuracies and false scientific claims. At most, EPA should have declared the science is too uncertain to make a scientific finding.

The litigation is proceeding very slowly and the courts have denied the petitions that EPA’s rulemaking should not go into effect until after the courts have decided on the scientific merit of EPA’s EF. The weakness of this approach is that all too frequently the courts defer to the “expertise” of the bureaucracy and do not fully consider the merits of the statements by plaintiffs. It is noteworthy that, generally, media articles that advocate expansion of EPA power fail to mention the scientific issue.

A second course of action is Congress removing from the EPA the power to regulate CO2. Will such an action pass both the significantly revised House of Representatives and the somewhat revised Senate and obtain the signature of President Obama?

A third course of action requires that the significantly revised House of Representatives remove from EPA the funding to enforce its regulations. Will it have the audacity to do so?

Please see Articles # 4 and 5 and the articles under “EPA and Other Regulators on the March” including the articles that Texas is intensely fighting the EPA. (In the near future, EPA documents quoted above will appear on the web site www.sepp.org.)

************************************

The Department of Homeland Security has now added climate change as a priority. What this means is unclear. The Department of Agriculture, once known for establishing policy based on the best available science, has announced that it will accept environmental activists and critics of genetically modified crops to participate in regulatory decisions. This may be another blow to environmental policy based on science. (Please see articles under “EPA and Other Regulators on the March.”

In addition, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has come up with a scheme on how to deliver expensive, unreliable electricity from wind farms in the Midwest to the East that wants such electricity but is unwilling to pay for the long distance, high voltage lines necessary to obtain it. (Even T. Boone Pickens now recognizes wind farms do not work.) FERC’s solution is to require all utilities in the path of these lines to pay for them even if these utilities prefer to obtain electricity from affordable, reliable, traditional sources. Of course, this scheme is directly contrary to the long held legal principle of regulated utilities that the user pays. (Please see Articles # 7 and 8.)

************************************

Extreme weather is the focus of many political commentators and some policy makers. Northern Europe and eastern US has suffered from extreme cold and heavy snowfall. Unusual cold and snow have occurred in central China and in Australia as well. Unfortunately, many people are dying or suffering from these winter events.

Of course, we are being treated by the usual winter chorus of those who correctly declare that weather is not climate and we cannot assume extreme cold events, in themselves, are proof of cooling climate. Unfortunately, many in this chorus are in the summer chorus that declares that hot weather events are proof of global warming.

In their apparent efforts “to communicate better with the public”, advocates of human-caused global warming have created a number of explanations for this cold. It appears as if the advocates are seeking the explanation which the public finds most plausible. For example, human-caused global warming is causing the Arctic ice to melt, which causes heavy snows to fall early in Siberia. The snow reflects sunlight, causing heat to escape into space, thus causing winter cooling. This explanation, and many others, requires that the planet has a negative feedback to human-caused warming, which advocates refuse to admit.

In the UK, the Met Office is under severe attack for predicting three mild winters in a row when the UK is now experiencing a third severe winter in a row. Why have these climate experts and their exceedingly expensive computer models performed so poorly? A reader provided an April 2007 press release from the UN Environmental Programme (one of the two parent organizations of the UN IPCC) which may provide the answer: “Europe set for warmer northern winters …” If UN press releases so state it, shouldn’t the computer models do so as well?

************************************

TWTW Note: Several readers have asked why comments in TWTW suggest that government expenditures and subsidies in wind generated electrical power do not necessarily create growth in jobs and the economy. This issue will be addressed, briefly, in the next TWTW.

************************************

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 3. Three US Federal government agencies have recently announced they are expanding their regulatory powers under the rubric of human-caused global warming or climate change, or actions these beliefs entail – EPA, Homeland Security, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Some government agencies will do whatever is necessary to their expand power.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

SEPP Science Editorial #2011-1

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

Uncertainty in Climate Modeling

I recently read an interesting discussion on ‘uncertainty in climate modeling’ by Tebaldi, Schmidt, Murphy, and Smith in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, http://www.thebulletin.org/print/web-edition/roundtables/the-uncertainty-climate-modeling But the authors ignore some of the central problems that plague climate models that try to predict the development of future climate. I am referring here to three major issues:

1) Uncertainties of the scenarios that determine the emission of greenhouse gases, principally economic growth, which is closely tied to the use of energy. Economic growth in turn, is a function of population and economic development and may be roughly approximated by GDP growth. The IPCC lists a wide spectrum of what they consider to be plausible scenarios and calculates global temperatures for the year 2100 with an uncertainty spread of an order of magnitude [IPCC 2007, Fig. SPM.5, p.14].

2) Structural uncertainties. I include here uncertainties in climate forcing, both anthropogenic and natural; in climate feedbacks; and in the hundred or so parameters that go into constructing a model, mainly concerned with clouds. While the IPCC uses fairly precise numbers for the various greenhouse gases, it omits the most important one, namely water vapor. Its contribution is encompassed within the models in terms of a positive feedback that amplifies the forcing of anthropogenic greenhouse gases by a factor of about 3.

The uncertainties listed for aerosols are quite large, particularly for the indirect effects of aerosols in providing condensation centers for cloud formation. [IPCC-AR4 2007, Fig. TS-5, p.32]. In addition, aerosols come in different flavors, ranging from reflecting sulfates to absorbing soot particles. Unlike well-mixed GH gases, like CO2, aerosols show particular geographic and temporal distributions, which also affect climate projections significantly. Given the realistic range of aerosol compositions used here, it is not possible for global models to correctly calculate the cloud albedo effect if composition is ignored [Roesler and Penner 2010].

James Hansen, a leading climate modeler, called attention to our inadequate knowledge of radiative forcing from aerosols when he stated, “the forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change” [Hansen 1998].

Parameterization is a vexing issue for climate modelers. James Murphy [Nature 2004] lists some 100 or more parameters that must be chosen, using the modelers.”best judgment.” Varying just six of these parameters related to clouds can change the climate sensitivity from 1.5 up to 11.5 degC [Stainforth et al 2005].

Even more important, the feedbacks (from WV and from clouds) may actually be negative rather than positive (as assumed in all climate models). This possibility follows from the analyses of satellite data [by Lindzen and Choi 2010 and by Spencer and Braswell 2010].

3) Chaotic Uncertainty. It is well understood that climate is a chaotic object and climate models reflect that property. The outcome of a particular model run (“simulation”) depends sensitively on the initial conditions; even minute changes can lead to greatly differing outcomes. For example, the five runs of a Japanese MRI model show temperature trends that differ by almost a factor of 10, an order of magnitude. (If more runs had been performed, the spread would have been even greater.) One can show [Singer and Monckton 2011] that taking the mean of an ensemble of more than 10 runs leads to an asymptotic value for the trend. However, most modelers face constraints on time and money and are not able to carry out so many runs. For example, of the 22 models in the IPCC compilation of “20 CEN” [an IPCC term for a group of climate models] there are 5 single run models, 5 two-run models, and only 7 models with four or more runs.

Conclusion:

Clearly, models cannot be used to predict future global temperatures reliably. (Note that variability and uncertainty of models is even greater for regional temperatures and for quantities other than temperature, such as precipitation.) The chief value of models, I believe, derives from their use to test sensitivity of outcome to variations in specific forcings or input parameters.

References:

Hansen, J.E., et al. 1998. Climate forcings in the industrial era. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95: 12753-12758.

IPCC-AR4 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press.

Murphy, J.M., et al. 2004. Quantification of modeling uncertainties in a large ensemble of climate change simulations. Nature 429: 768-772.

Roesler, E.L. and J.E. Penner. 2010. Can global models ignore the chemical composition of aerosols? GRL 37: doi:10.1029/2010GL044282

Singer, S.F. and C.W. Monckton. 2011. Chaotic behavior of climate models. (Submitted)

Stainforth, D.A., et al. 2005. Uncertainty in predictions of the climate response to rising levels of greenhouse gases. Nature 433: 403-406.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ARTICLES: For the numbered articles below please see: www.sepp.org.

1. Secondhand Smoke, Lung Cancer, and the Global Warming Debate

By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Dec 19, 2010

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/second_hand_s…

2. CARB’s Carbon Capers

By S. Fred Singer, American Thinker, Dec 27, 2010

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/carbs_carbon_…

3. No proof man causes global warming

Natural variation fits facts more closely

By S. Fred Singer, Washington Times, Dec 28, 2010

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/28/no-p…

4. How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab

Courts have yet to decide if the agency’s proposed controls on carbon emissions are even legal.

By Fred Upton (US Rep.) and Tim Phillips, WSJ, Jan 2, 2010 [H/t Moorad Alexanian]

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703929…

5. EPA Rules Will Trump Your Rights

Editorial, IBD, Dec 30, 2010

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

6. A Wind Power Boonedoggle

T. Boone Pickens badly misjudged the supply and price of natural gas

By Robert Bryce, WSJ, Dec 22, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704368…

7. The Midwest Wind Surtax

The latest scheme to socialize the costs of renewable energy

Editorial, WSJ, Dec 30, 2010 [H/t Randy Randol]

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204527…

8. The Wind Subsidy Bubble

Green pork should be a GOP budget target

Editorial, WSJ, Dec 20, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703395…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

NEWS YOU CAN USE:

Challenging the Orthodoxy

The Abiding Faith Of Warm-ongers

Editorial, IBD, Dec 22, 2010 [H/t Tom Sheahen]

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/557…

Time for global warming lobby to admit they could be wrong, says meteorologist

By Alex Singleton, Telegraph, UK, Dec 29, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/alexsingleton/1000…

Extreme Weather

Potsdam Climate Institute Now Says To Expect “Warmer Colder” Winters!

By P. Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 23, 2010 [H/t Anne Debeil]

http://notrickszone.com/2010/12/23/potsdam-climate-i…

[“Hard winters do not refute global warming, instead they more so confirm it.”]

Bundle Up, It’s Global Warming

By Judah Cohen, NYT, Dec 25, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/opinion/26cohen.ht…

[SEPP Comment: “Annual cycles like El Niño/Southern Oscillation, solar variability and global ocean currents cannot account for recent winter cooling.” A break through discovery, El Niño/Southern Oscillation, solar variability and global ocean currents are annual cycles.]

Biting winters driven by global warming: scientists

By Marlow Hood, AFT, Dec 21, 2010, [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h…

How a freak diversion of the jet stream is paralyzing the globe with freezing conditions

By Niall Firth, Daily Mail, Dec 22, 2010

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-13404…

Why is it so cold? Simple… it’s the North Atlantic Oscillation – and it’s got a bit stuck

By Fred Pearce, Mail, UK, Dec 28, 2010 [H/t Brad at Prescott]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-13416…

[SEPP Comment: But the IPCC dismisses such cycles.]

Heaviest December Snows in Six Decades to Further Disrupt New York Commuters,

Bloomberg, Dec 28, 2010

http://forum1000.com/top-stories/2010/12/28/heaviest…

Brace yourselves for a ‘mini ice age’: This winter set to be coldest in 300 YEARS

By Fiona Macrae, Mail Online, Dec 30 2010 [H/t Brad at Prescott]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1342515/UK-s…

Holiday Blizzard: More Signs of Global Warming

By Bryan Walsh, Time, Dec 28, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,20397…

Europe set for warmer northern winters, hotter southern summers and worsening droughts and floods

Press Release, UN Environmental Programme, April 2007 [H/t Robert Sheaffer]

http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.a…

[SEPP Comment: An April 2007 prediction from the IPCC – the true reason why the UK Met predicts mild winters three years in a row?]

GWPF Calls For Independent Inquiry Into Met Office’s Winter Advice

By Benny Peiser, GWPF, Dec 21, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]

http://www.thegwpf.org/uk-news/2086-gwpf-calls-for-i…

The Winner of This Year’s ‘Best Climate Predictor” Award (Clue: It Wasn’t Al Gore!)

By Howard Richman & Raymond Richmond, American Thinker, Dec 27, 2010

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/the_winner_of…

BP Oil Spill and Aftermath

Small producer raises its voice over permits, ATP Oil & Gas frustration grows as deep-water project awaits OK

By Tom Fowler, Houston Chronicle, Dec 27, 2010 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/biz/735…

EPA and other Regulators on the March

Obama’s regulators kowtow to Big Green, imperil the economy Editorial, Washington Examiner, Dec 26, 2010

http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/editorials/201…

E.P.A Limit on Gases to Pose Risk to Obama and Congress

By John Broder, NYT, Dec 30, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/science/earth/31ep…

EPA’s carbon-cutting power

Editorial, Washington Post, Dec 30, 2010 [H/t David Manuta]

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

EPA Agrees to Limit Emissions From Power Plants, Refineries

By Gabriel Nelson, Greenwire, NYT, Dec 23, 2010 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/12/23/23greenwire-…

EPA blows off Congress, voters

Editorial, Orange County Register, Dec 27, 2010

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/regulations-281791…

Messing With Texas

Editorial, IBD, Dec 28, 2010

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

Texas fiercely resists EPA air, water standards

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti, AP, Dec 30, 2010

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/30/texa…

Wilderness Policy Sparks Western Ire

By Stephanie Simon, WSJ, Dec 30, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704543…

[May be behind a paywall.]

Obama’s Energy Power Grab

By Rich Trzupek, Front Page, Dec 30, 2010

http://frontpagemag.com/2010/12/30/obamas-energy-pow…

Regs for Rigs: Update, EPA’s Diesel Truck Fuel Economy Standards

By Marlo Lewis, Master Resource, Dec 28, 2010

http://www.masterresource.org/2010/12/regs-for-rigs-…

[SEPP Comment: A three part series describing how EPA’s changing emission standards on heavy trucks lead to a decline in fuel economy which the EPA then used to justify establishing fuel economy standards. Of course, EPA does not admit that emissions standards reduce fuel economy. Instead it claims truckers and truck companies do not know how to best invest in order to reduce their fuel costs.]

Ag Department Uproots Science

Vilsack seeks out politically congenial scientific opinion

Editorial, WSJ, Dec 27, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703581…

[May be behind a paywall.]

Napolitano Makes Global Warming a Homeland Security Priority

By Rory Cooper, Heritage.org, Dec 21, 2010 [H/t Bud Bromley]

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/12/21/napolitano-makes…

Subsidies and Mandates Forever

Dealing in Hot Air

The Pitfalls of Europe’s New Emission Trading System

By Alexander Jung, Der Spiegel, Dec 30, 2010

http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,…

[SEPP Comment: A lengthy commentary of troubles with Europe’s carbon trading system.]

The Chicago Climate Club Gets Capped

By Larry Bell, Forbes, Dec 22, 2010

http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/22/chicago-climate-clu…

Massachusetts Sets Targets to Slash Carbon Emissions

By Felicity Barringer, NYT, Dec 29, 2010 [H/t Michael Schlesinger]

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/science/earth/30cl…

Energy Issues

China Fuels Its Ravenous Appetite for Coal

By George Will, Newsmax, Dec 30, 2010

http://www.newsmax.com/GeorgeWill/China-coal-carbonf…

[SEPP Comment: Another example of what China is actually doing rather than what political leaders and promoters of alternative sources of electricity would have us believe it is doing.]

From greenhouse gases to green agenda: 5 energy issues to watch

By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman, The Hill, Dec 27, 2010

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/135031-…

African Huts Far From the Grid Glow With Renewable Power

By Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT, Dec 24, 2010

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/25/science/earth/25fo…

[SEPP Comment: Valuable uses for solar and wind.]

Whistling in the Wind

Turbines and turbulence

Editorial, Nature, 468, Dec 23, 2010

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v468/n7327/full…

[SEPP Comment: Do wind farms cause climate change?]

US challenges Chinese wind power subsidies at WTO

By Andrew Beatty, Yahoo, Dec 22, 2010 [H/t Toshio Fujita]

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101223/bs_afp/wtotrade…

[SEPP Comment: Doesn’t the US subsidize wind power?]

U.S. Seeks to Lease Federal Waters for Wind Energy

By Tennille Tracy, WSJ, Dec 28, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204467…

[May be behind a paywall.]

A Wind Farm in Deep Water off the U.S. Coast

A new type of wind-turbine platform can be placed much farther from shore.

By Phil McKenna, Technology Review, Dec, 20, 2010

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/26964/?nlid=3…

[SEPP Comment: Those making a cost comparison with a nuclear plant forget that nuclear plants deliver over 90% of the time (except when humans shut them down for maintenance) and wind farms deliver when nature permits.)

Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC

For a full list of articles see www.NIPCCreport.org

Chinese Dust Storms

Reference: Zhu, C., Wang, B. and Qian, W. 2008. Why do dust storms decrease in northern China concurrently with the recent global warming? Geophysical Research Letters 35: 10.1029/2008GL034886.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/dec/21dec20…

Reality Check: Empirical Trends vs. global Warming Hype

A frequent claim of the climate alarmists and the IPCC is that CO2-induced global warming will negatively affect livelihoods and reduce well-being in the developing world. However, as shown in the material below, decades-long empirical trends of various climate-sensitive parameters related to human well-being suggest otherwise. The topics are; Agricultural Productivity and Hunger; Disease; Poverty; Extreme Weather Events; and Water Shortages

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/dec/21dec20…

Effects of Habitat on Coral Bleaching

Reference: Grimsditch, G., Mwaura, J.M., Kilonzo, J. and Amiyo, N. 2010. The effects of habitat on coral bleaching responses in Kenya. Ambio 39: 295-3-4.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/dec/28dec20…

Africa’s Vegetative future in a CO2-Enriched and Warmer World

Reference: Scheiter, S. and Higgins, S.I. 2009. Impacts of climate change on the vegetation of Africa: an adaptive dynamic vegetation modeling approach. Global Change Biology 15: 2224-2246.

http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2010/dec/29dec20…

Other Scientific Issues

The Continuing Recovery From The Little Ace Age” By Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Pielke Research Group, Dec 27, 2010

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/gue…

Other Issues that May Be Of Interest

China shrinks rare earths export quota

By Associated Press, Washington Times, Dec 28, 2010

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/28/chin…

[SEPP Comment: Trouble for turbines.]

China calls on other countries to develop their own rare earth resources

By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Dec 30, 2010

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/135493-…

Mainstream media helps to brainwash

By William Gray, Coloradoan, Dec 21, 2010 [H/t ICECAP]

http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=…

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:

Global Warming has Gone Downhill Best on the Web

By James Taranto, Best on the Web,WSJ, Dec 30, 2010

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703909…

[SEPP Comment: How the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Ski Areas Association saved skiing. May be behind a paywall.]

Behavioral Frontiers: Can Social Science Combat Climate Change?

Scientists remove some of the guesswork about how individuals will use energy in 2050 by looking at past campaigns to induce personal change and their effectiveness

By Lisa Palmer, Scientific American, Dec 28, 2010 [H/t Best on the Web]

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can…

Broken Glass Yields Clues to Climate Change

Press Release, National Science Foundation, Dec 27, 2010 [H/t WUWT]

http://nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=118267&org…

[SEPP Comment: An annual budget of $6.9 Billion must show something.]

Climate Change and ‘Balanced’ Coverage,

By Justin Gillis, NYT, Dec 23, 2010 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/23/climate-ch…

[SEPP Comment: According to Richard Alley of Penn State University, the worst case from a doubling of CO2 will be an increase of 16 degrees! No wonder Alley was an expert witness at the last hearing of the sub-committee on Energy and the Environment of the last Congress.]

Advertisements

41 thoughts on “Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup

  1. Well thank goodness the EPA and Homeland Security are on the ball, doing their best to kill off the core of the American economy.

  2. People are always seeking a solution/destination/conclusion; be it scientific, religious, political, etc. Unfortunately there are no solutions, conclusions, or destinations; only different wandering paths, doubling back on themselves and tangled like a bowl of spaghetti. Each liberally sprinkled with the unexpected.

  3. funny that the EPA could not stop real! poisons in water/soil/air ? for decades polluting companies got off scott free with plenty of evidence to take action, yet now, they can stop harmless co2..

  4. In one of the articles listed above (Secondhand Smoke, Lung Cancer, and the Global Warming Debate), Fred Singer refers to ‘self-styled “science historian” Professor Naomi Oreskes’. As she has a PhD in History of Science, I would have thought that Science Historian was a pretty valid title. To attempt to denigrate her in this manner just makes me think that I must take the rest of what he says with a dollop of salt as it too is unlikely to be free of ‘spin’

  5. Simple really, you crank up the cost of doing business in the US with onerous regulation and taxes, then bitch about jobs going overseas.
    You regulate mercury and lead out of houses and homes and power plants then force the mercury back in with corkSCREW bulbs.
    Yee Haw.

  6. EPA…will be turning off the heat and returning us to the glory days of living in caves. No lump of coal to warm your bed.

  7. Just as mankind cannot control earth’s climate, we cannot halt the progress of special interest groups on their quest for money in exchange for carbon credits.

  8. As we have seen over the last 5 years in New Zealand, despite many submissions to Parliament that the science in Climate Change is far from settled, the deaf machinery of bureaucracy grinds on relentlessly towards imposition of carbon controls and taxes. Despite the growing evidence of a non-correlation and non-causation from Co2 to global temperature, the machinery remains in place and its powers and influence grows throughout the many levels of bureaucracy. Despite New Zealand’s pitiful contribution to global Co2 emissions, we have burdened ourselves with a massive economic overhead. Yet the MSM never investigates, the silent majority remain mute and uninformed, and the government blindly marches ahead, seeking not the will of the people but the good graces of the UN.

  9. Everything on the science front against CAGW has been going very well recently, a battle that is being or probably has been won but the war is lost already. The political elite have the worldwide solutions are in place and have then been so lucky as to find a problem to apply the solution to. We have never had a chance.

  10. Definition of pollutant or toxicity =’ anything that will Kill -Harm you against your permission, control or choice in your particular “space”.
    To exemplify, it reminds me of an old joke that goes like this . . . What did the Sadist say to the Masochist who said “Hit me, Hit me” . The Sadist said: “NOOOOO!”
    By definition we live in a very diverse environment, that is always changing. ‘We’ are a part of that environment, but hardly in ‘control’ of it. But, we can have “some” influence of our direct environment. To exemplify again, we can not “STOP” exhaling CO2, but we can leave our trees to grow, or keep a plant ‘as a pet’!
    Models, to me, are for the purpose of pro-jecting future trends for the purpose of adaptation . . . . of things we have no control over.

  11. If you fellows had just run the Planetary Simulator — you would not need to run these stories…
    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/a-planetary-simulator-that-averts-crises/
    Technological advances over the next decade could pave the way for the realization of one of the most staggeringly complex computer projects ever conceived: a “planetary simulator” with the ability to simultaneously model everything from the spread of infectious diseases to the behavior of financial markets, a European scientific group developing the idea suggests.
    Modeling “the way ahead” — when has it ever failed us?

  12. As far as I can see the real reason that the eco-surrealists ever got anywhere is that most ordinary people are just too apathetic to standup to these eco-nannies and tell them where to go.
    Something tells me that nothing short of a power cut turning off every TV in the US will be enough to make the apathetic majority do anything!

  13. Related to Farm Dust
    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=460
    This appears to be the smokin’ gun related to the EPA Farm Dust issue. Apparently, agricultural practices in the Southwest have contributed to “soot” in the Arctic which has contributed to premature melt.
    So, instead of focusing on reclaiming desert areas (the principal cause) they have decided to make it someone else’s problem (farmers) and are likely to dictate farming practices related to tilling the ground.
    We don’t need another dust bowl but this could sadly add up to yet another example of inadequate governmental decision-making.
    When are we going to get some solid Industrial Design and Engineering into the problem-solving instead of two dimensional environmentalist drivel?

  14. A third course of action requires that the significantly revised House of Representatives remove from EPA the funding to enforce its regulations. Will it have the audacity to do so?

    This is the only hope, since clarifying the Clean Air Act to exclude CO2 would require President Obama’s signature in addition to Senate support. Non-funding for the EPA simply requires House inaction.

  15. “There are at least three courses of action to defeat EPA’s expansion of power: 1) litigation; 2) Congress removing from the EPA the power to regulate CO2, and 3) Congress removing funding of sections of EPA. Each method has its weaknesses.”
    Another method exists — pitch forks and torches wielded by an angry mob. It too, has its weaknesses, but it sure does draw attention.

  16. Ah, yes, the old couldn’t find Terror bin Laden but might find Anthropogenic in Global Warming trick.
    I’ve seen it before. If you can’t cheat, bring in someone who can.

  17. Gary says:
    January 4, 2011 at 10:35 am
    “There are at least three courses of action to defeat EPA’s expansion of power: 1) litigation; 2) Congress removing from the EPA the power to regulate CO2, and 3) Congress removing funding of sections of EPA. Each method has its weaknesses.”
    Another method exists — pitch forks and torches wielded by an angry mob. It too, has its weaknesses, but it sure does draw attention.

    Yes, but perhaps not the kind of attention you or anyone else in that angry mob would want.

  18. Why such a subterfuge? Instead of justifying the unjustifiable, by using a “rotten” and silly theory, why don’t you make a gentlemen agreement, in order to pay, say, as in my country, US$5.43 per US gallon of premium gasoline, but, with the binding condition of not mentioning again anymore and not trying to cheat innocent people anymore too, with such a preposterous theory of “Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption, caused by Greenhouse Gases”

  19. You seem to think that EPA may be argued with. Let me tell you how it is in Norway.
    1) We have a CO2-tax on electric energy, which is actually around 50% on top of the energy price (including other taxes, like energy tax).
    Note that Norway is the country in the world that is absolutely without need of any energy form involving CO2 for electric energy to households because we have built so many hydro-electric dams. We, however, got a new energy law in 1992 and after that was subject to a so-called common Nordic market for energy. This involved coal-fired power plants in Denmark and nuclear power plants in Sweden. When for instance the wind blows in Denmark, most of the energy from the wind turbines wind up in Norway because Norwegian hydroelectric plants are so easy to regulate. When the wind ceases in Denmark, they must then import energy from Norway. Thanks to that exchange between the countries, we pay a CO2-tax. A totally baseless, useless tax.
    2) We are of course self-sufficient with oil from the North Sea. As a consequence we pay the highest prices in the world for gas/petrol to our cars. Today the local price was $8,60 per gallon.
    In addition to this, the socialist government wishes collective transport to grow and the private use of cars to cease. Therefore they are planning the following:
    – taxing you if your company provides you a place to park,
    – forbidding city centres and shopping malls having free parking, which means they must get paid for your parking while you are shopping,
    – making all streets in city centres narrower so that it will be harder to drive in towns,
    – and they have proposed that there shall be no free driwing and that you must apply for permission to drive to work – and – for bringing your babies to kindergarden!
    – and they have proposed taxing you if you can park in your own front or back yard.
    Yesterday I was told that in one nearby county, they now have removed the bus stops on the side of the roads so that the bus has to stop in the middle of the road for passengers. This means that car-drivers will get annoyed and hopefully give up driving and use the bus instead!
    3) Cap-and-trade are in full swing in Norway, but companies are not eager to buy permits as they are so over-taxed already that a lot of companies already have moved out of the country. So the prime minister recently announced that it would become law that all and everyone must pay CO2-permits for everything. If I am to use an aeroplane, the law has required that I pay a CO2-permit with the ticket and it is done automatically.
    You have no idea how far socialists and environmentalists can go in taxing and forbidding normal human activity.
    [REPLY – Yikes! I will quote this. ~ Evan]

  20. We should all do our best to reduce CO2 emission. One way we could all do this is to hold in every other breath. That way we can reduce CO2 by 50% and save the planet!

  21. Curiousgeorge says:
    January 4, 2011 at 10:54 am
    …Yes, but perhaps not the kind of attention you or anyone else in that angry mob would want.

    George,
    That’s why in the US constitution the 1st amendment is protected by the 2nd amendment.

  22. Just wait until all of the animal rights groups find out what great “eagle choppers” all those wind farms are.

  23. Gary says:
    January 4, 2011 at 10:35 am
    “There are at least three courses of action to defeat EPA’s expansion of power: 1) litigation; 2) Congress removing from the EPA the power to regulate CO2, and 3) Congress removing funding of sections of EPA. Each method has its weaknesses.”
    Another method exists — pitch forks and torches wielded by an angry mob. It too, has its weaknesses, but it sure does draw attention.
    The best (possibly) method is for one major electricity producer to state at a conference that they intend to fully comply with the EPA’s dictate to reduce CO2 and that they will shut down all of their carbon based generating capacity at a specific date, perhaps a week into the future. Ideally this would be during winter and include the District of Columbia.

  24. “In the UK, the Met Office is under severe attack for predicting three mild winters in a row when the UK is now experiencing a third severe winter in a row.”
    Today’s hard copy Daily Telegraph carries a report that the MET Office advised the government in late October that the upcoming winter would be exceptionally cold. This information was kept secret so as to avoid further opprobrium should this forecast prove to be as inaccurate as it’s predecessors of the past few years.
    How unfortunate that Wickipedia was unable to illegally release this information into the public domain, where persons responsible for road salt orders, the road and rail transport networks, Airports, animal husbandry, Health etc, might have been forewarned of the chaos that then ensued.
    Had those responsible persons been readers of this blog, they would of course have been in no doubt of the nature of this coming winter, but would also have read, just a few days before the snows came, that the MET Office prediction was for a milder winter than last.
    That these people, assisted by government spin doctors, are consummate LIARS, there is no doubt. To peddle the lies so close to the actuality shows a total contempt for the obsequious MSM and the unquestioning illiterate masses.

  25. I’m watching what goes on in the states (USA) from Australia. And mmaaannn. You guys are stress’n me out.
    With all this economy trashing anti Co2’ing going on… What’s going to happen when Obamas debt bubble bursts?
    I struggled to learn new languages at high school. Don’t make me have to learn Mandarin. 🙂
    HHHmmm, I wonder of this can get to the point where the constitution is perceived to be threatened?

  26. @Hu McCulloch 10:27 am:
    Let the House of Reps propose and pass a simple 1-page law that says in effect:
    The EPA shall not regulate CO2 emmissions of under authority of the Clean Air Act, nor the authority of any other law passed by Congress that is currently in effect.
    I suspect that will pass with 67% of the House.
    Let’s find out who in the Senate will oppose such a measure on a fillibuster vote.
    Let’s find out if the President would veto it.
    Let’s find out if it cannot be overridden.
    Let’s name names.
    The Climate has reached “Tipping Point”. The POLITICAL Climate is such that the Statists, to mix a metaphor, are going “All In” with their current poker hand and hoping it survives the Turn and River. It is now or never for them.

  27. These TWTW documents are great summaries, and the archives go all the way back to 1997. I just sampled a few from then and do remember reading them before.
    SEPP and CEI are Worth Supporting!

  28. Expansion of power, and equally important, weakening of the economies of the opposition is the theme here.
    Isn’t it funny how the Blue Dog Democrats were supported by “Big Tobacco”, and tobacco became a target, then the southern agricultural support was targeted with peanut scares and “Frankenfoods”. Now “Big Oil” is the target, which means Texas is dead center in their sights.
    Now the “Right Thinking Folks” in CA have put their state into bankrupcy (just not formally declared), and will expect everyone to give them a bailout. When their CARB messes up the data on diesel so bad, you just know they’ve really got some folks who care running things – I’m waiting for them to ban breathing.
    None of this requires any sort of planning, just plenty of fools in positions to take action.

  29. Comment to the above:
    nemesis says:
    January 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I have quite some experience with energy efficiency and energy metering and the like, and I don’t like the development within the area in Norway either. Controlling the energy consumption at households are thoughts that are nearly 20 years old within the faculty at the university I used to work at and am still affiliated with.
    The socialists (and I shudder to mention that not only them, but quite some other politicians too) wish to be able to shut down various appliances in the home. This is not so much due to control as to the fact that when it is very cold, the nationwide grid is not built for all the energy transmission, and it costs very much extra to expand the grid and add transmission lines in order to cater for the top consumption.
    Therefore they wish to be able to send control signals out to each household in order to shut down their water heater, for instance.
    This can easily be extended to controlling anything within a house, I am sorry to say.
    There is also an idea that has been floating around for more than 20 years, that energy prices should vary through the day (with the consumption) and the consumption for each household be measured every say 15 minutes. It is possible, but I think the main reasons why this hasn’t been installed yet are 1) that this will lead households to wash dishes and clothes at night, thus leading to greater risk of fire and consequently deaths, and 2) that the systems that should collect all the data are not able to, in fact not only because of bandwidth, but also because of the systems locally with each energy provider.
    Socialists are greedy for control, for telling people how much energy they can use.
    What is really remarkable in this debate in Norway is that during the last 20 years, no politician ever hinted at measures against private companies or the state or county offices and buildings and so on. They continue to attack the households which use about 30% of the nations electrical energy, and where numerous research have shown that there is little more you can do with the households because they already have implemented nearly every scheme for energy efficiency there is commonly available.
    The Edison lightbuld was outlawed in Norway last summer, but as I knew about this before it happened (while it hit most people like a bomb) I calculated the number of various bulbs we would be using the next 50 years – and bought them. So we have this secret storage of illegal light bulbs downstairs (ha, ha). So even if they conk out of old age before they get used, they have been so incredibly inexpensive compared to the new quicksilver-containing savings bulbs, that it doesn’t matter at all.
    But – the saving for us at least is that we have implemented electro-osmosis in the home, and save tremendously, but that is another story.

  30. Martin Mason says: (January 4, 2011 at 9:55 am)
    “Everything on the science front against CAGW has been going very well recently, a battle that is being or probably has been won but the war is lost already. The political elite have the worldwide solutions are in place and have then been so lucky as to find a problem to apply the solution to. We have never had a chance.”
    —–
    I’m afraid you’re absolutely right… I still have hope though that we live in an age of reason instead of stupid, but it’s hard to stay optimistic at times.

  31. KLA says:
    January 4, 2011 at 11:55 am
    George,
    That’s why in the US constitution the 1st amendment is protected by the 2nd amendment.

    I’m well aware of the 2nd, having spent 30 years in the Marines and 40 years as a NRA member. The 2nd is also under attack (and has been for decades), as I’m sure you know; as are many other rights. One only needs to listen to the words of politicians (on both sides of the aisle ). The word “rule” is far more prevalent than the word “serve”. The usefulness of the 2nd is only as good as the willingness of the people to exercise it. Most are unwilling to commit to that level of support. As has been said: “Many are very good at enjoying freedom, far fewer are good at defending it. “

  32. Unusual cold and snow have occurred in central China and in Australia as well. Unfortunately, many people are dying or suffering from these winter events.

    yehbut … it’s actually summer down here, mate.
    In fact the snow is not that unusual at altitude, but the overall temps are quite low for the time of year. I’ve been in North Queensland over the hols and it is about 2C lower than usual, and down here in Sydney it is also about 2C lower than usual most of the time this spring and summer. A typical La Nina effect, I suspect, but it is annoying to still have to use a dooner (duvet).

  33. Geir in Norway says:
    January 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    The Edison lightbuld was outlawed in Norway last summer, but as I knew about this before it happened (while it hit most people like a bomb) I calculated the number of various bulbs we would be using the next 50 years – and bought them. So we have this secret storage of illegal light bulbs downstairs (ha, ha).

    I have found they do not age well. If left for a year or so, they do not last long at all. I strongly suspect the vacuum is not kept well and air leaks in causing the element to corrode much more quickly. It could be fixed by using an inert gas instead, but that would cost, and make them last longer, and who needs that when selling, eh?
    BTW: “Eco-bulb cost to treble: Makers cash in as the ban on old-style bulbs kicks in” says the Daily Mail
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343554/Eco-bulb-cost-treble-Makers-cash-ban-old-style-bulbs-kicks-in.html

  34. Nick says:
    January 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm
    With all this economy trashing anti Co2′ing going on… What’s going to happen when Obamas debt bubble bursts?

    My guess is that when the can-kickers run out of road, they’ll punt and suspend the regulations for the duration of the downturn. That’s the petition that failed to pass in California this time around, but hard times, plus a distinctly colder year or two, will concentrate voters’ (and politicians’) minds.

  35. JER0ME and Geir in Norway
    I have an outside security light (100w?) mounted at the high peak of my roof.
    I hardly use it, but it has cycled thru triple-digit summers and hard-freeze winters.
    I have never replaced it, but it still works after nearly 30 years.

  36. We live in interesting times.
    On the one hand there is the fact that during 2010, most or all of the scientific research supporting AGW has been shown to be wrong.
    On the other hand, government departments in the USA, Australia and elsewhere are proceeding methodically to implement restrictive regulations in a fruitless attempt to control the climate.
    Meanwhile, sitting rather uncomfortably between the above rock and a hard place, is a growing realisation that, at best we are moving into the normal cold phase of the 60 year cycle OR at worst, the climate (without our approval) is slipping into another far deeper and colder decline.

  37. Meanwhile, in a typical “wisdom of crowds” style the public are slowly awaking to the scam.
    When wil the MSM and then the politicans sit up and take notice?
    Will it be in 2011, 2012, 2013 …….. 2479?
    (My guess is that our economies cannot wait until 2479).

  38. Gary says: “…Another method exists — pitch forks and torches wielded by an angry mob. It too, has its weaknesses, but it sure does draw attention.”
    Did you see the videos of the huge Tea Party march on Washington? Marchers were estimated at anywhere from o.8 to 2.0 million. The headline in my daily paper read: Thousands March on Washington…” Think about it.

  39. Geir in Norway
    I visited relatives in Norway last year and was shocked at the taxes!! I asked why cars are so expensive? A dealer showed me an invoice and explained that the co2 tax produced for the life of the car is figured in and must be paid up front!! plus the cost of junking the car also!! Who in there right mind would buy a new car in Norway??

Comments are closed.