By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
President Obama began an effort to show his administration is business friendly. The administration appointed GE President Jeffrey Immelt to head the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. As a key member of US CAP, Immelt championed cap-and-trade that, if passed, would have resulted in special privileges and monetary benefits to select companies, especially GE. Many critics consider Immelt a leader of crony capitalism, where government favors politically selected corporations. President Obama also appointed the Midwest chairman of the Wall Street bank JP Morgan, Bill Daley, to be his new chief of staff.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized “investment” in American infrastructure. Critics quickly called “investment” another term for fiscally irresponsible spending. His emphasis on “clean energy standards” is being interpreted by some as “cap and trade” by another name.
In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, President Obama identified the new fuel efficiency standards for automobiles being promulgated by EPA as an example of smart regulation. These are being designed in conjunction with the Department of Transportation and the state of California. Forcing manufacturers to build cars that the public may not wish to buy is not particularly effective. Also, when announcing a review of regulations, President Obama stated that the benefits of regulation include concepts such as “equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts.” Such vague terminology is hardly encouraging.
Further, Carol Browner announced she is leaving the White House as the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change – a post not officially recognized. Ms. Browner is probably best known for her efforts as Administrator of EPA during the Clinton Administration, during which the EPA embarked upon many dubious studies, the most notorious of which was the environmental tobacco smoke (second hand tobacco smoke) study that massively lowered the standards of statistical epidemiology, making it virtually meaningless. Ms. Browner’s protégé, Lisa Jackson, continues as Administrator of EPA, and other protégées continue at the California Air Resources Board. The last group now has new-found powers to help regulate the entire American auto industry.
Whether or not President Obama’s actions indicate a shift to policies promoting economic growth remains to be seen. Please see Articles # 1, #2, and #3 as well as articles under “EPA and other Regulators on the March.”
Proclamations that 2010 was the hottest year ever continue, with the World Meteorological Organization joining in. These proclamations are based on air-surface data, much of the original data are lost, and the data have been subject to extensive bureaucratic manipulation hidden from independent researchers. As stated in prior TWTWs, the University of Alabama, Huntsville, satellite data, that is published and readily available to independent researchers, indicates that 2010 was comparable to the prior hottest year in the satellite record, 1998. The satellite record started in 1979.
Joe D’Aleo wrote an excellent, fairly brief article explaining why the air-surface data are highly questionable and any proclamations using them are doubtful. Please see Article # 5.
As the cold continues to grip the eastern US, with many heavy snow storms, as well as northern Europe, the public is becoming increasingly disenchanted by the climate scientists and their global warming predictions. The tenuous explanations of how warming causes cooling and more snow are far from compelling. Adding to this, Don Easterbrook continued his analysis of the GISP-2 ice borings from Greenland. He concludes that the 20th Century warming was neither particularly abrupt nor significant.
Please see articles under “Challenging the Orthodoxy” and “Extreme Weather.”
The Environmental Ministry of India released a study accepted for a publication in the peer reviewed publication, Current Science. The study by U.R. Ray reports that up to 40 percent of the recent warming can be explained by a decline in cosmic rays hitting the earth’s atmosphere which affects cloud cover. The IPCC and institutional alarmists ignore the influence of cosmic rays.
Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed continued concern of the failings of Western climate science which he believes is paralyzed by “group think”, rendering Western scientists incapable of recognizing the natural influences on climate. Please see the article in The Hindu under “Challenging the Orthodoxy.”
The web site for AAAS, which publishes the magazine “Science”, posted a study stating that global warming will increase agriculture production in the US and China. The study also stated that the IPCC projections of a 2.4 F increase in temperature will occur by 2020 rather than by 2100. The study was quickly denounced and pulled off the web site. Please see articles under “Food Issues.”
NUMBER OF THE WEEK: $5,975/kW. That is what the U.S. Energy information Administration published as the estimated “Overnight Capital Cost” for Off-shore Wind, in its “Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Electricity Generation Plants, November, 2010.” The estimates are developed for plants of certain specific sizes explained in the study.
“Overnight Capital Cost” is a somewhat vague concept. It can be considered as the cost as if the plant suddenly appeared overnight, fully operational. It does not include the interest costs incurred during the planning and construction of the project.
The cost includes site work and all equipment and installation, indirect costs, fees, contingencies, and owners costs (excluding financing costs) but including developer’s profit. Further, the cost does not include any special transmission lines needed to deliver the electricity over distance or any possible back-up such as that required for wind and solar.
Direct comparisons with other types of plants are not exact, but, if used cautiously, useful for approximation. For example, a Dual Unit Nuclear plant is estimated to have a capital cost of $5,335/kW.
At first glance Offshore Wind, with a capital cost of $5,975/kW, appears to be roughly comparable with nuclear. However, one must consider that the average annual production from wind is roughly 30% of nameplate capacity while, in the US, nuclear production is over 90% of nameplate capacity. Thus, as measured by average annual capacity, the electricity produced from offshore wind becomes very expensive, about three times that of the same output from nuclear.
This high cost is even before calculations of the high cost of transmission lines and expensive back-up for wind are included. Further, a nuclear plant has a life of 40 years or more while wind has a plant life of about 20 years. When considering the corrosive effects of salt spray, the plant life of offshore wind is probably well less than 20 years.
Again, one must be cautious when using the above numbers for direct comparison. The complete study, including operating and maintenance costs, is referenced under “Energy Issues.” A fuller comparison between wind and nuclear by Kent Hawkins is referenced under “Whistling in the Wind.”
Amplifications and Corrections: The January 15 TWTW carried an article by Richard Lindzen published in Quadrant in 2009. An updated version of the article is now posted in the Jan 15 TWTW.
SEPP Science Editorial #2011-3
By S. Fred Singer, Chairman, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
Oreskes’ O-15 Blunder
My article in the American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com has been attacked in many blogs – which I have always ignored. I had pointed out that Prof. Naomi Oreskes shows a deplorable lack of scientific knowledge in her book Merchants of Doubt. I have now received a letter (below) from a retired French science administrator, in which he accuses the late Dr Frederick Seitz, a distinguished US physicist and former chairman of SEPP, of scientific ignorance. His highly misleading letter went to many addressees. I therefore decided to respond — to set the record straight (see below).
From: “Earl Evleth”
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:48 AM
To: “S. Singer”
Subject: WEBFORM: citation of Oreskes and Conway’s book
You wrote in the American thinker article that
Oreskes’ and Conway’s science is as poor as their historical expertise. To cite just one example, their book blames lung cancer from cigarette smoking on the radioactive oxygen-15 isotope. They cannot explain, of course, how O-15 gets into cigarettes, or how it is created. They seem to be unaware that its half-life is only 122 seconds. In other words, they have no clue about the science, and apparently, they assume that the burning of tobacco creates isotopes – a remarkable discovery worthy of alchemists.
In fact they wrote:
After all, the natural environment was hardly carcinogen-free [Seitz] noted, and even “the oxygen in the air we breathe. plays a role in radiation-induced cancer”.98 (Oxygen, like most elements, has a radioactive version – oxygen 15 – although it is not naturally occurring
My response to Evleth (Jan 27):
You are quite wrong!
And — you are a scientific ignoramus.
You obviously don’t know the difference between REACTIVE oxygen (which Seitz was referring to) and RADIOACTIVE oxygen. To paraphrase that ancient biblical teacher Hillel: “Go Google”
And furthermore, you are being despicably deceptive. The FULL quote on page 28 reads:
After all, the natural environment was hardly carcinogen-free, [Seitz] noted, and even “the oxygen in the air we breathe plays a role in radiation-induced cancer”.98 (Oxygen, like most elements, has a radioactive version – oxygen-15 – although it is not naturally occurring.)99
Ref 99 refers to a paper by Ter-Pergossian that discusses the use of O-15 as a tracer in respiration studies. By deleting ‘)99’ you tried to make it appear as if Seitz said that O-15 was the cause of cancer.
In fact, the sentence in parenthesizes is a comment added by Oreskes/Conway.
Therefore, I stick with my assertion that Oreskes/Conway are as incompetent in science as they are in historical studies.
To emphasize my point, I refer you to page 29 [of Merchants of Doubt] where they refer to Beryllium as a HEAVY METAL.
S. Fred Singer, PhD
[Beryllium has an atomic number of 4 and atomic weight of 9]
For the numbered articles below please see: www.sepp.org.
1. Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System
If the FDA deems saccharin safe enough for coffee, than the EPA should not treat it as hazardous waste
By Barack Obama, WSJ, Jan 18, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Forcing manufacturers to produce automobiles few wish to buy is “smart regulation”?]
2. Obama’s Orwellian Language
Editorial, IBD, Jan 25, 2011
3. Cap and Trade Returns From the Grave
The president’s plans for ‘clean energy standards’ amount to carbon control by other means
By Kimberley Strassell, WSJ, Jan 28, 2011
4. Land of Milk and Regulation
Preventing the next dairy farm oil slick
Editorial, WSJ, Jan 27, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Using laws to designed for the petroleum industry to regulate the dairy industry.]
5. Is It Really The Warmest Ever?
By Joseph D’Aleo, Energy Tribune, Jan 18, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
6. Solar Spectacle
Renewable energy’s state capitalists
Editorial, WSJ, Jan 22, 2011
7. Learn From China on Solar Policy
By Rhone Resch, Letter, WSJ, Jan 22, 2011
[SEPP Comment: See above editorial.]
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Responses to Trenberth’s AMS Bile
By Eschenbach, Motl & McIntyre, SPPI, Jan 18, 2011
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Magnitude and rate of Climate Changes
By Don Easterbrook, SPPI, Jan 26, 2011
“Temperature changes recorded in the GISP2 ice core from the Greenland Ice Sheet show that the global warming experienced during the past century pales into insignificance when compared to the magnitude of profound climate reversals over the past 25,000 years.”
Cosmic rays contribute 40 p.c. to global warming: study
By Priscilla Jabaraj, The Hindu, Jan 21, 2011 [H/t Marc Morano, Climate Depot]
“There is a groupthink in climate science today. Anyone who raises alternative climate theories is immediately branded as a climate atheist in an atmosphere of climate evangelists,” he said. “Climate science is incredibly more complex than [developed countries] negotiators make it out to be… Climate science should not be driven by the West. We should not always be dependent on outside reports.”
Defenders of the Orthodoxy
Cold Jumps Arctic ‘Fence,’ Stoking Winter’s Fury
By Justin Gillis, NYT, Jan 24, 2011
Man Has Been Provoking Climate Change For Thousands Of Years
By Staff Writers, Terra Daily, Jan 27, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
[SEPP Comment: IPCC reports do not support the claim that by 6000 BC, humans were causing significant accumulations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. What does this do to the “hockeystick”?]
NASA extremist advocates U.S. decline
Radical green James Hansen pushes Chinese war on American economy
Editorial, Washington Times, Jan 19, 2011 [H/t Bud Bromley]
Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever
By Staff Writers, FOX News, Jan 24, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
2010 Temperature Record?
The Scientific Alliance, [H/t ICECAP]
The Claim 2010 is 2nd warmest year on record is delusional, irrelevant & disingenuous – the last gasp of the failed global warming cult
By Piers Corbyn, Weather Action, Jan 21, 2011 [H/t Anne Debeil]
Freezing Winters In Europe Could Be The Norm
By Olivier Lejune, GWPF, Jan 20, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
Cap-and-Trade by Any Other Name
Carol Browner Goes, Draconian Policies Stay
Editorial, IBD, Jan 26, 2011
Obama Recycles Waxman-Markey Utility Sector Target-Neglects to Inform Congress, Public
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming.org, Jan 26, 2011
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Obama’s regulatory window dressing versus real reform
By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, Jan 27, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Agencies must consider “equity, human dignity, fairness, and distributive impacts” as benefits of regulation.]
Obama’s regulation pledge does not pass the laugh test
By Iain Murray, Washington Examiner, Jan 18, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
New rules would cut thousands of coal jobs
By Associated Press, Washington Times, Jan 26, 2011
“EPA Expands Climate Agenda to the Current Fleet of Power Plants and Refineries” – VanNess Feldman
By Marlo Lewis, Global Warming, Jan 20, 2011
Court Denies EPA Extension for MACT Boiler Rules
By Staff Writers, Power News, Jan 26, 2011
Freshmen senators slam EPA boiler plan
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Jan 28, 2011
EPA revokes permit for mine, official resigns rather than face criticism
By Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, Jan 20, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
California and EPA will align timeline on fuel economy standards
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Jan 24, 2011
EPA to listen to electric, oil industry concerns about climate rules
By Andrew Restuccia, The Hill, Jan 28, 2011
[SEPP Comment: A chance to testify for those who so desire.]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
The New Light Bulbs Lose a Little Shine
Compact Fluorescent Lamps Burn Out Faster Than Expected, Limiting Energy Savings in California’s Efficiency Program
By Rebecca Smith, WSJ, Jan 19, 2011
[SEPP Comment: May be behind a pay wall.]
Austerity pulling plug on Europe’s green subsidies
By Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail, Jan 26, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
EU Carbon Market Suffers Further Setback
By Alessandro Torello and Sean Carney, WSJ, Jan 28, 2011
EU Energy Orwellianism: Ignorance Is Strength
By Carlo Stagnaro, Master Resource, Jan 21, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Obtaining reliable data on the costs and total subsidies to subsidized industries is difficult, and it should not be.]
Federal Government Teaching Farmers to Participate in ‘Carbon Markets’ that Don’t Exist Yet
By Matt Cover, CNSNews, Jan 21, 2011 [H/t Catherine French]
France’s Solar Bubble Pops
By Carl Shockley, Planet Gore, Jan 20, 2011
Updated Capital Cost Estimates for Electricity Generation Plants
U.S. Energy Information Administration, November, 2010
Obama’s War On Coal
Editorial, IBD, Jan 18, 2011
Obama: Ramp Up Clean Energy – Including Clean Coal and Natural Gas Power
By Staff Writers, Power News, Jan 26, 2011
[SEPP Comment: If not clearly defined, clean coal can be an elusive concept.]
Cold truths about electric cars’ cold-weather shortcomings
By Charles Lane, Washington Post, Jan 28, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
[SEPP Comment: The chemical reactions in chemical batteries slow in cold weather. What about the heater, defroster, windshield wipers, etc.?]
Alternative Fuels Don’t benefit the Military, a RAND Report Says
By Tom Zeller, NYT, Jan 25, 2011
China Ups Ante On Rare-Earth Metals
By William O’Keffe, IBD, Jan 20, 2011
Whistling in the Wind
Windpower Emissions: Kleekamp Critique
(Part III – Cost of Wind and Nuclear Plants
By Kent Hawkins, Master Resource, Jan 26, 2011
Wind Energy Deal Blows Away
By Paul Chesser, American Spectator, Jan 25, 2011 [H/t Randy Randol]
Yes, Virginia, A Climate Cover-Up
Editorial, IBD, Jan 20, 2011
Review of Recent Scientific Articles by NIPCC
For a full list of articles see
Interactive Effects of Elevated CO2, Excessive Warmth and Water Stress on Photosynthesis and Growth of Canola
Reference: Qaderi, M.M., Kurepin, L.V. and Reid, D.M. 2006. Growth and physiological responses of canola (Brassica napus) to three components of global climate change: temperature, carbon dioxide and drought. Physiologia Plantarum 128: 710-721.
The Fate of Tropical Rainforests in a Super CO2 – Enriched and Warmer World
Reference: Jaramillo, C., Ochoa, D., Conteras, L., Pagani, M., Carvajal-Ortiz, H., Pratt, L.M., Krishnan, S., Cardona, A., Romero, M., Quiroz, L., Rodriguez, G., Rueda, M.J., de la Parra, F., Moron, S., Green, W., Bayona, G., Montes, C., Quintero, O., Ramirez, R., Mora, G., Schouten, S., Bermudez, H., Navarrete, R., Parra, F., Alvaran, M., Osorno, J., Crowley, J.L., Valencia, V. and Vervoort, J. 2010. Effects of rapid global warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary on neotropical vegetation. Science 330: 957-961.
Climate Models Fail to Match Observed Historical Data
Reference: Anagnostopoulos, G.G., Koutsoyiannis, D., Christofides, A., Efstradiadis, A. and Mamassis, N. 2010. A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data. Hydrological Sciences Journal 55: 1094-1110.
Red Wines of the Future
Reference: Goncalves, B., Falco, V., Moutinho-Pereira, J., Bacelar, E., Peixoto, F. and Correia, C. 2009. Effects of elevated CO2 on grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.): Volatile composition, phenolic content, and in vitro antioxidant activity of red wine. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 57: 265-273.
The Only Way To Go Green
Editorial, IBD, Jan 14, 2011
Climate change could boost crops in US, China
AFP Staff Writer, Manila Bulletin, Jan 20, 2011 [H/t Toshio Fujita]
Climate change study had ‘significant errors’: experts
By Kerry Sheridan, Yahoo, Jan 19, 2011 [H/t Catherine French]
Other Scientific Issues
Price of Junk Science
Editorial, IBD, Jan 24, 2011
Fields, Alternative Medicine, and Physics
By Eugenie Mielczarek, Science Based Medicine, May 27, 2010
[SEPP Comment: Subsidizing magnetic healing and similar “medical” research.]
Other Issues that May Be Of Interest
The population timebomb is a myth
The doom-sayers are becoming more fashionable just as experts are coming to the view it has all been one giant false alarm.
By Dominic Lawson, Independent, Jan 18, 2011 [H/t Cooler Heads Digest]
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE:
The World is sinking: Dubai islands ‘falling into the sea’
The islands were intended as the ultimate luxury possession, even for Dubai. By Richard Spencer, Telegraph, UK, Jan 20, 2011 [H/t Malcolm Ross]
Eight Botched Environmental Forecasts
By Maxim Lott, FOX News, Dec 30, 2010
Solving wind intermittency in Europe
By Jason Deign, Wind Energy Update, Jan 21, 2011
[SEPP Comment: Once the political slogan was a chicken in every pot, now it is a battery of batteries in every garage.]
London to Edinburg by electric car: it was quicker by stagecoach
The BBC’s stunt of taking an electric Mini to Edinburgh reveals just how impractical rechargeable cars are
By Christopher Booker, Telegraph, UK, Jan 28, 2011 [H/t ICECAP]
PLEASE NOTE: The complete TWTW, including the full text of the articles, can be downloaded in an easily printable form at this web site: http://www.sepp.org/the-week-that-was.cfm…